Monday, March 31, 2008


Unfortunately, you just don't know what you are going to get until it arrives at the house, but this morning I saw the charge on my debit card statement for my Spring Tobin James release.

If you are a lover of crazy, fruit forward, over the top wines, I highly recommend Tobin James to you. Their zinfandel's are amazing, and their dessert wines to die for. Check them out at: or visit them at:

8950 Union Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446
Phone (805) 239-2204

Their Spring and Fall release consists of 8 bottles for $145 plus shipping. For that price, you really can't do a whole lot better for some tasty vino! Log on and join their club! You won't regret it! Cheers!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Concerto Fusion

Reservations tonight at Concerto Fusion in Morrisville, PA. The menu looks great, and we have heard nothing but good things, so check them out at: Review to come soon! 2 South Delmorr Avenue Morrisville, PA 19067 Phone: 215.428.2899 Fax: 215.428.3899 Upon driving up, we were amazed at how weird the location was, just to the left of the "Trenton Makes" bridge as you cross over the river from the Jersey side. Upon entering, you are greeted by a beautiful water wall, that sets the ambiance for the restaurant. To the right you will find the sushi bar, and to the left, and host stand. On the opposite side of the water wall, lies the bar, which look really nice! We arrived about 45 minutes early for our reservation, but were seated anyway. The restaurant was definitely crowded, bu not at max capacity. We were sat at a table off of the main dining room, on the lower level to the right of the host stand. They did a nice job breaking this area up from the waiting area by hanging some odd plastic like strings from the ceiling in front of the 3 tables situated here. They were very strange to see, but very cool, and it worked perfectly for them. On looking over the wine list, they have a list of a few good wines that you will not normally find in stores. We ended up having a 2006 Chateau Lamothe Vincent Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux that was tasty. It had a great sauv banc color in the glass, and didn't have the sweetness of your typical Marlboro sauv blanc. All in all it was a good wine for $28. Next were the appetizers, and we both ordered the spring rolls at $3, along with the Caribbean Phyllo Crusted Prawns at $8. The spring rolls were massive, with 4 large pieces cut and standing straight up on the plate over duck sauce. The presentation was gorgeous, and the ingredients were very fresh. Gorgeous color on everything and the sauce had a nice bit of heat to hit. The prawns were fabulous, and the phyllo was almost like pasta, wrapped around each prawn. They were gently fried to perfection, and served over a mango and guacamole salsa. All in all, A+ on the appetizers! Dinner was next, and Zelda ordered the cashew chicken($10), and I ordered the General Tso's($13). Both were magnificent large portions, served with white rice. The cashews were raw, and they could have put more in the dish, but all in all, it was very good. The General Tso's was breaded and cooked perfectly with a great sauce. The sauce did not overwhelm the chicken, and it also did not smother it, making it soggy. I would order this again sometime. Service was good, and all the wait staff was Asian. They were busy, and seemed to be under-manned, but they moved their tails and got the job done with no problems. For the money, you really cannot beat this place. All the food was good, the wine was excellent, and did not have the typical 300% restaurant markups. Total bill was $67 and change, which is excellent for a bottle of wine, 3 apps, and 2 entrees. Unfortunately, we didn't have room for dessert, but what can you do? Upon leaving, we were greeted by the owner, and he asked us if everything was OK, and of course we told him we would be back...and we will be. This is a great restaurant, and probably the closest good "Asian cuisine" to where we live. Check out their menu on their site as it is huge. They have a great selection of Japanese dishes, as well as the classic Chinese cuisine, and sushi. Overall, I give them 9 out of 10 stars, and I look forward to trying them for lunch sometime!

