Tag Archives: tasting-notes

Home again, Home again

I’m a little grumbly here, because I was almost done writing this posting when Firefox crashed. Bah.

Anyways, as I was saying …

I am pleased to announce, after extensive testing, the results of my survey. Nobody in the world makes coffee as good as I can make it right here at home. Except, just maybe, my dad. I’m not sure what’s so hard about grinding up a few beans and pouring water over them, but every time I travel, I’m better off just foregoing the coffee, since everything I get served is swill fit only for watering the daisys. Poor daisys.

It is really good to be home.

I still enjoy travelling. (Ok, I have come to hate the actual travelling part. Thanks, TSA.) I like being other places and seeing new things. But, increasingly, I just want to get back home, after a few days away. I suppose I’m just getting old and settled, and, I think, that’s probably OK with me. (Inner voice: OLD MAN! OLD MAN!)

So, it was a week of Apache training. I learned quite a few things, and have a lot of changes that I need to make to my class notes and to my book. I wonder if I will be able to keep up the drive to do so this time. Generally, the urge dies out after a few days. I’ll try harder.

The network at the training site was somewhat restrictive, so I was off IRC for almost the whole week. On Friday, Eddie reminded me how to tunnel IRC (or anything, I suppose) over an ssh connection to anywhere. You open an ssh connection to wherever you can ssh to, and then you can tunnel any other protocol over the top of that, so that you can use your preferred IRC client (xchat, or whatever) to connect over that tunnel to anywhere else. I suppose it’s just as well that I didn’t remember earlier in the week.

ssh -C rbowen@wooga.frumble.com -L 8081:irc.freenode.org:6667

Then point your IRC client at localhost, port 8081.

Most evenings while on my trip, I went out somewhere, saw a thing or two, but was back in my room by 7 or 8. I read a lot of stuff during those 2 or 3 hours before going to bed. Here’s some of it.

In the Presence of Fear by Wendell Berry. Avoid this book if you are content to be fat, happy, and complacent in your current view of your consumer life. This is a collection of essays about how the world has changed in the last several presidential administrations, and, particularly, how it has changed since the incident in 2001 when we realized that we didn’t live in an isolated bubble. Very good stuff. Whatever your political leanings tend to be, Berry gives a lot of plain common sense to some issues that we tend to over-politicize.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. A murder mystery of sorts. Written from the perspective of a young autistic man who finds a dead dog in his neighbor’s (I suppose I should say neighbour’s. He’s british.) yard, and who sets out to find out how it died. Funny, sad, and eye-opening. Highly recommended. It was recommended to me by someone in blog-space. I don’t rember who. Get this book.

The Gift Moves by Steve Lyon. Steve is the organist/pianist at my church. He’s also the husband of the well-known children’s author George Ella Lyon. The book was shelved (mistakenly, I think) in the children’s section of the book store. Yes, it’s a book about some kids. Sort of. It’s also a book about a culture (seems post-apocalyptic, but hard to say) where the economy is based on gifts, rather than on money or barter. It’s about how we relate to one another. Or, I suppose, you could read it as a shiny happy kid’s story. Presumably that’s where the store thought it would sell better. After all, who wants to think? Recommended. Frankly, I didn’t expect to enjoy it, largely because of where it was shelved. But I like to read books by people I know, and I was pleasantly surprised.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. I keep thinking that the Discworld books will get tired and boring. And perhaps that’s happening just a little bit. But this book was funny I suppose it gets a “2” on the measure on the “laughed out loud in public” scale. The story was good, the characters were interesting, and the conclusion was unexpected. I recommend this if you’ve read any of the other Discworld books. If you haven’t, I recommend that you read The Colour of Magic first. Try to get a British edition of you can find it. Apparently they tried to Americanize it for the US printing, whatever that means. Silly publishers. And if you’re in this area, I’m sure that Ken would be willing to loan you a copy. I don’t seem to have a copy any more.

And I suppose I should mention that I picked up a new printing of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. This is a Barnes&Noble printing. A little pocket-sized edition of ACC as well as The Chimes and Cricket on the Hearth. Nice binding and size, so I could hardly pass it up, now, could I?

Oh, and one more thing. While in Palm Beach I ate at a place called City Cellar. Twice, in fact. I had two of the best meals I’ve had so far this year. The first night, I had crab-encrusted chilean sea bass. It was positively heavenly. The next night I had mahi in a tamarind sauce, which was almost as good. It was … *ahem* … somewhat pricey. The bass, at least, was worth every penny. The mahi was more expensive and less wonderful, but only marginally so.

Ok, there. Finished with no crashes, and crammed more topics into a single post than is my usual habit. Deal with it. I write for me and not for you anyway. 🙂

Talon winery

Yesterday I went out to Talon Winery, which is out on Tates Creek Road, at 37d54.438,-84d27.139

This is the first winery in Fayette County. They’ve been there for 4 years, but are just now announcing their presence to the public, and should have some releases available in retail outlets soon, although I’m not sure where.

They’ve got 5 wines so far, and they are about 50% from Kentucky-grown grapes, with the eventual goal of being 100% Kentucky-grown, mostly estate-grown. They have enormous tracts of land, and although only a little of it is planted right now, they hope to expand over time. They’ve got *very* cool equipment, including the automatic bottle filler/corker/labeller machine, which appears to be the only one of its kind in the state.

