Black Friday Stress Relief

Black Friday Stress Relief
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Saturday, November 27, 2010


2004 Gibson’s BarossaVale Wines Shiraz – Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley If you like blackberry pie, you’ll lije this nose. It also had an earthy undertone that framed the blueberry fruit at the end. It was nice and soft on the palate, with rich blackberry and blueberry flavors, and a great dirt finish. (91 Points)

2007 Lynmar Chardonnay – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley A heavy dose of toasted amount extract on the nose, plus some lychee and pear. There was also some stone, and a nice floral finish. The palate was more buttery than nose, but it wasn’t overbearing. It had nice peach and pear, some tropical fruit, and a pretty good floral finish. (90 Points)

2009 La Posta Cocina Blanco de Blancos – Argentina, Mendoza A very mineral driven nose, with hints of fresh lemon pie underneath. There was good acidity on the palate, and citrus fruit was really lively. The stone finish went on a long time. (89 Points)

2005 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Vandal Vineyard – USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros A very interesting nose of chocolate and jalapeños, The cherry and currant aromas formed a nice backbone. The roasted herbs added a nice touch at the end. Soft on the palate, the dark fruit and mocha flavors mixed nicely on the front end. The mid-palate had some bitter herbs, but the plum finish helped out a little. (87 Points)

2006 Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT – Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT A big nose of licorice and gardenias, it also had a lot of dark fruit. The nose seemed a little disjointed. It was very light on the palate and the fruit was muted and bitter. (80 Points)

Spare Rib Vegetable Soup

I made Spare Rib Vegetable Soup


  • 3 lbs. of beef short ribs
  • Olive oil for browning meat
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and more for flavoring at the end
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks. Cut off the beet greens and save on the side.
  • 1 large turnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 ‚Äì1/ 2 cup roughly chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 a head of cabbage, shredded


  1. Lightly salt the short ribs. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a stockpot on high heat, and brown the short ribs in batches on all sides. If the pot begins to smoke, turn the heat down to medium.

  2. Remove the browned ribs from the pot.

  3. Add vinegar and stir it around to loosen up any bits on the bottom of the pot. With the heat on medium, add onions and garlic. Brown the onions and garlic then return the meat to the pot and add 10 cups of water, or just enough to cover the ribs. Partially cover and simmer for 2.5 – 3 hours. If needed, add a little extra water to the pot while simmering to keep ribs covered in liquid.

  4. Remove the meat from the pot and cut it off the bone – the meat should be tender and easily pull apart. If there is excess fat or gristle, return what you want to the pot and discard the rest.

  5. Return the meat to the soup pot and add beets, turnip and canned tomatoes.

  6. Simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, dill and cabbage. Simmer ten minutes more. Chop the beet greens up and add during the last five minutes of cooking.

  7. Adjust the flavor of the soup with salt and pepper if needed. Drizzle a little apple cider vinegar into the broth to heighten the flavor. The soup will have even richer flavor the day after it is made.

Monthly Double Blind Tasting – 11/21/2010

Monthly Double Blind Tasting – 11/21/2010
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Sunday, November 21, 2010


1985 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain – USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain Tasted double blind. The wine was dark red. It was very earthy on the nose. It also had some dirty spice and cherry. The end had some green vegetables and licorice. Bright cherry on the palate, with dirt and licorice. The mid-palate was earthy, and the finish had green vegetables. (93 Points)

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2008 Drew Family Cellars Pinot Noir Fog Eater – USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley Tasted double blind. The wine was light red and clear. Candied fruit and spice on the nose, it also had some dark fruit and smoke. There also also a green vegetable aroma on the backend that was appealing. Soft and smooth on the palate, It had dark fruit and smoke, with hints of green vegetables. The mid-palate had great acidity, and the finish was very smoky. (91 Points)

