Posts belonging to Category Nebbiolo



Wine Enlightenment is a THING!!

 

Hume! Smith! Carlyle! Siegel? Blair! The greatest minds of the Scottish Enlightenment all loved Spatburgunder!

Mr Story is a notable thinker in his own write. He has been giving thought to a delicate topic; guidelines for regulating wine purchases. I am confident tBoW speaks for many when he says buying wine is an impulsive act. Count sellers among that group. The general impression is that people who buy wine as a “hobby” are compulsive idiots who disdain the self control they otherwise widely practice in their lives. I am speaking of clinicians, dentists, $$ investors, high school teachers, attorneys, movie folks and professors. BY contrast, actors, dentists and politicians are undisciplined folks driven by base amoral impulses.

It seems timely that tBoW publishes the following testamento. Reflecetions follow.

[STORY BEGINS HERE] Greetings, blog recipients! It has been awhile since I – Mr. Story – have gathered my thoughts and carefully crafted them into a fine delicious blend for you, my dearest readers, for light sipping and enlightenment. Following the Storied Tasting of 2019 there was much to reflect on. I am ready to be back on the blog to share my wisdom with you! Now, I come to the next crossroads. What do I discuss on the blog? Yes, rumor has it that the Best of Wines is a wine blog, but methinks there is more to life than wine. So how about we discuss money. Wait, how about we discuss wine AND money! Brilliant. [ed. now tBoW is paying attention].

Did you know that millions of Americans are drinking their way into debt? Yes, I said it! It’s quite a terrible thing. As Dave Ramsey says “adults delay pleasure. Children do what feels good.” I guess there are a bunch of “children” over 21 running around and drinking their brains out instead of putting their money into mutual funds or saving to buy a house. They go to the bottle because it “feels good” in the moment.

I am not saying get rid of wine altogether, no, no! What I am recommending is putting together a monthly wine budget to ensure that your wine spending doesn’t get out of control. Yes, create two of them. One monthly wine budget for bottles of wine at home and the other for purchasing glasses of wine outside of the home… at a restaurant, for example. For the more adventurous, you may want to create a third annual budget for wine tastings and outings. The important thing here is to have a budget and to follow it. Every time you buy wine, keep the receipt and put them all into a wine glass [ed. tBoW suggests using the glasses “given away” at tasting rooms.]. Keep a piece of paper near the wine glass or track the expense category of WINE in your favorite budgeting app. I use Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar App and it works great. While we are talking about Dave, no, you shouldn’t be buying wine with a credit card or going into debt for it. It’s not worth it.

Here’s the thing. You probably have no idea how much you are spending on wine. Let me introduce you to some numbers and math to do the explaining here.

[ed. tBoW reviews value wine in midst of Story’s thoughts] 2016 Chateau Bonneau Haut Medoc $25 altho we probably got it for less. Review is sourced from Vivino Dark garnet. Smoky vanilla and cedar, touch medicinal. Cherry, woody red currants and a hint of ash. Decent length with a slight tickle of woody tannins. Perfectly mature now, but decant to avoid sediment. 🌟86 pts – good QPR. tBoW recalls he liked this wine mucho esp for a Cab blend. Best thing about the Vivion review is the “good Quality-Price Ratio – QPR.” 86 points means N-O-T-H-I-N-G. Back to the Story story.]

For the at-home-drinker: Online wine retailer Vivino reports that the average bottle of red wine costs $15.66. If you drink 1 bottle a week, you are spending roughly $814.32 per year. 2 bottles a week brings you to $1,628.64 per year. See why we recommend wines $25 and under on this blog now, right? Imagine if you were buying $50 bottles to try to impress your friends and doing so twice a week? That would be costing you $5,200 per year! Yikes!

According to the Wine Market Council, millennials and boomers are most at risk for drinking up their paychecks. They found that 42% of all wine in the United States is sold to millennials. Boomers however, account for a slightly smaller portion of the U.S. population but are more heavy wine drinkers than millennials.

[ed. tBoW reviews value wine in the middle of Story’s thoughts: 2009 Ghemme Terre Moreniche Ill Chiosso 13% unclear on price altho guessing $25. Lyle Fass offer and buy. Only ONE review of this wine on Vivino. What makes AltoP wines so terrific is they are blended! Unlike most Baroli. Did not locate many Altopiemonte wines on Vivino. Guessing because the region is too far off the beaten path. The wine was spectacular. We would buy again in a heartbeat faster than Mahomes can deliver a heater 20 years downfield throwing across his body. We MUST have an Altopiemonte & Spatburgunder tasting in the Spring! Mr Story will be there I am sure.]

Interesting stuff. Read this blog and get the good deals. Make your wine budgets, two or three depending on your relationship with wine. [END OF STORY!]

