The List:

Outstanding Value 10-26-13

A lovely Rhone blend with the proper texture. A blackberry fruit-oriented aroma and flavor profile.

A light earthiness gives this one the appeal of a French country wine with distinction.  I fell in love with this wine before I knew it was made with organic grapes. The organic crowd can go nuts on this. Let a little mustiness blow off for 30 mins after uncorking and prior to enjoyment.

***retail under $16***


La Grand Ribe Centenaire
Cotes-du-Rhone Villages 2009

​Castelmaure Corbieres Col des Vents​ 2011

Clos des Vents has become my favorite pop n' pour screw top vino for under $10. A courageously fruity Sud de France fermented to full dryness.

Tenuta Sant'Antonio Scaia Rossa

Corvina, the grape behind the Valpolicella blends of northern Italy, shows it's stuff in my secret little Super Venetian. Medium body with the perfect level of acidity. Not lacking in flavor and makes a surprisingly versatile food pairing wine.

***retail under $13***


Excessive Fertility and Overripe Vinifera


     Rolling vineyards as far as the eye can see with soil so fertile that any crop known to man would produce fruit so voraciously ripe, it appears to be the subject of a think tank of the worlds best genetic engineers.

     A good environment for wine grapes? Negative.

     Syrah vines from the northern Rhone Valley of France that have worked hard for their sunlight and nutrition equal wines that tell a "prodigal son" Vinifera tale. One that might cause an appreciative drinker to ruminate over the generously powerful yet humble manifestation of struggle to success.

This bottling possesses the charm, acidity, and racy flavors that make drink-young Loire Valley Cab Franc based reds such a joy. Not a chunky full red that will appease the Parker crowd. I love this as an "off the beaten path" food pairing wine. Spicy Asian and Indian.

Dom Filliatreau Chateau Fouquet Saumur Rouge

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You're crushin' my pips here bro...


     I've tried through 1,000 bots at the $10 mark. Whether or not I'll recommend them has become a binary code thing for me. It comes down to the flavor of astringent compounds produced by overly crushed grapes. Pressing too forcefully will result in bitter flavors in your vino cuz these greedy vintners crushed the crap outta their fruit in a hurry to make a buck off some starving artists hoping to score a nice glassful on a budget.

     I must mention that some of these astringent compounds imparted by stems, skins, and yes (gently) crushed pips (seeds) are found in fine wines and responsible for their texture and ageworthiness (is that a word?)





Example of a protected-pip, noteworthy red:

Flor de Crasto 2011 Duoro, Portugal

     The harmony of texture and flavor present in this bottling is rare for the price hands down. This blend is about a third Tempranillo (The Portugese call it by Tinta Roriz...and some other names) with some other indigenous Portugese grapes. A rockin red blend from a producer famous for fortified wines. Top five $10 bots

I've tried.

P.S. I didn't put this one up cuz I knocked Laureano and I felt I had to throw Portugal a bone. It truly rocks.

-Cueva de las Manos Rsv Red Mendoza, Argentina

 Examples of pip crushers (don't drink):

-Paulo Leaureano Classico Tinto Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal

Portugal: dishing out old world bomb droppers under $13


    Portugal just may be the the most exciting place for value reds currently. They've been famous historically for their fortified wines while their unfortified dry reds have, for the most part, been overlooked by the international market. Also, as consumers become less variety driven ( I need Cabernet Sauvignon!!!!...No. You need a tasteful red and the sooner you forget about the varieties the sooner you will arrive in tasteful vino land), they become more open minded to wines using indigenous vareties that you may have never heard of, like Touriga Franca and Touriga nacional.

     The truth of the matter is that if you looked at the grand family tree of Vinifera, you'd notice that they're all surprisingly closely related (kinda like us humans). An indigenous Portugese vine may have a Great Uncle-Great Nephew relationship with a variety we may be a bit more familiar with, such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. What I'm trying to say is that you're limiting your palate-potential by being an ignorant grape racist. Giving less of a crap about the names of the varieties themselves is the future.