RELEASE ALERT - Stefania Wines

It is an exciting day today to come home and find a letter from Stefanie Wines in the mailbox. If you have never heard of them, I highly suggest you sign up for their mailing list at:

Paul and Stefania are some of the nicest people I have ever dealt with in the wine world, and they are making damn nice quality wines to boot. This current release consists of:

2006 Eaglepoint Ranch Syrah
2.1 tons crushed on 10/11/06. Brix 25.0, pH 3.60
100% destemmed and not crushed. The fruit was again excellent and we sorted in the field. No additions were made this year and no water was required. We fermented with two different yeast strains in 3 one ton bins. Fermentation completed on 10/24/05 and the must was lightly pressed with 80% of the wine being free run.
The must was transferred to a total of 20% new French Oak and a mix of 1 year old, two year old, and neutral French and American Oak. It completed Malolactic Fermentation in the Spring of 2007
The wine is showing great color and a very fruit forward nose. It seems more open and floral early on than the 2005, with lots of fruit and spice. Total of 5 1/2 barrels, @ 135 cases
Release Scheduled: Spring of 2008.
Estimated price: 3 pack for $105, 6 pack for $200.

2006 Haut Tubee (named for the hot tub in our backyard)
3/4 tons crushed between 10/6 and 10/29. Brix 24.6, pH 3.60
A little bit of everything includes, 55 % Uvas Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, foot stomped at our harvest party and fermented in a 1/2 ton bin. 20% Syrah, Grenache and 5 clusters of Mourvedre from our yard. 20% Zinfandel from the Elandrich Vineyard. 4% Cabernet Sauvignon from Chaine D 'Or. 2% Syrah and Mourvedre from the OttiGurr Vineyard in San Jose. The lots were mostly fermented separately unless there wasn't enough of something, then it got thrown in together, and everything was pressed in our old basket press as it finished, then was transfered to stainless steel until everything was complete and could be moved in to barrel.
The must was transferred to one old French Barrel and one old 1/2 barrel. Jerry threw a dose of Cabernet Sauvignon from Chaine D'Or to top off the barrels and start Malolactic Fermintation. It completed Malolactic Fermentation in January of 2007
To quote Stefania as we transferred it into barrel, "This isn't bad hooch". It's actually pretty good wine, with nice color and a sweet fruit nose, fun to drink. It will likely be a "Gratis" gift for our friends and customers. Total of 1 1/2 barrels, @ 35cases
Release Scheduled: Spring of 2008.
Estimated price: 3 packs for $60.

After having their cab from the 2007 Fall release, I jumped all over this, took my full 6 bottle allocation of syrah, 3 bottle allocation of the Haut Tubee, and requested 3 extra bottles of the Haut Tubee, which Paul was kind enough to allocate to me! Thanks Paul.

All I can say, is that their cab is incredible, and I have yet to hear anything bad about any of their wines. People love them! If you are not on their list, sign up as soon as you can! They make very small quantities of wine, and their mailing list already has a lot of members. Is this going to be yet another California cult wine? Possibly, but unlike the cult wines, I don't see Paul and Stefania raising their prices like the cult wines. They are just that good of people and we tank them, and look forward to meeting them in the future!

Delorenzo's Tomato Pies - Hudson Street - Trenton, NJ

I'm sure some of you have heard me talk about "Delo's" a million and one times, so what can I say? This place is the best of the best!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Trenton, all I can tell you is that if you are ever in the area, and you are a connoisseur of greatness in the land of tomato pies, then this is the place for you!

First off, let me state that there are two Delorenzo's in Trenton, the best being on Hudson Street, but another being located on Hamilton Avenue, which we have only tried once. Maybe this tells you something? They have also added a third location at the Washington Town Center on Route 33 in Robbinsville, NJ. Gary Amico's son Sam is running this location, and you can check it out at:

So back to the original, located at 530 Hudson Street. We've been going there for years now, and it is one of those places that I could just never get tired of. They were actually established in 1947, and are located in the old part of town, across from an old abandoned steel mill or something. The building is an old row home, and is run by Gary and his wife. Note that now they are only open Thursday through Sunday, from 4PM-10PM now that the new store is open.

Don't go to Delo's looking for ambiance....don't even go there looking for a bathroom. Yes folks, that is correct, you will not find a bathroom there. How can this be? Well, they have been there for that long, that they were grandfathered in.

There have been many times that we have waited for close to an hour outside on the street, in lines with many others. The last few times we have gone however, we have gotten right in. Unfortunately, this was not the case last night, but we only waited outside for 15 minutes or so, then stood inside for another 5 minutes until a table opened up.

