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My Father’s Day Card

My Father’s Day card is just too precious not to share.

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I Buy Good Wine at a Discount Liquor Store

August 24, 2012 2 comments

The Sign Along Route 50

I have been visiting the beaches of Ocean City, Maryland since I was a little boy.  This has involved driving along Route 50 through the city of Easton.  I can recall always driving past Wishing Well Liquors but for the last several years I have been intrigued by their sign advertising the “Area’s Only Wine Cellar.”  Last year I featured a pair of posts about purchasing and drinking wine in Ocean City.  Having read a comment by Justin Bonner on Wine Berserkers about purchasing a bottle of wine from The Wishing Well Liquors, I just knew I had to stop by on our recent beach trip.  When my mom and I walked into the store we knew we were in for a treat.

Discount Liquor!

Wishing Well Liquors has been around since 1957.  Four and a half years ago it changed owners for the third time when it was purchased by Dave Douglas.  Wine was not part of the original strengths of the store so when Dave Douglas decided to cultivate a wine selection he brought on Philip Bernot.  Philip Bernot has been in the wine industry for decades.  Today he still recalls being a teenager working in his father’s San Diego store where he squirreled away bottles of 1968 Sebastiani, Pinot Noir, Limited Cask and 1969 Inglenook, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  Together Dave and Philip designed an above-ground wine cellar expansion for the store, the layout, and custom racking.

The Last Place You Would Expect to Find a Wine Cellar, Image from Wishing Well Liquor

When you walk into the store you immediately pick up on the vintage look with the classic, sweet smell that takes a liquor store decades to acquire.  The front-center of the store features a check-out area stocked with smaller bottles of liquor.  The walls and shelves are filled with an extensive selection of budget and high-quality liquors, along with a selection of more affordable wines.  There is also a walk-in beer chiller filled with micro-brews.  As you continue to the back of the old store you will come to the new wine cellar room.  The blond wine-racks and spot-lighting put on a good vibe but once you focus in on the labels being stock you will be surprised.

Inside the Wine Cellar Room

Philip picks wines primarily based on taste so it is not surprising that his first recommendation was the 2007 Chelti Estate Vineyards, Chelti from Georgia.  You may check out my previous review of this wine here.  Take the time to browse through the store but make sure you ask Philip for some recommendations for he has immense enthusiasm.  This results in a diverse array of international selections at all price points.  On the day we visited he was pouring 2009 Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tierra de Castilla to taste.  I now know I shall always stop by Wishing Well Liquors on my way to the beach and highly recommend that you do as well.

Some Wine for Tasting

Here are the wines which we walked away with.  And yes, we bought liquor too.  After all the 75th running of the International Gold Cup is quickly approaching.

  • 2011 A.A. Badenhorst, Secateurs, Chenin Blanc, Swartland
  • 2010 Patrick Piuze, Val de Mer Chablis
  • 2011 La Grange Tiphaine, Ad Libitum, Touraine Amboise
  • 2009 Clos Sigeuier, Cahors
  • George Dickel, No 12, Tennessee Whiskey

The Jolly Roger Wine List

March 14, 2012 2 comments

A group of us were at The Collins Pub in Pioneer Square, Seattle last night for some pre-dinner pints.  After drinking the Boundary Bay IPA and the Russian River Brewery, Pliny the Elder I took a walk around.  To my surprise I found pages from The Jolly Roger menu.

The Jolly Roger, 1935, Image from Shoreline Historical Museum, Under a Creative Commons License

There is a rumor that the Jolly Roger operated in Lake City Way during prohibition.  Apparently people would stand watch in the tower for any police activity and if needed alert the patrons.  They could then leave through an underground tower.  According to Paul Dorpat of The Seattle Times, it did not even exist during Prohibition.  The plans for the building were presented by the architect on Dec. 15, 1933, a week and a half after the repeal of Prohibition.  Originally operating as the Chinese Castle it became The Jolly Roger when the original license was revoked after two years.  In 1979 it was designed a Historic Seattle Landmark and eventually burned down in 1989.  If you poke around the web you can find Jolly Roger menus for sale from several different decades.

