Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Goldfeather - wah wahhhh wah..

I always check out what is happening on El Bloggo Torcido (Twisted Oak Winery's blog) and for those of you who weren't aware, I suggest you head on over there and enter their contest!

There's a lovely picture accompanying the contest post, which I have taken the liberty of reprinting above, along with something it reminded me of from the secret agent 1960's days.

And just to annoy you, here's modified lyrics to the theme song from that famous movie as sung in overbaked, overdone fashion by your typical American Idol contestant:

Goldfeather (wah wah wahhh)

He’s a cluck
The cluck with the midas beak
A twisted beak (dah dah dah de dah)

Such a cold feather (wah wah wah)
Beckons you to imbibe of his Ruben’s Blend
But don’t go in

Golden words he will cluck in your ear
But his clucks will just make you drink beer

For a golden hen knows when he’s kissed her
It’s the K-F-C from Mr. Goldfeather (wah wah wah)
Pretty hen, beware of his beak of gold
This beak is cold

He loves only gold
(Blah blah blah blah blah)
He loves…. gold! (dah dah de dum de dum dah dah boom
crash)

Below: Demonstration of the new “Hat Wine Opener,” courtesy of Odd Job.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Alltop: Wine Blog News Stand Rack

Have you visited Alltop.com’s wine page? It’s been around for a while so perhaps I am not telling you anything new, but I wanted to write about it today.

If you aren’t familiar with the site, here is a reprint from their “About” page that gives you a better explanation than I ever could:
We help you explore your passions by collecting stories from “all the top” sites on the web. We’ve grouped these collections — ”aggregations” — into individual Alltop sites based on topics such as environment, photography, science, celebrity gossip, fashion, gaming, sports, politics, automobiles, and Macintosh. At each Alltop site, we display the latest five stories from thirty or more sites on a single page — we call this “single-page aggregation.”

You can think of an Alltop site as a “dashboard,” “table of contents,” or even a “digital magazine rack” of the Internet. To be clear, Alltop sites are starting points — they are not destinations per se. The bottom line is that we are trying to enhance your online reading by both displaying stories from the sites that you’re already visiting and helping you discover sites that you didn’t know existed. In this way, our goal is the “cessation of Internet stagnation.”
I like the “digital magazine rack” description they use. In the case of the Alltop wine page, it’s a "digital wine blog rack.” What I like about the site is the aggregation of several wine blogs (74 as of when I am writing this). But more importantly, the titles of the most recent five posts from each blog are displayed, and when you point your cursor at any particular title, a popup appears that displays the first few sentences of that post.

That feature right there is valuable. It’s like flipping through magazines at 7-11 looking for things that are of interest except no one tells you to stop reading unless you’re going to buy something. This is more like Barnes and Noble or Borders where people sit down and read the books for free all day except here you can’t mess up the covers so that it becomes unsaleable. The blog titles and the most recent five post titles stare at you, and you can confirm whether it is worth visiting by pointing at it for a teaser sample.

And, clicking on each post opens a new tab (or window, if you are still using a backwards browser that doesn't have tabs - like the stone age pre-7.0 Internet Explorer) so you don’t have to press the back key to return to Alltop.

Nice little idea. So where is OneWinePerWeek on that page? Just below the screen print I did (see picture at top).. as of this writing it was sitting in the 16th position. Now how’d it get there? You got me. There’s a discussion of how they determine the order on the About page but there’s such a subjective element thrown into the picture I must conclude that perhaps one of my long lost relatives works there and pushes me up when no one is looking. Because there’s plenty of worthier blogs than mine that are further down the page. Maybe it’s Guy Kawasaki. Oh, yeah, maybe because our folks might have been in the same camp during the war!

If you haven’t already visited Alltop’s wine page, I highly recommend checking it out and perusing the entire page. There’s lots to see. Then there are other pages dedicated to other subjects so check those out, too. Between this and YouTube, you probably won’t get anything else done that day.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Winebowser Sets Some Policies

Recently we mentioned that a well-known Chow food board had decided to spin off its insanely popular wine board section onto a separate site, and rename it “Winebowser.”

The moderators of the Chow site felt that some of the experts who regularly participated in the original wine board should become the administrators of the new Winebowser board, to keep things in good order.

We obtained the transcripts of the first planning meeting held by the Chow official moderators and the wine experts appointed to the Winebowser board:

Moderator: You are the select few who have been appointed to oversee the new Winebowser board venture. Just remember above all else, in keeping with the original Chow board, humor in any form will not be tolerated.

Malaria: You don’t have to worry about that with me. And I think I can safely speak for the others that this will not be a concern among them, either.

Moderator: As you recall, I asked each of you to bring to the table, so to speak –

Del the Zin Fan: Hey, that was sort of funny. (sneers at Moderator)

Moderator: I did not mean it so but even if it was, don’t forget that I am the Moderator and can do as I please. Don’t risk having your IP address banned, Del. (sneers back)

Del the Zin Fan: That’s Del the Zin Fan. (sneers again)

Moderator: Harumph. As I was saying, I asked each of you to bring to the table your ideas on how this new Winebowser board should be run. I’d like to hear what you came up with.

Invoice Seek: I think we should have two different board levels on Winebowser, one for the experts and one for the idiots.

Moderator: What do you mean by “idiots?” Who would you include?

Invoice Seek: For example, people unable to distinguish what type of oak was used in a wine – like American versus French. We can even get into the finer shadings of oak. Or people who only drink wine that is readily available from many stores, or consume current vintages. Or drink wine that most people have heard of that isn't really expensive.

Del the Zin Fan: I think a certain income level as well as experience in the wine area should be considered. It would be extremely inefficient as well as disastrous to allow the experts to waste their time with every Tom, Dick and Harry who happened by the board and typed some silly post.

Malaria: But that would mean there would only be us three at the expert level.

Invoice Seek: That is true. But in time others may be promoted if they prove they deserve it.

Del the Zin Fan: Should we have a “read only” format? Then the cretins may read what the experts write but not take up server space posting anything.

