Here’s my post, if it could run during the upcoming Finals, that would be pretty awesome.
After family, friends, and career, I would venture to guess that two of the most important things in my life are wine and the Lakers. I’m not sure if this sound pathetic, but it is true.
I first became a fan of the Lakers in 1971-72, during that incredible 69-13 season, which included that historic 33-game winning streak. Watching Jerry, Wilt, Gail and the rest of the team during that championship season got me hooked.
Now I am not a fair-weather fan. Some people think that the Lakers have always been good. And, overall, they have been a very successful organization. But, they have had their trying times in between the great teams of Wilt and Jerry, Kareem and Magic, Shaq and Kobe, and now Kobe and Pau. I remember some pretty poor teams — teams that didn’t make the playoffs, or if they did, were eliminated early.
But through it all, I followed the Lakers, often listening to Chick’s “word’s-eye view” on the radio, as these were the days before home games being shown on cable. Actually, these were the days before cable.
In the mid-80s, I discovered wine. A lot of trials and tribulations there too, as I struggled to learn as much as I could about this incredible — what, beverage? Yes, but much more, at least to me. Finally, I was just able to enjoy what I liked and not worry too much about the details.
I was going to try to tie these two things together, my Lakers and my wine, talk about how when a great team plays together it resembles the components of a great wine coming together, but that would be kind of a stretch, don’t you think? But, what they do have in common is the enjoyment I get from them, and I think that’s what matters.
Which is why you’ll often find my wife and me at our favorite table at All Corked Up, watching the game and drinking [and sharing] our wine, especially this time of year.
Lets look at a few examples of alcohol levels. French and Italian wines. Most French and Italian wines (old world) are in the 12% range. Italian Wines are noted for being served with foods. Present wines from the New World (US, Australia, etc), it is hard trying to find wines that are less than 14%.
What is the affect on the cellar life of wines (low verses high acidity). This is another topic that could be reviewed.
Here is a list that I found that summarizes the effects that PH levels have on wine quality. When looking at this table, remember that a PH of 1 is the most acidic, 7 is neutral and 14 is the most basic.
According to this, wines that have more acid are preserved and protected better over time. The length of time is not defined, so I would interpret the time element to mean from bottling to consumption. Whether that is 2 weeks or 30 years. In Chablis France, during low sugar years, they are allowed to add sugar to the grape juice (chaptalization). The addition of sugar in winemaking is not allowed in California. However, the addition of tartaric acid (and others acids) is allowed to increase the acidity of the wine.
In summary, we need acids for a couple of reasons. And as a note, we are talking about tartaric and malic acids (good acids) and not acetic acid (bad acids). As we have seen, acids are needed to preserve and provide a wine with good color, no oxidation, etc. Acids are also required to provide crisp fresh taste when we taste a wine. Probably most noticeable in certain whites such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis and some Chardonnays. It is also important when eating fatty foods to cut thoroughly the fat and cleanse the palate before the next bite. Doesn’t Spaghetti and meatballs with a fine Italian Barolo or Brunello di Montalcino (one of my favorites) sound good?
Aren’t they lovely? Not looking “three sheets to the wind” at all. (a phrase my Minnesota-raised spouse uses for drunks – that I would appreciate a comment on this blog as to where in the heck that comes from…?)
For me, attending the SCV Wine Classic was a wonderful experience. Starting with the library wine tables – where at any other wine event you either 1. didn’t get or 2. you paid per taste for. I still don’t know how wine chair, Jeff Jacobson, gets his countless friends, with the best cellars, to pour.
Steve Elzer, Rober Schwartz, Priscilla and Warren Faubel, Roman Weiser, Chris and Jeannie Carpenter and Les Hershberger must have to keep their addresses a secret. How else would they be able to keep their Spotswood, William Selym, Sea Smoke, Martinelli, 86 and 87 Joseph Phelps Cabs, 2001 Bryant (only 200 cases made), and too many to count and list Bordeaux to themselves for long?
Too busy tasting to write down everything, Chris Carpenter was going to save me empty bottles from the library tables for reference.
