Thursday, December 29, 2005


Enjoying the holidays? Hope so. I'm way up north on the frozen tundra - ok, not exactly the frozen tundra, but a lot colder than home in sunny Austin. No interesting wines to write about today, but thought I'd just ramble on for a bit.

I get some interesting comments to my posts on occasion. Thanks, I like comments. I originally set up the blog to allow anonymous comments. Though somewhere along the way I started to get just plain old spam - perhaps even automated in response to blogger pings. Who knows. Anyway, so a while back I set up the blog so that any comments posted are moderated - that means I see them before they're posted. Seems appropriate to jot a few notes about how that works for me 'cause I've come to some conclusions and will add a side-bar link to this at some point.

Ok, so any comments about a particular wine that I've posted - why you love it, why you hate it or whatever - great, those kind of comments in all likelihood will just get passed along and posted. Though I'd prefer that such posts are not anonymous - or reasonably so. I mean, some email addr would be nice. But, no big deal if they're missing.

I invite you to email me directly, though, if your comments are really better directed to me personally. Just scroll to the bottom of the page and click 'about'. You'll find contact info there. I don't care what you want to chat about, but just note that trolling - comments or email - is not likely to get much, if any, response. If you don't know what I mean by that, then the following wikipedia posting might help:

Happy holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2005

2003 Qupe' Syrah

2003 Qupe Syrah

This Syrah from California has been one of my recent favorites. Actually, it's not just Syrah, it's 84% Syrah, 6% Grenache, 4% Counoise, 3% Mourvedre and a bit of Mondeuse, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tempranillo. Now that's a mouthful - literally.

If you like big fruity wines, this one will suit you. A bit of spice and a floral aroma but otherwise a pretty soft and easy drinker. Their web site claims Food & Wine named it a Best Syrah Under $20 in a recent issue.

About $17, Grapevine Market, Austin
full bodied, soft ripe fruit. Too bad Grapevine was out of it the last time I was by.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Those Lakeway shops..

I had a chance to tool out to Lakeway this past weekend – which is just a short drive – and check out both Vino100 and the Wine Trader. Both opened earlier this fall. Turns out the Vino 100 place is a franchise opportunity. There are a couple here in the Austin area and the chain appears to be growing pretty rapidly. The number of wines (100 under $25 and then a few over $25) is somewhat limited relative to the likes of Grapevine Market, but I do like the concept and the layout is great. Each of the wines in the store has this little ‘wine barometer’ that includes a Flavor and Body scale. Plus it includes a little ‘talker’ about the wine. They also have a tasting bar. Even better, they skipped the typically big names and offered some new and interesting choices.

The Wine Trader was laid out more traditionally and seemed to have a larger overall selection. They had a great bar atmosphere as well – with little plates of food and even had the ball game going on the wide screen TV. Unfortunately there was no one else there even though it was late in the afternoon on a Saturday.

In both cases, definitely worth a repeat visit though.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

What's up with Lakeway? | Vino100

I just posted about the ‘Wine Trader’ place out at Lakeway and then I happen upon yet another place out in Lakeway called Vino100. I’d have to say there’s definitely an up-tick in the interest in wine in this area.

Lake Travis Wine Trader

I was just doing some browsing online and discovered a new place that’s fairly close to home here. Called the Lake Travis Wine Trader. Looks like that have some great events and classes, not to mention a reasonably decent web site. Will have to drive over there this weekend and check it out.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Wine Blogging Wednesday #16 - eye catching

2000 Il Cuore

This month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday was an easy one in the sense that it really didn’t matter what the wine was like or where it hailed from, what you were really after was just a wine label that caught your eye.

I could have searched high and low but what I actually did was pull in to the nearby HEB grocery (Four Points) and just walk the aisles while keeping a distance such that I couldn’t actually read what was on the label. I just looked for something attractive.

Initially, I thought, I won’t even bother to go to the store, I’ll just pull something from the rack. I have a bottle of “Big Ass Cabernet” that has a label that I think is really eye catching. In fact, I posted back in April about it. Check it out, it’s a pretty good label.

A runner up to the Big Ass Cab label for eye catching and brightly colored women are those done by the folks at Perfect 10.

Instead though, as I walked thru the aisle, the one that really caught my eye the most was the IL CUORE Rosso Classico from California. (To the right.) The folks at IL CUORE Wines use a cubist painting by Dan Rizzie as their label. The art and colors were something that suited me. Bright colors, but with some warm earth tones in there too.

Meanwhile, the wine turned out to be pretty interesting too. A blend of 35% Carignane, 28% Zinfandel, 20% Grenache, 12% Sangiovese and 5% Charbono. The mix was a medium to light bodied wine bursting with cherry fruit flavors.

$10.99 HEB grocery
 medium to light bodied wine bursting with cherry fruit flavors. I’d get a 2nd.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Macari 2003 Cabernet Franc

2003 Cabernet Franc

I don’t run across much Long Island wine in this neck of the woods. These days though, and based on Macari’s web site, I guess I wouldn’t need to. I could just order it online from their web site. But first, of course, I would have had to know it existed. In this case, it was Beau at Basic Juice that introduced me to this wine. In fact, he mailed me a bottle! How’s that for an endorsement.

I’ve been meaning to try it for the last month and this past weekend I finally did. Actually, I enjoyed it over the last two nights.

This wine is an unfiltered wine, but it was a very attractive translucent red. It had an earthy and spiced aroma along with its note of oak. Taste and mouth feel were light bodied and lightly fruity. To my taste, the wine really demanded some food along with it – and some fatty food went perfectly. In fact, I grilled some steak along with this and the pairing worked really well.

I used the VacuVin on what remained and had the rest tonight. The wine had evolved a bit more in the mean time. In fact, the aromas had mellowed a bit and the berry taste was more prevalent so it was great just sipping on its own.

About $24.
 light bodied, med-long finish, earthy and oak aroma. Liked it.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

WBW 16 is this week

Was caught up in other activities and missed #15, but hope to catch Wine Blogging Wednesday #16 this week.

Moillard 2005 Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau

2005 Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau

To answer Amy’s recent comment/question, yes, in fact I have had something nice to drink lately. This posting is one good example.

At this time of year, Beaujolais Nouveau arrives in stacks in local stores. I love the little clock at this web site about this type of wine. It’s also just a good read. As of this writing, we’re T-minus 18 days since arrival. I picked up several of these and one other at Grapevine Market the weekend before Thanksgiving and have been enjoying them since. This one’s my favorite.

To start, this wine has an awesome ruby red color. If nothing else, it’s just nice to look at. But, of course, you want to drink it. My first reaction was simply “juicy fruit”. And in some ways I do mean like the gum by the same name. Not sticky sweet, of course, but this is definitely light and fruity.

I’ve had one other Beaujolais Nouveau in the last week too, but this one is so far my favorite.

About $11–12. Grapevine Market.
 light and juicy fruit. Great holiday quaffing.

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Images restored

My trusty server for images is back online and serving up my little snapshots here. Slowly but surely the chaos of my recent move is getting closer to being back to just the normal amount of chaos. Kind of a pain though. I had to fiddle with the cable modem and its odd configuration. Ordinarily, you just get a cable modem from the provider and it does its one simple thing and is done. In this case, at the end of the day, the installer only had a modem/router combo that turned out to mess up my former configuration. Anyway, if you’re at all interested in the details of combining an Ambit cable modem & wireless router with a Microsoft wireless router, feel free to jot me a note. (It turned out to actually be very easy.)

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