Table of Contents
Well, I have recovered from our filming of
Duck, Duck, Goose and have been engrossed in (re)formulating
the episodes for the first season of our proposed show.
So far, I have some twenty-five episodes
drawn up, and am going over all of what I need for each one.
It could range from anywhere as thirteen extras, to several
musicians and a singer, to a small trio of backup singers
(oh yes, I am getting creative this time around). I figure
that in addition to being a co-host, I'll bring to the table
my musical chops as well. Hell, I might even dance a little
bit on a few episodes.
And on the music side, I am learning the
whole business of obtaining synchronization, or mechanical,
licenses for using music and songs by others in our shows.
This will be a big pain, and hopefully it won't wind up
costing too much.
The other thing is actually factoring out
the production schedule and the budgets. With some
twenty-five episode ideas, we have to factor down to a
realistic shooting schedule which will allow us to shoot at
least three episodes a day, I doubt that we'll get four.
So, in a nutshell, that's what I have been
doing. Once I have this worked out, with the next phase,
we'll get to then trying to raise funds for this phase, then
go to serious preproduction, and probably shooting in July
and August, maybe even June if we raise all of what we need
before then. In the meantime, I am about ready to start
editing video and also add it to the website. In this, it
looks like it's time that I breakdown and get a Macintosh
and start doing some work on it.
Along the world of wine, there have been
some disappointments. The first is that I will not be making
it to Vini Italy 2010, which means that I need to look at it
for 2011. The second is that a couple bottles of wine that
I was really expecting to be spectacular turned out to be
duds (you'll read about the 7 Deadly Zins below).
But on the flipside, I did have both a great
time at a blind tasting of sommeliers and also saw Ledisi
and Mint Condition in concert. Of the former, it was the
first time that I saw her in concert and she rocked it. On
the latter, if you don't know, I am a Mint Condition fan,
even being in the front row with a couple other die-hard
fans of their DVD "Live at the 930 Club." And in music, you
might want to check out Dira, and new albums from both
Erykah Badu and Silhouette Brown.
Oh, and during the month of March I did a
couple tastings of Quady's Winery's Electra between four
different state stores in PA. I have been drinking Electra
for years, as well as some of their other wines, and have
introduced a number of people to it as well. Two years ago,
I got the chance to meet Laurel and Andrew, the husband and
wife owners up at the New York Chocolate Show. It is always
a pleasure in showcasing their products, and I can't wait to
finally taste everything that they produce, including their
Syrah and Viognier releases.
Friday had me meeting Kohtaroh Kinoshita,
the owner of Kitaya Company, Ltd., a producer of sake. They
make some fine sparkling sakes, of which I advised them to
produce a version with a higher alcohol content which will
make it a great seller. This was set up by Silvio Lelli,
the president of Nationwide Wine and Spirits. I intend to
have a bartender acquaintance mix some sake and wines to
come up with several different drinks which we'll unveil on
the site and hopefully it will be carried in several places
in the city. Looking forward, if you attend the sake
festival you might see Silvio's table with said bartender
mixing some sake & wine cocktails right on the spot.
Well, that's it, that's the 411 on
everything going on on this end. There might be another
tasting soon, and if so, I will let you know on it.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Yesterday, I had the great opportunity to
sit amongst a table of four sommeliers and participate in a
blind wine tasting with them. It was quite a learning
experience. Along the way, I made the analogy that I was a
little kid with the sixteen color box of crayons while they
each had the deluxe set with two hundred fifty six colors
and the sharpener in the middle.
saw the sheet that they were using to narrow down what type
of wine it was, the first thing that intimidated me was that
to truly be able to do this, one had to have tasted, if not
consumed, a significant amount of wines from different
regions as well as different grapes. Outside of
understanding the taste of certain grape varietals, there is
also the issue of being able to understand styles of wine
that deal with basic blends from various appellations,
tasting the different between oak and unoaked aging and
fermentation, and observations such as reading the physical
signs that a wine gives off to tell if it was produced in a
colder or warmer climate.
We started with
whites, where with the first bottle, I asked the question of
whether it was a blend, being that it reminded me of
something that I had with one blanc grape (meaning that
Blanc was in the grape's name); I was right on that part,
but that was all that I could deduce. The second wine threw
me, because I detected more of what I felt was oxidation,
rather than anything else. The last white reminded me of so
many things, but it turned out to be a combination of two
grapes, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion, with that latter
importing it's character to mute the former. The third
white reminded me on something, but in the back of my mind,
the first thing that I thought was I have not had enough of
this particular varietals, especially in various fashions to
be even able to make the call on it.
reds were probably as difficult, but more familiar to the
parties involved, and that's where I really understood the
value of trying more foods as well as more versions of wines
made from the same grape. There was one Cabernet Sauvignon
that was about ten years old and at that point, loses the
common fruit level that a young Cab is known for; just about
anyone used to drinking wines less than five years old
outside of certain meritages and dessert blends would have
easily been fooled.
While I felt highly
intimidated amongst this group, they were very forthcoming
with their knowledge and encouraging me to just talk about
the wines from my own experiences. This was one of those
experiences that many people fear and shies them away from
wine, and others try to fake based on reciting what they
read about in magazines such as Wine Spectator et al.
However, no one should be intimidated with wine, you like
what you like, and if you are truly into wine, you'll start
reaching out for more in-depth sampling of more than you'll
normally find on the shelves of one store.
