Monday, April 28, 2008


Who would of thought that yet another release was incoming?
Unfortunately, this is an easy pass for us, but had I been allocated any of their cabernet, that story might be different. Regardless, my offering is as listed below. If anyone is interested in picking up this allocation at my cost, let me know and you are more than welcome to it, and I will have it drop shipped directly to you.
2006 La Josefina Pinot Noir Russian River - Our 2006 La Josefina Pinot Noir, our fourth vintage, delivers the character of the vineyard with great definition and focus. These vines, located on a southeast-facing hillside above the Russian River, provide fruit with great richness and a smoky, gamey complexity reminiscent of old-world wines. In order to maximize the character of this unique wine, we included 25% whole clusters in the fermentation, and encouraged native yeast fermentation. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for ten months, and bottled without fining or filtration. 190 cases produced. Price: $65 (1) 3 pack allocated

2005 Favia Cerro Sur Red Wine Napa Valley - One of our favorite areas in the Napa Valley is in the hills east of the town of Napa. The rolling hills run through the Tulocay area and rise up to Wooden Valley, then continue east to the Sacramento Valley. This area is unique in Napa Valley, with perfectly drained volcanic soils, a cooling breeze off the San Francisco Bay, and an infinite array of slopes and exposures. Several years ago we were lucky to find a one-acre slope of twenty-five-year-old Cabernet Franc vines that are athletically proportioned, balanced but muscular. The wines they produce are similar in character. Whole berry fermentation using native yeasts, French oak barrel aging for 22 months, and bottling without fining or filtration, all help to highlight the complex fruit flavors from these mature vines. 2005 is the first vintage in which we have blended in Cabernet Sauvignon from the nearby Meteor Vineyard, in the Tulocay district of the Napa Valley. The Meteor fruit brings breadth and added fruit density to the wine. The final blend of the 2005 Cerro Sur is 72% Cabernet Franc, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon. In the glass, the wine exhibits cherry tobacco, incense aromas, and notes of raspberry, wet stones, and leather. Flavors of cream, cherry, raspberry, and salt water taffy burst onto the palate, leading to a long, supple finish with great fruit intensity.142 cases produced Price: $120.00 (1) 3 pack allocated

2005 La Magdalena Napa Valley Red WineThe 2005 - La Magdalena is only the second commercial offering of this special wine, though 2008 marks ten years since we first made wine from David Abreu’s vineyard at the foot of Spring Mountain. In 1998, we received the first Cabernet Franc fruit produced from a new planting that David had established from various selections of what could be our favorite Bordeaux varietal. We have made this wine every year since. The 2005 La Magdalena is a blend of 58% Cabernet Franc and 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, both from the same vineyard. Inspired by the wines of the Right Bank in Bordeaux, the wine exudes aromas of rose petals, blackberry bramble, dried earth, and vanilla bean. On the palate, intense ripe fruit character join with notes of lavender, toasted oak, and plum clafouti. 140 cases produced.2005 Favia La Magdalena Red Wine Napa Valley, 750ml Price: $120.00 (1) 3 pack allocated.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

2000 Chateau Malmaison

This is a classic example of a great QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) Bordeaux! Pulled from the cellar, stored at a perfect 55 degrees, and decanted through the Vinturi, this wine displayed great notes of raspberry jam and other dark fruits on the nose. Hints of earth, pepper, and straw also evolved with other floral notes. We enjoyed this "on the bistro" with an incredible antipasto that Zelda created, accompanied by K-Fed and M-Dog.

On the palate, the fruit shined, with more hints of raspberry, currants, and tons and tons of fruit. This wine was very jammy, and continued to evolve in the decanter and in the glass with time. Notes of plum later shined. The fruit was definately the star, and this wine was not shut down to say the least. It is drinking beautifully now, and the tannins were very supple, almost non existent. Hints of cherry on the 30 second finish, and this bottle was a true treat at $20. I would love to find more at this price. Overall, 90 out of 100 points, and a great value!

P.F. Chang's - Princeton, NJ

After running some errands, we stopped in PF Chang's for a quick bite to eat. We're not big on "chain restaurants," but PF Chang's is always a great option.

