Wine Dinner with the Krisses

What? Sounds boring? Hardly. Neither was the Krisses Tasting boring. In fact, it was splendid. KrisA is preggers again so no wine for her and more for us. KrisB, tBoW and Sam-the-Rioja-Man [ed. SRM?] were on hand to help out with the h-e-a-v-y lifting…if ya git mah drrriiiiffftttt. PT8Y handled child care with the very active 4 y.o. Everett. Mrs. tBoW assisted with light sipping esp when the desert wine cork was pulled. She’s like that.

Count on KrisB to pull corks on cool, unusual and top quality bottles. No wonder we like him. The West Coast Maus. After a grueling 90 minute ride to go 20 miles – LA baby – we were greeted with a glass of chilled 2006 Gaillez Lemaire Champagne Cuvee Jadis. Mostly Petite Meunier which the Krisses prefer in their champagne. Bracing acidity buttressed by the cool temp. Comes thru Fass Selections [ed. ~$46] which KrisB has seriously engaged as a purveyor! Here is some typical Fass prose and praise: “Gorgeous nose. Biscuits. Mineral. Brioche. Palate is opulent and deep but so elegant and wonderfully vivid. What a stunning wine. Huge and elegant.” Sooooo, we found the wine to be crisp, bright, richly flavored and bracing. Opulent? Why not. Only if Grace Jones is opulent. Alcohol on the lable estimated at 11% to 14%. Hey. Beats a 100 point rating scale when it comes to precision.

2007 Pricum Prieto Picude 13.5% $25. The grape is prieto picudo. The reviewer from Wine Enthusiast called out “tomato, red currant, raspberry and herbs” which he said are snappy. Excuseme fro being droll bbuuutttt if tBoWcalls out herbs he usually names which ones… e.g., Herbert Hoover (US prez), Herb Adderley (Green Bay Packers safety) or Herbert Lom (Inspector Dreyfus who oversaw the investigations of the bumbling idiot Inspector Clouseau). This bottle mollified SRM and pleased Mrs tBoW.

Glasses in hand KrisB agreed to show us his wine cellar. He was in the midst of unpacking nine [ed. nicht nein, jah nine!] Fass shipping boxes so thw space was a tad unruly. KrisB shared his sorting scheme: ready to drink now, will be ready soon, and not ready for a while. We immediately felt a wave of relief as if the 100 point rating scheme had been hurled into the Santa Maia volcano never to be seen again. 

tBoW brought a bottle of $14 2017 Gelsons Mayfair. Bottled by Margerum in Santa Barbara with a 13.5% rating. Medium weight blend of 50% Marsanne, 25% Grenache Blanc and the last quarter Viognier. This is a very pleasant drink that will suffice for any season.

Following grilled Japanese yams, salmon and scallops the final cork was removed from the neck of a svelte bottle. Yesitwas the 2007 Domaine des Bories Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh. It was desert wine. KrisB did not disappoint with the perfectly chilled bottle. The wine comes from a region referred to as Madiran in Gascony in southwest France which is easier to “see” as northeast Spain. It is so off the beaten path in France that it is known more for surfing than for wine. I kid you not. Basque I tell you. This wine is also a Fass find and as it seems nearly every Fass wine…it is delicious and delightful. So are the Krisses.

As for the aforementioned bumbling idiot…I almost choked watching the following clip! Happy Thanksgiving all. Enjoy some wines especially bubbly and desert styles. Do not watch the following with food in your mouth…which the Inspector would surely pronounce “moooth.”





Minneapolis Hoedown: GREAT wines & a superb set of museums

Minneapolis Impresses like its Early Gehry Tin Can

A wedding obligation pulled Mr. and Mrs. tBoW to Minneapolis for the last days of summer/fall. Temps between 30 and 50. Balmy. The groom and betrothed selected a very fine restaurant for the first evening out: Alma Cafe [ed. click for winelist and food choices]. The wine and food set the standard for the remaining dozens of hours in town. Let’s get the other stuff out of the way.

Samurai headdress in Mia

Minneapolis is a very cool town. Easy to get around. Excellent public trans. A bevy of top flight museums that put “classic big ticket” LA museums to shame. Like the Brentwood Getty and LACMA. The Minneapolis Institute of Art [ed. Mia to the locals] has outstanding collections in modern, turn of the 20th cenury and international paintings and artifacts. The Weisman Art Museum covers modern artists and movements like a light scarf on a blustery downtown day.

What to do after the museums? Eat and drink of course. The wedding was also really fun…but how often does one go to Minnesota for a wedding?