2005 Anglim Syrah Best Barrel Blend – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles Tasted double blind. The wimp was medium red and clear. Smoky with lots of forest floor, the nose also had bright cherry and raspberry. Nutmeg and cinnamon filled everything out. It was slightly sweet on the palate. It had raspberry and cherry, barnyard on the mid-palate, and a smoky finish. (90 Points)

2006 Diogenes Sauvignon Blanc – USA, California, North Coast, Lake County Tasted double blind. The wine was pale gold and slightly cloudy. A little tight on the nose, but there was hints of stone, citrus, apple, and pear. Rich and slightly buttery on the palate, with mouth-watering acidity. Lovely apple and pear flavors, backed by floral notes and stone. The finish was a little short, but did have some citrus. (90 Points)

2004 Bremer Family Zinfandel – USA, California, Napa Valley Tasted double blind, The wine was medium red and clear. Smoky and chocolatey on the nose, with nice black currant and black cherry fruit. It had a spicy note underneath, and dirt at the end. Tannic and green on the palate, it did have lots of dark fruit and chocolate. The mid-palate was smoky and the finish was earthy. (87 Points)

2009 Bodega Colome Torrontés Estate – Argentina, Salta, Calchaquies Tasted double blind. The wine was light yellow and clear. A lot of peach and floral notes on the nose, with slate and pineapple at the end. Very green and acidic on the palate, it completely overwhelmed the fruit. It had apple and lychee, stone and peach, and a peach finish. (86 Points)

2007 Crushpad The Winemakers Winner’s Wine – USA, California Tasted double blind. The wine was dark red. Rich and spicy on the nose. It had a lot of different fruit – blueberry, raspberry, cherry, and currant, plus some dirty spice. It was slightly bitter on the palate, with dark fruit and spice. (84 Points)

Thanksgiving Wines

Thanksgiving Wines
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Saturday, November 20, 2010


2009 Terredora di Paolo Greco di Tufo Loggia della Serra – Italy, Campania, Greco di Tufo DOCG A stone fruit dominated nose of peach and nectarine, it had a good backbone of minerals and herbs. The slight floral smell at the end adds extra dimensions to the aromas. Much more weighty and creamy on the palate then I was expecting, the stone fruit flavors really shined. The stone and minty mid-palate really opened things up for the floral finish. (90 Points)

2009 Long Shadows Wineries Riesling Poet’s Leap – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley An interesting nose of burnt match and melon, there were secondary aromas of peach and flowers. Slightly sweet on the palate, it had lots of peach and stone, a little melon in the middle, and a pleasant floral finish. (90 Points)

2006 Perrin & Fils Vacqueyras Les Christins – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Vacqueyras If you’re looking for lots of fruit, this ain’t it. Pencil lead and licorice aromas surrounded the red and dark fruits. There was lots of acid on the palate, and the graphite and iron flavors were very pronounced. It finished with dark fruit. (89 Points)

2007 Hugel et Fils Riesling – France, Alsace, Alsace AOC A lively nose of lime zest and tropical fruit, there was a creaminess to it that carried some stone and floral notes. The initial attack on the palate had crushed rock and sour lime. The acid was pretty good, but the mid-palate and finish fell off too quickly. (86 Points)

2006 Anglim Roussanne – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles An herbaceous nose, but lacking much fruit. There was a little apple, but not much else. The acid was very good on the palate, and the herbaceous flavors really stood out. It had a good mouth feel and a little more fruit than the nose – mainly apple and peach. It finished with a little stone. (86 Points)


2004 Hartwell Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve – USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District Coffee and blackberry on the nose, with some cherry and cassis, and a little slate. Rich and dark on the palate, it was lots of mocha and coffee bean flavors, with just a touch of dark fruit on the finish. (91 Points)