Invoice Seek: Another idea is to separate the boards by the price of the wine being discussed. I am tired of reading about affordable wines. Such a nuisance.

Del the Zin Fan: Or ones that can still be obtained somewhere.

Moderator: Del the Zin Fan, Invoice Seek already mentioned that idea. Don’t duplicate things. All of your ideas sound pretty good. Like I said, as long as you don’t tolerate humor, it should be fine.

Malaria: Excuse me for a moment, I have to use the restroom.

Moderator: Malaria, that is off topic and I am afraid I will have to remove you.

Invoice Seek: She didn’t really have that much experience anyway. Getting back to the way we divide the boards, perhaps we can call ours the Sommelier Board? As opposed to, say, the Trailer Park Board.

Moderator: Is that supposed to be funny?

Invoice Seek: Not in the least.

Moderator: Okay, then you can stay.

Del the Zin Fan: I was thinking, though, if we segregate boards like that, is that legal? Could we be sued for discrimination?

Malaria (from outside the locked door): I know the answer! I know the answer! Let me in!

Moderator: Sorry Malaria, but I the Moderator have locked your door.

Invoice Seek: I think what we can do about this issue might be to have just one board, then. When the bumpkins arrive and start posting, us experts can surround them like vultures and pick them apart. That should drive them away.

Del the Zin Fan: Then how would that be any different from the other wine forums out there?

Moderator: We can try that. If someone insists on continuing to post even though they aren’t welcome, I’ll just ban their IP address.

Del the Zin Fan: Ha ha, good idea.

Invoice Seek: Was that a laugh? Wasn’t that humor?

Moderator: That’s my humor so it’s okay.

Friday, April 25, 2008

2006 Esca Pinot Grigio

Hey, this is my 200th post! It took the United States 200 years to have their 200-year anniversary so I am a lot faster than the country is.

While you are scratching your head over that one, this week's wine has a pretty label, doesn't it? Now is the wine inside as pretty..

From WineQ with a $17.99 price tag, I'd have to say yes, it is a pretty wine. It does justice to the label and vice versa.

First of all the color is pretty: a clear, light gold. There were aromas of apricot and peach. This was echoed on the palate along with pear flavors, citrus and a slight steely character. The wine was crisp and clean and the fruit tasted natural. It had an interesting aftertaste: the fruit faded into the steely character, then came back and lingered.

This was a nice, fresh and refreshing wine that deserves two thumbs up and is well worth trying.

I think this YouTube video matches the song well, too. If you can't see it below, please click here.




See the CD containing the song at Amazon.com: Al Jarreau - Mornin'

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Whatever Pleases Your Palate

There’s an interesting post over on Vinography about a study done by the American Association of Wine Economists. I would suggest looking at both the Vinography post and the paper itself, but here is a reprint of the abstract from the paper:
Individuals who are unaware of the price do not derive more enjoyment from more expensive wine. In a sample of more than 6,000 blind tastings, we find that the correlation between price and overall rating is small and negative, suggesting that individuals on average enjoy more expensive wines slightly less. For individuals with wine training, however, we find indications of a positive, or at any rate non-negative, correlation. Our results are robust to the inclusion of individual fixed effects, and are not driven by outliers: when omitting the top and bottom deciles of the price distribution, our qualitative results are strengthened, and the statistical significance is improved even further. Our results indicate that both the prices of wines and wine recommendations by experts may be poor guides for non-expert wine consumers.
The post also generated lots of interesting comments. It got me thinking back to when I first started drinking wine. To me, there was nothing finer than Mateus Rosé. That was back in college. Then I remember going to Lawry’s and having a carafe of Gallo Pink Chablis, which was one of their house wines. I thought that was marvelous. I’m not joking, either!

Later on I became more adventurous after discovering Trader Joes. I remember Callaway Fume Blanc, Callaway Chardonnay, and then from there, trying a bunch of different things. I have to say that these wines, which I think I’d be safe in assuming most people would call a “step up” from Mateus, Lancer or Gallo plonk, took some getting used to. They weren’t immediately likable by me in the sense of having a revelation that here was what I had been missing all these years while I was instead drinking the "cheap" stuff.

I’d say the same holds true for me as I moved up the food chain when growing up. I used to hate shrimp until for some reason I got hooked on it and would hide the shrimp tails under my plate and lie to my mom about how many I had eaten so I could get more. I thought raw fish was repulsive at first. My mom used to make all meat well done to the point of it begging for mercy so I found red or pink beef an oddity and also had to get used to that.

But once I got used to those things, there was no turning back. I left my own comment on the Vinography post, suggesting perhaps that ignorance is bliss. We grow accustomed to something and find it perfectly satisfying until we are introduced to something fancier or more expensive.

I used to think it was ridiculous to award huge alimony payments when famous people got divorced. People can live on much less, I said. That is true, but these spouses who got the alimony had grown accustomed to a certain style of living and thus would get withdrawal jitters like a junkie if forced to go back to a more humble lifestyle.

Is that how it is with wine? Some people love drinking the “cheap” stuff and are perfectly happy, whereas some must have the more expensive stuff and wind up spending a good deal of their disposable income towards that pursuit. Is either one of these groups more or less happy than the other with what they have?

**

Changing the subject, I don’t know how many, if anyone, have been reading my ongoing blogella, The Case. I know yesterday’s chapter was pretty long and it really has very little to do with wine. On the other hand, I don’t see how I can fill up a working week writing about wine since I am not in the industry and am certainly no expert. Those of you who have followed this blog know I like to poke fun at various aspects of wine and the industry but you can only write so much before running dry at times.

Anyway, I am going to continue my blogella since I enjoy it so much, but have been thinking I shouldn’t torture people by posting it on onewineperweek. Maybe I will put it on a separate site, or maybe if anyone really wants to keep reading it I can e-mail the chapters as they are written. Feel free to post a comment or send me a note if you have any opinion about this.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Case - Chapter Nine

Here's the ninth chapter in the continuing blogella (look in the archives for the previous chapters). It's very long, I know, but the rent is cheap here on blogspot. The YouTube accompanying soundtrack is in the video below. If you can't see the video screen, click here.





