Archive for the ‘Wines of the world in danger’ Category

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Notes of a Chronic Negress: Spring Training

February 28, 2014

By the way, much of this is based on truth.

“I love you.”

Oh shit. If the Negress hadn’t been perched on those stairs with that guy right in front of me,  she could have gotten away clean.  The railing had her pinned on one side; the wall on the other. As it stood, she was going to have to respond to this tequila-fueled declaration. The truth was not an option. She can’t say to someone who is furry drunk that she only slept with them because she was out of batteries for the vibrator. Or that, every once in a while, she needed to feel someone else’s skin to remind you that you’re alive. He was still there, nut brown and swaying, hair sweaty with some other bad trouble who made him think a trip to the clinic might be in order.  She doesn’t know the other one,  but she worked at Centerfolds. This guy wasn’t the brightest in the world — read Dean Koontz, had van seats as permanent furniture — but who was she to talk since the Negress woke up bare-assed on a waterbed in his house on Mother’s  Day? The mother of his kid came by to drop off Junior and, at first opportunity, the Negress bailed.

The Negress’ wasn’t always like this or else there would be not story to tell. You wouldn’t always find her perched on the stairs of this bar listening to some coke fiend talk about interstate trucking. She does come here a lot, but she’s run out of reasons why. It was good trouble once, a place where a girl could go when she needed to be kissed but didn’t want to make breakfast for some jerk. Lately everyone was getting married, going to rehab or smoking so much dope that the mere thought of sex makes them tired and cranky. Why did marijuana have to make a comeback right at the time when sleazing around has been deemed fatal? What happened to the seller’s market she was used to?

Crueler friends might say 30 pounds happened, but her arms don’t keep moving when the Negress stops. Also, this baggy grunge rap fashion thing was a godsend to us women of substance. Real women eat and that’s all there is to it.

Which may also explain why she gave that restaurant  goof so much of her valuable time. In case you’re wondering, this isn’t the guy the Negress was looking at when this story started, although this joint played a  role in her running into him repeatedly. The Negress was bored, he kissed well and knew a thing or two about what she considered the finest of dining. When he came over, she would end up with rug burns and odd marks on the couch. His good trouble turned to bad when the Negress found out about the woman with the gun and the toddlers. And half the teachers at this one elementary school. And five other women she knew, one of whom confided that she was relieved when her clinic run turned out to be just a non-specific infection.

At this point, high mileage was not a good thing even though it did seem to improve technique. The Negress usually put latex where it belonged, but not always. You gave blood and lost some sleep watching the mail for a week or two.

 Oh yeah. Back to the guy in front of her. He was still swaying there, expecting The Negress to say something like, “Honey, I love you so much I’d go your bail before I’d pay my rent” or some other declaration that indicated permanent brain damage on her part. She thought she’d gotten away clean. We kissed one night after the Mother’s Day thing, but it felt like a Pekingese was trying to pick her nose. The Negress had seen him up here a couple of times since then, but he had been cool. No excessive mooning, no pining. He hung with this coke dealer who was a a total bore. The Negress finally shut him up with a reasonably coherent discussion of the economics of the baseball strike. One of the bartenders bought her a drinkfor her  trouble, saying that was the longest ol ‘Dillweed had gone without speaking. The Negress considered it a public service.

All right. The Negress has hatched an escape strategy. “Uh, Dick, can we talk about this some other time?”

“No,” he bleated. Dammit.

“Well, will you excuse me for sec? I’ll be right back.”

Thank God there was a side door out of there. She was down the steps and in her truck in no time. He wasn’t there the next time she came back so the Negress hoped he got the message.

Although it may be hard to believe from what the Negress is telling you here,  she can do celibacy with panache. She’s talking years, kids. Some 21-year old goober tried to pick her up with that tired old line about how she needed to relax. The Negress replied that she wasn’t going to end a two-year string of doing without for him. He looked ashen. “How could you go two years without having sex?”

“It’s easy. You get up one morning, brush your teeth, get dressed, do your hair,  go to work, go out clubbing, come home and what do you know? You didn’t have sex. A day becomes a week, weeks months, you get the picture.”

He asked her to leave his apartment  (The Negress was stuck there after some ill-advised drinking).  She thinks he thought it was some elaborate con. Sometimes the truth does work very well.

