Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year's Eve

Another year soon to be gone, another one with high points and low points.  We will be ending here on what I hope is a very high note, a 1983 Paul Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle.  It's the oldest bottle in the cellar and it's time has come.  A simple roast chicken and some potatoes fried in duck fat will help it along.

Happy New Year and best wishes to each of you.

And tomorrow this small corner of the cyber world will begin its tenth year.   There's still more wine and more dogs to come - and of course at least a flamingo a year.

Monday, December 28, 2015


Champagne season.  This bottle had been in the cellar for six years and was a bit on the downhill side, but still very drinkable.

Camille Jacquet Brut Champagne, Blanc de Blanc.  The golden color showed the age on the wine.  Hints of cardamon and lots of yeast aromas in the wine.  not overly bubbly, but sufficient.  A touch of sherry flavors added a bit of interest to the wine.

Camille Jcquet Bland de Blanc.   $45 and 12.5% alcohol

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Chrtistmas 2015

Wishing each of you reading this a wonderful holiday season - full of good cheer and good friends.

Sunday, December 20, 2015


Louis Jadot

It's not every day that a glass of Corton Charlemagne presents itself for consumption, but that was the case a few days ago.  The vintage was 2009 so there was a wee bit of age to the wine. 

The aromas were much more on the mineral end of the spectrum than on the fruit end.  One would suspect from just smelling the wine that it was a little austere, but that wasn't the case.  Rich fruit flavors of ripe apple and a bit of pineapple were strong.  There was a good deal of citrus as well, but the earthiness still came through.  Tart and sharp, yet rich - a delicate balancing act that this wine pulled off well.  There was a super long finish that left a smile on my face.  There should be more of this in my life, but considering the price I'll take this glass and be happy.

2009 Louis Jadot Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru.  13% alcohol and $175.00.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Good Bottle

Kinkead Ridge
A small, lamb roast called for Cabernet Sauvignon so I opted for the 2011 Kinkead Ridge to see how it was doing.  It's doing quite well.

All the loose ends have come together here.  The aromas are great with hints of fruit and wood and a bit of cinnamon.  Dark cherry and plum flavors were strong, but there were some herbal tones to compliment them.  Moderate body with good acidity, and just about perfect now.

With some roasted butternut squash and a few green beans it was a very good meal.

Kinkead ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Ohio River Valley.  $21 and 13.9% alcohol.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Winter Drinking

Kopke Fine Tawny

One good thing about the Christmas season is that the local winesellers all seem to start offering special prices on port. That was the case with this bottle of Kopke Fine Tawny that I adopted a week or so ago at $7 off on a bottle.

Lots of dried fruits and nuts and spices in the nose.  This is a wine that is not overly sweet or strong.  It sips very easy, blooms in the middle of the palate and ends very smoothly with some length.  Rich fruit and and nutty flavors.  It's not a mind blowing wine, but for $17 it's a great bargain and delicious.  It was good with a bite or two of bittersweet chocolate, but it was superb with a very ripe pear that was halved and cored.  The pear was then filled with Gorgonzola cheese and tossed into a hot oven just until the pear warmed and the cheese melted.  A little bit of heaven on a cold night with a glass of port.

Kopke Fine Tawny Port.  17% alcohol and $17. 

Monday, December 7, 2015


Starting Over

There is a major local program underway to repair the tremendous amount of damage done by the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive species of beetle that has decimated the forests in this area.  Ohio was reported to contain over three billion ash trees of various subspecies before the pest arrived. More than two thirds of those trees are now gone.

