Eat Something! It’s Thanksgiving.

Santa Anita Staff waiting to serve you.

Gather your bottles of wine, your trays of scalloped green beans, and the all-grown-up cousins. Turkey Day is upon us. Let’s all be together cracking jokes, talking about old times, and checking out the young ‘uns and their “sig Os.” Tell stories, think about those who are no longer here. As Grandma used to say, “eat something!” As we like to say “Drink Something!” Everyone have a great time.

2009 Coudert Fleurie Clos de la Roilette Cuvée Tardive$25: Pulled this bottle out of the cellar. By reputation it is like the Roagna wines from Barbaraesco, but less expensive of course because it is Gamay. The Clos de la Roilette house is declassified Fleurie as Roagna is declassifed Barbaresco.

loves his horse

To put it another way, both brands were cut out of the insider’s’ club in their respective regions. Yet both brands are recognized for producing exceptional wines from those regions. But they must toil in silent disregard, perpetually smacked down by the locals who – for whatever reason – did not believe they belonged in either the Fleurie or Barbaresco clubs. The Clos is fairly priced. Recently saw the 2010 at $21 on Cinderella Wine. The wine is scrumptious. Blueberry flavors with enough tannin to bring the acid balance. One of those wines that is not going to make it through the evening because it will be gone gone gone. Great value. Great wine. Makes me want to go to the track with Peewee. Day after Christmas Santa Anita opens! 13%

2002 Clendenen Family Vineyards Petit Verdot $30: The Missus grabbed this at the 2004 Santa Barbara Futures Tasting. She tasted it right there at the table where Jim Clendenen was pouring. If you go to one of these events and ABC is going to be there you can usually count on Jim being there pouring his wines. This bottle is past its peak. Most of the fruit is goine. Remarkably, the weight is there and the wine is “intact” meaning the wine is not falling apart. The fruit has left the building. The label says “from estate grown grapes planted at Bien Nacido.” Maybe they were young vines and this was the first harvest. Wonder how recent bottlings taste. As usual, one has to admire Jim’s commitment to low alcohol wines from a region where so many winemakers seem to be influenced by the rocket fuel from the nearby Vandenberg Space Center. 13.5%

2010 Bodega Elvira Calle Malbec Alberti 154 $11: If you have room for one more wine at the T-Day table you might look for a Malbec. And if you see this particular label, you might grab it. There are hundreds of Argentine Malbec brands out there. In general, these wines are inter-changeable with the bright red fruit, soft tannins, middle weight, and generally low alcohols. They are almost across the board pleasing. Every now and then an exceptional Malbec appears. This is one of those. Light to middle weight, dark red-black juice. Plenty of tannins without being overbearing. The balance is outstanding. The flavors are black cherry but it is the acid that sets up the wine. I saw notes on cellartracker that read “coffee, cherry, these overpowered anything else on the nose; too earthy for my taste.” He gave it a “76 points.” This is why I cannot write on cellar tracker [ed. besides that you write here nimrod]. The points are stupid. There is no arithmetic involved. Might as well be two thumbs up. 76 points? Not 77? Keep it simple or say something that helps us figure what it tastes like. Coffee, black cherries and earthy on the palate. Love it. And at this price it is a U20 bargain! At Southern Hemisphere Wine Center in Huntington Beach. 14%

A tale of two wine stores: I stopped in at two wine shops I rarely visit the other day. The first is a venerable Pasadena wine shop whose name rhymes with Fishin’ where I asked for a domestic dessert wine from Vermont that I tasted and enjoyed at Saddle Peak Lodge. The sales dude replied “we only carry French dessert wines.” So I asked if he had Muscat de Monervois. He recommended a dessert from Cahors which I purchased. I asked if he carried Ornellaia wines. He showed me to their selection. I commented that the $185 price was $35 over the release number. “We are small wine shop, sir.” I noticed the 2009 Fonterutoli was priced at $25 and commented this was $17 at Costco. “You know what else Costco sells?” he asked. “Washers, tires, copy paper.”

Later the same day I stopped in at Liquid Wine in Chatsworth where the experience is a far cry from getting snobbed in Pasadena [ed. Ghostbusters on cable so we think we were wine-slimed]. This is an excellent stop from layout to selection to wine dude. The floor has enough older vintages of hard-to-find and oddball selections to keep me happy. The experience is a lot like being in a used book store searching for first editions. Look what we bought and you will get the idea: 2003 Ethan La Purisima Syrah $20, 2010 Ceretto Arneis $17, 2008 Chiarlo Nivole 375 ml dessert Moscato $14, 2010 Tablas Creek Patelin $19, 2004 Ronchi Barbaresco $35. No ‘tude and plenty of great deals on known and unknown wines. Some of the stuff I passed on you might like. I shall return…to Chatsworth.

Now here is a very cool performance by Duane Eddy and Art of Noise to prime us all for the good day coming.

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