Pour it on me!

Chronicling my transition from wine novice to oenophile (sort of).

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$300,000-worth of stolen Napa Valley wine found in North Carolina

The majority of the $300,000-worth of wine stolen from French Laundry, a very fancy and famous restaurant in Napa Valley, on Christmas has been found…in North Carolina.

Most of the 76 bottles have been accounted for, but some are still missing, local police said. The stolen loot included Burgundies from the Domaine de la Romanee Conti–some of which sells for $10,000 a bottle– Cabernet Screaming Eagle and Dom Perignon Champagne, according to The Los Angeles Times and other news reports.

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Other bottles ranged in price from $3,250 to $7,950, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

The wine ended up in a private cellar, according to The Associated Press. It’s unclear if authorities have a lead on who stole the wine from the Michelin 3-star eatery as none have been made public.

Review: 2011 Leoness Limited Selection Ten

Spending a weekend up in the mountains? Bring some nice reds (or if you’re like me also pack a cheap Rose for the hot tub. I brought along a 2013 Josephine Rose).

I brought along the 2011 Leoness Limited Selection Ten, a supple blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Cinsaut, Grenache and Mourevadre to pair with a special “family” dinner of spaghetti and meatballs.The spicy meatballs and sauce, which took hours to make, paired well with this red wine with soft tannins. You could taste a hint of vanilla from the French oak, but the blackberry took center stage.

This smoky wine was a nice dinnertime compliment, although not as good as the 2010 Leoness Limited Selection Nine. And I don’t think this red blend lives up to the hefty price.

I forgot to snap a pic, so enjoy the beautiful sunset from our cabin’s deck, instead 🙂

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Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Leoness
  • Type: Red blend
  • Origin: Temecula Valley
  • Price: $55, so definitely a budget breaker (But came in Wine Club three-pack that comes every quarter)
  • Alcohol content: 15.2%
  • When to drink: With a nice spicy dinner, I liked it with the meatballs.

They throw #wineraves in LA

I see my Twitter feed this morning and noticed something weird, the hashtag #winerave.

Some folks–more specifically Max Leer and Adam Vourvoulis, wine curators from Los Angeles’ foodie scene– made some bioluminescent wine cocktails, added glow sticks, topped it off with DJs and voila, a wine rave was born. I missed this one, but I think I may just have to keep an eye out for the next one.

This is a new concept to me–and I’m an EDC and wine devotee, separately normally. But there was a so-called wine rave at a club in San Diego in 2011, so perhaps not so new? I don’t think it ever caught on as a continual event (Their twitter feed stopped tweeting in 2011). The owners of Honeycut, a club, in downtown LA, seem to want to make it so. They had a similar wine rave theme for their New Year’s Eve bash.

Wine Rave’s mission statement, according to its website: “Wine rave is a state of mind. Can you free yourself from color: its sensations as pleasure; as life. Stop swirling. Derobe. Become bioluminescent. Feel a stranger. Listen. Laugh and have fun. Wine rave.”

Now to fully understand wine rave–which charged a $20 entry fee and included a wine cocktail–you need to see it to believe it. Not quite EDC, not even close really, but the brains behind wine rave sure got heart.

A video posted by Wine Rave (@winerave) on

We gettin wavvy this Thursday Jan 8th 11pm-close @honeycutla #winerave #wineshots #2trayz #glowrave

A photo posted by Wine Rave (@winerave) on

Not your typical wine and cheese (nix the cheese) party, am I right?

Review: 2011 Dillon Vineyards Chardonnay

I tasted the 2011 Dillon Vineyards Chardonnay at Silver Lake Wines weekly Blue Mondays (a great deal!) and it made me melt.

The creamy Chardonnay swims down your tongue like it’s a slip-and-slide of butter. It’s aged in French Oak, and there’s a hint of that in there, too, but the second malolactic fermentation is really the star here and va-va-voomed this yellow beauty.

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This peachy wine has a bit of a sour bite, but I thought this tart apple flavor counteracted the butteriness in a good way.

Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Dillon Vineyards
  • Type: Chardonnay
  • Origin: Yountville Appellation, Napa Valley
  • Price: $21
  • Alcohol content: 13.5%
  • When to drink: Go crazy with the creaminess and pair this golden Chardonnay with some brie.

