Monday, March 31, 2008

The Case - Chapter Seven

While we are waiting for the jury to return their verdict in the case of the Peeps vs. Budo Kun, we now return you to regular, more mundane programming. Here is chapter 7 of my ongoing blogella, The Case.

As usual, please click the video below for the soundtrack accompanying today's chapter. Sort of like Outer Limits, huh? Click it and then we'll return control of your mind after it's finished. If you can't see the video, please click here to fetch it.

James’ experiment continued the next day. The cause and effect seemed pretty clear to him, having had two vivid dreams following two bottles of Zephyr, and striking out after having a different wine. But he could make things even more conclusive tonight if he got the result the thought he would after consuming Zephyr bottle number three.

He settled down in his easy chair, unscrewed the top from the bottle and poured the wine into the glass in front of him.

This was the darkest, most opaque of the three so far. After a good swirl, James inhaled and once again found the aromas captivating but not easily described. They were in his memory somewhere but it was more like a place or situation, rather than a discrete smell.

And as he had found with the first two bottles, the wine was delicious. Smooth tannins, silky, lush, with very deep fruit covering that character he had found in the aromas but couldn’t quite finger. Nice.

James sat there concentrating on remembering why the aromas seemed familiar. He didn’t even realize how sleepy he was as he dozed off.


He was leaving a house he had never seen before yet he knew this was his house. He was getting in an unfamiliar car yet he knew this was his car. And he was leaving for work even though in real life he mainly telecommuted. That’s how dreams are.

Then he placed the light, thin headphones over his head and selected “commute” from the glowing panel on his dashboard. The number 30 appeared on the panel and with each second it counted down by one until it reached 0.

James was now in autopilot mode. His eyes were open wide, his senses alert, yet his brain was in a hypnotic state; he drove to work yet was not conscious of doing so. Science was wonderful. The government couldn’t figure out how to reduce commuting times in the ever-widening urban sprawl so private industry had taken a different approach: Put your brain into a different state so you don’t realize how much time has elapsed from point A to point B.

It had been an expensive device but well worth the cost. Now an hour or more commute each way was nothing because when he emerged from his autopilot state, it was as if he had just begun the drive.

Like clockwork, James pulled into the parking structure of the office, found a space and then regained a waking level of consciousness as the device in the dashboard brought him back with the same 30-second count that had put him into autopilot.

Walking towards the entrance, James wished the same thing he wished every morning. If only they expanded the device to put him on autopilot during the working day, too. Now how much would that be worth?

Maybe this dream put James into a sub-dream autopilot state because the next thing he knew the day had passed and he was walking back to his car in the parking lot to prepare for the commute home.

Going home was even worse in terms of commute time. Thank goodness for his autopilot device. Headphones on, he clicked the button that began the countdown and lapsed into a hypnotic state. James exited the lot and hit the road none the wiser about the surrounding traffic.

74 minutes later, the car pulled into the driveway of the house that for this dream was familiar to James as his house in his neighborhood. It may have well been 5 seconds for him because his autopilot trance kept him unaware of how long the commute had taken.

James went inside and wondered where Lisa and Tim were. Normally when he got home this late she had dinner ready. And as far as he knew, Tim had no activities today after school so he should have been home, also. Maybe they went to get takeout somewhere.

He decided to water the front lawn while he was waiting. Outside, his next door neighbor had the same idea.

“Evening, Dan,” James said with a smile.

“Evening, James. How goes it?”

“Another long commute. I am so glad I bought that autopilot device. One click and,” James declared as he snapped his fingers, “next thing you know you’re at your destination! No muss, no fuss!”

“Gotta try it one of these days,” Dan replied.

“Did you see Lisa and Tim head out?” James asked.

“Lisa and Tim?”

“Yeah, I thought they’d be home but they’re not. Did you see them leave?”

Dan was giving James a weird look. He wasn’t sure if James was trying to joke or not but why would he make a joke like that? He was trying to figure out what his neighbor was up to.

“Oh well, I guess you didn’t see them,” James concluded. “I’m hungry.” Dan was still staring at him. “Why the funny look, Dan?”

“Are you..are you trying to be funny?” Dan asked him. “I don’t get it.”

“Get what?”

“Nothing.” Dan shook his head and started to head back to his front door.

“Get what?” James asked again. “What do you mean?”

Dan stopped and sized up James. “Well you know Tim is grown up and moved away and Lisa, well I don’t know. What are you trying to say?”

James was obviously puzzled and said nothing. Dan continued. “I mean, Lisa’s passed away and I’m not sure why you’re talking like she’s just gone out with Tim somewhere, and-“

And then James was awakened by the phone ringing.

To be continued-

Visit the product page for the CD containing the song from today's soundtrack - click here: Harry Chapin - Heads & Tales

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Budo Kun Hauled Into Court

Budo Kun went before the judge today to answer the charges against him.

Below: footage of the activity taking place in the hall adjacent to the courtroom. If you can't see the video screen below, please click here.

Hardly known just a week ago, Budo Kun has now become practically a household word throughout the globe as the world community now anxiously waits to hear the fate of Domaine547’s little perverted fugitive as he is brought to trial.

Captured by police when his stolen vehicle ran out of gas, little Budo Kun was nearly shot but was spared thanks to the warnings of famous scientist Dr. Werner Bebenheimerschmidt.

“Ze warning zabout becoming more powerful than ve can pozzibly e-magine iz true,” Dr. Bebenheimerschmidt yelled at the officers surrounding the escapee. “If you shoot him, he vill split into zillions of pieces all running around ze place and you vill never scoop zem all up! Und ve do not have time to vait for Raid to invent ze Budo Kun Motel to trap zem all!”

“Trust me!” continued Bebeheimerschmidt, “I vas ze consulting scientist for The Giant Behemothund Ze Beast From 20,000 Fathomsas vell as Ze Beginning of the Endund Them!I know vat I am talking zabout!”

After hearing the renown scientist’s warning, the police decided to take Budo Kun alive, instead.

Now we take you to the courtroom where Budo Kun’s attorney, Gloria Allmad, is speaking.

Gloria: Now Budo Kun, please explain to the court why you behaved as you did.

Budo Kun: I was mad. I am just a meek little thing who tries to be good but everyone kept asking me if I was male or female or both or none or it, and finally, I, I… I just couldn’t take it anymore! I had to do something to demonstrate that I am a male. In other words, to show that I can’t control my desires!

Gloria: I’m sorry I have to bring up such unpleasantries, but we must get at the truth in order for the jury to see that you are an innocent victim. So, Budo Kun, what you are saying is that you are really a meek and mild-mannered individual, and that you are not a notorious pervert?

Budo Kun: That’s correct. I am very sorry for getting upset. But people kept calling me all kinds of names. I tried to correct them.

Gloria: Like what sort of names?

Budo Kun: Someone even called me an elephant! I said, "I am not an elephant! I am a Budo Kun!"