The picture above makes one think of a newly planted vineyard or an abandoned cemetery.  Instead it is a photo of a hillside above the Great Miami River where the dog and I walk frequently.  This was once a totally forested hillside full of mature ash trees.   The trees were removed and a program is underway to replant with other species of trees native to the forests in this area - maple, walnut, oaks, etc.  The white, plastic tubes are to protect the young trees from being eaten by the deer and other wildlife so they can take root and grow.  So in another sense this is a cemetery, but one that forty years down the road should look considerably different. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015


Ms. Birdie checking for rabbits
Weather conditions overnight were perfect for a beautiful morning display of hoarfrost.  A thick layer of fog settled over the Great Miami River and then temperatures dropped a few degrees below freezing.  Everything was evenly covered with a powdery, white blanket.  Blue, clear skies above, but the layer of fog muted everything. 

Along the Great Miami River
There was no wind at all but it was still cold.  The color palette of nature is fascinating.  These scenes are cold and northerly, but the colors are the white and turquoise of sunny beaches of much warmer areas. 

Still Water
It helped that this was not far from home and there was a steaming cup of coffee waiting when the dog and I finished our walk.  A very good day.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Sunshine and a Cocktail

Red Blooded Americano
I don't think there is more colorful drink than the one pictured here even though it took some work.  The work involved tearing apart a large, fresh pomegranate and running the arils through a potato ricer to extract the juice while leaving the seeds behind.  The juice was added to the ingredients for an Americano and it came out shocking, electric red.

Combine one ounce each fresh pomegranate juice, Campari and sweet vermouth.  Pour over ice and stir until well chilled.  Top with club soda or seltzer and stir again.  Toss in an orange peel for a garnish.

Very fruity and punch like at first, it becomes full bodied in the mid palate and finishes with the wonderful bitterness of the Campari.  Of course the ones that followed were much easier since there was a good amount of pomegranate juice remaining.  Low alcohol and quite tasty. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Finding Color

The Great Miami River
Finding color that isn't gray or brown in the landscape in December in southwest Ohio is difficult.  That was certainly true yesterday as the resident canine and I headed out for a long walk on a foggy and drizzly morning.  There was some vestige of green grass left in the parks but the woods are mostly dull and gray with the floor of the woods mostly brown.  But if one tries one can always find color.

moss and lichens
The color yesterday was chartreuse and was found on moss and lichens covering the concrete on an abutment for a long gone suspension, bridge over the river.  There was even some young green growth in a few areas that are more protected from the weather.  The summer heat and sunshine prevents the lichens from growing on this west facing wall, but both of those things are rare now and they are flourishing.

more lichens and moss
The square holes are another part of the old support structure for the bridge and there are thirty or so of them, each about twelve inches.  Their new role in the world is to serve as nesting sites for bank swallows that show up every spring.  They are about eight feet above ground and being on a sheer face there is great protection for the birds. 

We came home damp and the canine made certain that the Canada geese were in the river and not on shore and that two squirrels stayed in the trees. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving #2

The second bottle at the Thanksgiving meal was a 2008 Penner-Ash Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir from Oregon's Willamette Valley.  2008 was an excellent vintage in the Willamette Valley and it certainly showed in this wine.  Everything about this wine had come together; the fruit, the tannin, the acid and its sense of place.  All were in perfect balance and made for a great wine.   The body was medium and not overpowering and the finish was long and said 'goodbye' with a sense of ripe fruit. 

2008 Penner-Ash, Shea Vineyard, Pinot Noir from Oregon's Willamette Valley.  13.5% alcohol and $50.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Fontodi, Vigna del Sorbo

Fontodi Chianti Classico
The first of the Thanksgiving wines was a bottle aged Chianti.  The wine was a 2004 Fontodi Chianti Classico, Vigna de Sorbo Riserva.  It took a few minutes for the wine to begin showing any aromas but when it did, about five minutes in, it was fantastic.  Ripe red fruit smells were set over the quintessential smell of Tuscan earth.  Flavor wise the tart, red cherries were great, but this wine had a darker and richer side to it.  The wine is 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 90% Sangiovese and the darkness probably came from the Cabernet.  Hints of leather and graphite only added to its appeal.

Smooth and mellow and fully mature this wine was as good as Chianti gets.    I purchased it six years ago and it has been resting in the cellar since that time with two of its litter mates.  Extremely happy with this wine.

