Virgin Vines Shiraz / Syrah (2007) red – California

November 16, 2011
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What a DAY!  Everything seemed to go wrong today . . . I’m SO glad work is OVER!

This morning the shower leaked (which I had to fix), my phone fell behind the piano and my bicycle had a flat so I had to take my spare, running late I picked the wine without even looking at the label and peddled off to the office.

Things went wrong at the office all day and I barely made the boat.

AMAZING!  What a wonderful surprise . . . I want to get away and the wine is Virgin Vines Shiraz / Syrah (2007) a red from California.  The label resembles Virgin Airlines!

I know this wine will take me and my friends away from troubles and make our day better!

We sail at 5:30 from the San Francisco Ferry Building for Sausalito and we pop the cork.  As the voyage progresses our prospective changes from the city to the San Francisco Bay and then the view of the Pacific Ocean.  We see the ships sailing in and out to exotic locals.  What strange and exciting cargo do they bring.  I remember the song “Mule Train” with a long list of (looking at an attractive young and vivacious tourist from South Asia and can’t help but think of the “dress of Calico for the Pretty Navaho”).

Too soon we’re docking in Sausalito and we must come off our cruise across the bay remembering tomorrow we do the same again!

Life is Good!

Cheers, Willy

Bought at Cost Plus / World Market

NOTE:  Syrah and Shiraz are the same grapes

Virgin Vines Shiraz / Syrah - 2007 - red California

 

Rene Barbier – Mediterranean Red – Catalunya (non-vintage blend) Spain

November 15, 2011
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Rain, rain, rain . . . the weather is changing and San Francisco winter is HERE!  Time for a nice chewy red (when your mouth holds the wine you know it isn’t water).

We make our way up to the top deck and the boat gets under way.  The heaters are on and we’re under cover on the top deck.

We pop the cork and the wine is ready to drink . . . this is a nice soft red but still with body to enjoy.  We cruise by Alcatraz and we’re ready for a second glass.  We have just enough to make a small second pour.  This is a popular wine!

As we pass the notorious island we notice the end of the rain is passing and heading east and we can see clear skies through the Golden Gate framing the famous bridge . . . what a site.

What a magnificent commute.

When we dock in Sausalito it seems a shame the commute has ended!

Life is Good!

Cheers, Willy

Available from Cost Plus / World Market

Rene Barbier - Mediterranean Red - Catalunya (non-vintage) Spain

 

Rex Goliath – Cabernet Sauvignon (red) California – non-vintage

November 14, 2011
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Hurrah!  My niece is here.  She just got a job here down the street from the Ferry Building and is staying with us until she can find an apartment.  She’s one of the smartest people I know and absolutely happy with the world.  She has lived all over the world and just moved from Europe.

She’s always looking at the world for wonderful sights and experiences.  Boy are we ready to give one . . . She’s going to be on The World’s Best Commute with a party every day, The 5:30 Sausalito Ferry the San Francisco Ferry Building.  She’s working for a web publisher and does video.  For opening there’s a wonderful big, bold California Cabernet Sauvignon (red) by Rex Goliath, a non-vintage wine absolutely ready to drink but it can be stored for while.

Today the boat is absolutely loaded with tourists who are enjoying themselves immensely.  They appear to be college students and they’ve obviously slipped the leash and are Party Animals!

We open the bottle and we share it around.  My niece raises her eyebrows and asks, “Is this really less than $5 a bottle?”.

We laugh since we’ve had this wine before and many buy it regularly for home consumption . . . We all nod our heads and say “Definitely!”

We enjoy the run watching the sunset through the Golden Gate with the Bridge in silhouette.

The trip is over too soon, a fun time was had by all.

Life is Good!

Cheers, Willy

 

 

Looking today!

October 6, 2011
admin

My taste buds can’t believe it! I’ve tasted half a dozen wines today, some under $5 and all under $10 . . . and all wonderful!

We truly live in a wonderful time.  The slow economy and the 2011 harvest are creating opportunities for purchases of good wine at GREAT prices!

Finding a good wine is becoming easier every day.  While many stores and the mainstream brands raise prices there as so many new purveyors of wine that you can do very well indeed!

