Sunday, June 29, 2008

2006 Pure Love Wines Shiraz Layer Cake

Full review to come!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Farnsworth House - Bordentown, NJ

A long day in class and a hot afternoon cleaning out the interior of the car made for a great night to try the bar menu and a black and tan at this famous Bordentown establishment.
There was room at the bar for us tonight, so we opted to have cocktails and dinner off the bar menu tonight. We started with the fried mozzarella, which were healthy pieces of fresh buffalo mozz, breaded and fried to golden perfection. This is a great appetizer, and the fresh mozz makes this so perfect. I then opted for the Stuffed Roasted Peppers, stuffed with Prosciutto & Fresh Mozzarella. This too was great, drizzled with a nice balsamic. Very refreshing for a hot summer night. Zelda opted for the chicken satay which was also great, consisting of 2 healthy skewers of chicken and a very good, not overly covered sauce. All in all a great, cheap night out with good food. Highly recommended!

2003 Château Malmaison

Full review to come!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Oliver - A Bistro Bordentown, NJ

A great night to take a trip into Bordentown City. Upon arriving at Oliver - A Bistro, Danielle greeted us to a packed house, so we headed down to the outside bar on the deck of Marcello's for a few glasses of sangria. As usual, the sangria was very tasty, and we enjoyed a glass for about a 1/2 hour before calling over to Oliver's to see if Danielle had a table for us. She did indeed!
The restaurant was still packed which is great to see! We love the fact that Matt and Danielle took Bordentown's best lunch spot and also turned it into the best dinner spot in town as well. As usual, Bruce was the man and server for us tonight, and it is always a joy!
We skipped out on appetizers tonight and went straight for the entrees. Zelda selected the Crispy Chicken once again, served over sweet pea risotto. This dish is an absolute winner, and the sauce that Matt created for the chicken is fabulous. The skin on the chicken has a nice crispiness to it, yet it is not charred or burned. It was cooked perfectly, and I think that Zelda said it best when she said that you could literally drink the sauce. I cannot explain it, and I would kill to be able to know how to make this sauce. It really compliments the chicken well, and it also pairs nicely with the risotto.
I took a different route tonight, and did something against my better judgement by ordering the crab cakes. As some know, I am very particular when it comes to crab cakes, the spices used, as well as the type of crab meat used. Most places use backfin, which is good, but they tend to put too much filler in. Thankfully, I was very happy with my decision, and the crab cakes were delicious! Were they as good as mine? No! Sorry Matt! But he does use some nice backfin, with clumps of lump meat as well. He used very little filler, so it gives you the choice to enjoy the crab. I also like the fact that he doesn't use red pepper, or pimento, or some other type of filler that really masks the taste of the crab. All in all, these were very good, and I would order them again sometime.
What can we say? Another great meal in a great town. Our dinnr paired very well with a bottl of Stefania's latest release, Haut Tubee.

2006 Stefania Haut Tubee

This is a nice blend made from grapes grown in Paul and Stefania's yard at their house. Per Paul, it's a blend from 10 Grenache, 20 Syrah, 4 Mourvedre, and 3 Zinfandel plants. This wine was popped and poured tonight at Oliver - A Bistro in Bordentown. The nose on this wine really reminded me of Orin Swift's The Prisoner, but I am sure that was my nose just being funky. Maybe some of you will agree. This wine has some nice red fruits to it, and you can definitely taste the grenache in there, making this very reminiscent of a Rhone styled actually had some very similar features to some of Andrew Murray's wines that we have enjoyed over the years!
Back to the nose, lots of nice dark red fruits, plum, black cherry, and raspberry, with a bit of spice and herb. On the palate, this wine would be hard for me to pick out in a blind tasting looking for varietals. I would guess that maybe it is a Rhone styled California syrah, but I could also see confusing it with a zin. It would be tough! More of the same on the palate however, with lots of dark fruits.
I think that this wine is a lot of fun, and it will definitely benefit from some time in the bottle, and I would recommend a nice decant before popping one. Next time we open one, I will give this at least a 2 hour decent to give it some time to mellow out. Regardless, it's a great wine and worthy of 89 points. Cheers!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

2006 Newhaven Sauvignon Blanc

Another great Marlborough release that we have enjoyed many of times. This is a bottle worth keeping a few of in the fridge. Tonight we enjoyed this on the bistro, and for about $10, it's a great QPR! Nose of lemon, lime, and grapefruit, with more of the same on the palate. A crisp acidity yet short finish make this sauvignon blanc a pleasure to drink on a hot summer day!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