Sonia the somm with her tBoW selection

The principal wine and dine highlights took place at Alma Cafe. Seven wedding goers sat and chatted. tBoW spent his evening in the capable hands of Michael the waiter and Sonia the somm. The daily cocktails featured a Sangria unlike any other we have seen or tasted: “Burgundy & Chablis, Miro Vermouth, XO Brandy, Elderflower, Pink Peppercorns, Cyelon CInammon.” Is it a drink or a travel guide? The blend was superb. Of course tBoW wants to re-create this. Must check the bottom shelf where he puts the never used bottles of whatever – mostly forgotten and forgettable Kahlua brands.

From there to the wine list; the most varied and thoughtful selection encountered in a very long time with a strong adherence to the PQR – Price Quality Ratio. For examples, the red wines offered fell under six sections: France, Chile/Argentina; North America; Italy/Central and Eastern Europe; Australia/South Africa; and Spain. Flip the single page for the White Wine list which is similar with exceptional additions; i.e., the Italy/Central Euro group adds Eastern Europe. Name a wine list in SoCal with this range.

Selections that required a mini study hall with Sonia:

2016 Grenache/Syrah Pic St Loup “La Closerie du Pic” from Puech-Haut – $16/glass

NV Sangiovese “plus” from Merkin “Shinola” from Cochise County Arizona $15/glass (winery started by Tool frontman)

Pinot Noir plus, Pearl Morrissette (Alana?) “Metis Rouge” Niagra Penninsual – $17/glass

The list included so many labels we never see in LA (and perhaps the West Coast) it was thrilling. Sonia poured a Croatian red for one of our group. Light to medium body with enough flavor to drink. Just like the wine [ed. nyuk nyuk].

When Sonia asked what tBoW might like with my veggie plate I asked her to choose. She returned with a Sardinian wine that was medium bodied and unique: Monica di Sardegna, Cardedu “Praja” $17/glass. [ed. U20 looks like it is available at Wine House]!

Why do we not see more of these wines in LA? Could be the importers of gem wines from the continent just do not get out here. If we do encounter a thoughtful even creatively considered wine list in our town the cost for food and drink is abhorrent. Could be the industry is undergoing a welcome overhaul post-Kermit-Rosenthal-Louis Dressner, as Lettie Teague recently noted. The closest destination next to the Pacific Ocean where food and wine and cost would align in harmony is probably Portland. Better choices and golf in Minneapolis? Must fly to either one.

If you’re flying to Minneapolis just becuz you can you must go in May after the winter thaw and before the Summer mosquitos.

Akira Kurosawa would eat and drink at Alma…check out his samurai fight from “Seven Samurai.”



Let me clear my throat.

Image result for venus williams

The backlog of wines tasted and notes written is now presented for your consideration. No quid pro quo has been made in exchange for any further tasting of wine products. the recent arrival of Uvaggio wines notwithstanding.

Lettie Teague [tbow: Wall Street Journal wine writer] has written about the wisdom of buying the importer if one is looking for a shrotcut to selecting winners. Label style might suffice in certain cases. For example, the Boxler wines we recently purchased from Teague-noted importer Kermit Lynch have superb labels. The price was so right and the label held such appeal to classic old world sentiments we could not resist. Good old Kermit. Still leading the pack from Hawaii.

2017 Boxler Riesling Réserve $60: Kermit Lynch offered this bottle as part of an all-time special of 6 mixed bottles for $180. 13.5%. This is the first opened. Now we are on an Alsatian binge. Lime, freshness with depth. Long finish. Hairy in an Alsatian manner…like the huntsman in Maleficent. And the label is ultra old school cool.

2012 Diess Riesling $25 in Delaware [ed. Wine Searcher, good luck finding this]: Picked off the wine list at Republique, a pricey dining spot without even one Michelin star…but a superb wine list. Vlad the somm helped tBoW pick this value Alsatian. The softer complement to the hardy Boxler [ed. tBoW too chicken to go with gender similes]. Not quite delicate but definitely charming. Think middle of the night Classic Arts Showcase ballet or cello performance. Sweeter where Boxler would be savory…although Boxler was too complex to be reduced to culinary terms [ed. hey! at least no mention of hints or notes.]

Rioja Taste Off!! Spontaneously held once tBoW saw there were copious amounts of 2006 Rioja wines in the revamped cellar. Pull those corks! Tote those bales!! Clear those bins!!!

2006 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva $40 in my local wineshop, 13% [ed. ghat would be Woodland Hills Wine Co]. Candy nose? Body like Venus WIlliams, taught, toned, fluid. Long finish. Needed time to open. With time a sweetness came on.

2006 Beronia Reserva 13%. Was ~$30 when last available. Tighter than the LdH Tondonia. Tight when opened. Nose black licorice. Forty minutes full of cherries and dark red plum. The lesser alongside the Lopez however all things considered…we preferred Beronia.

