Archive for the ‘Red Wine’ Category

Delicato Merlot (red) – 2008

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Monday!  Off to work!  The weekend is over and it’s time to plan today’s party!

Time to pick the wine for the party, THE important part of the commute home after work!  To make Monday morning easier I spend time selecting the wine to pack.

Today is expected to be cool and windy . . . a typical day on the San Francisco Bay.

My commute is GREAT!  I take the Sausalito Ferry from the San Francisco architectural gem, the Ferry Building.  We have 1/2 an hour to open and drink our wine.

What is needed is a nice soft red.  This means drinkable and goes down easy.

The long anticipated end of the day arrives.  We board the boat and time to PARTY!  We immediately head for the top deck and take the seats in the middle . . . we know we can see just fine from the inside and tourists want to sit at the edge.  Tonight is one of the magnificent, perfect evenings that brings gasps from the tourists.  The sun is shining on the bay and the bottom of the Golden Gate Bridge is shrouded in fog with the towers protruding above the fog.  The tourists are shooting pictures . . . as a courtesy several of us offer to photograph the couples trading holding the camera.  We frame the picture in the stern with the Life Ring with the name of the boat, the couple and the bridge, and the headlands or Alcatraz, whichever we know will be more dramatic.

It’s the least we can do to make them feel welcome  as they share the world’s greatest commute!  Watching and helping people enjoy themselves is wonderful.

We tell them some of the good photos . . . get the sign at the Sausalito Dock that says “Welcome to Sausalito” and the return trip to San Francisco with the ferry Building “San Francisco” sign.  We

We don’t decant, or let our wine breath . . . sometimes we do use a wine that’s good after it’s Gasped (any off taste is gone in under 5 minutes).

This does need a minute or 2 after it’s opened but that’s all.

We have our wine and watch the people and the view.

Life is good!

Cheers, Willy

Purchased from BevMo.

Delicato Merlot

Delicato Merlot

 

Challis Lane Merlot (red) – 2009

Friday, September 16th, 2011

The clock moves SO-O-O slow!

It’s Friday after a very long week with lots of stress and now almost quitting time and I have to admit that today I’m a clock watcher . . .

I remember by Junior High School Teacher’s note under the clock in his room “Time will pass; Will YOU?”

Tonight we’re going to have one of our regular wines, .Challis Lane Merlot (red) – 2009.

We’ll drink this wine on the Sausalito Ferry with runs between the San Francisco Ferry Building and Sausalito, California.  I don’t care what some silly rating agency says, this is THE party boat in the world.  I’ve ridden the Star Ferry in Hong Kong and OURS IS BETTER!

 

 

Challis Lane Merlot (red) - 2009

Black Oak Pinot Noir (red) 2009

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Hurray!  I survived another day of drudgery at my place of employment!

Now for my favorite part of the day . . . my commute!  I ride the 5:30 ferry from San Francisco to Sausalito which is 30 minutes of party, Party, PARTY!  We’re the most non-exclusive group . . . limited only by the number of cups!

The sun may be shining but it is typical San Francisco weather . . . cool and windy . . . many call it sweatshirt climate.  We drink a lot of red wine and tonight fits the bill.

To accommodate the weather we have a bottle of Black Oak Pinot Noir (red) 2009.

We open the bottle and the pop the cork brings smiles to everyone . . . anticipation has set in!  We happily distribute glasses with anticipation and then we pour the wine, passing the bottle from hand to hand.

We taste and savor the 1st sip.

This is nice and soft and the high alcohol warms us right up.  It goes down easy and everyone is quite delighted.

We party on, we have our glass of cheer and finish the ride with a much better attitude.

Life is good!

Cheers, Willy.on.Wine

Black Oak Pinot Noir (red) 2009

Gaitano D’Auino – Montepulciano D’Abruzzo (red) – 2009

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

I need a wine for the worlds greatest commute – our ferry ride from San Francisco to Sausalito . . . the weather is forecast as cold, wet with wind.  A typical foggy, foggy day on the San Francisco Bay.  No cat feet for San Francisco fog, the local name for one canyon says it all, Hurricane Gulch!

We’re on a hunt, an expedition for just the right thing.  We need  a nice chewy red that will go down easy.  Something that will fight off the foggy, foggy dew!

Eureka!  Just the thing!

A Montepulciano and one from Abruzzo (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)!  I’m walking thru the wine section and see one of my favorites grapes and from it’s best region.  I’ve never had a bad Montepulciano!  This one I save for a brisk commute on the Sausalito Ferry.  We open and pour around the group – as expected there are smiles throughout!

We don’t even make to Alcatraz passage before it’s gone!  We pour our second round!  It’s just as good as we remember!

Feel free to buy and enjoy!

Cheers!

Gaitano D'Aquino - Montepulciano D'Abruzzo (red)

Round Hill Merlot (red) 2008

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Its a picnic! We’re off to Marin Headlands for a picnic! We’ll watch sailboats flying thru the Golden Gate, the freighters and tankers steaming with cargoes from exotic climes and fishing boats with all those people who have the bumper stickers saying, “I’d rather be fishing”. For the kids we’re bringing kites and a bird guide.

We’ll be up at the picnic tables at Battery Wallace. The view is fantastic but the wind is strong (kids love the kites!) and soaring birds (hawks, seagulls, vultures, etc.) hang in the air currents there – a beautiful sight at a beautiful site!

We know the weather will be chilly so we need a red wine. I decide we should try the 2008 Merlot by Round Hill.

I’m a little suspicious of the Round Hill since they have a prominent logo for “Committed to Sustainability” – many times an indication of bad wine by putting a politically correct label (like “educational” toy).

