Intervals: Medium Raw Essay Update

This is a video update of thanks to everyone who has supported me by voting daily for my entry in the Anthony Bourdain essay contest at http://bourdainmediumraw.com/essays/v... . I never expected to be in the top 10 with only a month to go; and while I don't expect to win: I am a winner with your support. Thank you!


Satan Invented White Zinfandel

I’m going to put this out there, because I’m a generous guy and I only want what’s best for you.

As a Roman Catholic (that is, one who believes in an everlasting life beyond this “mortal coil” and an afterlife punishment defined as a separation from love) I have to tell you: IF you drink White Zinfandel YOU WILL GO TO HELL.

Wow.  What an incredibly insensitive thing to write!  How could anyone even think such a thing? Because (ahem) I happen to know, for a fact, that:


I know that’s a bit shocking; but just grab onto that little nugget of information and stick with me here.  This information is both free and valuable advice which you will thank me for in the moments to come.  In fact, by the time you’re done reading this blog post you’ll be so happy that I passed this advice along to you that you’ll find yourself clamoring to wear a “Steve Runner for World Emperor” Tee-Shirt.

See, here’s the thing about White Zinfandel.  It’s evil.

Yeah, I know…sounds crazy right? 

Now, you and I can argue about the existence of a fallen angel named Lucifer, The Devil, Abaddon, the Accuser, Antichrist, Beelzebub, Father of Lies, Leviathan, Son of Perdition, or as it is commonly known: Satan…I don’t really have an opinion on the subject, so I’ll leave that to you…but for the sake of our discussion today, let’s assume that there is such a beast, and that it’s raison de etre is to soil the bodies of mankind with a beverage that looks like a fine Rose, but taste like cherry flavored battery acid.

This, my friends: is White Zinfandel.

But before I can explain to you exactly WHY it is that Satan invented this abomination; I need to give you a brief history of its origins.

In the early 1970’s, a winery in Napa Valley California found themselves with a problem. The batch of Zinfandel (known in Italy as Primitivo) grapes that they were fermenting “got stuck”; that is: not all of the sugar in the grapes were being converted into alcohol.

What the wine historians won’t tell you is that it was Satan who killed the yeast, causing that huge vat of wine to suffer.  But that creature is a crafty one, and it knew that the vintners at Sutter Home Winery would set aside this batch for later.  When they came back to it in a few weeks; on Satan’s personal suggestion the winemakers tasted this overly sweetened  swamp-muck grape-like goo and decided to call it: Cabernet Blanc.

Except, that it wasn’t Blanc. It wasn’t even rose colored.  It was flaky brick and rusty colored.  It looked like the prehistoric primordial soup from which life sprang forth: except there was nothing living in this cesspool of fluids.

So what’s a winemaker to do when the batch has gone bad?  Add chemicals, apply reverse osmosis, pump flavored yeasts in, employ micro-oxidization, add bacteria to start malolactic fermentation, dump in enzymes to build color and change flavor, spray in gallons of gelatin to improve mouth feel and remove bitterness, add defoaming and microbial-control agents (such as Velcorin, a flammable toxin).

All of these methods (and others) were created by Satan to ruin wine and enslave humanity.  Somehow through a combination of pride, greed, envy, anger, lust, gluttony and sloth, Satan has convinced wine makers to inject their heavenly product with mechanical and chemical evil.

The resulting product has a name: and that name is WHITE ZINFANDEL.

Make no mistake: White Zinfandel is not a varietal, it’s a style.  It’s an overly processed concoction made from Zinfandel grapes.

Zinfandel is bold and spicy red wine grape dating back to 6000 BC in Croatia.  It wasn’t until the 1870’s (AD) that Zinfandel found its way to Italy, where it was called Primaticcio (from the word “primary”, since this is one of the earlier grapes to ripen on the vine).

The first winery to create a rosé wine from Zinfandel was the El Pinal Winery in Lodi, California is 1869.  This was a different style of wine than the current abomination, as rosé wines are typically delicious and refreshing.

In contrast, White Zinfandel is useful only as a chemical to clean car battery contacts and wash the oil off of driveways.  This isn’t a wine for drinking, it’s a chemical best used in weed prevention and as an insect repellant.