With the fax machine connected, James was ready to roll for the fourth bottle in the case of Zephyr wine given to him courtesy of his late Aunt, “Annie Annie.”

He went through his usual routine of having dinner, cleaning up, then settling back in his easy chair with the split-sized bottle of wine and a glass in front of him. In fact, he had turned this into a ritual by making sure he didn’t deviate from the steps he took from the time he prepared dinner to the time he opened the bottle of wine.

Unlike the first three bottles, James discovered the fourth bottle held a white wine. The bottles themselves were so dark that the fact wasn’t obvious at first, and he hadn’t bothered to look at them carefully until it was time to take them out for drinking.

While the prospect of an unchilled white wine wasn’t thrilling, neither was having to wait for it to cool down in the refrigerator, even if it was just for a little while. He opened it and poured.

Even before pouring, the fragrance from the wine wafted from the bottle and seemed to fill the entire room. A familiar feeling struck James and it took him a moment to place it: walking on a late spring or summer evening, surrounded by the wonderful scent of jasmine. That was the aroma pouring forth from the glass of wine sitting before him.

So powerful was this sensation that he kept swirling and sniffing the wine, wanting to keep savoring it rather than having it disappear by drinking it. Reflections from his college days of walking to the parking lot on campus after a long day of classes and studying came back to him. No matter how worn out he had felt, the jasmine-scented air was rejuvenating.

All these memories, thought James. Is this a preview of coming attractions for tonight’s dream? He wondered. He was torn between continuing to sniff and taking sips.

What the heck. The dreams would be there when he drank the wine. The aromas would then be gone. He’d have his cake and eat it, too, by relaxing in his easy chair and inhaling for a while. Then he’d get to the imbibing part. Tonight would be a double feature.

As James continued to swirl and sniff, he stared at a picture hanging on the opposite wall. He didn’t really pay any attention to the picture; it was just a point on which to focus his eyes while he concentrated on how nice the wine smelled. Soon, however, it was as if he were staring at nothing, his eyes not really seeing what was in front of him.

And there he was, walking into the local library with his friend Kenny. The same Kenny he had argued with over Larraine in his earlier dream. It was late in the spring sometime and the scent of jasmine was heavy in the air. They were going to the library because their high school physics homework assignment required some information that wasn’t in their physics book.

Inside the library they spied a couple of familiar faces. Two classmates who must have been doing the same research. “Looks like someone has done our work for us already,” Kenny laughed.

Karen and Elyssa didn’t look like they were working very hard on the assignment.

“Having fun?” James asked as they walked up to their table.

“Well hello,” Elyssa said, smiling at the two guys. “We’re finished.” She looked at Karen who just rolled her eyes when Elyssa pointed at the notes they had taken. “Here.” She pushed three books towards Kenny, who was now seated across from her. “Be my guest.”

“Shouldn’t we be efficient?” said Kenny. “You’ve already put in so much effort, it seems a waste that all of it should be for just the two of you. Don’t you think?”

“Yes, didn’t your mom tell you to share?” added James.

It was a warm night and the windows were open in the library. The aromas from the jasmine planted outside the windows permeated the room. James knew he sure didn’t feel like sitting there thumbing through a pile of boring physics books. The night outside beckoned.

Karen pulled the notes close to her and covered them up. “We already did the dirty work. What’s in this for us, huh?”

“We’ve got wheels,” Kenny said quickly.

“Wheels?” Karen and Elyssa looked at each other. “That’s a fair trade, I guess. Where’re we going?”

“We’ll figure it out,” said Kenny as he reached for the notes. “Let’s copy them quick and get out of here.”

While Elyssa went to the phone to let her sister know they didn’t need a ride home, James and Kenny hurriedly copied whatever they could from the notes taken by the two diligent girls. Karen sat there watching, trying to make them feel guilty but without any effect.

Elyssa returned and the four ventured out to the parking lot and got into Kenny’s car. “Where to?” the driver asked the others. They sat there for a moment pondering the question.

James spoke up. “I know – let’s go look for that ghost lady over in Chinatown. You know – the one that everyone says they see on that street – uh, what’s the name of it?”

“Avon Street?” said Karen. “You’re talking about the Avon Lady.”

“A ghost called the Avon Lady? What does she do – scare you into buying cosmetics?” cracked Elyssa. “You believe in that stuff? Oooohh.”

Kenny was skeptical. “Drive all the way to Chinatown just for that?”

“You asked where to,” James replied. “Where else shall we go? At least it’s an idea. I’ve heard people at school say they’ve really seen this woman or ghost or whatever.”

Karen spoke up. “I’ve heard people talk about it, too. They say she just appears in front of the headlights when you’re driving up the street.”

“So how do we get to this Avon Street?” asked Kenny.

“Let’s just go,” James said. “How hard could it be to find it? Chinatown isn’t a big place. We’ll just drive around until we get there. Let’s go see.” Regardless, he had wanted to get out of the library and into the night somewhere. Being inside, thumbing through massive books was far from his preferred list.

Karen and Elyssa were turning to look at each other and giggling. Kenny glanced over his shoulder and gave James a smirk which made them giggle even more. James, meanwhile, was actually curious and wondered if these stories had any truth to them but he felt pretty stupid with everyone else making sport of his suggestion so he kept quiet. Well at least we’re doing something on a Friday night, he thought.

“Whatcha gonna do if you see the ghost, Kenny?” laughed Elyssa. “You can’t run over her, you know. There’s nothing to run over.”

The foursome started out east towards Chinatown, glad to have somewhere to go on a Friday night. The lights from the open windows of the building faded in the distance and the night came into focus.

To be continued..

***

Here is the link to the Amazon CD product page for the music: Bruce Springsteen - Thunder Road

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Chateau Worker Tries to Curse Latour

Dedicated construction workers adding an additional cellar at the famed Bordeaux 1st growth Chateau Latour were proud to exhibit the results of their efforts to locate and remove a bottle of 1991 Lafite Rothschild that had been buried underneath the cellar construction site.