Gloria: So all of this goading and harassment caused you to fly into a rage, then? You must have been way outside of your normal character.

Budo Kun: Yes, I was. I can never remember acting that way. It was not like me at all.

Gloria: In fact, ladies and gentlemen of the jury and your Esteemed Highness Honor Magistrate, I would like to submit that poor little Budo Kun actually took on a different personality because of the savage, merciless treatment he received at the hands of vicious other persons!

Esteemed Highness Honor Magistrate: What exactly do you mean, Ms. Allmad?

Gloria: I mean that the person committing these perverted acts was not really Budo Kun, but an evil character that temporarily took over: Bizarro Kun!

(courtroom gasps)

Esteemed Highness Honor Magistrate: Bizarro Kun??

Gloria: Yes, your Honor. It was not sweet innocent Budo Kun that did funny things with Little Penguin and Yellow Tail, but in fact it was the evil alter-ego Bizarro Kun that emerged!

(courtroom is abuzz)

Esteemed Highness Honor Magistrate: Order in the court! Order in the court!

Gloria: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, listen carefully. You have seen and heard this polite little creature named Budo Kun testify in this trial. Is it even remotely possible that he could be the same creature who committed those lewd and perverse acts upon these other creatures who were probably asking for it anyway?

Such behavior is absolutely not in the character of my mild-mannered client. And I know that you will agree with me. Therefore, knowing this, you cannot possibly find my client guilty of the charges against him. It is very simple:

If the personality don’t fit, you must acquit!!!

(courtroom is abuzz again)

Esteemed Highness Honor Magistrate: The courtroom will pipe down! Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you have heard the testimony as well as the arguments from the attorneys. It is now time for you to decide whether or not the defendant, Budo Kun, is guilty of the charges against him.

Stay tuned for more on-the-spot coverage…

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Breaking News - Budo Kun Car Chase!!!

While MonkuWino suffers writer’s block trying to dream up chapter 7 of his depressing blogella, The Case, we take this opportunity to bring you breaking news from the Downtown area:

We have now received confirmation from reliable sources that the figure in the car currently being chased by police in the Downtown area is indeed the notorious fugitive and pervert, Budo Kun.

Budo Kun, who managed to escape from police custody the other day, was spotted driving down the street by an alert civilian who promptly called 911. Here is the transcript of the call:

911: Please listen carefully as the options may have changed. If you wish to continue in English, please press “1” now. Se hablas espanol, marque numero dos ahora. If this is an emergency stay on the line and someone will be with you in a moment. All calls are answered in the order received so please stay on the line. Your call is very important to us. In order to improve customer service this call may be monitored. While you are wai - *beep* Hello, 911. How may I direct your call?

Informant: Uh, I think I saw that dude or whatever it is driving down my street.

911: I beg your pardon?

Informant: You know, that weird looking dude that escaped from the police yesterday. Buddahead or something like that.

911: You mean Budo Kun?

Informant: Yeah, yeah, I think that was him. Or it. Or shehe or whatever.

911: Are you sure?

Informant: I think so. Well, like how many people look like this dude, huh?

911: Whereabouts did you spot Budo Kun? And how long ago?

Informant: Just now, man. Like about two minutes ago. He was driving down Wilshire waving to everyone. He waved at me and I got the creeps. He was looking at me like I was a kangaroo or something so I got myself out of there fast.

911: Thank you, we’ve dispatched all units in the area.

Informant: Take him down, man!

Thanks to this alert citizen and the efficient efforts of the 911 dispatcher, a total of 47 police cruisers were put on the tail of Budo Kun.

Cruising at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour, Budo Kun has now led police on a chase for approximately one hour through the streets of downtown. Because of injuries to innocent bystanders during other recent car chases, the police have been reluctant to use deterrents such as spike strips, ramming the car, or machine guns.

As we view the latest scenes from the chase, it appears that the cute little fugitive from Domaine547 has gained quite a following among the street crowd. People have been lining the sidewalks, raising their right fists and encouraging him to “put it to the man” and other anti-establishment chants.

At one point a police cruiser pulled alongside little Budo Kun and the officer pointed a gun at him.

Budo Kun shouted at the officer. “You can’t win, copper! If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine!”

And with that the officer backed off. Stay tuned as we continue our live coverage of this chase involving the dangerous fugitive Budo Kun.

Friday, March 28, 2008

1990 Schloss Schönborn Domdechaney Stein Stielweg (DSS) Riesling Spätlese

That's quite a mouthful in the title, eh? Note that the label in the picture at the right is much less wordy, and so was the back label.

The full name of the wine, as per the above title, is per Garagiste's description in the e-mail that enticed me to snag this 18-year old bottle of wine for $19.99.

The color gave no clue about the age. It was medium to light gold. On the nose there was a distinct "petrol" aroma. It reminded me of being in that area of my mechanics garage with the sign saying for liability purposes customers aren't allowed, but then they take you back there to show you what's wrong with your car. There were also aromas of apples and apricots.

On the palate I was reminded of canned fruit cocktail, apricots and apple peel. This one tasted better on the colder side, which made it taste crisper. As it warmed up, it became more apparent that the acidity was a bit low in relation to the sweet character of the wine.

Mouthfilling and with a lengthy fruit cocktail aftertaste, this wine gave no clue that it was so old. Well at least no clue to me. This is by far the oldest riesling I've ever tried so I have nothing to compare it to, but definitely I would have thought at most 5 years. Aside from needing just a little bit more acidity, I give this wine two thumbs up.

Here's the matching YouTube video. If you don't see it below, please click here.

See the Amazon product page for the CD:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Case - Chapter Six

If you're still following this blogella about the mysterious case of wine our main character James received as an inheritance from his (Auntie) "Annie Annie," here is chapter six. As usual, please click the YouTube video below for the soundtrack as you read. If you can't see the video below, then click here.

Now could this possibly be a coincidence that the phone would interrupt his slumber twice in a row like this? James eased out of his chair and answered the phone.

Like last time, it turned out to be a fax machine on the other end. He looked at the clock. It was not the same time as last night so it wasn’t on some sort of automatic dialing schedule. Jerk.

James sat back down in his easy chair and reflected on what he had been dreaming about before the rude phone call. The feeling of still sitting at that table next to the window at the now long-demolished Holiday Bowl persisted. Larraine seemed so real. So real. He even wondered if wherever she was, she had the same dream but from her eyes.

Wherever she was. Where would that be? He hadn’t seen her since.. well, since college and that was a long time ago. And when was the last time, if ever, that he had dreamed about her?

Ten bottles left.


James made a rare appearance in his office the next day. He loved the recent switch to being able to work from home most of the time, meaning not having to put up with parking lot-like morning and late afternoon traffic as well as wearing the most comfortable clothes imaginable as he spent his workday inside of his house.

