Monday, September 10, 2007

New Blog!!!

If you are looking for the old RIwineguy, he's moved and is now the CTwineguy at!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Moving Day

I think tomorrow I will be moving the site to, so please be prepared and look for me there! Hey that rhymed!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Big Business Wine

Today, control of two well respected wineries began the process of changing hands. Warren Winiarski's Stag's Leap Wine Cellars was sold to Washington's Ste. Michelle Estate and Tuscan Piero Antinori. Winiarski's rose to fame when his 1973 Cabernet (his first vintage at his winery) was triumphant at the famed 1976 Paris tasting. He began his career learning the winemaking trade at places such as Robert Mondavi Winery, Souverain Winery, and under famed winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff at Beaulieau Vineyards. Warren has stated that he simply felt it was time for his family to sell the winery. Will this mean a change in quality at SLWC? I don't think so. While Ste. Michelle Estates is a big boy in the wine business now, they wouldn't want to tarnish the image of SLWC and start making poorer duality wine. Warren feels that selling the winery to the Antinori-Michelle partnership is leaving everything in good hands. He also explained that they had been discussing this move for the past ten years, so it was definitely not a snap decision. The price tag? A cool $185 million.

The other transition occurred at Duckhorn Wine, Co. (who also own Paraduxx and Goldeneye). Margaret and Don Duckhorn founded the winery that grew thanks to 80 some odd investors, of which many were now looking to cash out. In stepped GI Partners from Menlo, California, and London. They purchased enough interest in the company for some original investors to head out. GI's interest in the company is now considered a "controlling investment." Enough to have some pull in the company obviously. Katie and I throughly enjoyed Goldeneye's Anderson Valley Pinot Noir at our Victoria and Albert's dinner last December. I also love the Paraduxx, a blend of Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.

I also enjoyed a nice weekend of fishing off Martha's Vineyard this past Saturday and Sunday. A special thank you to my father-in-law for taking me and Dean and Merrill for the good company. I had an excellent time bringing in my first Striper! Till next time..."I suspect the Nargles are behind it."--Luna Lovegood

Monday, July 23, 2007

Coming Full Circle

The big news tonight is the return of Jon Lester to the mound for the Boston Red Sox. If Jon gives up 7 runs in 3 and two thirds innings, or fans 6 over 7 innings of solid work, it won't matter. Jon is already a winner in my mind and always will be. This time last year, Jon was the hot new kid on the block. The young lefty blazed his way to the majors and became a stalwart in the rotation. I had the pleasure of watching him one-hit the Royals last year over 8 innings. Lester was penciled in to be a contributing member of the Sox rotation for the next ten years easy. It was last August when things took a dramatic turn for Jon. After being placed on the DL with back pain, tests soon reviled what had thought to have been soreness from a car accident was actually anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Lester soon began treatment and later that year was declared cancer free. Jon had to continue his diligence this year as he regained his strength and form in Single A Greenville and Triple A Pawtucket. But tonight, Jon has probably locked up the comeback player of the year award (at least in my book) by striding to the mound tonight at Jacob's Field.

On a food and wine note, we dined this weekend at The Homeport in Menemsha on Martha's Vineyard. This restaurant is well publicized as serving over 1,000 lobsters a day during the summer months. Being a dry town, we brought along some of our own selections. First up with apps was Four Vines Naked Chradonnay, one of Katie's personal favorites. I have probably mentioned this before, but Naked refers to the lack of aging in Oak. This wine spect all itys time in stainless steel and really shows Chardonnays true colors. With entrees we had a 2005 Elk Cove Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon (Where else!). While still young, the Elk Cove demonstrated just what Oregon Pinot is, earthy, medium bodied, and not overpowering on the fruit. An absolute pleasure to sip. Homeport has a simple menu. Choose an entree or platter, and then select from a choice of apps, salads, and desserts. I opted for the deep fried fisherman's platter. I started with smoked bluefish pate that was unbelievable. The smoke flavor blended just right with the richness of the fish. The platter arrived and I was overwhelmed. I had a 1/2 to 3/4 pound lobster, fried shrimp, fried scallops, fried oyster, a piece of fried fish, and French fries. That night I thought my stomach was going to rupture and seep seafood goodness over all my organs. The food was delicious, classic New England cuisine with no frills. Katie had the Menemsha swordfish that was also stomach bursting in proportions. My only complaint was the lobster could have been a bit more tender, but all in all it was great. Prices are amazingly reasonable for so much food on the Vineyard, and the service was very nice, cautiously steering me away from the cole slaw in favor of the simple green salad with vegetables. It is definitely worth a visit, but be prepared for a slightly noisy evening as large families were typical and it is not a candle light dinner type of place. Till next time..."The world is my lobster."--Henry J. Tillman

