Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas is Better in the Bahamas

This Christmas time I've been working instead of heading to an exotic location and drinking Margaritas until the new year.

It's now 12:30 AM on December 24th...Christmas Eve and wind is almost blowing out the windows and ths sound of sleet is slapping too.

That's it I have to escape Manhattan.

After a few web searchs on, and finally I find a nice package deal for the Bahamas at the Wyndham Nassau -Cable Beach. It's a direct flight from LGA so I can be in the sun in the afternoon. Check the forcast and it calls for low 80's perfect!

No traffic today so I make to LaGuardia in minutes and its just a 2.5 hour flight to Nassau - perfect. It about a 40 degree temp swing but I'm wearing a pair of Eddie Bauer pants that are perfect for this situation - the legs zip off to become shorts...exactly what I envisioned upon purchase.

Cool the golf clubs made it and its a quick taxi ride to the hotel - looks like its best days where decades ago, but there is a casino and the golf course is right across the street. I check out course and make a tee time to be 1st out on Christmas day.

On the way back is restaurant called Johnny Canoe's - where I down a few Kalik beer and enjoy Conch chowder and Blackened Grouper.

It's off to the casino - win 3 times on Roulette and its time to crash - I'm dreaming about golf tomorrow...1st tee time is 7:15.

Nice Christmas day golf and its warm - yes this is the present I wanted.

Cable Beach Golf Club is a par 71 at 6453 yards and its my 1st time on this track and I head out with no warm up. It's a magical day and start off with a 42 on the par 36 front and that includes a double bogey. I'm warmed up now on the back nine - Check out this drive over water on #11 287 yd par 4. Missed the eagle chip but walk away with a birdie 3.

I'm one over on the back and start thinking about my score and finish with bogeys on #17 & #18. Finishing the back nine +1 on the par 35. Wow that's still a 78 and as I told the starter it was possible to play 18 holes under 2 hours today my time is 1:55 not bad for a course that I haven't played before...

It's off to the beach to catch up on my tan. I'm on in Nassau for 25 hours, but what a wonderful day. We should enjoy every 24 hours like this.


Magnificat Vertical Tasting

"What is a vertical tasting?"

It's when you experience the same wine from multiple years. This can give you an idea of how the wine will age...better or worse. For me I really love wines around 5+ years old.

The vertical tasting was from Franciscan Oakville Estate, their Meritage blend call Magnificat (is named after a Bach overture) and all three wines with hitting the high notes and we agreed all the wine was magnificent!

The contenders: 2004, 2003 and 2002 Magnificat. Original retail price $50.00. Notice the new label on the '04 vintage.

This is a meritage blend with Cabernet Sauvignon normally the prominent grape and the rest consisting of 4 of the 5 Bordeaux grapes. There have only been two years where there was more Merlot than Cab...the 2000 and 2004 which we're tasting today.

The blends: in order of content.

2002: Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec
2003: 71% Cab Sauv, 25% Merlot, 2% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot
2004: 50% Merlot, 49% Cab Sauv, 1% Petit Verdot

- Wine opened 30 minutes before tasting at the recommended 66 degrees.

We started with the newest and progressed to the older vintages.

For a wine that was just released this year the '04 hits you up front with great fruit and a smooth clean finish.

Next is the '03 and you can already taste the difference with a lower percentage of Merlot - this is more like a big California Cab - very nice, but so far we digging the '04.

By the time we make it to the '02 that year has had another 30 minutes of aeration. The '02 is a "Wow" Still big up front and a very subtle black licorice finish. Its the only one of the 3 that contains Cab Franc and I feel that is the reason why we all liked this one better - definitely more complex than than the other two.

Second time around we liked the '03 a little better. The consensus was the '04 is great right now and will be amazing in a couple of years. But the '02 was "Amazing" now. And how can you go wrong when you but Cab Franc in the mix...which is always a winner for me.

And most likely after a vertical tasting you'll be horizontal...sooner than later... :)


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Parties & Weekend of Wine

Holiday parties are in full swing.
Friday we had the NY Media Party across the street at the Marriott Marquis. Our new boss christened her office with a pre-party in our offices. Not a bad way to start off the morning...bloody mary's, Vevue Cliquot, '98 Dom Perignon and some 2005 Cloudy Bay Chardonnay from New Zealand and a 2004 Simi Landslide Cabernet - and this was all the pre-game.

The following Monday we had our holiday party at STK, a steakhouse in the Meat Packing District. They have a sister restaurant in Hollywood on La Cienega. Wine was served from a magnum, which appeared to be GS (grocery store) so opted to stick with the Corona...which was a good call because we ended up at Kareoke 1 downtown and sang songs until 1:00 AM. My personal highlights were "Wonderwall" by Oasis and "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey.