Review: 2013 Leoness White Merlot

Funnily enough, my future father-in-law loves this sweet easy drinker. The 2013 Leoness White Merlot is a hit in the tasting room at this Temecula winery because it’s the everyman rose. Too sweet for my taste to have too often– I prefer the 2012 La Ferme Julien Rose and for those who like it with a bit more body, dry and tart, go for the 2011 Carol Shelton Rendezvous Rose–but it’s perfect for a date night in with a comedy rolling on the tube.

And that’s exactly how I enjoyed this strawberrylicious wine. Seriously, you could drop a little seltzer in there and get some strawberry soda (I’m not recommending you do this, but I’m just trying to make a point about how juicy this rosy partner is).

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As we VOD’d “The Interview” and channeled Dave Skylark, my other half and I finished this rose in one sitting. The longlasting flavor gives you a full-mouth feel.

Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Leoness
  • Type: Rose
  • Origin: Temecula
  • Price: $21 ($15.75 wine club, which I’m part of. This came in our quarterly package)
  • Alcohol content: 12.5%
  • When to drink: While watching a comedy on your couch, while snacking on some peanut butter popcorn, because, why not?

Review: 2012 Presswork Cabernet Sauvignon

A very talented friend of mine invited me to read his latest slasher screenplay. Slasher and good time aren’t what I’d usually pair together in a sentence, but I knew this would be fun because wine would be involved and I can handle gore on the page, even if I can’t on the screen.

Before we cracked open the script on our tablets and phones, looking like a horde of millennials with glowing faces, we popped open some wine, one of which was the 2012 Presswork Cabernet Sauvignon.

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This medium-bodied cab seemed appropriate on its face: The label has a typewriter, which may have been why it was purchased by a clever reader, but I never found out who brought the bottle to do some questioning.

The Australian wine is warm, but that warm transitions from pleasant to an alcoholic burn. Points off for that, but that dissipates the more you sip and it’s drinkable, with a pinch of violet. It has pucker, for sure, even though the bottle describes it as having soft tannins. It’s berrylicious and fruit forward. Despite that, however, it felt watered down.

Nuts & Bolts:

  • Winery: Presswork
  • Type: Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Origin: Australia
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: $10 (at Trader Joe’s)
  • Alcohol content: 14.3%
  • When to drink: I probably wouldn’t buy this Cab again, but the wine had enough redeeming qualities that I’d try other varietals from Presswork. Maybe the Shiraz? Review inspiration…

Review: 2012 Menage a Trois Pinot Noir

Friends recently moved to a lovely new apartment and they’ve been hosting intimate dinners to celebrate their new abode. When it was my and my other half’s turn to head on over we were tasked with brining dinner and wine. Well that’s easy.

We had a couple bottles other friends gave us from a box of extras after their wedding rehearsal, one of which was the 2012 Menage a Trois Pinot Noir. I was at first a little skeptical about bringing a wine with that label to a home dinner, but ya know, sometimes you got to grab what you’ve got.

This Pinot Noir felt flat! I say that with an explanation point because I mean it. It was fruity up front and cherry sour, yes, but nothing special, and honestly not as good as the 2012 Kendall Jackson Pinot Noir Vintners Reserve, which I’ve reviewed before (And that one I’d say straddles the A-/B+ line, leaning closer to the latter.)

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The bottle describes it as a “slow jam” on your tongue, which sounded pleasant, but it may have been a little too slow for my tastes? I wanted R&B, I wanted the sexiness of Frank Ocean. Didn’t happen.

Nuts & Bolts:

  • Winery: Menage a Trois
  • Type: Pinot Noir
  • Origin: St. Helena
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: $12.99 (according to wine.com, although we got ours for free)
  • Alcohol content: 13.5%
  • When to drink: Skip and buy the 2012 Estancia Pinot Noir for $13 instead.

Review: 2013 Terrenal Chardonnay

My dad loves when he finds kosher wines, even though he doesn’t keep kosher. He brought this kosher Chardonnay to meet my other half’s parents for a brunch we hosted at our apartment–like three years after we’ve been dating. I know, I know, weprocrastinated. We ended up sticking to mimosas, so this bottle was left over.

