Archive for the ‘Good Other Stuff’ Category

Looking today!

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

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

Real Matlatl – Mezcal 100% Agave

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

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

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

Friday, September 30th, 2011

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.

How to pick a bottle of value wine!

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

There are times I walk into a store and need a bottle for something – a party, a work function, or maybe just for myself.  When traveling it can particularly difficult to find a good wine, many times I don’t speak the language enough to even read the label!

Most markets and stores have 100’s (say 300) wines.  Often the clerks’ only skills are limited to using a box cutter and a bar code reader.

QUESTION:  How can  you be reasonably sure that a wine is decent?


You can pick a good wine in under 3 minutes . . . even if everything is in a language you don’t speak!

Look for 3 things:

1.) Price!  Why beat around the bush, this is IMPORTANT!  Scan the selves, look for the cheapest wine and add a couple of bucks to set the range. If you want to go higher end so you don’t look cheap, double the number!

CONGRATULATIONS, you eliminated 90% of store’s selection!  That leaves~ 30 wines of 300 to choose from.

2.) Next – heavy or light? – Heavy alcohol is 12%+ and light is 11% or less.  If it’s cold or a young crowd go heavy, if it’s warm or older crowd go light.  We’re now down to say 20 bottles (some will fall in the middle).

3.) “It Factor” – Now we’re down to the last choice.  Look at the BACK of bottle.  Is there an essay on the wine (maybe a picture of wine maker?)  GREAT! The people making are proud of their product!  Usually any of these is good.

Put them all in the cart, eyeball them and pick the one that strikes your fancy!

Open & Enjoy!

========>>> SHORTCUT! Look at people’s shopping carts, if you see several people with the same wine – that’s likely a good wine!

How to buy 2 buck Chuck

Friday, December 24th, 2010

One of the great deals (sometimes) is Charles Shaw (2 buck Chuck).  The quality is a roller coaster.

The less fashionable the variety, the better chance it’s good.

Whites:  Chardonnay is almost always only worth the 2 bucks.  Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio / Pinot Gris (same wine but stored slightly differently) tends to be pretty good.

Reds:  Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot tend to be lower end. Better chances lie with Barbera, Syrah / Shiraz (same wine), etc.

1.  Check the lot # on the boxes and if they have a lot you have a chance.