As usual, we opted to sit at the bar, and had great service as always, even though the bartender was extremely busy. We started off with an order of 4 "Harvest Spring Rolls," and as usual, they were very tasty, filled with shredded cabbage, carrot, and assorted vegetables. For entrees, we selected the PF Chang's staple, the Kung Pao Chicken, as well as the "Chang's Spicy Chicken." The Kung Pao is always a favorite there, as I love the way that it is cooked at high temperature, so the chicken gets a nice, almost crispy like coating. But don't get that confused with the texture of something that is deep fried. It is almost hard to explain, and you have to try it to really understand what I am getting at. The sauce is wonderful, and the dish is also cooked with chili peppers, scallions, and peanuts. As always, it was a treat. The "Chang's Spicy Chicken" was awesome as well, served in a Sichuam almost sweet and sour sauce, with lots of garlic and scallion as well. This chicken is lightly dusted and stir fried, and I think I actually enjoyed this more than the Kung Pao is you can believe that.

All in all, another solid meal at P.F. Chang's with good service. Next time we will have to save some room for the new "mini desserts" that they are featuring!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

2005 Hitching Post Cork Dancer 5.1

It's always fun to open up a bottle of Hitching Post wine, which got even more famous with the release of the movie Sideways. Usually, we enjoy the "Highliner," but tonight I grabbed a "Cork Dancer," and off we went to Carter and Jen's for a little late night campfire pow wow.
This wine was pulled from the chiller, and served at cellar temperature (55 degrees). This was poppep, poured, and consumed, with no time for decanting, but it was fine served that way.
In the glass, it had a good nose of berry, cherry, and plum, with a very nice ruby red color being accentuated by the flames from the fire. On the palate, hints of plum, with tons of candied cherry and cherry cola. As this wine opens up in the glass, it lost the tart acidity that it had when first popped and poured. The finish on this wine was short and silky, and overall, this was a light to medium bodied pinot.
As always, the HP wines are a joy to drink, and this one was no different. Great QPR at $25 or below, and I look forward to purchasing more in the future. I'm not sure that the 2005 will get much better with time, but it will be fun to try cellaring a bottle for a few years just to see what develops. Overall, 89 out of 100 points. Cheers

Friday, April 25, 2008

2006 Siduri Pinot Noir Sonoma County

We opened this tonight "on the bistro" before Todd and Michelle's wedding. This is a great price point pinot, and I really don't want to say that it is an entry level wine for Siduri, but they do make some much better wines that this one in my humble opinion. Regardless, this is still a great wine in the $20 price point!
First thing you will notice is the screw top, but as I've said before, don't let this fool you. There are some awesome wines out there with screw tops on them.
This wine is definitely on the young side, but it is still drinking well now. I think it will drink better with another year or two in the bottle, and I would guess it would hold up well even past that. This wine has a nice garnet ruby color in the glass, and on the nose, it has the typical California pinot qualities with lots of cherry, dark fruits, and earth, with hints of strawberry as well. On the palate, you will get more of the cherry, but not as dark as it smells in my opinion, as well as a bit of spice and oak. The wine has a creamy, almost silky texture, and the finish lasts a good 30 seconds.
All in all, this is a great wine for the price, and worthy of 88 points in my opinion, possibly getting a higher rating with more time in the bottle. We have one more on hand, so we'll see! Cheers!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Morimoto - New York City

