Saturday, November 3, 2007

Hola Vino! (ole!)

In a moment of weakness, the Winedaddy fell victim to that ever popular wave of hype and decided to buy into some of the South American hoopla, literally. As I previously posted, I bought a ton of wine from Zachys recently and decided to take a stab at some of the big, meaty, juicy, reds from our southern neighbors that I have been reading so much about. Much to my surprise, Spain is not actually a South American country. It actually sits squarely on the edge of the European continent and though they DO speak Spanish there, like they do in South America, I was surprised to find out that it is not technically considered a South American wine. So how did this one particular Spanish blend end up in my case? Oh, right. I'm really beginning to love Spanish wine these days and couldn't resist throwing a few bottles into the mix.

I give you now, a brief and very unscientific comparison of two wines, both from Spanish speaking countries, yet very different in style. Go figure.

Catena Malbec: Mendoza 2005 ($17.99)

This wine has had a good deal of praise lately. It's been sited on various "Top Lists" of 2006 and at this price point, I understand why. I brought this wine to a get together recently and was pleasantly surprised to see that our hosts had already opened a bottle of wine before we arrived. The best part is that they too were serving a Malbec from South America so I was excited to compare the two. Unfortunately, in my excitement to watch the Winedaughter run around in her tutu and "Fairies Rock" t-shirt, I neglected to jot down the name of the wine we drank first.

In any event, I took a few notes on the Catena and can tell you that this wine is extremely accessible. At first whiff though, there is an underlying hint of steak and grilled meat.'s a little beefy. Upon further investigation (i.e. "first sip"), this wine opens up a good deal and shows very nice ripe fruits with not a ton of that fake oak-like thing that many of the more "economical" wines from South America seem to do. I will definitely buy more of this at some point.

Cellar Can Blau Montant 2005 ($15.99)

Much like the Catena Malbec, much had been written about this wine so I couldn't resist (besides, it has a killer label, complete with hologramesque diamonds). El Parker gave this particular Spanish blend 90 points and for a wine under $20, I bought 2 bottles sight unseen. (I know, I'm a sucker for points). From what I gathered, it's a blend of Southern Rohne grapes, namely, Carignan, Syrah, and Grenache. There is a tiny bit of the traditional French Syrah characteristics showing through on this wine. It is a very tight wine with a little black olive and mineral characteristics that you get from the traditional French Syrahs. The other varietals, however, round this wine out and give it a really nice structure and a bit of spice that really helps make this quite complex. I wasn't knocked over by this wine but will definitely wait a year or so before opening the other bottle to see if some time brings out anything new.

All in all, it was a good week for the Spanish speaking wines. No if you'll excuse me, there are some grilled meats and tapas that need my help.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Peconic PS

Just a quick follow up on my recent post about Peconic Bay Winery and their award winning Merlot. The kind folks at the winery have sent my a bottle of the 2001 Oregon Hills Merlot to prove to me (and the world really) how good NY State Wines can be. I am happy to say it arrived safely to Winedaddy Industries World Wide HQ INC and it is sitting in a comfortable 55 degrees in the Ole Winefridge as we speak.

Many thanks to Cynthia from Peconic Bay for the support (and the traffic to the blog) and I promise to report back after I've had a chance to try the Oregon Hills.

Who knew my love of wine would shower me with admiration, affection, and fermented grape juice? God Bless the Internet.

The Mother Load

Let's get something straight here...the Winedaddy didn't win the lottery nor did he get promoted. There was no last will and testament of a long lost uncle leaving a huge chunk of change and no, I didn't just save a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico.

But our good 'ol friends, Zachys Wine and Liquor, were having one of their Humongo, Get it while it's HOT, HOT, HOT sales and I caved. Yes. I'm ashamed to say that while I steadily fight the urge to splurge (and spend the Winefamily's hard earned money on a case of wine from a huge internet juggernaut like Zachys), they just made it to damn enticing not too.

They were offering a big sale on tons of bottles (most were from their 2nd Annual Wine Spectator Predictions List) and we were low on the sub-$20 bottles in our collection, (or as we like to call them, "everyday wines.") So I bit the bullet, pointed my pointer in their general direction and off we went.