2007 Hartford Court Pinot Noir Hailey’s Block- USA, California, Sonoma County, Green Valley This has a huge nose that is very un-pinot like. Loads of raspberry and cherry, some slate, and a little clove. Rich and thick on the palate, this wine seems more like a napa cab than a pinot. It was way too alcoholic and the richness makes me think it must have some syrah. Not horrible, but it doesn’t taste like pinot. (NR)

Siduri Tasting

Siduri Tasting
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Wednesday, November 17, 2010


2008 Siduri Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Chehalem Mountains Bright cherry and cloves on the nose, with subtle barnyard aromas lifting up the fruit. A bit of spice and floral notes rounds it all out. Not as acidic on the entry as I would have like, but pure fruit earth tones help carry everything. The mid-palate transition was smooth, with good floral notes, and the finish was nice and spicy. (91 Points)

2008 Siduri Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands Very herbal on the nose – mainly thyme and basil, with smoky oak underneath, and the berry fruit bringing up the rear. Soft on entry, The acid really shines, with dark berry fruit carrying it along. The mid-palate carries the fruit on to the finish, which adds a little spice and forest floor. (90 Points)

2008 Siduri Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands Loads of plum and raspberry jam on the nose, plus some cherry. More fruit driven than I was expecting. Spicy on the palate, the acid was pretty good on the mid-palate, and the jammy fruit really shined on the finish. (89 Points)

2006 Novy Family Wines Syrah Russian River Valley – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley Gamey and meaty on the nose, with a little cigar box. It had an earthy quality that surrounded the cherry and raspberry. Pepper brought it all together. It was more fruity on the palate than the nose, and the gamey flavors were more in he background. (89 Points)

2009 Siduri Pinot Noir Willamette Valley – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley Heavy on the raspberry and cherry jam on the nose, with subtle nuances of cinnamon and nutmeg, followed by a bit of spring flowers. The acid at the front end of the palate is very sharp. It really lifts and fruit and evens out the jamminess. The spice and floral notes really come through in the middle palate, but the finish falls off a little short. (87 Points)


I made Coq-au-vin.


  • 1 bottle /1 liter plus 1 cup/225 ml of red wine
  • 1 onion, cut into a 1-inch/2.5 cm dice
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1/4-inch/6-mm slices
  • 1 celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch/1-cm slices
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 tbs. /14g whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bouquet garni, (2 sprigs thyme, 1 sprig parsley, 1 bay leaf wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with a string)
  • 1 whole chicken, about 3.5 lb/1.35 kg, – trimmed – meaning guts, wing tips and neckbone removed
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbs. /28g olive oil
  • 6 tbs. /75g butter, softened
  • 1 tbs. /14g flour
  • 1/4 lb /112g slab or country bacon, cut into small oblongs (lardons) about 1/4 by 1 inch/6mm by 2.5 cm
  • 1/2 lb. /225 g small white button mushrooms, stems removed
  • 12 pearl onions, peeled
  • pinch of sugar


  1. DAY ONE: The day before you even begin to cook, combine the bottle of red wine, the diced onion (that’s the big onion, not the pearl onions), sliced carrots, celery, cloves, peppercorns, and bouquet garni in a large deep bowl. Add the chicken and submerge it in the liquid so that all of it is covered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

  2. DAY TWO: Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat it dry. Put it aside. Strain the marinade through the fine strainer, reserving the liquids and solids separately. Season the chicken with salt and pepper inside and out. In the large Dutch oven, heat the oil and 2 tablespoons/28 g of the butter until almost smoking, and then sear the chicken, turning it with the tongs to evenly brown it. Once browned, remove it from the pot and set it aside again. Add the reserved onions, celery, and carrot to the pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and golden brown. That should take about 10 minutes.

  3. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and mix well with the wooden spoon so that the vegetables are coated. Now stir in the reserved strained marinade. Put the chicken back in the pot, along with the bouquet garni. Cook this for about 1 hour and 15 minutes over low heat.