Thank you Mr. Story. My reflections follow from a Boomer palate…okay? (1) I cannot believe I am pimping for Dave Ramsey and getting zilch in return. (2) My dental surgeon reviews wines for Vivino which is a populist website that rates wines on a five point scale that is actually 40 points using a single decimal point between 1 and 4.9. I give them credit for rejecting the ABSURD and USELESS marketing tool…100 point scale. (3) I respect Mr Story’s POV. (4) Not a chance I will budget anything including golf clubs. Keep in mind tBoW is an old boomer fart. Wait until Dotore weighs in. Or IGTY aka IWTYT. I leave it to Story contempos Glass Jar, KrisB and Ikorb to share their views which is unlikely given their compulsive Millenial work ethic.

I have an idea. Let’s drink some value wines with a decent price-quality ratio…and post up here!

It was the Glass Jar’s time to shine with the dough and the sauce!

Bounce back. Stay true to yourself. Follow your dreams.
Words spoken at his university commencement. Small solace when you lose your first job after college at a pizzeria.
The Glass Jar has always wanted to work at a pizza restaurant. Soon as he graduated university he signed up at his local pizzeria in LA. “I applied at several spots and heard nothing. I did find work at a private school and produced a feature film. I finally got the pizzeria job back home in New England. “

“The man who owned the pizzeria needed extra help in the kitchen. I was very candid. I had never worked in a kitchen but I had no doubt this was where I belonged. He took a chance. My first shift was the weekend. My job was putting pizzas in boxes, then cutting pizzas into slices, then organizing the boxes for customers.”[ed. MrStory: LeanSixSigma can compare waste created cutting pizza slices vs. crushing grapes].

“Things could get busy. I felt very comfortable. I would be making a little pocket money. Most importantly, I was giving back to the pizza community which had done so much for my personal growth. Dozens of families would be eating pizza sliced by the Glass Jar. If it were not for me, these families would be arguing over how to slice the pizza. I would drive home after a night in the kitchen knowing I could be driving by households positively affected by my pizza slices. After years of reading history books and following the news, one could only dream of the kind of impact the Glass Jar had with his pizza slicer.”

“My pizza dreams came to a quick conclusion after the weekend; crushed with one text. No job no more for me at the pizzeria.”
Review wines break.

2011 Travaglini Gattinara Tre Vigne $40ish: tBoW favorite wine region is north of Milan near the Alpine foothills. Elevation and coolness delivers medium light weight wines made from Nebbiolo and indigenous grapes. Travaglini is the most recognizable label and bottle shaped like a melting wax guitar. Travaglini is 100% Nebbiolo which tends to flatten the flavor profile. No harm done the wines are dependable, if not exciting, like Beaulieu Vineyard cabs. The entry level is Tre Vigne Gattinara at The Glass Jar is not one to fret very long. The Glass Jar is a bounce back fellow as young millenials are wont to be. There are much better altapiemonte wines to be had at this price.

2014 Nervi Gattinara $30 more or less: Check Eataly for availability with Giacomo. This is superb Alto Piemonte. Giacomo Conterno [one of the kings of Barolo to the south] purchased this winery, the oldest in Alto Piemonte. That is an endorsement from the highest source. We have tasted multiple vintages, most recently the 2008 out of mag. Balanced like a UCLA gymnast, “velvet glove” power which it is delicate at the same time having strength. Peerless. Much better investment of time and $$.

The Glass Jar is presently working in a new job somewhere in the Southeast. Instead of flipping pizzas he will be flipping House seats.

[ed. Mr Story shares some wisdom] It must have been tough to bounce back from this defeat. Jobs and opportunities may present themselves, even though you may not have the desired experience. One’s work ethic and character may be enough to get a job others would consider out of reach. Character, convictions, and reliability are forever minuscule when compared to “experience about the pizza.” The Glass Jar has experience “about the wine” because he generously contributes to The Best of Wines blog. It is the restaurant’s loss and our gain. We might have featured the place on this very blog.

Check out the Swingingest Pie Flippers Ever – Louis Prima and Keely Smith.

Today Is My Birthday – Take Me to Eataly!

True…all true. Today tBoW is old beyond belief. But so are many others. Some whom I know very well.
Such as IGTY and Dotoré. And Jim Moore.

It seems timely to share shit one knows on one’s 69th year in action. This does not include the saigneé method for making rosé wines.


We do know this…..

Pink wines are delicious wines. Summertime is the obvious season for enjoying rosé wines. We will not go further and insist they should be enjoyed in any season. In fact, they should not. Panks are built for summer, my birthday is at the start of summer so please indulge. Read how rosés are made!