Once seated, we opened our wine case, pulled out two Riedel's, and popped open our wine, which you can read about in the previous post. Yes, Delorenzo's is BYOB friendly. The bus boy came over with our mint green plates and some silverware, and we ordered our two birch beer, which is a staple for us.

Just a few moments later, Gary's wife came over and we placed an order for a large pie, all sweet peppers, and 1/2 sausage for me. Meanwhile, Gary and another gentleman who I can't ever remember seeing before were busy making the pies, running back to the kitchen for more dough, cheese, etc, and pulling pies out of the oven. Some of the pies went from oven, to tray, then were cut, and sent to tables, while others were put into boxes for carry out. They did have the phone on the hook last night, so they were taking phone orders. There are times when they are extremely packed, and they will take the phone off the hook, preventing people from ordering over the phone. How can they afford to do this you ask? Well, they just can! They do that much business.

Our pie came out later, and I have no idea how long it took. Realistically, I could really careless how long it took, because it's Delorenzo's, on Hudson Street no less. Upon arriving at the table, I saw yet another gorgeous pie, cooked to perfection. The crust had nice golden brown edges, with traces of black from where some edges cooked faster than others. My sausage prevailed on my half of the pie, peaking through the most wonderful sauce, accompanied by sweet peppers, with slight amounts of cheese scattered all over the pie.

I wish I could explain just how good these pies are, but it is just so hard to put into words. Say what you will, but their sauce is one of a kind. It has such a great taste, and there are no traces of seasoning in the sauce whatsoever! The tomatoes are crushed for the most part, but you will find chunks of tomato on occasion as well. The crust is nice and crispy, and extremely thin, and usually a nice golden brown color. The cheese is scarce, but it is still good, I would say perfect, but some of you might consider ordering them with extra cheese if you are a lover of a pie covered in cheese. I can't say enough about the sausage they have, purchased from City Beef in Trenton from what Sam has told me. And the sweet peppers! WOW! I would love to get a bottle of these to eat right out of the jar! They are the best!

All in all, another great pie from Delo's, and just one of thousands to come in the next many years from us! Keep up the great work over there guys, and keep those awesome pies coming!

2000 Silverado Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

This bottle was a gift from our good friend "Dee," and we enjoyed it tonight at Delorenzo's Tomato Pies on Hudson Street in Trenton....the original Delo's, and still the best!

The 2000 was pretty impressive, with a nice young purple color in the glass. Maybe this wine is still very young and needs more time in the bottle. I would have to guess that this is still going to get better for another decade or so, but what do I really know? Not as much as I wish!

Both the nose and the palate detect plenty of dark fruits. This wine is well structured, with very little tannins. Unfortunately, the finish was very short, almost non-existent which still has me a bit puzzled. We will re-visit this wine tonight after another 24 hours in the bottle.

24 hours later this wine was velvety smooth! Just goes to show how much better wines can get with air and time. And all I did was put a vacuum on the bottle and threw it in the fridge. The fruit really came out upon doing so, and it turned into a great jammy Cabernet. Next time, we'll decant the bottle for some time before drinking!

All in all, a good cab, but not sure it is worth the price tag of what you see it for in the store. Regardless, it made a great gift, and I would love to drink another bottle. Thanks Dee!

91 points out of 100!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

2004 Argyle "Nuthouse" Pinot Noir

This was the second bottle of the night, which we enjoyed on a very early Spring "Bistro Night" with the neighbors.

This wine is great already, but is definitely still young and could use some more time in the bottle. This was much more of an old world, Burgundy style pinot than the California styled fruit bombs, which I do enjoy very much by the way. Truth be told, I think this bottle could use another 5 years in the bottle, maybe even more, and then it will be fabulous.

Some cherries and a hint of spice, maybe even vanilla on the nose. Tons of sour cherry and plum, and some other dark fruits on the palate, with other hints of black fruits. The finish was not overly complex, but lingered for a good 20-30 seconds, with more hints of plum.

