LA’s Grand Guignol

lakercelebs4.jpgIt can get pretty strange around this town. And the place where LA is most bizarre is a Lakers game. Blend Us Weekly with In Style with Enquirer and read the super rag in a celebrity cemetery. tBoW attended the only Lakers game he will attend this season. Kloe Kardashian sat 10 feet from Frank Robinson. That’s right. The only MVP in both leagues and arguably the greatest pound for pound baseball player of all time; a Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux of an athlete. 10 feet from a Dubouef Nouveau Beaujolais. Guess who got the most attention. Not that Frank did not have visitors and folks begging for a photo. At the end of game (more ordinary like a Central Valley Merlot) the bored courtside photographers, who had been shooting the action non-stop, all turned at once and took their paparazzi shots of Lamar Odom’s newly betrothed. One fan close to tBoW’s age sitting nearby asked for Frank to stop and pose for his cell phone cam. Frank obliged. After all, the man won the Triple Crown the year he was traded to the Orioles and once hit back to back grand slams. (more…)

What makes a wine(maker) great?

KC fan.jpgWinemakers are somewhat like doctors. There is a lot of talent in the pool but the great ones are uncommon and especially hard to find because there aren’t any bad winemakers. Think about it. Who ever says “I have a horrible doctor” or “she is an awful winemaker”. There ain’t no sech animal. [ed. here is a doctor right now who knows the difference – and where he belongs – in front of Kenneth-Crawford “winery” in Buellton]
Family docs (like big house winemakers) are never stars. We need them and value them but all we are looking for is reliability over time, no diagnostic mistakes, and the ability to make a good referral when one is needed. The grind-it-out primary care guy keeps the whole thing going but the specialists are the stars. In wine their equivalent is the boutique winemaker. If you ever needed a surgeon or a specialist, then you will recognize how everybody you know wants to send you to their knee guy or shoulder cutter who is always “the best” in his field. How do you really know? How can every specialist – or every boutique winemaker – be the best? (more…)

McKenzie-Mueller pinot noir stands with the best

MM-2000-PN.jpg2000 McKenzie-Mueller Napa Valley Pinot Noir (cellar): Our affection for Bob Mueller’s wines is documented. We have reported the sedition within the wine club vis a vis his whites and ros√©s (i.e., the “red only” membership). I reported how his Merlot stole the show at the Carlitos cab-a-thon last December at the Carlos&Alice Xmas party.Lou%27s-fave-winemaker.jpg So, now I want to say that Bob Mueller’s McKenzie-Mueller pinot noir is probably our favorite wine that he makes. It is a consistent knockout wine. We have tasted it to the early 90s. It never fails to amaze us. My wife always recalls how the staff at Saddlepeak Lodge (Calabasas’ best and snootiest restaurant, justifiably) flipped when she tasted them on it. Bob’s wines are still on that list. Strummy introduced them. This wine (7 years old) is fresh, with smoky pinot fruit. It does not taste like cherries or strawberries or any other berry. It is Carneros pinot noir at its finest. It is spectacular and would stand with any W/S and Rochioli (the sine qua non of domestic pinot noir). Get on his mail list. You decide what level. All estate grown grapes. Alcohol a wonderfully restrained 13.5%. (more…)

it’s a WINE blog, schmendrick

Where are the notes on the <$20 wines? We taste enough wines on the weekend (my wife a bissel more often) to post some ratings. Before I get around to posting some notes, I will ask the good dotore’ (generously available for palate abuse) to offer notes on the 1999 Oratorio he bought in Costco years ago and held onto until last Friday June 22. In the meantime here are notes on 3 other wines we busted out. (more…)