A recent pair of wines purchased in the Eataly Wine shop run by Jack aka Giacomo are produced by La Kiuva. There is a red and a rosé. Both are fabulous.  Both are very nicely priced as is the case with so many Italian wines at Jack’s Eataly wine shop on the second floor in Century City. The Eataly is now tBoW’s go-to wine shop for Italian wines. Great selection and very fair prices.

The red La Kiuva is a Nebbiolo blend from Alto Piemonte; precisely just east in Valtellina. Red wines from this region, along with reds from Sicily and Sardinia, rule the roost [ed. fill the cellar?] in the tBoW household. When we saw there was a La Kiuva rosé as well naturally we had to purchase. Turns out that were good decisions. Both proved to be outstanding.

Both meet the preferred flavor profile for wines: high acid, not fleshy at all, lean, acidic [ed. you already said that], with enough fruit to balance with food…you could not get further from a heavy hitter 97 plus points Napa red.

One more thing tBoW is certain of in his 69th year…Jim Moore aka the “Original Giacomo” is very possibly the world’s greatest winemaker. Easily the best in Napa and easily the best working with Lodi juice which he practically pioneered. His wines have good acidic content; are friendly, lovely and balanced. His wines are f***ing interesting and delicious. The kind Mrs. tBoW does not want to share. I am not kidding.

So far we have guzzled Jim’s Cinsualt Rose, Vermentino (his most “popular”) and the 2015 Zinfandel radix vinea. We are also making a dent in the mixed case we picked up at Eataly.

I know. NO WAY tBoW drank – much less purchased – a zin. Look up radix vinea. On his website. The 2015 is sold out. I will be buying the 2016. Check out his label website, Buy his wines. I recently purchased a mixed case of everything.

Iggy Pop is tBoW’s favorite pop singer and performer. In fact, I told my kindt when they were young and would believe anything I said that they should listen to The Ig and watch his videos if they want to grasp the world’s greatest rock and roll performer; probably the o-n-l-y TRUE rock and roller…e-v-e-r.

See for yourself. I wonder what Jim thinks about the Ig.

Buying Wine: Our Favorite LA Shops

stacks 'n racks

stacks ‘n racks in Tarzana

“Dimi. Why you do dees to me?” The sweet grandmother asked her son the priest with pain in her voice as Bill Friedkin looked in from behind the camera. The memorable scene from the Exorcist was almost as chilling as buying wine at one of your local haunts only to have it disappoint at the table. What makes a good wine store? What are the qualities in play? Can there be more than one good store? Can we think of another question and keep this party going? Holidays are coming. Heck. They’re here.

Places we like to shop for wine in our town and why we like them.

Tarzana Wine & Spirits looks like just another family owned liquor store that understands the word WINE on the sign could help boost sales. Inside the floor is stacked two to three cases high with what a wine fiend likes to see. Behind the floor stacks are the rows and rows of racks. Twenty years ago you had to go to a real wine store like Wally’s or Paul Smith’s WHWCo to find this level of wine shopping experience. Today the appearance is much more commonplace. As one tBoW reader pointed out, the difference is the staff. He likes a sales associate who knows what she is selling. With nice hair. The buyer makes the clever purchases. Can find good stuff here.

unsure what to buy?

unsure what to buy?

Liquid Wine is a local stop we must always hit when driving down Topanga from the 118 to the West end of the Valley. Never changes. Pete mans the register while watching baseball or hockey. His selection is quirky like New Mexico and just as intriguing. And Pete fulfills the knowledgeable sales clerk standard. He knows his poop. If you know yours then you will find something unusual. If you do not then ask him to recommend something around $15.

Once upon a time the Liquor Store on Ventura one block east of Topanga was a place a guy could stop in and pick up a couple of mixed cases of Old World wines the owner bought on close out.

perusal plan

Domaine perusal plan

He specialized in Italian and French closeouts shunned by the snob stores with price points in the high 20 to mid 30s. The hit rate was close to 70%. But the owner sold out and now it’s just another liquor store with a wine on the sign in big letters.

Domaine LA is always a good destination wine shop. Drive to West Hollywood with a couple hundies. Let the well-informed sales gal lead you around the shop layed out for a casual stroll. She points out the organic biodynamic sustainable wines of the moment: orange, Spanish, Clear Lake, cloudy, “let it sit a while” she advises. Our mind reels. We sit. Yes we would love a taste… from a glass. Leave with a mixed case for the coming holidays. Satisfied. This is not the rack populated traipse through the bottle forest. Domaine LA’s floor is spacious. Selections are selective. We are absolutely certain there is not a bad bottle in the store. We see quite a few of the same merchandise we get from our dealer and he sells to super models. It must be good.

Wines we recently tasted while dining at Panzanella in Sherman Oaks.

