Thursday, March 31, 2011

Trenton Social - Trenton, NJ

It's not often that a new restaurant or bar opens in Trenton, let alone one that opens and gets the town excited.  But times are a changin'!

With the Trenton Steel now making their new home at the Sun Bank Arena, Trenton Social could not be located in a better place!  And to top it off, the Trenton Steel corporate office shares the walkway and courtyard, so the team and their players are already discovering where to get a great bite to eat and a drink after the game.

Trenton Social opened up for business on St. Patrick's Day after several months of renovations!  During that time, owners TC Nelson and Chef Milton Lee transformed an old, stale space, into a swanky space with class.  As you walk in the door, the first thing you notice is the soft lighting, warm colored walls, stone floor, and granite top on the gorgeous 3 sided bar.  Through the archway is the dining room, with more swanky lighting, exposed brick walls, and large areas that will soon be adorned with local art, that will be changing on a regular basis.  As a matter of fact, their first show, "Orange You Glad?" by Melissa Malinauskas, will open tomorrow.  More information can be found on their Facebook page.

We sat at the bar and noticed the 7 beers on tap.  Owner TC was working the bar today, and knew that we wanted a glass of wine.  Let me say that they do indeed have a great wine list, and hands down one of the best lists in the area.  They have several wines by the glass, and they aren't your average by the glass wines.  These are easily more "reserve styled" wines, with the most expensive being $9 a glass.  We both opted for a Chilean cabernet from Ventisquero, and this was one of their Queulat wines!  Needless to say, it was a great cab for the price!

TC started us with the Social appetizer, that came with two fritters of sort, breaded and deep friend with a Spanish influenced meat concoction inside.  Needless to say, the spices were great, and they were deliciously fried to golden brown.

This also came with two of their take on fish tacos, served in a flour tortilla.  These were absolutely delicious, and something I would usually not order.  Regardless, I am glad that TC suggested it, as the flavors from the fish, with the freshness of the salsa were incredible.

For entrees, Zelda picked the Curried Chicken sandwich, which is one of TC's specialties.  I think he perfected this item back in the day at his old restaurant in town, and this was delicious.  As Zelda stated, this was the best curried chicken sandwich she had ever had, and she has had a lot of them.  This had a nice crunch for the almonds, and nice flavors from the raisins.  All in all, this was delicious, and I am sure she would order this again, and order it often.  This has got to be a big seller at lunch!

For my entree tonight, I went the burger route!  Being the burger connoisseur that I am, I could not pass it up, and I had heard that it was great!

Needless to say, it was!  The beef in this burger was delicious, and it was simply seasoned and had great flavor.  I ordered mine with Swiss cheese, bacon, and sauteed onions, and it was delicious!  Definitely one of the best burgers in the area!  Both sandwiches were served with fries.

Half way through our sandwiches we both needed a refill, and we were both looking for something a little lighter, and we both decided on Malbec.  Zelda had the house malbec, which I think was an Astica, while I had their reserve list Malbec from Sottano.  Both malbec were good, but the Sottano was definitely a few steps ahead.

After dinner, we were both pretty stuffed, but TC insisted we tried their homemade family recipe flan.  That said, we did, and it was delicious.  You can tell that this is someone's grandma's recipe, made with love, and absolutely delicious.  It was rich and flavorful, and I would order it again in a heartbeat.

That said, Trenton Social is nice breath of fresh air and another part of the Trenton rebuilding process!  It's great to have te option in town, and once word gets out, I think it is going to be the place to hang out in Trenton.

It is just a matter of time and the menu will be expanding!  They have just a few items on the menu for now, but this is guaranteed to grow!  In talking o Chef Lee, he has a ton of ideas, and a lot of "China-Rican" influence as he likes to say, coming from his heritage!  I truly cannot wait to see what he adds to the menu next.

The dining room could use a bit of pizzaz, but some of that pizzaz will be coming tomorrow night as the walls get covered in art.  I know that they are also working on new tables and chairs for the dining room, but for now, there is nothing wrong with that is in there.  The wood floors look great, and run front to back of the entire dining room, into the meeting space they have.

Overall, I was very impressed with our first visit, and I can see many of nights here enjoing a bottle of vino, of good quality, at gret prices!  I think there were only 2 wines over $30, so there are definitely some good values there!