Thursday crashed our sister station's holiday party at Taboon, 52nd in Hell's Kitchen.
They were serving a nice French Pinot Noir, but never got a look at the label. After saying Hi to everyone headed over to the CBS Media Party at Black Rock. This was quite the of the highlights was speaking with Harry Smith from the CBS Morning show.

A bunch of us had to work late on Friday so we did a little Pinot Noir comparison. A value 2005-Estancia Pinot Noir - Pinnancles Ranch ($16) versus 2005 Whitehall Lane Pinot Noir - Carneros ($36). (Note originally I incorrectly listed the Whitehall price at $50 which would still be worth it in my friends at Whitehall called and corrected me...sorry Tom)
Surprisily the Estancia isn't bad, but a little thin....very nice floral noise and not overpowering. Next we open the Whitehall -its hot and at first all we can smell is the 14.5 % of alcohol. This a new wine for Whitehall Lane...and well done for the inaugural release. It's a shade darker and has a much bigger finish. After 15 minutes the real bouquet of the Whitehall appeared - and to me it wasn't any contest...but considering you can drink bottles of Estancia to one Whitehall - its a great value, so one of our tasters would go by price...but to my taste buds I'll spring for the Whitehall anyday.

Winter storm warning was in effect for NY - so stayed indoors this weekend. Keeping the comparison going I opened a 2006 Ferrarri Carano Pinot Noir - Russian River Valley ($32). Aged in custom french barrels it features strawberry, raspberry and cherry cola with a hint of spice. Reminds me more of the Santa Ynez valley Pinots. It's already sold stock up on the Whitehall Lane, now that I know its only $36...I'm down to my last few bottles from the case I purchased.

Sunday winter has arrived in Manhattan and after 2 days of Pinot...needed something special to go with making chocolate chip cookies...found a 1996 Franciscan Library Reserve - Cabernet Saugvinon - Napa ($80 originally). The cork looks great and comes out easily which tells me that when they break in half at a restaurant they have the bad habit of storing there wine upright. Using the decanter - the color is still vibrant. Little earthy on the noise, has a touch black licorice with a very solid finish. The wind is whipping outside, but its nice and warm with my big cab inside...

Its the last week before Christmas which is extra work for the programming people. So one night this week I'm hosting a Franciscan Magnificat vertical tasting...'99, '01, '02, '03 and '04. We'll have to order more John's Pizza to make sure we get through all the wine.

And who knows maybe Santa will put a few surprises in my stocking this year.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Big Week in the Big Apple

Monday - ratings day - the monthly breakout shows that our radio station has moved all the way up to #2 in NY its only a trend, so no Champagne yet. But Monday night I do break out a '2000 Silver Oak Alexander Valley - sadly it is slightly corked.

The ratings news makes the NY Daily News:
Oldies looking golden at WCBS-FM (101.1)
WCBS-FM (101.1) seems to have rocketed out of the box with its return to "the greatest hits of the '60s, '70s and '80s." while monthly audience estimates for radio are notoriously imprecise indicators, extrapolated figures released yesterday for August show this: Among advertisers' favorite age group, 25 to 54, WCBS-FM had 67,300 listeners in the average quarter hour, nearly double the 36,900 estimated in June under the station's old Jack format. That figure makes WCBS-FM the No. 2 station in the city for August among that age group, trailing only WBLS-FM (107.5 ). In June, WCBS-FM was No. 15. WCBS-FM also had the second-highest share of the total listening pool in August: 4.8%, trailing only WHTZ-FM (100.3). For WCBS-FM that's up from 1.9% in June. "We're excited about our progress," said WCBS-FM program director Brian Thomas. "I've never seen this kind of response to any station."

Weds - I've been wanting to attend one of these for years - Mercedes had a cancellation so I treat myself to the AMG Challenge at Pocono Raceway. It's a quick drive on I-80 West from Manhattan. The AMG Challenge is a racing school and allows you to drive the AMG Mercedes products in race conditions. My fave of the day the new CL63, E63 and the quick CLK 55. Instructors for the day are Tommy Kendall, Brad Noffsinger, Bobby Seymour, Al Unser III, Tony Hunt and my guy was Mike Liebl. Morning sessions include Road Courses and Timed Autocross - my time beat Al Unser - not bad....
In the afternoon - High Performance Carting wearing helmut, neck braces, and full racing coveralls - I win my heat in the prelim's then they take the top 8 times and let us go at it...I finish #2 in the finals - lots of fun. Next was Full Throttle Challenge in the very rare CLK 63 Black Series over 500hp in the coupe only 300 imported to the US -tits basically their F1 Pace Car without the safety light - I do the 1/4 mile in 4.5 seconds that is the fastest I've ever gone in a car.
Then finally open lapping on the oval at Pocono - you follow the lead car and the closer you follow the faster the lead will go - sadly the CLK 63 Cabriolet feels squirrley at 90 miles per hour on the bank while I'm trying to keep up with the lead car CL63, but it flies through the corners. Later I drive the E63 and my lead car is the same - so game on...this car is much more balanced and I surprise my lead by how I'm able to stay on her tail through the corners...she was impressed - I've never driven car this fast and had so much confidence - the AMG products are amazing and now of course I want one...
At the end of the day we have a Champagne toast (Moet White Star) - just a sip I still had to drive back to Manhattan...and on the way home suddenly 90 mph feels slow.

