The 2007 holidays are officially OVER

happy-Sinclairs.jpgIt is OK to stop eating now. And let me tell you the ladies who hosted the reym2.jpgNew Years Eve party (Tootsie) and the New Years Day party (Lettie) made it impossible to slow the cascade down my gullet. Prime rib and lasagna were followed by a torrent of extra special wines.
We can all go back to drinking excellent everyday U20 wines. The 2007 Christmas/Hannukah/New Years/Wedding Anniversary holidays are CLOSED. USC is the best football team in the nation and will open the 2008 rankings in the top 3. And we open at home against Ohio State. Now back to work!
These 2007 holidays came to a resounding close. iliniwek1.jpgNew Years Eve with the Sinkowskis and New Years Day at the See-Glits, being awful damn friendly with new friends and old friends. We watched Uncle Pete and his Trojan Heroes obeying the Two Rose Bowl Laws: [1] It will be a beautiful SoCal day (the kind of day folks back east call “sun-splashed”); and [2] the Big Ten will lose.
iliniwek3.jpgThe most interesting thing about the also-ran Illini was learning about the banishment (I mean retirement) of their beloved mascot (I mean symbol). There are at least half a dozen websites devoted to the controversial Chief Illiniwek.
The other important news about the Illini is they were the only team to beat OSU in 2007 which was enough to land them in the Rose Bowl for the inevitable thrashing. Wish it would have been the Buckeyes…soon enough my pretties.
freddavis-td.jpgIf you think it might be interesting to read how Chicago sportswriter Steve Rosenbloom saw the game then click here. With a 49-17 USC victory in the books I can tell you now 2008 will bring another football championship to University Park…behind Mark Sanchez & Mitch Mustain, Stafon Johnson & Joe McKnight, and a defense that could be better than the #2 defense in the nation in 2007.
Here is a bucket of bottles that helped bring in the New Year.
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2006 Marques de Caro Cherubino Valsangiacomo $11: 90% Mersequera, 10% Muscat. Alto Turia is the region. Mountainous region west of Valencia. Wine Expo is the local vendor. A moment to describe the Wine Expo where Robert Rogness roosts playing the vinous Lothario; think Orson Welles as Citizen Kane in a wine shop. Bombastic, impatient, ultimately charming and quite persuasive. His newsletter says he has the best selection of Ital wines and champagnes in the Southland…and maybe he does.citkane1.jpg Like Granpappy Amos might say “no brag just fack”. If there is one caution it is that Rogness’ tastes are wide ranging and on occasion mine do not match his…despite his enthusiasm. His newsletter is a hoot and fun to read. My brother-in-law shops there and always brings something direct from Robert’s stacks. This is Spanish Blanco. First opened wine is always under added pressure to be good. It is. Quince and citrus then pear flavors in the middle and on the finish. Cannot top the U20 price. Good job Don Pharaoh.
2001 Ciu CIu Esperanto $30: Another Wine Expo selection. Could not uncover a millibyte of data on the web. It is a blend of Montepulciano and Cabernet Sauvignon. That’s right, Montepulciano is a grape. Mixed with cab means Super-Tuscan intentions. Nice nose and flavors. Delicate with tannins present. Middle to light weight with some earth. Good fruit. Pronounced choo-choo. I liked it because it was so gentle. By the way, Esperanto is an international language created in the 1870s as a second language that would promote internationalism over nationalism. I wonder if “W” ever heard of it?
paullatolabel.jpg2002 Paul Lato Duende Gold Coast Vineyard Pinot Noir $25: Purchased at the 2004 Wine Cask Santa Barbara Futures Tasting. One of two wines that stood out for myself and Dotore’ at this tasting and the next two paullato.jpg(then we stopped going). Paul Lato is the winemaker who produces all of 75 cases annually. That Paul Lato will end up making thousands of cases each year for somebody is a done deal. It will happen. This first vintage is beautiful. It tastes like Pinot Noir fruit. The key flavor is sweet beets. Not veggie. Not cherry although it gets close. But sweet red beets. If that sounds ridiculous then you will have to figure this one out on your own. Here is a thought. Paul Lato captures pure Pinot Noir fruit in his wine. Smoke on the nose. Some in the taste. He has to work with Santa Rita HIlls high alcohol coming in at 14.3%. Which is low. One of the best in region. He kicks booty. His wines rock. He makes wine like Guns ‘N Roses work over Paradise City!!! And we discovered him all..by..ourselves (and a couple hundred others).
mirabelle-brut-lbl.jpgSchramsberg Mirabelle NV: Venerable Napa sparkler. My first taste of this. Kind of lean, even weedy and soapy but not off-putting. More acidic with a reflux backwash. Sounds just super. WE did not hate it but it did not get a second pour from me.
canard.jpgCanard-Duchene Brut ~$35: This got a couple pours. Tangy orange fruit. Mandarin. Ripe. Really nice. Available in LA County at Wine House (West LA), Wine Country (Long Beach/Signal Hill), Heritage Wine (Pasadena).
2004_Pinot_SeaSmoke.jpg2005 Foxen Sea Smoke Pinot Noir ~$45: Bought at the 2006 Wine Cask SB Futures Tasting. Sea Smoke is a coveted Santa Rita HIlls vineyard that is also one of the most coveted labels from the new Pinnacle of Pinot Noir. A big near jammy wine. 14.5% alcohol typical of the region. Says Dotor√© “I no longer have a taste for these big wines”. Me too. However, if you have the taste then this one is pretty well balanced and you will find it quite appealing.
2005PipestoneViognier.jpg2005 Pipestone Viognier $25: Shipped under Wine Club. Fruity and fairly forward. Not too much oak (7 months in barrel). 250 cases. Does not have the foxiness I sometimes find off-putting and that, I believe, comes from new oak. Guests preferred this to the Chalone PN (which I think says something about the Pipestone wine). Much more character here and a very nice wine. 14.5%.
Colette_Regnie.jpg2006 Domaine Colette Régnié Beaujolais $13: The first find of the new year. A WH/SG selection. Fruity, cherries, not jammy (!!), special. This is a Beaujolais cru with which I am not familiar. A Charles Neal Selection so there are excellent notes on the wine and the Regnie region. I will be visiting local wine whop Woodland Hills Wine Company to pick half a case. Thinking how nice this will be with Spring lamb being from a biblical shepherd family and all.
reym3.jpgHere is one final biblical shot of Rey Maualuga making memories for the Illini quarterback and fans. Click here to see the photo of Rey Maualuga and local fan taken in August.

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