Thursday, December 17, 2009

Picton Bay 2008 Pinot Noir

Wow, TWO posts within the space of ONE week? Yes, 'tis the Christmas season and I am feeling generous with the words so I thought I would alert you to what I think is a bargain buy on a Pinot Noir that can be found at Trader Joe's. Well, perhaps can be found, since I bought this a few months ago.

The Picton Bay 2008 Pinot Noir comes in a screw-top bottle, something I find very convenient since there's no foil to cut and no cork to pull. This is not a long-ager so why bother? The label does say drink now or hold until 2012 but it's more one to drink up over the next year or so. By the way, this one comes from New Zealand.

First thing to notice is the color - it is a relatively light magenta. No heavy stuff here! It looks like a Pinot Noir.

Next is the aroma. It smells like a Pinot Noir in the fruit department: cherries and raspberry. Sort of like raspberry Kool-aid, actually. It's lacking in any barnyard component, though.

On the palate, it's got a light touch. Not watery, but light. Not like so many Pinots that have lots of texture and weight. There's a lot of cherry and raspberry fruit, along with cola and a bit of spice, held together with good acidity and mild tannins. The aftertaste even lingers a bit! I like the fact that it is not heavy. I don't think a Pinot Noir should be heavy.

This isn't going to win any awards for complexity, but for $7.99 I think it's a great value, one with discernable Pinot Noir character.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gift Idea

Here I am, emerging from the woodwork for a rare appearance to provide those of you who are stumped for a wine-related Christmas gift with a suggestion.

Living With Wine: Passionate Collectors, Sophisticated Cellars, and Other Rooms for Entertaining, Enjoying and Imbibing is an elegant coffee table book authored by Samantha Nestor and Alice Feiring. Ms. Feiring's name may have rung a bell with many of you for her outspoken first work, The Battle For Wine and Love: or How I Saved the World From Parkerization.

As of this writing, I see the book is the 24,799th best-selling book on Maybe after hearing about it here, the book might move up a few notches.

Before I go on, let me say that I did receive this book as a semi-solicited sample. That is, when the publisher contacted me via this blog and asked if I would be interested in obtaining a review copy, I said sure, thank you very much! I would rather get wine-related items instead of wine anyway, unless it happens to be a sample from Leroy or DRC or Stony Hill or someone like that which of course if I ever did, would mean pigs are flying.

What arrived is an elegant, heavy volume featuring wine cellars of various passionate collectors, thirty in all, with pictures and text describing the cellars, construction and contents. They range from grand to relatively compact; those beyond the budget of perhaps 99% of us, to those that might provide the rest of us 99% with ideas of what can be done within a limited space in one's living quarters.

Like I said, this is a coffee table-type book. It's meant for the person who can appreciate the joys of having an extensive (or even not-so-extensive) cellar, something beyond wine refrigerators. There are plenty of gorgeous pictures complemented by well-written, easy-to-read text on the design and collection philosophies of the owners.

The retail price of Living With Wine is $75.00 but you can purchase it from Amazon for $47.25. Now, would I purchase this book for myself? Honestly, no. This is the kind of book you buy for an enophile when you want to get him or her something really nice besides a bottle of wine. So while I wouldn't buy this for myself, I would buy it as a gift. It's a gorgeous book that I feel is sure to please a wine enthusiast.

Please excuse the picture quality - I didn't want to use a flash and have a glare appear on the pages, but it also resulted in the pages not looking their best. The original photos in the book are first rate even if mine aren't..

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Keep Those Foods Fresh

Well folks, my post today isn't really about wine but it's about a wine accessory that you can use as an economical tool to keep your foods fresh, as well as your wine!

Most of you are probably familiar with the Vacu Vin, the device that is designed to keep the remainder portion of wine in the bottle fresh by pumping out the air and then sealing the bottle with a rubber stopper. There's a lot of controversy over it, some saying it works and some saying it doesn't.

Me, it seemed to work when I used to use it, but I don't use it anymore. I simply pour my wine into 187 ml sized bottles for individual portions, and that keeps the air out because the bottle is just the right size for one serving.