Saturday was supposed to be nice, but it rains so no golf or fishing, but do open a Chateau St Michelle Chardonnay and its a perfect blend of Flavor with a touch of Oak.
Sunday turns out to be nice - play a muni in Westchester called Saxon Woods walk the course and shoot 85 - its the 1st day of fall, but one of the nicest all year in NY. Later in the day open a Millbrook Reserve Cab Franc - not bad for a Hudson River Valley Wine.

It's back to work tomorrow - not ready for the weekend to end...


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bay Area Visit

A visit to Cali, was long overdue...but its been so busy with re-launching CBS-FM in NYC.

And the great way to start the weekend is at the Friday Night wine tasting 5:30-7:00 at Wine Thieves in Lafayette. Schlumberger Wines was on premise pouring some nice whites and blends. Say Hi to Jim, Ben, Rod and Peter. They had some good values like a 2004 Wente Chardonnay for $10.99. Wente was the 1st producer of Chardonnay in California.

After tasting walk across Mt. Diablo Blvd for Bo's Barbeque - the best this side of the Mississippi. Bo is a music lover and has Blues Bands on his expanded patio every Friday Night, plus he has a great wine list. Get the Brisket sandwich and choose your wine.

After some good eats - you have to stop over to Petars and say Hi Dave - best one man show in the East Bay.

Saturday morning would not be complete without a round of golf at Pittsburg's Delta View, a great track for the price. If you can score on this course you can play anywhere.
I always enjoy getting out with good friends Gary and Rich. After an early morning round you have to have breakfast and a Bloody Mary at Zandonella's Sports Bar which has been remodeled. Here's a shot of Gary in his element.

Later in the afternoon Gary and I headed up to Franciscan for the Magnificat tasting.

This was their 20th anniversary of their Bordeaux Blend.

At the event which was private this year the tasting started with a new wine called Fountain Court a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, and Chardonnay - a little too sweet for my palate, but refreshing on a hot day.

Across the Wine Library we tasted the 2004 Oakville Cabernet and Merlot - both great values under $20 for members.

Next was meeting with winemaker Janet Myers for barrel sample of next year's Merlot in French and American oak...oddly we all like the American oak more - it seems to provide a better finish with the Merlot.

Clos Vineyard Reserve 2003 was the next wine $75 retail price point - fantastic.
The 2003 Magnificat was next and was tasting perfect and today had the best price point of the lot.
The big find was a new high end entry called the 2004 Winemakers Reserve - 100% Cab - big and hearty. We hung out at this table for quite a while and enjoyed the fantastic food. Salmon Kabobs, Burgers with carmelized onions, Shrimp - great food.

Finally what we're here for....the 2004 Magnificat but here's the big surprise - this year its 50% Merlot, 49% Cabernet Sauv and only 1% Cab Franc. The only other year that Merlot was the #1 ingredient was back in 2000.

Here's their descriptor; aromas of dark cherry, black plum with a dark chocolate with notes of sage and tea.
Have to say I like the 2004, but today it was priced higher than the 2003 with a blend of 4 grapes and really think is the better value.

It was another great party at Franciscan and love that is was only open for members this year, so it wasn't like Piranha's on the food. So nice to chat one on one with Janet and Matt.

Well you can't go to Napa and only go to one winery - so had to see my friends at Whitehall Lane - and have always loved their Cab's but the big news was their Carneros Pinot Noir $36 retail. Finally Napa is doing Pinot right and had to get a case of this fine wine.

It's a great day and thanks to all the food at Franciscan, Gary and I have not over done it this time. We hop in the Crossfire Roadster and head back to East Bay.

A great visit and one of those weekends that makes you miss California.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Family Wine Makers of CA

Upcoming Events
August 19th – Family Winemakers of CA – Consumer and Trade Tasting, San Francisco, CA – Fort Mason Center. Family Winemakers of California and Laura Zahtila look forward to welcoming you to the largest tasting of California wines in the world ... a showcase for the state's small, family owned wineries.
Sunday, August 19th 12:00 – 4:00 pm - open to the public and to the trade, no charge to trade Tickets are $45 in advance ($40 for groups of 10 or more), $55 day of event. Call the Fort Mason Box Office, (415) 345-7575,

