Friday, April 3, 2009

Profile Picture


My father told me that this picture was too grainy and looked like it was taken in a dimly lit holding cell. Quite the opposite...just setting up for my wine class at the Wine Lab in Newport Beach. The tasting bar and retail shop has warm lighting and the intimacy of a private wine cellar. I love teaching there.

Emeritus: To Earn By Service


Last night was the first time I've had Emeritus. It's a more masculine pinot than the Poppy. The 2006 Estate Bottle Russian River Valley pinot is a nicely concentrated wine with refreshing acidity. It clocks in a little high in alcohol (14+%) but that blows off and the rich fruit notes of black cherry and ripe raspberries step into the spotlight. This well balanced wine has the autumnal backdrop I am always looking for in a good pinot. Integrated, subtle New World pinots can be hard to come across.  You can tell Emeritus is made with the Burgundian appreciation of terrior and a graceful style in mind. Well done. 

Here is some info from their website:

The Emeritus Team farms the vineyards to exacting standards with only one goal: To produce a Pinot Noir of great distinction, a wine that reflects its vineyard heritage and embodies the spirit of the people who put the best of themselves into their work—a noble wine.

EMERITUS. (ē–mer´–i–tus), Latin, past participle of ēmerērī,to earn by service. The Emeritus Team has embarked on a quest for the quintessential Pinot—a new direction in California Pinot Noir.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Higher Road

I dream of the day the media reflects its attention on positive core human values like love, trust, respect, and charity. By turning the focus away from greed, dishonesty, fame, and wealth, attention will lose it's correllation to these negative behaviors. Until then, we will continue to artificially stimulate our minds and misguide powerful human energies. We are not destined to live depressed, uninspired lives. We have learned too many lessons as a species to let this happen. 

As hard as it is sometimes in our existing "connected, informed, and up-to-the-minute" world, try to take a deep breath and grasp onto a morsel of peace. Plant a flower. Savor a piece of fresh fruit. Go for a walk and smile at a stranger you pass. Pick up a piece of litter. Think about the taste of clean, cold water. Hug someone you care about. Snail mail a card. Tune into the sound and smell of sautéed garlic . Clean and polish your glass before you pour your wine (ok, that's me being a cork dork). Light a candle. Call someone who you know needs a listener. If the people and events we attend to are inspiring or fulfilling, we will lead happier lives. The end (of the higher road).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Brooklyn Go Hard

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7lqcw_jayz-brooklyn-go-hard-video-2dopebo_music

Pretty Pinot



I enjoyed a glass of this lovely wine last night at dinner with friends. Started the night with Aria cava which was also tasty.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Love Barolos

My main men...

Silvio Grasso, Bartolo Mascarello, Marcello and Bruno Ceretto, Aldo and Giacomo Conterno, Luciano Sandrone, Bruno Giacosa

CNBC

This station is best watched on mute. I agree with Jon Stewart that 17 hours of live business television is too much. It would be more beneficial to replay content-rich programs than listen to their reporters and traders make speculations by the minute. Yes, the business world moves fast but if there was that much to gain, with low risk, on an ultra micro level we'd all be day traders. (Maybe I'm missing something and day traders are cashing in in the long run. No one ever gets wiped out playing that game...or you never hear about it.)

In a perfect world, CNBC could educate viewers on macroeconomics and the relationship the "bigger picture" has to their daily (micro) reporting. We live an a world of instant gratification and quick fixes, so, at a time like this, patience is a true virtue. By calling attention to the fundamentals (a CNBC favorite word) of business cycles, this network could have a more calming "voice" and boost consumer confidence. Instead, CNBC can keep the day traders from getting wiped out like the rest of us and continue aggravating the long-term investors who have just lost 50% of their net worth. So, CNBC, how are you going to incentivize reinvestment in this hyper volatile stock market and global economy? I pose the question because in the past the media played a larger role than the balance sheets - and that's everyone's fault. TV is more fun than homework and we all had a lot of fun for awhile there. Hopefully, I'll want to turn the sound back on soon.

Monday, March 30, 2009

More Wine Networking and Education Websites





Past Recs (vol. 1)

Here are some wines I like (both price and producer!). Remember that people working in wineshops can make the best recommendations when you give them information about what wines you enjoy and how much you want to spend.