We cracked it open this week when we finished another bottle of white, but wanted one more glass. We needed a bottle we could sacrifice, one that it would be OK if we didn’t finish and we could toss later.

I pulled the 2013 Terrenal Chardonnay out of the fridge. Now, don’t call me mean. 1) I don’t like chardonnays much. It has to be a special chardonnay for me to enjoy it (And I actually do have a good one chilling right now) and 2) I’ve had meh luck with Terrenals in the past. Although the 2010 Terrenal Cabernet Sauvignon was good enough to bring to a Passover Seder.

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All I can really say is that the wine tasted watery. It’s made from grapes harvested at the foothills of the Andes mountains, according to the bottle. I already had low expectations, but I thought there would be some traditional tenets of chardonnays. But where was my malolactic buttery taste? Where was my full body? Where was the apple flavor?

So what zinger did my other half give when I asked if he liked it after I turned up my nose? “It reminds me of sticking my tongue on a Duracell battery. The aftertaste is just not good.”

He was referring to the wine’s acidity.

So thanks for the sacrifice, but we’re saying sayonara to the 2013 Terrenal Chardonnay.

Nuts & Bolts:

Winery: Terrenal
Type: Chardonnay
Origin: Chile
Vintage: 2013
Price: $4.99 at Trader Joe’s
Alcohol content: 12.5%
When to drink: I’d highly recommend you don’t drink this wine, even if it is kosher and that’s an important factor.

 

Review: 2013 Kenwood Vineyards Reserve Sauvignon Blanc

The first thing I thought of when taking a sip of the 2013 Kenwood Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc was: Spritzy! I felt a surprise party in my mouth! No, really.

This very bright wine, that has a little oily nature, was unexpectedly acidic. It was stored in stainless steel tanks, so that could have been the reason for the extra bubble. It’s fruit-forward and tangy, the lemony/sour notes were honestly a bit overwhelming.

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What did my other half have to say about this Sauvignon Blanc? Our exchange below:

Me: “So love, what do you think? It’s lemony right?”
My boy: “It reminds me of cough syrup.”
Me: “So it’s bad then.”
My boy: “No, cough syrup is delicious.”

I’m still not sure if he was being sarcastic…

Nuts & Bolts:

Winery: Kenwood Vineyards
Type: Sauvignon Blanc
Origin: Sonoma
Vintage: 2013
Price: $19.99. Purchased during BevMo 5 cent wine sale, so got two for one!
Alcohol content: 13.5%
When to drink: This Sauvignon is a good everyday drinker, if you like Lemon Drops! Actually, that’s a good idea, pair this wine with some sour patch kids and watch a funny movie on Netflix.

Whoops, That $37.50 Bottle of Wine Is Actually $3,750

The moral of this story, is always wear your glasses when ordering wine.

A diner at Bobby Flay Steakhouse in an Atlantic City casino was tasked with ordering a bottle of wine for his party of 10–a situation I often find myself in when nobody wants to take the plunge and do the ordering. He asked the waitress for a recommendation. She pointed to a 2011 Screaming Eagle, according to NJ.com.

The diner, Joe Lentini, who says he doesn’t know anything about wine, asked how much for the bottle. He didn’t have his glasses on so couldn’t see the price. She responded thirty-seven-fifty. The group discussed that was a reasonable price for a bottle, thinking she meant $37.50.

But when the bill came, they were shocked to see the real price: $3,750. They refused to pay that and the restaurant eventually lowered the price to $2,200. Some of the diners begrudgingly pitched in to cover the costs so they could get out of there.

Courtesy NJ.com

Courtesy NJ.com

The 2011 Screaming Eagle from Napa Valley has an average price of $1,900 at retail stores, according to wine-searcher.com.

As for the Borgata Casino, EVP Joseph Lupo told NJ.com that his staff did nothing wrong and followed standard practice.

“We simply will not allow the threat of a negative story that includes so many unaccounted and questionable statements to disparage our integrity and standards, which Borgata takes great pride in practicing every day,” Lupo said.