Friday, July 20, 2007

2004 Magnificat Release party

At one of my favorite wineries - Franciscan Winery Saturday August 25, 2007

This year the celebration wil be held exclusively for Wine Club members and their guests. VIP Experience: From 12-1pm, our VIP hour will be hosted by Winemaker Janet Myers. Attendance will be limited to 100 guests who will enjoy passed hors d'oeuvres and special library wines. Each guest will take home a bottle of the newly released 2004 Magnificat signed by the Franciscan winemaking team. Admission to the main event is included. $70 per person.Main Event: From 1-4pm we will continue the party with live music, barrel samples, fantastic food, and Franciscan wines. Attendance will be limited. $40 per person.Advance reservations are required. Please RSVP no later than August 17 by calling 707.967.3993 or via email
We hope to see you there!Cheers,Your friends at Franciscan Winery

Thursday, May 24, 2007

New York Ratings Party

Manhattan - We finally got everyone together to celebrate the ratings of Jack-FM for reaching the top 10 in New York.

Tao was the choice, a Pan Asian restaurants featuring featuring Hong Kong, Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisine and is a favorite destination for celebrities and athletes. Tao has 3 levels and we had hoped to be in the prized "Skybox" which offers unparrelled views. Our reservation was at 6 and by 7 the bar was quite the scene and overflowing onto E. 58th Street.
But the food was amazing from basic Edamame, to Lobster Dumplings, to Kobe Beef and Beef Ribs, Tuna Sashimi and more.

But for a celebration this big I had bought two magnum bottles of 1996 Bollinger Gande Annee Champagne - first bottle for top 10, next one for top 5! There was enough to go around and this Champagne scored scored 95 points in wine spectator. We discussed the grapes that make up Champagne and this consisted of 75% grand cru 25 % premier cru vineyards with 70% pinot noir and 30% chardonnay. It was fantastic and was gone in a matter of minutes.

For dinner almost ordered some Gevrey Chambertin, but went with Californina vino instead so we had a few bottles of 2005 - Flowers Pinot Noir - Sonoma Coast - when looking at California Pinots you can't go wrong with Sonoma - Russian River, Coastal, Napa - Carneros and of course Santa Ynez Valley. The Flowers was a deep ruby red with fruit aromas of cherry, blackberry and a hint of vanilla from the barrel aging. It was the perfect compliment to the Bollinger. Didn't realize at the time that it was really a Pinot Noir night from the Champagne to the red wine. Always a good choice.

No big celebrity sightings last night. But we all had a great much that I was still feeling it this morning...can't wait to the next ratings party.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Washington Wine Highway - Woodinville

This SAT-SUN Wine, food and travel extravaganza featuring over 70 wineries and 50 restaurants, all day Saturday and Sunday, Chateau Ste. Michelle, 14111 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville; $65-$110 (425-481-8300 or www.washingtonwinehighway

Monday, May 21, 2007

Trout Fishing in PA

Altoona, PA - Wow its been 20 years since I made it to opening day of Trout Season.

Why is this a good idea? its 27 degrees at first cast, the water is ice cold and I can't feel my feet.
But my friends are in town and wheter we catch fish or not it will be a party.

I head up stream and see guys catching trout right in front of me...I'm using night crawlers, but switch to wax worms (Yummy) and bam on 1st cast land a nice little Brown Trout. I throw it back. Couple more casts and a few Rainbow Trout, all released unharmed.

Now I can't feel my hands either so I head back to camp and where the party is underway.
Burgers on the grill, Middleswarth Potato Chips, Hoagies and ice cold beer.

But of course I did bring a couple of bottles of my old standards. 2003 - Franciscan Estate Merlot and when we eat the smoked Trout a 2003 Mt. Veeder Cabernet.

We've all put in $5 for big fish, but mine weren't keepers, but when I got back and saw this - its like OK who went to the store and bought a Salmon. The little ones in the picture are 12" - that Rainbow is a monster. Over 25 inches and 8 to 9 lbs!

After a couple of burgers and chips and a few cold ones I decide that to try out artificial baits. I know the wax worms are so enticing, but realize I've never caught a Trout on artificials.

This time I head downstream where that monster Rainbow was caught. I'm using a spoon and getting hits, but no hookups. Then I switch to a little Spinner and bam! 1st cast land a nice Rainbow...then a few more.

Our friend Carl has all the gear, he looks like a real fisherman...but no fish.
And at one point no one wanted to use this pink fishing rod they had. His girlfriend tries it and lands fish. So its not the equipment.

We've caught enough fish so its party time. Wow hoagies (a sub) are the best from PA, the smoked trout tastes great with the Merlot and Cabernet. And why not...I have another burger...sadly our party came to an end with the rain...but it was a good time and can't wait to do it again next year.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Silverado Trail Silver Pass Weekend

Entrance to Joseph Phelps!

Napa less traveled on Silverado Trail with some of the best wineries in the world.