But today he had meetings to attend. Did anyone really find meetings useful or was it just a way to evade real work? As a most welcome lunchtime rolled around, James and his counterpart Roger headed over to one of their favorite eateries, Enrique’s. Now that was one thing he missed about working from home - the lunches. Not enough to drag him back into the commuting world, though.

“All I can say is that’s bizarre,” Roger told James after hearing his account of the case of Zephyr wine from Annie Annie and the subsequent pair of dreams. “That doesn’t sound like coincidence to me,” he added.

James nodded. “Me neither. But how can a bottle of wine do that to anyone? Two nights in a row?”

“You could try a placebo, you know. Open up a different wine tonight and try that. See what happens.”

“Hmm… I’ve had plenty of other wines before and never anything like that. Sleepy, yes, but I sure never remembered any dreams afterwards. Besides,” James told him, “if I tried a placebo tonight it would mean I’d have to wait another day to try the third bottle.”

“You’ve got twelve bottles,” Roger pointed out. “Actually ten, now. You don’t want to use them up too fast. Then they’re all gone.”

James pondered that one. “True. Maybe I should conduct this little experiment you suggested and find out if it makes a difference.”

Roger laughed. “Try it and see. But then that carne asada you’re having might give you some weird dreams tonight anyway.”

“I’ll let you know what happens,” said James. “Maybe I’ll stop off and get a bottle of Two Buck Chuck on the way home.”

Roger grinned. “So you’re looking for nightmares now? Look, get yourself something decent so you know if it’s the wine or not.”

James followed Roger’s advice. He visited a local wine shop on the way home and asked for something exotic but not terribly expensive. Something ready to drink right now. The sales consultant handed him a bottle of Negrette. “You won’t regret a Negrette,” was what the guy said.

That evening James followed the routine of the previous two nights. Dinner, clean up, then into the easy chair where he poured out a glass. This was something different. Deep plum in color, the aromas of this wine were intoxicating. Like a garden had been unleashed in his room. Not anywhere near as captivating as the two little bottles of Zephyr, but nevertheless very nice.

James swirled, sniffed, sipped. He repeated. This was a good wine. The glass was almost gone and he could feel the effects of the alcohol but didn’t feel the least bit sleepy, even as he closed his eyes and relaxed.

I tried the placebo. No effect, James wrote in his e-mail to Roger.

The reply came after a few minutes. Well there’s still tonight. Sweet dreams, buddy.

Maybe tonight, like Roger said. James corked what remained in the bottle and put it in the refrigerator. He was sorely tempted to open that third bottle of Zephyr but in the interest of respecting the scientific method, he decided to wait. Now isn’t that noble of me, he chuckled to himself.

After a bit of surfing the internet and watching the news, James flopped into bed. It occurred to him that the annoying fax machine hadn’t dialed him tonight.

To be continued.

(note: confession time - never having had a Negrette myself, the description above was based on tasting notes from Dr. Deb's excellent blog, Good Wine Under $20, and her particular review can be found by clicking here.)

View the product page for the soundtrack:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Case - Chapter Five

Here is chapter five of this blogella. I know it is looonnng and only tangentially related to wine but, oh well. Those of you who have been here before know what an ambling path the OneWinePerWeek blog takes!

As with prior chapters, please click on the below YouTube video for the soundtrack. If the video is not visible below, please click here.

Annie hadn’t stated in her letter at what intervals James should open and drink the wines. He had toyed with the idea of consuming the second bottle that same evening but decided against it. He didn’t think that’s what his aunt had intended.

The next day, James’ anticipation level caused time to slow down; finally dinnertime arrived and he sped through his meal, consumed by thoughts of what this second bottle would bring.

Same time, same chair, thoughts of the prior evening running through his mind mixed with wondering if this was all a coincidence or if he was in for another wild dream show.

Picking up bottle number two, James twisted the top, broke the seal, removed the cap and poured. The wine was a brilliant garnet hue. Not opaque like the wine from the first bottle, this one shimmered with jewel-like clarity. The aromas of this one were different that the first, but no less lovely and no more identifiable.

Sip time. Mmm, this is good, he thought. He kept chewing the wine in his mouth, not wanting to swallow because of how intensely flavorful it was. But the anticipation of the next dream made him swallow, and then continue to swirl, sniff and savor. By then, James was so relaxed there was no way he could stay awake.


When does a dream begin? Are we ever aware of its beginning or do we just happen to pop in while the show is in progress?

Larraine sat across the table from James, both sharing the nighttime view of Crenshaw Boulevard through the windows of Holiday Bowl’s coffee shop. James had just dropped into this dream even though both he and Larraine seemed to know exactly what they were talking about.

“This is a dream,” declared James, laughing. “Holiday Bowl got torn down a few years ago so we’re sitting in a place that doesn’t exist.”

“I’m thinking the same thing, but here we are,” shrugged Larraine. “It doesn’t seem like a dream, though, does it?”

James was examining Larraine. She looked the same as when he had a crush on her during their high school days. He knew they had both grown a lot older but at the same time he knew this was how she looked now. Somehow that made perfect sense. He pretended to look out the large window facing Crenshaw while actually checking to see if he was young or old. The reflection was too vague, though.

“You know, I had the biggest crush on you back in high school,” James blurted out. Just exactly when was it right now? It felt like they were still in high school but high school was mentioned in the past tense.

Larraine smiled at him. “You were way too cool in your approach. I could never tell what you were thinking. Why didn’t you do something about it?”

“Too shy. I was worried about being rejected and looking stupid.”

Larraine shook her head. “And for that, there goes another novel that could have been.” She smiled and stuck out her tongue. “Did I ever make you feel like that would happen? You should have done something. All that time I thought you weren’t interested in me. All that time I wondered what was wrong with me.”

“Well it wasn’t you, it was me. I was too shy.” He pointed towards the cars parked along the sidewalk bathed in a bluish hue cast from the mercury vapor lamps lining the street. “One summer,” he said as he continued pointing, “Kenny and I had an argument over you.”

Larraine was curiously surprised. “An argument?”

“Yeah, an argument,” James told her, laughing. “We were arguing about who was going to ask you out. We sat in his car and all we did was go back and forth until 4 in the morning like a debate and we never did settle anything.”

“You guys are crazy!” Larraine rolled her eyes. “Over me? I’m flattered.”

“I kept telling him, what’s the point because he’s going back east for college and he’s never going to see you again so why waste your time and his time? I think by the end we decided we would saw you in half,” James said with a chuckle.

Larraine smiled. “James, why didn’t you just ask me?”

He became nervous. “And what would you have said?”

She answered with a question. “Who am I sitting with right now?”

James liked that he could steer the results in this dream. He kept hoping he wouldn’t wake up. He pondered the answer and then was dropped into another scene, same table, same Larraine, just at another time.

Larraine pushed the cup towards him. “It’s your turn to roll,” she giggled.

