A Loafer, Spending Lots of Bread, and Wow

It's been a while since I gave the local wine update. Mostly this is because I haven't spent enough time blogging, and that's mostly because I was swamped at work (the Longhorn announcement and its implications on various products and marketing activities, for example, plus giving reviews to my direct reports). Now I'm on vacation, so I have time. Unfortunately, I recycled about 30 bottles that I've tasted over the last few weeks, so there will be some holes in my reporting. (That's just one of the little mistakes I noticed I was making, all of which lead me up to the realization that I needed a vacation.)

So, here's the report:

  • Raptor Ridge 2002 Willamette Valley Reserve Pinot Noir: Good, but not as good as Raptor's other offerings. I still have several bottles, but prefer their Yamhill Cuvee which is $5 less per bottle.
  • Carlton 2002 Roads End Pinot Noir: Wonderful, fruity stuff. Worth the $35/bottle? I don't know -- there are lots of Pinots I've had lately in the $15 range like the Firesteed and the H that give it a run for its money. Still, I bought a couple of bottles of it Sunday.
  • Condado de Haza, Ribera del Duero 2001 (Tempranillo): Gutsy, lots of fruit and tannin. It wasn't ready to drink, but I have another bottle.Tempranillo isn't generally a varietal that I love, mostly because I find that vintners often over-oak it. I didn't find that with the Condado de Haza, but it definitely benefitted from sitting open for a while. Buy a bottle or two for the cellar and check back in 3 years.
  • Three Thieves 2003 California Zinfandel: It comes in a 1 liter jug and costs under $10/bottle and it turned around my beliefs about Zin; definitely worth buying a case if for no other reason than people will wonder about your taste when you haul out the "jug" wine. Drink it soon, though.
  • Domaine Drouhin 2000 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir: Good, but not stellar Pinot; this is the second time I've tried it and it's just not to my taste.
  • Edna Valley 2001 Paragon Syrah: This is a good $10 wine from San Louis Obispo -- a region I discovered when my wife and I were taking a biking vacation 10 years ago. This wine is worth every penny and will compete favorably with much more expensive Syrahs.

Aside from that, I'm spending my vacation "relaxing." For me, that means:

  1. Clearing out my inbox. Yeah, yeah, that's not vacation, but it does reduce my stress level.
  2. Doing all the odd jobs around the house I've been putting off. Today I fixed my wife's desk chair, repaired two door handles that were loose (stripped badly), cleaned out the front and back yard (precursor to the winter yard cleaning), cleaned the black oil-based stain that was all over my two air cleaners and the basement fan, and shimmed up one leg on my new wine rack.
  3. Made myself French toast and my wife a nice grilled ham and cheese sandwich.
  4. Fixed the barrier so the cats can't get upstairs (which is all torn up -- those dorks woke me up twice around 3AM when they managed to pull the barrier down).

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