In short, we've found a new place to eat, drink, and be social!  Check it out soon!  I know that we'll be back on Sunday after we go to the Trenton Steel game!  Maybe we'll even catch "Salsa Sunday" as they teach dance lessons there!  Cheers!

Trenton Social
449 South Broad Street
Trenton, NJ, 08611
Phone:  (609)989-7777

Sundays-Wednesdays: 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. (food served until 10 p.m.)

Thursdays-Saturdays: 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. (food served until midnight)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fogo de Chão - San Antonio

If there has been a restaurant in Philly that I have wanted to try, it has been Fogo de Chão!  The thought of ll you can eat grilled meat has always sounded delicious to me, however, with Zelda only being a fish and fowl eater, it has never made sense to go here.  That said, while being stuck overnight in San Antonio on business this past weekend, me and the "Budda" headed out for a little grilled meat!

We walked into the restaurant, located at the mall on the River Walk in San Antonio.  It was still a bit early, and the restaurant was filled at about 1/2 capacity.  By the time we left however, nearly the entire restaurant was full.  We were greeted at the door, and it took the hostess about 4 minutes to seat us as they had to figure out where to put us.

One of the first things you'll notice from the outside of the restaurant is the meat grilling in the window.  I know, this is a terrible picture, but what can you do.  I don't know if they actually serve this meat or not, but it does make for a little eye candy, and is a nice marketing tool.  It looks nice from outside the restaurant, and it even looks good from inside the restaurant.  I did not however see them serving any of this meat while we were there, as these skewers are massive.

We sat, and our server explained the menu to us.  There is a flat fee of $42.50, and he stood there as I looked over he wine list.  This was a bit annoying in all honesty, but obviously the servers are trained to turn their tables.  Needless to say,  I ordered a bottle of wine, and we went to go hit the salad bar.  I'll talk more about the wine later.

The salad bar was actually kind of nice.  Like always, I would rather have my own utensils to select my items as I am sure there were some finger lickers and people who do not wash their hands after they use the bathroom, but what can you do!  No, I am not a fan of buffet's (as if you couldn't tell).  Regardless, the salad bar was nice, with anything from salami, to Parmesan cheese, to Manchego, to fresh mozz, roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, salads, etc.  The options were endless, and it really was a nice spread!

We arrived back at the table, and there was our bottle of wine, just sitting there, waiting to be opened.  I actually looked around for a sabre hanging on the wall, but one of the servers came over a few minutes later and opened it for us.  Overall, the wine list was nice, but the markups were absolutely ridiculous.  This is however a tourist trap, and I am sure they get it.  Regardless, the stems on the tables were nice, and they were Riedel pinot noir glasses.  A very nice touch.

As we sat eating out salad bar accouterments, I couldn't help but look at the double sided coast on the table.  As our server explained, the green side meant that we were ready for meat, and the red side meant that we were not ready.  At this point, I just wanted to mess with the servers to see how fast it was, so I turned the coaster to the green side.  Within seconds out of nowhere appears a server with a skewer of Cordeiro, which was fresh young leg of lamb.  He asked how I wanted it, and I told him medium rare.  He asked me to grab my tongs, and proceeded to shave a piece of meet from a certain section of the leg.  Needless to say, it was delicious!

After getting meat so fast and looking around, I immediately turned my coaster back to the red, as I wanted to finish my couple of salad bar items.  I really did not want to fill up on he salad bar though, and wanted to save room for the grilled meats.  At this time they brought out 3 sides of fried polenta, fried banana, and a mashed potato topped with grated cheese.  The sides were good, but again, I could careless about the sides, and really just wanted to enjoy the meats.

As we looked around the restaurant, there were servers everywhere with skewers, stopping at many tables shaving meat as clientele grabbed them with their tongs.  Once I had my new plate, it was game on, so here we go in order that they were delivered:

Alcatra:  this is a cut from the top sirloin, and I asked for it medium.  This was nice and hot,and cooked very nicely.  The meat was tender, and well seasoned.  It was at this point that one of the servers asked if we wanted anything from steak sauce, to horseradish, to mint jelly, hot sauce, etc.  We had them bring over a side of the horseradish, as well as the mint jelly for the lamb.