You've seen those food-saving bags, haven't you? The ones in which you place food, then use a vacuum device to pump out the air to keep the food fresh? Some have a motorized vacuum and some have a hand pump. Well all you really need is to buy some of these bags and then use a Vacu Vin for the pump. It fits and works perfectly!

I originally bought the one made by Reynolds, which had a battery-operated vacuum. The problem with that is the batteries wear out fast, it is noisy, and you have to position the device just so on the bag in order for it to suck out the air. You can do the same thing in less time and with more ease by just placing the Vacu Vin over the little area of the bag where the vacuum goes, then with a few pumps the air is gone!

It's great for keeping sliced deli meats and other things that are sensitive to air - just use a portion then seal the bag and pump out the air again. You can tell it works by looking at the bag.

Now, many of you are probably saying "duh" because you knew this already, but just in case you didn't.. use that Vacu Vin for double duty!

Okay, that's it for now, see you in another short while.. or long while.. or whenever the urge to write strikes.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Not a Pinot

Hey I am back but only briefly! I've been drinking wines consistently since my last post ages ago but have just been too lazy to write about them.

I felt I needed to do this short review as a public service, though. I bought a bottle of 2006 Cherry Hill Pinot Noir Papillon from Trader Joe's a few weeks ago. It's an Oregon wine.

Pouring it in the glass, it doesn't look like a Pinot Noir. It is too dark and too purple. It doesn't smell like a Pinot Noir. And it doesn't taste like a Pinot Noir, either. It is too heavy and textured, and tastes more like a Cab/Syrah mix.

To be fair, the wine buyer at the TJ's where I purchased it told me this was a "heavy" and "darker" Pinot Noir, and he was right. The VINTJS that they were selling is better than this one, if you are looking for a Pinot Noir with a more authentic character.

If you just want a decent red wine and don't care if it particularly tastes like the grapes it is made of, then this isn't a bad deal for $9.99 but if you're expecting a Pinot Noir, I'd say go elsewhere.

Okay, back to my hibernation now..

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hello I'm Here For a Moment!

I'm making one of my now infrequent appearances just to wave at you and let you know I am still here and enjoying a glass of wine as always even though I am not writing to tell you about it.

But today I am.. I just feel like writing, and luckily it is about an enjoyable bottle I have been drinking over the past four nights. Tonight is the last 6 oz, sigh.

The wine is (was) the 2004 Murgatroyd from Twisted Oak Winery.
I poured 1/4 of the bottle each into three splits for subsequent nights and sampled the remaining 1/4. That first quarter seemed rough and also on the high side alcohol-wise. Lots of fruit, but hot and with a good load of tannins.

On the remaining nights I drank it from a Riedel Sommelier Bordeaux glass (first night was from a Montrachet glass, which was probably a mistake) and gave it plenty of air time. That helped a lot because from then to the end, I had a nice, smooth wine. Lots of raspberry and black fruits that had a slightly tart cranberry edge to them to keep things interesting. The tannins were much more subdued and it had a nice balance of acidity.

Anyway, just wanted to do a bit of writing tonight and let you know about the Murgatroyd.

Now I will exit, stage left..

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Living Off My Rep'

As is obvious from a quick scan of my site, I hardly do any sort of updating here. I still have a glass of wine per night (which equates to 7/4 wine per week since each glass is 1/4 of a bottle) but I haven't felt particularly motivated to do any wine-related writing. In fact I have not felt motivated whatsoever to write about things wine-ish.

I haven't gone surfing around wine-related sites either. I don't even know if Gary V still looks the same or if he has branched out into reviewing books or whatever. But today I happened to glance at the Alltop page for wine reviews and noticed that I am still on their list of sites. Not only that, but I am sitting in a respectable 24th position!

I have no idea how they rank their sites but I do know there are plenty mo' better ones than mine that are down below yet there I am, in the top 25. I guess it must be due to my legendary reputation among the wine blog world. Who can forget such memorable posts as the ones I did before I flaked onto other things, such as.. well, I don't remember right now but they were pretty clever back in their day.