However, I’m very pleasantly surprised that the contents of the bottle is very drinkable.  Soft, ready to drink at opening, a good aftertaste (what wine people call ‘finish’).  Not a peppery as a Zinfandel but a little warmth.

All in all a good time was had by all (including the seagulls).

Round Hill Merlot (red) 2008

Black Oak Shiraz / Syrah (red) – 2006

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

It’s the end of summer and Labor Day is upon us here is San Francisco.  The weather matches Mark Twain’s description . . . “The Coldest Winter I ever had was a Summer in San Francisco!”.

My sister is flying in from Sun Valley, Idaho and is meeting  with some of her buddies while I finish the work day.  She flies in and comes to my office.

My sister is very elegant.  She  has the perfect posture and carriage from her training as a dancer.  Her perfectly quaffed  blond hair is always paired with the most stylish of wide brimmed hats.  She lives and works in Sun Valley where fashion is important and the sun can be brutal . . . and she stands out for being chic and a vision of perfection, including her signature hats!

We park her bags under my desk and off she goes to her meetings.    She’s really good at mixing work and friendship . . . her friends are also the people she does business with.  It makes her life so much fun to mix the two up – friends and co-workers!

When 5 o’clock rolls around she’s back and we head off for the ferry.  My sister is FREEZING!  She digs out a Sun Valley summer jacket from her bag and she’s STILL cold.  I know just the cure . . . the nice red wine for the commute home.

I’ve packed a regular ferry wine, Black Oak Shiraz / Syrah (red) – 2006.  NOTE:  Shiraz and Syrah are different names for the same grape.

We’ve already decided that rather than deal with the Golden Gate Bridge at rush hour we’ll just take the ferry to Sausalito and my wife has agreed to pick us up in Sausalito.

We get on the boat and the ferry crew flirts with my sister outrageously . . . she obviously enjoys the attention.  We go up to the top deck and meet my regular commute party gang.  We open the bottle and share.  It’s a nice soft wine and it is shared out among the gang.  My sister becomes the center of attention and charms everyone!

Before we know it we’re in Sausalito and everyone is sad to have the ride come to an end.

A very successful commute party indeed!

Black Oak Shiraz / Syrah (red) 2006

Alandra Red – Blend, non-vintage – Pot Luck wine!

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Party, party , party!  We’re off to a pot luck party!  One of my wife’s buddies is THE pot luck party animal!  She does one a month and they’re FUN!  The secrets to having a good experience are

  • Have a ‘spark plug’ person who loves to be social (our buddy)
  • Bring something you like and present it well

Our assignments at this back yard barbeque are a fruit salad (my wife) and a bottle of wine (me).

We know that these will sit outside so must be temperature safe.

We picked up a 2 gallon glass punch bowl that’s perfectly cylindrical at a garage sale.  My wife slices a fruit without a core (kiwi, orange, etc.) and stacks them around the edge as she fills the bowl with regular fruit salad.  This presents very well.

My assignment is the wine.   I decide on Alandra Red, one of the under priced Portuguese red wines.  Perfect for the back yard event.

A nice soft red, ready to drink but improves after breathing for 10 minutes. One serves the wine at room temperature.  Can keep a while (year or 2) but no improvement with age.

We arrive at party and get a big hug from my wife’s buddy, the music is going and we dance, dance, dance!  The wine loosens every one up and the fruit salad is SO refreshing when we get heated up!

Great fun was had by all!

Alandra Red

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?

ANSWER:

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!

Benefactor Cellars – Cabernet Sauvignon (red) – 2010

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

PARTY TIME!  We’re commuting on the ferry boat from San Francisco to Sausalito, THE PARTY BOAT! We have a 30 minute ride from start to finish. As we always do we have a nice wine that can go from corked to empty and is good. The Benefactor Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon certainly meets this requirement.  We’re enjoying the ride when suddenly we slow down . . . there’s a HUGE container ship in our way.  We do a little loop-de-loop and proceed.  This is now summer and with all the tourists the boat is behind schedule and I know the captain and crew want to make up time and this is NOT helping.

We start to enter Richardson Bay, the ‘slow down’ buoy, and then we do another loop-de-loop.  Is it a race?  We ask the ever helpful crew who say there’s a problem at the dock.  Another ferry has broken the lines and can’t get away from the dock.  We circle around and around.  Eventually we make to the dock.  Even then we have to wait while the crew jury rigs a set of lines allow the passengers to disembark and board.

We should have brought 2 more bottles!

For under $5 a bottle we have a wine that is ready to drink right after you pop the cork and is fun.

Benefactor Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (red)

Challis Lane Old Vine Zinfandel (red) – 2008

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

It’s a windy night on the San Francisco Bay. I’ve had to work late and I want a wine to share with my overtime buddies on the Sausalito Ferry. It will be chilly and dark tonight so I pick the Challis Lane Old Vine Zinfandel (2008).  This is kind of picante (pepper hot) and warm us up.  I like this because it’s a soft wine and ready to drink right after opening . . . unusual with Zinfandel, especially Old Vines.

I usually take the 5:30 PM Sausalito Ferry but tonight I’m on the 6:45 PM.  I wonder, “Who’s going to be there?”

Hurrah!  There are more tonight than on many of 5:30 run!  We open the bottle and pass it around.  Everyone is ready to party . . . this is NOT the work boat, this is the PARTY boat.  The warmth spreads through our bodies and loosens up the crowd.  We have a GREAT TIME!

Challis Lane - Old Vine Zinfandel (red) - 2009