I must implore you to NEVER drink a glass of that hated, liquid evil. 

To help in your education, I will now provide you with a list of absolute truths about White Zinfandel that you might not be aware of:


10.       White Zinfandel is made from the hearts of baby seals.
9.        White Zinfandel is fermented in old, pre-worn Nike shoes (the shoes are sold back  to the consumer as “Nike Airs”)
8.         White Zinfandel has been found to give cancer to cancer cells.
7.         Every bottle of White Zinfandel has a microscopic printed government warning on the label: “Not intended for internal use.”
6.         White Zinfandel glows in the dark.
5.         You should avoid spilling White Zinfandel on any exposed skin.
4.         Wine Coolers laugh at White Zinfandel.
3.         Knock Knock (who’s there?) White Zinfandel (GET THE HELL OFF MY PROPERTY!)
2.         Friends don’t let friends drink White Zinfandel.

And the number one truth about White Zinfandel that you never knew:

1.                  Every time someone drinks a glass of White Zinfandel, Satan kicks a puppy.

I hope by now I have helped to educate you in the ways of wine drinking, and that you’ll accept this clear and obvious warning against the dangers of drinking White Zinfandel.

Satan invented this drink from hell, and inspires wine makers in California to continue to pump out this fetid fluid to a mindless public who tend to lean towards buying Apple products and Nike running shoes.

These consumers are not bad people; they just don’t know any better; and it’s our duty as decent Malbec, Cab Franc and Bordeaux drinking wine-nuts to steer them away from the jug wines and save their palates from the gates of hell.


- Steve Runner

PodCamp Boston 5: Preparing for the Future

This probably won't happen: but I’m considering hosting an open discussion at PodCamp Boston 5 (Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 8:00 AM - Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 4:30 PM ET NI Cambridge, MA) on the topic of setting positive examples, through podcasting, to make the world a better place.

This would be somewhat of a philosophical discussion, listing examples of ways that podcasters have (and should) use this medium to inspire and motivate their community to change the world, through example, for the better.

If you’re a fellow runner and plan to attend, could you let me know?  I’m really not looking for this to be a “Steve Runner” presentation…and I’m not interested in doing this on my own with a Power Point presentation or similar material.

I want to raise a good discussion, that I’ll moderate and steer.

Email me if you’re interested: steve@steverunner.com

Here is my proposal.  (Note that it might not be accepted, and I really don’t want to do it alone, so this may not go further than this blog post).

Session Title: Podcasting Positive Examples to Make the World a Better Place

Session Description: Podcasting has matured to the point where it’s purpose has gone beyond audience building and monetization. It’s an influential form of communication that can make the world a better place as social communities have formed around a variety of passions and interests that make podcasting the perfect medium for inspiration and motivation. 

I’d like to lead a discussion where podcasters (and podcast subscribers) list some of the ways that they are using this medium to encourage members of their community to participate in living their lives to the top, improving their lives and the lives of others.

In a sense, I’d like to use this discussion to help inspire attendees to inspire their own community members.

As we prepare for the future, we can use digital audio/visual episodic subscriber downloaded media to make the world a better place for ourselves and those who will come after us.  This is our time to make a difference in years to come.


I would ask for other running-related (or any) podcasters to be a part of this discussion; for my part I'd raise as examples: (1) 5 years of the World Wide Festival of Races (2) my Boston Marathon podcast episodes (3) The Mojo Loco (and similar events) and (4) the Runners Round Table (5) the Extra Mile Podcast (6) http://www.runningpodcasts.org (7) http://www.channelrunner.org (8) http://www.runcast.tv and (9) The Running Community (currently at http://sites.google.com/site/runnetcommunity )

The goal would be for attendees to walk away with a list of ideas for events/projects and ideas that they could use, through their podcasts, to make the world a better place!

This is all preliminary, and probably won't happen, but I thought I'd throw the idea out there just to see what others thought.  Even if this doesn't happen "officially" as part of the program; we could have an "informal" meeting in the hall or elsewhere.

