2000 Venica Prime Note Colio Italy Not sure on the blend. It has Chardonnay, Tocai friullano and Sauvignon blanc from what I remember. Maybe some other obscure Italian grape that I can't pronounce. ??? Anyhow, I liked this a fair amount. Very savory, not much fruit left, a little guava, a little pear but full of a nutty diesel character with citrus zest and minerals. Medium full bodied with impressive balance. Those who are inclined to think wines are over the hill would undoubtedly say this wine was done, but I would scoff at them and drink their portion. It was even better on day two. N 8+ P 8+ B 9 S 8 C 9 = 93/100
2000 Chateau La Louviere Pessac-Leognan Graves Red Bordeaux Blend 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. This is solid. Nose took awhile to show itself, compared to the Pride. Fair amount of cigar box, violets, black cherry, blackberry, currants, loamy earth, white pepper, medium to full body, deeply colored garnet, solidly structured with slightly drying tannins and moderate acidity. N 8+ P 8+ C 8 S 8+ B 8+ = 92/100
1998 Pride Mountain Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Best bottle of Pride I have ever consumed. Tannins are mostly resolved, acidity is still sticking out a bit but very nicely balanced, complex and smooooooth!! Tons of cigar box and cedar, black cherry, blackberry, currants, cocoa, some sage and thyme rich herbs, a little tar. Super aromatics. Served this with our rack of pork. N 9 P 8+ C 8+ B 9 S 8+ = 93/100
This is an awesome place. A hole in the wall and fairly unassuming. We went there for my birthday and were prepared to spend a whole lot more than we did. I had heard that it was fairly expensive. That is far from the truth, we only spent around $60 and I was ordering as much as I could, though Maureen was eating lightly. She still tried most everything that I ordered. We ordered Gobo Salad, braised Nagasaki Pork, Roasted Duck with Green Onions, Asparagus Wrapped with Pork, Chicken Gizzards, Agedashi Dofu, Hamachi Cheeks, Pudding with Black Honey. The ONLY thing in this list that was not absolutely terrific was the gizzards. They were nice but not particularly special. The pork and duck dishes were to die for, as was the Hamachi Cheeks. They were having a special on two different Saki's, one was bone dry and the other had a hint of sweetness, I opted for the bone dry one. Didn't get a name but it was a nice Saki. We sat next to a very nice fellow who had eaten at the restaurant a large number of times. He bought a bottle of wine for the lady who works there, perhaps a shift manager, not sure? But he went over and whispered into her ear and she sent us a glass of Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon that was quite lovely, full of cigar box complexities that went very nicely with the foods we had. Overall, this is a great place and high on our list of Japanese restaurants. We are looking forward to returning.
Maureen and I cooked a rack of pork for dinner that turned out spectacular. We picked up an 8 ribbed rack from Costco, which carries them during the winter holidays. They come fairly well trimmed, have an eighth of an inch wrap of fat that we were tempted to trim before cooking but opted to leave in order to use it to help baste the meat during cooking and keep it moist. We made a rub from: Dijon mustard lemon juice splash of white wine fresh Thyme garlic ancho paste green and red peppercorns. We cooked at 350º F, until the internal temp was 138º, pulled it out and let it sit for about 15 minutes or so, or until the internal temp reached 148º and then sliced off the first two ribs. The middle of the roast was perfectly cooked, white but very moist. There was a little pink on the darker part of the meat, but this was more the exterior sections of the meat so it did not worry me in the slightest. We made a saute of mushrooms, using: small shitakes king trumpets, (also called Eryngii) oysters chanterelles criminis I started out sauteing some pancetta. When that was browned up I added a bit more olive oil and then added the garlic along with shitakes and the trumpets because they are firmer in texture and need a bit more time to saute than the others. After a bit of time passed I added all the rest of the mushrooms, cooked them down a bit and then added a little chicken broth. When I got this all cooked down a fair amount, I added some fresh thyme and cooked that in. I added some brandy until I had a solid flavor base of it in my mushrooms, then I started adding heavy cream. 2 thirds of a cup in all. Reduced that until it was thick, salt and peppered to taste. I made some kale chips prior to cooking the rack. That was dinner, we served it with a bottle of the 1998 Pride Cabernet Sauvignon, which was awesome. Pretty nice meal. I would highly recommend the rack of pork from Costco. The huge 8 rib rack which are just over $20. The chops are huge when you cut the ribs, much thicker than a rack of lamb chop.
Chatoe Rogue First Growth Dirtoir Black Lager Funny name but this stuff was pretty darn terrific. Darkest Lager I have ever seen. Thick oily texture. Loads of chocolate, roasted malts, coffee and caramel. Some earthy topsoil notes. Amazing that this stuff is only 5% ABV, I was guessing closer to 9% just based on the heaviness of thickness of this lager. It seems close to being over the top but then finishes with a fairly classic black lager character. A bit of a chameleon but I really enjoyed it. 4/5
Deschutes Black Butte XXI Imperial Strong Porter Wow, age hasn't slowed this puppy down at all. Still huge and boozy. This was brewed with cocoa nibs and roasted coffee beans and a good portion was aged in whiskey barrels. This is the biggest porter that I can ever remember tasting. It was a bit hard on the palate until I got to my second glass and my palate adjusted. Big dark monster, dark chocolate, espresso, burnt caramel, whiskey. Very rich and thickly textured. Honestly this is a great after dinner quaff, not the best kind of beer for dinner. Calling this balanced is like calling a huge Paso Syrah balanced. Even most of the good ones aren't really about balance, more about power and that is what I would say this is about. 4.3/5
Grand Teton Brewing Co. 5 O'Clock Shadow Double Black Lager Super imperial in style, drinks like a medium bodied stout. 7.6% ABV. Supposed to be a schwarzbier in style that was doubled up. Dark brown to black in color. Very creamy and rich, loads of dark smoky flavors, moderate foamy head that lasted awhile. Killer nose with loads of malty aromas. Chocolate, brown sugar and some root like earthiness. Nice lager but a little over the top for the style. Easy drinking 3.6/5 FWIW, we had a small bottle of Bell's Special Double Cream Stout along with the 5 O'Clock Shadow. The Bell's blew it away. Way more structured, smoother, richer better balanced, more complex. I would give this one around a 4/5, maybe a little higher.
Founders Porter This is without a doubt the best NORMAL production of Porter that I have ever tasted. The ONLY Porter that I have had that I would say is better was the cask version from Russian River. Their normal version was not nearly in this class. Anyhow, it is very darkly colored, full of dark roasted chicory roots, chocolate, coffee and malt. Only 6.5% ABV. Exceptionally well balanced, rich but not goopy. No holes, had a long finish. 4.5/5
Societe The Widow Dark Belgian Ale Near perfect cross of a west coast IPA with a dark Belgian. Toasty, malty, yeasty nose. Loads of cream and brown sugar character up front with a good dose of coffee, black pepper and earth in the middle, finishes with some moderate strength hops. Comes off as complex. 4.2/5