2004 Fontodi, Chianti Classico Riserva, Vigna del Sorbo.  14% alchol and $55 six years ago.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

While turkey is the traditional entree on this holiday, when it's a small crowd of two it's fine to go with a pheasant.  This bird is ready for stuffing with shallots, carrots, garlic, white peppercorns, parsley sage, rosemary and thyme.   For all of you celebrating, thank you for the readership. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Kinkead Ridge - A Fond Farewell

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened"...... Dr. Seuss
There was some sadness over the weekend as the last wines from estate grapes were released by the folks at Kinkead Ridge winery in Ripley, Ohio.  The last two, brutally cold winters completely devastated the vineyard, the property changed hands and the new owners of the land will not be replanting.  The winery itself was sold to different owners and remains open and an ongoing operation, albeit with purchased grapes and juice. 

The red wines were from the 2013 vintage, before the bad winter of 2014.  The whites were released previously, but these reds had been aging in barrels until being bottled recently.

Cabernet Franc.  The nose was somewhat closed but with some swirling one could smell the fresh, red fruit and some vanilla.  The flavors were bright cherries with a nod to some darker fruit.  There was plenty of spice in the wine as well, primarily cinnamon.  It reminded me most of a Loire valley red wine,  The finish was smooth and long and at 13.3% alcohol it was very well balanced for drinking.  $21.95 and 143 cases produced.

Cabernet Sauvignon.  This was a darker and sharper wine than it's Cabernet Franc cousin.  Black cherries and  red plums were having a great time in this wine and the spices were singing harmony.  Much more tannin than in the other wine, and a little more acid as well.  Still, it was light and nimble and a total food wine.  The 12.7% alcohol content is further proof that very ripe grapes are not the only way to go.  $22.95 and 100 cases produced.

Petit Verdot.  This was the saddest wine in that I think it was my favorite of any vintage produced for this grape - and there will be no more.  PV is not a shy wine - it is in your face with flavor and extract.  This one showed some restraint.  Blackberries, dark plums, cassis and a whole cabinet full of spices were in this wine.  Suitable tannin and good acid balanced the fruity structure.  Usually with Kinkead Ridge  Petit Verdot I'm thinking of strong, blue cheese, but this wine will be great with beef and lamb.  My favorite of the three.  $24.95, 14.9% alcohol. 108 cases produced.

All of these will go in the cellar to rest for a year or two.  I still have a good amount older vintages of each of these wines to keep me occupied until these guys are ready. 

Dr. Seuss is correct. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Islay Whisky

I seem to be in one of those periods where single malt whisky keep appearing in my life.  I have certainly been in worse periods. 

The latest from a friend who had been traveling was a Laphroaig Select.  This was an interesting whisky.  It was unmistakably a Laphroaig with its sense of peat smoke and iodine, but it was a more refined version than I am used to drinking from Laphroaig.  There seemed to be bits of caramel or toffee in this whisky.  There was some elegance to this whisky and that made it quite appealing overall.  At the risk of heresy it seemed like a Laphroaig's salute to its arch rival Lagavulin, a salute that is usually done with the middle finger of either hand. Whatever the motivation or intent it was a delicious whisky.  At 40% alcohol it was highly drinkable.

The second whisky was a Bunnahabhain Toiteach.  Toiteach apparently translates to smoky, and this was a very smoky drink from a distillery that is know to stay on the fruitier side of whisky, and produces perhaps the lightest of the Islay malts.   A big, robust and almost chunky whisky that would have be best appreciated around a fire in the fire pit on a patio.  At 46%  alcohol it warmed all the way to the toes.  Very nice, but on the expensive side at $75.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Thanks to someone's kindness and good fortune there was some serious Scottish whisky to drink.  In this case it was a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, the top of the line of the Johnnie Walker whiskys, a blend of malt whiskys and grain whiskys. 