To be honest, I'm more inclined for this to be an informal conversation...but again...I wanted to toss this out onto the tubes of the internets...in case anyone who is attending might think it was a splendid idea.

So...what do you think?

- Steve

Is Wine Direct Shipping Dead? | Worcester Business Journal

There are days, like these, when I REALLY dislike living in Massachusetts.

Is Wine Direct Shipping Dead? | Worcester Business Journal

Intervals: Talk about Fdip242 and the Beauty of the Wilderness

In this episode I talk about my latest episode of Phedippidations (posted last Sunday) and how beautiful the Woods of Northern Maine are. I also tell the tale of the year we tipped our canoe in the first hour of our Allagash adventure a few years ago.
The Best in Tent Camping: New England: A Guide for Car Campers Who Hate RVs, Concrete Slabs, and Loud Portable Stereos
Sketches of camp life in the wilds of the Aroostook woods, Aroostook County, Maine; fishing, canoeing, camping, shooting and trapping, being true stories of actual life in camp


Intervals: John Michaels Prize

My son, John Michael made a wager with his nephew: John Glenn, that he could (and would) wear the SAME set of clothes for the ENTIRE trip down the West Branch of the Penobscot River. Here, they talk about what he won as we finish our trip in the Northern Woods of Maine.
Chateau Classico 6 Week Wine Kit, Argentinian Malbec, 40-Pound Box
The Allagash Abductions: Undeniable Evidence of Alien Intervention
Northern Forest Canoe Trail: Allagash Region, South, Maine, Umbazooksus Stream to Umsaskis Lake (Northern Forest Canoe Trail Maps)

Intervals: On the Chesuncook

I’m on Gero Island on Chesuncook Lake in Northern Maine, after successfully navigating the West Branch of the Penobscot River with my Dad, Son and Nephew. Here I THANK YOU for all your support in voting for my entry in the Medium Raw Challenge essay “We Cook Because We Love”. http://bourdainmediumraw.com/essays/view/76


Tasting the 2006 Jean-Luc Colombo Les Abeilles Cotes du Rhone

Today I’ll walk you through a VERY fast tasting of a Cote du Rhone, one of my favorite styles of French wine.  While normally it would take me 45 minutes to an hour to really “get into” a wine; I’m going to try to give you a sense of what I do when I’m tasting, grading and writing about the wines that I taste!  Salute!

French Wine for Dummies
The New France: A Complete Guide to Contemporary French Wine (Mitchell Beazley Wine Guides)
French Wines: The Essential Guide to the Wines and Wine Growing Regions of France
Exploring French Wine Regions

Intervals: Fdip242 Preview at Fitton Field.

I’m at the home of the Worcester Tornadoes with my good friend Ross (who I sadly had to throw over the ball park fence to retrieve fallen coins as part of a friendly bet we had about which team would win the game); and I’m telling you about a new episode of Phedippidations which will be available at midnight! GO TORNADOES!


About Tasting Wine - Part 3: Taking Notes

The Wine Bible
Wine For Dummies
Vacu Vin Stainless Steel Wine Saver Gift Set

The 5th Annual World Wide Festival of Races: THIS IS OUR TIME!

In this video I’d like to talk to you about the World Wide Festival of Races and why I think we can use this to make the world a better place. This is our time, fellow runners: and with new and social media we can accomplish something with the WWFoR that will set a positive example to everyone who learns of this great event. Join us on October 9th and 10th. http://worldwidefestivalofraces.com


Heading Up River

After a fitful sleep, we're heading back up the Penobscot on our way to Chesuncook Lake in Northern Maine. Watch as my son, the great animal hunter John Michael, wrestles the mighty fresh water frog in an epic battle of man versus amphibian!  

Thoreau's Maine Woods  

The Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Maine Woods


Some Wine Books I’ve Been Reading.

Here’s a linkable list of books on the subject of wine that I’ve been consuming recently.  I highly recommend them all to anyone who is interested in the topic of wine.




American Bald Eagle in the Wild

This is a very short video of an American Bald Eagle, as seen from my canoe as I paddled up the West Branch of the Penobscot River in the Northern Maine Woods last week. It was one of many that we saw last week.