James took the brown cup, put his hand over its mouth, swirled and shook it, then tossed the two dice and let them roll to a stop on the table. A five and a four. “9 – he’s going to The Ozarks!” declared James.

“Gimme that!” Larraine snatched the cup, scooped up the dice and threw them back in. She shook it violently then let the dice fly. This time it came up snake eyes. She screamed, “No, he’s going to Okefenoke! See ya, Kenny!”

Neither of them could stop their boisterous laughing. Each roll of the dice sent Kenny to another far-flung place and for some reason it got more and more hilarious. He wished he had felt this comfortable with Larraine in high school. James kept laughing while at the same time observing the young woman across from him, hoping that this dream would continue.

When he and Kenny had sat in the car those many years ago – and that part had actually happened – he remembered staring out the window listening to Kenny make his arguments. James stared through the glass at the patrons dining inside Holiday Bowl’s coffee shop and wished he and Larraine were sitting at one of the tables, framed in the late night scene from Crenshaw Boulevard.

Larraine kept laughing as she pushed the brown cup back to James. Their eyes locked again and they laughed even harder. He picked up the cup.

Then the phone rang.

To be continued..

See the Amazon product page for the music from today's post:

Monday, March 24, 2008

I'll Be on Ruben's Backside!

Hmm.. the title of this post didn’t quite come out right, did it? Let me put it another way. I was very happy to learn over the weekend that I had submitted the winning entry in the Twisted Oak Label contest!

Enough said, you can click here to go straight to El Bloggo Torcido for the details, as well as the words themselves that will appear on the back label of the 2007 Ruben’s Blend.

I was originally going to post some thoughts about the 2008 American Wine Blog Awards, whose finalists have just been announced. Click on the preceding link and go cast your vote!

I guess I’ll post my thoughts anyway.

First of all, it’s a good excuse to delay posting chapter five of my ongoing blogella, The Case, since it hasn’t been written yet.

Secondly, I wasn’t nominated, sniff sniff, but that’s okay because I still have the seal of approval of Budo-Kun, the Domaine547 mascot so who needs anything else? You can see the official seal on the right side of this page – just take a look; you can’t miss it.

Thirdly, I figured I would never get an American Wine Blog Award or even a nomination since no one, including me, could figure out what category OneWinePerWeek would fit into. Maybe if they added a Strangest Wine Blog category, but I doubt that. Meanwhile I just continue happily writing about whatever flies into my mind, oblivious to whether or not it is relevant to anything whatsoever. I do try to keep it faintly winocentric, however. Faintly.

Fourthly, I do hope that the lure of becoming an Award recipient, or any accolade for that matter, will not influence any of the members in the wine blogging community to change their style, like the way some wineries have changed their winemaking styles to pursue points and gain the favor of certain wine critics. Blogging should be a labor of love and that wine bloggers love what they do is so obvious! To thine own self be true!

Fifthy, I read a few comments questioning the relevancy of allowing anyone to vote, as opposed to limiting it somehow to the wine blogging community or other such group more familiar with the topics. The comparison was made between the People’s Choice Awards, which often are based more on popularity than artistic merit, and the Academy Awards, which are voted on only by members in the industry and are seen more as a measure of quality over quantity.

That argument does have some merit to it. Let’s hypothetically have an awared for America’s Best Wine. Do it People’s Choice style and you end up giving the award to Kendall Jackson Chardonnay. That’s a good argument for having the industry vote.

Sixthly, I don’t care if I ever get any awards or nominations. I’m just ecstatic at winning a case of the 2007 Ruben’s Blend! The inaugural vintage, no less (well, at least inaugural in the sense of the name). Now that’s totally %@#$!

Now all that said, there are excellent nominees deserving of a vote so if you haven’t done so, head on over and cast your vote to the web!

(above picture: my apologies to poor Ruben.. I searched for a suitable picture but could only come up with something I did for Twisted Oak's other contest, the Take Your Rubber Chicken to Work Week event in which poor Ruben came to work with me and got stuck in the freezer so I tried to defrost him in the microwave. Unfortunately he came out a little extra-crispy.)

Friday, March 21, 2008

2005 Jeriko Estates Chardonnay

This week's wine set me back $19.99 and came from a WineQ shipment. This under-publicized winery's 2005 Pinot Noir had greatly impressed me so I wanted to try more of their offerings.

Buttered green apple, vanilla, oak and traces of lime were in the aromas, along with something reminding me of the oil from roasted mixed nuts.

The wine made a creamy entry on the palate before balanced backing acidity emerged. There were tastes of apple, apple peel, pear, a slight leafy/spicy character, with balanced oak and vanilla. There was a lingering apple and lime finish. I also noted some heat from the alcohol.

Overall this wine had good balance, tasted natural, with all the components in harmony rather than anything being overblown. Also of note is that all the grapes used for this wine were organically grown.

Two thumbs up. Not as fantastic as their Pinot Noir but nevertheless a good bottle of wine!

Here's the matching YouTube video; click here if you can't see the screen below.

See the CD at

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Case - Chapter Four

Here's chapter four of this ongoing whatever-you-call-it. As before, the YouTube video below is the soundtrack so please click to play and then start reading. If the video screen isn't visible below, click here.

Startled at first but then disappointed by the interruption in his dream, James slowly rose to answer it.

A moment of silence on the other end gave James an eerie feeling after having such an unusual dream with the circumstances surrounding it. But then a familiar high frequency tone let him know someone was trying to send him a fax.

Damn idiot, James muttered.

The unbounded, free, wondrous feeling of this vivid dream remained with him as he sat back down, cursing the interruption. It was so real, and he still felt it.

Another dream that had the same effect on him long ago popped into his mind. A dream he had in elementary school that had left him with the same feeling.

A substitute teacher had brought several recordings with her, perhaps to sooth the savage class. It had worked, at least with one recording that seemingly captivated everyone. It had certainly captivated James. He remembered sitting there, enchanted by a recording of Smetana’s The Moldau.

The Moldau, the teacher had told them, was a river in Czechoslavakia. Long ago, a classical composer named Smetana wrote a musical piece about this river. That’s all she had told them and young James’ imagination had taken over after that. As he listened to the orchestra, for the first time in his life he could actually picture scenes in his mind, formed by his interpretation of the music.

Nothing had ever moved him in such a manner. Of course up until that time he was used to listening to children’s songs and his older sister’s early rock and roll records. Not exactly the stuff that formed vivid images. The Moldau was a big step up for him.

The music must have had quite the effect on little James because it even formed the soundtrack for his dream that night. In it, he rode his bicycle along the currents of the Czech river, past the most beautiful scenery he had ever seen. Or dreamed. Or previously imagined. Despite being so long ago, he knew the feeling then was identical to what he felt now. He had never ridden his bicycle so quickly and so effortlessly, navigating every obstacle without the slightest difficulty.

