Monday, May 9, 2011


I shouldn’t have to tell most of you this, but frankly being a grown-up sucks.

First of all there’s the bill-paying, the apartment cleaning, the necessary day-to-day activities of adult life that you can conveniently ignore when you’re the age where you REALLY want to be a Jedi when you grow up. Frankly, I STILL want to be a Jedi when I grow up, but that’s beside the point. All of that crap is crap, but you knew it was going to be crap right around when wanting to be a Jedi changed to wanting to be an accountant (this is a joke, nobody wants to be an accountant, not even accountants).

Worse than all of that though is the fact that being a grown-up means caring about things you really, really wish didn’t exist. Like elections, body-fat percentages, personal finance, and tax laws. All of that stuff, I can conclusively say, is stupid and boring and dumb. Unfortunately, as an adult, it is now part of my life to give a damn about this nonsense. I do not appreciate being made to give a damn about this nonsense.

Luckily for us, there is a cornucopia of ways to distract our adult selves from the obnoxiousness of what we insist is “The Way Things Work.” Some people use TV, some people use magazines, and a few diseased minds cope by immersing themselves entirely in business (I’m looking at you, Boyfriend!) None of these things work for me. TV gets boring fast, magazines get insipid even faster, and my giveadamn gets broken after about fifteen minutes of business news.

So instead, as you all have probably figured out by now, I drink copious amounts of wine.

On April 30’th I went to another wine tasting at the Iron Bridge Wine Company in Columbia. This is a fantastic little restaurant and wine bar frequented by old hippies and current government employees. It is exceedingly small, so don’t expect to just show up for dinner. You must make a reservation. Luckily for me and my Boozery compatriots, you do not need a reservation for a wine tasting, we just Showed Up!

“We” in this case refers to myself, my roommates DesignBroad and Beersnob, GrogLass who is BeerSnob’s girlfriend, Disaster and CartoonSailor. One may ask about these new nicknames. Disaster, you see, is consistently breaking shit in my house. His name is apt. CartoonSailor… well, he’s a cartoon character. You’d have to meet him, but if you do you’ll know. He is a cartoon.

Unfortunately, there was a distinct lack of Spectacular Wines. There were a few Very Good wines, but really only one or two that jumped out and said “I AM SUPER DELICIOUS!”

We began with sparkling wine.  The Chateau Gaillard “Clemence Query” Cremant de Loire was a fantastic Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay blend. It was delightfully crisp, bright, and balanced. It had a few light fruit notes that were pleasantly backed by the delicious yeasty flavor of a truly good sparkling wine. At nineteen dollars, this is too expensive for a graduate student, but ought to fit nicely within the price ranges of those who want to celebrate an event without truly breaking the bank.

On the other hand, the Rialto Moscato completely failed to impress. It was sugary sweet with weak carbonation. It tasted more like a flat energy drink than it did a fine wine. RieslingSnob might like it, but personally I do not find it worth the fifteen dollars it is reported to cost.

The next wine, a Riesling, got me VERY excited, because it was from Eltville am Rhein, the town I grew up in in Germany. Unfortunately, I was unfamiliar with the winery, J. Baumer. It was a middling sweet white with notes of pear and honey. Not being a sweet wines kind of person, I was a little unimpressed. Frankly if it hadn’t had the connection with my childhood, I probably would not have bought it. As it was I bought two bottles. I am not good at impulse control.

The Shaya Verdejo Old Vines white was, according to my notes, “minerally.” This is the only note I have. Unimpressive.

The Dry Creek Fume Blanc Sauvignon Blanc was next, with earthy, barnyard notes in the nose and minerally flavors on the tongue. It would likely be better with food, but as a sipping wine I found it to be a bit too strong on that ammoniac flavor that sometimes happens with Sauvignon Blancs.

I was very pleased with the Tre Monti Vigna Rocca Albana Secco. While the name may be a tongue twister, the wine itself is light, airy, pleasantly fruity, with a little bite of alcohol flavor at the end that keeps things interesting and clean. I very much enjoyed this wine and recommend it highly, though at 16 dollars it is a bit out of my personal price range.