I did some old standbys (Los Vascos and Montes Alpha), some huge cult offerings (Joel Gott Zin), and favorite varietal (Aglianico del Vulture). But I also did some research and recalled a few articles recently listing a whole bunch of South American and Spanish wines that are big bangs for the buck and since the Winefamily is desperately trying to initiate phase 2 of the Family Expansion Project, I wanted to keep costs low but taste high. And here's how.

Thanks to my friends at Zachys and the wonderful discounts they offer, all of the wines I purchased were under $20. Some were even under the $10 (God Bless you Los Vascos). My average price per bottle was around $12. It's a beautiful thing. More than half are completely sight unseen although based on some great press, I'm really excited to try them and report back on what I find.

I know you're all dying to see this latest collection of goodies so here they are. In order of appearance (L to R) this is what we'll be sampling over the next few weeks:

'01 Santa Ema Catalina Rapel Valley ($15.99)
'03 Bisceglia Aglianico del Vulture Terre di Vulcano ($12.99)
'05 Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon ($7.99 x2)
'06 Joel Gott Zinfandel ($14.99 x2)
'05 Can Blau ($17.99 x2)
'05 Catena Malbec ($18.99)
'04 Vetus ($14.99)
'05 Arrocal ($10.99)
'05 Montes Alpha ($14.99)

Now, some of these I've already reviewed and clearly like since I'm buying them again. But most of these will be new experiences and I definitely plan on giving you my 2 cents along the way. (of course, it's more like 8.375 per CENT but who's counting.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Strong Island

I had a huge lunch yesterday. The WineBoss (aka, the WineDude), convinced me to order skewers of marinated chicken over some hedonistically good rice from an establishment known as the Afghan Kebab House #1. (NB...there's a long story about the history of the "#1" which I will save for my next blog, Ethnicfooddaddy, but I digress). The meal came with bread that tasted like the crust of a Pizza Hut pan pizza (trust me, it's been at least 20 years since I ate Pizza Hut but i still remember the crust tasting like it had just jumped out of the mega deep fryer). Bottom line is that i was stuffed. So much so that after my usual 7p glass of wine after the WineToddler had her dinner, I wasn't so much into the whole food thing so I kept on drinking.

So what was the whole point of that entirely uninteresting set up...? Well, what I was drinking knocked my socks off and was so good (sans meal) that I just kept drinking (along with some help from wives and neighbors) and by 9:15p I realized that I had still no appetite and the bottle I had just opened was almost gone. It was a Tuesday night. It was that good.

So what, you might ask, was so delicious? How about the Peconic Bay Winery, 2001 Merlot. That's right...home-grown wine (and a Merlot too)

So, remember back a few months when I told you about my annual trek to the North Fork of Long Island, NY to tour the increasingly hyped wineries? This was the last bottle I purchased and quite honestly, even AFTER they told me that this particular 2001 Merlot had won some awards, I didn't think much about it b/c I had consumed enough prior to that point that my palette had been severely numbed. I also didn't think much about it since I generally don't buy into hype and trust me, Long Island is getting the hype. Lettie Teague has a nice article in this month's Food and Wine basically making the same point but nowhere did she mention Peconic Bay. She should have.

But I forged on and opened up the bottle that I promised in my previous post that I was going to hold off on for a few years. Yeah, well, we know how that goes. Thankfully, I threw caution into the wind because the high tannins that I had recalled had really mellowed out and what showed through was a really wonderful and velvety smooth wine. There is not a ton of fruit in this wine but what is there, blackberries, ripe cherries, etc. really come through. The acidity is tempered by some nice spice and the wine definitely opened up a considerable amount after being opened an hour or so.

According to the Peconic Bay website, they are sold out of the 2001 Merlot but seem to be offering a new 2001 Reserve Merlot/Cab blend from a region called "Oregon Hills." Here's a description:

2001 Merlot Oregon Hills Reserve Winemaker Notes: This blend consists of 75% 2001 Merlot and 25% 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is an example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. The Merlot contributes soft plum, chocolate and smooth tannins. The Cabernet lends the wine upfront blackberry aromas and enhances the length of the finish. The combination of these two yields a third significant character that I associate with "roundness". The perception is that the wine if full and supple. There are no holes in the palate. This is an excellent food wine. I would pair it with a sirloin steak in Portobello reduction sauce using some of this wine as the base.