Again, that had been a dream he never wanted to end and when his mom had woken him up for another day of school, he was filled with disappointment.

He had hoped the substitute teacher would return that day, bringing the recording back with her. But no luck. Mrs. Wilson, the regular teacher, was back and James spent the rest of the day harboring the feelings from his dream of riding alongside the Moldau.

So, James wondered, was this a direct result of Annie’s parting present to him? The doings of the wine in the little bottle? Or just a coincidence? He wanted to believe that it was a direct result, but that would somehow be too magical. He had loved his aunt but his sensibilities said there was no connection. Nevertheless he had faith; Annie Annie had told him things would be clearer once he had sampled the wine so what else might she have meant if not this dream?

I’ll just have to try bottle number two, thought James.

To be continued..

Smetana's The Moldau at

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday Writer's Block Again

It's the middle of the week and my brain is parched so here's some odds and ends for you:

My latest poll finally ended and there were 24 responses, including my own. The question was how much supply of wine do you currently have on hand, based on your current consumption rate. The results:

less than 1 mo: 3
1-3 mos: 5
3-6 mos: 4
6-12 mos: 4
1-3 yrs: 3
3-5 yrs: 3
5-10 yrs: 1
They’re in my will: 1

As you can see, the answers were fairly evenly distributed. For those who have an extended number of years worth of wine on hand, you’d better get moving!


At Costco this weekend I noticed a rep from Cameron Hughes was on hand manning a display table of the Lot 43 Zinfandel and Lot 44 Cabernet bottlings. I spoke with him briefly and told him I enjoyed the Lot 43 and had a bottle of the 44 sitting in my collection.

I was thinking, though, without giving out samples could you really sell that much wine? Maybe more than you would with no display, but I was wishing he had brought some a quantity of the other lots with him that either this particular Costco didn’t carry (the Azusa/Irwindale location) or ones that are available online only. Sort of like a special for those who happened to stop at the display.

Right across from him was a woman enthusiastically giving out samples of Aidell’s sausages and other products. Umm yumm.. I bought a couple of things from her. I wonder if it is legal to offer wine samples at a store like Costco?


Tonight is the Twisted Oak winemaker dinner at Ciudad, put together by Jill at Domaine 547. It's not too late to take part! You can get more details here. This is your chance to meet El Jefe and Pimp Daddy, as well as Jill in person. I had the pleasure of dinner with them at Yujean Kang's last night and it was a great time. The Twisted Oak duo brought a bottle of the 2005 *%#&@! (aka Potty Mouth Red blend) that was most excellent (I kept swirling the glass because the aromas were fantastic), and we shared a bottle of the 2006 Navarro Gewurtztraminer which was also very good. No detailed tasting notes but both wines deserve a no-brainer thumbs-up. Oh, and the food was great, too. But what was best was getting to meet these three - that was the best part of the evening!

Anyway, I'm sure tonight's dinner will be a wow event so take advantage of this opportunity.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Case - Chapter Three

Below is chapter three of James' strange ongoing adventure. Below is also the YouTube video soundtrack for this chapter; please click and then read. If you can't see the video, click here.

James had drunk his share of wines; nothing terribly expensive but there were plenty of good ones in his past. Well, there was that one. Briefly the memory flickered but was quickly replaced by his focus on the one in his mouth, one that rose above them all. He was at a loss to describe exactly all that he was tasting and he didn’t even try. He just sat back and enjoyed what was in the glass, glad that eleven more bottles remained.

As he swirled the glass appreciating the intense aromas and took small sips, James became very sleepy. He was by himself, no need to try to stay awake. He let himself doze off. And a dream came very quickly. A dream with very intense feelings.

This is what he experienced in this dream:

This is finally it; I can’t believe I have come this far and the answer is within reach. All I have to do is look. I am so nervous; it’s like Christmas as a kid. There is a ton of anticipation and when it is over, there is an equal amount of letdown. What you’ve looked forward to all year has come and gone and the countdown renews. This time, however, it is the end- there is nothing to come. It is the ultimate answer and all I have to do is look. I think of how long it took to get to this point, of all the times past in which I wondered if the answer would ever be revealed. And now here I am.

I open my eyes to view the edge of the universe. It is an infinite pool full of wondrous sea life, abundant in variety and quantity. Above the blue is a brilliant blue sky- a sky saturated with blue. But unlike our earth, there is nothing beyond the blue. That is the edge, the boundary. On this boundary runs the pool of sea life. The boundary is truly a boundary – I don’t know how to better describe nothingness except to say that beyond the edge it is blank; void – there is utter nothingness and while it is something I have never experienced, my brain immediately comprehends this state, as if this knowledge lay buried within me waiting to be summoned. I also know it is useless exploring the void any further because to do so would be pointless – it is absolute nothingness. Am I disappointed? On the contrary, I now know what the absence of everything is like, not in an academic sense but from a physical sense.

I surface from the pool and cannot explain how I happen to be standing between the sea and the sky, but I just am. As far as I can see is the blue sky. I look down at the sea and it is totally different from this perspective. Now that I’m above instead of within, the multitude of sea life has disappeared, replaced by brilliant silver fish, six-to-eight inches long, an unending, undulating mass that begins from infinity on my right side and continues to infinity on my left. While I stare at this awesome sight, I spy an anomaly; a single fish of similar appearance, but this one swimming from left to right. Somehow it manages to weave its way past me without colliding with the other fish and I watch as it glides out of sight.

Countless fish. Not millions- billions, maybe more- and one lone fish swimming against the tide. While I shake my head in wonderment, another appears and makes it way past me. I stand there for some time and discover more such fish. They’re few and far between but they are there.
Suddenly it is perfectly clear and I don’t even pause to consider what I’m doing. I immerse myself in the sea and begin swimming in the same direction as the few and far between fish. Strangely, from this perspective I can no longer see the huge school of fish that I saw from above, but I know they are there, I know I am swimming in the opposite direction, and I know that is what I’m supposed to do.

Then James awakened. The phone was ringing.

To be continued..

See the CD at

Friday, March 14, 2008

2004 Tablas Creek Cotes de Tablas

This week's wine is Tablas Creek's less expensive Rhone varietal blend (the Esprit de Beaucastel is the primo version), composed of 64% Grenache, 16% Syrah, 13% Counoise and 7% Mourvedre. It was purchased from the winery and set me back $17.60.

Very nice aromas of smoked, peppered meats, bacon, rose petals, and raspberry jam. On the palate I noted berries, minerals, spice and a peppered cranberry finish. This wine had a silky mouth feel but a bit of a tannic bite at the end.

I was sad to drink the last drop. Two thumbs up for this wine and I'd say very good QPR, too.

Below is my YouTube choice to accompany this wine. If the video isn't visible, click here. product page:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Case - Chapter Two

Here is the second chapter of my little ongoing novella or whatever you might call it, continued from yesterday's post. The YouTube video below has been provided for this chapter's soundtrack. If the video isn't visible, please click here.

