Monday, January 12, 2009

The Drunken Wine Critic #5

Forgive me Bacchus, for I have sinned - it has been ten months since my last Drunken Wine Critic. The two bottles of Lil' Jonathan Winery wines I polished off in this video nearly killed me and I didn't have the wherewithal to continue on. But it's a new year and here I am! Enjoy!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Drunken Wine Critic #4

I start you off with a bottle of Clos de la Vielle Eglise 2005 (loved it!) and finish with a bottle of Chateau Montet Bordeaux Sauvignon 2005 (functional!). I manage to kick both bottles this time and get pretty sloppy towards the end. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

14 for 30

Yesterday was my 30th birthday and since I’m having a big dinner thing this weekend I decided to take it easy last night and go to Veritas Wine Bar in DC for some wines and some snacks. I loved this place. The ambiance was fantastic, the staff was knowledgeable, and the wine selection was the best I’ve seen in this area so far. There had to be around 30-40 glass choices, well over 100 bottle choices, and 10 white flights and 20 red flights to choose from. There was also an excellent selection of cheeses and charcuterie. It got a bit pricey but, fuck it, I wasn’t paying.

Snoopy looks so kicked.

I got to try 14 wines. We ordered four flights (each flight had three half-glasses), two red flights and two white flights. We capped off the night with a final glass of white each. I should probably preface this by saying that Robin is a white wine drinking and I’m a red man. Our palettes are completely different – I often don’t like the wines Robin likes and vice versa. It’s one of the things that annoy me about these wine review magazines and websites – they give these number ratings on wine as if it even means anything. All the ratings do is inflate the price of a wine that you may not even like. Anyway, I’ll get down from the pulpit.
Wines on tap. On. Tap.

The goal of the evening was, of course, to get some fantastic birthday sex at the end of it. That should be a given despite having fourteen glasses of wine on the table. Did it all work out? Short answer: sure. I did mess up a little, though, but we’ll get to that.

The menu featured 31 pages of wine choices alone. Makes Cheesecake Factory look like an In-N-Out (minus the secret menu, of course).

Red Flights
South of the Border - $14

Unfortunately, I didn’t write the full names of the wines down because I was told all of the flights are listed on Veritas’ websites. Well, the South of the Border flight wasn’t. So I’m just going to have to go by varietals. I should point out that all of these wines are from Argentina.

Smells like drunk.

Cabernet Sauvignon – I had this guy with a dark berry nose. Very dry, long finish with a slight acidity. I liked this one, as did Robin.

Malbec – I’m becoming a huge fan of Argentinean malbec’s but this was one my least favorite reds last night. The nose had some dark fruit, bacon, and tar on it. The taste was smooth but, I don’t know, it seemed kind of grapey to me. It had a decent finish, though, and I’d certainly drink it if offered but I wouldn’t buy it. Robin was indifferent with this one.

Red blend – I don’t even have a varietal description for you. A “red blend” from Argentina, that’s all you get. Despite the fact that I can give you any information about exactly what I drank, I will say this was my second favorite wine of the night. It had a very strong nose, some tobacco and tar, yet a surprisingly pleasant taste. On the tongue it was very bold and complex but not at all harsh. I loved this one. Robin didn’t like it. Whatevs.

Tour de France - $16
I love me some French wines. I don’t buy them too often because, honestly, I’m not too knowledgeable on what’s good yet. This flight was a great chance to try a couple of different regions to see what I like. Short answer: I liked them all.

Tastes like a good night.

Domaine de Pallus Chinon Les Pensees De Pallus 2005 (Liore region) – Say that five times fast. Fuck it, say it once. Smoky, strawberry nose and a nice and crisp taste. Definitely a summer wine, drink it with light foods while sitting outside with a comic book. I tracked this guy down online and you can get him for around $20 a bottle. Robin was indifferent with this one.

Domaine Berthet-Rayne Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape 2005 (Rhone region) – Winner! Smelled like boysenberries, tastes like great sex. You can find it for around $30 a bottle and whereas I’ll rarely recommend a bottle of wine that costs more than $20, I will say this is a fantastic special occasion wine. Robin liked this one as well.

Chateau La Gurgue Margaux 2004 (Bordeaux region) I found this guy online for $27 and I still think that’s a touch too much. It’s good, don’t get me wrong. A smoky and spicy sort of smell, full-bodied and delicious, but it doesn’t compare to the Rhone above and it’s only $3 less. But, of course, since most people jock Bordeaux so hardcore, you’ll look cooler bringing this bottle to a party, and sometimes that’s all you want. But then you can get a $15 bottle of Bordeaux if it’s the perception you’re after and most folks won’t know the difference. Robin was indifferent with this one. More red for me.