The best one word description would be elegant.  It is smooth, forward, and full flavored with hints of wood, herbs, oranges, and only a hint of smoke.  This goes down very easy.  It is a pleasure to drink, but this isn't near the top of my favorites list for Scottish Whisky.  And at the price ($200), it's not likely to make the list.

My three favorites remain Lagavulin 16 year old,  Highland Park 18 year old and Rosebank 16 year old - all half the price of the Blue Label.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunset and Older Riesling

A cold day yesterday, but sunset was gorgeous,  All afternoon a skillet  full of pork, sauerkraut and apples braised away in a low oven.  The sharp, acrid smell of the sauerkraut and the sweet smell of the apples made it hard to wait until dinner - a true perfume.

Reaching back into the deep, dark reaches of the cellar I came out with a Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett from the 2004 vintage.  It's obvious from the picture that the wine had turned golden with age; it was no longer the bright green gold of its youth.  Deep aromas of ripe apples and grilled lemons filled the glass. 

While the color may have aged the wine was still tart and crisp with apple and grapefruit flavors.  There was a wonderful mouth feel to this wine, more like an auslese than a kabinett.  It was delicious with the food - sweet enough to counteract the sauerkraut and tart enough to cut through the fatty pork.  Wonderful stuff, but the last of my 2004 Rieslings. 

2004 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett.  8.5% alcohol and $22  eight years ago.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans' Day 2015

A very foggy morning this morning, Veterans' Day,  and since there was little to see it was a very introspective walk - a time to think of relatives and friends no longer here who gave their lives.
"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." – Mark Twain
Yesterday was the 240th  "birthday" of the United States Marine Corps and the celebration was for and with friends departed and still here.   Semper Fi, guys. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Fungi, Moss and Riesling

Moss and Fungi

Yesterday's weather here put me in the mood for a good Riesling, and that was satisfied last night with a 2010 Alfred Merkelbach Urziger Wurtzgarten Spatlese.  Dinner was some spicy Hong Kong noodles with edamame and mushrooms. The wine was a perfect match.   Totally crisp and bright at the first sip this wine had just enough sweetness at the finish to balance out the heat from the sauce on the noodles. Merkelbach wines are among the best values I know.

Overnight the weather turned November-ish.  It was cool, damp, foggy and misty with intermittent light rain.  During our abbreviated walk this morning the dog and I came across this decaying log in the woods that was serving as a host for a number of its friends. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

New Territory and Evening Inspiration

The resident canine and I were out early this cold morning to explore a new trail that had been suggested to us by a park officer last week.  It runs near the bike path that we normally follow but is not marked on any of the maps and has a nearly hidden entrance.

It was a beautiful walk as the trail snaked its way down a hill to the river, passing though woods and open fields currently being re-forested.  The entire area is a nature preserve. The dog had a great time as it allowed her much more time off leash, though there is one section that runs through a legal deer hunting area and she was put back on her long leash through that area.  At this time of year one can't be too careful about those things. 

The sky was amazing.  Cold, crisp, clean, bright, cheerful and other similar words kept going through my mind.  The day was screaming at me to pick a tart, German Riesling for dinner.  So be it.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Rioja Evening

The weather was cooler and for the entire day a large pot of beef short ribs braised in the oven making the house smell wonderful.  They were braising with garlic, onions, carrots, tomatoes, celery, thyme and a dried ancho chili broken into pieces.  There was nothing shy about the food. 

We opted for an old style Rioja wine, a Ramirez de la Piscina Gran Reserva from the 2001 vintage.  It was opened and decanted about two hours before dinner.  Clean, dry earth aromas filled the decanter.  It was hard to detect much fruit, but the earthy aromas were wonderful.  By dinner the wine had opened considerably.  The fruit had come out in the nose and the earth had faded a bit.  It was a medium, red brick color.    The taste was not at all what I was expecting from the nose - the wine's primary taste was ripe fruit and not the earth.  It was still on the savory end of the spectrum but the fruit had a perfect bright and cheery flavor.  The body was just on the lighter side of medium. 

