Saturday, December 20, 2008

Book Review - Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine (108 Ingenious Short Cuts to Navigate the World of Wine with Confidence and Style) 2004 – Mark Oldman

Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine (108 Ingenious Short Cuts to Navigate the World of Wine with Confidence and Style) 2004 – Mark Oldman

I like that Mark’s book is accessible and tries to give you an insider’s view even though he is not in the wine business per se. Wine is fun. This book puts that on display. The more you read it, the more you realize how original it is. Morley Safer’s (Sixty Minutes fame) on wine. That’s just awesome. A smart guy that should be concocting a lot more stuff like this.   

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It’s been a strange year 2008, a Special Report by Ralph Del Rio Wine Correspondent; the 2005 Bordeaux’s are a highlight and Australian Shiraz makes a comeback - Values Listed

By Ralph Del Rio, Wine Correspondent

As the year comes to a lethargic end; a year actually of real highs and lows…I would say that French, Australian and California reds subjugated my budget this year. I try to taste as often as I can. I am real fortunate to live in Florida where for not being a main wine producing place. Sure has a lot of say in that’s going on in the wine world. The Gulf Coast of Florida wine aficionados have a lot going on from major charities to major wine events and arguably the best steakhouses, seafood and fusion restaurants in the USA.
As I said, some areas come to mind, right now… really a couple, Let’s talk a little France and Australia.

In 2008 we have seen a lot of the delicious 2005 Bordeaux come to market. After so much hoopla there is a lot of quality. The region reaped the benefits of a great growing season; in which many grand estates reached a quality highpoint in 2005 vintage. They compare the vintage to the famous 1961, and controversial 1982; that were heralded!  I really like the 1996 myself and the 2003 was outstanding!
I have had plenty of opportunity over the last couple of years to taste quite abundantly the 1996, 1997 and the 2004 vintages of Bordeaux. I have been very lucky. I found several value Bordeaux’s too… seek them out. They should drink well for 5-10 years that is if the year is truly great…. How can so many great critic be wrong??? Right?!? I am in agreement.

The following wines are structured, big and full of the black fruits, cedar notes and earthy tones and lengthy finish you would expect.

2005 Cote Montpezat Compostelle, 2005 Larrivaux(Haut Medoc), 2005 Epicuria, 2005 Chateau Charmail and the 2005 Reignac…all  and under $20!

It’s been a strange year 2008.
After a few years in doldrums; I am perking up my interest in Australian wines again. In the the first part of the decade I really got a kick out of the big, ripe Shiraz, the fruit forward style that was coming out of the Barossa, and McLaren Vale.  But then the region began to bore me a little. But in 2008 I drank a few from the Mollydooker line and enjoyed them very much; the 2006 and 2007 ‘Carnival of Love’ were outstanding! There’s a great one called Blue Eyed Boy and so was ‘Two Left Feet’ (for $20 it’s a steal). I enjoyed ones like the well balanced 2005 Glaetzer Wallace from the Barossa Valley and the Chewy (I swear it was like eating it!)Henry’s Drive Dead Letter Office.

Other great Aussies I enjoyed are the 2006 “The Winner’s Tank Shiraz and 2005 Penfolds Bin 138 Shiraz all under $20 as well.
Old World and New World. While drinking these wines this year one cannot help but notice how good wine quality is getting across the board for every kind of wine enthusiast.  I’ll remember 2008 for that reason too.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Restaurant Review - NOLA 534 - Saint Louis Street, New Orleans, LA

NOLA 534 - Saint Louis Street, New Orleans, LA

Part of Chef Emeril Lagasse's domain. It’s creative, modern Louisianan food.  The Atmosphere does feel like a chain restaurant yet the service is great. The menu had a good selection. I had an out of sight Gumbo and a bone in pork chop with a caramelized onion reduction sauce that was excellent. The wine list was great. No shortage there.  It is highly priced but I definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Book Review - Daniel Johnnes’s Top 200 Wines – Daniel Johnnes with Michael Stevenson 2004

Daniel Johnnes’s Top 200 Wines – Daniel Johnnes with Michael Stevenson 2004

Easy going writing style that teaches in a way that is easy to grasp. It works well as an intro- wine book but at the same time much more. It has wines to try, foods to match, hot spots. The book's second half comprises a wide-ranging list of 200 wine selections to search out. The wines are not easy to find though. But the writing and info is just so good. It’s good to get recommendations by a seasoned sommelier and you can tell it’s not phony.