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Phacing our Phobias

We all have our fears. Spiders, bees, and ghosts tend to top most lists. Mine starts with those slithery, serpentine, scoundrels we call snakes. They're villainous and vile, the way they slide everywhere with a cockiness that shows no apparent care for what others think of them. I joke with my nature campers that the reason snakes have no legs is one day they woke up and decided they were too good for them. Clearly, based on the photo at hand, I am trying to overcome said fear of snakes. This was me and my new friend Don Juan today. Don is a six foot black rat snake that seemed to enjoy coiling around my arm and using that disgusting forked tongue of his to tickle my arm. About now, my few (very few) readers are asking themselves, what does this have to do with wine. Well, I had a cool picture of me with a snake I wanted to post. But now I try to to tie it in to wine. The fact is, most of us have certain fears in the wine world. When I didn't know a lot about wine I was afraid people would think I was a moron and couldn't tell Cab from Pinot. I used to have a fear that people would try to make look like a fraud by asking over the top wine questions (till I realized "I don't really know" is not a bad answer). Now I confide in you my biggest fear, Italian wine. When I enter a wine shop it's the one aisle I don't even glance at. Give me Cali, Give me France, Aussie and NZ, but dear Lord keep away from Chianti. I know enough to get by in a conversation of Italian wines, but there are so many grapes, and so many regions, and such a complex industry, that Italian wine makes IRS Tax forms look like connect the dots. So today, I am making a solemn vow to face that fear. With Don Juan as my reminder, I am going to take on Italian wines head first, or maybe tail. So I ask my few loyal readers, what's your biggest wine phobia? Is it a certain varietal, region, or just wine situation in general. Till next time..."Snakes, I hate snakes!"--Indiana Jones

P.S.-I managed to handle three different snakes today!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

No one flys higher than the Bird

After planting my new tree, Steve, I escaped from the heat to relax in the artificially cooled environment of my bedroom. Flipping through the channels I stumbled on "Larry Bird's 50 Greatest Moments" on NBA TV. The first thing that struck me was how many athletes, from any sport or era, even have 50 greatest moments. Every highlight they showed was mesmerizing, inspiring, and chilling. By the end of the show I had cheered, laughed, and cried. My heart skipped a few beats and at points I was breathless. I never fully appreciated Larry when I was growing up, but was fortunate enough to watch those last few painful years for him and his back. Perhaps the most chilling moment was in the 1991 first round playoffs against the Pacers. Near the end of the second quarter, Bird crashed into the floor diving for a loose ball. He left the game with a concussion. As the second half started a stunned Boston Garden crowd watched Chuck Person and the Pacers start to pull away. Then, with TV cameras quickly beside him, Bird jogged out of the locker room and into the Garden in the third quarter. To say the place erupted is an understatement. The aging, yet infallible Bird, reached the bench as the crowd's cheers reached an apex. He entered the game and finished with 32 points and a Celtics victory in the series. As I reminisced this legend (which may be an understatement) I began thinking of other sport stars who have ventured into winemaking. Because, yes, Larry Bird makes wine. Larry Bird has paired with one of my favorites, Cosentino Winery, to create a Legends series of wines. Which I would love to get my hands on some, or maybe receive as a gift (wink, wink). Perhaps the most recognizable and successful sports wine venture is that of Greg Norman. The Shark, as he was known in the golfing world, has created a Australian and Californian based wine division that turns out excellent quality juice. The lower level wines are a good value, and some of his higher end selections have been award winning. More notable in the New England area, is the new line of Red Sox charity wines. Longball Vineyards, a charity wine creation, has crafted three wines from Chile that benefit three charities fronted by Red Sox players. "Manny being Merlot" sales feed directly to the CHARLEE Program which provides therapeutic, residential, and supportive services to abused, abandoned, and neglected children. Tim Wakefield's "CaberKnuckle" Cabernet Sauvignon provides support to Pitching In for Kids, which benefits New England children through sports-related events. And Curt's "Schilling Chardonnay" benefits Curt's Pitch for ALS, which is dedicated to researching Lou Gehrig's Disease. These are just three examples of what has become an increasingly popular endeavor for sports stars with money to burn. As an old saying goes, to make a small fortune in the wine business, start with a large fortune. Well, till next time..."Larry, you only told me one lie. You said there will be another Larry Bird. Larry, there will never, ever be another Larry Bird."--Earvin "Magic" Johnson

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Ramblings of a cripple

As I sit here with my black Espresso Roast Folgers (I ran out of cream) I ponder just what this tar like cup of java is doing to my Gastric system as it seers through my organs. But on to wine! As my sister poignantly pointed out in my last entry, I have been slow and lax with new posts. So today's entry will be a round up of bottles and meals from the past few weeks. I believe the first on the table would be my father-in-law's 60th birthday. My mother-in-law rented a limo to take Katie, myself, Krislyn, Dan, and of course themselves to the new Ruth's Chris steakhouse in Providence. So I procured a bottle of 1996 Dom Perignon for the ride. Needless to say, Fred managed to splash himself with some very expensive bubbly when the cork erupted. When I read that aged vintage Champagne may taste biscuity, I laughed a little inside. But just like freaky Italian wines that taste like cured meats, this Champagne had a definitive taste of biscuits, it was absolutely phenomenal. Dinner was also superb. We had a window table looking out on the first Water Fire of the year. And the crab cakes were by far the best I have had! Katie's appetizer, Tuna I believe, was also well above par. The steaks were simply outstanding, easily the best steak I can remember. For wine we began with a Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, if you see it at a store near you, buy it, it will not disappoint. With entrees we tried a Rex Hill Pinot Noir from Oregon (of course!) and it was also extremely pleasing.