Next out was the lamb chops, and I asked for these medium rare.  Needless to say, these were cooked nicely as I cut them in half separating them into lollipops.  They were indeed cooked very nicely, however, there was a rather large vein of fat running through the middle of them.  Aside from that they were nice, and I added a little of the horseradish to them to give it a try.  This was a nice pairing.  The mint jelly however had the consistency of Jello, and was not impressive in the least.  This almost tasted jarred opposed to something that was homemade, and was actually really disappointing.  Regardless, the flavors in the lamb were nice minus the fat.

Next out was the Costela de Porco, also knows as pork ribs that are slow roasted.  These had a great flavor as well, and were nice and tender!  More than anything, they reminded me of ribs that Mom used to make in the broiler.  Just lightly seasoned, with no sauce or anything on them, but they were nice!  They really didn't need any kind of sauce, and they had a nice crusty char on them.

By this point, I am starting to fill up, and turned my marker over to red to enjoy a glass of wine, and to try to open up another chamber somewhere.  You can guarantee that I am going to get my money worth here, and I will not leave hungry!

Next past the table was a very interesting cut of meat.  It almost looked like a cut of prime rib, but it also looked like some kind of rolled loin as well.  Needless to say, I was intrigued, so I stopped the server and he told me that it was their house specialty, the Picanha. 

Picanha is the prime pat of the sirloin, seasoned with sea salt and garlic.  It was nice and tender in the middle, and had a nice, outer, fatty crust.  The flavors overall were nice, but I wouldn't say this was the best thing that they had.

From here I tried some sausage.  Was it good?  Sure!  Did it have decent flavors?  Sure!  It again was nothing to write home about, but I had to try just a little bit of everything while I was here!

From here some pork or chicken looking skewer went by, and it turned out to be the Lombo, also known as pork loin medallions, encrusted with parmesan cheese!  Definitely wouldn't go out of my way to hunt this down, and in all honesty, it was a little overcooked and dry.

At this point, I started discussing with Budda how I thought it was a bit odd that we had not seen some of the best cuts of meat out in the dining room.  When I consider the best cuts of meat, I am talking about the filet mignon.  I have yet to see the filet, or the bacon wrapped filet come through the dining room.  Does this happen on purpose?  Do they do this in hopes that people fill up on the cheaper cuts of meat so they don't have to serve as much filet or rib eye?  Maybe!  That said, Budda asked the server to track it down, and a few minutes later out it came.

First out was the Ancho, which is the best part of the rib eye so to say.  Again, I asked for this medium, and it was cooked nicely, however, once again I found it to be just a tad bit on the dry side.   I also found it to be a bit salty.

From here, Budda asked the server where the bacon wrapped filet was.  Again, at this point, we had not seen it come out yet, and the server returned 2 minutes later with exactly two pieces on the skewer.  This tells me that they ran to the kitchen and had them cooked or grabbed them to bring to us specifically.  Again, I have a feeling that this is because they try to serve as little of this as possible because of the price.

As the server was a skewing a piece of this into Budda's plate, the table next to us motioned at the server for him to bring the other piece over to him.  Talk about rude!  Here we asked for this specifically, and the server did indeed go over there, thus leaving me without a piece of bacon wrapped filet.  Needless to say, I was shocked by the rudeness of this table, and out came the regular filet mignon.

The regular filet was nice, and it as a nice piece.  It again looked like it was cooked to a nice, pink medium, and was nice and flavorful.  It was juicy as well, and the small piece that I had was pleasurable enough.  But at this point, I am ready to loosen my belt, and there were still two meats that I have not tried!

So next came a small sliver of the Fraldinha, which from my understanding is a nice cut from the bottom of the sirloin.  This too was nicely seasoned, and cooked to a nice medium.  this was thin, and almost reminded me of a thin sliced London broil crossed with a skirt steak.  Regardless, the flavors were OK, even with a full stomach.

Finally, after Budda had to ask the server once again, out came the bacon wrapped filet for me.  At this point, again, I really was not hungry, but was curious.  Needless to say, it came out, and it was juicy!  As I cut into it however, instead of being medium, it was very well done.  But even being overcooked, the flavors were nice, and the meat was still surprisingly tender.  Even so, I really wasn't all that hungry, but I didn't want to leave without trying it.

So at the end of the day, there wasn't a single meat that I didn't try with the exception of the small little chicken pieces.  They actually looked like small drumsticks for chicken wings, and that really wasn't what I was there for.