The beef was intense and rich, and the addition of the ancho chili had given it a spiciness and dryness as well as depth of flavor.

I was afraid that the over the top flavors of the short ribs might overpower the wine, but the wine had an austere quality that made it almost perfect with the richness of the beef, and the earthiness in each totally complimented the other  They made a handsome couple.

2001 Ramirez de la Piscina Gran Reserva.  14% alcohol and $40.  Another in the cellar.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Last Bloom

’Tis the last rose of summer
 Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
To give sigh for sigh
.....Thomas Moore
Not a rose, but a rain lily in a large pot on the patio with the strength for one last blossom for the year.  With the weather currently changing drastically to a much colder pattern the pot will be moved indoors this evening to winter over in a dark place. It will go back out in the early spring and provide another year of pink blossoms.  

The plant originated with my grandmother and has been passed down to me from my mother so there is always sadness when it has to come inside.  I believe a great glass of wine will melt that melancholy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Modest Burgundy

Nothing fancy here, just a simple red wine to go with a small steak.  The wine was an Albert Bichot, Bourgogne, Vieilles Vignes from the 2012 vintage.  Fresh cherry fruit, medium body, a nice dash of earthiness and just enough tannin and acid to hold it together.  One could do a lot worse.

2012 Albert Bichot, Bourgogne, Vieilles Vignes.  13% alcohol and $14.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Dragon's Breath and other notes

It's been awhile since anything was posted here, and that was due almost entirely to a nasty infection that required some strong antibiotics that precluded enjoying any of my favorite liquids (no alcohol).   That has passed and there is a wonderful lineup of bottles to come.

October is now gone and it is the morning fog and mist season along the Great Miami River where the resident canine and I walk almost every day.  Since 1981 when I saw the movie Excalibur fog has always been dragons' breath.  That was the name given to fog by Merlin the Magician in the movie.  It stuck with me.

Whatever it's called it can be quite beautiful and quite eerie at times.  It also changes by the minute.  All three photos were taken in a period of twenty minutes. 

And on a different day, a day in which my only camera was my I-phone, there was an amazing site.  A young, bald eagle was perched in a tree above the river.  We were able to walk to within a fair distance and watch him watching us.  He eventually turned his attention back to the river and soon launched into a dive and came up with a fat fish for his breakfast.  A rare sight considering that this river used to be a virtual sewer and that bald eagles were an endangered species.  Stricter environmental laws and more public awareness have certainly helped the river and the bird.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

To the Islands!

Key West Cocktail
The days are getting shorter and cooler here, but that means less clouds and more sunshine.  I'm much in favor of that.  In two months this picture will bring back good memories of warmer weather.

Proportions are 60 ml of white rum, 30 ml of freshly squeezed juice from key limes, 10 ml of simple syrup, 5 ml of grenadine, 5 ml of Maraschino and a dash of orange bitters.  Everything goes into a shaker with ice.  Shaky shaky shaky until very cold.  Fill a glass half full of shaved ice (in this case a stemless champagne flute) and strain the content of the shaker into it.  Drink two and you can feel the island breezes.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Thai Food and Riesling

Thai Curry with Shrimp

Another beautiful evening last night and dinner was the highlight. It was visually appealing as well as layered with flavor. It was time consuming in that all the spices were toasted and ground and the myriad ingredients were hand chopped. The broth is full of coriander, allspice, fennel, turmeric, bay leaves, cayenne, onions, garlic, lemongrass, fish sauce, coconut milk and a few other things. It was finished with prawns and halved cherry tomatoes cooked in the completed broth.  It was ladled over rice noodles and topped with scallions and basil.

The wine was a 2010 Alfred Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese.  The wine smelled like a perfect mix of spring flowers and fall tree fruit.  The acid was tremendous in this wine but balanced by the natural, residual sweetness.  It was tart enough to cut through the richness of the coconut milk and fruity enough to never be austere in any way.   Delicious combination.