March 24th and 25th – Silverado Trail Wineries Association Silver Pass Weekend 11 am - 4 pm, both days– Join Zahtila Vineyards and 14 other wineries for this annual adventure along the road less traveled. $30 for a two day pass or $20 for a one day pass gives you access to all venues. This worthwhile cause continues to fund the Napa Valley Schools Reading Program, sending books home with youngsters each winter and summer. Buy tickets at

Great spot for lunch or dinner is Auberge De Soleil - their cheeseburger is fantastic...especially after a day in Napa.

Here's the deal SILVER PASS HOLDERS ARE ENTITLED TO: Current release tastings at each of the participating wineries along with barrel samples, food pairing, special discounts, library releases, and more!
The participating wineries include: Signorello, Rustridge, Van der Heyden, Pina Cellars, Casa Nuestra Failla, Envy, Summit Lake, Zahtila Vineyards, Hagafen, Judd’s Hill, Robinson Family, Atalon, Venge and Monticello.

Sadly Pine Ridge, ZD, Stags Leap and Joseph Phelps are not participating - so you'll have to call Phelps to set up an appointment and make sure you have the Insignia. Another winery on the trail, but not a member is Robert Sinskey make sure you try his Carneros Pinot Noir, Cab Franc and his blend called RSV - all fantastic.

Here is the partial list of wineries on Silverado Trail - I highlighted some of my faves!

ANDRETTI WINERY4162 Big Ranch. Rd.Napa CA 94558707.261.1714
BALDACCI VINEYARDS6236 Silverado TrailNapa, CA 94558707.944.9261
CASA NUESTRA WINERY3451 Silverado Trail NorthSt. Helena, CA 94574707.963.5783
CHIMNEY ROCK WINERY5350 Silverado TrailNapa, CA 94558707.257.2641
CLIFF LEDE VINEYARDS1473 Yountville Cross RoadYountville, CA800.428.2259
CLOS DU VAL5330 Silverado TrailNapa, CA 94558707.261.5225
CONN CREEK8711 Silverado TrailSt. Helena, California 94574707.963.9100
DARIOUSH WINERY4240 Silverado TrailNapa, CA 94558707.257.2345
DUTCH HENRY WINERY4310 Silverado TrailCalistoga, California 94515707.942.5771
GOOSECROSS CELLARS1119 State LaneYountville, CA 94599707.944.1986
HAGAFEN CELLARS4160 Silverado TrailNapa, CA 94558707.252.0781
JOSEPH PHELPS WINERY200 Taplin Rd.St. Helena, CA 94574707.963.2745
JUDD'S HILL WINERYP.O. Box 415Ste. Helena, CA 94574707-963-9093
MONTICELLO VINEYARDS4242 Big Ranch Rd.Napa, CA 94558707.253.2802
MUMM NAPA VALLEY8445 Silverado TrailRutherford , CA 95473707.967.7700
ON THE EDGE1255 Lincoln Ave.Calistoga, CA 94515707.942.7410
PIс NAPA VALLEY8060 Silverado TrailRutherford, CA 94573707.738.9328
PARADUXX7257 Silverado TrailNapa, CA 94558707.945.0890
ROBINSON FAMILY VINEYARDS5880 Silverado Trail,Napa, CA 94558707.944.8004
RUSTRIDGE WINERY2910 Lower Chiles Valley Rd.St. Helena, CA 94574707.965.9353
RUTHERFORD HILL WINERY200 Rutherford Hill Rd.Rutherford, CA 94573707.963.7194
RUTHERFORD RANCH1680 Silverado TrailSt. Helena, CA 94558707.968.3200
SIGNORELLO WINERY4500 Silverado TrailNapa, CA 94558707.255.5990
SILVERADO VINEYARDS6121 Silverado TrailNapa, CA 94558707.257.1770
STAG'S LEAP WINE CELLAR5766 Silverado TrailNapa, CA 94558707.944.2020
STELTZNER VINEYARDS5998 Silverado TrailNapa, CA 94558707.252.7272
STERLING VINEYARDS1111 Dunaweal LaneCalistoga, CA 94515707.942.3344
SUMMIT LAKE VINEYARDS2000 Summit Lake RoadAngwin, CA 94500707.965.2488
TITUS VINEYARDS2971 Silverado Trail NorthSt. Helena, CA 94574707.963.3235
VAN DER HEYDEN VINEYARDS4057 Silverado TrailNapa, CA 94558707.257.0130
VINCENT ARROYO WINERY2361 Greenwood Ave.Calistoga, CA 94515707.942.6995
WILLIAM HARRISON VINEYARDS1443 Silverado TrailSt. Helena, CA 94574707.963.8310
WILLIAM HILL WINERY1761 Atlas Peak Rd.Napa, CA 94558707.224.5424
ZAHTILA VINEYARDS2250 Lake County Hwy.Calistoga, CA 94515707.942.9251
ZD WINES8380 Silverado TrailNapa, CA 94558707.963.5188

New Orleans Jazz Fest 4/27-4/29 & 5/4-5/6

Lenny Kravitz on stage from a few years ago

Every other year I try to visit the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival - good excuse for a visit and fun to take my parents to see the great music.