Seeing that Alltop page gave me a chuckle and inspired me to write a post for today. And also inspired me to post the YouTube below (I know it's a repeat but what the heck.. it suits the mood).

Those very few of you who subscribe to this blog - getting a notification of a new post from me must have been like a flickering signal from a ham radio.. could it be? Is it a real post or just interference caused by weather balloons? Zut alors! See you in another lengthy length of time!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Sorry that I haven't posted in a while, but I came down with a case of the Wine Flu.

Joe Biden didn't make things any better, flapping his jaws on national television telling everyone not to drink wine in any enclosed area, and that people shouldn't even take wine to school with them. Obama and his cohorts had to move quickly to do their damage control on him before the angry winemaker's lobby started blasting back at our gregarious number two man.

Now the expression on some of your faces indicates confusion. Monkuwino, you're talking about Wine Flu??? That's the first I've heard of that. I thought it was Swine Flu, not Wine Flu.

That's understandable but the confusion really comes from the White House, once again. The official announcement of this pandepidemicamonium came from an aide who had been listening to George Gershwin tunes on his Ipod right before he spoke to the public. So caught up in one of Gershwin's more popular recordings, "S'Wonderful," he started adding an "S" in front of other words and as you can now see, "Wine Flu" came out of his mouth as "S'Wine Flu."

Too embarrassed to admit his mistake, the aide just left it alone and let the press run with it.

Public service announcement: to protect yourself from this disease, just wear a gauze mask over your nose and mouth when you drink any wine until you get a signal from the government that the coast is clear. This also has the added benefit that you will not need to decant your wine beforehand.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The MONSTA ® Wine Glass is Here!

I am very pleased to introduce my new line of MONSTA ® brand wine glasses to my faithful One Wine Per Week readers and allow you first crack at the first ones off the conveyor belt!

"There's already so many different wine glasses on the market, so what makes yours even worth looking at?" You might well ask.

You hit the nail on the head. My new glasses are worth LOOKING at.

Wine is not only a delight for the nose and palate, but for the eyes as well. Wine needs to be served in a glass that enables it to look its best, to look the way the winemaker intended. My MONSTA ® brand wine glasses present the wine with minimal interference of appearance from one side of the glass to the other, so the color of the wine is the color you actually see.

Did you know that different colors of wine have different chromospectromatographic properties? That is, white wines have a different color than red wines and they both look different from sparkling wines.

In order for the wine drinker to have the ultimate experience, he or she should be able to tell what color of wine is in the glass. That is why I have designed three separate wine glasses, one each for white, red and sparkling, respectively. Each has been manufactured to allow the true color of the wine to shine through.

Here is my red wine glass. Do you see how the color red shines through? There is no lack of brilliance.

Now compare it to wine served in a different glass. See the difference? That is why YOU need to buy my MONSTA ® wine glasses and buy them right now!

The same holds true for white wines. Compare white wine served in my MONSTA ® glass (top) versus in a regular glass (bottom). No comparison, is there..

And of course sparkling wine gets its due, as well. Form and function, beautifully integrated into the perfect shape for enhancing bubbles and the perfect glass for enhancing appearance. Notice how the bubbles are much more well defined with a more accurate soundstage and separation in the top MONSTA ® glass versus the ordinary regular glass shown below it?

It's quality you can see. For a limited time I am pricing my new MONSTA ® glasses at a special introductory price of $295.00 per stem, while initial supplies last. After that, the price will go up so I urge you to leave me a comment with your purchasing information today because it is first come first served.

Oh and also, remember that MONSTA ® glass is a registered trademark. I will sue the pants off anyone who tries to use a name that even remotely resembles that name.. even if your name has six letters in it that is or isn't an anagram of MONSTA ®, I advise you now, you've been warned.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Special Edition

Folks, today's post has nothing to do with wine, but it is something that makes me so very angry (and while I know this blog has a lot of leg-pulling, this time I am serious) that I had to write about it.

Are you familiar with Monster brand cables? They are those overpriced ripoff cables sold by overpriced ripoff places like Best Buy, cables that perform no better than ones that cost 1/10 or even less of the price.