One of these days the Negress will find a man (or woman, but we’re getting to that) who will last from spring training to the World Series. She’s not lonely exactly, but sometimes an arm around you at night would be great. Or a phone call when Frank Thomas jacked one past the Russian space station (she’s waiting on this feeling from Adam Dunn). Or someone who would get the picture when you said something about sticking around for winter ball and hockey season. She was tired of explaining her jokes to people who were supposed to care about her (her tribe is out there and she will find it later).

Or maybe she’ll just settle for a good kisser who didn’t piss on her bedroom floor during an alcoholic blackout. That was bad trouble. She kissed so much during that day and a half, the Negress felt like the lower half of her face was smeared and runny. If  she could have attached those lips to someone who knew where the bathroom was, half the battle would have been won. He knew baseball but often forgot which league the Astros are in. He lost his scholarship on that basis alone (though, now that might not be a deal breaker. The pissing, yes.).

The problem is there’s a fine line between good and bad trouble. If you hang with someone and it gets too boring, it may be good for you. But it won’t make you drive across town with a raincoat thrown over your nightgown because your phone rang at 2 a.m. with a highly improper (not to mention potentially painful) suggestion. Good trouble can talk you into it because of some deep mystical connection or just plain madness. Bad trouble makes you get a restraining order and change your number.

Most people the Negress  talks to think the distinction is a massive rationalization. “You shouldn’t try to justify this trashing around you by palming it off on something nearly mystical in its incoherence,” said one 12-step veteran pal of mine. The Negress drank another bourbon and told her to shut up.

The Negress has had jobs and everything (though lately not so much), but that’s of minimal consequence. The hours were flexible enough back in the day that arriving in the office at noon wearing sunglasses made little difference in my performance reviews. Most of the Negress’  co-workers at the time had settled for something calm. She sometimes got the sense they viewed her as a mascot of some kind;  still weird enough to drive a pickup trick and not have day-care problems. Their lives make the Negress cringe so back to the bars she went.

Frankly, the baseball strike nearly made the Negress into a nun. She had found most of her trouble by arguing about ball in a variety of joints. The restaurant guy was a Tigers fan. Mr. I Love You went to the Dome with the coke dealer, but had a hard time following the game. He thought it was too slow and there was nothing to watch, which almost matched her assessment of him for a long-term contract.

One night, another friend told the Negress her standards were too high. She had brought the restaurant guy into the picture, and had sampled Mr. I Love You back before she fell hard for a good friend of hers. The Negress was at the point in the bourbon here belligerent muttering was about the best she could do. The Negress couldn’t explain the good trouble-bad trouble distinction because all distinctions were pretty blurry. So was the road driving home(please note, this is stupid and don’t do it).

That was during a brief period where everyone the Negress knew was giving her advice even though she hadn’t asked for any. Did she look that troubled? At one point, the Negress decided it was a weird mix of envy and concern and just decided to smile a lot and forget every word.

Anyway, the Negress had to hit the road. Minor-league ball was calling. There was a prospect in Tucson that might have made it to the majors if he kept his sense of humor and continued to remember my phone number. Like most minor leaguers, he wasn’t a prospect.

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Notes of a Chronic Negress: The Early Years

December 31, 2013

If you want to know where you’re going, you need to know where you’ve been. So every week at this time, the Negress is going to share a bit of her past with you. She has mentioned on occasion her love of baseball, but the biggest shift in her consciousness was caused by hockey. Here’s how it happened (present tense since adolescence is still very much with her).

I volunteer for the black and white set upstairs. Since it’s a Sunday, the family has split like an amoeba to their separate pursuits. My sister starts the foundation of the  air castle of her future funk. Mom and Dad watch the NBA Game of the Week. I can live with the NBA, but I am not in the mood for my parents. It happens.

In the days of three networks, gerbil races and Captain Tugboat, Sunday is a harsh TV day. I want something faster than basketball; something almost as fast as I think. I fiddle with the antenna and click the dial. Suddenly it’s on me. There are skaters, hair flying. Goalies fling themselves at the little black thing, looking electric and spastic but lovely. The reassuring voice of Dan Kelly breathlessly chases the action.

The rules fall into place. Any pass across two lines in illegal (This is well before the red line at center ice becomes decorative). Any scrum that ties up the puck for more than five seconds results in a whistle. There’s a box where you go if you’re deemed bad. This is school, but with more speed and faster retaliation (I haven’t made the last day of class in years, thus ducking every bully who believed in delayed gratification). I am hopelessly enthralled. This is the game for me. This is hockey.