The wine-maker there is, to a small extent, a student of Chris Nelson, of Chrisman Mill, but he has intentionally avoided learning about Chris’ actual wine-making style, so that he can develop his own. Which is very good, I must say.

They have a Cabernet, Chacellor, and a Chardonnay, a blush and a sweet-ish niagra-based wine. The niagra, which I was sure I’d hate, was actually pretty good, I must grudgingly admit. And the blush might just grow on me, with lovely peach overtones. The Cab is big, jammy, and yummy, with a wonderful caramel/smoke/earthy backbone and enough tannin to squirrel away for a year or five. And the Chardonnay is … well, it’s a Chardonnay, but it’s not over-oaked. And they make a point of aging only in Kentucky White Oak, which is probably unique in the world, outside of a Bourbon distillery.

The winemaker there (Bah, I didn’t get his name) is very knowledgeable, and knows exactly what he likes. He’s clearly willing to experiment to accomplish it, and based on some of the stories he told, he also knows how to deal with the unexpected things that fate and the harvest throw his way.

I encourage you to go out there (see map linked above) and see their spread. Even if you are completely uninterested in the product, the place is beautiful, and a great place to go for a summer picnic.

Oh, and their grand opening will be on the 14th of August, with live music and food.

Fonseca Bin 27 Porto

Very raw – even harsh – when first opened, but quickly opens up into a delightful soft round porto. Wonderful for sipping while coding. 😉 Deep purple/ruby color. Dark berry aromas and dark nutty tastes. Still a slighty bitter (but in a pleasant way) backbone and aftertaste.

Tabor Hills “demi-red”

Possibly the worst wine I have ever tasted, bar none. It had no vintage, so, for all I know, it could have been stored poorly, and could have been way past its prime. Assuming it ever had one. It smelled of wild onions and rotten green onions, and it tasted of candied prunes, with an aftertaste of candied grapefruit. Eww, eww, eww.

Romariz 10 year old Porto

I splurged on some Porto. I wanted to know what genuine Porto was like, having been drinking primarily Clocktower and Graham’s Six Grape. Graham’s is a real Porto, but, although it’s nice, it’s very simple.

The Romariz is much deeper/more complex and interesting. Very nutty at first, but with a bunch of caramel, pipe tobacco flavors, and perhaps chocolate as it develops in air. Possibly also apricot. Very yummy, anyways.

Clocktower port

Since Moose made some remarks about Clocktower, I went and replenished my supply of Clocktower, to see if I like it. I know I’ve had it before, but I didn’t really have any particular recollections about it.

So, several things.

One, it’s not a Port, technically, because its from Australia. But, nitpicking aside …

It’s a tawny, not a ruby. This is entirely a matter of personal preference, I like ruby ports better. And it was *very* nutty, which I actually liked.

When I went to get it, by the way, I was actually going to get a Grahams, but they didn’t have any, so I got the Clocktower. About $10 for a 750, which is not bad at all for a half-way decent Port. But I think that I might take it upon myself to share some finer ports with Moose and see what he thinks. 🙂

1995 Tessera Old Vines Zinfandel

Yesterday I got a crockpot. I’ve been wanting one for a while, and finally got around to getting it. I made standard no-frills spaghetti sauce in it, and had spaghetti for dinner, with a 1995 Tessera Old Vines Zinfandel. I came into possession of this wine through a strange set of circunstances. I expect that a 1995 is somewhat hard to come by, but I don’t really know for sure what’s available for this label.

When I first opened it, it was not so great. Tasted vaguely musty. But as it opened up a little, and with the food, it had classic Zin flavors – pepper and chocolate and tobacco. It was very muted. I don’t expect that it was intended to be held that long. But it was good anyways.

Chrisman blackberry wine

Berry wine has the potential to be really remarkably awful. It tends to be over-sweet, cloying, and just downright unpleasant.

But, given the skill with which Chrisman Mill makes mead, another wine that can be spectacularly terrible, I figured there was nothing to be too worried about. And I was right.

The Chrisman blackberry wine is now available, and it is fantastic. I should have picked up an extra lable, so that I could scan it in and put it here. I’ll try to soak one off after the bottle is empty. It features a wolf from the Wolf Run wolf sanctuary, and looks pretty cool.

The wine is, of course, sweet, but not unpleasantly sweet. Just perfect. And it is a serious wine, not just berry juice + alcohol. It has the sweetness, and pucker/tangyness/wildness of a fresh-picked blackberry. A nice balance of sweet and acidity that promises that it will develop interestingly over time. As always, I should have bought more.

Also, I got a moose, which I have been eyeing on the last several visits out to the winery. I’ll post better pictures once I find some batteries for my camera.

Bogle 2K1 Zin

Obviously I’m either rembembering wrong, or Bogle has seriously remade themselves. I remember the Bogle Zin as being flat, kinda sweet, perhaps a little smoky – in a bad way, not a nice way. But this is pretty good. Not wonderful, understand, but pretty darned good for a $12 zin anyways.

It’s kinda fragile, and after a little air it starts to develop some bitterness. Which is kinda weird for a zin this young, I would think. But right after I opened it, there were some good tanins, and good peppery zin flavors. Perhaps I’ll say more after having some with dinner.


OK, more comments.

With a simple chicken barbeque, which is where Zin really shines, imho. Peppery. Tannic (just enough). Pepper. Chocolate. Tobacco. And that strange “road dust” aroma that’s in a really good Zin. Geez, why is this just $12? Probably have more of this tomorrow night. Had just a tad too much of it right now.