2007 Pali Wine Co. Sunset Rosé

What a great Rosé for the money, and another fun offer from Pali. Not the typical "neon" color that is coming out of the California wineries that are dabbling in rosé, but it does have a nice "peachy" sort of pink color.
This wine is made from pinot noir(60% Oregon, 40% California), with just a touch of chardonnay. You can actually see smell and taste hints of both in each which is nice. Hints of passion fruit guava, pear, and citrus on the nose, while the palate is nice and smooth with hints of watermelon and strawberry on the palate. All in all, a fun summer sipper, and a great release from Pali that pairs well with a game of "cornhole." 87 points. Cheers!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

2003 Peju Cabernet Sauvignon

Although this was a great wine, it was definitely way too young to drink, and could sit in the bottle for at least another 10 years and be absolutely incredible. Purchased this down in Lavalette, NJ this weekend while visiting Todd & Michelle's beach house.
Gorgeous fragrances right as the bottle was opened, and you could really smell this wine. This was put back into the cellar for a few hours while we drank the previous whites, and it really opened up overtime. Nice hints of blackberry, dark cherry, vanilla, and currants on the nose, with the slightest bit of oak. On the palate, the fruit gushes into your mouth, with more hints of vanilla, blackberry jam, and raspberry on the palate. Nice long 30 plus second finish made this wine a pleasure to drink. Drink or hold, but if you drink now, decant for 3 plus hours. 92 points! Cheers!

2006 Foley Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay

Another great release from Foley, and our first chard from them as we usually drink their pinot noir. Great rich nose of tangerine and grapefruit. More lemon, lime, and citrus on the palate, with hints of a nice and creamy vanilla. Short, mildy acidic finish makes this wine a true crowd pleaser. Paired very well with paella on the 3rd floor deck overlooking the beach at Lavalette. 88 points.

2007 LongBoard Sauvignon Blanc

A great Russian River sauvignon blanc that was perfect for a little game of "cornhole" out on the street at Todd & Michelle's beach house in Lavalette. Very floral with hints of grapefruit, mellon, and honey.
Full review to come!
90 points

Crab's Claw Inn "On the Side" - Lavalette, NJ

After a quick stop at B&B in Lavalette for new bathing suits, we took a walk down to the Crab's Claw Inn for some lunch. It's been years since we visited the Crab's Claw in, and we used to frequent here for karaoke with Dave from Kamikaze On Fire.
Today we sat out on the bistro along the sidewalk, and it was a great day to sit outside and see the traffic go by, and just enjoy being "down the shore."
We both ordered the fish and chips today, and it came with a soup, as well as a salad. We both opted for the seafood chowder, for an extra 1.29 supplemental fee. Well worth it in my opinion. The chowder had a nice base, not to thick, with lots of clams, salmon, shrimp, potato, and celery. This was a great chowder with good favor, seasoned very well, and only needed the smallest shake of pepper to make it outstanding. We both opted to skip the salad.
The fish and chips came out, and was a healthy portion with 3 pieces, and more fries that I could eat. The batter was wonderful and light, and I am not sure what kind of fish it was, but it sure reminded me of tilapia. You could tell that the fish was breaded and cooked to order, and was perfectly paired with a side of tarter sauce.
All in all a great meal with a nice view, seeing the locals travel up and down the local area, visiting the stores, and doing some shopping. Only complaints were that the service could have been a bit more friendly, and there is a big level of uneveness out front where they have the tables. The tables slant from the front of he restaurant towards the street, and it almot gives you a feeling of sickness in your stomach. Aside from that, the food was great.

Friday, June 20, 2008

2004 Fiddlehead Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon

Another outstanding release from Kathy Joseph and her team at Fiddlehead. They are turning out some of the tastiest wines, and great summer drinkers! Please keep them coming!

Tonight we enjoyed this at Tsukasa Japanese Restaurant in Bordentown, so feel free to check out their review. We frequent Tsukasa quite often and absolutely love this place!