Apparently a construction worker who had spent only one day on the job, Jacques Bitère, had clandestinely placed the bottle from the rival chateau under the site as a curse.

Sacré bleu et zoot alors! Exclaimed François Pinault, owner of Latour. Ze nerve of zat fellow! But now ze rat is where he belongs – in ze slammer!

Several of the Latour construction workers tipped off Chateau officials that they had heard rumors of the buried bottle, intended by Bitère to curse the future wines produced by the famed Chateau. On the back label of the 1991 Lafite was a handwritten inscription that read, “may you never get above an 80 from Parker.”

Because Bitère had worked only one day on the job before disappearing, it was not too difficult for the other workers to locate the bottle since they knew which area he had been assigned to. After several hours of frenzied digging, one of the workers shouted out “Eureka!” and held up the cursed bottle.

Pinault says he intends to press criminal charges against Bitère. “What a wretched thing to do,” he told reporters. “And something from ze 1991 vintage no less. I must ask, did ze rat really think he would get away with zis? And did he really think we care what zat American Parker thinks of our wine? We could sell everything we make to China wizout blinking! And why would a French worker use the word ‘Eureka??’”

***

The Case chapter nine appears tomorrow, if anyone cares or remembers.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Furor Over Obama's "Elitist" Comments Continues

(above: Gort! Klaatu barada nikto! )

Barack Obama’s recent comment regarding “bitter” small-town Americans who had been hit by job losses still haunts him, surveys show.

“They cling to guns or religion or Two-Buck Chuck or antipathy to people who don’t know which Riedel goes with what wine, or anti-imported wine sentiment, as a way to explain their frustrations,” is what the Democratic presidential candidate had declared at a recent San Francisco fund raiser, and what has gotten him mired in controversy.

Hillary Clinton called Obama’s comments “elitist, out of touch, and, frankly, patronizing.” She also added, “I grew up in a beer-drinking family” whose father “taught me how to drink when I was a little girl.”

Obama poo-pooed Hillary’s attack and mocked her attempt to portray herself as a brew-slugging member of the working class. “She’s talking like the Budweiser Frog… with a six-pack,” Obama told a laughing crowd of Trader Joe’s employees.

Husband Bill Clinton joined the fray with his own remarks. “Hillary and I drank plenty of cheap wine while we were in the White House,” he told the crowds. “We didn’t know which wine glass to use all the time either but did that mean we were bitter? Heck, a lot of times we just chugged it from the bottle and tossed it on the rug.”

Republican presidential candidate John McCain wasted no time adding his two cents. “Obama obviously is an ignorant fellow as well as elitist,” remarked McCain. There’s sediment in wine whether it is imported or not so his statement about people having an ‘anti-imported wine sediment’ just doesn’t make any sense.”

Meanwhile reporters have been pressing Screaming Eagle winery to release the names of people on their mailing list to discover what elite politicians were on that list, but so far the winery has refused to do so.

Friday, April 18, 2008

2004 La Chablisienne Chablis 1er Cru Grande Cuvée

This is the last bottle of wine in my stock that came from Costco. Not that this is of any significance but I thought I'd mention it. I purchased it last summer for $16.99 and see that there were still lots of bottles in the bin over there as of last weekend.

Is it that unpopular or did Costco buy a huge quantity? There's not a lot listed on Cellar Tracker, either. So what was it like?

Pale gold with a slight greenish tinge - it looked like a Chablis! My perception of the nose was mainly gravel and granite. Lemony, citric and with a steely/stony aspect on the palate. It had a light, delicate mouthfeel; not your buttery California chardonnay, that's for sure! Perhaps because of the delicate style, that's why so many bottles remain at Costco? Anyway, two thumbs up from me.

Here's the matching YouTube video. Please click here if you don't see the video below.





Link to the Amazon product page for the CD containing the song: The Rascals


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Chow Board Spins Off Wine Section

Many of you out there are familiar with Chowhound, the place to go when discussing anything having to do with the dining out (and also dining in) experience.

Due to the immense popularity of their wine board section, most likely because of the incredibly high level of expertise among the wine hounds who make themselves available as ultimate resources, Chowhound has decided to spin off this board to its own site, Winebowser.com.

"It's like The Jeffersons and Maude coming into their own after leaving All In the Family," said Robert Taragello, one of the moderators who regularly patrols the board looking for troublemakers. "We expect great things from Winebowser which is why we made it a separate website. As long the posters who contribute to the site obey us unconditionally, they will have fun."

When asked if famous denizens of the wine world such as Robert Parker Jr. and Gary Vaynerchuk would be participating on the new Winebowser board, Taragello replied, "Oh heavens no. The experts who already prowl the board have way more experience than Parker and Vaynerchuk combined and they let you know that in no uncertain terms."

I asked Taragello whether or not a certain income level was required for participation on the new board. "Yes, it must be pretty high," was the answer. "Right now everyone is on the honor system and I hope we don't have to start checking on people."

So there you have it, folks. Below is a screen print of part of the activity from yesterday (click to enlarge):


Note: of course the above is not for real. Knowing how humorless the people are who moderate a certain food board that shall remain nameless in this footnote but not elsewhere in this post, that is why this disclaimer has been included. Har har. And don't bother trying to register "winebowser.com" because it's no longer available! Muhaha...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

2005 d'Arenberg The Laughing Magpie Shiraz-Viognier

Well well, another middle of the week wine review causing an inconsistency with the title of this blog since you can expect the regular weekly review this Friday.

I purchased this from Costco last summer and paid $18.99. The screw-cap suited my lazy disposition very well, saving me the trouble of getting out the wine foil cutter and opener.

This particular bottling of 94% Shiraz and 6% Viognier weighed in at 15.0% alcohol, according to the label.

Aromas of smoky cedar and pepperoni, charred wood and raspberries came up from this dark-colored wine. The palate was lush, full-bodied and full of raspberry and plum fruit mixed with that cedar/smoke component. Like the other wines of this genre, it was not shy at all. Viscous, extracted and bold are good ways to describe its character. The alcohol was masked by the flavors but I could feel it after drinking just a little bit.