What does Pinot Noir REALLY taste like?

Today as I continue on with WINE WEEK here on Intervals, I talk about what I’m learning from Alice Feirings great book: “Battle for Wine and Love, or How I Saved the World from Parkerization”.  Also, an invitation to you to run with us in the Mojo Loco!



Wine Review: 2007 Wilson Vineyards Chardonnay “The Crusher” (Clarksburg, California)

I believe that, in reality, we are being controlled by Robot Overlords from the Future.

All hail the Robot Overlords.

For today’s wine tasting, I’m going to either prove my astounding ineptitude with tasting wine or, at the very least, show how subjective wine tasting can be. 

One man’s “Elixir of the Gods” is another mans “Fetid Acrid Grape Juice”.

To accomplish this literary feat, I shall present both my personal review of “THE CRUSHER” my wife and my current summer favorite Chard, contrasted against an amalgam of various posted reviews from the so called “experts” of oenology.  I’m a huge fan of Robert Parker Jr. but I’ve tasted some of the South American wines he’s rated in the 70 range, and disagreed with his rating with all of my SOUL.

Okay, that’s a little deep.  Let me rein that in a bit and try to articulate this better.


(That’s the sound I’m making to clear my throat as a dramatic move to establish the seriousness of what I’m trying to say about this wine).


Wow, sorry about that…that was borderline crazy with the Robot Overlord thing.  Yikes, do I feel silly (Viva la robo-sistance!).  I guess I was just trying to say that my wife and I  love this wine.  A lot.

Just the other day I went to our local wine shoppe (one of the finest in the colonies, as illustrated by the silent “pe”) http://www.yankeespirits.com and asked if there was any of THE CRUSHER left. 

The resident wine director (a guy by the name of Joe Astukewicz, a TRUE wine expert) knew exactly what I was talking about when I asked about THE CRUSHER.

“Butterscotch, toffee goodness, right?” he asked.

“YES!!” I cried, making a scene and peeing my pants a little.

(Wow, I can’t believe I just wrote that…it was supposed to have been a private moment).

“I think I had our Attleboro store ship us up the last case”.

Drying myself off, I inquired about other wines that might match the tasting notes of THE CRUSHER, and Joe was good enough to pick a few out for me…and then one of his wine minions announced on the public address system that the last case of THE CRUSHER had been found.

“I’ll take it” I squealed (yes, like a little girl if you must know…woah, this so called “Wine Review” is taking a bad turn.)

Anyway, my point here is that my wife and I love this wine, and I now have the last case in Massachusetts, MAYBE EVEN THE WORLD! (Well, probably not) and you’ll have to wrestle it out of my COLD DEAD HANDS if you want to get any of mine YOU DAMN DIRTY APES!

(Woah, sorry about the “Planet of the Apes” thing there…I’m not sure where that came from…must be the wine).

Here’s my non-robotic review of the 2007 Wilson Vineyards Chardonnay “THE CRUSHER” from Clarksburg, California, along with the typical review of others (in italics).

Color (7/10)

Brilliant medium depth with vivid liveliness greenish-straw colors with golden flashes in bright sunlight.  At first glance, you’re looking at this wine thinking “ugh, what’s with the green hue?” but that’s just an illusion (I viewed this against a while paper background).  This is beautifully filtered Chard with no residuals.  I rate it a 7 out of 10 or color and appearance.

Here’s what others had to say:

Pale golden colored.

COLOR-medium golden.

Nose (29/30)

This wine has 13.5% alcohol, so it’s not sharply hot on the nose.  I get a tiny ammonia hint at first sniff, but it’s a smooth inoffensive ammonia….actually ammonia isn’t the right word; it’s more like Pineapple. 

You know what I mean? 

Ever stick your nose in a bowl of freshly cut pineapple?  (not the stuff in cans or covered in syrup).  This is like that, only lighter, fresher: we’re talking only a hint of that pineapple scent (see what I meant when I wrote that it’s an inoffensive ammonia? 

I’ve heard wine lovers describe Long Island Sauv Blancs as smelling like “cat pee” without a negative connotation associated with it.