And who can resist the great food at Jazz Fest - like crawfish monica, oyster & tasso pasta, jambalaya, alligator sausage, p0-boys and more...and make sure you buy one of the can coolers that has a strap that you can put around your it says on the side "How ya gonna clap?" or more importantly chow down .

I'll be attending the first weekend of Jazz Fest features Dr. John, Van Morrison, Rebirth Brass Band, Rod Stewart, Norah Jones, Ludacris, Brad Paisley, Bonnie Raitt, George Thorogood and more. But I have to tell won't be the big artists that make you appreciate the Fest. It will be some act you've never heard of that will blow you away. Everytime you attend Jazz Fest you learn another piece of the music history of Louisiana that you will never forget.

I was lucky enough to live in New Orleans in its hey day in the early 90's. After you live there the city is so different than what most tourists only see from hanging out on Bourbon Street.

As a local you learn to say "Where Y'at? and find all the cool places uptown, in the garden and warehouse district. I have not been back since the flooding from Hurricane Katrina and hoping that the New Orleans is recovering. It has been so nice to visit restaurants that I used to frequent there and have the same people still working there, doubt that will still be the case now and hopefully the city hasn't lost its charm.

So it won't be a big weekend of wine, but I will probably have some sitting at the bar at Mr B's more like a lot of Abita Amber - my fave when I'm in the Big Easy.

Look for my Mom and them at the Jazz Fest - Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler!


Monday, March 12, 2007

The Big Move - 12 Blocks

Wow has it really been a whole year in NYC? A year ago I still had two houses in California (North & South) and just moved into an apartment in Manhattan to start a new job with CBS.

A year later I was lucky enough to sell the Nor Cal house before the crash, so it was time to upgrade my crib in the city. The prices are still crazy, but was able to find a nicer place with two bathrooms, washer/dryer & 7 closets! You only understand that if you live here.

You would think that moving 12 blocks north would be easy, but its still a whole day affair. The good news about the move was taking inventory of my wine collection...which has been in the back of a dark closet.

Found some great finds including a '96 Franciscan Reserve Cabernet - this was a very limited edition, fantastic wine that I'll break out this week, a '94 Gaya Barbera, some magnums, plus a vertical of '98, '99, '01 LeDucq and a bottle of the new name of the winery '02 Ehlers Estate. One thing so significant about the LeDucq wines was the artwork on the label including Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Renoir. Who knew drinking wine would give me some fine art education. When visiting the Tate Modern museum in London a few years ago I was able to identify these artists from seeing their paintings on the wine bottles.

One of my biggest worries was whether Don Giovanni's (44th/9th) would still deliver their brick oven pizza to my new address - good news they do...all the way up to 60th!...just 4 blocks to spare. After a hard day unpacking I pair the pizza with a '97 Mt Veeder Reserve that was unbelievable. Nice 1st night in the new apartment.

The HDTV's are all set up and I'm ordering a Bistro Table for my cool bar stools from Seattle and will be having a wine party - house warming party soon.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Del Dotto Winery

High School Buddy Dave R., Dave Del Dotto, Michelle (Dave R's Wife) and Brian from last year

Friday, February 23, 2007

Mount Veeder Reserve Release

Mark Your Calendar for the Mt. Veeder Reserve Release Party

Join them as they bring the mountain to the valley floor, once again, and celebrate the release of another vintage. They will proudly introduce the 2003 Mount Veeder Reserve! Enjoy wine and food pairings, barrel samples, live music and a special re-release of some library favorites. Reservations encouraged, everyone welcome!Saturday, April 28th12-4pm$35 per person for Wine Club Members$40 per personHosted by Franciscan WineryHighway 29 at Galleron RoadReserve your glass today! RSVP by calling 707.967.3993 or email us at
Click for More Information or to RSVP

Sadly I won't be able to attend this year - I'll be at the 1st weekend of New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

City of Hope - Wines From Around The World

Last night's TASTE OF HOPE "Wine Tasting Event" at TRIBECA ROOFTOP in NYC was a smashing success and benefeited the CITY OF HOPE.

CBS Radio/NY bought a table and better yet I was invited - didn't hurt that our station "JACK FM" was the #1 CBS product in the latest ratings.

And thanks to my due deligence of going up to Napa every month I've been assigned to sit next to Bruce Gearhart from Ole Imports & Domaine Select.

Walking in I already see a lot of friends from the record biz it's going to be a great night.
I'm immediately impressed with the quality of the reception wines:
  • Casteller Blanc de Blancs 2005 - (no pinot in this Spanish Champagne Style White)
  • Vinos Sin-Ley GR 2004 - (100% Granache)
  • Collalbrigo Prosecco Brut (Sparkling wine from Italy)

Plus there is an amazing assortment of Dim Sum, Sashimi and Sushi - you need to consume a lot for a base for this evening's wine tastings. Domo Arigato!