So all in all, we ate a ton, and I would have to guess that we got our $42.50 cents worth of the buffet.  The wine markups however leave a little to be desired, and next time I would drink a beer or have cocktails.  It definitely wasn't worth paying 350% markup on the wines, but they did have some nice wines on the list.

That said, I would go back here again, but not anytime soon.  If you are going to go, save your appetite, skip lunch, and chow down at dinner!  Also, don't fill up on the salad bar, and don't be afraid to ask your server to fetch you some certain more expensive cuts of meat.  If you don't, you just might not see these cuts come out of the kitchen.  Cheerson't fill up on the salad bar, and don't be afraid to ask your server to fetch you some certain more expensive cuts of meat.  If you don't, you just might not see these cuts come out of the kitchen.  Cheers!  -F. Scott
Fogo de Chão
849 E. Commerce St, Suite 393
San Antonio, TX 78205
Phone:  (210)227-1700

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

2008 Cambria Pinot Noir Julia's Vineyard

Popped and poured this tonight on a Friday night in at room temperature after having to source this on a business trip last week.   Ruby red and purple hues in the glass, thinning significantly towards the rim showing its youth.

On the nose, some strawberry and cherry dominate, with some side spice, cola, and earth.  On the palate, the first thing I get is sour cranberry, and lots of it.  Secondary nuances of strawberry, cola, and funk dominate the palate as well, with some alcohol and funk.  Put a vacuum on this and will try it again tomorrow.

With ¾’s of a bottle left on day two, it has mellowed out a tad, but the cranberry still dominates.  This is a sour pinot noir, but it does show that hint of the Santa Rita Hills that I love.  Not sure that this is a bad bottle, or maybe this wine is just too young to be consumed.  Hard to say at this point.  Regardless, finished two glasses, and left a glass for tomorrow.

Forgot about this wine in the fridge with a vacuum on it, and at day 5 it is completely undrinkable.  This wine was best on day two, and worthy of 83 points.  Guessing this wine just needs more time.  Cheers.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Zinc Bistro and Wine Bar - San Antonio, TX

Well, here I am out of town on business in San Antonio once again, and after a little lunch at a local fast food Italian chain, one of my fellow Air Force members, "Budda," was in the mood for some good vino tonight.  That being said, I busted out my iPad when I got back to my hotel, and looked to see where we could go tonight to enjoy a nice bottle, and grab a bite to eat.

In doing my research, the place that came up over and over again was Zinc.  In looking at their wine list, they definitely had some nice wines, and the ambiance looked nice.  That said, we also invited two of our other folks with us, and headed downtown to Zinc!

Once we got down there, it took me a minute to find it.  I knew it was near the USO and the parking garage near the USO but I couldn't remember where.  We then rounded the corner though, and there it was in it's glory.  Zinc is actually situated on a pretty quiet street, and I think that most of the traffic it sees is traffic coming out of the parking garage.

Upon walking in we were greeted by the bartender.  To the right is a gorgeous, dark wood bar that seems to be fully stocked with all the high end hard liquor you could ask for.  Behind the wall of the bar was the dining room where we were seated. On the other side of this dining room is another dining room as well.

We sat and our server came over and took drink orders.  Meanwhile, I looked at the winelist, and we ordered a few different bottles of wine!  "Budda" is indeed "The Rainmaker," and told me to pick out a couple wines under $120.  That said, I picked out a pinot noir, as well as an Italian wine, and I will talk about those in another post.  Their wine list however can be seen HERE.

Their "Bistro Menu" however was very intriguing, and there were quite a few things that I was interested in.  One thing that caught my eye was the "Boudro's Tableside Guacamole" that Zelda and I had at Boudro's, which makes me think that these two restaurants are somehow tied together.  Regardless, it was great when we were a Boudro's!

Out came out wine, and upon first sip, I asked to have the pinot noir decanted.  Moments later our server came ak with a decanter and a funnel, and decanted the wine for us.  This was a nice touch, and I wish that more restaurants in New Jersey offered this service.

For entrees tonight, we all opted for something different.  You all know me and my love for a good burger, so I opted for the Zinc Burger - with smokey cheddar, parmesan tuiles, spicy tomato aioli, bibb lettuce, and home fries.  At $9, it was an absolute bargain, with juicy flavors, and great ingredients.  The tomato aioli was a great addition, and overall the flavors rocked.  This was by far the best burger I've had in San Antonio!  It looked so good as a matter of fact that Duane ended up ordering one, even though he had already eaten dinner!