Glad to see that the winemaker isn't too specific on his choice of food pairings??? but regardless, it sounds like a wonderful wine. I'm looking forward to getting home tonight to polish off that last glass. You can bet I'm going to plan the WineFamily's next trek out east so I can pick up some more hype in a bottle.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Friday night was a good night. The Winedaddy settled in at home after a painfully dull work week and looked forward to an excuse to pop some corks and eat some good food (aka "looked forward to having some friends over for dinner) I was feeling a little Ebony and Ivory so I decided to go with a white wine during the simple cheese course to start and a hearty red wine with the rustic chicken dish that was our main. (i won't bore you with the silly nuances of the menu but let's just say there was lots of garlic, some convection roasting going on, and a pumpkin bread pudding just chilling in the fridge waiting to be baked).

So what to drink. I opened the fridge to get a glass of water (yes, the Winedaddy drinks non-alcoholic fluids from time to time) and noticed a bottle of white that had been chilling on the door for a few weeks. It was a bottle of white wine that the Winesis' and Winebro-in-law brought back from Santorini on their honeymoon. I gotta say, I know as much about Greek viticulture as much as Arizona Diamondbacks fans know about Baseball, but man, this was one great wine.

According to the Producer's notes, on the Sigalas website, the wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks (hooray! no oak), and has a good deal of citrus (mostly lemon) notes. Yup...pretty much sums it up. What struck me about this wine was how crisp and acidic it was on the first sip but it quickly mellows out in the mouth and rounds out with some great green apple and citrus notes that just dissolve away at the end. It was a great wine to drink with some salty manchego cheese that I served and cut through the fig spread that was there to pair with the cheese as well. It just made me realize that even as the temps finally start to act their age and tell us that it actually is fall, we can all still enjoy a nice refreshing white wine from a place known for goats and feta cheese after all. It made me go dig up the October '06 Food and Wine that had an article about the best wine makers in Greece. I'm definitely going to try a few of these.

All in all, the winesis' really did us a solid. Too bad the only US importer is in Atlanta, GA.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Return of Winedaddy maybe it's October but we here at Winedaddy Industries Inc. want to apologize to all 3 of you reading this for our extended Summer hiatus. To make it up to you, we are offering you a chance to read about a sensational Italian varietal, homegrown in the Napa Valley, and continued musings on life, through the prism of a wineglass.

All you have to do is sit tight and wait for our next post...FREE...for you, oh friends of the Winedaddy.

(in other words, sorry I took a break but we'll be back soon with new posting and renewed sense of purpose that should hopefully yield multiple posts on a more regular basis).

In the meantime, here's a great video of a dude who probably used a bottle of wine or two to wash down whatever hallucinogenic substance is pulsing through his Euroveins at this very moment.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wines to Wed With

So the Winesister is gettin' hitched. HOO-RAY. We are all happy in the Winefamily and extended Winefamily because the soon-to-be WineBrother-in-Law is a good guy and one who enjoys the occasional cocktail now and then. As for me, I'm just happy to get out the city for a long weekend and celebrate with friends, family, food, and of course, wine.

So it came as no surprise that I received a phone call from the Winepops last night which went something like this:

WinePops (WP): "Son. It's your father. I need your help."

WineDaddy (WD): "What up dawg?"

WP: "I need the WineDaddy's help picking out wines for the WineDaughter's wedding"

WD: "That's a big favor yo but don't sweat it...I got your back."

WP: "Cool my main man. I'll hit you back. Peaceout"

WD: "Word"

(alright, maybe that was a bit paraphrased but the bottom line is that he needed my help). So of course, I spent the better part of last night, this morning on the treadmill (got keep the heart healthy you know?), and then lunch in front of the work computer thinking of the ultimate Wedding Wine List.

Without further ado, I present to you the first ever Official Winedaddy Approved List of Wedding Wines. (keep in mind this is for a mass audience and a specific price point so don't get all worked up if some heavy hitters aren't on this list. Also keep in mind that some of these you may have seen if you've been with me since the genesis of the Winedaddy...also keep in mind that parenthesis are great because you can have a really long run on sentence but it's ok because it's in a parenthesis.)

Here's the original text. Feel free to copy and paste and pass it off to friends and family like you wrote it. I won't tell.