At our table Bruce has assembled an Old World vs. New World Wine tasting for the evening.

First on the list with the 1st course of Mesclun Greens, Cucumber, Apples, Mango with Feta Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Raveneau Chablis Montee' de Tonnerre 2002 vs. Patz & Hall Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard - 2004. As you may expect the Chablis is very clear - starlight and the Chardonnay which has seen Oak is the color of daylight. No contest for me - my palate goes California all the way, though I think the Chablis would be great on a hot summer afternoon.

Second course of seared Tuna Medallions, with baby arrugula and orange vinaigrette.

Leroy Vosne Romanee Beauxmonts 1998 vs. Calera Mt Harlan Pinot Selleck Vineyard 2001. Ok this is no contest the other way...the Burgundian wine blows away the Calera, but in its defense its a newer vintage.

Main course of Filet Mignon with Shitake Mushrooms, garlic mashed potatoes, haricot verts and potato wafer garnish.

Chateau La Conseillante - Medoc 2000 vs. Ramey Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Blend 2003. A little faux paus on Bruce's part the amazing Bordeaux was not decanted, so everyone at 1st taste loves the Ramey...but with a little aeriation the barn yard smell disipates and it didn't hurt that we're all eating garlic mashed potatoes.

Desert - of chocoate dripped strawberries, praline and shortbread cookies and chocolate truffles - oui!

We had a couple more tastes:

Vinos Sin-Ley G6 Garnacha 2001 and Voss Vineyard Napa Valley Ocala Syrah 2002. Similar tastes between these wines - elegant, inky with hints of blueberry and white pepper. Bruce leaves with the decanter of the Voss, but then we make an amazing discovery at the wine table. There is a 1/2 magnum of Chateau Montelana Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 so we ditch the Syrah and enjoy the Big Cal Cab with some more chocolate truffles.

Since this was event was $500 a seat - wanted to do my part and bid on the silent auction items.

Two big scores - 1/2 case of Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 2003 and was really excited about this one - 2 Magnums of Bollinger Champagne Grand Annee 1996 - Wine Spectator 95 pts and this was a great year for Champagne. Save those bottles for a special occasion - and how funny did I look jumping into a cab with 1/2 case and 2 magnums - Party Anyone?

Wanted to congratulatemy friends from MEDIABASE Sr. VP/Music ALISSA POLLACK and ISLAND DEF JAM MUSIC Pres STEVE BARTELS - Buddy! PREMIERE RADIO NETWORKS Pres./COO KRAIG T. KITCHIN - as we say we worked together back in the day! .

The trade magazine ALL ACCESS reported "That the heaviest of the heavies gathered together to raise their glasses and lots of cash for the CITY OF HOPE. The CHARLES GOLDSTUCK CAMPAIGN has been the most successful to date, raising over $3.5 million for the CITY OF HOPE."

So surprisingly I'm not hung over, enjoyed some great wines, saw old friends and scored some amazing wine. As the T-Shirt says..."I Love NY"


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Bob Hope Chrysler Classic - La Quinta, CA

It was the weekend before the PGA week in the desert and the weather has turned cold - down in the 20's overnight. This totally messes up my schedule of 18 holes at dawn, breakfast quesadilla, quick work out and then pool side Modelo Cervezas.

The Bob Hope is played on 4 different course and is the only 5 day pro-am event in golf. Courses are the PGA West Palmer Private, Bermuda Dunes, Arnold Palmer's new Classic Club just north of I-10 and across the street from me on La Quinta Country Club. I see Samuel L. Jackson of Star Wars & Coach Carter fame tee off - very cool guy and a great golfer. Would like to tee it up with him someday. Next year the Silver Rock resort course will be included in the mix.

I get in 18 on the Mountain Course and surprisingly have two birdies in this round too, but alas 4 double bogies - the putter is working only 24 putts, which helps me break 90.

On Saturday always have to visit "Treasure of The Vine" at Happy Point (hwy 111 & Washington) they have a weekly wine tasting from noon - 9pm. Dustin is there with Shannon and they just celebrated their 1 year anniversary in business. They tell me the Winter months were fantastic, but in August the desert is a ghost town. Dustin has assembled another great assortment of wines to taste and it doesn't hurt that the NFL playoffs are on the Plasma TV too. (Hey can someone order pizza? and get me a bar stool - I'll just camp out here all day)

On the menu:

*2005 Louis Michel & Fils 1er Cur Chablis Moutmain Vineyard - $34.99 Have to say I'm really starting to enjoy the French style of whites. This is Zesty, creamy and a citrus finish - perfect for a hot day.
*2005 Merryvale Chadonnay - $18.99 You can immediately see the difference in color (daylight) and you taste the oak and oddly tastes like buttered popcorn on the finish. Great value and I buy a few bottles.
*2005 Bella Glos Pinot Noir - $39.99 Parker 91 points! Nice bouquet of cherries and pomegranate.
*2004 Elyse Nero Misto Red Blend - $23.99 . Nero Misto means mixed black in Italian. A blend of mostly Petit Syrah, there is Barbera and Primitivo too. There is a smoky layer and black licorice, great nose - Love it!
*2004 Turnbull Cabernet Sauvignon - $44.99 Big Bold California Cab - that my palate has been trained on.
*2004 Davis Family Vineyards Russian River Syrah - $38.99 Must say I love everything from Russian River - the ocean fog cools the grapes at night which produces great Chard's, Pinot and Syrah. Inky with coffee and chocolate on the nose.