Budda had the Grilled Ham, Cheese, and Tomato - served on brioche with vegetable chips and our soup of the day or salad for $9.  He ended up opting for a Tai noodle soup of some sort that he said was delicious.  Blanche had a salad of soe sort, but in all honesty, I forget what it was.
All in all, we had a great night at Zinc,with great food, outstanding wine, and great service.  I would definitely go back there my next visit to town.  Cheers!
Zinc Bistro and Wine Bar
207 N. Presa St.
San Antonio, TX 78205-2635
Bar:     (210) 224-2900
Office: (210) 224-1313

2008 Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir

Popped and decanted tonight off of a restaurant wine list with friends at Zinc.  Ruby color in the decanter, and not looking as dark as Southings of the past, but it might have been the lighting in the restaurant.

Youthful nose with some alcohol definitely prevelant. Lots of dark berries, raspberry, black cherry, a ton of strawberry, and some anise, clove, cranberry. Over the course of 2 hours, the alcohol started to blow off.

On the palate, this seems to be the lightest, Sea Smoke I have seen in many vintages. This could however also be attributed to the fact that I haven't drank one of these this young in many of vintages.

More strawberry on the palate, but I also picked up some tight, sour cranberry as well. The wine was definitely tight, but also seemed a bit thin compared to others. Nice acidity, and definitely some alcohol on the palate to show it's youth, but again, less than in years past. What was shocking to me was how the oak in this wine really seemed to be dialed back. I don't know if this is a stylistic quality of Don's, I don't think it is a bad thing for those who consume this in it's youth.

The heat again on this wine wasn't as strong as I considered it to be on the finish, and that was shocking. I also didn't get that "Santa Rita soil" on the nose or the palate that I am very fond of, so who knows. Typically, I open this and decant them at cellar temp, and this seemed a bit warm to me.

All in all, I was shocked at how approachable this wine was from the get go. Not sure if that is Don's intention or not, but in the past I have really liked these wines with age. Overall, too early to give this wine a score, but I am happy to have an even 10 of these in the cellar as well as a mag. Cheers!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

RELEASE ALERT: 2008 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon

Dear Friends,

We deeply appreciate your devotion to Scarecrow. In recognition of your seniority on the mailing list, we are pleased to extend this offer to purchase our 2008 vintage. From 12:01 am Eastern Time on March 11, 2010 until 11:59 pm on March 20, 2011 you are invited to purchase the 2008 Scarecrow at the price of $225 per bottle. Please visit and log in using the ID and password below to place your order. As with our previous protocol, wine will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Shipping will begin in late March.

With our deepest appreciation and regards,


RELEASE ALERT: Spring Offer from Bedrock Wine Co.

Bedrock_logo 2
Spring 2011 Release Newsletter

F. Scott and Zelda:
I am thrilled to be able to offer a small amount of every single one of the Spring Release wines to the Waiting List.  Quantities are very limited on some of the wines, with case numbers in the teens available on most of the reds with a little more available on Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé.  Anyone who orders in this round will be added to the Mailing List and guaranteed an allocation on subsequent releases.  This is likely the last time I will be able to offer wine to the Waiting List for a while so ensure that you do not miss out on future offers by ordering now.  And with that, the fun stuff!

New Vineyard Additions for 2011

I am thrilled to announce two new vineyard additions to Bedrock Wine Co. starting with vintage 2011. 

First up is Casa Santinamaria Vineyard.  Planted in 1905 this vineyard features blocks of mixed-whites (Muscadelle, Semillon, Chasselas among others), and a few blocks of Zinfandel based mixed-blacks (plenty of Petite Sirah, Valdigue, Alicante, and other goodies).  The vineyard, whose other half is known as Samsel Vineyard and goes to Rosenblum for Maggie's Reserve, lies roughly five miles south of Bedrock Vineyard in a cooler microclimate.  Currently in a bit of disrepair I am looking forward to working with the owners, vineyard manager Rafael Oscegaro, and Bedrock Vineyard's Diane Kenworthy, to restore the vineyard (e.g. pull out the dead-vines, poison oak, remnants of rootstock, get in new rootstock, replenish the natural field-blend, plant cover-crops, etc. etc.).  The great quality of the grapes are a known commodity and I am looking forward to seeing what the vineyard can achieve with a little more TLC.