Not that I know what cat pee smells like mind you.  I try not to make it a habit of acquainting myself with such odors; but I digress.

Having written all this, I rate the nose of THE CRUSHER with a 29 out of 30.  It’s not overpowering fruity like a lot of Chards I’ve tasted, but it does have a nice sublime sweetness that comes out in the nose.  Well done Wilson Vineyards!

Here’s what others had to say:

Rich with Tahitian vanilla bean and custard notes, layered with tangerine and pear aromas.

Buttery apple aromas lead to apple, citrus, and mild, toasted oak flavors.

Quite a bit of buttered honey; subtle oak.

Palate (40/40)

Sharp, tangy medium bodied with a rich lasting toffee-caramel finish.  It has oaky undertones but in my amateur opinion the oak doesn’t overpower this wine.  The contrast between the sharp first taste on the tongue and the long, smooth toffee-caramel ending really makes this wine special.  I get hints of honey, cashew and burnt pencil shavings as the finish fades out: which is brilliant! 

When my wife and I first tasted this wine, we looked at each other from across the table and exclaimed “WOW!”  This is a keeper.  This is why I just bought the last case of the stuff at our local wine store.  THIS COULD CONVERT ME INTO A WHITE WINE DRINKER!

Bacchus wept.

I score this a solid, well deserved (in my feeble mind) 40 points out of 40.  Take that Mr. Parker!

Here’s what others had to say:

The palate has tropical notes of coconut, guava and papaya, finishing with crisp red delicious apple and baked apple pie flavors.

Though buttery and rich in the mouth, this wine does have nice balance and if you like this style of Chard you could do a lot worse for the price ($13)

I think this wine is awful; one of the worst wines I've had; very hot on the back-end.

Overall (19/20)

I love this wine.  I like the way that it’s nose teases you into thinking it’s a subtle, easy going Chard, and then when it hits your palate it’s like a PSYCHOTIC MANIAC WITH AN ICE-PICK but just as you scamper back in horror the villain is revealed to be the good guy, with a friendly, warm, creamy long finish without too much oak slapping you in the face as it heads out the door.

THIS is a great Chardonnay; and while I understand many who are much more of an expert than I will disagree (a certain Gary Vaynerchuk wasn’t a big fan of this, he thought it had a lot of butter honey on the nose, and didn’t suffer from the “Oak Monster” but he also said it brought nothing to the table.)

He’s probably a much better wine nut than I am, and likely has an excellent palate…but the guy is TOTALLY WRONG about this wine….not even in the same universe as reality. 

Overall I’m giving this an 18.  The greenish hue didn’t take too much away from it; but if I had one complaint it’s that sharp tangy Sauv Blanc notes on the front of the palate that could have been a bit more subtle. 

I LOVE this Chard.  I need MORE of this Chard! 

Here’s what others had to say:

This complex, food friendly Chardonnay is nice on its own, as an aperitif, but it also pairs beautifully with lobster Bisque, Chesapeake Bay crab cakes over wilted arugula, or flatbread with goat cheese and caramelized onions.

Brings nothing to the table; very thin; no body; 57 points


7+29+40+19= 95

The 2007 Wilson Vineyard Chardonnay “THE CRUSHER” produced by Don Sebastiani and Sons from the California Central Valley and the Clarksburg appellation.  It’s a solid 95 points in my book!

Even the Robot Overlords would be pleased. (If they could drink wine).


- Steve


Vote for Eva Jones!

Eva Jones, our beautiful little pure bred Lemon Beagle puppy, would VERY MUCH appreciate it if you could vote (daily) for my essay: “We Cook Because We Love” over at http://bourdainmediumraw.com/essays/view/76 (the link can be found in the upper right hand corner of my website). The winner will have their essay published in the paperback version of Anthony Bourdain’s GREAT new book “Medium Raw” published by Harper Collins. This would mean so much to me, and I’d be forever in your debt. THANK YOU!


Intervals: In the Footsteps of Thoreau

I’m videocasting from the banks of the West Branch of the Penobscot River, talking about the beauty of the wilderness and why it's so important that YOU visit the REAL wilderness, to reconnect with the good animal you were meant to be and prove to yourself that you are not a slave to material things. Also, watch my son and nephew go on a short cross river adventure OF DOOM!