I also pick up some more Flora Springs Chardonnay - now sold out at winery and a bottle of Cliff Lede Claret which I really love for the price. This fruit forward wine has blueberries, plum, and black currant. Blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec.

Wow it's that easy to drop 2 bills, but the great wine is worth it.

On Sunday I wait through the frost delay and tee it up on TPC Stadium Course at PGA West. Pete Dye the designer really tests your skills on this one and for the 1st time on the Island green par 3 17th I hit land! Wow. Believe me I was happy to shoot 92 in the wind. Hopeful golfers had to go the Q school here to make it on to the PGA and some of them shot in the 80's.

My house is booked for Feb - it pays the taxes!...but can't wait 'til warmer weather for March's visit. Winter has finally arrived in NY it's cold and I'm starting to lose my tan.


If you need to escape you can always stay there too - prime vacation times still available - check it out:

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

SILVER OAK Release Party Coming Up

For stories on previous parties look back at previous blog entries.

Here is the reminder note from Silver Oak: Release Day is Saturday, February 3rd to celebrate the 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This Release Day will be the last event to take place at our original Oakville Winery, which will be completely rebuilt over the next two years. We invite you to bring your favorite Silver Oak memories (photos, letters and memorabilia) for inclusion in a 50-year time capsule for the new winery at both locations.

If you're unable to make it, you still have the opportunity to purchase the new release or the Collector Edition, featuring six stellar vintages from 1997 to 2002. Visit our website or call us at 800.273.8809. Place your order.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Holiday Wine Adventures in the Caribbean

It's been a tradition to visit someplace warm during Christmas week the last few years. Normally this has been to Mexico where more Cerveza was consumed than wine. Hola Bob!

But its a direct flight from Newark to Charlotte-Amalie, St Thomas and in just a few hours you're staring at the aqua waters and basking in 90 degree temps.

I was happy to find many wine options in St. Thomas. First at the all-inclusive hotel, which actually had a nice wine list with several California options. With the blackened grouper ordered a 2001 Jekel Chardonnay and they also had Sonoma-Cutrer too.

In Redhook on the east side of the island and close to where you'd take the ferry to St. John are some nice restaurants.

First is XO Bistro & Wine Bar - start with the Baby Spinach Salad and then I really recommend the BBQ Chicken Pizza - instead of tomato paste the chef used his own BBQ sauce - it was really one of the best pizzas I've ever had!
On the wine side started with a Chateau Paradis White Bordeaux, now I know why the French guys I was partying with in NY don't like Chards from California. The White Bordeaux components are Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon and is very clear - less oak more about the fruit.
Next was a glass of Franciscan Oakville Estate Chardonnay one of my faves, but have to say the White Bordeaux had my attention and was more refreshing in the heat.
Now the tough choices - couldn't make had to enjoy them all; Artesa Pinot Noir, then Ridge Lytton Springs, a blend of Zin, Petite Syrah and Carignane and finally closed it out with Turley Juvenile Zinfandel. Wow what a great night of wine, would have only been better if my wine friends were there to enjoy too. Go out the door and party at Duffy's Love Shack - the crowd gets so big they take over the parking lot.

Still in Redhook is restaurant called A Whale of a Tail, located across the street from XO & Love Shack and right above Molly Molone's.
Had to have the Island Lobster - no claws on the spiny lobster here, but its still tastes great.
Was happy to see 1/2 bottles on the menu so started with Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay 2003 and then was thinking of a 1/2 bottle for Duckhorn Merlot, but better priced was 2003 Chateau Souverein Merlot which was just as good in flavor.

Check out the Virgin Islands Eco Tours do the snorkeling and mangrove tour in the kayaks.

There is one golf course on St. Thomas called Mahoghany Run. The course features 3 holes called the Devil's Triangle, but I was lucky enough to birdie #5 & #9 on the front side. Ended with a blazin' 92.

Right off the resort was snorkeling every day and saw something I've never seen - A Flying Guarnard - a fish that walks on the bottom, but when approached spreads out its wings - very cool. Here's a picture

It's so laid back in the Island that it was tough to get back on the plane back to NY, but now I'm rested, relaxed and tan.