Thursday, October 29, 2009
The House That Jacob Built
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The Salacious Dirt in Oregon
Then there is the question of "Terroir." Last night I had the good fortune to consume some Foie Gras with a 2001 Chateau Angludet from the village of Margaux. Although terroir usually refers to micro-climate, even on the scale of an entire Appellation or AVA there are differences associated with place. At the simplest level, it appears, for example, that St. Estephe is a little colder and rainier than Margaux, but what gives Margaux it's "elegance." Is it a group delusion? A hallucination? A belief? Cultural? A winemaker's prototype? Does the soil contribute? In any event, wines from different places usually taste different, although I'm sure there are many winemaker's who could, and have, obliterated these differences.
So different places can produce different wines, but do different places produce different Foie Gras? The little tag attached to the "pot" of Foie Gras claimed "terroir." What is terroir in this case? Place? don't think so. Feed? Maybe. Hype? French marketing? Bingo!
Monday, October 19, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
"The color is rich amber. The texture is almost viscous as its liquid coats the side of the glass and ever so slowly gives up its legs to gravity.... You flirt with the aroma a bit, prolonging the sweet anticipation and then put spirit to tongue. First comes the mellifluous sweetness...followed by nips of spic[iness]. Then you sense the slightest bite...before the sweetness returns as a hard candy, but much deeper than that...." p. 37, Cigar Aficionado, October 2009
No, we are not talking about Eliott Spitzer's whore, although the prices are almost the same. This is in the " Good Life Guide" to Cognac. This sexy hussy is L'Or de Jean Martell available for only $3600. Some high priced tastes are available for as little as $130. Others can be had for $300 or $400, and you can even take a peek at Remy Martin Louis XIII in a 100 ml bottle for only $200.
You can have your Cognac and eat it, too, or rather smoke with it, too. You could accompany your high-priced libation with a Corona described as "such (a) little cigar", but wouldn't you rather have a Corona Gordas "thought of by some as the perfect size - not too big and not too small." For the more macho man we have the Robusto. You can take your "big smoke" to the Las Vegas weekend at the Venetian the weekend of November 13th. Isn't this a little obscene with millions of people unemployed. Please, sir, can I have another sip? Can you spare a dime? What would Freud say? A cigar is a cigar is a cigar? Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar? How about some Price Albert and E. & J. Gallo Brandy?
Monday, October 12, 2009
Half Price Wines
There are a number of wines from Chateau Ste. Michelle which are widely distributed throughout the states. The Riesling, Gewurz, and Pinot Grigio are representative of type and reasonably priced. Here is a list of reliable value wineries in addition to Ste Michelle with fairly wide distribution:
1) Columbia Crest Two Vines - The Merlot and Chardonnay can be had at any gas station in Washington and are usually "on sale" for about $8 at many supermarkets - amazing value.
2) Columbia Crest Grand Estates - these wines see some oak and are good food wines
3) Red Diamond -Another member of the Ste. Michelle portfolio - Outstanding Merlot, Cab, Syrah and Chard for less than $10 at supermarkets
4) Hogue - Excellent dry Chard and pretty good Rieslings of varying sweetness levels - good value at supermarkets
5) Sagelands - less widely distributed, but available in some supermarkets. good stuff
6) Barnard Griffin - excellent Syrah. all good values at State Liquor stores in Washington and some supermarkets
6) Pine and Post - frequently posted off to about $5. Excellent value, especially the Chardonnay
These may be a little difficult to find but they are worth it. Check high-end supermarkets and wine shops.
1) Dusted Valley - all "Boomtown" wines
2) Balboa - all regular bottlings - Merlot, Cab Sauv, Syrah
3) Parejas - all of Mark's wines are excellent, especially the Gewurztraminer which is a great value
4) Vin Du Lac - Larry purposely keeps prices down and quality up, especially the whites
5) Eliseo Silva - This is a whole line of outstanding varietals at around $15 - Merlot, Cab Sauv, Syrah, Chardonnay
6) Randall Harris - a very acceptable Merlot at a very good price.
7) Northwest - Bob Deff offers good wines at good prices and you can have them personalized for special events such as a wedding or you can have your own label
( for a fee, of course)
8) Bergevin Lane - Who says Danes can't make wine. Look for Calico Red, Calico White, and Fruitbomb
9) Martinez & Martinez - Make really good, inexpensive wine on purpose. Some winemakers get it that we are not all billionaires.
10) Revelry - Another winery that gets it!
11) Ryan Patrick - Rock Island Red is usually rock solid.
12) Waterbrook - A variety of very good wines at very reasonable prices.
13) Goose Ridge - A whole line of delicious wines at reasonable prices made under the supervision of winemaker Charlie Hoppes.
14) Dunham - Not only is Eric an outstanding artist, but he is very fond of dogs, hence his Three Legged Red and his Four Legged White
15) Hightower - Speaking of dogs, try Murray Cuvee from Hightower way up on Red Mountain. Hint - a dog on the label often suggests a value wine from a good winery.
16) Apex - I've always been fond of Apex Chardonnay when it was made by Brian Carter. Now that the brand is owned by Precept Brands it may not be quite the same.
17) Kiona - Another Red Mountain winery. This one makes a huge variety of wines , almost all excellent, many of which are in our price range.
18) Terra Blanca - Ken Pilgrim's wines are almost always excellent. If you can't afford the flagship Onyx, you can usually find a Terra Blanca Merlot or Cab discounted to around $12 at some supermarkets and Costco.
19) St. Laurent - some lucky dog's gonna get some Lucky White or Lucky Red.
20) Gordon Bros - Jeff Gordon makes a variety of well priced wines that are outstanding values. The Merlot has garnered "90 plus" points and is frequently available at Costco for less than $20.
21) Brian Carter - Brian is a superstar winemaker, yet his Abracadabra blend can be had for about $18 at the winery.
22 Sleight of Hand - Superstar Trey Busch makes two very reasonably priced wines - the Magician Gewurztraminer and the Spellbinder Red - Trey is one of the few to put everyday wines in screwcaps and special wines that need cellaring have corks. Wish other wineries would follow his example.
22) Novelty Hill - Their motto should be "never a bad wine." Superstar Mike Janiuk makes their wines several of which can be had for less than $20. You can even get one or two Januik wines for around twenty at the winery - Januik Red?
23) Saviah - pricey but worth it. The Jack will give a whiff of this quality for under $20.
24) Cayuse - Christophe Baron is a Rock Star winemaker. Try the Rock Star Red for only $19.99. Sorry, just kidding.
25) Mountain Dome - This Spokane winery only makes bubbly. It is dry and yeasty and competes in quality with California and French sparklers in the same price range.
26) Wine of Substance - We end with a science lesson. Have you ever used the periodic table you were forced to study in high school chemistry. Here's your chance
except this time you can taste your chemicals or rather your varietals. Substance wines have names like RE, ME, CH, CS, SY meaning Riesling, Merlot, Chardonnay, etc.,. They are only twenty bucks each and they are excellent. What a great painless way to learn about varietal characteristics.
Not "half" bad - over 30 wineries offering over 100 quality value wines for under twenty bucks. Maybe I should have called this "100 Best Washington Values Under Twenty Dollars.