BE BRAVE!  When you see a value wine give it a try.  My experience is that 70% of the time it’s eminently drinkable.

Life is good!

Cheers, Willy

Posted in: Good Other Stuff

 

Real Matlatl – Mezcal 100% Agave

October 5, 2011
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Sipping slowly with our eyes closed to maximize the pleasure we savor the smokey, smokey smoothness!  This is a rare and fabulous treat for us and we live a VERY good life!

Some representatives for a Real Mezcal from Mexico have joined us today.  As expected for such a classy organization they are the gracious, warm and as the French say, Tres Elegent!

They have brought us some of the new Mezcal they are producing.  As with all new libations we discreetly look at the back of the bottle . . . There it is!  The easy way to identify a product the maker is proud of!  The erudite essay of manufacture, the love, care and affection poured into each bottle! This label certainly meets the criteria!

We’re on the 5:30 Sausalito Ferry commute from The San Francisco Ferry building.  We have short time before the ferry sails and use it to visit a transitory, unique item the Raygun Gothic Rocketship adjacent to Pier 2 and have a glass of wine to prepare us for the trip across the bay.

We board the boat and everyone is impressed by the congenial addition to our commute.   We share small tastes of this wonderful elixir (accompanied by the warning at 92 proof it’s 20% stronger than most distilled spirits). Everyone is wonderfully impressed with the sample and vows to purchase.  Favorable comparisons are made with Single Malt Scotch!

The addition to our group are charming and amusing and far, far too soon the ride is over and our arrival in Sausalito occurs.  We part and with exclamations of joy and gratitude for making today very, very special.

Life is good.

Cheers, Willy

 

Berringer White Zin 2010 (white, blush, sweet)

October 4, 2011
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A hot day in San Francisco & I’m running low on white wine!  No time to panic or to get something else.

I’m on my way to the Sausalito Ferry which sails from the San Francisco Ferry Building at 5:30.

I’ve got a bottle I picked up at Target out of curiosity, I’ll take that and pack it in a FedEx Padded Envelope with some blue ice!  This bottle is Berringer White Zinfandel 2010 . . . Berrigner is a respectable brand by under $5 at Target and Safeway makes me skittish.

I quickly pack this and some cups and off I go.

When I arrive at ferry boat and we’re seated I open the bottle.  We pass it around and all remark on the brand . . . I haven’t told them it’s provenance (where I bought it).  It’s nicely chilled in the Padded FedEx Envelope (free and fairly good insulation!).

We open and pour.  Definitely okay!  It’s a little sweet but it does have flavor and goes down easy right after opening!  We sit and enjoy the highly unusual warmth as the ferry crosses the San Francisco Bay and the tourists enjoy themselves.

Life is Good!

Cheers, Willy

Bought at Target, also available at Safeway and Ralph’s.

 

 

Berringer White Zinfindel 2010 (blush, sweet, white)

 

La Castella Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) (red) 2009

October 3, 2011
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Sailing Time!  I’m late for the boat!  Thank goodness for the bicycle tourists.  158 bicycles today and the Sausalito Ferry is late unloading at the San Francisco Ferry Building!

It’s a picture perfect day . . . and every tourist stops and takes a photo of the SAN FRANCISCO sign on top of the Ferry Building.  Meanwhile, us commuters patiently await while the aggressively dressed hard bodied young tourist girls.  Today seems that Asia is the source of thin and willowy girl tourists with giggles like silver bells in the sunlight speaking a mixture of Japanese, Chinese and Tagalog . . . The last group on our commute was from Northern Europe, blonde, blonde and and occasional redhead with the throaty, hearty laughter speaking German, and Swedish!

As gracious regular riders of the Sausalito Ferry from the San Francisco Ferry Building we offer to take their picture . . . it’s so easy to be hospitable to beautiful girls whose laughter is a balm for even the most tired and care worn soul.

We live in the destination for beautiful gorgeous young women!

Tonight we’re trying a new wine, La Castella Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) (red) 2009.  Before the boat casts off we open the bottle with a highly audible POP!  The young tourists look at us and smile.  We pour a libation in our commute group . . . a wonderful and soft wine ready to drink immediatey.  Very drinkable.