Great nose of citrus, oak, and floral notes make this wine a pleasure to smell. On the palate, this wine is a little on the acidic side, but more hints of lemon, pear, grapefruit, and apricot. The acid seem to mellow out in the glass, and this wine drank wonderful. This is a wine that makes it hard to keep your glass full as it is just so tasty. Hard to believe that this is an '04 as it is still drinking well, and probably will for another 2 years or so. 90 points! Cheers

Tsukasa Japanese Restaurant - Bordentown, NJ

I know what you're saying, another review of Tsukasa? Don't these two ever eat anywhere else other than the same restaurants in Bordentown? Well, when it's such a great restaurant in a great little town, how can we stay away? Tsukasa was filled to capacity tonight, and again, we were lucky enough to grab the last table. We got a great table in the window where we could see the hustle and bustle of Crosswicks and Farnsworth Avenue, and we also ran into some friends in town, Joe & Jackie, as well as Rob & Wendye. And of course they too had a great meal! Tonight we started off with edamame. This is such a fun appetizer, and absolutely tasty. My dinner tonight also came with miso soup, and even though I am not a big fan of the miso, this was great, and I really loved the fresh green onion on top! YUM! Zelda opted for sushi tonight, and went for the shrimp tempura roll, California roll, and salmon avocado roll. As usual, these were rolled nice with generous portions of fish and vegetables. Everything was served nice and cold, and it came out very fast considering how busy the restaurant was! I went with the "Dinner Box," and what a great treat this was! First in the box were 3 shrimp Shumai. These were awesome, and very hot right out of the kitchen. Perfectly cooked with a nice hot temp. Also included was a piece of grilled salmon that was perfectly seasoned, a piece of steak teriyake that was to die for, and chicken teriyake that was also awesome. To top if off were 2 shrimp tempura, along with tempura vegetables, and as always, their tempura was fabulous. Add a side of steamed broccoli and carrots, and you have a gorgeous, large portioned dinner for $15.95. For the price, this is going to be hard to beat! Everything paired wonderfully with 2004 Fiddlehead Sauvignon Blanc Happy feel free to read the review for that as well when I get it up. All in all, another outstanding meal with great value and great service! Kudos to the family at Tsukasa!

A Busy Night in Bordentown, NJ

It was night of gorgeous weather tonight, so what better place to visit than "the little city with a lot of charm." Upon arriving in Downtown Bordentown, there was a buzz about Farnsworth Avenue. All the stores were open late tonight, with lights on and front doors open. The streets were a mob scene, and the people were wandering, window shopping, and waiting for tables at the many Bordentown establishments. Crowds were gathered outside the Farnsworth Gallery, some waiting to enjoy their dinner next door at Toscano Ristorante, others just browsing the artwork and enjoying good conversation. John Wehrman and Officer Gary Rutherford greeted us, and we talked for a few minutes about the normal stuff....Bordentown, work, weather, etc. Inside the gallery you could see folks talking and looking at the various paintings that coat the walls from floor to ceiling. Colorful martinis, bubbly champagne, and red, white, and rose colored wines wandered the gallery with a friendly chatter that is only Bordentown. As we continued down Farnsworth, it was nice to see the new framing and antique shop buzzing as well, with their moon shaped bench out front, and colorful decorations in the window. From here we looked inside Silk and Tweed, where Mak was celebrating the 3 year anniversary of her store in Bordentown. An older woman browsed the jewelry case in front of the register as Mak boxed something up, and wrapped it with a grassy papered ribbon and bow. From here we looked next door at Personables where Zelda saw something in the window that caught her eye before continuing down Farnsworth Ave. Across the street the Artful Deposit also had a gaggle of people out front, talking on the corner, and you could see smiling faces and pointing fingers appreciating the old construction in Bordentown. People were pointing to the many old structures, and just taking in the gorgeous sites and weather. Shoppe 202 was also celebrating their anniversary tonight, 15 years in Bordentown. Congratulations to Tom and Pete! We ran into many friends here, and the Shoppe was at full capacity. More red and white wine was flowing here as well, along with some Cosmo's and other flavored martinis. We ran into many friend and neighbors up here tonight, Nancy Minnick, David and Sherry Gutierrez, and others. It's great to see people supporting these stores, helping the downtown become a great area to shop, and supporting the local businesses. Both women's stores were packed today, first was Necessities for the Heart, packed with women looking at "Betsyville" purses, and trying on big, colorful hats that you would see at the Kentucky Derby. As we walked by the deck at Marcello's, we saw Dee and Tracy enjoying some sangria at the outdoor bar, where every stool was full. The tables on the deck were also full of diners enjoying their Italian fare. Next we passed Loretta C. Boutique, the new women's boutique, located in the old Miller McGowan men's store, and you could see the women browsing their different dresses and accessories. Next door, Colonial Delights had a few people wandering the store, eyeing up their different cookies, biscuits, chocolates, and other gourmet items. Check them out sometime as they have some great hard to find cookies and crackers! Upon continuing on passed Oliver-A Bistro, you could see 2 or 3 open tables, with people standing out front looking at the menu. It is always great to see Oliver's filled, and Bruce and the staff working hard. We love this restaurant! From there, we walked down the street toward Tsukasa, and you could see that every table outside of Jester's Cafe was occupied, with people sitting out enjoying good conversation and dinner. The bar looked packed, and there were some diners inside as well. From here, we continued to Tsukasa for dinner, and you can read the review for that as well. In short, it was a beautiful night to visit Bordentown, and it is nice to see the city hopping with all kinds of foot traffic. If you have never been to Bordentown, check it out sometime. It's a great little city, with a few good restaurants, and plenty of stores with browsing!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lambertville Station - Lambertville, NJ

