Monday, July 21, 2008

2006 St. Supéry Vineyards Chardonnay Oak Free

Full review to come!

Friday, July 18, 2008

2006 Parker Station Pinot Noir

Full review to come...

2005 Underwood Cellars Riesling

83 points...full review to come...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tiger Noodles - Princeton, NJ

It's been a long time since we have visited Tiger Noodles, so after a night of running errands, it seemed like a great place to stop for a quick bite. We had a great view on the outside patio of Nassau Street, and the entire patio was packed to the gills with diners enjoying wines they brought, as well as college students with 6 packs on the table. Unfortunately we for us, I didn't bring a bottle of wine as I didn't know we'd be eating there, but I wasn't really in the mood for a cocktail anyway. There is however a liquor store right next door, as well as another within walking distance, but we opted to go without the vino tonight. Lots of diners out in their gorgeous courtyard, and it was a great night to sit out. Service was fast, and that is always a good thing, but you can tell they are all about turning thinking! We started off with 2 orders of vegetable spring rolls, and they came out within minutes, and were scorching hot out of the fryer. A nice egg roll wrapper with crisp veggies made these a pleasure to eat. For entrees, Zelda opted for the General Tso chicken, and this had a nice crisp coating to it, with a delicious sauce, with fresh peppers abundant. I opted for the Kung Pao Chicken, which had nice little bits of chicken, green and red peppers, peanuts, and chili's. This too was good. This is fast Chinese food at its best, but it did hit the spot tonight. It's not truly authentic, and it's not to die for, but it's good when you're in a pinch and hungry!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

2006 Tobin James Chardonnay James Gang Reserve

Another fun release from Tobin James, and another a bit over the top wine. They claim that this wine is rich and creamy, and it really is. Nose has some passion fruit, citrus, and a hint of grapefruit. On the palate, lots of caramel and vanilla that I attribute to the 100% new French Oak. This wine is very creamy as stated, with hints of grapefruit and citrus. It also has a certain sweetness to it, and combined with that texture, it really reminds me of a Sauternes. Regardless, it's a fun wine, and I would love to get my hands on some more. 89 points! Cheers!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

1998 Argyle Brut

After a long day at school, this was the perfect sipper to enjoy out on "the bistro" to celebrate Mrs. Johnson's 80 something birthday party. Being at the bottom end of their sparkling line, I wasn't sure what to expect with this, and I wasn't sure how long it would age. Needless to say, it aged well. Formal notes to come

Friday, July 11, 2008

2006 Newhaven Sauvignon Blanc

We enjoyed this bottle on the bistro after a night out to dinner. Very similar notes to other Newhaven's we've drank, so I won't bore you with the details. See other notes on this wine for our thoughts. 85 points. Cheers!

1992 Kistler Pinot Noir McCrea Vineyard

Who would have thought that this bottle had any fruit left in it whatsoever? I surely did not, but what a pleasant surprise. This was popped and poured tonight at Oliver - A Bistro in Bordentown. Upon opening, I cannot tell you how worried I was that this bottle was not going to be pleasant in the least. The cork came out in about 30 pieces, but regardless of how many pieces it was in, and how long it took to get it out, the cork did it's job, and the wine was still a pleasure to drink. Upon first pour, it looked as though there was a little bricking in the glass. I've never seen this in a pinot, but it is more common in older Bordeaux. Upon first smell, the nose was pretty muted, and I expected the worst. I thought for sure there would be some vinegar on the nose, with no fruit, but I was wrong. The nose had some floral notes, and was predominantly cherry. Tiny hints of blackberry and raspberry were there, but you really had to concentrate hard to pull them out of the mix.

The palate was a little muted at first, but by the time we finished the first half pour, this wine was in its perfect drinking least for this particular wine a this particular moment. Ideally, I would guess that the perfect drinking window for this would have been sometime between 1999 and 2003. There was however a lot of cherry on the palate, and this wine really reminded me us of a cross between the 2004 Sanford, and the Benton Lane pinot noir. Seeing as this is a Kistler, that is not necessarily a good thing, but we were really expecting the worst.

Regardless, this was a very enjoyable wine, and the most aged pinot noir we have had to date. It had a smooth finish, with no tannin whatsoever, and a very pleasant after taste making it worthy of 92 points. This wine just proves that Kistler is produced for the long haul. Cheers!

Oliver - A Bistro Bordentown, NJ

Dinner at Oliver - A Bistro in Bordentown on a Friday night? Go figure! Another great meal! Kudos to the Oliver crew! Crispy Chicken Salmon

Thursday, July 10, 2008

2006 Stefania Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch

Tonight we enjoyed this bottle at Ristorante Giangela, and it was yet again another great bottle. Notes were exactly the same as last time, and this is such a great bottle of juice! Popped and poured, this had a gorgeous dark ruby color in the glass! 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. The only difference between this bottle and the last, was that I think the floral notes on the nose really stood out in the glass this time. Such a great bottle for the price! 91 points. Cheers!

