Preparing for Zombies….or just life.

Laundry and freezer on left, new shelves on right, old shelves center

As part of our basement remodel that took place over the winter we also redid the laundry room. It wasn’t a total remodel just a wall where there wasn’t one before and some new storage.

We used to have shelves under the stairs that stored all the junk we never use, but I took those out. To shelve all exiled kitchen and pantry stuff I put up some BRODER shelves from IKEA. I had looked for something similar, but couldn’t find anything at a price I liked and then found them on the Ikea web site. Total cost was about $100 since I reused 1×12 boards that were part of the old shelves. After purging everything we haven’t used since we moved in the rest went on the new shelves. Now we can actually see what we have and get to it easily.

The metal shelves along the far wall came with our house and used to hold paint cans, old light fixtures, and other miscellaneous stuff in another part of the basement. Now they hold lots of food. The wood wine racks hold about 50 bottles and are pretty full now. Along the floor are 5 gallon buckets of grains (oats, rice, lentils, etc.) and milk crates of potatoes and squash from the garden (empty now). Notice all the Jars? They are mostly empty now, but canning season is almost here. We used to store empty jars in boxes, but I got tired of storing them. This year they are going back on the shelf empty. Then we fill them and put them back on the shelf. That way I don’t need to store them in two locations.

As you have probably figured out we buy a bit of bulk

Virtual Cellars

One of all the best parts of having an iPhone means you should have everything accessible at all times. I was looking at all the wine apps back in December and decided on Drync. They just came out with an update and it resolved a lot of the issues that I had with it.

The number one issue that I have with it is that all the data is stored online, that means that if you have an iPod Touch you have to have WiFi to see your cellar.

Number two is that if the software can't find the wine online you can't add it. There is now a way around that if you find something similar you can add it to your cellar and then change the name and info. So if there was a 2000 but you had a 2001 you can add the 2000 and then just change the year.

The biggest thing that the update fixed for me is being able to edit the information for a wine. If the search came up with no price you couldn't add it. Same with stuff like varietal and region.

Some nice features are that it will find reviews and you can also buy it online.

I picked it up for a dollar, but it's now up to $4. Still worth it though.

Spanish Reds – Friday October 7th 2005

Here is the wrap-up of the Wine-O’s Spanish Red adventure. We had a good turn out for such short notice. As is sometimes the case the more expensive wines are more interesting, but not as drinkable. We had a spectacular chocolate-orange cake to celebrate John Romond’s birthday. Below is the lineup and the group decided ratings.
Sight 0-4
Nose 0-6
Flavor 0-6
Overall 0-4
Total out of 20 possible points

Wine #1 Montecillo Gran Reserva 1996
Price: $24
Region: Rioja
Sight: 3 Copper edges, good color and clarity.
Nose: 4 Pepper, strawberry jam.
Flavor: 3.5 Cherry, light mouth feel, and tart apple.
Overall: 2.5 Low tannins and smoothness make this a easy to drink pleasant wine. .
Total: 13

Wine #2 Condado de Haza 2001
Price: $26
Region: Ribera Del Duero
Sight: 2 Consistent ruby color. Long thin legs.
Nose: 3 Pungent (manure) at first, mellowing after exposure. Giving way for anise and candied cherry.
Flavor: 4 Dry and rough that also mellowed after exposure.
Overall: 3 A wine that needs decanting, or shelf time.
Total: 12

Wine #3 Condesa de Leganza Crianza 1999
Price: $9
Region: La Mancha
Sight: 3 Purple berry color.
Nose: 3 Carmel. Small presence.
Flavor: 5 Warm feeling. Rich.
Overall: 3 Accessible; Typical Spanish Red.
Total: 14

Wine #4 Campos Reales Tempranillo 2003
Price: $9
Region: La Mancha
Sight: 3.5 Brilliant color.
Nose: 4 Microwave buttered popcorn. Sweet decay. Flinty.
Flavor: 4 Tannin, heavy fruit. Warm in front. Swampy or mushroomy.
Overall: 3.5 “stunt” wine, pleasing and complex without being too much so.
Total: 15

Wine #5 Torres Sangre de Toro 50 aniversario 2003
Region: Barcelona
Sight: 2 Blood color.
Nose: 3 Chile Pepper.
Flavor: 3 Mild mannered.
Overall: 2.5 Good cold weather wine.
Total: 10.5

Aussie recap

We had some great Australian wines, and here are the tasting notes we came up with (as compiled by Dan)Collected notes from the last tasting (Australian Reds and a surprise Australian Dessert Wine):

d' Arenburg Winery/ “The Footbolt” Shiraz/ McLaren Vale (Barossa Valley)/ 2001
-A nice dark cranberry red hue offering Ink, Tar, Damp Earth and Alcohol on the nose with some green herbs. This wine opened with some damp greeness of moss or fern that gave way to damp dark earth and Morels seasoned with a peppery kick. A bit of firm tannins. The berry fruit hangs out in the background. A big tasty wine.
16.5 points

Penfolds Winery/ “Bin 138″/ Grenache, Shiraz, Mouvedre Blend (G,S,M) / Barossa Valley/ 2002
-Intense dark red. The nose is cherry and red fruit with some green. Fruity with a sharp acidity and medium body. Medium loose tannins and slightly sour. Nice but not very exciting.
12 points

Kaesler/ “Stonehorse”/ G,S,M Blend/ Barossa Valley/ 2003
-Great nose with cedar, cassis and yeast dough. A very good full flavor showing blackberry, black cherry and currant against nice dark earth and black pepper. Fruit and earth with some spice- Yum.
15 points