Second up is Saitone Vineyard.  Planted in 1896 this is the oldest remaining vineyard in the Piner/Olivet area of the Russian River Valley.  Located a stones-throw from Papera Ranch, the vineyard is now under the watchful eye of Ulises Valdez.  The vineyard for many years went into some great bottlings at De Loach and I am hoping that the few of us lucky enough to get the fruit can match and hopefully even surpass those heights.  

In addition to these new old-vine sites I have also been given S-block Syrah at Hudson Vineyard.  S-block, planted to Alban Powerblock Selection, lies on the front ranch of Hudson in probably the nicest site for Syrah on the whole ranch.  Right across the road from my T-West block it has a more southeasterly exposition.  In addition, my existing contracts for 5-block Alban Selection has been converted from a tonnage contract to an acreage contract, giving me more control over yields, so the overall quality of the Hudson wines should only improve in the years to come. 

Beyond this, I am thrilled that a new year is upon us so I can actually work with vineyards that got wiped out, or were dramatically influenced by, the heat of last year—Papera Ranch in Russian River Valley, Von Weidlich Vineyard in Green Valley, and Lorenzo's Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley. 

The 2010 Vintage

Much has been made of the so-called "disastrous" 2010 vintage.  'Tis true, there was some ugliness and heavy triage will have to take place (Old Lakeville Syrah, Von Weidlich Syrah, some of Pagani Ranch, and others will have to find a home in the jug-wine or some other place), but, I would also say that the very best Zinfandel and Syrah I have made yet come from the vintage (the 2010 Monte Rosso Zinfandel and Hudson T&S Syrah).  The Bedrock Heirloom, the new Pagani Ranch Heirloom, Stellwagen, Kick Ranch Syrah and Griffin's Lair, are not far behind.  In addition, 2010 will feature a cameo wine appearance by father Joel under the Bedrock label—I do not want to give too much away but it has some old-vine Zinfandel in it and is from Sonoma Valley and is huge, balanced, and delicious J  As for the 2010 whites, you will see for yourself, as several are offered for release here but I am quite pleased.

And speaking of 2010 whites, I am excited to announce that the second year of the Abrente Albarino, a wine made in partnership with my good friend Michael Havens will be released in the next month.  Keep your eyes open for the mailer to hit your inboxes in the next few weeks. 

Now, onto the wines offered with this release!


2010 Kick Ranch Sauvignon Blanc: The 2010 rendition of this wine, from the steep and rocky slopes of Kick Ranch, is dominated by the aromatic Musque-clone along with the more mineral, citrus-laden, clone 317.  Like last year, the majority of the wine was barrel-fermented in once, twice, and thrice, used French oak barrels of very tight grain from Bordelaise coopers.  In addition, roughly 7% of the wine was aged in a new Acacia barrel coopered for me by Tonnellerie Rousseau.  Fermented using native yeasts in barrel and stirred on a bi-monthly basis for additional richness the wine was not allowed to undergo malolactic to ensure brightness of fruit and general vivacity. Thirteen barrels made. $22


2010 Ode To Lulu Rosé:  This is certainly the most elegant and high-tone version of this wine made so far.  Mourvedre-fruit from blocks planted in 1888, was picked at 21.9 brix (under 13% potential alcohol) and whole-cluster pressed to a stainless steel tank.  There, it fermented at cold temperatures using native yeasts.  Unlike past years where I allowed the wine to undergo ML to increase richness, this year I only allowed a partial MLF to take place—the result being a slightly higher-tones rosé that I believe is a bit more vibrant and food friendly. $20


2009 Lorenzo's Heirloom Wine:  Like previous years this wine is cofermentation of roughly 50% Zinfandel 25% Carignane, 20% Petite Sirah, and 5% Alicante Bouschet, Cinsault, and Valdigue, from century-old vines on the Dry Creek Bench.  Unlike previous years, this is by far the most backward, taught, and structured Heirloom released from this vintage.  The fruit came in, three weeks later than normal, at  a low 22.9 brix and fermented to a moderate 14.2% alcohol.  This wine will demand some cellar-time, as I gave it an additional three months in barrel and three months in bottle before release and it is still tightly-wound and reticent. Ten barrels made. $35