March arrived and James had not forgotten the gift bequeathed to him by his late Aunt Annie. Each day he eagerly awaited the arrival of the wine Annie Annie had thought so special. He had also searched high and low to find out more about Zephyr Wine Estate but came up with a goose egg. He resigned himself to checking the return address on the box when it came, as well as the label on the wine to find out where this winery was located.

March 21. James went outside to check his mail and saw the package sitting beside his doormat. Wasn’t he required to sign for a shipment containing alcoholic beverages? Good thing he lived in California, a state without archaic barriers to prevent shipping of wine to his door.

There was no return address on the package. Was that legal? Stooping down to lift it, he noticed how light it was. He brought it inside, placed it on the kitchen table and opened the carton. Twelve bottles were inside, but they were splits. One quarter of a full bottle. Wasn’t that for cheaper wines? James wondered why his aunt would make such a big deal over cheap wine, but he had faith that if she said it was incredible, it was incredible.

A simple label graced each tiny bottle. So simple that all it had was the winery’s name: Zephyr Wine Estate, in white lettering on a black background. No information, no nothing, not even the alcoholic content. Just the sequential numbering from 1 through 12 that Annie Annie’s letter had mentioned. Gee, no wonder he couldn’t find any information on them. Talk about an underground operation! This place was breaking laws left and right.

He had no plans for the night. Bottle number one would be popped open and at last he would find out exactly what his Aunt Annie had wanted to pass on to him. Very strange, even unnerving, but at the same time he couldn’t wait to pour a glass.


Rather than drink the wine with dinner, James chose to wait and savor it later in the evening when he could devote his full attention to the experience.

Dinner passed, the dishes were washed and placed in the cupboards, and finally James sat down in his easy chair. Bottle number one of the case from Zephyr and the nicest wine glass he had both sat on the table next to him.

He thought back when he had sat in the chair for a good part of the day, blank, and opened the envelope containing Annie Annie’s letter. Then he thought about how he had looked forward to this very moment, when the wine finally arrived, and now he was about to taste it.

The bottle obligingly had a screw-top. No need for an opener. He twisted off the cap and poured the dark purple liquid into the glass. He knew enough to swirl and sniff the wine first but didn’t know enough to identify what grape or grapes it held. Whatever it was, it smelled good. Really good. Annie would never let him down.

Pursing his lips, James took his first sip.

To be continued..


Albums containing the song used for this chapter:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Case

Note: Read the below introduction before playing the above video. If the video isn't visible, click here.

Here is the first chapter of an ongoing story I'm writing for this blog. I hope you enjoy it. Like I do with my weekly wine reviews, I will be including a YouTube video to provide background music, a soundtrack if you will, to play while you read. For what it's worth, here it is (oh, and you can click the play button on the video now):


The funeral was over, the burial had taken place. James sat slumped in his easy chair, mindless, recovering from it all.

His Aunt Annie, or "Annie Annie," as he had affectionately called her since the time he had learned how to say her name, fought the good fight against her cancer but in the end peacefully succumbed. She knew it was inevitable and given the long and fruitful life she had lived, she only saw the good side of it, thankful for the many blessings she had received over the years.

The room darkened while James sat, oblivious. Finally, he straightened up and in the twilight gradually escaping the room, gazed at the manila envelope that lay on the coffee table.

His inheritance.

The attorney for the estate had given it to him that morning. He accepted it, left it unopened as he really didn’t care what it contained, and brought it home with him. Now he figured he should open it before it got too dark and he’d have to get up to turn on the lights.

He opened the envelope and pulled out a single sheet of paper. It was a short letter from Annie Annie, in her characteristic neat handwriting.

Dear James,

I’ll start this like a line from a B movie: if you are reading this letter, it means I have departed this world. Please don’t be sad; you know how much I loved life but always believed that it was something to enjoy at the moment and not cling to in desperation. I am at peace and I hope you are, too.

I lived a simple, modest but very satisfactory life. I have no large sums of money to give you or any other material wealth. I do pass on to you an incredible gift, one that I hope you will use wisely.

I have already made arrangements and you should be receiving the first of hopefully many annual shipments of this gift for you. Expect the first to arrive around the middle of March. It will be a shipment of a case of wine from The Zephyr Wine Estate.

When you receive the wine, each bottle will have a number on it. Drink the bottles consecutively, at a time when you are alone and can relax and enjoy them, when there is nothing to distract you. If you are pondering my enigmatic message, it will be clearer to you once you have sampled what I am passing along to you.

Enjoy it, James, and may life be good to you.

With much love,
Auntie "Annie" Annie

James stared at the letter, reading and re-reading it until the light permitted it no more. He didn’t even know his aunt drank wine, much less any alcohol. What an odd thing to give him. And to drink a bottle by himself; he wondered why she would tell him to drink so much.

James knew little about wine. That evening he searched the internet for references to Zephyr Wine Estate and found nothing. He loved and admired Annie and made up his mind to respect her last request of him, however.

To be continued…


The album containing the song in this post:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

2008 Fictional Character Wine Taste Off Finals

We continue with coverage of the 2008 Fictional Character Wine Taste-Off. Here is a portion of what happened during the first phase of the final round, the taste off with the final four:

The contestants have now gone through 7 consecutive rounds of increasingly difficult identification trials, but all have emerged with perfect scores so far. We join the event in progress, where our candid microphones are able to pick up private conversations within each duo that the other contestants can’t hear.

Frasier: Niles, do you see what Obi-Wan is doing over there? Why does he keep waving his hand in that strange manner towards Homer?

Niles: I think we should just mind our own business and concentrate on eliminating these dimwits.

Frasier continues to study Obi-Wan. Meanwhile, it is Homer’s turn to taste.

Mr. Burns: Excellent, Simpson. I would never have believed a person of your mental capabilities would have attained a perfect score so far. Let the savant inside of you continue!

Homer examines the glass of wine before him. He picks it up, swirls and does a sniffy sniff. All of a sudden a dreamy look comes over him.

Homer: Mmm, donuts…

Mr. Burns: Donuts??!? Simpson, compose yourself, man! What is the wine?

Homer: Chateau Donut.

Frasier: Niles, I know what he is doing!

Niles: Frasier! Just mind your own business! Let the lout eliminate himself!

Homer: (dreamily) My guess is Chateau Donut. That's my final answer.

Judge: A guess that is wrong has been made. Eliminated you are.

Homer: D'Oh!

Frasier: Mr. Burns, my sincere condolences. I must tell you, though, that you are a victim of treachery! Did you notice how Obi-Wan kept waving his hand at Homer? He was using an old Jedi mind trick on him!

Mr. Burns: Jedi mind trick, hmmm? Well it must not have been too difficult when played upon such an imbecile as Simpson. I will have to deal with this right now.