Today's Wall Street Journal featured an article on the front page about how Monster likes to sue other businesses that have the word "Monster" in their name. The example they used was of a couple who created a company called "Monster Mini-Golf." The evil, bullying Monster Cable company sued them in court demanding they surrender their name and pay Monster Cable $80,000 for the right to use it. To read the article, click here.

Then the article goes on to list other examples, such as their suit against Disney for using the title "Monsters, Inc." for one of their movies, as well as other ridiculous examples.

I am totally disgusted. To me, the other companies should be suing Monster Cable for degrading the word and giving it a negative connotation as something that lacks value, and is snake oil. Soon they will find that Monster will take on a generic meaning, as have Kleenex and Xerox; Monster will be a generic term for "overpriced ripoff garbage."

Like I said, I know this blog is supposed to be about wine but I got so incensed reading this article that for the few readers I have, I wanted to encourage all of you to please, please never buy a shoddy, snake oil ripoff Monster Cable product again, and please urge your friends to do the same.

There is no room for unethical bullies like that in our world.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Domaine De La Romanee Conti Tasting

I had the grand fortune of being invited to a tasting of wines from the Domaine de la Romanee Conti (DRC) a couple of days - actually evenings - ago. In a gorgeous room in a gorgeous house with a gorgeous view from the hills above Laurel Canyon, our gracious host opened bottles of the entire DRC line from the 1985 and 1989 vintages.

Starting with the Echezeaux and proceeding upwards all the way to my first-ever taste of Romanee Conti itself, I kept thinking this must be a dream. As we asked ourselves if anything could be better than what was in the glass in front of us, next came the answer as the host poured from the bottles, ascending through the famed line.

After the final pour, as we sat there savoring our most likely once-in-a-lifetime experience, our host dropped the bombshell.

"May I safely assume that with all of the oohs and aahs I heard that you were thoroughly impressed?" he asked us.

We nodded.

"What if I were to tell you that this was my early April Fools joke on all of you? That these wines were not really made by the DRC, but came from Trader Joes? Two Buck Chuck all around?" He laughed, then pushed out a box of empty 2BC bottles to show us.

"That right there, that Richebourg - or so what you thought was a Richebourg - it's this," he stated flatly while tapping on a bottle of 2005 Syrah. "And the La Tache? I just made a random mix of Merlot, Syrah and a bit of Cabernet. Not even a drop of Pinot Noir!"

We sat there astonished, not knowing what to say. We just stared at him.

"Have any of you ever tasted a bottle of wine from the DRC?"

We all looked at each other and shook our heads.

"So you didn't know what to expect, did you?"

"Uh, I thought that they were supposed to taste different than other wines," remarked one of us tasters sheepishly. "I thought it tasted kind of funny but I didn't want to say anything just in case that's the way it was supposed to taste."

"Funny, huh?" repeated our host. "Well, yeah, I guess. Is that what the rest of you thought?"

People were slow to speak at first but then the conversation became more and more animated as everyone began voicing the suspicions that they had while tasting the wines, but were too inhibited to say anything at the time.

"So in other words, you all thought something was amiss but you held back, am I right?" our host asked, laughing. We laughed, too.

"Next time we should speak our real minds, shouldn't we?" I said.

"Damn right," declared our host. "Now let me tell you something. You see those empty bottles of 2BC in that box? They've been empty for a month because I bought them and poured the wines down the drain. What you all drank tonight was the real thing - genuine DRC."

With all of our jaws dropped, he continued. "So at first you were raving about the wine and then when you thought it was 2BC you rationalized how you were suspicious but didn't say anything, so which is it? What do you really think?"

Well, I don't think we knew what to think at all after that.

"And let me say one more thing to you - what if I tell you I was pulling your leg twice and it really was 2BC and not DRC? You'd all be having brain whiplash!" He laughed uproariously. "Now you'll never really know exactly what it was you drank tonight, will you?"

Life is cruel.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pink Friday is Today

So today is Pink Friday - the day everyone is supposed to pop that cork on a bottle of White Zinfandel (should the "W" in White be capitalized? Should there be no caps as an indication that white zin gets and deserves no respect?) as a show of solidarity that even in such turbulent times of our economy, we can still uncork our wine and drink it, too.