The wine followed a curve of improving with air over the first hour or so, and then it started to decline after 90 minutes with the fruit getting a little sourish.

It was similar to the Marquis Philips Shiraz and Sarah's Blend, and the Kangarilla Road bottlings that were the most recent Australian Shiraz I've had, and was the most expensive of the four. I'd say the others were a tad better than this one, too. I wouldn't buy this again; it's not distinctive enough and not worth the money compared to what you could get for less.

The matching YouTube video expresses how I feel about this wine. If you can't see the video screen below, please click here.





Some comments: I like the movie, the song, and think Irene Cara has a great voice. But if you were around back when the movie came out (1980) you may remember that the theme song was played to death. I think she even performed it three times on one show and later, some comedy show spoofed it (SNL, maybe?) by doing a song called "Same" as in "everything sounds the same." And what's with that outfit Ms. Cara is wearing in the video? A little gaudy, would you say? I bet she hated every moment of it! And that is like the bottle of wine reviewed today.

That said, here's the link to the DVD: Fame - The Movie

Monday, April 14, 2008

Twitter and the Wannabe Index

Do you participate in Twitter? As you can see from the update box in the lower right corner of this blog, I do. Or try to, anyway.

Lately I’ve found that there is just too much to keep up with.

Winehiker is the one who originally convinced me to sign up. I did, and added a few people from the wine-blogging community on my list to follow. When someone follows you on Twitter, you receive an e-mail notification from the powers that be that a new person is now following you. You can then reciprocate by adding them to the list of people you follow.

The notification contains a link to that person’s Twitter profile page. The profile page often has a link to that person’s website as well. That way if you aren’t familiar with the person you can get some idea as to whether or not to follow them.

Initially since my list of people I was following was fairly small, it was also manageable. But then as I received notifications that various people were following me, I did likewise to them. I found that except for a couple of instances in which it appeared people were adding to their “following” list left and right, or people were trying to promote their business, almost everyone following me was involved in wine blogging or the wine trade in some way.

Lately, however, the number of people following me has steeply increased (relatively speaking, that is.. in absolute terms the numbers aren't that big). Some of them don’t write in English so I can’t understand them. And some seem to come off the wall and I have no idea how they would have happened across my Twitter moniker.

I’m just wondering what the reason is for the increase. Could it be Gary Vee’s call for online socializing? And I am also wondering if you decide to discontinue following someone if they get notified that so-and-so has dumped you? I don’t want to be rude but I’ve found that I have clicked “follow” too many times and now there’s too many twitters to keep track of!

Hmm.. Twitter reminds me of those episodes of Seinfeld in which they sit around discussing ways to break off a relationship. Now what if on Twitter when you decide to stop following someone you have to give a reason for doing so? Haha, can you imagine that? "Uh, my keyboard broke so uh, I have to uh, discontinue our Twit relationship.." Or, "You're not the same Twitterer that you were when we first started out.."

Another thing I find interesting is to look at a person's Twitter profile and compare the number of people he or she is following, versus the number that are following that person. For most, the two numbers are roughly equal but I have run across a few in which the number of persons being followed is way more than the number of followers. My proposal is to divide the number of followers by the number a person is following to compute the "Wannabe Index" (sorry, this is NOT directed towards Wannabe Wino who is a super-nice person!) because it seems to me that if your Wannabe Index comes out to something like a 5.0 or more (meaning you follow 5x as many people as follow you) then that's a bit out of proportion, don't you think?

For example, there is one person following me who as of this morning was following 21,643 people and had 2,220 following them. How can you keep up with that many Twitters? And that's a pretty high Wannabe Index, wouldn't you say?

And having a very low Wannabe Index indicates you are either very popular or else you really don't care what anyone has to say. Gary Vee has a low Wannabe Index: as of this morning he was following 1,334 people but 6,067 were following him. But we all know he is very popular.

So, what do we do? Post an announcement saying that effective immediately, I will only follow those whose Wannabe Index is 1.0 or less? And will our Wannabe Index be something we can now put on our resumes? Or replace those American Wine Blogging Award badges with a daily-updated badge of our Twitter Wannabe Index?

Please excuse this flippant post.. hey, it's Monday! But then what's my excuse for the rest of the week?

Anyway, I find Twitter to be a good way to keep up with the wine blogging community but with all the information flying at me, it gets to be overwhelming at times!

Friday, April 11, 2008

2004 Ceja Vino de Casa - Napa Valley

The wine for this week is from Ceja Vineyards. Their Vino de Casa rojo is a blend of Pinot Noir and Syrah. I purchased this one from WineQ for $19.99.

Before saying anything else, let me warn you that the Ceja website has some very loud music and it takes a while to find the button to turn off the sound. So it might not be a good idea to view the site while you're at work, haha (well now why didn't that durn fool Monkuwino say so before putting up the link???).

The Pinot Noir character is much more prominent in this wine than is the Syrah. Aromas of spice, berries, earth and rose petals lead into a taste of smooth, silky strawberries and red berries. There was also a note of concrete in there, too. The weight and texture of the wine to me said Pinot Noir.

As it sat in the glass the wine really rounded out, becoming smoother and silkier.

I liked it - it gets two thumbs up from me! Below is the YouTube video I matched with the wine. If you can't see it, please click here. (note: this is a very well known song; I found what I think is a better version, which is actually the original version, and replaced what I had first inserted. I think it fits the wine even better, so please click the PLAY button and give a listen!)





See the CD at Amazon.com: Jorge Ben Jor

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Case - Chapter Eight

Thus continues this blogella, the first chapter being posted back on March 12 (if none of the following makes any sense to you, please go back to the first chapter for an introduction). Below is the YouTube video soundtrack for this chapter. If you can't see it, please click here.





James stumbled to the phone and answered it, expecting to hear the familiar and annoying fax tone on the other end.

Instead, he was greeted by a female voice.

“I’m sorry we’re so late. We got stuck in traffic but we’ll be home in another 15 minutes or so. You must be so hungry!”

James was startled. And speechless.

“Hello? James?”

“Lisa?”