2010 Alfred Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese.  8% alcohol and $21.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Just Ducky

Bottoms Up!

It was a beautiful fall day yesterday and the canine and I had an eight mile walk along the river and through the woods.  Among the birds encountered was this hungry group of Mallards feasting on bottom muck in a shallow pond.  They were unconcerned about anything but eating.

I felt the same way later in the day with about 2006 Sempre Vive Old Vine Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that accompanied a strip steak for dinner.  The steak was delicious, but the wine was tremendous.  This was Napa at its old style finest, full flavored without being over the top and high in alcohol.  There was tremendous balance between cherry and plum fruit, tannin, acid and oak.  There is a large glass left for today, and there is one more in the cellar.  Wonderful wine.

2006 Sempre Vive Old Vine Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  13.7% alcohol and $45. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

October Sky

Oct 8, 7:30 AM

The heavenly blue of fresh new days
Oh, friend, you must employ them
Before they pass away. Be brave!
Enjoy them; oh, enjoy them!"
Theodor Storm
A beautiful walk this morning along the banks of the Great Miami River.  Squirrels and gophers were kept at bay by the resident canine.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Water of Life, Scotland Version

It was a good evening last Friday as a group of friends got together to polish off the remains of a number of bottles of Scottish Whisky.  All but one had less than eight ounces left in them so the collection proved to be an interesting evening.  Pictured above are a bottle of Dalwhinnie Distiller's Edition, a Highland whisky from what I understand is the distillery with the highest elevation in Scotland, and a bottle of Kilchoman, a somewhat new, craft distillery from Islay.  The Dalwhinnie was elegant and refined and the Kilchoman was was raw and wild.  I was not in an elegant mood and I preferred the Kilchoman.

Next up was a Glenmorangie finished in a Sauterne cask and an Oban Distillers Edition with a 1995 distilling date.  Both of these were quite elegant and tasty and much more refined than the previous two.  The Glenmorangie is another Highland malt and had a bit of smoke and a bit of earth to it.  The Oban is a coastal malt and had a secondary maturation in a sherry cask.  It had seaweed notes and a distinctly orange flavor, rather like a glass of Drambuie without the sweetness.  The Oban was my contribution to the evening.  You will notice the bottle is empty.

The one exception to the small content of the bottles was the Laphroaig QA cask, a double matured Islay available only at duty free shops.  We drank the first sips from this bottle.  Smoke and peat and iodine were everywhere, but they were in such good balance that this whisky had a touch of elegance to it.  Not for the faint of heart - but definitely for me.

And that brings us to another product from Islay, Lagavulin, a very near neighbor to Lagavulin.  This was the regular 16 year old bottling.  There is elegance here to go along with incredible smokiness.  Full flavored and rich and hearty.  If the gods told me that I could only have one whisky from anywhere this would be the one.  Not surprising that my late Gordon Setter was formally named Dunbar's Lagavulin.   Indeed this is the water of life.  A great evening.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


A few brief notes on the pig roast:

While the 2005 Vieux Telegraph Chateauneuf du Pape discussed a couple of posts below was a very good wine it was a little overpowering for the roast pig.  The crowd favorite turned out to be a 2010 Fontodi Chianti Classico, at least from how quickly the bottle was drained.  And while there was barbecue sauce and other accompaniments for the pig that called for beer, the Chianti was near perfect with the pig dressed simply with a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and pepper.

It was such a typical Chianti.  There were earthy aromas mixed in with fresh fruit.  The wine was full of soft tannin and dry, red cherry flavors.  It was tart with acid and and finished with a great length bringing to mind thoughts of early autumn.  A beautiful combination.

