Tag Archives: wine

Corrupt Power

Ohio limits an individuals wine purchases to 288 bottles a year.  On its face, an unreasonable limit and a gross overstepping of governmental power.   But why limits?

The bottom line is this: Government agents will not break down your door if you bring home that 25th case of Two Buck Chuck. But if you order more than 24 cases of wine in a year and have it delivered directly to your door from a winery, you could face a fine.

State legislators added the purchase limit in 2007 (and amended it in 2008 to clarify the size of the bottles) when they were trying to figure out how to regulate wineries shipping directly to Ohioans.

“This was to prevent massive shipments to individuals,” said Donniella Winchell, executive director of the Ohio Wine Producers Association. “The level was set to establish what would seem to be a reasonable amount for personal use.”

The Ohio Wine Producers Association?  I can’t think of anyone who benefits from such a stupid law, other than perhaps that group.  I wonder how much they spend on lobbying and in campaign contributions.

Best I Tasted in 2009

2009 was a big wine year for me; I’m building my wine palate, knowledge, and cellar.  These are the wines I scored over 90 points in Cellartracker.  They are not all the wines I loved, as I had wine I did not track, these are only wines I purchased for home consumption.  Out of 70 wines I tracked, 12 scored 90 or more.

I won’t be scoring any wines tonight, I’m just enjoying the evening with friends.  All the best anyone reading this for a fantastic 2010! Continue reading

Tasted: 2008 Salvador Poveda “Centacion” Monastrell

2008 Salvador Poveda “Centacion” Monastrell
Appellation:  Alicante
Tasting Notes: 100% Monastrell. 14.0% ABV. Dark violet in the glass.  Nose is candied red fruit, dust, and some cedar, smells like an old fruit rollup, but not unpleasant.  At first, I taste lots of red fruit, then overwhelming sweet tannins, a little cedar, then back to the fruit rollup on the finish, but dusty and dry. Disjointed. Interesting, but disappointing.   Seller said this would be one for lovers of cabs and big Bordeaux;  I would say that is true if one loves bad Bordeaux. Was $8.99, will not buy again, and probably will dump this bottle out unless my wife likes it.
Rating: 2/5;  8/20;  74/100
Price: $8.99 at Bin 604 (Baltimore, MD)

A note on ratings:  I use the 100 point rating for Cellartracker, even though my palate is still developing.  As a statistics geek, I know that the variability in scores works itself out as the number of scores increases.  However, my score may not be yours, or Robert Parker’s.  I much prefer to use a 5 point (or star, or whatever you want to call it) scale, as it more represents my reaction to wine, which is more simple than a 100 point scale represents.  I like the 20 point scale as the more detailed score.   On this site, I will provide all three, although the most meaningful are the 5 and 20 point ratings.

Crossposted at The Grand Crew

Trading Down?

New post over at The Grand Crew asks, “What are you drinking for NYE?”

Dorothy and John say goodbye

Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher have written their last column for the Wall Street Journal.

They were my earliest and biggest influence when it comes to discovering wine.  They had a significant impact on not only what I drink, but how I enjoy life; the first people telling readers to trust their own palates.  I don’t know if they know how much good they brought to the readers of the WSJ, but I am grateful and wish them nothing but the best.

Here’s the bottom line: Wine isn’t a spectator sport. It’s utterly intimate. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should like, including us. Try wines broadly—there have never been so many good ones, at all prices, on shelves—and keep raising your personal bar for what is truly memorable, so that you are always looking for the next wine that will touch your soul and make you feel you’ve gone someplace you’ve never been before. It’s not about delicious wines. It’s about delicious experiences. May your life be filled with them.

Hopefully for their readers, they will still write about wine, just somewhere else.  I hear this internet thing is taking off.

Crossposted at The Grand Crew

Wine Tip

Buy this wine:  2007 Domaine de la Charbonnière Vacqueyras

There’s a bunch of buzz about the 2007 Southern Rhones.  Certainly Gary Vaynerchuk thinks highly of the 2007 Chateauneuf de Papes, but they can get pretty expensive pretty quickly.