A year is declared worthy of bottling "vintage" port wines (fortified) as infrequently as once or twice a decade. These years, 2011 being one, are great ones to look out for unfortified dry reds from Port producing houses. 

​"An expression of too damn tart"

"​Looks like our old buddy Paulo is a shameless pip crusher after all..."

An example of when I'd choose to drink a $30 bot over a $130 bot.


     My coworkers and I were trying through a line of some serious Syrah throw downs from various regions that boiled down to a head to head comparison of a $30 Crozes-Hermitage (Northern Rhone Valley, France) to a $130 Barossa (Australia). The Croze was "Old World full bodied" while the Barossa was "New World full bodied." The Croze was mature, brooding, textured, a distinct aroma of cracked black pepper, fruitiness, with certain uplifting qualities. The Barossa was wine-syrup jam juice that drowned me in its globbiness...it smelled aight tho...It was almost as good of an example of the renowned Syrup-wine style as Apothic Red.

Delas Dom des Grand Chemins Crozes-Hermitage 2010

Kaesler Old Bastard Shiraz Barossa 2006

Synthetic Red


*  SOON:  *

Beer, Music, Food, and Other Less Relevant Subjects

*FYI:Have'nt figured out how to conveniently place the most recent posts at the top, so scroll down for the newest...for now...thanks.

Ticket to Paradise for a Jackson n' a Hamilton: Thirty Bucks...Newest Favorite Price Point


     With the modern day Vino Renaissance in full swing, more and more special and fine wines are available for less. After some significant "up to $100" tasting experience at the store, $30 has proven to be the most rewarding price point as far as accessing fine, noteworthy, and ageworthy wines than can stand up next to much more expensive bottlings. In other words, you can get your foot in the door of the fine wine club for $30 baby.

Acorn Sangiovese 2010

     This is my favorite New World Wine. It's classic No Cal in its full, polished style and new French oak imparted aromas and flavors, yet not lacking in subtle rusticity. Call it a mild forresty earthiness. Hats off to this producer for devoting much of their prime Russian River Valley vineyard acreage to indigenous Italiano grapes, some of which I had never heard of...Outstanding.

​***retail under $35***

D'Angelo Aglianico Del Vulture 2007

     A masculine, robust style with fleshy, sticky tannins. Aglianico grapes being sourced from vineyards situated on the volcanic ash soils of the extinct volcano Mt. Vulture, this wine is full of intriguing aromas and flavors: smoky, woody, savory, asian/teriyaki sauce...then pops out some fruit from the depths of all that volcanic ash freakiness...Exotic.

***retail under $35***

Dom. Faury St. Joseph Blanc 2009

     Now that it's winter time, I lean away from zesty, high-acid whites and towards lower-acid blancs with more of a roundness of texture. This Northern Rhone Valley blend definitely qualifies. Light caramel and mildly spicey quince. A delicate tangerine citrus, but without the high acidity that usually goes with wines displaying citrus notes...Decadent.

***retail under $35***

Pra Monte Grande Soave Classico 2011

     This lovely Garganega-based white expresses the prestige and allure of the best of Northern Italy. Characterized by a graceful smoothness on the mid-palate. Charming and refined in its subtle delivery of pear fruit aromas...Risotto....right now.

​***retail under $30***

Hey Evan!


     I have found myself in the center of the
aeration debate many times. In my experience aerators do help to "get the
wine going," but are not a substitute for time in contact with oxygen. Wines that
are heavily tannic/ textured and fairly young tend to be the wines in the most
crucial need of aeration in terms of bouquet maturation and the dissipation of
any undesirable aromas.


     Many New World (outside of Europe; South
Africa, Argentina, New Zealand, etc...) producers, especially Californian ones,
implement modern techniques like reverse osmosis, the use of a centrifuge, and
fining with animal products like egg whites and chicken proteins to remove
solids. These techniques make wines more consistently palateable and can make a
failed wine marketable, but oftentimes removes the need for aeration; for
example: Apothic Red, Bogle Essential Red, and Alexander Valley Vineyards
Cabernet Sauvignon.