2009 Kick Ranch Syrah:  This is hands-down the best Kick Ranch Syrah I have made in my opinion.  In 2009 I co-fermented clones 877, 470, and 383 along with 6% Viognier.  Following a native-yeast fermentation to dryness the wine was barreled down to 33% new French oak from Ermitage, Rousseau, and Meyrieux, for 15 months.  This is an opulent wine but I feel the perfume and aromatics, not to mention healthy brightness and tannin keep the smoke and pork-fat infused fruit in check.  Seven barrels made.  $30

2009 Hudson Ranch Syrah, T-Block:  I am not sure if this is the best Syrah I have made but it is certainly my favorite.  The fruit comes from the front-ranch at Hudson from the oldest-existing vines in the Carneros (planted in 1993 for my dear-friend Michael Havens).  Cropped at 2 tons/acre and picked at 24.6 brix, 4% Viognier and 33% whole-clusters were included in the fermentation for structure, spice, and perfume.  The wine was aged in two 600 Liter Demi-Muids (basically small wooden tanks on their side) one of which was new, along with two new barrels from Ermitage and Rousseau.  The resulting wine is deeply perfumed, dense, elegant, lifted, and satisfying. $39

2009 Hudson Ranch Syrah, Pleine de Chene: In contrast to the cooler days and warmer nights experienced by T-block the Pleine de Chene comes from the north side of Hudson Ranch off of Henry Road.  Here, the Alban Selection Syrah, experiences slightly warmer days and cooler nights- the result being a darker, more opulent, expression of Syrah that is ideally suited for the Pleine de Chene bottling.  Picked at 24.9 brix the wine was fermented in two new puncheons and two new barrels and then pressed and barreled down to 100% new oak from coopers known for their smoke-driven profile.  This is by far the most opulent, over-the-top, wine I make and will certainly not be to everyone's taste but I like making it to show what remarkably different wines can be made from the brilliant terroir at Hudson and farming of Lee, Andres, and Kelly. $39

Note on the Hudson Wines:  I was planning on doing the "Hudson Three-Ways" this year as I did in 2008 with the new T-Block taking the spot of the "cofermented" bottling.  However, I was displeased with the Whole-Cluster element and dropped it into the Sonoma Coast Syrah blend, thus only the two T-Block and PdC offering this year.  Starting in 2011, as stated above, I will have three separate, wonderful, blocks to work from in creating the "three-way" bottling.

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A Note on Shipping:

Due to the continued upward trajectory of shipping prices I am financially compelled to charge a bit.  All orders over six bottles will include a highly subsidized $15 Ground shipping charge while orders under six bottles will pay the full shipping charges.  I am still covering the lion's share of shipping for larger orders but need to defray the 10% or so rise in shipping costs over the last year. 2nd Day Air shipping remains available. Will-Call orders can be picked up on April 16th at the Spring Pick-Up Day.  In addition to picking up wine mailing list members will be able to taste samples of upcoming releases

As always, thank you for the wonderful and continued support of Bedrock Wine Co.. It is due to the mailing list sales that I can continue to source killer fruit and hopefully turn it into delicious and reasonably priced wines!  Not to mention have one of the best jobs on the planet!  Please feel free to contact me at with questions or concerns. 

My best,

Morgan Twain-Peterson

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Boudro's - "Texas Bistro on the River Walk" - San Antonio, TX

Zelda came to visit and at the urging of one of her friends who lived here for 19 years, we hit Boudro's!  Needless to say, both the service and the cuisine were great!  We were told that there were only two restaurants worth visiting on the River Walk, and this was one of them!

The ambiance was great, minus the family who felt the need to literally butt up to our table, where their asses were literally resting on our table and obstructing our view.  This however was promptly taken care of, and we asked them to move.

The tabeside guacamole is a nice touch, and was delicious!  My prime rib was a bit on the fatty side, but the flavors were delicious!  Our server suggested I ordered it blackened with a sie of horseradish, and it was great!  Zelda's fish was also rockin', and she loved it!  Overall, this was a great meal, and our server was a rockstar!  I'd go back for the guac alone!  Cheers!

Boudro's - Texas Bistro
314 E. Commerce, Suite 402
Located on the River Walk
San Antonio, TX 78205

Bread pudding

Zelda's ice cream treat!

2007 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon

This is the 4th time we have been lucky enough to have this wine now, yet we still haven’t open up one of ours from our cellar yet.  Life is good!  This is however the first note I have written on this wine, and let me say that this wine is still VERY young, but drinking surprisingly well!  This is only going to get better with time, and before you ask, I will not give this wine a numbered score.