Peter Lehman/ “The Barossa”/ Shiraz/ Barossa Valley/ 2001
-Earth and cedar came through in the subtle nose of this Shiraz. Black fruits and dark earth. This one is more delicate than “The Footbolt” but offered a really well structured complex wine.
17 points

d'Arenburg Winery/ “The Dead Arm”/ Shiraz/ Barossa/ 2002
-Whoa! Black-red and opaque. Awesome nose. This tight, complex, intense wine slowly unraveled to show off deep berries, cocoa, ink, tar, leather, cherry, prune, cranberry… Gorgeous wine. Smooth, rich balanced and complex. Quite a treat that delivered on its $75 price tag.
19.5 points

Joseph Winery/ “La Magia”/ Botrytis Riesling and Traminer Blend/ ?/ 2002
– A great example of a Botrytis wine at a great price. This unctuous dessert wine had a great honey and spice nose with a nice sharpness from the Botrytis. The wine is like liquid gold with intense honey offset by tart apple flavors. Also on the palette were golden raisin and a sweet spice blend. Spectacular stuff to serve with dessert or as dessert.
Not Rated (personally I give it a 17+)


This Friday the Wine-O's are doing Italian wines. Should be lots of fun.A recap of our last wine tasting follows at the end. Next Saturday at 7:oopm we'll be exploring the reds of Italy which, to say the least, i a daunting task. Italy grows some 2000 grape varieties for wine-making and the wines are sometimes named after a region (like France), the grape (Like the US and S. America) or both or even by the method in which its made! Whereas every wine-growing country has its quirks Italy is quirks. So I've listed some possibilities below as well as tried to give just a bit bit of information on each. As always I recommend getting to know a good wine monger who can help you pick out something.
If you can find someone who knows their wines and get to know your taste it will be much harder to pick mediocre wine. Also (warning:
shameless plug coming) there are a few good italians at Everyday Wine in Kerrytown and if we don't have what you want we can probably get something for you. In general expect to pay $20+ but there are some bargains out there.

Barbaresco- From the Piedmont in the far North-West and little brother to Barolo
Barolo- Also from Piedmont its the “King of Wines”. Typically awesome, the name refers to the region and is made from the same grape as Barbaresco.
Barbera d' Alba (or Asti)- Also Piedmont, Barbera is the grape and Asti and Alba the regions. Usually Alba is better but not always.
Valpolicella- A blend from Veneto in the North-East this wine is made with a very unique method.
Chianti- Most well know Italian wine from around Tuscany. Primarily one grape.
Brunello di Montalcino- Also from the Tuscany area.
“Super Tuscans”- A blend of certain grapes from the Chianti region. They cannot be called Chianti since they are not the right grapes
according to law. Can quite good.
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo- Grape from Abruzzo in central-Eastern Italy.

So that's just a small sampling to get you started. Please e-mail me or everyone as soon as you know what you're getting so we can avoid overlap.

The tasting will be at Kelli Konkle's in Chelsea. Directions will be sent out later this week.

Wine Tonight

Tonight is the second Wine-O night. This round is Aussie Reds. It's going to be a great line up, so far we have two d'Arenberg Shiraz (Footbolt and The Dead Arm) and The Barossa Shiraz from Peter Lehman.

Click out more info to find out about Wine-O'sThis is the original Wine-o email:

“In Europe we thought of wine as something as healthy and normal as food
and also a great giver of happiness and well being and delight. Drinking
wine was not a snobbism nor a sign of sophistication nor a cult; it was as
natural as eating and to me as necessary.”

–A Moveable Feast
Ernest Hemmingway

So I've talked to a bunch of you about a “Wine Club” of sorts and am finally getting around to doing something about it. Wine is such a great thing to drink, but such a mysticism has been built up around it that buying a bottle can trigger a nervous breakdown, and bringing a bottle to a friends house is more likely an occasion for feeling embarressed than a generous gift. The greatest lesson I learned working at the wine shop wasn't which region makes the best wines (there isn't one), which grape makes the best wine (all of them), or even the best way to drink wine (with friends of course). It is that the only way to truly know if a wine is any good is to drink it.

So I propose this:

-Getting together every other month or so to taste wine and talk about it – totally casual, I'm sure there will be as much BS-ing as real tasting.

-Picking a category so that we can compare related wines.

-Every 2 people bring a bottle of wine that fits the category.

-Everyone has to learn a little something about the wine they bring so that we can all learn about it. Kinda like show-and-tell with al-ke-hall.

-I'm guessing that typically we'll be looking at wines that could cost a bit, but you get to split the price with a friend and you get to try a bunch of wines at that price- So, if 12 people come with 6 bottles of wine at $40/ bottle you've spent $20 to try $240 worth of wine!

So, how about at my place Friday November 19 at 8pm?

I think we should start off with the home turf- so how about California single grape red wines from a particular vineyard, county or district. If the bottle just says “California” or “Central Coast” or something like that then its not quite specific enough. If it says something like “Sonoma County”, “Santa Ynez Valley”, “Stag's Leap District”, “Simpson Vineyard” you're on the right track. The more specific generally the better. As for the grape look for Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, Petit Syrah, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sangiovese, et cetera. I think $20-$30+ is probably a good target, but feel free to go higher or lower if you think you've found
something special. And any good wine-monger can help you get the right thing.

E-mail me if you're interested and planning on coming, then “reply all” to the group which grape you get so that we don't end up with six bottles of Zin or something like that, variety will be the key to this tasting. Also e-mail me if you need a partner to buy your wine with, I'll get you hooked up with someone.


PS Good shops in town- Bella Vino on Plymouth, Village Corner on South University, Big Ten Party Store on Parker, Coleman's on Liberty near Stadium, Baxter's on Zeeb at I-94 and a bunch of others.

PPS I've already got a Zinfandel I'd like to share so, um… maybe don't pick that.