A lot of the Boston Bruins are very cute. I like Derek Sanderson, who is chippy and has a mustache. I don’t really notice the lack of variety of skin colors. This is a foreign legion, but I am willing to sign on.

I draw pictures of my favorites on my notebooks. I hurl myself around a sixth-grade classroom playing all five of my favorite players, who live together and get into trouble (No girls. Ick.) I am a fool among my classmates more than usual, but I don’t care. They are often wrong – about Vietnam, me and the order of the universe. I have hockey now and I really don’t care what anyone else thinks.

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The Negress puts her hat in hand

August 30, 2013

At some point recently, the Negress ran out of options. The kindness of friends and strangers was exhausted, and the social services gang had nothing to offer but food stamps. There ‘s rent to be paid and job searches to continue via the Internet. She has acquired a roommate, a charming medical student named Nafees, but that’s not enough. Besides being too broke to pay attention, she is too broke to make a down payment on filing for bankruptcy (no excuses but there are reasons). If you can help, click on either of the “Go Fund Me” on this page. There may be knitting or pie in your future if you can help. Also, feel free to pass the word, all 60 of you who read this regularly.

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Dragging Tyler Clementi’s survivors into the abyss

March 4, 2013

Dragging Tyler Clementi’s survivors into the abyss

Right after the Negress was feeling a bit better about progress, these noodniks come along. If the world were more equitable, Tyler might have lived longer. He’s not the first person to be initiated sexually by someone older than he (there’s a lovely nude pic of a 21 year old Negress out there somewhere taken by a n0w-dead 60something boyfriend). To make hay of such is unconscionable.

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Amorosa Bella 2010 Chardonnay, James Family 2010 Chardonnay and a Trader Joe’s Valpolicella

January 20, 2013

The Negress is not a Chardonnay person. It’s not an unusual prejudice. She doesn’t stereotype Chardonnay drinkers except for one instance when she was on a boat to Christchurch, New Zealand. She was drowning here sorrows in Diet Coke and looking at her fresh road rash from the sheep station road. As she contemplated her torn flesh and sipped her caffeinated bliss, she saw a man chomping on a cigar wander up to the bar on the boat. He said in what was a Texas accent, “Give me one of them oaky, buttery Chardonnays.” Besides the indications of Dead Palate Syndrome that the request signaled, the man was in New Zealand in 2003, for pity’s sake. He was within sputtering distance of some tasty Sauvignon Blanc (this was before the Kiwis upped the acid level and emphasized immaturity so that some of their worst wines now taste like green pepper marinated in lime juice), but he wanted Chateau 2 X 4 with movie popcorn butter on top.

Green grow the grapes but they will ripen in time

This is where it all begins but it’s the ending that makes all the difference

All this is to say that the Amorosa Bella and James Family Chardonnays (2010 both) would have annoyed our cigar chomper. These wines are full-bodied but light on their feet, and pair nicely with strong flavors as well as more delicate foods. They are neither too naughty or too nice. There’s a touch of minerality to each that is usually bludgeoned to death by more careless winemakers. If you are the sort of person who cringes when the phrase “California Chardonnay” is uttered, you will drink these and ask for more. If you’re lucky enough to live in a state that allows direct shipping, try the folks at Cellars of Sonoma in Santa Rosa. These wines were featured in their wine club in the past two years so they may have some lying around.

A little closer to home for some of you is the 2009 Pasqua Valpolicella Ripasso Speciale 2009, which found its way into the Negress’ cart at  Trader Joe’s. As a rule, she avoids most of the Trader Joe’s cheap and cheerful wines, because they usually do not make her happy (see the Jolly Rancher episode)  But the Pasqua retailed for $10, making it a Pol Roget compared to some of the crap they sell. However, as much as she loves Valpolicellas, this was not one to write home about. Her take on the Italian favorite involves roast meat and earthy flavors and she knows not to expect Amarone when she’s kissing his younger, more callow cousin. But, this was a wine like many wines; not so bad as to require a screed condemning anything and anyone who had been part of its coming to store shelves. Pasqua 2009 is the epitome of  ‘meh.’ In short, 24 oz. you should have replaced with something memorable. And sometimes that doesn’t involve wine. Stay tuned.