Did you pop that cork or are you going to pop that cork?

Moving on to other things - please take the poll on the right --oops, now it is LEFT-- side of this page.

Finally, I notice that after my long absence from posting, my site traffic appears to have gone down after my return this week. I think that's a sign..

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pink Frday

You may have read about it or even seen it on the news - March 13, 2009, aka "Pink Friday," the day teachers gathered to protest the pink slips many are receiving because of layoffs brought about by the faltering economy.

It is indeed unfortunate that many have to lose their jobs like that - good teachers are hard to find. Of course if any bad teachers got the ax, then fine. Their union makes no distinction between the two so I imagine it was a roll of the dice as to whether it was a good one or bad one that got let go.

Anyway, the wine industry is having its own Pink Friday this coming March 20, 2009. It is a day to pop open a bottle of white zinfandel because that's pretty much all we can afford these days until the economy improves.

So remember: this Friday March 20 is Pink Friday for the wine folks.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Twitter Quotient

Yesterday I announced my comeback after being rescued with a small allocation of Economic Stimulus money from the Obama administration and let me tell you, I am hard at work to bring back One Wine Per Week to the same status it was before I went broke. Uh, that is, I guess I am actually closer to that status than I thought because $800,000 seems to disappear pretty quickly. I guess I had better start tasting some wine before I have to ask for another bailout.

Anyway, during my time of dormancy I kept getting notices from Twitter that one then another Twitterer was following me. This despite my not having posted any Twits since June 24, 2008. As of this writing I am following 68 people (at least I think they are all people.. oh wait, there are 67 people and 1 Budo Kun) and have 158 following me.

That means my TQ (Twitter Quotient) is .43. In case you don't know how I computed this, it is simply the number of people and Budo Kuns I am following, divided by the number following me. I would say that you should strive to have a TQ no higher than 1. I suspect there are a few Twits who have astronomically high TQ's though, in the range of 1,000 or more. For those of you who do have such high TQ's, what is wrong with you?? Get a life!! How can you possibly keep up with that many things all day??

Why would all these people add me to their list to follow when I haven't made a peep since June? Is it like expecting Elvis to come back?

Anyway, serious time here: for real - I just had a bottle of 2007 Chateau Margui Blanc and it was really really good. Clean, crisp, vanilla, apple and citrus with a Burgundian nutty character as well. Good acidity, nice weight and a long finish. This was a blend of Vermentino and Ugni Blanc. Sure did taste good!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Wow, was the last time I posted anything way back on December 23??? Well hello again!

I am sorry, I must profusely apologize for my long absence. The truth, I am embarrassed to say, is that I uh, went broke. I showed up to the 2005 Bordeaux and Burgundy party too late and was unable to purchase any futures in this great vintage. I hate getting left out, though, so I came roaring back by buying futures in the 2006 and 2007 vintages, full speed ahead without regard to the cost.

Then the bottom fell out of our economy.

I was left with a bunch of worthless futures. And bills to pay and commitments to keep and, well, like I said I went broke.

With much chagrin I went hat-in-hand to the Obama administration and requested my fair share of bailout/stimulus money to get back on my feet again. I said I was sorry and I won't do it again. I will be good this time.

Lo and behold, a few days ago a check for $800,000 appeared in the mail! (You would think that they would send it certified or express mail, but oh, well) Since it was drawn on Citibank I rushed to cash it and now ol' Monkuwino is back in action! Thank you Washington!!!

So where, you may ask, are the wine reviews?

Be patient, my friends. First I have to get in the proper mood to begin writing again. That means assembling the proper tasting environment this time - not just sitting at my desk slurping down wine from paper cups like I used to do while I typed a bunch of nonsense on my keyboard; rather, I have ordered some classy digs in which to properly taste the fine wine I plan to tell you about in the near future. Glassware, furniture, wine cellars, preservation systems, cars in which to go to the store to buy these things - all of this is necessary in order for me to not have to go crawling back to ask for more money (although I am not leaving out that possibility).

Give me a few days and One Wine Per Week will be up and running again!