     Tannins absorb oxygen molecules as they
bind together. A wine heavy in them can withstand respectively long term
aeration, whereas a wine that has been stripped of its solids will start to
"fizzle out" comparatively quickly as the oxygen has its way with
compounds responsible for aroma and flavor it the absence of tannins.


     There are traditionally produced wines
that are naturally low in tannins. Burgundian Pinot Noirs are ready to be
popped and poured. According to the inhabitants of Burgundy, their wines posses
such delicate nuances that any aeration may kill the drinker's opportunity to
appreciate that Nth degree of complexity.  It is appropriate to consider
this sentiment in the enjoyment of old vintage fine wines as well.


     We'll wrap it up with this:


     While you're waiting for your highly
textured, exotic, mature, brooding, rustic wine, hopefully from the southern
half of Italy, to aerate...enjoy a fruity white, sparkling or still, a
Burgundian Pinot, or a nice Techno-Raped California red.

                                                                     Thanks, Jordan Certified Specialist of Wine

Evan G. of Baltimore, MD writes:


​     Hey!

     Andrew and I are in need of advice re: aeration.

    Usually Andrew just pours one glass and lets it sit for ~20

minutes but we would rather have an aerator for the sake of efficiency /

     May you suggest anything for us? Quality wise: Andrew

usually prefers "the best." Lol.

 Thanks as always for your guidance.

Forming Opinions on Wine and the 100 Point System 12-28-13  ***highly anticipated***

     ​I can start to list off the reasons why I do not agree that you legally have to be 21 years of age to purchase alcohol in the United States, but I won't do that because most of them are common knowledge. That being said, my new favorite reason is so that elementary school-aged children can shop for their fearful wine consumer parents. Your child may gain problem solving skills in the process!


      How might this work? Simple. Hand the youngin' some cash and give he/she these instructions:

      1. Stop by a convenience store and buy a copy of any one of the sinister publications that takes advantage of fear and lack of self esteem in Vino drinkers by the sick system that, in its very nature, is abhorrent to the ethereal realm of the majestic liquid that it claims to assess so precisely.  That sick system, my friends, is the 100 point rating system.

    2. Proceed to the local wine shop, find the nearest attendant, shove the publication in his or her face and demand that they fetch a bottle of each wine rated 90 no...91 points or higher.

    3. Make it home so fearful-vino-consumer-parent can get the highly rated wines on the dinner table in time to appease our guests that, thanks to Bouquet Master Magazine's ratings, won't berate us to the point of humiliation due to our distastefulness.

    Scores don't help us develop our own taste in wine, help us understand why we have a taste for certain wines, or help us understand anything about wine in general. The variety of styles and characteristics we appreciate in Vinoland are due to the natural expression of grape/place/winemaker (this article isn't about terrior) in the multitude of unique vineyard sites around the world.

   When winemakers feel obligated to achieve the style that fetches high scores from Robert Poindexter, that only serves to homogenize styles...and that sucks. In fact, if a bottle totes its "90 point scores however many years in a row from whoever," the people behind it have no souls and you are now choosing between the 7up, Sprite, and Sierra Mists of 90 plus rated lemon-lime sodas.  

     Let vigneronnes propogate and vintners vinify in their respective ways and let us try all that wine in an adventurous spirit and discover the joy of what we as individuals appreciate. Let the bottles at the table reflect your taste, not your ability to read a damned number.

P.S. If your child is less intellectually inclined you may simplify said task by having him forego the stop at the corner store for a copy of Bouquet Master and head directly to the wine store. There he shall ask for one bottle each from the store's selection of 90+ Cellars wine ( 100 point system + extorted wineries = 90+ Cellars a.k.a. sick wineworld mutant lovechild...go ahead...google 'em)