In between the library wines I sampled some of the food, but to be honest, never ate enough as there was too much to see/drink.
I met lots of readers and was hugged to death! Ones I didn’t already list on the post below this one include John Kelley, formerly with Raven Oaks, and his friend Dawn Colebank, Laura from Yelp, Victor Abascal from Vines on the Marycrest, Nate Hasper from Pulchella (gave me the best hug encompassing my neck, waist, head and all parts in-between), John Whitman from Old Creek Ranch Winery, Craig Butler from B & P Winery, Michael Cobb from Sorth This Out Cellars and Nick Morello now pouring for new Terravant Wine Company.
My husband bought me the wine necklace that Cathy Craig was selling at the Silkwood table when my friend Diane waved it at me. I missed the entire auction and most of the food…
Next year? I will do it all the same way! But next year I will find Michael P. and YOU!
New! From Correspondent Michael
When I go to an event like this, I go with no expectations other than to have fun. For me at least, this is not really the time and place to evaluate the attributes of what I am drinking. If I happen to come across something earth-shattering, that is just a bonus.
I also rarely go to the library tables. I prefer younger wines, and Zins, Syrahs and the like that rarely show up with the rare Cabs and Bordeaux. Besides, the library tables tend to be the most crowded.
Instead, I usually just meander around, stopping by various tables as the action there lulls.
I had nice visits with the people from Vines On The Marycrest as wells as Midlife Crisis, two Paso wineries I’ve enjoyed for some time.
And I shared the enthusiasm of the owners of Laraneta Vineyards, also of Paso, pouring their very first release at the Classic.
I tried Silkwood Wines of Modesto for the first time and really enjoyed their wines, especially their Petite Sirah.
And it was great to visit with Jay and David of All Corked Up and taste the terrific wines they brought to the event.
There were other wonderful wines as well, but it starts to get a little blurry, except…
Pulchella — I’ve been wanting to try their wines for some time. And they did not disappoint. Both Zins they were pouring were outstanding, although the winemaker and I disagreed on which was “better”. But, now I have to decide — the last thing I need is to be in another wine club. But, they are local and supporting a local business is a good thing, right? Decisions, decisions….
And now I must thank Jay of All Corked Up for encouraging me to go over to the library tables. As I walked up to where Steven Elzer was pouring, I saw a bottle of Scholium Project on his table. I’ve been wanting to try something from this producer for a long time. Abe Schoener is somewhat controversial and is known for making challenging wines. Steven was pouring the 2004 Scholium Project Syrah. Wow! Outstanding! The word that came to mind for me was “muscular”.
Steven and I talked some more [what a great guy!] and the subject of my fondness for Zinfandel came up, so he poured for me the 1996 [I think that was the year] Turley Moore “Earthquake” Vineyard. Excellent! I thanked him for that. I told Steven that I have been a fan of Turley for several years but regretted that I got on their allocation list too late to ever get one of their releases from the Aida Vineyard. Well, what do you know? He popped open a bottle of that! Another goal achieved. Thank you Steven Elzer!
The food at the Classic was excellent as well, although I am a little hazy on specifics as my wife kept me supplied with food as I endeavored to keep our wine glasses full. The ones that stand out in my mind are: Persia Restaurant, Stonefire Grill, Macaroni Grill, Bristol Farms, Whole Foods, RSVP Catering Company, and COC’s Culinary Arts Program.
All in all, we had a blast.
Now, back to making that wine club decision…
So, back to reality. Nothing to wear of course. Hair will not cooperate and I haven’t even tried yet. Manicure? Pedicure? Why-a-cure? I yam what I yam. In the immortal words of Sponge Bob to that snail that professes to take over the world, “Well…good luck with that.”
So, tonight we have the Classic wine shindig of the year, where I’m bound to run into dozens of fellow wine aficionados and 101ers…and I’m freaking out a little.
Will I knock over my wine-filled glass like I did at Vine 2 Wine a couple of years ago? Not because I was snockered but because I’m a klutz? (And bringing my klutzy second-time-he-broke-the-same-shoulder husband?)