Well, we've walked by Lambertville Station many of times, and heard nothing but great thing, so we figured we'd give it a try tonight.
We got a great seat outside, sitting along the old train tracks which was a nice treat. Great views of people walking the streets of Lambertville, and quite the commotion going on outside on the deck. We started off with an order of nachos for an appetizer, and they seemed to come out in about 30 seconds. They looked gorgeous with nice melted cheese on top, but once you got into them, they were kind of boring. Salsa dumped on one side of the plate, sour cream on the other side, and inside, under the melted shredded cheese, there was some tomato and onion, as well as some for of liquid cheese. We munched on them, but they were nothing to write home about.
I was torn between the tilapia and the burger on the menu, but after seeing the tilapia go to another table, I opted for the burger. Added swiss cheese, bacon, and grilled onions to it, and it was just OK. Nothing spectacular, and I know for fact that the Inn at the Swan has a better burger in town. At least it was cooked absolutely perfectly though.
Zelda opted for the chicken caeser, and the lettuce was so wet that the dressing wouldn't even stick to it. At least they wash the lettuce first, but take the time to dry it off. Other than that, the croutons were out of a box, and the chicken was pre-sliced out of the package like you would buy at a grocery store.
The highlight of the meal was the $6 house cab, which I don't know what it was, but it was absolutely delicious. We both had a glass, and enjoyed it very much. The service was good and the food came out quick, but for $60, I would go elsewhere. Cheers

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Today's new mailing list addition is Quivet Cellars, who has ties to Myriad Cellars. They will be release their inaugural vintage soon with the following releases:

Kenefick Ranch Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Las Madres Vineyard Sonoma Valley Syrah

Expect good things from these guys, and check them out at:

Monday, June 16, 2008

2006 Domaine Saint Vincent Saumur-Champigny

Had this varietal a time or two, and all that it really is would be French cabernet franc. We're definitely not fans of U.S. cab franc, but this seem to fit the bill for tonight. Unfortunately, it is a little on the sour side, and doesn't have the fruit that we have come to appreciate on our palates. Popped and poured, this might have done better with some decanting. Exactly similar to the same bottle we had a few months ago, a good nose of plum and cherry, with hints of vanilla or caramel. Unfortunately, none of that really came through on the palate, and it was more hints of red and dark, sour fruits. More of the same on the palate, and I think that we have come to find that we don't mind a little cab franc in our Bordeaux, but it's not one of our favorite varietal. Medium length sour finish didn't do much at all for me, and it's good to have this bottle out of the cellar. Maybe some other Saumur-Champigny are better. We'll find out eventually. 82 points.


It seems like every day you're reading about a new up and coming pinot noir producer worth trying. Well, today that pinot happens to be Black Kite Cellars in the Anderson Valley of California. Feel free to read more about them at:

Their current releases include the following wines:
Black Kite Cellars Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Black Kite Cellars Anderson Valley "Redwoods' Edge" Pinot Noir
Black Kite Cellars Anderson Valley "Stony Terrace" Pinot Noir
Black Kite Cellars Anderson Valley "River Turn" Pinot Noir

We look forward to giving them a review in the future! Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

2002 Fiddlehead Cellars Pinot Noir Seven Twenty Eight Fiddlestix

We cannot say enough great things about Fiddlehead Cellars and Kathy Joseph! She has these pinot down to a science, and they never disappoint! And at 6 years old, what an absolute treat!
This was pulled out of the cellar and popped and poured at cellar temp tonight at Oliver - A Bistro. Gorgeous color once again in the glass, with a huge nose of cherry, cola, blackberry, and the slightest hint of spice. You can smell the Santa Rita Hills soil along with the Pommard and Dijon clones. Love that SRH smell! Typical SRH soil on the palate as well...tons of candied cherry, black cherry, a hint of blueberry, vanilla and caramel make this wine an absolute treat. I could go on and on about these wines all night, and vintage after vintage, they are wonderful. Kudos to Fiddlehead. 91 points! Cheers!