Popped and decanted for 6 hours in the cellar at cellar temperature.  Tasted blind along with an ’07 Herb Lamb, ’07 Quilceda Creek, ’07 Corra, and ’07 Maybach.  All wines decanted the same amount of time.  Nice, deep, ruby color in the glass, and a gorgeous and complex nose.

On the nose, the black fruits really shined.  As many times as we had this wine, Zelda and I both looked at each other and KNEW that this was the ‘Crow.  There is something about the fruit in this wine that makes it so distinctive, and that is a beautiful thing.  Tons of jammy dark fruits:  blackberry, cassis, black currants, raspberry jam, mocha, and mint.  There is just a tad bit of funk on this wine that gives me a bit of barnyard and mint as well.

On the palate, there are some great red and black fruits here!  More black cherry, currants, cassis, and raspberry dominate the palate. There is also a light hint of pluminess that I picked up on a few occasions, but it came and went.  The wine is silky smooth, and absolutely stunning, but has some nice backbone.  The finish definitely has a bit of alcohol on it, but it’s expected with such a young wine.  Regardless, the tannins are the most integrated as they have been in the couple times we’ve had this wine, with a nice chewy sweetness to them. 

Overall, I think this wine has several years before it is going to show its best.  Many will say that these wines are not meant for aging.  I have got to disagree based on the minerality this wine has now.  I am guessing that this will be there for years to come, and really think that this is going to age for 15 years plus.  Again, time will tell.

At the end of the day, all I can say is that this wine is getting closer and closer to perfection.  I can say that I have never rated a wine a perfect 100 points, and I think the highest rating I have ever given a wine was 96 points.  I am not out to set records here, but I think with time this one is going to achieve the highest rating I have ever given a wine.  I guess we’ll see for sure in the next 5-10 years.  This was my wine of the night, with the ’07 Maybach just a finger behind!  Cheers!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ostra - San Antonio, TX

I know exactly what you are thinking, and I was thinking the exact same thing!  A restaurant in a hotel on the River Walk!  Absolute tourist trap!  Well, you would think so, but we were pleasantly surprised!

We walked past Ostra and the bar looked very inviting.  From the outside, you could see the soft blue glow of the wine cellar against the bag wall, and the glass topped bar had nice lighting and all the fresh seafood at a raw bar that you could possible want!  That said, we pulled up a chair at the bar, and had some chow.

First I looked at the wine list, and although they had some great wines and great storage conditions, that markups were kind of insane.  That said, we opted for cocktail as I am not a big fan of 300% markups.  Nevertheless, they had a great list, and wines that many restaurants would envy.

We skipped starters tonight and cut right to the chase.  Maybe this was a mistake as the stuff on the raw bar looked great and fresh!  Anything from oysters, to fresh shrimp, to crab, to maybe even sea cucumber.  Everything looked fresh, and some of the stuff was still very alive.  Even so, we were still a bit stuffed from lunch.

Zelda went the seafood route tonight and ordered the Iceland Arctic Char.  She had the choice of having this prepared 3 different ways, and she went with it hot off the grill, and it came out perfectly!  The texture of this fish was perfect, and it was absolutely delicious.  From the picture, the portion doesn't look huge by any means, but it was a decent size.  Not quite a "small plate," but also not a regular sized entree.  Even so, the quality was there, and I am sure she would eat this again.

Being someone who loves the meals that I love, I went the short rib route, and these were Wagyu beef short ribs.  Again, the picture from the Blackberry doesn't do this justice, but these were nicely braised, and fork tender.  The au jus that these were in was delicious, and they were cooked as perfectly as possible.

For sides we ordered two.  The first being the Tempura Fried beans that were OK, but were extremely greasy.  Yes they were drained, and yes I understand that fried foods are greasy, but they were a little too greasy for me.  Zelda ordered the Gold Mashed Potatoes, and they had a nice texture to them.

Overall, this was a pleasant dining experience with good service, and I actually went back here with Budda for a beer one night to see what the raw bar had.  It's not often I'll frequent a restaurant in a hotel as they tend to be let down's, but this was a pleasant surprise!  Cheers!

Ostra at the Mokara Hotel and Spa
212 West Crockett Street
San Antonio, TX 78205
Phone:  (866)605-1212