Ridge Petit Syrah and Zilliken Riesling

Tonight, The Boyfriend is away, so I intended to have a little wine, read some magazines and just hang out after a loooong week (I made a former nun cry during a deposition, for starters). I began over analyzing the wine selection and finally settled on a 2001 Ridge Petit Syrah Essence. I completely f'ed up with my choice. I was aiming to try something new in the apartment (yes, we have so much wine crammed into a 550 sq. ft. apt that we find "new" things when we do a wine search) and I decided to give the Ridge a chance. It started out well, the wine has a great aroma of black, black cherry and a bit of chocolate and it showed a bit of raspberry once the wine was given a good swirl in the glass. Then there was the taste. UGH. I doubt Robert Parker or any other wine authority condones a rating such as that, but Oh God, it was horrible. It was like a bad glass of Welch's, with notes of tobacco and hell. The label says it can be cellared for 10-20 years, but I would be scared. Ridge no longer produces Essence and I can only venture a guess as to why.

The palate having been busted by the Ridge, I settled on 2005 Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken Riesling Spatlese. It was a solid choice, with a clean, almost astringent aroma, with flavors of mineral, steel, apple and a little pear. Not overly heavy on the palate. Random leap from the Ridge, but it was light, refreshing and helped to ease my Petit Syrah disappointment.

Update: The Boyfriend disagrees with my verbal assessment (although he did not taste) of the Ridge. He claims it should have been enjoyed as a dessert wine. Oh well, I noticed we have another bottle in the apt, so we will see....


Napa Wine Review Part 3: Pina

Sigh. Where do I even begin. It is such a love-fest when I discuss Pina, as you might have already read in my previous posts. Anyway, I had to drag The Boyfriend and our friend with whom we were staying, (we will give him the code name Sucio to protect the guilty) to Pina that morning. We were all a bit worn out, as we hit the ground running when we landed in Napa the day before, plus the boys harvested grapes in the morning, so they were not being cooperative at all. BUT, once we were tasting wines right out of the barrel at Pina, they were SOOO happy I made them attend.

Sometimes you attend a tasting and there are only a few, if any, stars in the group. At Pina, every single wine that it pours is fantastic. Pina has had such a solid performance in past years that it sells out on its futures (futures in wines are just like everything else - you are purchasing wine not yet bottled and/or ready for sale). Bottom line, you cannot go wrong with any of its wines. (sorry, love-fest, you were warned). We tasted five or so wines right out of the barrel, since the 2004 Howell Mountain Cab is the only wine available for immediate sale and consumption at this time.

My favorite:

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon (Yountville-Wolff) - PRRRRRrrrrrrrrr... This wine was my favorite of the entire trip. It is a full-bodied cab with dark fruit, but the hightlight is the spicy, Thai-esque finish. It will be absolutely incredible when it is released next year. It made me do a happy dance in the barrel room. Seriously. buy it now. and a lot of it. It is that good.

Photo: Pina (check out the middle pic - it is the paella pan that I mentioned in previous posts!)

Napa Wine Review Part 2: Elyse

Elyse Winery - Not only is this family owned and managed winery a fabulous host in its tasting room, but Elyse has a phenomenal and broad-ranging selection of wines available on the tasting list.
My faves:

2005 L'Ingenue - (white) - very honeysuckle-y and fruity aroma and it has a rich fruit flavor with lots of peach and pear (pears as in the fab Harry and David kind, not your grocery Bartletts). The weight of the wine is definitely notable - it can definitely stand up to a substantial food pairing.

2006 La Peche - (white) - this is primarily marketed as a dessert wine, but it could be a fab wine for your cocktail afternoon, I mean...hour, during the summer, as it does not have that sickeningly sweet finish and heavy weight of most dessert wines. La Peche is suprisingly crisp and really refreshing. It has notes of peach (duh), light flowers and a teeny bit of honeysuckle.

2002 Jacob Franklin #60 Mon Chou - (red) - JF is Elyse's second label, named after the family's son. MC is a Bordeaux-style blend with a bright cherry flavor, along with cedar, a little spice and a bit of cassis. Drink one and cellar one for five years or so.

Photo: Elyse

Napa Wine Review Part One

Here we are, a week and a half after my return from Napa. Work finally, slightly calmed and, anywho, now I have had ample time to reminisce about the highlights from the fabulous wine hunting trip.

First, before we get to the wine (which I am doing in separate parts, for cataloguing purposes), let me set the mood by giving you the weekend soundtrack:

Rockstar - Nickelback
Time after time - Quietdrive
Party like a rockstar - Shop Boyz (we have delusions of grandeur, what can I say?)
Stolen - Dashboard Confessional
Clothes off - gym class heroes
Burt Bacharach Greatest Hits

Sure, I should be embarrassed to share this list, but we had a fun time, so I have no worries....

hee hee...

today while procrastinating at work, I found a cute little avatar site, tizme. I think I am going to use this one, although the blonde hair is not quite right, but, oh right, i forgot...it is a cartoon on an otherwise anonymous blog....


it's the end of the world as we know it...