*****

Values by varietal (type of grape):

Cabernet Sauvignon:
Meyer Vineyards
Napa Valley
Dark rich and plush this cab is tightly focused with a long intense finish.

Cabernet Sauvignon:
Mantra
Alexander Valley
The Wine Exchange of Sonoma for $25

Grenache:
Outpost
Howell Mountain, Napa Valley
2005
Boasts deep garnet color with elements of espresso, roast chocolate blackberries, and smoky oak.

Shiraz:
St. Hallett
Barossa (Australia)
FAITH
2005
Beautiful ruby, concentrated color.  Drinks well young – powerful fruit notes of cherry and blackberry, supple tannins and silky texture. Tasted more cab like than shiraz to me – not too spicy or peppery with lots of dark fruit, hint of vanilla. Would buy again at $22 and serve to guests.
Whole Foods for $25

Sauvignon Blanc and Un-oaked Chardonnay:
Kim Crawford: out of New Zealand. Her wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel and always taste fresh, with tropical and citrus notes. Perfect everyday white and very well distributed. Save a few bucks and try Picton Bay's sauv blanc from Trader Joe's.

Pinot Noir:
Ramsay
North Coast, California
2006
13%
Outstanding value from legendary Napa winemaker Kent Rasmussen – blend of red fruit from the north coast counties (Pauli property in Mendocino and the Rasmussen Estate plot in Napa Carneros). Vibrant black cherry and raspberries with notes of black truffle and vanilla. Contact The Wine Exchange of Sonoma – could be worth buying 1/2 case or case to have at house if you’re partial to Pinot. 800-938-1794 email Dan Noreen at wineexsonoma@vom.com

Pinot Noir:
DRYSTONE
Berridge Vineyard Estates
Central Otago, New Zealand
2003
14%
Nice little "value" pinot. And some Trader Joe's have Castle Rock Mendocino County pinot for $10. Very pretty - rose water, raspberries, strawberries, slightly autumnal.

Pinot Noir:
Sineann
Covey ridge vineyard
Willamette Valley, Oregon
2007
14.6%
Bob and Marilyn Senko's vineyard
Richly concentrated for a pinot. Notes of dark chocolate, black cherry, spicy (baking) aromatics and sweet black fruits. Smoothe for its high alcohol content. 
Whole Foods for $46

Petit Syrah:
Guenoc
Lake County
2005
13.5%
Guenoc Valley winery is a 35 mile estate that straddles Napa and Lake Counties.
Silky, inky, dense petit syrah. Another great wine from Trader Joe's in the $11-15 price range.

Cabernet Sauvignon:
Liberty School
Paso Robles
2005
Personally think it’s the best value cab I’ve bought. I like Robert Hall to which is also a cab out of Paso and at a similar price point. 
Whole Foods for $17 and Trader Joe's for $12.

Zinfandel:
Peachy Canyon Winery
“Incredible Red”
Paso Robles
2006
“Incredible Red” is a great Zinfandel for everyday enjoyment.  Excellent with a variety of foods from peppered steak to pasta.
Trader Joe’s for $12

Merlot:
Hall
Napa Valley
14.5%
2004
Soft but engaging merlot. Not sure its worth the Napa price premium, but that's just me caring less about brand and more about TASTE.

Pinot Gris:
Sineann
Oregon
2007
13%
The closest New World pinot gris I've taste to Alsace (my weakness). In Peter Sineann's humble words: "It would be great to be able to take credit for how this wine turned out. In the winery we are meticulously selective, press lightly and then keep our hands off. That's about as far as we go. All the other wonderful qualities of this wine, the elevating aromatics, the broad, rich palate, the long, lingering finish come out of the vineyards."
Wine Lab in Newport Beach for $17

Wine Events in (almost) Every City

http://www.localwineevents.com/be_notified.php

Champagne Website

http://www.champagneguide.net

Morning

I've always kept a journal, but privately. As a new "blogger", I'll do my best to appropriately use this new technology to stay in better touch with family and friends...and more actively experience the (scarily) strong bond more and more humans have with computers. I'm heading out for a morning walk around Ocean Avenue in Corona Del Mar. It's two blocks from my house here and one of the most peaceful/exhilarating moments of the day. For at least ten breaths I will consciously inhale the sweet ocean air to beyond my lungs capacity. Then slowly exhale with restraint - a proper balance of patiently coming to the end of this ultra-sensory breath and beginning the next one.