White Flights
So Fresh, So Clean - $12

I love the way white’s smell but unless it’s a chardonnay I often struggle on the taste – not enough or too much, the middle ground alludes my palette with whites. But we had to get some whites for the sake of birthday sex and, as I said earlier, it wasn’t like I was paying…

2006 Kartauser Gruner Veltliner (Wachau, Austria) – Apples on the nose and tongue, pleasant finish and mild acidity. I liked this one and it was Robin’s favorite. I can’t find a bottle price, however.

Longview Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (Adelaide hills, Australia) – Peachy, short finish. Light and easy, a good summer drink. I imagine it going real well with crabs. Robin, on the other hand, was indifferent. She doesn’t subscribe to my crab theory. Whatevs.

Freemark Abbey Viognier 2006 (Rutherford Valley, California) – A little too fruity for me – even Robin thought it was kind of sweet. We were both indifferent – it has its place, I guess, but its place certainly wasn’t on our menu last night. Looks like you can get it for around $20 a bottle.

Adriatic - $13
The second white flight. At this point I just wasn’t having it – I didn’t like any of these despite being a HUGE fan of Italian wines. But, it should be noted we had this white flight in parallel with the French flight mentioned above – I think these were just getting overpowered by some awesome reds.

Inama Vin Soave Classico 2006 (Garganega varietal from Veneto, Italy) – I thought this had an apricot nose but a weird taste. It seemed to miss the tongue and go straight to tingling my throat. Robin liked it, she said it had its place and it’d go good with a bucket of popcorn. So, I guess it’d make good movie wine. I don’t know. I was able to find the bottle for as little as 11 bucks.

Bucci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2005 (Marches, Italy) Boring. Boring smell, nothing taste. I found it online for $15 a bottle and I’d rather put that money towards a doctor office co-payment. Robin was indifferent.

Colutta Pinot Grigio 2006 (Friuli, Italy) – Oh boy…My notes on this one was, “Sharp, vomitus nose. I admit I could be kicked.” This was one of the last wines I drank and I just wasn’t having it. I gave it a thumb down, Robin was indifferent. I found it for $17 a bottle.

We finished up the night with some white wine. I got the muscat, Robin got the albarino. Obviously, we tried them both.

Don Olegario Albarino 2006 (Riax Baixas, Spain; $8) – Nothing on the nose, nothing on the taste. I hated it, Robin didn’t like it. Having said that, I finished the glass because we don’t leave our men behind in this operation. I found the bottle for $20 which, in my opinion, is $21 too much.

Heidi Schrock Muscat 2006 (Austria; $11) – Peach and apple nose, a powerful fruity taste – I liked this one a lot. Robin didn’t she said it was too sweet. Regardless, I don’t know if I’d spend $30 on a bottle of this, honestly. Actually, I do know that I wouldn’t spend $30 on a bottle of this.

We had the Dubliner cheddar, chevre, and tomme de fedou. The cheeses came with bread, jam, olives, and mini-pickles. Total cost was $13. The tomme de fedou was a monster, the chevre went real good with the jam and some of the lighter wines, and the Dubliner was a little sharp but tasty.

Portion control: Courtesy of Veritas.

Robin only eats chicken and fish so I went to town. I had the Serrano ham and the duck a l’orange. The meats came with some bread, Dijon mustard, olives, and those mini-pickles again. The total cost was also $13. I had no complaints, I didn’t even bother paying attention to what paired well with what, the meats were just fine on their own and I enjoyed the hell out of them. Of course, Robin didn’t want to kiss me on account of my “duck mouth” so it did hinder birthday sex a bit despite brushing twice. But, you know, there’s no need to kiss during birthday sex.

So, the final word? Veritas rocks. The Tour de France was my favorite flight with the Domaine Berthet-Rayne Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape 2005 being my favorite wine. If it wasn’t for the duck a l’orange I would have had completely perfect, unhindered birthday sex. Am I upset at my decision to eat the delicious combination of duck, orange, and Grand Marnier? Of course not. I’m just upset they didn’t have foie gras on the menu. If I’m going to willingly give myself an unkissable mouth, I might as well have snacked on some fattened goose liver.

I should be shooting a new video next week so look for it. The next update will likely focus on the wines I have at my birthday dinner where the goal for that night will be to refrain from puking in my parent’s bathroom.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Testosterone Night

A lot of men seem to think that wine is, inherently, a sissy drink. There’s something about the smell, the taste, the dainty glasses, and the pretentiousness…really everything that goes along with wine…that makes most men scoff at the idea of drinking wine. I’ll be honest, I’m often too embarrassed to order wine at a bar, myself. I look over the wine list and wonder if it’s manlier to go with the Cabernet or the Shiraz, wondering which one would pair well with my hot wings, and end up settling on a Miller Light.

I set out this past Sunday with one goal in mind – to have a red-blooded kind of day while drinking nothing but wine. And why not? The Romans drank wine while conquering most of the current EU, the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean. The Vikings drank wine (you call it mead but let’s be honest – it’s honey wine. Honey. Wine.) while raping and pillaging and what’s manlier than that?

