Posts belonging to Category St Joseph

Waikiki: Wasteland / Wonderland

Hotel Street action

Hotel Street action ca. 1960s

Waikiki is Bourbon Street meets the Vegas Strip. People come to the Hawaiian islands and stay a week or longer in Waikiki. Same crew that buys all their wine from BevMO. Then there are other people who fly right past Oahu on their way to Maui, Kauai or the Big Island and stay in a destination resort. They include those who only buy wines rated 90 points or higher. There is more to wine and more to Oahu [ed. and more to the outer islands; g’head and be obnoxious].

new wine shop in Princeville

new wine shop owner in Princeville

After 5 days of rain and grey skies on the north shore of Kauai – and buying wine in the new Princeville Wine Market – we were ready to wash Hanalei right out of our hair. Fortunately, we had set aside three nights and three and a half days in Honolulu because we like the city and the island. It is much more cosmo than Dancing with the Stars. (more…)

The BEST underground wine newsletter? The Underground Wine Letter!

Mon Coeur vineyard

We started “tasting wine” in 1978. We frequented a wine shop in West LA up the street from the Wine House which had recently opened. The shop was located in a bungalow that was once somebody’s home on Cotner. It was the outlet store for The Wine Merchant owned by Dennis Overstreet and located in Beverly Hills. His BH store had all the celebrity clients. The outlet spot was for the lumpen proletariat of LA’s budding wine scene. In 1978 the collector’s find was any Napa Cabernet from 1974. The first wave of Napa Cabernet producers was emerging that included Diamond Creek, Caymus and Ridge. Heitz Cellar was an old guard hot ticket along with BV Georges De Latour. The real sharpies were hunting down old vintages of Inglenook. The good thing about the Cotner store was the Saturday tastings which were loosely formed, spontaneous events. Once a sufficient threshold of aspiring snobs was present somebody bought a bottle and opened it right there in the store. The store clerks were not like the info-matics you find today in upscale wine versions of Target like Total Wine or BevMo [ed. he prefers Total Yawn]. The store clerks at the Cotner store were geeks, folks like the ones buying wine except they had to work somewhere and living in LA was still pretty cheap in the late 1970s so a wine shop was good as any other minimum wage shithole. And you could drink interesting wines when the air got thick with opinions and burning curiosity. (more…)

Santa Rita Hills taste-off crowns Paul Lato (AGAIN)

It is axiomatic to oenophiles that you have to sit on some wines for awhile so the wine can develop in the bottle. I am coming to the conclusion that this is just one more corollary to the magic chef and the hallowed ground marketing themes that have created the Parker/Rolland two headed monster. Wine does age in the bottle. But does it get better? Recent pourings/tasting have concluded otherwise. The 1996 Burgundies flopped like Vlade Divac taking a charge. And here we have some pinot noir bottlings from the fabled Santa Rita Hills that also fell well below high expectations when purchased on release. (more…)