 

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2012 year in review: In which Canada distracts the Negress from depression, bloody mayhem and bad wine

December 31, 2012

The Negress is quite ready to be done with 2012. This is a year that deserves to be tossed away with both hands. She had friends blown sideways by a crazy, globally heated storm with boat and homes going every which way. She continued her fierce love of Chicago, but now found it mixed up the strain of building a business on communicating when she never felt less like speaking, making phone calls or getting out of bed. So, 2012, please get the hell out of here so she can get on with it. She will keep listening to 54.40, Dan Mangan, the Tragically Hip and other Canadians she hopes will return to Chicago when she has the cash to go see them.

What The Negress wants to get on with is knitting, reading, cooking and keeping herself healthy. That has actually gone pretty well with weight and the shedding of at least three diabetes medications. Crohn’s seems to know its place but she’s somewhat afraid to even think that. If you’re interested in the year in wine, nose around the rest of the blog and read. She briefly worked for an e-magazine called Uncorked before it went under; settling the $1,125 it owed her for a mere $225. There’s a plum assignment looming that has been looming for a few weeks. Once the secret is out, things will be good but just looking at the books (including one she wrote a chapter in) she needs to skim has her nervous

As for the other books she’s read, she adored “Gone Girl,” is still on p. 200 of “1Q84” and hopes Robert Caro doesn’t die before he finishes the LBJ biography (she’s read through “Master of the Senate,” but wants to finish all of it). She’s seen friends retire (buen suerte Juan), fade (you’re not reading this if you were one of those), sober up, and graduate (way to go nephew JT). There was some good news amongst all the bloodshed.

The Negress still loves music, wine, hockey (she misses it, wants it back and will settle for the college game and the Wolves until further notice) and men and women. She and golf are seeing other sports, but will get back together once her broken foot heals.

The Negress went on a road trip or two, spending time in Ohio, DC, NJ, PA (crossing the Poconos could not have been achieved without all those Canadian bands on The Verge), Ohio again, Michigan and then home. Baseball is still in the picture but the late-season collapse of the White Sox and the Nationals’ early playoff exit were hard to take. She’s officially done with Astros, leaving them before they make their shameful transition to the American League. The Negress isn’t sure she knows who they are anymore. She also feels that way about SABR, so she’s pondering an exit strategy there too..

The Mazda and her home are good, but she needs to get back to work in a stupendous way. May 2013 be your lucky number too (Lene Lovich, sorry about that).

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Old news a demi sec 1997 Vouvray and Trader Joe’s 2011 Paso Robles Zinfandel

December 9, 2012

The Negress has been battling her day job to a satisfying draw and thought it was best to catch up on some wine that had passed through the premises of late. The first was a bottle of 1997 Vouvray that was part of her Urbana stash. In fact, it was the last bottle in said stash that could have been consumed by humankind without dire consequences. If  you decipher the label in the blurry photo that is embedded in this post, you’ll have a slightly better idea of what the Negress is talking about.

First of all, some caveats: The Negress has a volatile relationship with French whites. Sancerre makes her skin itch and sprout hives (this was well before Sancerre became this year’s Muscat thanks to the whip-me-beat-me-make-me-write-bad-checks trilogy know to some as the 50 Shades books. The Negress has  written some checks that would make a bouncy castle a hazmat zone, but she didn’t need a wealthy sadist to persuade her.)

The Vouvray in question is on the right

The Vouvray in question is on the right

Back to the wine. The Vouvray drank like a faded photograph; its demi-sec qualities muted by a little too much aging in the humidity of a central Illinois basement.) You could taste the bone structure but the flesh was weak with age. However, it made the Negress want to find a more recent vintage for comparison. The other wines in the picture are reliably splendid with the only surprise being the Gann Family cellars Malbec, which was chocolaty and rich. Heidi Barrett Peterson’s La Sirena Syrah is a monster wine, and the 2005 and 2006 we found in our cellar are fully ripe and voluptuous without being overpowering.

But, in this world, the rough follows quickly on the heels of the smooth. The Negress hasn’t purchased a bottle of wine in Trader Joe’s in ages. She has some nice stuff cellared (Cain Five, part of a Spring Mountain vertical) and she bought another case of the Bonny Doon Ca de Oro Muscat, so she’s in good shape.