Will I forget someone’s name, misquote a wine rep, pour/spit out too much in comparison to non-wine-writing guests? Yep times three.
This is the deal. In sprinting to the library table I may miss the wines from…China. In my quest to find my fave Lima Limon food I may miss…some ice cream. While I try and flag down Marlee with my paper cocktail napkin I may miss…or splatter…you.
So please, flag me down. Tell me your name slowly and clearly, wait for me to retrieve my pad and pen, and hold my friggin’ wine glass for just a minute while I work my craft. Save your really good quotes until you find me.
And the full story? You know, the one that lists all of the volunteers, wines, food and what I might get at the auction? In the West Ranch Beacon blog next Friday! In the meantime I’m at least now hoping for a reserve Sterling Cab to go with the outstanding photos on your left that Chris C. just sent in! Just the thing to calm my un-wined-frayed nerves.
As part of our annual campaign, our “tribe” is holding a fundraiser in the form of a wine tasting event. Money raised from this event will be donated to our local YMCA, 100% of the money donated stays in our valley. Space is limited; if you want to attend, please act fast. To ensure we have an accurate head count; you will have to register and prepay for the event. You can do this by sending me a check (made payable to cash or YMCA) or you can pay via credit card. Just let me know and I will help you get registered.
The event will be a good time, and make for a nice evening out. Along with the wine, we will be serving light appetizers. If you know nothing about wine, this will be a great opportunity to learn. I will be acting as our sommelier for the event, and will be there to pour and answer questions anyone has. We are planning on pouring some awesome wines from all over the world. It will be a fun night to relax!
Let me know if you have any questions, hope you can attend!
My wine epiphany came in 1994. I came from a very poor background and wine or good food was never in the picture. Perhaps my grandmother would open a cheap sweet German Liebframilch. Blech! That was all we knew. One day I just woke up thinking I needed to educate myself about wine. I had my first job, a bit of money, I was looking for a house, had purchased my first new car, and so on…..I had educated myself on music, literature, some fine arts, and this seemed like the next step.
When I moved to the U.S. I actually stopped drinking wine for five years. In the UK there are lots of good guides in book form, and the papers and reviewers point you in the right direction. And then the good stores would have regular tastings so it was easy to keep abreast. The US was totally different.
My return to wine, and my current passion, began at a food show which featured a Riedel seminar. I was skeptical but my ex dragged me along. I was like Paul on the road to Damascus. I realized glassware made all the difference! And a light went off.
So, to digress for those of you that thought you hit a porn or drug site. I met Lori F. on Facebook the day I joined. A wino living in Ventura County but raised in Santa Clarita, she sent a bazillion people invites to join my wine 101 club.
That was a few months ago. Then she sent me a message, again via Facebook, regarding her husband helping a restaurant friend liquidate some of his wine. (Look a couple of posts down on this blog to see his offerings.)
I got right on that. (Surprise? No!) I wanted the Opus One (And still will accept as a gift) but was only able to convince the hubby that we could accommodate, at the very least, the 6 bottles of 1999 Mondavi Reserve Cab.
Okay, back to the parking lot. Mike picked me up from the street, while juggling my wooden wine crate on his lap, and then drove me to my car parked in the sheltered/covered mall garage.
Transporting the Mondavi stenciled crate from Mike’s car to mine, he then counted his twenties. Mike then pulled up a couple of nails, and displayed my drugs/wine. Nestled in tissue they sat…for a minute…until I tore through one to confirm my prize.
Quick good bye to Mike (feeling guilty as he had an Open The Bottle Night story to tell—see photo further down and on the left of this page) I simply couldn’t concentrate.
Raced home. Put torn tissue on counter. Put one bottle in fridge for 20 minutes. Now…finally…and exhale. I can’t believe that I bought wine in a parking garage that tastes like friggin’ heaven.
The wine: 14.1% alcohol has definitely developed into a big Cab. Balanced, complex flavors, long finish. Paired with my computer and husband. Perfect. And 5 more for the cellar until 2014 max.
So…what have you bought in a parking lot lately?