There were some other interesting things that
were voiced, and one major one was that all of the wines
picked were more traditional in nature, with no occasional
exceptions thrown in to rattle, or fake, anyone there. An
example of this would be taking a wine from Italy that is
done with a different style than what is normal for that
appellation, or a wine from California where someone was
going for an Alsace rendering of Pinot Blanc.
One thing I saw was the similarity between
sommeliers and auto mechanics. Of the latter, after years
of experience with a number of vehicles, there is the
advanced knowledge from decades of having to understanding
schematics, both electrical and mechanical and understanding
the nuances of different setups. A good BMW mechanic can
tell you about every little design 'character' of any
particular year and model that the worked on. They could
tell you cheaper ways to increase horsepower, torque, fuel
mileage, etc. Some mechanics can tell you what a car has
under the hood based on simply hearing the engine at
different speeds. Additionally, someone could tell you
every potential configuration for a car given a certain
year; remember Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny?
Well, sommeliers are like that, and
after they get their certifications, just like mechanics, it
doesn't end there. It takes years of tasting wines to form
a great mental database of all of the nuances of a grape, of
a style, of a region, etc., to adequately be able to tell
certain things about a wine without knowing what it is.
Just like knowing which parts are likely to fail inc ertain
cars and when based on their manufacture, a sommelier might
taste the same bottle year after year to see what changes in
general and what specifically (for those that don't know,
wines usually change after so many years in the bottle,
sometimes becoming duller before brightening up
I myself never want to become a
sommelier, nor an auto mechanic, though I did once work in a
place rebuilding engines, starters and alternators; you
should have seen me then folks. I was happy as hell with my
air tools, my chain lift and hand-operated and electric
forklifts. I am equally happy with a variety of wine
openers, some bottles of wine, and good folks to share it
Thanks again to the round table:
Marnie Olds, Bill Eccleston, Geoff Butler, and the woman
whose name that I forget. They helped to refine an idea
that I want to use for some episodes of my television concept.
About as sinful as a newborn kitten
|Brand Name||Michael and David Phillips|
|Wine Name||7 Deadly Zins|
|Price||$10 - $20s|
|Site Rating||5 (on a scale of 1-10)|
Since I am on a Zinfandel kick as of late, I had great
anticipation towards drinking this wine. Unfortunately, it
tastes somewhere between wet leather and bacon, and this is
not a great taste for a wine. There is some fruit in it,
but you have to get paste the initial taste-stench to even
begin to pick it up.
|Wine Name||Oakville Cuvee Zinfandel|
|Price||$10 and Unders|
|Site Rating||7 (on a scale of 1-10)|
There are a lot of things that can be said about
Zinfandel, but it should be somewhat juicy and flavorful. I
can't say that I like this wine, as the smell and flavor
remind me of wet leather, though the underlying fruit is
dark plum, the tannins shake the taste from your mouth,
covering them up indelicately.
If you take your time to taste this wine, letting it sit
in your mouth for at least seven seconds, you do get an
undercurrent of currant and just the faintest bit of cocoa
As of now, I don't rate this wine high, but it might have
been interesting to see what it tasted like when first
released, and what it will taste like in another three years.
Fall in, but don't forget your safety net
|Brand Name||W & J Graham's|
|Wine Name||Six Grapes Reserve Porto|
|Wine Type||Italian White, Italian White, Italian White, Chenin Blanc, Italian White, Italian White|
|Price||$10 - $20s|
|Site Rating||10 (on a scale of 1-10)|
This is my paisan's go-to Port wine, and I must say that
I also like it (though I do love their older ports). This
wine is filled with a rich, succulent decadence that is the
utmost over-concentration of well-aged fruit (think raisins
and candied plums). The power of both the fruit and the
alcohol hit the back of your throat and slowly permeates the
back of your throat, yielding some sort of heavenly mist
that slowly creeps down into your gullet.
This is something that you sit down for, not take a shot
and walk around a bit. For those cigar lovers, this is
something that you might want to share when you chomp down
on a stogy.
Well, I can't wait until the next big wine tasting where
I can enjoy some of there more prestigious releases.
Great on waffles
|Wine Type||Chenin Blanc, Chenin Blanc|
|Price||$10 - $20s|
|Site Rating||9 (on a scale of 1-10)|
I have had Bual Madeira and I have had Malmsey Madeira
--my favorite is a 1964 Bual from Broadbent going for over
$650 a bottle-- but this was the first time that I have had
a mixture of both.
Another wine that Mr. Trabb introduced me to, this
ambrosial concoction reminds me of the walnuts and pecans in
the syrup that you find at any good ice cream shoppe.
However, this aint for kids! Lovely, in it's nature, thick
in body and with a kick, this is the best accompaniment to a
nightcap, either drank straight or poured over a dessert.
It would also be a morning after treat served over waffles
The bottle is hip and this would wow people if it was
stocked in a club.
Berry and chocolate from Portugal
|Wine Name||Vale do Bomfim|
|Wine Type||Italian White, Italian White, Italian White, Italian White|
|Price||$10 and Unders|
|Site Rating||9 (on a scale of 1-10)|
I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Arnold Trabb, the East
Coast Account Manager of Premium Port Wines, at the New York
Wine Expo in February. It was love at first site with his
wines, and we've probably met before at a couple of wine
tastings with me tasting some of his older ports and madeiras.
This time around, we met to get a chance for me to review
some of his wines, and see some of the things that most
people might not connect to their brands.
This wine not only had essence of dark berries and cocoa,
but also just a little bit of oak. This is a wonderful wine
that should not be consumed without food. Well priced, it's
something that you should try on your shelf.