On to the “Rich, Savory, Toasty & Luscious Whites”

The Graham Beck “The Game Reserve” Chenin Blanc was, in a word, “stinky.” In Disaster’s words, it smelled “kinda like feet.” While I’m sure the odor was masking some decent flavors, the key word there is “masking.” I certainly couldn’t taste them.

Daniel Gehr’s “Oak Free” Chardonnay was quite pleasant with minerals and earth, but it CLEARLY wanted to be drunk with food, not as an afternoon sipping wine.

As for Newton Red Label Chardonnay, well… frankly the less said the better. Okay I guess I have to say SOMETHING, fine. It was like drinking old lady perfume. Flowers everywhere. Oh god.

Luckily, I found everything I wanted in the Saint Roche les Vignes rose. It was clean, simple, and light on the palate. Its orangey color was also quite pleasing, and the red fruit notes were subdued by a lovely dryness throughout. Perfect thing for a summers day and a good book.

I have better notes on the reds for one very good reason: The white wines are served on low tables, and there was a huge line behind us. The reds are served at the bar, which is the perfect level to write on, and by the time we got there the line was pretty much gone! Hooray!

Unfortunately, the reds were really not interesting. The first we tried was the Annabella Special Selection Pinot Noir, which I found to be light and unimpressive with no real aftertaste to speak of. Disaster disagreed with me, stating that he caught a distinct floral aftertaste. I contend that it was just the cheese he was eating.

Babcock “Rita’s Earth” Pinot Noir poured a much paler red than the Annabella, and was equally light bodied. It had some decent flavors, but they were quickly washed away. CartoonSailor demanded to know why this wine wasn’t just from Oregon instead of California. It needed body to maintain some of our interest. As it was, meh.

The Col d’Orcia “Spezieri” was equally unimpressive. There was a sharpness at the beginning that brought our hopes up, but the nose was all alcohol and maybe a touch of cola (maybe). CartoonSailor drank his and immediately realized he had not actually tasted anything. Then he knew despair.

Those were the light reds though, and frankly our snobbishness knows no bounds when it comes to demanding strong flavor from wines. The “Big Red Wines That Should Knock Your Socks Off” was a bit better. The Borsao “Berola” was bloody fantastic, I must say. It was a mild, medium bodied red blend that had just enough complexity to keep us interested without beating us over the head with different spices and fruit. This is an excellent sippin’ red, perfect for an evening on the couch watching “Boston Legal” and eating homemade sushi after driving all over the eastern shore of Delaware. In related news, last Wednesday was a good day.

The Chateau Sainte Barbe Cabernet/Merlot blend was a considerably darker color than the Berola, but lacked interest. It was all alcohol on the nose, and frankly didn’t quite have legs.

The Robert Davis Syrah smelled like a stable, but was delightfully smooth and velvety. It was a low impact red, despite the barnyard on the nose. Nice.

The Durigutti Reserve Malbec was nice. Not great, but nice. Mild notes of black pepper overlaid the currents and alcohol.

I quite liked the Maipe Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, which I found to be meaty and delightful despite a sweetness strange to Cabernet. I wanted more. DesignBroad disagreed vehemently, describing it as one of the worst red wines she has ever tasted. I know this cannot be true because I am pretty sure she was there when we drank that strawberry splendor crap during the Cheap Ass Wine Tasting a long while back. Blech.

The Kiona Cabernet/Merlot blend tasted the way nail polish remover smells. No.

The Bogle “Phantom” Proprietary Red was solidly “meh.” It was better after eating a bit of sharp cheese, but for 26 bucks I kind of want a wine that is going to perform a bit better than that.

The day ended with the Conn Creek “Anthology,” which was really very, VERY good. Unfortunately, it was on sale (SALE!) for 40 dollars, and I am not really ever certain that wine is 40 dollars-worth of good. Maybe when I am out of grad school I will think differently, but seriously.

It was a good experience, but frankly the wines were a bit lacking. Disappointing. Iron Bridge Wine Company is one of my favorite places to eat, so I guess my standards were a bit high. Still, I got several bottles of very good wine out of it, thus ensuring that I will have plenty of distractions from the other disappointments of adult life.

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