Intervals: Camp on the West Branch

Today I give you a tour of one of our campsites on the West Branch of the Penobscot River in Northern Maine. This is where we lived life to the fullest last week.


Keep Indiana and Eva Jones Happy!

This is just a photo of my two puppies.  I’m going to be gone next week: thus there were be NO Intervals podcasts, NO Intervals videos, NO Intervals blog posts and most importantly NO nagging about asking you to vote for me every day while I’m gone at: http://bourdainmediumraw.com/essays/view/76

Of course, if you want to keep Indy and Eva happy; you’ll take the 30 seconds to vote for my essay every day.  I mean, come on: Nobody wants to see a couple of sad puppies!

(Thank you for your support, and I’ll see you on the Intertubes in a week!)


The Most Beautiful Girl in the World

Recently, I met the most beautiful girl in the world.  Now…I know what you’re saying: you undoubtably disagree, for surely you have in your life someone whom you’ll consider to be the most beautiful girl in the world…and I understand what you’re saying…I respect your opinion on that…but; look…if you’ve been listening to Phedippidations for awhile you know that I’m the kinda guy who calls it as I see it…often with dire consequences and financial loss.

I think you have a pretty good idea how much money I’ve lost in promotional and sponsorship money for the things I’ve had to say on this goofy little podcast.  [I’m shaking in my little space boots about it.]

Kiana and her Papa meet for the first time
But this declaration: that I’ve met the most beautiful girl in the world isn’t something we can argue about…I was there, I saw her with my own eyes…in fact, she was so beautiful I couldn’t help myself: I took her in my arms…and look; I’m a happily married man who loves his wife dearly and completely…but…you had to see this girl, she was amazing…she had me talking baby talk, I was completely swept off my feet…am I in love?  Yeah, you better believe I’m in love: and this is the real deal…this girl was, in fact: the most beautiful girl in the world.

Her name is Kianna Sky Chasey, and she is my grand-daughter.

It’s a strange and wonderful thing to meet someone from the next generation.  In the year 2040 Kianna will be 30 years old, while I’ll be almost 80, and she’ll be living her life to the top, doing good in the world and making her Pa-Pa, proud.

That’s not only a promise to you and the rest of the world, that’s a guarantee…because you see, I’ve seen the future; and it’s not as gloom and doom as some might make you belive: oh, sure we have our issues today: the economy, ecological disasters, terrorism, war, global warming…I’m not making light of those things…but I can’t tell you how good it makes me feel to know that there’s this beautiful little girl who has come into the world, and how she will most definitely make the world just a little bit better than it was before she got here: trust me on this; it’s going to happen.

It’ll happen because she has two parents who love her and want to teach her about the light in this world…do you know what I mean about the light?  It’s not some hokey, touchy-feely thing I’m talking about here…I’m talking about the goodness in the world, the love that we all have…even though we walk around sometimes feeling a little dark and grimey, but look…this light is in each of us: you, me…and especially Kianna, I’ve seen it…and, be honest, you’ve seen it too…and here’s the spoiler from the movie of our lives: the light always wins… Kianna has her parents, uncles, and grandparents who love her with all our hearts and will dedicate our lives to seeing to it that she lives in the light…and look, when you grow up with that kind of love and caring, there’s really no way that the darkness can settle in.

I’ve met the most beautiful girl in the world; and she is going to shine for all the world to see in interesting and wonderful ways.

And me?  I’m her Pa-Pa, Steve Runner…reminding you to run long and taper.


Wine Review: 07 Louis M Martini Cab Sauv (Sonoma)

Before we get started, I have a confession to make (I do that a lot, because of all the mistakes I’m prone to make).  Today I was going to write a wine review of a REALLY CRAPPY wine.  I was going to make my best effort at picking something out that looked like it was made from the last minute drippings of jug wine, with flakes of the cap (a “wine cap” is the collection of floating grape skins that floats to the top of fermenting red wine, and has to be pushed down frequently to remain in contact with the wine, it kinda looks like a badly healing SCAB).