We still have one more of these in the cellar, and I will definitely purchase more of these, especially since they are currently on sale around the area for a tad under $40. I don't plan on revisiting this wine for another year or more, as I think it needs that time in the bottle to continue to evolve. I do think though that this will be a good wine to put in the cellar and forget you had for a few years!

Highly rated by in my book, and I would give it 91 points.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

2005 Lafond Syrah Santa Rita Hills Lafond Vineyard

Raphael brought this over to the house tonight, and the three of us enjoyed it on one of the first "Bistro Nights" of Spring, although it was a bit on the chilly side.

Lots of neighbors came down and said hello, which is just a sign that Spring is near, and that it is going to be a great "Bistro Season." Kurt and Meredith hung out, as well as Todd and Michelle, Lisa and Andrew, Jim Cathy and "Wiggles," Diane, Carter, and God only knows who else. I hope you all are looking forward to bistro season like we are!

Back to the Lafond. First and foremost, it is always a treat when Raph brings something over that he brought back from California. The wines he selects are always a treat!

The wine had a tight nose of cherry and other dark fruits along with some cola. I think another year in the bottle would make this wine fabulous, but as always, what do I know? The palate revealed the dark fruits, consisting of more black cherry, blackberry, blueberry, vanilla, white pepper, and cedar. I know what you are thinking....cedar? Yes, not oak, it was more of a smoked cedar taste, a bit overwhelming at first, but integrating nicely with more time in the glass. The finish was short and sweet, maybe 20 seconds, but it was nice.

All and all, another great Santa Rita Hills wine that I would love to drink again. 90 points out of 100. Thanks Raph!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

2001 Fess Parker Syrah

This was such a treat tonight at Chrissy's house for the first annual "Bordentown Supper Club" dinner party. The theme that Chrissy picked as the host of our first theme was Moroccan, so what better to bring than a nice California syrah.

For a syrah, this was a borderline fruit bomb, bursting with plum and cherry, with hints of soil on the nose, and a nice burgundy color in the glass. On the palate, the plum and dark cherry prevailed, mixed with other dark fruits. When first popped and poured, this wine was extremely tannic, but thankfully the tannins settled out with just 20-30 minutes of air, and this wine turned out to be fabulous.

One thing that was not syrah-esque of this wine was the fact that it was not overly spicy, and didn't have the peppery hints that are typical of California syrah. This was almost structured more like a pinot noir, which although odd, I am not complaining about in the least.

This wine from this vintage is a must find, and I look forward to finding some more since it is such a great QPR! Should hold up to a few more years in the bottle with proper storage. Complimented Moroccan food perfectly! All in all, 90 points!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

2006 Patricia Green Cellars Pinot Noir Balcombe Vineyard

All I can say about this wine, is that I wish I waited to open this, but curiosity to open a "Patty Green" was killing me.

This wine is so young, and is going to be fabulous in another 5 years. We aerated this through the Vinturi and decanted for an hour prior to drinking. I think that a 5 hour decant would have been good, but an hour is better than no time at all.

Nose of blackberry and black cherry, with hints of cola and earth as well. On the palate, more black fruit with hints of spice, but for the most part, typical of an Oregon pinot. There is still some acidity on this wine, and I attribute it to the fact that we drank it so young.

Long and short of it is, put a few of these in the back of your cellar, out of sight, out of mind, and revisit them in 2 years at the earliest. I'd like to get another 4 to 6 of these to stockpile for some years down the road!

Overall, 90 points, but will definitely go higher with some time!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

2006 Snoqualmie Vineyards Riesling Winemaker's Select

All I can say is WOW! What a great Riesling for the money. Purchased at Canal's on Route 38 in Pennsauken, and this a great American Riesling, and a great QPR (quality to price ratio).

Snoqualmie must be doing something right in the Columbia Valley of Washington! This wine is spot on for the price, and will be a great summer sipper in my opinion.

This wine possesses the sweet quality of Riesling that I have not come to grow very fond of, however, I am really enjoying this wine. The nose is crisp and floral, with hints of sugar cane and mellow citrus fruits. On the palate, it is crisp, with lots of apricot marmalade, honey, and pear There is very little acidity and a hint of mineral. The finish is short and sweet, but what do you really want for under $8?