Seriously, is there anything that this cat cannot do?! I am a little scared, but I really cannot put a finger on what scares me the most: (1) are little girls going to be brandishing this card? (2) are adult girls going to be brandishing this card? (3) what are the purchase rewards? little backpacks and diaries with locks? OR (4) the fact that I am strangely attracted to the card...


slipping into delirium


As I sit here in my dreary office, I am suddenly inspired to make these slippers - according to Bluelines, I can do it. Now, keep in mind, I have never sewn in my life, but I am suddenly overcome with the notion that I must make a pair for everyone I know (everyone I know that is worthy of my slipper handiwork, that is). Imagine the colors... imagine the embroidery... Imagine me quitting once I bought all of the necessary equipment and made one ugly pair that people make fun of...

Photo: Bluelines


I'm Baaaack.

So this is not the best picture, but I never claimed to be a photog. Even still, I wanted you to see this shot - can you imagine having this as the trellis constituting your carport?! How fabulous - as is the guest house that is attached to it. Our trip to Napa was lovely, we are still recovering and I have a bit of "real" job catching up to do, so no updates this evening - I hope to fill you in tomorrow!


3:00 pm - back in NYC!

After partying all night, we head back to NYC, full of insight on new, fabulous wines and other finds in Napa. Then we will sleep. See you Monday!


2:00 pm - wedding

After a morning of relaxing and tasting wines, we are also attending a friend's wedding, while we are in Napa. (yes, this is a pic from another Napa wedding we attended last year, so I think it is apropos).


6:00 am - Harvesting Grapes

While I usually run from physical labor, we have the opportunity of being at the vineyard during the very beginning of harvest. Right now, they are mainly harvesting grapes for sparkling wine - so we will get up early Friday morning and help out. From there, we will spend the rest of the day tasting, and of course I will fill you in on all the deets later....


7:00 pm - cooking out on the vineyard

We are fortunate enough to be staying with The Boyfriend's best friend, whose family owns a highly regarded vineyard and winery in Carneros, a majestic and beautiful part of Napa Valley. After a day of tasting and buying wine, we stop at the grocery, pick up a few items and return to cook up a feast at one of the yurts on the vineyard.

3:00 pm - Pina

Back for some more fabulous wine, the Howell Mountain variety, of which I wrote last month.

1:00 pm - Bistro Jeanty

Mmmmm... lunch at Bistro Jeanty - tomato soup and some fabulous wine.

8:00 am - In the air

So we are the guinea pigs on the new Virgin America airline. It is only about a week into flight, so we will see how it goes. I am excited about a few of the perks.....

- Virgin America is the first U.S. airline with mood lighting
- There are 3000 MP3s onboard every flight
- You can plug in to 110v power at every seat
- You can order fresh food when you want it, from the screen at your seat
- Red, the VA in-flight entertainment system, has over 25 pay-per-view movies on demand
- Virgin America is a cashless airline. Place your order, swipe your card, and you’re done.


Gone Tasting.

We are off for our bi-annual Napa Valley "wine stock up" trip. I thought, for fun, that I would post date a road map of sorts, just in case you were wondering where I am the next couple of days - or if you want to join me for a glass of wine. Cheers!


Can't You Just Imagine....

....giving these mother of pearl spoons as a gift with a little note that says, "Hoping for you the best champagne wishes and caviar dreams...(in your new house...for your engagement...for your promotion...etc.)

Source: Dean and Deluca


....layering this organic cotton blanket between white 1200 thread count sheets and a summer quilt

Source: West Elm


....making this fabbie lemon cake, topping it with a quick homemade lemon glaze and passing it off as your own? (Me? what? Never.)

Source: Williams Sonoma


Bon Vivant Training

I have great memories from my prior life, waiting on drunken Senators, (in)famous attorneys and other (more sober and classy) individuals such as Larry King and Letitia Baldrige. Now that I am dining out quite often, rather than waiting on people (or shall I say, the tables have been turned.... lol), I think back to some of the more interesting times... like the time I was waiting on a major real estate developer and his girlfriend, wherein she proceeded to vomit on the table after they downed no less than two and a half bottles of wine and champagne to celebrate their engagement. It always makes me smile. Awfully embarrassing moment at an extremely formal and stuffy restaurant, but it certainly brought some levity to the place.

That is why Frank Bruni's article in the New York Times today, "Fine Diner to Riffraff: Tipsy Tales of 4-Star Benders," brought a laugh. That memory, coupled with my extreme desire to emulate a Zelda Fitzgerald moment (the happy, drunken, dancing in the NYC fountain stuff, not the whole crazy, asylum, plagiarized, unhappy marriage stuff), found me plotting my fountain dance. Four Seasons, be warned. I am SO there. You have to read the article.

Illustration: CIIA