Mr. Burns strides over to Luke and Obi-Wan.

Mr. Burns: Hello, Luke and Obi-Wan. You have one less competitor to worry about now.

Luke: I’m sorry Mr. Burns. May the Force be with you, however.

Mr. Burns: Oh, really? Luke, I have something to tell you. Luke, I… am your father!

Luke: (after digesting this statement) Noooooooo!

Obi-Wan: Luke! Calm down! It’s not true, Luke!

Mr. Burns: Feel the Force, Luke. Inside of you, you know that it is true. Come over to my side and replace that blithering idiot Simpson and together we can win the entire contest!

Luke is too psyched out to listen and he goes running outside of the building, thereby disqualifying himself and his partner, Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan, meanwhile, holds his chest and staggers because of the sudden disturbance in the Force.

Mr. Burns: Thank you, Mr. Crane.

Frasier: Don’t mention it. Even though we are competitors, in the spirit of fair play and good sportsmanship, I felt that I had to inform you of what was taking place.

And that leaves only two teams to go head to head with one another: Frazier and Niles Crane, and The Skipper and Gilligan. Stay tuned to see who emerges as victorious in this competition!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Wine-Challenged Women

While perusing my Twitter feeds, I ran across one from Jill at Domaine547 that linked to an article on about an upcoming venture between and

Very interesting.. the two have created a partnership whereby Amazon will now sell wine on their website, the links going to for fulfillment of orders. I know that the very mention of and their dastardly deeds brings about the same hostile reaction among wine buffs as the mention of and their evil ways does to me.

(Note: I checked the link to the preceding story just now and it is no longer valid. It was apparently replaced by this one. I guess Decanter is a recanter about the original story).

But that’s not what today’s post is about. On that same page I saw an interesting poll, which you can see at the top of this post. That reminded me of a recent blog post by Dr. Debs, publisher of Good Wine Under $20 and her rant (of which I agree) against some of the marketing ploys used to sell wine to women.

As you can see from the results in the picture above, most people take offense at the suggestion that wines should be made specifically for women. I agree; then you might as well start identifying other target markets, like ethnicities, cultures, geographical location, political affiliation, IQ, etc. But as you see from the poll as of today, 15% feel it is a good idea. Perhaps there is something to the hypothesis that women's palates differ, but I'm sure those who feel women have "simpler" palates are stirring up a hornet's nest.

Friday, March 7, 2008

2004 Guenoc Merlot

I didn't choose this wine myself; it was given to me as a gift. You need to temper this review with the fact that I'm not really a big fan of Merlot (although not in a fanatical Sideways fashion), but here goes:

The aromas didn't leap out of the glass but of what there was, it was heavy on the oak. I also sensed smoke, wet paper towels (the brown type you get from dispensers in public restrooms), sawdust, some roasted nuts and underneath, plums.

Lots of oak on the palate, too, along with graphite, with cherry and plum flavors underneath. Overall the wood overpowered the fruit and lasted into the aftertaste, as well. The middle seemed hollow because there wasn't enough fruit to balance the wood.

Unfortunately I give this two thumbs down; I wouldn't buy this myself. I don't know for sure how much it costs but I suspect it is around $10.00.

About the YouTube videos I insert that I feel match the wines: if I don't like the wine does that necessarily mean I also don't like the song? Not at all. It's just the song that comes into my head as something that somehow in my own mind fits with the wine. I wanted to say that because I really like the song in the video below but I didn't care much for the wine.

If you can't see video below, click here.

See the album on

Other albums at Amazon: Steely Dan or Donald Fagen

Thursday, March 6, 2008

2008 Fictional Character Wine Taste-Off Runners Up

Tuesday we presented a snapshot of the four finalists in the 2008 Fictional Character Wine Taste-Offs. While we wait for the last competition to take place, here are some of the worthy contenders who became also-rans when they were eliminated earlier:

Samuel Beckett and Al: This duo from Quantum Leapwas using an unusual approach. Beckett would catapult into the future to see what the wine was, then return to the present and identify it. Unfortunately he lacked sufficient control over precisely determining the period of time travel and overshot the mark too many times.

Boris and Natasha: Armed with the answers beforehand, they were sure to be a shoo-in for this competition but were unwittingly foiled by Moose and Squirrel who accidentally broke the original bottles of wine, some of which were irreplaceable. Substitute bottles of different wines were obtained at the last moment, making the information held by the two spies useless.

Felix the Cat and Vavoom: Armed with a wine identification machine similar to what is being used by the Skipper and Gilligan, it, too was made by the Professor, albeit a different one than the guy in Gilligan's Island. Having Rock Bottom hanging around to intimidate their competitors aided their cause. In addition, this duo had the advantage of Vavoom using his incredible loud voice powers to distract their opponents but in the end he proved to be a bit too loud, the sound waves causing permanent damage to their wine identification machine. The machine bore an uncanny resemblance to the Master Cylinder, by the way. "In retrospect," sighed Felix after being bumped out, "I should have chosen Poindexter as my partner instead of that uncouth loudmouth."

Mr. Peabody and Sherman: They had an idea similar to the Quantum Leap’s team only somewhat in reverse. They used the Wayback Machine to travel backwards in time to perform in-depth studies of terroir, grapes and wine-making techniques but in the end found it too cumbersome. There was simply too much to study. The Quantum Leap method of finding out the answer in the future was much more efficient.

Those were the more prominent runners-up. Stay tuned in the upcoming days for coverage of the final round of the competition to determine the most wine-savvy fictional characters!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Wine Blogging Wednesday #43

It’s time for another Wine Blogging Wednesday – Number 43, to be exact, and the second one in which I am participating. Sort of.

The theme for WBW #43 was chosen by Joel over at Wine Life Today. In a nutshell, here it is:

Comfort Wines - choose a wine, any wine, that you love to unwind to and tell us about not only the wine but what makes the experience special and relaxing for you!

I suggest you mosey on over to his website to read the full blog post and also check out his picture – it’s perfect! Also congrats to him, he’s a new daddy!

I say I am “sort of” participating today because I don’t really have a particular wine to write about. Drinking one wine per week, I have a probably uncommon policy among wine bloggers and collectors of never purchasing more than one bottle of any particular wine. One wine per week, one wine, one time, that’s it.

The reason? If I only drink one per week, there are just far too many good wines out there for me to drink the same one twice or more. And that’s why I have no particular wine to write about.

I’m very happy with the wines I’ve assembled in my collection and eagerly look forward to choosing the one for the week based on, well, just whatever whim I happen to have. But I like the idea that no matter what I choose, I feel good about it and it is going to be special.

The usual routine is to pour out a glass, have a bit with dinner and drink the remainder afterwards not only to see how it develops, but to relax and enjoy the evening.