THREE BAD BOYS. The three wines below were purchased on a road trip to NoCal. Each one sucked. The implications for  impending arrivals of German Pinot Noir is officially of concern. We need to do a “mulvaney;” i.e., tell the godawful truth then walk it back.

CA NV Proprietary Blend $15. Big red for the tooth stainers and throat blasters. Recommended as perfect complement for grilled steak. Sounds fine except tBoW don’t eat meat.

And if he did it would be pork and that would go great with a Boxler Alsatian. Parker and Wilfred Wong have plenty of sycophants who will run out and buy this wretched bottle. All I can say is the relatively small production at 15K cases is notable. And he price is fair. For heartier palates than mine. Gimme Uvaggio. Drink Jim Moore’s reds with fish!

2015 Villa Wolf Pinot Noir $15 and Markus Prackwieser Gump Hof Praesulis Pinot Noir $35. tBoW thought he might

get a preview of the cases of Pinot Noir wines he has coming from Deutschland. God we hope and pray these wines are not emblematic of those wines which arrive in 4 to 6 weeks. These Pinot Noir wines afe not Burgundies. I guess we should know that. However, how can we not presume the wines from the heated up Rhineland are not AKIN to Burg wines? Oh woe is we if these are any kind of hint what we will find.

Let us pray…

Once in a Milestone…A Cultural Event for Which There Is No Wine Match


Le Large is my jazz shepherd. I shall not want.

Greek Theater perfect summer evening. Sssssupppperrrrbbb venue inside the city-encircled Griffith Park. King Crimson all seven pieces (sometimes they are 8) on the stage. Their appearances are few and far between; infrequent enough to draw every ProgRock codependent in town and a few hundred miles.

tBoW sits next to LeLarge who has indoctrinated the blogmeister via mandatory ingestion of the greatest ProgRock band in modern history.

click link wait 10 seconds for one King Crimson masterpiece: 21st Century Schizoid Man Including Mirrors

ProgRock? A blend of rock and jazz; short for Progressive Rock. Comparing the music from the fever dreams of Robert Fripp to a bottle of wine m=concocted from Syrah and Reisling…well…NO…not in this town…in this venue…on this night.

Lope de Heredia trio of classics

tBoW is a very recent fan of the Fripp led ensemble. If King Crimson was a wine the closest match might be Lopez de Heredia which releases a vintage every twelve years…when the vintage is at least a decade in the bottle. Crimson tours on a similar schedule. Like Lopez de Heredia one can be confident the contents – wine or music – are for primo highest quality consumption.

One can read about the 50 year history of ProgRock music and KC lineups. What is amazing is that the KC music holds up so well.

We paid for VIP parking and walked to our seats. The Greek is a superb venue for 5700 folks. Forty plus years in LA and this was tBoW’s first visit to the shrine. It was A-W-E-S-O-M-E.

Impressions 24 hours post the three hour tidal wave that washed over row after row of seats. Notes from the King Crimson typhoon.

Crimson lava over Pompei

…melodic gives way to structured and unstructured cacophony that is……rhythmic? Brit musical styles from 15th thru 19th centuries; folk, modern 60s & 70s rock styles…and other

Is that the moody blues [ed. sure sounded like it] or maybe It’s A Beautiful Day? [ed. turns out the KC sound is both highly derivative AND trend setting, inspired by others and inspiring for others to catch on…keep thinking about the wine analogy!]

GWAR meets JAZZ…heavy welders’ torch metal, Pantera… megadeth…mmmmmmm I am hearing Bad Plus [ed. groundbreaking new jazz group from Idaho or someplace equally unexpected]. That is definitely Ornette Coleman meets Beethoven. Seems unusual that KC has THREE DRUMMERS and yet they are mostly NOT overwhelming [ed. sometimes the entire experience is so overwhelming I can only sit frozen in my seat].

Dr Manhattan


Never overwhelming… 3 drums for this noyz… WARNING – do not move or you may fall to your auricular death. If you like shiatsu massage you’ll love KC and the Mad Genius Robert Fripp.

quoth LARGE-nez: Mad genius makes Mad Noyz…Typhoonius Maximus. Fripp Is the mad genius who can burn a brain alive with lava music buries Pompei.

What about craftsman wines? Is Fripp a master craftsman? His musical men are hand picked and long standing like a winemaker picks his growers or even moreso his vineyard manager, botanist, chemist. Choosing labels and bottles is like choosing music by the album covers… does Fripp want control there as well? quoth Le Large: Probably. Fripp is total control freak!

When I think of Fripp as a character I see a guy in a straight jacket or maybe Dr Manhattan [ed. OVER THERE –>]. Is Fripp flawed? A wine can be flawed…  but a flawed wine rarely is spectacular or even notable. Fripp is no brettanomyces. He could be an eccentric – very eccentric – superhero.