Oliver - A Bistro - Bordentown, NJ

We were originally going to go to the Blue Point Grill in Princeton, but on the way there, we turned the wheel and headed into Bordentown to visit one of our favorite restaurants, Oliver - A Bistro.

It was a warm night in Bordentown, and Oliver was the usual rocking place, with jam packed tables. The whole town of Bordentown was dead, so I think it had a lot to do with the weather. Thankfully, Oliver had the air working, and fans blowing, so it was nice and comfortable.

As usual, Bruce took great care of us, and it is always a pleasure to dine with him. We sat at the first table right in the middle of the restaurant, with a nice view of the main drag, Farnsworth Avenue in Bordentown. With it being so hot, I really wanted something light tonight. We skipped the soups, salads, and appetizers, and went straight for the entrees.

Zelda opted for a new dish on the menu, the Crispy Chicken with Sweet Pea Risotto, and it was absolutely fabulous. Perfectly cooked with great skin and flavor, served up with her favorite risotto made this an absolute winner.

I opted to go the boring route tonight, and had the Cheese Tortellini Pasta with Sweet Italian Sausage, Roasted Peppers, Broccoli Rabe, Parmesan Cream Sauce, and I was not disappointed. I've seen this on the menu a million times, but have never though much of it. Tonight, it was perfect. A healthy portion of sausage, with really nice tasting tortellini, and a cream sauce that was to die for. Great flavors topped off with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese make this a winner.

After filling up on dinner, we skipped dessert tonight and headed home just before the down pour came. All in all, another great meal at Oliver. Kudos to Matt and Danielle once again!

Friday, June 13, 2008

2006 Stefania Eaglepoint Ranch Syrah

Another awesome release from Paul and Stef at Stefania! This bottle hasn't even been in the cellar for a week yet, and I just could not resist popping one of these tonight. Thankfully we have some back ups, because this is a wine that we're never going to want to run out of.
Popped and poured, this had a gorgeous dark ruby color in the glass, and a nose that let it's presence be known! Tons of floral notes, along with tons of dark cherry, blueberry, blackberries, and plum. On the palate, the creamy fruit explodes! More cherry and blueberry, with hints of vanilla and caramel, which I attribute to the new French oak that they used in some of the barrels. Just the smallest hint of spice makes this wine absolultely incredible. A nice 30 second finish with surprisingly manageable tannins so early on with this wine make it perfect to drink now, or over the 5-7 years. Kudos once again to Paul and Stef. This wine is a winner now, and we look forward to seeing how it develops. 91 points. Cheers!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

N.V. (No Vintage) Novella Chardonnay Estate Bottled

This wine was an absolute shocker! Purchased at the Trader Joe's in Alexandria last year when I was on my way back to Fort Lee - VA for lab school, I stopped at a Trader Joe because I knew that they sold alcohol, and wanted to try the "Two Buck Chuck" so we could see if it was just as though people had said. I saw this wine there as well and picked it up as I thought it would be a good cooking wine. Since then, it has been sitting in our basement for over a year, and I grabbed it because "Zelda" needed something to put in the Indian dish she was cooking...which was delicious by the way.

After she used what she needed for cooking, she threw the bottle in the freezer to chill, and we figured we would at least try the wine with dinner "on the bistro." Needless to say, this wine did not disappoint, and it was a tasty $6 shocker!

This was a fruit salad on the nose, with hints of peaches, green apple, and lemon and lime on the nose. On the palate, the first thing you notice is the fresh churned creamy butter texture! This is delicious, and an incredible QPR to boot. Lots of kiwi, mango, grapefruit, and lemon on the plate, with a very gentle acidity, and a very smooth finish giving off more citrus tones as it mellow in your mouth. All in all, an incredible QPR, worthy of 87 points! Cheers

Fernbrook Farm - Community Support Agriculture

This may just be one of the best kept secrets in the area! Why go to the store and pay so much money for produce, when you can join the CSA (Community Support Agriculture) for an annual fee that is much cheaper in the long run?
I could write about this topic for days, but it would be much easier for you to visit: to get an idea of just what Fernbrook is.
"P" had our first pickup on Tuesday, and it was absolutely amazing the quality of the produce we got. Gorgeous heads of lettuce, radish, bok choy, etc, etc. This place is amazing, so check out their website.
Unfortunately, 2008 has completely sold out, but do sign up for their waiting list! You will not be disappointed!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stefania has arrived!