We enjoy the ride and the scenery around the boat and on the bay.

Life is Good!

Cheers, Willy

Available at BevMo at 2nd bottle for $0.05.

La Castella Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) red - 2009

 

FLASH! How to buy great wine at cheap, Cheap, CHEAP! Recharacterization

September 30, 2011
admin

Wine Re-characterization – What is it & Why do I care?

Psst!  Wanna buy some great wine at a HUGE discount?  This can be the REAL DEAL!

Now is the time to visit the wine shops!  This includes your local wine shop and liquidators such as BevMo and trader Joe’s!

The reason is that wonderfully magic thing wine makers do . . . Re-Characterization!

Every year at this time wineries run into TROUBLE!  They have too much wine!  The new grapes are crushed and fermented and the wine is going into storage (aging).  HOWEVER, they likely too much have wine from last year!  Every year there is tax due on wine in storage and the storage costs money!

Some of the wine is mediocre or even bad and some of it is GREAT and everything in between.  The winery generally does what is called RE-CLASSIFICATION . . . a fancy word for SELL CHEAP!  Some of it goes to brokers who bottle it as a weird label (2 Buck Chuck, Benefactor, etc.).

Another is they aging barrels and tanks . . . the bottom and top have grape debris and taste slightly different.  Most wineries bottle it and sell it with strange label.  I remember one major winery selling it for under $3 and it was WONDERFUL

Go to look for the small run bottles over the next month . . . and enjoy!

Cheers, Willy

Life is good.

 

Caves du Fournalet – Red – Cotes du Rhone

September 29, 2011
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When you’re on the San Francisco Bay, it’s always sweatshirt weather… at it’s warmest.  Today looks like a typical day so’ we’ve got our sweatshirts and jackets ready!

It’s August and we’re riding the 5:30pm ferry across the bay home from work . . . the worlds BEST commute! The sun shines down on us as we watch the fog roll over the hills of Marin to the sound of clinking glasses, laughter with everybody have a nice time. This is just simply WONDERFUL! The wind blows through the bustling conversation among the usual tourists, commuters and friends as we pass Alcatraz and the opening of the Bay to the North Pacific.

The Golden Gate was named centuries ago after it’s appearance during  sunset, the whole opening turns golden!  If you watch carefully and the sun is going down when the ferry cruises across the sun reflects off the structure and for a brief moment the bridge appears to be made of gold!

I reach into my briefcase and pull out my bottle of Caves du Fournalet Cotes du Rhone. Cheers are raised!  This is our second bottle of wine tonight but the group is large and the party strong.  With a loud POP the bottle is opened and the wine is ready . . . this doesn’t need to breath to eliminate any off flavors!

This is a nice chewy red – ready to drink right after we open it but with some substance and this nice red warms you right up. We pour a round and savor the momemt – today, the world is good.

Cotes du Rhone (red), Caves du Fournalet, 2009

Cotes du Rhone, Caves du Fournalet, 2009

 

Epicuro – Nero d’Avola (red) 2009


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Party up, Party Down . . . Party time!

It’s a Birthday on a foggy, foggy day.  San Francisco is at it’s best.  the fog at ground level with the TransAmerica Pyramid sticking out!  The top of the Golden Gate Bridge emerges from the fog.

The party is on the 5:30  ferry from the San Francisco Ferry Building to Sausalito – Our regular commute, the world’s BEST commute!

We have a wine suitable for the occasion, Epicuro – Nero d’Avola (red) 2009.  This is a nice chewy red, not as heavy as cote de Rhone but still not a light wine.

One of us stopped at the bakeries in the Ferry Building, we have a beautiful cupcake for the tradition minded and a Cheese Wheel roll from Acme Bread for the more adventurous!

We open the bottle and the wine is good from the first pour.  After singing the appropriate song, we toast the birthday boy and cut the cupcake and Cheese Wheel!

Life is good!

Cheers, Willy

From Trader Joe’s

Epicuro (red) Nero d'Avola 2009

 

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