All in all, this wine will be revisited many times over the summer, and will make a great deck and "on the bistro sipper." This is a wine that I feel is worth buying by the case.

All in all, 85 points based on the 100 point scale. More nose and a longer more complex finish would have gotten this wine more points.

Notes from the winemaker: 10.8% alcohol by volume.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Under the Moon - Bordentown, NJ

As many times as we have frequented Under the Moon, I have yet to do a review on the restaurant and their food. Well, it's about time! Tonight we had the pleasure of meeting up with the Tom and Denise, of which Tom frequents one of the wine forums that I like to spend some time in. We both brought a great selection of wine, but unfortunately, we didn't get around to any of the wines that we brought. Special thanks to Tom and Denise for providing the wine for our dinner. Upon arriving, it was great to see "Mama," "Santi," and "Fawn," as well as some new faces in the dining room and in the kitchen. As usual, the menu had 6-8 appetizers and salads, as well as 8-10 entrees. First up was the wine, and Fawn opened up two wines that Tom and Denise had brought. The first was a 2004 Copain Pinot Noir Hein Family Vineyard that was absolutely fabulous. It was good "pooped and poured," and only got better as the bottle had time to breathe, and the wine had time to breathe in the glass. On the glass, it had a nice ruby color, with lots of red fruits on the nose, mainly bold cherry and strawberry. On the palate, there was the faintest hint of spice, with hints of cherry, cherry cola, and the smallest hint of earth. The finish was vibrant and balanced, with some hints of raspberry. All in all, a great wine that I would love to revisit in the future. I still think this wine is a bit young. For dinner, Zelda and Tom had the chicken tikka. This is an Under the Moon staple as far as Zelda is concerned, and is a real treat. Denise had an eggplant dish of sorts, that I think had thyme in it, and it too looked fabulous. I had the wasabi crusted tuna, and it was incredible. Sushi grade tuna served rare over wasabi mashed potatoes that were to die for. The dish came with more tuna than I could eat, and it looked and tasted absolutely gorgeous. Next up in wine was a 2003 Rhys Syrah Alesia Sonoma Coast that had a good hour to breathe in the bottle. Nice medium red color in the glass, with tons of blue and black fruit on the nose...blueberry, blackberry, pepper, and the slightest hint of oak. On the palate, there was great depth with more of the black fruits and spice. All in all, a nice finish with very fine tannins that were not overpowering in the least. For dessert, Zelda had the triple chocolate brownie that was also incredible and sinful! All I can say is yum. I had the green apple bread pudding, with homemade caramel sauce on top, and it goes to show that Santiago knows how to make some great desserts. All in all, another awesome night at Under the Moon, and this just solidifies the fact that they are one of Bordentown's best BYO's! I look forward to our next trip to Under the Moon!

2004 Cherry Hill Winery Pinot Noir Estate

We brought this wine along with us to Oliver - A Bistro in Bordentown. For those of you who are not familiar with Oliver, be sure to check out their site at: Chef Matt and wife Danielle are doing a great job over there, and I will have a full review to come in the future!

Popped and poured, and this wine could have used an hour, if not several in a decanter. Unfortunately, that was not an option, but what can you do. Either this wine is still young, which is possible, but overall, I just think it is not a top notch Oregon pinot. Lots of sour cherry and raspberry all over the nose. On the palate, more of the same, with hints of oak, and lots of acidity. The finish seemed sour and un-complex, and overall, this wine left a lot to be desired for the price. Definitely some better values out there for the money, but it was worth trying something different. 83 points.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tre Piani - Princeton, NJ

Review coming soon!
Lobster Club Sandwich $20.00 pancetta, vine-ripened tomato, and bibb lettuce on toasted bread with wasabi mayonnaise and crispy fried potatoes
Rigatoni with Filet Mignon Tips and Gorgonzola Cheese

RELEASE ALERT - Sea Smoke Cellars

Got the e-mail today that Sea Smoke allocations are up. For those of you who have not heard of them, check them out at: They are making some awesome pinot noir there, and these wines are a must buy for us again this year!