The subject line says it all. After the Spring release, and Paul working feverishly to get get shipping to New Jersey OK'd, 9 bottles of the 2006 Eagle Ranch Syrah and 6 bottles of the 2006 Haut Tubee are in the house! Check out Paul and Stefania's website out at for more information. Although their mailing list is full, sign up anyway and get on their waiting list. These are some of the best QPR wines out there, made by the nicest family in the wine industry! Check them out, you will not be disappointed! Cheers!

RELEASE ALERT - Lail Vineyards

Georgia Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley - 2006 "Lail's Georgia is California's most complex and multi-dimensional Sauvignon Blanc." - Robert Parker"The grapes came from the Coombsville area where a cooler combination of soil andmicroclimate create a great harmony of flavors. In 2006 the grapes were carefully picked at night allowing them to stay cool until they were pressed. Not every vine was picked. After fermenting and aging for 19 months in one hundred percent French oak barrels, the wine was bottled in early April 2008 without fining or filtration. This 100% Sauvignon Blanc offers lemony aromas followed by a body rich with a perfect balance of acidity and minerality. The wine finishes with an impressive length of citrus, cream of vanilla and passion fruit." - Philippe Melka, winemaker $90 ea
J. Daniel Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley - 2005 "Dense ruby/purple in color, with notes of graphite, black current, coffee bean, crushed rock, chocolate and spice, this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied, powerful, tannic, and seems to combine the best of both a top Bordeaux and a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon." (94 points) - Robert Parker"Good full medium ruby. Black cherry, cassis and licorice on the slightly medicinal nose.Pliant, juicy and spicy, with good grip to the flavors of dark berries, plum and bittersweet chocolate; this reminded me of a St. Julien. Nicely tactile wine, finishing persistent and complex, with dusty tannins. A very successful vintage for this wine." (93 points) - Stephen Tanzer"The spring of 2005 was very wet, but the summer that followed was mild. The grapes had a long hang time and we harvested about ten days later than normal. The Cabernet Sauvignon has an intense ruby color and presents a very seductive nose. The attack in the mouth is dense with soft texture and layers of fruit. The wine expresses the harmony and finesse of a 'grand vin'." - Philippe Melka, winemaker $125 ea/$275 for magnum.
Unfortunately for us, this is going to be a pass for us after a busy and expensive Spring mailer season.

Monday, June 9, 2008

25+ Years Later - My First Hole in 1!

OK, so it's not wine or restaurant related, but I have to talk about it! The draught is over! Finally! Today was a golf outing to raise money for T.A.P.S.-Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. T.A.P.S. is an incredible not for profit organization that provides assistance to the family of military members who have passed away, and they are truly an amazing organization.

The tournament was held today at Sun Eagles Golf Course at Fort Monmouth, NJ. Fort Monmouth is an Army base located near Eatontown, NJ. The format for the tournament was a 4 man best ball, and I was paired with Jason Ragel, a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army, and George Calandriello & Bill Haggman, both contractors working for the U.S. government.

#7 is a short, 113 yard downhill par 3, with a small pond protecting the front of the green, and small bunkers front left and right, and also a bunker in the back right. Today the pin was placed in the back right hand corner, about 10 feet from the edge of the green, tucked back perfectly between the two right side bunkers. and there was about 10 feet from the right corner of the green and the pin. SSgt Ragel was already on the green, so there was no harm in me trying to get one close to ensure we had a good chance at making our birdie. We were already on the dance floor, and I was going to go for the pin. This was a text book shot, and was something right off of the TV set. I choked down and hit an easy pitching wedge, and as soon as the ball came off of the club face, I knew it was all over the stick. I made contact with the ball as good as I could, taking a small divot, and knowing that I hit the ball nice and clean, with some good spin. I couldn't have picked the ball up any better! Looking at the ball in flight, I wanted it to come left just a tad, and it continued to do so with a very slight draw. The ball hit the green about a foot right of the hole, and 6 inches past the cup. It took once bounce forward, and spun back about 5 feet, right into the center of the hole.

This was absolutely nuts. Did I just see that go in the hole? Has my 28 plus year wait finally come to and end? It did indeed, and what a moment. Even as I write this, I am still in shock, and I can't even remember what I did! Jason was screaming, and Bill and George were giving me high fives!

As I walked back to the cart, I was absolutely glowing. We drove down the hill to the green, and I walked onto the green, fixed my ball mark, and proudly removed the ball from the hole.

It finally happened, and my wait is over! My first hole in 1!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Vineyard 25 - The Vines Are In the Ground!

Nothing better than a little sweat "in the vineyard" on a Sunday afternoon when the temperature was hovering around 97 degrees in lovely, NJ!