Scavino-03WEB2003 Scavino Barolo $35: Full and soft. “Better tomorrow” advises Dotoré. Tasting like a bull ready for the ring, with pedigree, tonight. Nebbiolo is sexy wine. Always elegant, regal. Seems at odds with the humble agro Piemonte region. This wine is the “pedestrian” bottle. Young. Came out of the cellar. 13.5%

la-mannella-07WEB2007 La Mannella Brunello di Montalcino $30: Sangio based Tuscan. Purchased at Tarzana W&S. Oaky, big, needs air even after being decanted. Needs to open. The “giftor” says the wine is outta whack while others find it full flavored and jummie. It is full and tannic. Worth buying once the price drops which it will. Sit on it at least a year. 13%

Bucci-verd12WEB2012 Bucci Verdicchio Classico dei Castelli di Jesi $20 ($48 on the list): Delicious white wine. The 250% markup on the wine list is normal. The wine shows light acid, not much spine with very friendly pleasing flavors, ripe fruit closer to orange than lime. Did not come in bottle shaped like a fish. 13%

Panzanella is a nice place to dine in the Valley. Part of the Drago dining empire that has overtaken LA. The family-style Valley needs a white table cloth family-style dining spot where middle aged adults can go with friends, sit boy-girl-boy-girl, and eat a well-prepared Italian meal. We were in the wine room which is the quieter area. Massimo makes sure everything goes smoothly. A “holidays” return is already in the works.

Chinato: the Perfect Digestivo

gout is good!

gout is good!


After a leisurely evening sampling a lineup of Italian wines red and white while dining on a mouthwatering pork roast that followed pasta i funghi made fresh… you really need something to help with the digestion… something flavorful, a proven cure-all. Something from the Old World. Something made with quinine! More on this wonderful potion shortly.

First, let us examine the testimony of excess that necessitated relief.

casa-coste-pianeWEBNV Casa Coste Piane Frizzante Naturalmente Prosecco $15: One of the only Prosecco wines fermented in bottle just like champagne. Supposed favorite among Piemontese who know better. This is not the fruity giggly sparkler that charms everyone soon as you meet her KITTEN-WITH-A-WHIPWEB[ed. you are a sexist chauvinist comparing giggly bubbly effervescence to a female caricature]. This is not the fruity giggly sparkler that charms everyone soon as you have a chance to sip and swallow. This is Prosecco with spine. Sexy. Makes you want some more. Not easy to find out here on the Best Coast. 12%

I-MasieriWEB2011 Massieri Angiolino Moule $35: Another Garganega wine (!!!) like the one reviewed here a couple posts back recommended by the somm at the Santa Monica restaurant Tar and Roses. Call it Soave but this is not the BevMo/Costco staple Santa Margarita style. This white wine has acid, some body, and it is a nice precursor to the soldati heavies in the lineup. The grape is experiencing some kind of renaissance as are other lesser known indigenous varietals on the verge of extinction now resurrected thanks  to the dedication and moral sense of natural winemakers. Good story on the hillside vineyard and the relatively new family business. 11.5%

brangero09WEB2009 Brangero Nebbiolo D’Alba Briccobertone $25: A Langhe young vines non-tannic road runner from the Langhe. Lighter weight intro to Barolo and wines made from the Nebbiolo grape that is delicious and easy to drink. If we were in a museum this would be the dogent. Look for it.

There were other Italian red wines including the 2006 Ar Pe Pe Grumello which stole the show recently and once again. Check out the earlier tBoW review.

We were so excited about trying the Chinato we hardly regretted indulging the food and drink. The Chinato proved to be an amazing drink. We had it after but I am sure it would work just as nicely on its own. Like we enjoyed it over the next week. Read the review on the Eno Fine Wine site.

chinatoWEBNV Vergano Nebbiolo Chinato $43: [kee-not-toe] This wine comes in a 500 ML bottle. This does not taste like any drink with which we are familiar. The wine is “aromatized.” The wine is made from a quinine base and includes tinctures and extracts of Nebbiolo wine, cinnamon, ginseng, etc. The winemaker is the story much like the Almencistas who specialize in Sherry. This wine was not loved by all. But it was not roundly disliked either. Some were on the fence where they remain today. I love it and hate it. Like my marriage. Hey you! Get off that fence! [ed. Mike Myers moment]. For tBow this is a bog wow. Absolutely brought a feeling of digestive assistance. Flavors included licorice and Sen Sen! Bravo!! We prefer water con gas to flat anyway so the taste is familiar. One can smell and taste the quinine. The mixture of the other ingrediments is where the winemaker’s skill makes the difference. It is the perfect after dinner drink. 16%.

This fine Italian interpretation by John Renbourn is also good for settling down the demons.