I got bumped up to a C4 member this year, however, my allocations were still the same this year:

(1) Sea Smoke "Ten" $79
(4) Sea Smoke "Southing" $49
(1) Sea Smoke "Botella" $39

There has been some complaining by list members that the "Ten" went up $10 this year. No big deal...the way I see it, if you don't want to shell out the extra $10, then don't buy it. That just might mean more for us later when the have the "leftovers sale."

That said, if you are not on their waiting list, I suggest that you sign up as it is a 2-3 year wait currently. Also note that Kris Curran, the current wine maker has put in her resignation and will be going to Sea Smoke, but her assistant wine maker at Sea Smoke, Don, will be taking over at the helm. I am curious to see what is going to happen with their wine, but with the awesome quality fruit they are producing from yet young vines, I think Don is still going to be making quality vino! So check them out, sign up for their list, and when you get on and get your first allocation, throw them in the back of your cellar and forget they are there for a few years!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Happy Apple Inn - Imlaystown, NJ

Today Zelda and I took a drive to the tiny little village of Imlaystown, NJ, and had lunch at the Happy Apple Inn. The Happy Apple Inn is the only restaurant in Imlaystown, and pretty much the only attraction in Imlaystown. It is situated on a lovely lake, overlooking a waterfall. Upon walking up the the restaurant, it is a great looking old white farm house with black shutters and a nice wide front porch. Upon entering the restaurant, it is indeed an old farm house, and could use some updated decor. As you walk in, you will see a nice bar located to the left, and the dining room to the right. One thing I did find amusing was the carpet with a lovely apple woven into it, and the words "Happy Apple Inn" woven into the pattern throughout the restaurant. This was a cute touch, and one that has probably been there for 20 years. Being a Sunday, we found a lot of seniors frequenting the restaurant, to which they had some great senior specials. This is usually a good sign. I for one was not expecting the pricing that I saw on the menu, but we figured that it just may have been worth it. The staff was nice, but not overly friendly. We both enjoyed a nice ice cold Coca Cola, and I ordered the Nutty Pork at $22.95, while Zelda ordered the Chicken Saute' Jean at $21.95. Both of our lunches came with the salad bar, which we are not usually too fond of, but it was worth a shot. The salad bar did have a nice selection of iceberg lettuce, an your usual "salad bar type" items. The Parmesan peppercorn dressing was actually quite a treat, and the slice yourself french bread was stellar. Once our lunch arrived, we were both shocked at the size of the portions. My pork chop was stuffed with a homemade stuffing, containing onions, celery, and many other items that was very tasty. The pork was about 2 inches thick, and cooked to absolute perfection. Zelda's chicken was smothered in cheese and a great mushroom sauce, and had 3 good sized chicken breasts. We both have the twice baked potato on the side, and these too were awesome. Next time we want to check out the bar and bar menu, to see what kinds of other, more affordable selections they may have on there. Their wine list had a great selection surprisingly, including wines from Cakebread, BV, Grgrich, and some other decent names. They did also include bottles of Yellowtail, Glen Ellyn, and some other less desirable wines. All in all, it was a nice list. Overall, the food was excellent, and the potions were ridiculous. The service left just a tad to be desired, but it was a Sunday afternoon, and if I was waiting on a dining room full of seniors, I too may have been a little on the grumpy side.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

2003 Fiddlehead Cellars Pinot Noir Seven Twenty Eight Fiddlestix

What can I say about this wine other than incredible! This pinot has aged very nicely, and it probably still has a few years left before you will start to see a decline.

This was purchased at the Pennsauken Canal's on Route 38, with a sticker price of about $27. Absolutely worth it for the price, and I only wish they had more of this vintage...or older for that matter.

Nice dark ruby red in the glass, with a nose of big red fruits: raspberry, strawberry, cherries, and the smallest hint of earth or soil. On the palate, this wine explodes with gushes of cherry and dark fruit, more than likely plum. The finish is perfect, nice and medium in length, with more plum flavors and the slightest hint of cola.

All in all, a great drinker, that I would drink over the next 2 years, possibly up to 5 more years depending on how it is stored. 91 out of 100 points!