2010 Fontodi Chianti Classico.  14% alcohol and $30.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cocktail Hour

A rye Manhattan with orange bitters

“Whiskey, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation. You gaze first, then it’s time to drink.” Haruki Murukami

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

An Old Friend

The twice delayed pig roast finally got off the ground last Saturday and with a good crowd came some good wines.  One that stood out from the crowd was a 2005 a Domaine du Vieux Telegraph, La Crau, a Chateauneuf de Pape.

A long,long time ago in a galaxy far away I owned and drank my fair share of Chateauneuf de Pape, but over the years the wines kept getting bigger and bigger and higher and higher in alcohol.  They stepped over the line for me a decade ago.  Nonetheless I plunged into this one without trepidation.  After one sip I got an empty glass and spent about five minutes pouring the wine back and forth between the two glasses to open it up a little.  It helped, but a few more hours would have helped more.

This is a very tight and dense wine.  I could smell clean leather, fruit and spice. It had a ton of ripe blackberry flavors with bits of oak and cinnamon added in to the mix.  The tannin was still strong and the acid was good, but there was still a bit of alcohol burn on the finish.  Produced from a blend of 65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault.
2005 a Domaine du Vieux Telegraph, La Crau.  15% alcohol and $90.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Hemingway Daiquiri

Hemingway Daiquiri

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”  ― Ernest Hemingway

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Autumn Fruit and Willi Schaefer


It was a great summer for agriculture in this area with almost ideal growing conditions and plenty of moisture.  The local market is full of fully ripe tree fruit.  The pears looked very good the other day and the result was a pear tart made with frozen puff pastry with cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, nutmeg, mace, salt and sugar mixed in with the pear slices.   

The wine was a 2005 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Auslese #9 in a 375 ml bottle.  I love it when the first sip of wine makes one pause, look at the glass and think what a wonderful thing someone has made.  The golden color looked like fall in the glass, and aromas of apples, pears, pineapple and spices were not at all shy about expressing themselves.  It was wonderfully sweet but with so much acid that it was refreshing.  It tasted mostly of fully ripe apples and pears, and that taste lingered and lingered. 

It was wonderful with the tart, but it would have been just as great by itself.

2005 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Auslese #9.  7.5% alcohol and $55 a few years ago.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


"The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many."
-   Oliver Wendell Holmes

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Good Red Wine

Barbera D'Alba

It had been some time since I opened a Barbera D'Alba.  I am still in cellar clearing mode and these are not wines I cellar.  I buy them and drink them.  This one was a Mauro Veglio from the 2013 vintage.

The wine was bright reddish purple in the glass. It was full of sharp and tart fruit, fully ripe but not sweet.  Dusty aromas of red berries.  There was a lot of acid and a good amount of tannin.  The acid and tannin cut through a fat, juicy steak just as I was hoping it would.  Wonderful together.

2013 Mauro Veglio Barbera D'Alba.  13.5% alcohol and $16.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Summer into Autumn

The bike path along the river
The resident Gordon Setter and I were out early again this morning and it required a substantial change in plans.  A light jacket was needed as the temperature was 46 degrees (7 degrees c).  After a very hot and humid period last week this was pure joy.  The water along the Great Miami river was warmer than the air so the fog and mist created some beautiful sights

A Great Blue Heron
There were a number of waterfowl next to or in the river;  mallards, Canada Geese, a couple of river gulls and a kingfisher were spotted.  Add in the sound of the numerous woodpeckers pecking and it made for a nice walk.  One of the herons kept eyeing us as we walked along the shoreline and eventually decided the other side of the river was safer.  Beautiful bird.

During the hot spell we kept our morning walks between three and four miles, but this morning we did a comfortable seven and a half miles.   After the sun was more fully up in the sky the rabbits, squirrels and gophers made their appearance so the dog got much more exercise than I did.  She was still willing to play when we got home.

There was some wild caught Columbia River king salmon for dinner last night and I opened a bottle of the Lowell Marie Pinot Grigio.  It performed its assigned task of washing down the salmon and polenta squares that sat alongside.

The rive an hour after starting