2001 Alain Graillot Crozes Hermitage

2001 Alain Graillot Crozes Hermitage Syrah This is a delicious bottle of wine. Cherry and blackberry fruit, tarry, fennel rich herbs, green olive, gamey, meaty, hints of bacon, iodine, iron rich, medium weight but intensely flavored, very crisp with elevated acidity that still balances well with the weight and body of the wine, perhaps a bit austere, 13% ABV that seems less. Thoroughly enjoyed this bottle with dinner. N 9 P 8+ B 8- S 8 B 8 = 91/100

2005 Loring Ontiveros Vineyard Santa Maria Pinot Noir

2005 Loring Ontiveros Vineyard Santa Maria Pinot Noir Killer nose that is very earthy and dusty, speaks of Santa Maria, intense raspberry and cherry plum fruit, cola, some forest floor, hints of mushroom, very rich, showing moderate age, seems low in acidity and fairly ripe for a Pinot but I still like it a lot. Pretty smooth. One of the better Lorings that I have had in quite some time. N 9+ P 8 S 8- B 8- C 8 = 90+/100

2004 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape

2004 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape Red Rhone Blend Interesting blend of grapes that include Grenache (65%), Syrah (15%) , Mourvèdre (15%), Cinsaut, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Roussanne and Bourboulenc.  Yes they do have some white grapes in this blend but as I understand, all put together, they account for less than 5% of the whole.  Herb du Provence, garrigue, pine needles, started as fennel but became more licorice with time, pepper, almonds, smoke, dark plum and cherry kirsch, nicely structured with some chewy lightly mouth drying tannins and a crisp citrus finish. Dark, ripe, rustic, earthy black soil, minerally.  With air time, this wine became less rustic and started to show a creamy smooth texture that was very compelling.  Very full bodied for a CdP, good length. Very aromatic. Terrific CdP, showing well now but should have at least 5 years to reach peak.  N 9 P 8+ S 8+ B 8 C 9 = 93/100

1998 Galleron Morisoli Cabernet

1998 Galleron Morisoli Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Opened this with dinner on a road trip to Laguna Beach.  Paired with Lamb Rib-eye and lamb shank prepared with a fig reduction sauce. Maureen had a forest mushroom and summer truffle risotto.  First off, this wine had problems.  It was over ripe and oxidized.  The nose was fairly bad but the body and palate of the wine was not as bad, which is strange.  Something that I need to say is that I got this out to drink about a half year ago and never put it back in the cellar, it sat in our house, in a laid down position.  We have a small wine rack near the kitchen that we keep things that we plan on drinking soon.  I'm saying this as a possible excuse for how this wine showed but to be honest, I have had wines that sat in that rack for 3 years that never showed poorly. Our home is typically in the low 70's and I don't think you should see this much of a problem from so little provocation, but ....... perhaps.  Anyways, this wine showed a ton of dark chocolate character along with strong rich cassis and black cherry fruit.  It showed a big ripe character, though the label said it was only 13.5% ABV, I suspect a much higher level.  It had lush tannins that seemed chewy and rich without being drying, the acidity was enough to carry the fruit but not distinguishable.  I think this wine had tremendous potential but whatever happened to it that caused the oxidation, kept it from showing it's true colors. It was still nice enough and we drank most of it but my rating as it was could only be about 88/100.

1999 Von Buhl Maushohle Spatlese halbtrocken Riesling

1999 Weingut Reichsrat von Buhl Deidesheimer Maushohle Germany Spatlese halbtrocken Riesling 13% ABV. Awesome wine, shows a ton of diesel and wet stones with honey, apricot, white peach, brown spice, fairly thick, rich and oily. Edge of slightly sweet corn like character. Tons of umami character. We served this with a Thai yellow curried chicken dish and it was a big winner! N 9 P 8+ S 8 B 8+ C 9 =93/100

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters 2Bird Rock Coffee Roasters 3

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters 4

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

This place is my current favorite spot for a great cup of cappuccino.  Zumbar's is very close, they both make strong espresso that is super rich but not bitter. While I love them both, the setting in Bird Rock is the bomb.  Grab a cup of coffee, relax awhile, and then go for a walk down to the beach, which is ONLY a couple blocks away.  Some nice grass covered park space nearby and some awesome waves to watch the surfers exploit. They carry pastries from Bread and Cie, which have the best cinnamon rolls on the planet. They also roast some really rare beans here.  They rarely over roast anything, most of it has a medium roast to it.  Lots of Batak's and Peaberry beans.  Never bought a bag of coffee beans that I didn't think was some of the best coffee I have purchased.  Today I purchased a special roast of Sumatra, designated as coming from Lake Tawar.  Here is their tasting note on it:
TASTING NOTE: From Northern Sumatra, this coffee is similar to the Blue Batak we have carried for a few seasons. Unlike most coffee from Sumatra, this lot is meticulously processed at origin and this extra effort shows. A coffee for the adventurous: Intense, earthy yet clean, full-bodied and dense, yet slightly sweet. Syrup-like in texture, a hint of cherries maybe grapefruit in the cup, rich, distinctive and memorable. Here's what Ken Davids had to say about it: Pungently sweet and deep in both aroma and cup. Very complex: black cherry, grapefruit, fresh-turned earth, cedar, a hint of night flowers. Rich, grapefruit-toned acidity, lightly syrupy mouthfeel, sweetly tart finish saturated with fruit.  This received 94 points from Coffee Review.
5627 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla CA 92037 858.551.1707 HRS: Mon-Fri 6am-6pm | Sat-Sun 6:30am-6pm

O’Brien’s Pub

O'Brien's PubO’Brien’s Pub is kind of a classic, old school, pub.  Seems like it is usually full of thirsty guys.  My wife always comments that there are over 90% men there.  There are places that have a fancier decor, no doubt but NOBODY pours better brew on a regular basis than these guys do.  Their tasting events are legendary.  You can sign up for their email list at their website.  I read every one! A couple of my favorite events this past year have been the Russian River “Tion” tasting and the Alesmith Stout tasting. For the Russian River "Tion" tasting, they feature all 17 of the RR brews whose name end with “tion”.  For example, Damnation, Supplication, etc.  Most of these are sours.  I’ve attended this even for about 3 years now and it took two times before I became addicted to this style.  Now I am seeking them out everywhere I go. One other thing they had at one of these events was a cask version of their Porter.  That was totally awesome.  Imperial styled, this was the best Porter I have ever tasted.  Wish I could get it more often! O'Brien's "tion" TastingThe other event that was awesome was the Alesmith Kopi Luwak Speedway Stout release tasting.  This is a coffee bean Stout made from some of the most expensive coffee beans on the planet.  Wild stuff, look up Kopi Luwak in Google, if you don’t know about it.  Anyhow, along with this, they had some older cask versions of the Speedway Stout there too.  As a special treat, I pulled out a bottle of some aged Speedway that had about 3 years on it.  I think it was the beer of the night, which is saying something! Anyhow, O’Brien’s rocks for having the best beer.  Oh, and they have some decent food.  Gastropub style.  They make a darned good hamburger with stilton blue and bacon.  They do specials all the time and keep a board menu out front, as you walk in.  If you are hungry, don’t forget to check it out. They are located in kind of a strange place.  Right in the middle of the Oriental section of Kearny Mesa on Convoy Street.