“Huh? Well who else would it be, honey?” Lisa was laughing. “You must really be hungry – you’re acting delirious!”

James let out an exasperated sigh. “That stupid Dan next door told me that, that you were dead! And that Tim had moved out of the house!”

“What are you talking about?”

Totally confused, James was wondering why he had listened to Dan’s nonsense and also wondering why he was trembling and he couldn’t speak. He had to shout for his voice to come out as he responded to Lisa. “Dan said – “

And then the phone rang again, this time really waking him up. James sat there in a daze and let it ring. Am I awake for real now? He wondered. He tried to open his eyes as wide as he could, as though he were still dreaming and wanted to wake up. It seemed he was awake.

Meanwhile, the incessant ringing of the phone caused the answering machine to start. This time the same fax tone came through on the speaker. James groaned. He was too weary to get out of his chair; he sat there for a long, long time.

*

By the time James arose it was too late to call his friend and work buddy, Roger. Falling asleep was difficult that night; he lay there mulling over the dream, remembering Lisa and wondering what Tim was doing now. And also, who exactly Dan was supposed to be in real life.

Roger’s phone rang early the next morning.

“I can’t explain it by e-mail,” James told him. “I had to call you. Last night’s dream was the weirdest of the weirdest.”

“So far,” Roger said, which gave James pause.

“I thought these were supposed to be pleasant dreams. Last night was a nightmare! I don’t get it.” James then recounted the nightmare to Roger. It had been so vivid he had no trouble recalling all the details. He told him, “Now I’m afraid to open another bottle of that wine.”

“I don’t blame you,” Roger said after listening to James’ recap. “That’s spooky. But your aunt – she said she wanted you to drink them all, right? And all in order?”

“True. So she said. Or wrote. Why would she do that to me?”

“You act like she knew exactly what would happen after you drank each of them,” said Roger. “Do you think she did?”

“I don’t know. It would seem so.” James was scratching his head.

“If she knew then she wants you to drink them all. And you know how she felt about you. There’s a reason why she wants you to try them all. And in that order.” Roger was thinking it was a lot easier for him to tell James to do it than if he had to do it himself. “They’re just dreams,” he assured him.

“Just dreams?” James shot back. “You don’t know how real they felt. I was right in the middle. Lisa was alive again. And Tim was a little kid. It was more real than when it really was real, if you know what I mean.”

“So what are you going to do? Are you going to pull the cork on the next one tonight?”

“I think I need to.” James pondered what the upcoming evening would be like. “Oh, and there’s that damn fax machine to deal with,” he added.

“Why don’t you hook up a fax in your house and see what they’re trying to send?” Roger suggested, and then he launched into an out of tune version of the Twilight Zone theme.

James half-laughed. “After all this, I’m kind of afraid to.”

“Well good luck, buddy,” said Roger. They made some small talk then got back to work.

Around noon James pulled his car out of the garage. He looked at the house next door and was half expecting this Dan person from his dream to come walking out. But no one did and he let his senses tell him that he was now wide awake and knew who his real neighbors were.

Then he drove to Staples to buy a cheap fax machine.

To be continued..

***

Amazon product page for this chapter's soundtrack: Tumbleweed Connection

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

2005 Marquis Phillips - Sarah's Blend

One Wine Per Week becomes two wines this week, as I had the opportunity of having this blend that consists of 60% Shiraz, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc.

There were powdered cocoa, plum and spice in the aromas. On the palate I tasted lots of lush berry fruit, dark chocolate and oak. This wine was full-bodied, with a lush texture, soft tannins and a medium-length aftertaste.

It wasn't shy by any means. It comes right out and introduces itself to you!

Several reviewers on Cellar Tracker complained about a high alcohol level. I could feel it but taste or aroma-wise, I did not think it was overpowering as some others felt.

For $11.49 from Costco, I'd say this wine has very good QPR. Two thumbs up.

And here's the YouTube video. I noticed a few from previous posts have already been deleted by the YouTube police but that's just the way it is, I suppose. Meanwhile, if you can't see the screen below, please click here to go to the YouTube page.




Here is a link to the Amazon product page for the CD in the video: Joe Jacskon

Monday, April 7, 2008

Amazon.com Wine Club?

The above is what came inside the box of something I ordered from Amazon.com. The order had nothing to do with wine; it was an M-Audio sound card for my computer so I am not sure how their marketers determined that people who buy a computer sound card would also be interested in wine.

This reminded me of some earlier buzz on a few wine blogs as well as Decanter Magazine about Amazon.com adding wine to its vast selection of merchandise. Could this be what they were talking about?

Well, I don't think so. This is not really Amazon.com but some company called 4Seasons that is really selling the wine, but it is being promoted through Amazon. It's a pretty attractive offer: 6 bottles of wine for only $29.99, plus $9.00 shipping. And for that, you also receive a free
Screwpull-type corkscrew set and a binder to hold information cards.

The catch is you are enrolled in a wine club that will send you a mixed case every 3 months, for a price of $119.95 plus tax and shipping. You can elect to skip shipments, if you want. And the introductory case has a money-back guarantee. And you can cancel any time, even after the intro offer.

Are the wines in the promo any good? Here's a picture of them:

Please forgive the flash that shows on the pictures.. Anyway, I looked these up on Cellar Tracker and unless 4Seasons is using ringers to post reviews, the wines sound pretty decent - especially for $5.00 each. I noticed that several of the people said they had received these as part of a wine club shipment but had paid $10 for them.

Now that doesn't seem like such a bad deal to introduce people to wine in an inexpensive way, and to give them a variety, also. I went to Amazon.com to search for this offer and while it is not something that is part of their store, it does come up as a sponsored link.

I have no ties or interest to the 4Seasons company. I thought I'd write about it since the little mini-brochure that was inserted with my Amazon.com order piqued my curiosity so I looked into it a bit more. I also found a couple of online reviews, here and here.

Friday, April 4, 2008

2003 Viñas del Cenit Tempranillo Cenit

Several of the posts this week dealt with poking fun at poor little Budo Kun from Domaine547 so as a way of sort of keeping with this theme, the wine for review this week also comes from Domaine547.