After going back and forth on just where exactly I was going to plant the syrah, I finally decided to dig out a new bed towards the back of the yard, where the yard gets some great sun.

K-Fed and M-Dog had the 100 foot sugar gum tree taken down yesterday, so it was time to get these gorgeous rootstocks in the ground. Per Paul's suggestion, the rootstocks got a nice soak in water. He suggested 24 hours, and they got a bit more than that, and hopefully that will be OK.

It was a lot work today in the hot sun, digging up the bed, removing the grass, and taking a wheel barrel full of debris over to the field to dump. I dug up the ground a good 8-12 inches below the surface, and turned the dirt over many times to get it good and mixed up. From there, I put down 4 large bags of organic soil, to give it a nice look, and hopefully the vines will grow, thrive, and eventually produce some good fruit in this soil. From there, who knows what will happen, but maybe there is a good chance that we can grow some good grapes right here in New Jersey!

Stay turned for the latest and greatest from Vineyard 25, and for the rest of our backyard and landscaping adventures in our little backyard, in the "Little City with a lot of Charm!" More to come in the future, and we look forward to it! Cheers

Court Jester Restaurant - Freehold, NJ

Nothing at all to write home about, but they make a decent burger. Stopped in here for lunch today after the restaurant that I really wanted to try was closed on Sunday. Zelda said her turkey burger was good, and I had a bacon cheddar burger that was cooked perfectly, and had a good fresh off the grill taste. Saratoga Chips were good, but could have used a few more minutes cooking to get them nice and crispy. Other than that, the service at the bar was up to par, and the place seemed pretty clean. I think the highlight of this restaurant/bar is the fact that they have 30 different beers on draft, and a few of my favorites, Magic Hat No. 9, Blue Moon, Bass, Guinness, and New Castle. Don't even bother with their wine list unless you are in the mood for some Sutter Home or Barefoot. All in all, not a bad place to stop in for a quick bite, but it is bar food at best. I wouldn't go out of my way to go back here with so many other restaurants to try in historic, downtown Freehold. 16 E Main Street Freehold, NJ 07728 Tel: 732-462-1040 Fax: 732-294-7828

Saturday, June 7, 2008

2006 Frei Brothers Pinot Noir

This was a nice birthday gift from K-Fed and M-Dog next door, and was a treat. had prior vintages of this, but can't ever remember having an '05. 2005 however was not one of my favorite vintages for California pinot noir, but this wine didn't disappoint. Typical raspberry, strawberry, and cherry on the nose, but not as fruit forward smelling as pinot from the Santa Rita Hills. On the palate, lots of red berries, and the slightest touch or forest floor and moss. Nice finish, with very little tannin make this a good wine and a good QPR garnering 88 points. Cheers!

2006 Cloudline Pinot Noir

Another decent Willamette Valley pinot noir, but what do you expect? Unfortunately, this was not showing as well as the 2005 that we had at Witherspoon Grill last week, which is actually surprising. More people are laying their '05's down for a few years, and drinking their 06's now as they are drinking better younger. I don't think that was the case with this wine in particular, but who knows.
Regardless, some black cherry and spice on the nose. Maybe a few hints of other red fruits, but the cherry was by far the only thing that stood out to me. It also didn't have that same, prevalent smell that you can usually recognize of Willamette Valley, so who knows.
On the palate, I don't think this wine was at all fruit forward. Maybe it is in a weird stage, or maybe we just got a few great glasses from the '05, and that we shouldn't expect much from this wine. For the price, I really wouldn't expect a ton, but it was still good. Subtle cherry on the palate, with a bit of strawberry jam, some spice, and forest floor.
Very short finish with very little complexity, but it was still an easy drinker. This might still need some time in the bottle. 86 points.

2005 Conundrum Wines White Table Wine

Another fun bottle of this very summer wine! Very floral on the nose, with hints of tropical fruits, honey, grapefruit and melon. Creamy and sweet on the palate with a buttery feel, honey, syrup, peach nectar, and pineapple. Very easy finish makes this wine a great summer sipper. Many more bottles of this to come this summer, but it doesn't live up to all the hype that it gets. 87 points.

Friday, June 6, 2008

2006 Silver Beach Sauvignon Blanc

Another good bottle and great QPR from Marlborough New Zealand, possible the new king of sauvignon blanc. Well, maybe not the king, but they are indeed making some great sauv blancs in this region!