Ristorante Giangela - Crosswicks, NJ

Tonight was a great night to try Ristorante Giangela as they were donating 10% of every check to the Anchor House Ride. That said, what better night to go give this place a try, and to support the Anchor House? Upon arrival, the parking lot was full, but we did drive through and found parking on the side of the restaurant. Upon first entering the restaurant, you will notice the warm decor. Nice white pillars, and nice white trim on the ceiling. The walls are painted a nice cocao color, and the tables are nice and simple with a lite tan table cloth. Soft lighting makes this restaurant nice and romantic. We were greeted and brought to a nice 2 top in the center of the restaurant. There were 7 other tables when we arrived, including a large 8 top, so it was good to see the place full of patrons. That had at least another 6 tables they could have sat, so they do have nice table space. The hostess then told us that they had bread in the oven, and it would be out shortly. The bus boy came out a few minutes later and filled up our water glasses and took our wine to open for us. I have never understood why some restaurants will open the wine away from the table, but this is not the first time I have seen it. Tonight we popped a 2006 Stefania Eaglepoint Ranch Syrah, and it was marvelous as always. Fresh, hot bread came out shortly after, and Zelda filled up the plate of dry spices that was on the table with olive oil. The bread had a nice firm crust, and was very soft in the middle. Good stuff! Looking around the restaurant, you could see some unhappy faces, but at this point, we were not quite sure why. About 10 minutes later, our waitress came over and asked us if we were ready to order. She never told us about the specials, and didn't ask if we had any questions, and we didn't, but it would have been a nice gesture. Zelda opted for the Ravioli in saffron sauce, with a house salad, and I ordered the Chicken Parm with a caeser salad. In my opinion, I think that I can get a good feel for a restaurant based on their chicken's an italian staple. Salads came out about 20 minutes later, and I was starting to see why people had the long faces in the restaurant. You could tell that the food was coming out of the kitchen slow, but the servers were also slow as well. On the 8 top, we both noticed how they brought out the entrees one at a time. With that said, it took almost 10 minutes for the 8 top to all receive their entrees. I know that if I were the first person to receive my food, I would have been a little upset having to wait for everyone to receive their food as mine cooled off. This seemed to be a trend with all the tables, and I found it rather interesting. Why not get a big tray and bring everyones entrees out at once? Or maybe the kitchen is small and they don't have room for all the platings in the window. I don't know. So back to the salads, my caeser came out with the dressing drizzled on, topped with some cheese. Upon first taste, the dressing reminded me of Ken's, straight out of the bottle. I don't think that it was bad, but it definitely did not taste homemade. If you want to make a name for yourself, take the time and make a nice, homemade dressing. Zelda's salad was the house, and her dressing too tasted like something out of the bottle. She made a great point that it has been a while since we have had a salad that "wowed" us! There's nothing to making salads, and all you need is good, homemade dressing. Why can't restaurants get this right anymore? So a good hour has passed now, and we see Chrissy, a friend of ours from town come in with a friend of hers. At this same time, our entrees come out, and like the other tables, they came out one at a time. Very odd! Zelda's ravioli looks great! Huge, what look like homemade ravioli in what looks like a rich butter sauce. I enjoyed this very much, and I could see ordering it. The only gripe that I had, which is a gripe that I have often with ravioli, was that the inside took too much water, making the cheese inside very mushy and watery. The sauce again was very rich, and it had a nice, pungent saffron taste to it. For those who are not big fans of saffron, I wouldn't recommend this dish. If you are however a saffron lover, then this is for you. My chicken parm came out with a side of fettucini, and it looked great. A nice large piece of chicken pounded very thin, with a good crust, nice melted cheese, and the perfect amount of sauce on top. Upon cutting into it with my fork, there was a good crunch to the crust. The chicken however was a bit on the rubbery side, and had they gotten this right, it would have been better. The sauce on the other hand was ok, and it had a very sweet taste to it. I don't know if this was a good thing, or a bad thing. All in all, I thought the dish was just ok, and I wouldn't order it again if we went back. After dinner, we opted to skip dessert, and we finished out bottle of wine as we chatted with Chrissy and her friend. As their dinner came and our wine ran out, it was time to go home. In short, I think that this restaurant has a lot of potential. It's BYOB so that is a bonus, the decor is nice, although we would change the drapes, and the food and service need some work. I don't know if I would call it a "fine dining experience" as they claim, but I wouldn't be surprised if we head back sometime, but not in the immediate future. I was however glad to see that they were making the donation for the Anchor House Ride, and that was a good excuse for us to give the place a try.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Delorenzo's Tomato Pies - Robbinsville, NJ