Cellar Purge: Wait Too Long & Suffer Like Postseason Doyers


Would you pull the cork on one of these dusty moldy bottles with excitement or trepidation? The task is not any easier for much larger concerns. Consider the Dodgers. Their pitching staff is somewhat like the photo. They got rid of one very bad bottle but held onto a couple showing serious signs of age.

Los Doyers had the chance to get another relief pitcher before the deadline and failed to do what was obvious. Now comes the lesson. When one fails to do the obvious now one often pays the price later on.



So it is also true with wine “collecting.” As the reader should understand we no longer “collect” wine. Although we have in the past. “Collecting” involves buying “trophy bottles” [ed. see Wine Speculator and 100 point scores] with heavily hyped name winemakers or labels. This rarely works out when it comes to actually pulling a cork. Another “collecting” mistake is buying a wine because it “means something” like a favorite travel destination. Or winning a World Series.

The final collecting mistake is actually good advice. Somebody gives you a bottle of plonk over the upcoming horrible holidays? Get rid of it. Re-gift it. Just do not let the Riesling from Yakima WA occupy any space on the bar or god forbid in the cellar. We learned these lessons once again when recently re-doing the cellar. Think about how the Dodgers dumped Yasiel Puig. He had to go. Stuck around way too long.

tBoW and Ikorb went thru our shared cellar last week. Every bottle was under consideration. The new cellar features a new cooler (Whisperkool 5000 on Craigslist $600 cash) and half as much space which means half as many bins. Many many bottles were purged. The new org scheme features the most precious wines, e.g., Ital Nebs and French Pinots. It had to be. [ed. he has a handful of domestic Pinot Noir which has-to-go] Ten cases of bought-and-paid-for wines will be arriving in 60 days from Fass Selections, Kermit Lynch and even Garagiste [ed. Fass and Rimmerman in dead heat for most entertaining online retailers]. tBoW Sr. has decided to devote his wine selections to David Russell of WHWC [ed. just picked up two Corsican DR picks].


Wines that did not make the cellar cut: Rangeland 2009 Cabernet and 2009 Zinfandel. tBoW felt strong ties to the young winemaker when visiting on 2010. When tBoW writes the following about a winemaker you know a purchase of wine will follow. “Shannon is Audrey Hepburn in a hoodie, Astrud Gilberto punching down the cap.” Bought too many bottles. Most opened within a couple years. Waiting 10 years for the last couple three makes the point.

Do not wait too long – like more than four years -on 95% of California wines. Unless the wines are from Tablas Creek. We expect those to be ready in another five years [ed. which would be a total of 15 to 20 years]! And they will be finally ready. Will they be worth the wait? Who can say. We are no longer fond of red Rhone style wines no matter the vintage! [ed. note to readers white Rhones not included]. At ten years the Rangeland – which was not intended to go this long – was completely out of sorts.


The other wine we held far too long was the 2009 Chateau Cambon. This illustrates another “collector” mistake – buying the winemaker [ed. see above Rangeland] and not the wine. This was the last wine made by Marcel Lapierre the “legendary winemaker” of Beaujolais, in particular Morgon [ed. Beaujolais has more than 5 but less than ten villages – look it up!]. Beauj is 100% Gamay juice. Every wine drinker needs to make up her mind about Gamay juice. Part of the argument aside from palate preference, was that Beaujolais and Gamay were the poor man’s Burgundy choice. Not really. It is always about the Price-Quality ratio aannnndddd what your palate prefers. Gamay just does not do it for tBoW.

We still have Beaujolais in the cellar. None from 2009 any more. However there are several from 2013. These can form the first flight to a late summer tasting.

After three “flawed” wines we settled on Burgundy [ed. duh]. We had a 2010 and a 2011 Roty Marsannay. Right. We opened both. 

The 2010 was delishus. The 2011 was delishus. These Roty wines from Marsannay were a tad more rustic than the Fournier Marsannay slugged down recently. Small point. Both bottles were exhausted enthusiastically. Ikorb noted that the nose on the 2011 “stinks of truffles.” His sniffer is legendary.

One needs a guide to identifying quality Burgs. If you like truffles – or cherries or beets – you will love Burgundy wines however selection is everything. I believe the same can be said of German Rieslings. And Maus will tell us we may apply these same considerations to his special spots [ed. Rhone plus other off the trail regions in France] where he knows exactly what to buy.

Wait! One more lesson learned. Start with the highest quality when filing your cellar; not from the bottom. Andrew Friedman chose not to replace his GM who left for the Giants [ed. nice job there]. Instead he split the job of one technocrat among three others. Expect to see postseason analysis of that failure–to–fulfill. Astros in 6…again. However I actually hope the Dodgers prevail so there will never be another World Series trophy wine like this one below.