This particular bottle set me back $19.99 but was shipped free, a perk of living within the local delivery area.

The aromas were not that forthcoming, and I did a lot of swirling. What emerged was very nice and quite complex, however: earth, dusty cherries, smoked meat, pepper, spice and floral all mixed together in an attractive way.

The initial palate impression was licorice-like but after a few seconds a lot of clean berry fruit emerged, along with a mineral component. The aftertaste lingered.

This wine had great balance and required a lot of savoring to fully appreciate all of its flavors. It's not an in-your-face kind of wine but to personify it, instead it has to warm up and get used to you in order to show its character.

Definitely two thumbs up! Unfortunately I don't think there is any of this left. Jill at Domaine547 was able to get a good buy on this when the 2004 vintage scored a couple of points higher, thus causing all the point-chasers to abandon the 2003 vintage and go running off in search of higher scores (and exponentially higher prices). Good for me and the rest of us who got in on this bargain! Let the point chasers keep running off for the latest and greatest. This 2003 was a very good bottle.

As usual, here's the accompanying YouTube music video and also as usual, if you can't see the video screen below then click here.





Link to the Amazon product page for the CD: Pat Metheny.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Budo Kun Retrial - A New Hope

Things looked pretty dark for Budo Kun yesterday after being found guilty by a jury of the closest thing to peers he could muster. But remember, it is always darkest before the dawn!

We take you back to the courtroom. In the adjoining hallway, Steely Dan has been replaced by a more introspective artist who may be able to shed some light on Budo Kun's behavior. Click on the video below to catch the action or if you can't see it, click here.





We are back live covering the Budo Kun trial. Budo is in tears, listening to pleas from his owner, JB to surrender the hidden weapon he pulled out after being found guilty.

Budo Kun: I can’t, Master. It’s too late. They found me guilty. I just can’t go to the big house and become a Little Penguin or YellowTail.

Bailiff: Uh, Ms. JB, there is a solution to this.

JB: And what would that be? I’ll do anything!

Bailiff: There’s a judge in the other courtroom who might be able to retry the case right now. He used to be a psychologist so he might be more sympathetic to Budo Kun’s plight and give him a fairer trial.

JB: That sounds good but you know in reality it would take about 10 years for this all to really happen.

Bailiff: And so the rest of this courtroom scene was reality?

JB: True. Please ask him, Bailiff.

(the Bailiff disappears for a moment then comes running back)

Bailiff: Good news, JB! The other judge has agreed to hear the case! Let’s go!

(Budo Kun, now with a glimmer of hope, tosses Gloria Allmad aside and hurries with his master JB and the bailiff into the adjoining courtroom.)

Judge: So this is the case that goes to the head of the line?

Bailiff: Yes, your honor. Sort of like playing Chutes and Ladders.

Judge: Okay, let me finish up with this case here and then I’ll be right with you. (the judge scowls at the defendants) Guilty as charged! Mott! Lock ‘em up!!

(as the defendants are being led away, the judge turns back to the courtroom)

Judge: Hello everybody and welcome to Psycho Court TV! I’m your host, Gary Vay-Ner-Jung and this, my friends, is where it all happens. The nation’s 19th most popular courtroom! Bailiff, what case is going to bring the thunder today?

Bailiff: We have a retrial of Budo Kun, your honor.

Judge: Oh, Budo Kun! I’ve heard about you!

JB: He is innocent, your honor. He’s been taken over by some sinister force that made him do those disgusting things, but that’s not the real Budo Kun! I believe Gloria Allmad’s theory was right, he has been influenced by the Bizarro Kun.

Judge: Well I’ll be the judge of that today.

Budo Kun: There’s no jury?

Judge: Budo Kun, I am the judge, jury, id, ego and superego. I make the decision! Plus I won one of those Wine Blogging awards. I think. Well if I didn’t, I should have.

JB: Your honor, there is obviously something inside of Budo causing this aberrant behavior. Look at how he fidgets. This is not like him.

Judge: Hmm. I’ve seen something like that before. It looks familiar. Ah, I know what it is. Budo! Approach the bench!

Budo Kun: Yes sir.

(Budo walks up to the bench. Judge Gary takes a sniffy sniff of the top of Budo’s head)

Judge: Aughhhhhhh!!!

Bailiff: What is it, your honor?

Judge: Just as I thought. It’s the Oak Monster! That’s what has been causing all the problems!

JB: I knew it! I knew there had to be something like that!

Judge: Budo, we will send you to the world’s most famous rapper to do an exorcism of the Oak Monster. After you see X Laks, you will be cured. At which time you may go back into the custody of your owner, JB.

Budo Kun: Oh thank you your honor, thank you! Arigato!

JB: Yes, thank you! That is awesome! It’s like a Christmas present from Santa! Santa Vaynerjung!

(the courtroom is all atwitter at the verdict)

Judge: Question of the day: JB, Budo, are you happy?

Budo and JB: Oh, yes we are, your honor!

Judge: Then that’s good! Because you, with a little bit of me, we’ve cured this lovable little fellow and made him a good citizen again! JB and Budo, you are dismissed.

JB, Budo and Judge: And everyone will live happily ever after! *sigh*

(a suspicious-looking fellow in an expensive-looking suit approaches the bench)

Agent: Not so fast, Ms. JB and Mr. Kun. Your honor, the question has come up as to whether or not Budo Kun is in this country legally.

***

End Notes:

See the Amazon product page for the Andrew Gold CD featuring the song in the video.

Also, special thanks to Jill over at Domaine547 for allowing me to use poor little Budo Kun in this blog and poke fun at him much like poking the Pillsubury Doughboy only funner (of course I am only saying this to avoid a threatened lawsuit and cease-and-desist order so I have to play nice-nice).

And I may have to threaten a lawsuit myself over someone casting doubts as to my sanity. I trust that time will show that these accusations are phony as the existence/reality of Budo Kun is confirmed beyond a doubt. Not only that, they spelled my name wrong. Am I right? Anyone?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Jury Reaches Verdict on Budo Kun

Band par excellence Steely Dan provides the entertainment outside the courthouse for the trial of fugitive pervert Budo Kun that has now turned into a media circus. Click here if you do not see the video below.