A great night for some tomato pies with Zelda's family! Zelda's parents and her uncle picked us up, and off to Delorenzo's we went. Upon arrival, you could see about 15 people waiting outside for a table, and another 10 or so inside waiting. It was absolutely packed tonight, but that was expected. If it weren't, then we'd be worried! That just goes to show just how right Sammy and his crew are doing it over there! We were told the wait would be an hour to hour and 15 minutes, but we were seated in about 50. As I always say, it's worth the wait! There is nothing like Delo's, and it cannot be beat! . With 5 of us, they say us in one of the nice, cushy booths, and we had plenty of room! We opted for 2 salads as appetizers, and this was the first time that we have had these. Very good appetizer that hit the spot, with the fancy lettuce, candied walnuts, and the slightest drizzle of dressing that did not overpower the salad at all. Nice slices of fresh green apple topped this salad off nicely. It was the perfect starter! . For pies tonight, we ordered 3 larges. Uncle B opted for the broccoli and mushroom, Zelda and her Mom went for the sweet pepper and mushroom, and her dad had 1/2 pepperoni, while I opted for 1/2 sausage and sweet peppers. Uncle B's pie came out first, and he and Zelda dug right in. The cheese was still bubbling when it arrived, and our mouths started watering! Next came the 1/2 sausage and sweet pepper, and 1/2 pepperoni. In we dug, and this one too was hot, bubbling, and covered in sausage and sweet peppers! The last pie came out, and we were all some happy campers. Even Uncle B was commenting on how good the pie was, and he lives near a great pizza place up North. But as he stated, this is a lot different than a pizza, it's a tomato pie! That said, it was another tasty meal, with great service, and you have to love the fact that it is BYOB. See the review of the Chalone Cabernet Sauvignon that we brought along as well. Kudos to same and the staff at Delo's! Look forward to seeing you guys again soon!

2003 Chalone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Monterey County

A nice QPR that was very enjoyable at Delorenzo's! A nice cab for the money, and a great QPR! Typical cab notes, with hints of dark cherry and blackberry on the nose. On the palate, a nice dry cab, with hints of red currants and blackberry, with a short, dry finish. Overall, a great QPR worthy of 86 points. Cheers!

Oliver - A Bistro - Bordentown, NJ

It's been a while since we have been able to make it to Oliver's for lunch, so what better day than after the 4th of July? We arrived around Noon, only to find 2 other tables in the restaurant, but by the time we left, they had quite a few more tables sat! We got a great seat in the window, and it was nice to see our friends Pat & Frank having lunch at Oliver as well. As usual, Bruce took great care of us, and it is always a pleasure. Owner Danielle came over and spent quite some time chatting with us, and that is always nice. Not only are her and Matt great restaurateur's, they are also damn nice people, and good friends. Zelda opted for her usual today, the West Coast Wrap, which is filled beautifully with grilled chicken, avocado, and a delicious sauce. This is one if Zelda's favorites, and is ordered quite often with roasted potatoes on the side. I opted for my usual as well, the Jack Mack burger. This is a great bistro styled burger opposed to the down and dirty greasy burger. It's topped with a delicious cheese spread and bacon, and I too opted for the roasted potatoes on the side. I love the buns that they serve this burger one. They have a nice crunch on the outside, yet are so soft in the middle. It was cooked medium and perfect, and was such a tasty meal! What can we say? Another great meal at Oliver's, and that's why we keep coming back! I'm sure a lot of you are sick of reading about this place, but we just cannot get enough! Kudos guys!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

RELEASE ALERT - Kistler Vineyards Fall 2008 Release

It's with much eager anticipation that the Fall 2008 Kistler Release is announced, and they are taking orders. The Fall releases for 2008 include: 2006 McCrea Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay - “The 2006 Chardonnay McCrea Vineyard exhibits a light gold/green hue along with aromas of stone fruits, honey, orange zest (or is it tangerine?), and subtle wood spices. Full-bodied with beautiful texture as well as purity, and a long finish, it should drink well for 5-7 years. Green-tinged pale yellow. Classic Chablis nose featuring minerals, roasted grain, and a faint suggestion of tangerine skin. Richer than normal with loads of extract, but with a distinctly mineral spine that maintains the wine’s shape and stony precision. Delicious now.” 93-94 points. $75 Allocated 24 2006 Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Chardonnay - “The 2006 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch is structured and tannic, with more acidity, and a leaner, more backward personality with a chalky character. White currant, hazelnut, and wood spice notes are present in this medium to full-bodied white. Green-tinged pale yellow. Pungent, leesy bouquet combines toasted grains, marzipan, brown spices, and minerals. Deeply concentrated but precise. Finishes with mouthfilling pit fruit flavors energized by a firm mineralilty and complex sulfides. Delicious now.” 92-94 points $75 Allocated 24 2006 Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay - “Always dominated by crushed rock and a liquid minerality component, it also possesses notes of lemon oil, brioche, white currants, white peaches, and a lemon custard-like character. Full-bodied with beautiful subtlety, zesty acidity, and a long finish, it can be enjoyed over the next 5-7 years. Green-tinged yellow. Distinctly pungent, soil-inflected chardonnay. A vibrant, tightly-wound wine densely packed and powerfully mineral on the palate. Brisk acids frame long, stony finish. Delicious now.” 94-96 points $75 Allocated 8 2006 Kistler Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir - Inky purple. Vividly perfumed, primary aromas featuring cassis, blueberry, violet, and graphite. Deeply concentrated and precise with terrific innermouth energy and freshness. Finishes with a captivating wildness and considerable soil character. Delicious now. $80 Allocated 8 If anyone is interested, we're not going to take them all. We're in for 1 each of the chards, and 3 pinot, so that leaves a bunch of wine up for the taking. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you're interested. These wines will ship in November 2008. Cheers!