Paired well once again with sushi at Tsukasa. Great light straw color in the glass, with hints of lemon, lime, passion fruit, grapefruit, and grass on the nose. Very fragrant wine, and the smells seem to really come out as the wine warms in the glass. On the palate, more of the same, with lots of grapefruit and lemon/lime. Slight acidity on the finish, but a pleasure to drink. Drink now!!! I don't see this wine getting any better in the bottle. Great summer wine, but then again, most of the Marlborough sauv blancs are at this point. Would purchase again in a heartbeat. Similar to other notes we've had from previous bottles. 87 points.

Tsukasa Japanese Restaurant - Bordentown, NJ

I know what you're thinking, these two eat at the same places all the time! Well, not entirely true, but with the heat, we didn't feel like going too far, and sushi was just thing thing to satisfy our cravings on a very hot Jersey night in June. It was the perfect night for a New Zealand sauvignon blanc blanc, and what better to pair it with than sushi! See the review above for the Silver Beach sauvignon blanc that we enjoyed very much with our sushi!

Only two other tables in the restaurant when we arrived, but for the most part, it seemed as all of Bordentown was pretty slow. We really love visiting Bordentown for dinner since it is so close by, and it is a pleasure to frequent the many different restaurants there. Especially the 3 different BYO's that we frequent the most.

As usual, the family at Tsukasa was friendly, with Mom in the back kitchen cooking, Dad rolling away at the sushi bar, and their son taking care of the front of house waiting tables. These people are so nice, and we really look forward to seeing their business grow. That being said, if you live in Bordenown, you really need to support the the best you can. B-Town needs this restaurant, and right now I really think that the town is supporting them which is great.

Tonight we started off with edamame which is was no surprise, and nothing out of the norm. They came out nice and hot, and came out in a bowl that was yet anoter generoud portion. Lightly sprinkled with sea salt, you just cannot taste this tasty treat. Who would have thought that soy beans would taste so good, and make for such a tasty treat!

We opted yet again for sushi, and I know, we really need to try some of their hot teriyaki or tempura dinners or combination boxes. Their sushi is just so hard to pass up!

We ordered the usuals again, so I won't bore you with the desciptions again, but we had two tempura rolls, a Philly roll, spicy tuna roll, salmon and avocado roll, and a California roll. As usual, the did not disappoint, with great, fresh fish and vegetables. What can we say, another great meal in Bordentown!

Rosé 101

So many people have asked, what exactly is a rosé? Well, here is a pretty darn good definition:
" Rosé wines, often referred to as Blush wines or written Rosé, are wines which are not truly red, but have enough of a reddish tinge to make them assuredly not white. The actual color varies depending on the grapes involved, and often may seem to be more orange than pink or purple. Rose wines may be produced in a number of different ways, depending on the desired results. Most Rose wines are the result of crushing the red grapes used rather early on, so that they are not able to impart their color or much tannin to the final wine. These wines are in most respects white in character and flavor, with only the tinge of red and some subtle taste differences belying the difference." More information on Rose is avaliable at Wikipedia. Cheers


This is a new section on the blog where I will talk about a new wine that I have heard about, and who's mailing list I signed up for. Today I read some great reviews of this winery, Small Vines Wines, located in Sebastopal, CA. They got good reviews, and their wines sound like wines we will enjoy, so I logged onto their website, signed up for their mailing list, and I look forward to hearing more news about them. Feel free to check them out at:
Phone 707.823.0886
Fax 707.823.0887
Small Vines Wines, Inc. (Business offices only)
2160 Green Hill Road
Sebastopol, CA 95472

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Vineyard 25 - The Reality is Here!

After a couple of weeks of buildup, thanks to our good friendPaul Romero at Stefania Wines, Vineyard 25 is now becoming a reality. Yesterday, 7 syray 373 vines, clones 101-14 arrived in Lambertville at Pure Energy Bicycle Shop and Java House. Arounkone brought them home for me yesterday, and I picked them up from his house when I got home tonight.

Per Paul's recommendation, they are getting an overnight, 24 hour soak in water before I pick the perfect place to plant them in our yard. Hopefully they will grow and thrive here in New Jersey, but time will definitely tell.
As you can see in the pictures, the vines look as they they are in good shape. The rootstocks themselves look very strong, and are in great shape. The vines are a little on the dry side, but what do you expect after a coast to coat trip in a cardboard box? I'm sure that after a 24 hour soak, they will be rejuvenated, and ready to start growing.
Special thanks again to Paul and Stefania, and I look forward to your input, and to keeping you updated on how your babies are doing here in New Jersey! More to come as Vineyard 25 progresses! Cheers