So, I grabbed a bottle that my wife picked up at a new wine store that just opened up in our area (http://www.winenation.com) from a vintner that has a long history for making the aforementioned “jug” type wines.

But as I’ve expressed before, quite clearly, in previous Intervals wine reviews; My wife has an incredible palatte and taste in wine (sadly, her taste in men isn’t her strong point: much to my advantage!).

I uncorked a bottle of the 2007 Louis M Martini Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma Country (Louis Martini once wrote that his heart is in Napa, but his soul is in Sonoma) and without expecting much (aside from an opportunity to write a bad review about a red wine, something I’ve not yet done on this blog) I breathed in the nose.

Let’s just say I was surprised; but shouldn’t have been.  My wife picked this one.

Color (6/10)
The color of this wine is kinda bland, dusty  and rusty.  This isn’t a bad thing, and to be honest I’ve always been glad that Parker’s scoring system doesn’t give much weight to the color of the wine, because all too often you’re dealing with a “don’t judge the book by it’s cover” syndrome.  My low score on the 07 Martini Cab is based on the dull color at the edge of the wine, where the surface meets the glass.  I’m not expert (haven’t we established this already?) but when I’m in doubt about the color of a wine: I always look at the edges.  If it has a lighter colorful hue, I assume that my vision is being impaired by poor lighting or old age.  In this case, the word “lackluster” comes to mind, so I scored it a 6.

Nose (28/30)
Ahhhh, what’s this?  Notes of cherry and slate that doesn’t seem to be assaulting my olfactory nerves with a “HEY YOU: CHECK OUT THE FRUIT!!!” signal.  This is mild and mellow, but fruity with an undertone of chalky goodness. I let this open up for a half hour after I uncorked it, and it started getting a little buttery notes on the fringes.  I wasn’t expecting this (I think I’ve mentioned that a few times already); this had a great nose!  I’m marking it a 28 out of 30, which I think is fair.  You have to be a little subjective sometimes when tasting wine, and I’m a Malbec/Cab Fran freak: each with a distinctive nose.  This 07 Martini Cab isn’t distinctive…you have to spend some time with it before you can figure out what it’s all about: but I loved the subtleness of the nose…it’s classic, simple and not overpowering.  It loses 2 points only because I had to work a little harder to figure it out.  A Master Sommelier would laugh heartily at me.

Palate (37/40)
On the first sip of this wine, I got a shock of tart…something I wasn’t prepared for with a Cab…but as the finish settled in with sweet persistence, I found myself tensing my cheek muscles (here in Oxford, Massachusetts: we call that “a smile”, New Englanders being a bit on the conservative side tend not to do that too often.  A yuh).

I was expecting vinegar.  I got sweet tarty joy.  I was expecting bland wet dog cardboard; I got cherry, watermelon chunks with raspberry sauce and some Italian herbs in the mix.  “Oh man!” I spoke aloud (seriously, I said that out loud), “this is friggin’ outstanding!”

When it came to scoring, I gave it a 37.  Well deserved.

Overall (18/20)
In the end, this wine deserves an overall rating of 18.  It doesn’t look like it’ll be good, but the nose is sublime and the palate is filled with a rustic juicy goodness.  This is a classic Sonoma Cab Sauv, and YES: I KNOW THAT YOU SOMMELIER’S OUT THERE HAVE LOST ALL RESPECT FOR ME, but wine tasting isn’t about yielding to the recommendations of wine critics and aficionados: it’s about tasting new and different wines and drinking what you like.

I like the 07 Louis M Martini Cab Sauv.

Here you go: 
6+28+37+18= 89

I really don’t have much more to say about this one.  It’s well balanced, it’s a good, solid basic California Cab Sauv and I really enjoyed it a lot.  Would I buy it again?  Yeah, of course!  It’s not the greatest Cab Sauv I’ve ever tasted, but it’s good…REALLY good.

Besides, my wife picked it out and I’ve come to understand that she has supernatural taste in wine…and I’m thinking she didn’t do so bad in the husband department either (I guess).


- Steve