The Jolly Roger Menu

The prices on the wine list are interesting.  The cheapest wine listed is the Claret for $1.25 per bottle with the most expensive being the “Imported Burgundy Macon Brand” for $3.50 per bottle.  Particularly interesting are the bottle and glass prices.  A $2 bottle of wine could also by had by the glass for $0.15.  So either the bottles were big or the glasses were small!

Closeup of The Jolly Roger Wine List

Pictures of Thymiopoulos Vineyards

March 9, 2012 1 comment

Mount Vermio, Image from Athenee Importers

Andrea Englisis oversees Athenee Importers and was kind enough to provide images of Thymiopoulos Vineyards.  However, I became quite excited to find she called Apostolos Thymiopoulos to answer a few of my questions.  Many thanks to both Andrea and Apostolos for allowing me to enrich the content of my blog.

The Winery, Image from Athenee Importers

The wine region of Naoussa has been producing wine for some time and has been mentioned by foreign travelers in 19th century manuscripts.  Exports expanded during the beginning of the 20th century but the vineyards were devastated by the phylloxera.  In the 1960s the vineyards were replanted with success and money was invested in modern technology. The 1970s and 1980s saw the implementation of wine laws in preparation for joining the European Union.  These laws were based on French wine laws.  During this time French trained agronomists and oenologists returned to Greece and there was a continued influx of new money.

Xinomavro Vineyard, Image from Athenee Importers

The vineyards of Naoussa are located in the south-eastern slopes of Mount Vermio.  The winters are cold and there is plenty of rain in the summer.  Naoussa receives enough rain that irrigation is only used when the young vines require it or during exceptional years.

Old Xinomavro Vineyard, Image from Athenee Importers

Thymiopoulos Vineyards tends the vineyards and produces wines in a biodynamic fashion.

A Xinomavro Vine, Image from Athenee Importers

Apostolos sourced his fruit from his two vineyards.  The Trilofos vineyard located at 180-230 meters and Fytia vineyard located at 230-500 meters.  For the Young Vines 70% of the fruit is sourced from the Trilofos and 30% from the Fytia vineyards.  The “higher altitude vineyards yield fruit with higher acidity, are later ripening and greater fruit concentration.”  Apostolos ages his wines in 500 liter Austrian and French barrels.

Pictures from Domaine Chaume-Arnaud

February 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Valerie Chaume−Arnaud was kind enough two send me two pictures. Please enjoy!

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Two Old Journal Entries from 1993

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment

In cleaning out a room in our basement, that was to become a wine room but became a wine & everything-else room, I came across two of my journals from the 1990s.    I have only found two entries related to wine from my Bristol days outside of the tasting notes I wrote at the official Bristol Wine Circle tastings .  Here is the first entry.

5 January 1993

At the Museum, Musee-Galerie de la Sieta.  There is a wine shop run by a middle-aged woman with horrible teeth (dark, crooked) a 1978 Pommard for FF 170.  Nicolas is a chain store that stocks a fair array of wines.

N.B. Buy the Bordeaux book and a vintage chart.

Upon return to Bristol I did purchase David Peppercorn’s “Bordeaux” for 15 Pounds Sterling from Georges.  A bit more interesting are my tasting notes from one of our wine dinners.  You may find this second entry here:

A Wine Dinner at Bristol, 30 April 1993

Pictures from Bodega Mustiguillo

November 5, 2011 Leave a comment

 

Bodega Mustiguillo

Fernando Crespo of Bodega Mustiguillo kindly sent me pictures of the vineyard and winery related to the Bobal for the making of Quincha Corral.  The Bodega is located near Valencia on a plateau at 700 meters.

Bobal Vines

Harvesting Bobal

Harvested Bobal in 12-Kg Boxes

After harvesting the grapes are re-sorted.

Re-sorting Grapes

Winemaker Toni Sarrión makes the wine in open-top oak barrels and cement tanks

Depositing Grapes into Cement

Grapes in Oak Barrel

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