As we celebrate Zelda's birthday, which will remain with no age, tonight we decided to take the train up to New York, to try Morimoto. This is somewhere that I have always wanted to try, mainly the restaurant in Philly, but since it was a nice weekend, and a birthday weekend, we took the train to the city, spent the day walking around, and hit Morimoto for dinner. We got into New York around 1PM, and did some walking around and site seeing at Chelsea Market before heading to SoHo. We had a reservation at 6:45PM, booked through, and ended up there 45 minutes early, and were graciously seated then. Upon walking in, the restaurant ad very nice decor. Very industrial looking, and almost decorated to look unfinished. Regardless, it was a nice touch, with the corrugated ceiling, lots of stainless steel, and the bottle wall, hung two stories from the ceiling, containing over 10,000 plastic bottles, back lit by soft white and blue LED lights. Very nice. This can be seen at the left. We were greeted by our waiter Craig, who was a nice kid, and very knowledgeable of the menu, as he should be. Tonight we ordered a bottle of wine off the wine list, a 2005 Row Eleven pinot noir. After ordering our wine, we were brought some complimentary appetizers, which were rice balls with some sort of BBQ eel sauce. They were good, but I am not sure I would order them off the menu. I don' even know if they were on the menu quite honesty, but it was a nice surprise. For dinner, we decided to try both their entrees, as well as their sushi. For the entree, we ordered the Seafood "Toban Yaki," containing a half lobster, king crab, 3 mussels, 3 clams, 2 large diver scallops, and a red miso-saki broth. All in all, it was mediocre at best. The broth was good, but the seafood left a little to be desired. The lobster was definitely overcooked, but everything else was OK. It was a little on the bland side, but nothing that couldn't be helped by slathering it wit broth. For sushi, we ordered 2 shrimp tempura rolls, a spicy salmon roll, and a yellow tail roll. The tempura rolls were good, but they are pretty much every where. Who doesn't like something battered and fried? The salmon roll as good as well, and the salmon tasted very fresh. The yellow tail roll left a little to be desired. I have had great yellow tail rolls elsewhere, but I cannot pinpoint what it was that I didn't like about this particular roll. Maybe it was the fish. For dessert, we decided to try the caramel Cinnamon Chiboust, that was very tasty. All in all, dinner was OK, but nothing to write home about. At the prices, I don't think that I would go back to Morimoto, but it was nice to try. All said and done, $212.96, plus tip. Craig did a great job, so I felt he was compensated very well, and give him big kudos for our service. Great job Craig! Cheers

2005 Row Eleven Pinot Noir

We ordered this bottle tonight at Morimoto New York as we celebrated Zelda's birthday, and wow, what a pleasant surprise it was!
This wine is very dark in the glass, but not surprising at it is made from grapes from Bien Nacido Vineyards in lovely Santa Barbara County. This area is making some of our favorite pinot, and we absolutely love this area and AVA. Clones included in this wine are from Dijon as well as Pommard.
Lots of black cherry, cherry cola, spice, and soil on the nose, and the dark fruits definitely shine through on the palate. The fruit in this wine is absolutely perfect, and very ripe! This is definitely a "new world," fruit forward pinot, and for us, that is a beautiful thing.
Very nice balance on the finish, that was pretty short, but very pleasant. Another 90 point pinot! Cheers!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Water Lily - Collingswood, NJ

We enjoyed dinner here with Zelda's parents tonight to celebrate Zelda's birthday. This is the new venture from owner Thomas Chen, who formerly owned the well know Lotus Oriental Restaurant in Marlton. The executive Chef is Fred Cherenfant, and the restaurant is BYOB friendly. A full review to come, but in the mean time, check them out at: 653 Haddon Avenue Collingswood, NJ 08108 Phone: (856)833-0098 Vegetable Spring Rolls $5 Served with a sweet chili sauce Chicken with Vegetables $17 Grilled chicken and vegetables in a Thai garlic basil sauce Jumbo Lump Crab Cake $23 Encrusted in macadamia nuts served with a creamy lime dressing Grilled French Cut Pork Chop $20 Topped w/ sliced mushroom in a classic red wine demi-glace Pad Thai Shrimp $16 Asian stir-fried noodle tossed in a tangy tamarind sauce and topped with shrimp and crushed peanuts More to come soon!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tobin James - James Gang HAS ARRIVED!