Our good friends at Bin 604 recommended this wine for us while we were discussing the ’07 vintage as a solid value play, something that is very drinkable now, but is solid enough to lay down for up to 15 years.  As budding oenophiles, J and I are trying to learn more about vintage and place, as well as starting to build a cellar that is more than just the ‘case of the month’ plus some one off purchases.  We’d like to at least build a collection deep enough to always, or almost always, have the right wine for the food or the occasion.

Anyway…  tasted this with dinner the other night:  FANTASTIC.  Great young fruit now, some pepper, and solid tannins, but not too much.  It’s drinking very well now, and to my limited palate, it seems it could only get better with some years.  At about $29 without a case discount, this is worth a go.  We’re going to buy a case this weekend, along with a more expensive 2007 to see how the value stands up.

An Atmosphere of Innovation

Excellent Reason.TV vid on some of my favorite things – Wine, Freedom, and Entrepreneurship.

BTW, I met Mike Grgich a couple of years ago in Napa, a wonderful and engaging man who lives for people to enjoy his wine.


After dinner last night, J and I headed to V-NO for a Thanksgiving wine tasting.

On the tasting itself, it was a pretty typical distributer run tasting, with some winners and some losers. We bought a couple of bottles of a fantastic sparkling rose Pinot.

We had not been to V-NO, and the shop/wine bar is very cool. It’s an intimate space with seating outside, and I can very much see us stopping by on a Saturday afternoon for a plate of cured meats and cheese and a bottle of wine. The shop prices seem resonable; they had a wine I’ve purchased at Beltway for the same price, which is great for a shop in the high rent Fells Point area. The wine selection is a bit limited; we did appreciate the unpretentious catigorization of wines. Most wines are under $30, which certainly will keep me under control.

V-NO won’t be the go to spot for that just right bottle of wine, but for an afternoon snack and sip, there’s nothing else like it. (OK, Chesapeake Wine is similar, but the service isn’t all that great, and the prices reflect the rent).


Last night, J and I went to Meli for dinner and to V-NO in Fells Point.

We had not been to Meli yet, and were very pleased. Very.

The space is very cool, modern, with music playing at an appropriate level. Service was outstanding (we had an in given we’d met Rachel previously, but everything I saw indicated a very high level of service even if you didn’t know your server.)

The food was excellent. Portions and prices are just right. We started with a fried oyster special served with aioli and balsamic vinegar ‘caviar’. J had Lavender Honey Glazed Salmon, and I had Duo of Duck. The salmon was perfectly cooked, as was the duck, and all the flavors on the plate went well with each other. The food is creative and well executed. And the lavender honey butter… oh my.

Since we were off to a wine tasting, we skipped looking at the wines by the bottle, the wines by the glass are a bit limited, but there’s a good selection.

We skipped dessert (we had to get to the wine tasting), but we’re going back. I promise.

Capital Grille

The last dinner of restaurant week, we (Jamie and I, along with our friends D, R, J, D, M, and G) went to the Capitol Grille downtown Friday night.

We’d never been. The place is really inviting, with a classy but bustling bar area, and classic (but modern) decor. Service was very good, we never felt rushed, although one of us lingered over her salad throwing off the timing of our entrees.

When you order off the restaurant week menu, you have to expect a bit of the B game. The portions are smaller, and they are more mass produced, and this was no exception. Both the Kona sirloin and Filet were very good, though, and everything was cooked perfectly. The real win was the sides. Their restaurant week menu included a salad or soup, steak, chicken or fish, and dessert. No sides. So we ordered them for the table, and they were all hits. Big hits. Which tells me that ordering off the regular menu will be a good meal.

The wine list was comprehensive and pretty easy to navigate, although our server didn’t seem an expert. Prices were acceptable, with our wine running at about a 2x retail markup. It was worth it.

All in all, an outstanding experience, and we’ll put the Capitol Grille on our list of nice places to eat if you want to splurge a little; they are right behind Ruth’s Chris, and miles ahead of the Prime Rib (where service ruins the experience).

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