The Roman Empire: Brought to you by wine.

My boy G and I started the day by marinating a steak. We mixed together some shallots, soy sauce, hot sauce, and spices and poured it over two pounds of beef. And, while it was marinating, we went to see Rambo.

You know what else is red like wine? Blood.

What a perfectly violent movie. It wasn’t enough to just be violent - its take-home message is, “Helping people will only result in you fucking shit up even more.” Another important message from the movie is, “Jesus won’t save your life – but this fucking rock will.” I can’t think of a better way to get the blood pumping than watching 90 minutes of pure carnage.

After the movie we went back to my place to broil the steaks. We fried up some onions and potato slices as a side and served it all up with a bottle of Da Vinci 2005 Chianti. The Chianti paired perfectly with the steak, and the entire meal paired perfectly with the four straight hours of American Gladiators we watched.

Beef, potatoes, and chianti. That's a Sunday, right there.

A little bit about Chianti: I love Chianti, as you may be able to tell from the Drunken Wine Critic #2. I really love any sangiovese-based wine but Chianti, in particular, is simply fantastic. The beauty of Chianti is that you really don’t need to spend more than $10 on a bottle. As long as it has the DOC-controlled pink label on it, it is guaranteed to be predominantly sangiovese grown in the Chianti region of Tuscany. Unless you are a serious wine aficionado you’ll get the same enjoyment from an $8 bottle of Chianti as you will from a $50 one. If you want to splurge a bit more on a riserva than please go for it – the smell and taste tend to be much more complex – but you can even get a good riserva for $12-$18. If you want to splurge on a Super Tuscan more power to you and please invite me to your next dinner party. Chianti is one of those wines that you can feel confident buying as long as it has a DOC tag. The bottle of Da Vinci we had cost $9 at Costco.

A little bit about American Gladiators. It is a fun show to watch in a group, but embarrassing to watch alone. That’s the reason I had four episodes on the Tivo. But we plowed through the backlog, cheering for our favorites every step of the way.

I want to hang a poster of Crush in the bedroom but Robin won't let me.

As the night went on more friends came over and the bottle of Chianti was not going to sustain us. We popped open a bottle of Bellafontaine’s Terret Sauvignon 2006. Predominantly Sauvignon Blanc, this $12 bottle was fantastic. Apples on the nose and an easy finish – everyone present enjoyed this one.

Fact: Your girlfriend will likely drink white wine quicker than red wine.

We also popped open a bottle of Cantina Zaccagnini il Bianco di Ciccio. Cantina Zaccagnini also made the Montepulciano I had in the Drunken Wine Critic #1. This one had a pretty boring nose and a bitter finish, I wasn’t that big of a fan, honestly, and the fact that it costs $16 means that I’ll likely never buy it again.

You have to love the design - next time I'll admire it while it's on the shelf.

There were two more bottles present that night. Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2003 Riserva, the wine I reviewed in the Drunken Wine Critic #1, and some left over Torre Dei Gesuiti 2006 Primitivo Puglia. I imagine everyone enjoyed those bottles but, at this point, we would have enjoyed a boxed-wine just as much.

Anyway…friends, Rambo, steak, five bottles of wine, and American Gladiators makes for a great evening.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Drunken Wine Critic #3

Jason Rodriguez brings his cultured review on the road and tastes the house wines at Mezza Luna in Washington DC.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wine, Fatboy, Wine

Last night Robin and I went to a free screening of Run, Fatboy, Run at the Arlington Cinema and Draft House that was preceded by a wine tasting hosted by the Washington Wine Academy. I tried four of the wines they had there but didn't have my recorder with me so I don't recall everything I had, honestly. There was an Irony 2005 Pinot Noir that was functional, for the most part. There was a Chardonnay/Torrontes blend from Argentina that I don't recall being particularly happy with - it was sort of bland. Some Sonoma blend of merlot, zinfandel, pinot noir, and a couple of other grapes that was actually quite good but had a very nondescript label. The label was black with a red blot on it and it simply said something along the lines of 2004 Red Wine Blend, Sonoma, CA. I'll try to hunt the bottle down.

The winner of the night, however, was Chasing Venus 2007 Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Apricot and peach undertones, explosive on the tongue, great price tag - we ended up buying a bottle and enjoying it during the movie which, I should add, we enjoyed quite a bit more with the Chasing Venus. It was an overall enjoyable night. Lots of enjoying.

Speaking of enjoying, I certainly enjoyed getting free promotional running shorts. Here's a picture of me enjoying them. Enjoy!

The Drunken Wine Critic #2

Jason Rodriguez reviews Castello del Trebbio's 2001 Chianti Riserva, finishes the bottle, and then Greg Norman's 2005 Shiraz.