Tobin James has arrived! As I said in one of my previous posts, Tobin James is the creator of some very fun, yet very over the top wines. They aren't exactly easy to find in our area, but if you find them, pick one of up and check it out. I don't think that you will be disappointed in the least!
The "James Gang" Wine Club is a great opportunity to enjoy 16 of their wines over the course of a year. For $145 per shipment, plus shipping, you will receive a fall shipment, as well as a spring shipment of 8 of their wines, as well as a free gift. The spring 2008 shipment consisted of the following wines:
All in all, a great group of wines that I am very excited to try! I think out of all of them, I am really looking forward to the petite sirah, and the French Camp and Fat Boy zin's! I am sure they will all be big fruit forward fruit bombs, but that is a great thing.
For the money, you really cannot beat this club! The cost of replacement to place the exact same order for these wines would be close to $300, so can you really go wrong for $145?
This years free gift was a heavy, wrough iron napkin holder in the shape of the Tobin James logo. Is it a purplish-blue color, and it will be perfect to keep napkins on the patio table as Raphael stated!
For more information on the club, check out:
James Gang Benefits:
No membership fee, Incredible discounts on James Gang shipments, 15% discount on all wine purchases, 20% discount on a case or more wine purchases, Invitations to special events, 10% discount on logo merchandise, Our newsletter with each shipment.
Each member will receive:
Eight bottles of wine, shipped Spring & Fall, Special GIFT in each shipment!! The cost of each shipment will be $145, which includes shipping and handling in California. Each shipment will be conveniently charged to your credit card. Membership is at no cost and can be cancelled with a 30 days written notice before the next shipment.
Check it out, you won't regret it! Cheers!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Cafe Galleria - Lambertville, NJ

It was an overcast Sunday for lunch at Cafe Galleria in Lambertville, but that didn't stop us. After walking around looking for somewhere new to try, we came to find that most of the restaurants we were interested in trying were closed today. That being said, why not head back to Cafe Galleria? It's a great place that we have visited for dinner, and lunch was no let down. If you've never been to Cafe Galleria, it is a very small, and very cozy place. They have 7 tables in the restaurant, and that is it. Regardless of their size, their food is great, and it's always a pleasure to enjoy a meal there. Lunch was no different. Today, Zelda wanted to try their vodka sauce, so she ordered the semolina pasta with vodka sauce. What a great color it came out, with amazing flavor. For a lunch sized portion, it was perfect. I opted for the chicken alfredo today, and it too was great. The pasta was outstanding, and the sauce was magnificient. Nice and creamy, with some small red onion, and the pasta was cooked just how I liked it. All in all, a great lunch for both of us, and can you really beat it at around $20 with 2 Cokes? Not in Lambertville. Again, a great place, with great quality food! Thumbs up! 18 South Main Street Lambertville, NJ Phone: 609-397-2400 E-mail: Website:

Friday, April 4, 2008

Oliver - A Bistro Bordentown, NJ

Another great dinner at Oliver-A Bistro on a Friday night in Bordentown! We absolutely love this restaurant, and the owners, Matt and Danielle have done such a great job since they bought it 2 years ago. Matt serves as the extremely talented executive chef, while Danielle runs the front of house and the catering side of the business. Kudos to them both for transforming Oliver from the hot lunch only spot, to the now lunch and dinner hot spot in town!
Bruce had a well deserved night off tonight, but the service was still great without him. Everyone here is so nice, and the food is just so damn good! Tons of great specials tonight, ranging from steaks, to seafood, to lamb chops, but when it came down to it, Zelda had her usual staple, the Risotto with Sweet Pea and Parmesan, which is usually an $8 appetizer, that she transforms in a dinner size portion at $16, and I ordered the Pacific Mahi with Artichoke, Red Bliss Potato and Sweet Carrot Barigoule and an English Pea Emulsion at $18.95.
As always, Zelda's risotto was cooked to perfecton, with beautifully colored peas, and freshly shaved parm on top. This is such a great dish, and a perfect dish for the spring with great fresh ingredients. My mahi was a beautiful, fresh, and thick piece of fish that could not have been cooked any more perfect. The side consisted of potatos and carrots that were very tasty, and the English pea emulsion had great flavor...this coming from a non pea lover. To top it all of, pea sprouts covered the fish, which was a gorgeous touch, and added very nice, delicate flavors.
All in all, another awesome meal at Oliver, and we enjoyed a great Emeritus pinot. Be sure to check out the review for that as well!
Be sure to check Oliver out online at:

2005 Emeritus Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate Bottled, Sonoma Coast William Wesley

We haven't re-visited this bottle since last summer, but we were in for a real treat tonight! This wine was purchased on release from Emeritus, after getting an invitation from Brice Cutrer to join the mailing list as a charter member. Needless to say, I am glad that we did!
The 2005 William Wesley was made available only to mailing list members, and not made available to retailers. We were allocated 12, but unfortunately only purchased 6 of 12.
Tonight we brought this to Oliver-A Bistro, and it was popped and poured. The color in the glass was amazing...almost like a raspberry in the glass....absolutely gorgeous! The nose showed to be much more fruity on the nose than floral. Hints of cherry, were predominant. On the palate, tons of candied cherry, raspberry, plum, and strawberry were very dominant. This is a very fruit forward pinot, and as Zelda said, it is more fruity than right, and I think she has a better nose than me...
Lots of cherry and strawberry on the palate, and this wine was not at all tannic. It continued to open as the bottle was open, and turned out to be another stellar bottle, very similar to the first one we had last year, but more balanced I think. Will try another one next summer!
All said and done, a wonderful pinot worthy of 94 points!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

RELEASE ALERT - 2005 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Materium

Received the mailer today for the 2005 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Materium. This is the 2nd release from Chris, and I am sure it is going to be stellar, and worthy of aging for some years to come!

From the website:

100% Cabernet Sauvignon
614 cases produced
75% new French oak14.8% alc.

A review of last years release can be seen here:
2004 Materium Robert Parker Review

SECOND RELEASE of Maybach Materium, from a single block of the Weitz Vineyard, which sits at 1000 feet elevation on the eastern hillside of Oakville, a bonded growing area unique in all the world. The vines here struggle to grow among boulders and stones and in shallow soil, giving deep concentration to the fruit.

If you want high end cabs ($110 per release price)that you can cellar for years to come and enjoy down the road, then these are the ones to buy. You have officially found what you are looking for. That being said, sign up for their mailing list now at: This is a must buy, and we were allocated 3 bottles.

More information available at:
Maybach Family Vineyards
P.O. Box 31
Oakville, CA 94562


Delorenzo's Tomato Pies - Route 33 Robbinsville

Ended up here tonight on a whim after we went to hit a bucket of balls in Hamilton. Unfortunately we didn't think of bringing any wine tonight, but Delo's does serve a mean birch beer!
We were very lucky to get seated right away tonight. Upon walking in, Sammy was on the customer side of the counter, and greeted us with a handshake.
You gotta absolutely love the antipasti here. If only the Hudson Street location offered it as well. It is great to keep you occupied as you sit and drool, waiting and watching others eat their pies. Great roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, another type of cheese, an Italian salami, olives, and sesame bread sticks. They give you so much food! It is perfect for 4 people!
The pie came, and was absolutely cooked to perfection. We ordered the usual, sweet peppers on the whole pie, with sausage on my half. The crust was perfect, but not as crunchy and crispy as Hudson Street. It also seemed to have a little more dough to it than Hudson Street. Maybe this is because of the water in Robbinsville...or maybe the are just making the crust a little different. Doubtful, but there has to be some kind of explanation. They also use bit more cheese than the original, but that is not a bad thing at all.
The ambiance is definitely nicer than Hudson Street, but I really do appreciate the Hudson Street location, and look past all of that. The biggest bonus today however was being able to wash my hands after going to the driving range. You just can't do that at the Hudson Street location.
In short, another killer pie from the best tomato pie family in New Jersey. Keep up the great work guys!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

2004 Bonny Doon Vineyard Big House Red

After having to run to Comcast to replace a cable box that friend, then having a "fast" dinner, this was the perfect thing for a nice relaxing night on the bistro to unwind with Zelda.
For $8.99, this is a good, affordable daily drinker, and it would also make a good guest wine for those who don't appreciate a nice bottle of wine. God knows we all have those friends, so why open a $30-$50 bottle so they can sit there and say it's alright.
Some red fruits on the nose: strawberry, raspberry, and maybe even cranberry. On the palate, more strawberry and cherry more than anything, with a nice , semi tart acidity. The finish was short and not complex, but what do you want for under $9? Overall, I gave this wine 85 points. Definitely nothing special, but it makes a good daily drinker with a great QPR. Would purchase again. And as always, don't let the screw top fool you! Cheers!