However, put a nice guy at an in-store tasting and she’s no different from any other newbie out there. So she came home with the bottle of of 2011 Paso Robles Zinfandel and some New Zealand creamy cheese. The cheese vanished as they do between phone calls for work and furious knitting.

Once the Zin was open, the Negress was fully flummoxed. The wine tasted like candy — as in “I Want Candy” or “the candy colored clown they call the Sandman.” If she were the promiscuous writer of drinking notes like some of her ilk, she would have noted the wine’s “unusual Jolly Rancher finish.” It has long been said that Americans talk dry and drink sweet, but this is ridiculous. Never again, not even to warn all 10 of you who read this. It’s back to the music and the good stuff.

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Blitzen Trapper, The Tragically Hip, and 2008 Casa Silva Carmenere Syrah Rose

September 30, 2012

The Negress did some listening, drinking and driving as she wandered through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Illinois, Ohio, DC, NYC, Detroit and then back home again with a nail in one tire, a broken bone in one foot and near complete mastery of one set of FINRA arcania.

Through it all she quaffed a few microbrews (Bell’s Oberon and Motor City GhettoBlaster were the least notable), heard some stories, drove thousands of miles and learned a few things. Her lower back is permanently molded in the shape of a car seat, and she has fallen in love with some music again.

Upon arrival back at her home, she renewed her relationship with the 2008 Casa Silva Syrah Carmenere Rose. It’s a $10 buck wine from Chile, and it has hit all the right notes for this balmy Chicagoland fall. The wine is a deep russet with enough heft on the palate to hold up nicely to some fiery chili the Negress whipped up last week. She recently exchanged some trash talk with  fellow wine enthusiast Dale Cruse about her distaste for white wine after Labor Day. Her rule of thumb is if it’s cellar temperature outside (mid 50s or so here since she stores white, red and pink), then white wine is not on her table. She knows all about more robust whites, but she doesn’t care. Put the white wine with the white shoes after Labor Day (she did make an exception when she was a guest in Detroit since she’s polite when it counts).

Casa Silva rose with Blitzen Trapper's "Furr"

Whatever gets you through the day and night. Or long drives.

Anyway, all of this traveling, studying and preparing of spicy fall foods needed a soundtrack and the Negress found several. First of all, she happened on Blitzen Trapper in Grand Forks when she visited there. Grand Forks is likely the most isolated college town in America (if there’s one more isolated, she doesn’t want to go there). However, if a band is coming East from Portland, OR, and is headed either to Winnipeg or The Cities (nativespeak for Minneapolis-St. Paul), stopping in da Forks is likely. So Blitzen Trapper stopped, the Negress danced and bought two albums and a T-shirt. “American Goldwing” and “Furr” are the kinds of records that are invasive in their pleasures. Going from zero to adolescent obsession took no time at all. Their sound is too gelid and focused to be consigned to the jam band scrapheap. Also, as her chorister pal noted, their diction is impeccable; a good thing when the words are worth hearing. Find them. You won’t be sorry. They’re opening for The Head and the Heart and then Brandi Carlile during the next couple of months.

When she isn’t wearing out Blitzen Trapper, the Negress listens to the Canadian rock channel on satellite radio (this trip would not have been possible without satellite radio). By doing this, she has added Metric, the Acorns, Rural Alberta Movement  (their “Muscle Relaxants,” if mixed with the rose, could end badly), Japandroids and others to Feist and the Arcade Broken Pornographic Social Scene. She sometimes wishes the channel would dig deeper and pull out some 54.40 or another of her favorites, but not happening.

Except for this weekend. The Tragically Hip, the only band ever to write a song mentioning Bill Barilko (“Fifty Mission Cap”), have a new record coming out so they were all over the channel this weekend. The Negress has forgotten how great those guys are. She hopes the new record brings them to Chicago so she can moon over Gord Downie and lift her spirits high. Yeah, those spirits; the ones not crushed by the stupid absence of pro hockey from the continent.

