Archive for January, 2010

Welcome “Florida” Jim Cowan!

Photo by Chris Witkowski. Click image to enlarge.

It’s no exaggeration to describe “Florida” Jim Cowan as one of the most respected and admired commentators in the online wine community.  A true gentleman, Jim is the consummate voice of reason, with a common sense view of all things wine-related that resonates strongly with his many friends and readers.  Most of us in Gang of Pour go back a number of years with “Florida” Jim, having met up with him all over the country to share good food, wine and friendship, and several of those events have been documented in our pages, going all the way back to the second “Bacchus tour.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Florida Jim Cowan’s 2009 Tasting Notes Archive

All notes, except as otherwise noted, were from bottles that were opened and drunk with a meal over an extended period.  The 2009 archive is divided into the following categories:  Bubbles, Red, White and Rosé
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Wine with Pizza

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It started a few weeks ago with some twittering back and forth between our friends Master Sommelier Claudia Tyagi and Western Market Wine Manager Jarred Gild about Beaujolais, and in particular, one of our favorites from that oft-maligned appellation. We were privy to said twitters, one thing led to another and it was decided that the wine in question would be tasted at Gang Central, along with a few others in support and a variety of Kim’s killer homemade pizzas. Also in attendance were Jarred’s friend Dawn Astrop and Roastmaster aka James Cadariu. After we started things off with a glass of our house bubbly, Mionetto Brut Prosecco, we turned our attention to a wine that James brought back from a recent visit to Romania. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tasting Chateau de la Font du Loup Chateauneuf du Pape

AHD principal, Richard Delsener and Anne Charlotte Melia-Bachas. Click to enlarge

Our friends at AHD Vintners invited us to a wine luncheon held at the Forest Grill in Birmingham this Monday past, to present the wines of one of the producers in their portfolio, Chateau de la Font du Loup Chateauneuf du Pape.  On hand to talk about the wines was Anne Charlotte Melia-Bachas, who, along with her husband Laurent, owns and operates the Chateau.   “Font du Loup” means “Fountain of the Wolves,” a reference to the local legend that tells of the wolves of Mont Ventoux stopping to drink at the spring located on the property while making their way down to the Provencal plains. Read the rest of this entry »

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Blind Tasting with the Brownbag Irregulars

The Brownbag Irregulars gathered for their inaugural meeting last Thursday to blind taste and consider a dozen wine selections from around the world. Tasters were all “in the biz,” and the event was held in a shady location of questionable repute better left unnamed here. There was no arm-twisting or sales pitches being given, just some good palates checking out some new wines. Festivities kicked off with the only two whites in the lineup. Read the rest of this entry »

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Alan Kerr’s January 23rd, 2010, Vintage’s Release – Tasting Notes

It is good there is no charge to the reader to view my notes for this release as they are rather skimpy to say the least. This weekend showcases wines from Argentina. Sadly though, the LCBO shipped very few wines period for the tasting. I guess even the largest purchaser of alcohol in the world has to tighten the belt after the holidays. Siduri, a well renowned producer of Pinot Noir from California has two AVA wines making their debut in the catalogue. Asking prices are unfortunately, high according to friends south of the border who buy them regularly, but any Siduri I have tasted in the past has been stellar.  Perhaps I may splurge. Anyhow, as always, I found a couple worth picking out so please read on. Read the rest of this entry »

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2008 Chateau Grand Traverse Semi-Dry Riesling ~ The One That Almost Got Away

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I was a little disappointed in not being able to find the Chateau Grand Traverse Semi-Dry Riesling in my neighborhood when I reviewed the other three 2008s a few weeks ago. I would have preferred to have published notes on the four of them together for continuity’s sake but was unwilling to wait, not knowing when a bottle of the Semi-Dry might turn up. And so it was that I happened to stumble upon a stash of these at a good price last Friday at Plum Market in West Bloomfield. I didn’t think twice before grabbing one, paying for it, bringing it home, chilling it down and opening it that very evening. I was very pleased with what I found, and here are my impressions. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Tale of Two Michigan India Pale Ales

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I drank almost no beer throughout the ’90s and well into the new century.  The reasons for this are roughly equal parts of the following: the usual boring suspects (Budweiser, Molson, etc.), the thrill of exploring the endlessly fascinating world of wine and the vain (but ultimately futile) attempt to retain my once-girlish figure.  About the only times I would indulge in any malt and hops beverages were the occasional Chimay Trappist Ale at Christmas, or in the middle of March, when I would take advantage of St. Patrick’s Day promotions, grab a discounted case of Guinness Stout, gain five pounds in a matter of days and swear the suds off until the following year.

About four or five years ago, it became necessary for me to gain some knowledge of the considerable stock of beers and ales in the retail department that I managed in order to better serve my customers.  My distributors were generous with samples and I got up to speed fairly quickly, in the process discovering that the hoppier the beer, the more I liked it, and India Pale Ale quickly became my preferred style.  There are plenty of great American IPAs being brewed, from the likes of Dogfish Head, Stone Brewery, our own Short’s and Bell’s here in Michigan and many more. (I’ve already expressed my admiration for Bell’s Two Hearted Ale in previous blog entries here.) My Bell’s rep at the time, Todd Hill of Rave Associates in Ann Arbor told me, “If you like IPAs, you’ll LOVE Bell’s Hopslam.”

Oh my, how right he was! Read the rest of this entry »

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Exhuming an old Cornas

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I seem to be on an “old wine, off vintages” kick right now. After my favorable experience with the 1986 Serafin Gevrey, I decided to go with an older, “off-vintage” Northern Rhone this time. Going over my inventory, I found a lone, long-forgotten bottle of 1981 Cornas, Auguste Clape just sitting there, waiting to be put out of its misery. There was an old note with the list entry, saying “medium rich, good fruit, slightly short, drink up.” Well, that note was from 1991, so I didn’t exactly take my own advice. 1981 was a mediocre year in the Northern Rhone to be sure, so this probably was best drunk in its robust youth. And yet, I thought, this is Clape—if any Cornas from 1981 was still alive, this would be the one. So, with rather low expectations, I pulled the cork, which broke into two pieces. The level was good and the cork was clean, so I had hope. Read the rest of this entry »

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Alan Kerr’s January 9th, 2010, Vintage’s Release – Tasting Notes

Happy New Year and welcome to 2010. The premier release of the year is the annual “Great Wine Great Value”.  This basically translates as ‘you spent too much money in the last couple of months, so the board is going to be kinder and gentler on the pocket book.’  There certainly are several wines that offer a great drinking experience and are priced below fifteen bucks. All you need to do is read on to find them. Read the rest of this entry »

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