As soon as the school year wrapped up, Katie and I took off for Martha's Vineyard and Hillrest with Sonoma. While we had many nice meals, most notably sushi and beer at the Lookout, we ventured to Vineyard Haven with a bottle of 1998 Chateau Gruaud Larose from St. Julien. Our destination was Le Grenier (looselye translated: the attic). This traditional French restaurant is run by a kind man named Jean Dupon from Lyon, France. While the atmosphere was cozy, and I eyeballed the other patrons judging their every move (as always), service was prompt and attentive, but not above and beyond. The food was bountiful. I expected tiny appetizers and a skimpy entree. Instead, my escargot with tomatoes, garlic, tarragon, and cream were both savory and fulfilling. I asked for Jean's advice on choosing between the Filet Mignon and Venison, and we settled on the Venison, I was not disappointed. It was pounded down almost scallopini style and smothered with a red currant game sauce that was rich and flavorful. Katie's duck was almost enough for two, and we were served a large helping of cream of spinach family style. As well as deep fried mashed potatoes balls with the meat. And I almost forgot the baguette, the bread was the perfect compliment to the food. Not to mention a well aged Bordeaux that was light and smooth brought it all together. I would highly recommend making reservations for dinner there if you make out to Martha's Vineyard. But remember, Vineyard Haven is a dry town so bring your own bottle(s) of wine.

And I can't conclude this post with out another mention of Oregon wine. Last night we went to a picnic at my co-worker Laura's house. So we pulled out our bottle of 2004 Andrew Rich Cuvee B from Willamette Valley. This was the wine were we actually had Andrew himself explain his offerings at the Carlton Winemaker's Studio. It was a real treat to share this wine with some people who haven't really experienced Oregon Pinot. And while Lori's new man Don and I argued the merits of the movie Sideways, he seemed to enjoy this offering. Laura's man Doug really seemed to like how different it was from what he usually drinks. I relished in it's supple earthiness and berry flavors. That covers most of the bases for now, hopefully I can be more diligent with posting as new wines and dinners arise. Till next time..."Yeah, anyone can cook. That doesn't mean anyone should."--Remy

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Not Your Mother's Wine Tasting

Friday was clearly a success. A group of people got together to taste wine, and fun ensued. As you see below, I already mentioned the wines we were planning to taste. The two Chardonnays were both decent, and it seemed that people were split on the two. Both had gone through some Malolactic Fermentation, and the BV was smoother and less crisp in comparison to the Columbia Crest. The Pinots seemed to already be ranked for us, from worst to first. The MacMurray was flat and seemed watery. The Sebastiani was a step up. Much more fruit driven and pretty tasty. But the wine of the night appeared to be the Argyle. Asking around, most people chose it as their favorite. It was full flavored but nor overbearing, and hopefully a "gateway" wine into other Oregon Pinot for our guests. The crowd was much younger than before, which resulted in a more informal setting. I believe I described something that night as "F'ing Phenomenal," except I didn't abbreveiate the first word. After the five wines we plowed through some more bottles as a fire was lit outside in the fire pit. These included the Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, and the Willamette Valley Vineyards 2000 Signature Cuvee, which was simply divine. What began as innocent wine tasting turned into quite the late night party. And hopefully the neighbors didn't mind. We plan on having another tasting in the fall, but keep your eyes peeled for a mid to late summer get together just for kicks. We are off to Martha's Vineyard for the week tomorrow, but I'll be back posting about dinner at Ruth's Chris in Providence and any food and wine we consume on the vacation. Till next time..."You could dip your lobster in the wine."--comment on overly buttery Chardonnay

Friday, June 15, 2007

Tonight, Tonight

No, I am not going through a Smashing Pumpkins phase. Here is a quick rundown of wines for tonight's tasting. (although I am in the mood for a little 1979):

1. Columbia Crest Two Vines Columbia Valley Chardonnay

2. BV Coastal California Chardonnay

3. Sebastiani Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

4. MacMurray Ranch Central Coast Pinot Noir

5. Argyle Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Saturday, June 02, 2007

A to Zin: Round Two

The second Wine from A to Zin night is less than two weeks away. The date has been set for June 15th. And while it will be an eventful evening no matter what, I still haven't settled on a theme. I am currently leaning towards the Pacific Northwest, but Australia and New Zealand have intriguing as well. Katie mentioned a California vs. Pac-NW comparison tasting, but I think that would be too heavy on Reds. Same as last time, we'll provide the wine if guests are kind enough to provide some appetizers. We are looking forward to another fun and informative night with friends. If you haven't received the "evite" for the night, please leave a comment with your e-mail address here, and I will gladly forward it to you. And if you have a preference on what type of wine you would like (dry, sweet, white, red, even rosé) I'd be more than happy to try and accommodate. As soon as I have finalized a plan, you'll see it here first. Till next time... "[in French] I love the sea, so beautiful, so mysterious... so full of fish."--Luc, French Kiss