My wife doesn’t drink so we don’t share the wine (one of the reasons why a bottle of wine lasts so long around here) but it is nice to come home from work and have dinner together and unwind. The feeling of the working day being behind us, knowing we’re here together, and now having free time is just so nice!

After dinner I’ll do whatever as I finish up the glass but let me say that I savor the time and the wine!

Physically I am usually inside our house but mentally.. well, here I am (note - if you can't see the video screen below, click here):

I know there's several versions of that song but I just love how joyous Carole King is. She is one awesome, classy lady and I absolutely admire her.

Here's an alternate version that is also quite expressive, and translates most excellently to the joys of a good glass of wine at the end of the day (again, if you don't see the video below, click here):

So my apologies to our host Joel for this WBW, and to WBW in general for sort of twisting this around but I wanted to focus more on the experience. I thought the videos did a good job of capturing the feeling!

View Carole King's CD's at Amazon: CD's from Carole King

View Robson and Jerome CD's at Amazon: CD's from Robson & Jerome

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The 2008 Fictional Character Wine Taste-Off

The 2008 Fictional Character Wine Taste-Off is down to the final four teams. The contestants:

The Skipper and Gilligan: Armed with a secret weapon, this unlikely duo breezed past what were considered much more worthy contenders to earn their place in the final four.

The secret weapon? A machine constructed by the Professor that identifies the grape type, vintage and even the producer of whatever wine is poured into its funneled opening. The Skipper and Gilligan have managed to surreptitiously slip a sample into the wine machine in each round and the machine has been perfect so far.

Frazier and Niles Crane: The two fussbudgets were the early odds-on favorites to win the competition and have not disappointed anyone so far. Their astounding knowledge as well as acute sensory talents have enabled them to trounce whatever competition has been thrown up against them to this point in time.

Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi: Don’t underestimate the power of the mysterious energy known as the Force. At the beginning of the competition Luke was having difficulty identifying even simple wines but was quickly put on the right track through the coaching of his partner and mentor, Obi-Wan.

“Close your eyes, Luke. Use the Force and let the wine flow through you,” urged Obi-Wan, and apparently it worked. The two of them have been dead-on the entire time.

Homer Simpson and Montgomery Burns: They have been the true upstarts in the competition. Burns, who is barely able to lift a glass of wine more than ¼ full, and his dense, easily distracted partner Homer, have surprised everyone.

As Mr. Burns explains it: “This Simpson fellow is a total moron but when it comes to wine he is an idiot savant. Somehow he tastes the wine and instantly knows exactly what it is. Now if only he would stop with that inane 'Woo Hoo' after each taste I would be a happy man.”

Favorites and long shots, they’ve all gotten to the final four. Who will prevail? Stay tuned as we provide continuing coverage of the competition.

Monday, March 3, 2008

A Charlie Brown Wine Tasting

Okay, it is 2008 and finally Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang have grown up and can legally consume wine. We take you now to their monthly wine tasting gathering:

Linus: Greetings fellow Wine (Pea)Nuts. This month it was Snoopy’s turn to select the wine for tasting. Instead of being a wine hound, we have a wine beagle.

Snoopy dances in carrying a bottle of wine concealed in a brown bag. He places it on the table. It isn’t really clear exactly how a dog can carry wine, much less dance but nevertheless he does. Even more amazing, he carefully pours measured tastes into everyone’s tasting glass.

Linus: Shall we see who can correctly pinpoint this month’s wine? Let the tasting begin!

All of the characters carefully examine the wine, swirl, take sniffy sniffs and taste.

Charlie Brown: Oh good grief, once again I have no idea what kind of wine this is.

Lucy: Psst, Charlie Brown, I can help you.

Charlie Brown: Huh?

Lucy: I saw the wine when Snoopy was bagging it. I know what it is.

Charlie Brown: You do?

Lucy: Trust me, Charlie Brown, I got a clear look at the label. It’s a 2005 Montrachet from Comtes Lafon (note: evidently the Peanuts characters have done very well for themselves financially over the years) I’m sure of it.

Charlie Brown examines the wine once more.

Charlie Brown: I don’t know, isn’t a Montrachet a white wine? This wine is red.

Lucy: That’s what that smart-aleck beagle is counting on. He wants to fool us.

Charlie Brown: I just don’t know, Lucy. Every time you tell me you know what the wine is and when I use that as my guess, it’s always wrong.

Lucy: Look, Charlie Brown, it’s not like when I used to hold the football for you to kick and then pulled it away at the last moment. We’re all adults now. You have to trust me.

Schroeder (takes deep sniffy sniffs, violently swirling the wine then gargles it like it was Listerine): I am thoroughly enraptured by the hedonistic essence of this nectar that would be worthy of Beethoven himself. My guess is the 2005 Richebourg from Domaine de la Romanee Conti. No, wait. A subtle terroir clue leads me to believe it is instead from Madame Bize Leroy. A Leroy Richebourg. I’m right, am I not?

Linus: Good guess, Schroeder, but we must let everyone have their turn.

Peppermint Patty: Tastes like a great hot dog wine to me. I say Yellowtail Shiraz 2006.

Pigpen: This wine tastes very earthy to me. And sort of barn-yardy. I guess it is a 2004 red Burgundy from Gevrey Chambertin. It’s like drinking dirt, really.

Violet: Pigpen, every single wine tastes like that to you.

Lucy: Psst, Charlie Brown, I’ll let you take the glory on this one. I’ll guess something else and then you wow them with the right answer, okay?

Charlie Brown nods with some uncertainty but as he ponders the situation, the prospect of being the hero makes his face light up.

Charlie Brown: Okay, Lucy, I’ll do it!

Linus: Lucy, what do you think it is?

Lucy: A 2006 Beaujolais Nouveau from Georges Duboeuf.

Schroeder (rolling his eyes): A Beaujolais? Surely you jest.

Lucy: What if I’m right, huh? Will you give me a kiss? Huh?

Linus: Charlie Brown, let’s hear what you think.

Charlie Brown (confidently): The 2005 Comtes Lafon Montrachet!

Everyone stares at him in disbelief. Charlie Brown thinks they are staring from amazement at his wine tasting prowess and straightens himself up, looking proud. But then Snoopy starts laughing.

Linus: Folks, we have a winner. Someone correctly identified the wine.

Charlie Brown looks even prouder.

Linus (pulling the wine out of the bag): 2006 Nouveau Beaujolais from Duboeuf. Congratulations, Lucy, you nailed it!

Charlie Brown’s face falls and turns redder than the wine.

Violet: Charlie Brown, you blockhead! A Montrachet is a white wine – can’t you see that this wine is red??

Peppermint Patty: Better luck next time, Chuck.

Snoopy continues to laugh while dancing around with his feet in a blur, while Lucy pursues Schroeder for a kiss.

Charlie Brown: Oh good grief, I fell for it again. When am I ever going to learn?

Peanuts and the Peanuts characters are registered trademarks of United Features Syndicate, Inc.