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The Negress denounces the passage of time: 1999 Patrick LeSec Rasteau Vieilles Vignes,Toad Hollow Apropos and 2011 Mission Point Pinot Noir

August 27, 2012

The Negress has had death on her mind a lot lately so the 1999 LeSec Rasteau Vieilles Vignes and Toad Hollow Apropos  roared out of memory like the morning after a cheap, greasy meal. A friend’s Mom died, leaving a central Illinois basement and house awash in mysterious liquor and wine caches. The basement was humid and filled with cases of indeterminate Scotch, several cases of a French white with moldy labels and rotted corks, plus multiple bottles of creme de menthe with just enough gone to suggest sequential outbreaks of  excessive grasshopper consumption and complete amnesia of the  previous purchases. This is the sort of drinking that adults in university towns could get away with before drunk driving, interventions and 30-day “leaves of absence” conducted on the down low if tenured; followed by contract cancellation if not. Of course, so many are adjuncts now nothing might happen for different reasons. Welcome to the age of disposable academia.

2011 Mission Point Pinot Noir and 1999 Patrick LeSec Rasteau Vieilles Vignes

New. Old. Indifferent.

Back to the wine. Most bottles you and the Negress buy are designed to be quaffed quickly. All the vinification techniques in fashion now suggest that more wine makers should put a “drink by” recommendation on the label. As in “as soon as you can.” The Rasteau and the Toad Hollow deserved to be drunk young. They were faded beyond recognition and tasted feeble and forgettable.  Cote du Rhones Villages wines are not usually feeble, but this senile Rasteau was (according to a bit of research, this one was about seven years too old). The Negress suspects improper storage may have been part of the problem. She also knows that Toad Hollow makes impeccable value wines, but the Apropos was truly nothing special.

To regain some palate perspective, the Negress picked up a bottle of 2011 Mission Point Pinot Noir at Trader Joe’s on a co-worker’s recommendation. She will not extend the recommendation, but will pose one of her favorite questions, “Why do California vintners try to turn Pinot Noir into Cabernet Sauvignon?” If you’re looking for more candid assessments of Various Buck Chucks and the rest of the Trader Joe’s ilk, try my pal Tim Lemke’s site Cheap Wine Ratings.

Speaking of pals,  please raise a glass to the Negress’ old one, Brent Grulke of SXSW, who died unexpectedly Aug. 13. Grulke worked for the gargantuan festival back when it was a puppy. He was the stage manager when there were only tens of venues. He later rose to be the guy who picked the bands that played and was immune to persuasion by anything other than the submitted demo. Brent, a lot of us who miss the old festival (and know we are too old for the reboot), will miss you and hope your family has what they need in this troubled time.

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The Negress explores the Zins of the past with Bogle (1993) and Beringer (2002)

April 30, 2012

The Negress has been trying to help people and build her business. As a result of one of those activities (a trip to Urbana to help a pal clean out her dead mot

hers house), she lucked into a pleasant flashback. The friend’s parents were 50s style “Mad Men” drinkers with cases of booze and wine stacked up in a damp basement. Quite a bit of the wine didn’t survive that cavalier treatment, but a case did. So the Negress brought it back to Chicago.

First up was a 1993 Bogle Zinfandel, which was 12.5% abv, making it a puny drink compared to the big-ass Zins populating various cellars and stores these days. The Bogle was a pale garnet and had the slightly ethereal taste of a wine past its prime. It was as though the Negress was tasting the ghost of the fruit, which only made her wish she could have gotten her hands on this bottle a little sooner. Color this one pale and stale.

Bogle and Beringer together again for the first time

The Killer B's of old Zinfandel

Next was a 2002 Beringer Zinfandel with 13.9% abv. This wine had held up beautifully, with rich notes of dark fruit and an almost chocolate-like feel. It paired nicely with the last of some chili the Negress was glad of during this frigid spring. She suspects most folks buying Beringer’s 2002 vintage drank it well before 2004. If you find some of this hiding in a corner somewhere, pull the cork. You will not be disappointed.

While the Negress adores big Zins almost as much as she loves just about any Petit Sirah, she was confronted with a saddle of elk at a recent dinner at the Gage here in Chicago. She had recently had a venison burger at this fabulous boite, and paired that with a 2009 Vina Sastre Tinto Ribera del Duero (all Tempranillo all the time). The elk was gamier than the venison but more subtle than she would have expected. Her dining companion recommended the 2009 Three Saints Pinot Noir from the Santa Maria Valley in California. Excellent pairing and one of the few California Pinots that hadn’t been vinified to resemble a Cabernet with a head cold.

The next time the Negress opens one of the oldies from Urbana, she will check in here and tell you all about it. But, for now, it’s back to the inhalers, work life its very own self.

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