J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet (Paso Robles) (approx $17): Really fantastic Cabernet that's always a crowd pleaser. Not too overpowering but not to wimpy. Big fan. Big fan.

Esser Cellars Merlot: 2005 (approx $10): I was turned onto their wines by a great article a few months back that gave the best wines under $10. I was very skeptical at first but we drank it with some friends are also wine snobs and everyone really enjoyed it. It's a nice companion to the J. Lohr but is great for people who no zero about wines.

Masi Campofiorin Rosso del Veronese IGT (approx $13): I'm a huge Italian wine snob so I had to pick at least one vino for this list. This is a Valpolicella from the northern Italian region known as the Veneto. Masi is one of the oldest producers of this type of wine and they consistent ally kick ass with this wine. It's on the sweeter, thicker end of things but everyone who I've ever poured it for loves it. I wrote a review of it back on the old blog.

Alternate Reds

Ravenswood Vintners Blend
: (approx $9.99): Perennially voted one of the best wines under $10 and wildly available just about anywhere. It's a Zinfandel blend from one of the best producers of Zinfandel in America. (sidebar: Zinfandel is one of the few grapes in the world that is purely an American grape which is kind of cool in a patriotic sort of way). It pairs with just about every grilled meat and fish you can throw on a barbecue. It's just not that inspired of a choice which is why it's an alternate. Another review of mine can be found here.

HRM Rex Goliath 47 Pound Rooster Pinot Noir: (around $10). It's a mouthful to pronounce but a decent Pinot Noir given the fact that it's $10 (most good American Pinots start around $25). This was one of the Food and Wine 10 Best under $10 and I really enjoyed it.

Bodegas Borsao Tres Picos Garancha: ($14). This is an excellent Granache from Spain that is really wonderful with just about any food and is pretty easy to find. It was voted by Robert Parker one of the best value wines out there. Here's his review:

"This remarkably hedonistic wine has been a perennial best buy in the pages of this journal. The 2005 Tres Picos Granacha is purple-colored with a cherry-scented nose that roars from the glass. It is intensely fruity, with terrific depth and concentration, oodles of sweet fruit, and terrific length. This wine, which can be likened to cherry pie in a glass, is an awesome value. Drink it over the next 1-2 years."

Mollydooker "The Boxer" Shiraz (approx $20). If there are "Wine Rock Stars," the people who make this wine are like royalty. They make one of the most hyped wines I've ever had (and own 6 bottles of) but it costs $75 a bottle and is impossible to find. This is from the same general area but much cheaper and more accessible. It's an incredibly fruit-forward Australian Shiraz that is really just amazing (and the WineBrother-in-Law will love their label designs…check 'em out:


Botromagno Gravina 2005 (approx $10). Another 10 Best Under $10 and is one of the Winedaddy House favorite Whites. It's a really light, crisp wine from Puglia in Italy (the heel) and is very similar to a Sauvignon Blanc. It should sell for twice as much but is a great value.

D'Arnberg 2005 Olive Grove Chardonnay (McLaren Vale Australia): (approx $16) These guys make some of the highest rated Aussie wines out there. I hate Chardonnay but I love this wine as it's just really smooth and delicious. It's perennially voted one of the top whites from Australia.

Bethel Heights Oregon Pinot Gris 2006 ($14): By far my favorite white wine from the U.S. IT's a really light but floral white wine that goes with almost anything. I can't recommend this wine enough. (if you can't find this, Ponzi makes one that's just as good from the same region).

Alternate Whites

Baron Lafite Rothschild Los Vascos Chardonnay (Colchuga Valley Chile) ($11) From the famed Rothschild family of France comes this excellent value Chardonnay from their only vineyard outside of France. Chilean Wines are up there as some of the world's best these days. This is widely available and really tasty.

Amisfield Pinot Gris (New Zealand): ($25). By far the best white I've had in years. Seriously. This is an incredible wine but probably too high of a price point to buy in bulk.

Chehalem (any of their white wines): This is one of the vineyards we visited in Oregon when we were out there and an Winepops fav. Probably tough to get lots of their wines and not cheap but just thought I'd throw it out there.
There you have it. It's not scientific. It's not comprehensive. It's just a simple union of Reds and Whites that ends up in harmonious bliss. Think of it as my metaphor for a happy life.