After 4 days of intense deliberation, the jury has filed back into the courtroom. Finally the world will know the fate of Budo Kun.

Esteemed Highness Honor Magistrate: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict in the case of the people versus Budo Kun?

Jury: We have, your honor.

Esteemed Highness Honor Magistrate: Will the defendant please rise – as much as you can.

(Budo Kun rises and so does his attorney, Gloria Allmad, looking very confident)

Esteemed Highness Honor Magistrate: Mr. Foreman, what say you?

Foreman: Your Honor, we the people of the jury find the defendant guilty as charged and then some.

(courtroom erupts with gasps and loud whispers)

Someone in courtroom: Noooooooooooooooooooo!

Gloria: Your Honor, I must protest! This trial is a sham! Budo Kun was not judged by a jury of his peers!

Esteemed Highness Honor Magistrate: Order in the court! Shut up and sit down!! Ms. Allmad, you knew that when you took this case that Budo Kun has no ‘peers.’ Where the heck are you going to find anyone that looks like him?

(turns to jury) Is that your final answer?

Jury: Final answer, your Honor.

(those in the courtroom begin to file out. Budo Kun is in tears)

Budo Kun: I can’t believe it. How could they find me guilty? I am innocent! I did nothing wrong! I should have opted for that courtroom process where you get to pick which suitcase has the not-guilty verdict inside. Or trial by blog poll!

Gloria: Look, you little whatever-you-are, pay up or else. My rep just got ruined because of you! I knew I should never have taken the case of some question mark!

Budo Kun: Et tu, Allmad?

Esteemed Highness Honor Magistrate: Bailiff, please escort Mr. Kun back to the Big House. And I don’t mean no Bonny Doon place, either!

Budo Kun: No, no, you can’t do this to me!

(Budo-Kun pops his cork and pulls out the end of a corkscrew. He grabs Gloria Allmad and holds her hostage)

Esteemed Highness Honor Magistrate: Bailiff! Didn’t anyone check the defendant for weapons before he got here??

Bailiff: I didn’t know that thing on top of his head came off!

(meanwhile there is chaos and bedlam in the courtroom)

Budo Kun: You guys gave me a bum rap! I’m innocent! Get away from me or I’ll Metrokane this broad!!”

Gloria: ‘Broad??*#@%&!’ Who you callin’ ‘Broad???’, you Fizztop!

Budo Kun: Shaddap! I ain’t gonna be the fall guy, you got that? Now get away from me or the broad gets it! I wanna ‘nuther lawyer! Get me Mark Geragos!! You’re never gonna take me alive!

(the crowd is standing there, mouths agape when a young woman lurches forward)

JB: Budo Kun! Budo Kun! Please, don’t make it worse for yourself! You can come back to the domaine and start over.

(Budo Kun looks and sees his owner standing there pleading with him to give up. Tears well in his eyes)

Budo Kun: Master! I, I’ve.. I’ve been wronged!

JB: It’s not too late, Budo. Please, put down your weapon.

Budo Kun: I.. I.. can’t.

What will happen? We have to leave the scene of this breaking news to cover another car chase in Sherman Oaks but we will be back.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wine Blogging Community on Red Alert

The wine blogging community has been set atwitter by person or persons unknown who have started up the site known as Wine-ing 2.0.

Since its recent debut on March 25, this blog has the community wondering just who is behind its often caustic and venomous writing.

The most recent post featured an ominous warning:
If you think you've been let off easy, well stay tuned. We will bring down wine blogging as we know it. The internet will bend to our will, wine blogging will OBEY!!!!
This was followed by taunting language referring to tomorrow's WBW event.

No one, not even peons are safe from torment as yours truly, MonkuWino, was threatened today during a Twitter exchange. I had only made an innocent comment that one of the contributors, Flabby Chard (who bears a striking resemblance to Linda Ronstadt) ought to investigate the purchase of the elliptical exercise machine that is advertised on my site, to which I received this response:
Honey, you best be careful where you throw your little zingers, cus I'm evil with payback ;-)
Meanwhile, the wine blogging community has no intention of canceling tomorrow's WBW event, hosted by Gary Vaynerchuk and this time having a theme of French Cabernet Franc-based wines. "We will not be held hostage by terriorists," declared Winehiker, even though he was unable to account for a recent mysterious disappearance of several days, during which he may have in fact been held hostage.

What is next from them? To personally send each of us a message such as, "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!" ???

For now, all that the wine blogging community can do is sit and wait for the next blog post in hopes that it may contain a clue as to the identity of the shadowy figures behind Wine-ing 2.0. And while you are in the mood, play the video below (and click here if you can't see it).




Make sure the door's locked.


Vegas to Add Betting Lines on Parker Wine Scores

May 1 2008 marks the date Las Vegas casinos will be accepting bets on the final numerical score assigned by Robert M. Parker Jr., arguably the world’s most well known and influential wine critic, to certain pricey and famous wines.

Casino patrons will be able to bet on the bottled, as opposed to barrel, score given by Mr. Parker to selected wines that have not yet been released.

For example, one of the first wines upon which a bet can be placed will be the 2007 Etienne Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne. Bettors will be able to wager on Parker’s first in-the-bottle rating of the wine that appears in his wine publication, The Wine Advocate.

An example of the wagering card is shown at the top of this page.

Critics have pointed out that the temptation for score manipulation, as well as misuse of insider information is so high that it will render this form of betting meaningless.

Three Fingers Tartaglia, representative for one of the casinos implementing the new wagering system next month, disagrees. “Mr. Parker has always had the reputation of maintaining the highest integrity in any situation. I doubt that he would risk that reputation or the loss of limbs or proboscis by engaging in unethical behavior, you know what I mean?”

Depending on how popular this type of wager is, the casinos are considering adding wager cards for other critics or publications, such as the Wine Spectator and Wine Library TV’s Gary Vaynerchuk.