  4. Have a drink. You’re almost there.

  5. While your chicken stews slowly in the pot, cook the bacon lardons in the small saute pan over medium heat until golden brown. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain it on paper towels, making sure to keep about 1 tablespoon/14 g of fat in the pan. Saute the mushroom tops in the bacon fat until golden brown. Set them aside.

  6. Now, in the small saucepan, combine the pearl onions, the pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt, and 2 tablespoons/28 g of butter. Add just enough water to just cover the onions; then cover the pan with the parchment paper trimmed to the same size of the pan. (I suppose you can use foil if you must.) Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the water has evaporated. Keep a close eye on it. Remove the paper cover and continue to cook until the onions are golden brown. Set the onions aside and add the remaining cup/225 ml of red wine along with salt and pepper and reduce over medium-high heat until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.

  7. Your work is pretty much done here. One more thing and then it’s wine and kudos.

  8. When the chicken is cooked through – meaning tender, the juice from the thigh running clear when pricked – carefully remove from the liquid, cut into quarters, and arrange on the deep serving platter. Strain the cooking liquid (again) into the reduced red wine. Now just add the bacon, mushrooms, and pearl onions, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons/28 g of butter. Now pour that sauce over the chicken and dazzle your friends with your brilliance. Serve with buttered noodles and a Bourgone Rouge.

Boeuf Bourguignon

I made Boeuf Bourguignon.


  • 2 lbs paleron, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup red Burgundy
  • 6 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • a little chopped parsley


  1. STAGE ONE: Season the meat with salt and pepper. In the Dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat until it is almost smoking. Add the meat, in batches – NOT ALL AT ONCE! – and sear on all sides until it is well browned (not gray). You dump too much meat in the pot at the same time and you’ll overcrowd it; cool the thing down and you won’t get good color. Sear the meat a little at a time, removing it and setting it aside as it finishes. When all the meat is a nice, dark brown color and has been set aside, add the onions to the pot. Lower the heat to medium high until the onions are soft and golden brown (about 10 minutes). Sprinkle the flour over them. Continue to cook for about 4 or 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the red wine. Naturally, you want to scrape up all that really good fond from the botton of the pot with your wooden spoon. Bring the wine to a boil.

  2. STAGE TWO: Return the meat to the pot and add the carrots, garlic, and bouquet garni. Add just enough water (and two big spoonfuls of demi-glace, if you have it) so that the liquid covers the meat by one third – meaning you want a ratio of 3 parts liquid to 2 parts meat. This is stew, so you want plenty of liquid, even after it cooks down and reduces. Bring to a boil, reduce to a gentle simmer, and let cook for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender (break-apart-with-a-fork tender).

  3. You should pay attention to the dish, meaning check it every 15 to 20 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot to make sure the meat is not sticking or, God forbid, scorching. You should also skim off any foam or scum or oil collecting on the surface, using a large spoon or ladle. When done, remove and discard the bouquet garni, add the chopped parsley to the pot, and serve.

Wines of Burgundy

Wines of Burgundy
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Sunday, November 14, 2010


2008 Château Génot-Boulanger Volnay 1er Cru Le Ronceret – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Volnay 1er Cru Spice and bright cherry on the nose, the wine had an aroma that really pulls you in. It transitioned to dark berries and earth, and a little stone. More earthy on the palate, the cherry and berry flavors helped support the spice and forest flavors. The minerals on the finish were great. (92 Points)

2009 Henry Fessy Moulin-à-Vent – France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Moulin-à-Vent I loved the mix of banana peels and strawberry on the nose. In the middle was damp earth and spice, and some good minerality at the end. The palate was juicy, with good acidity, and bright red fruit. The spice on the mid-palate gave a nice kick start to the stone on the finish. (92 Points)

2005 Domaine A.-F. Gros Echezeaux – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Echezeaux Grand Cru I loved the black tea, cherry, and wet leaves smell on the nose. It seemed to be be hiding more than it was showing at this point, making me think you should not open this very long time. The palate was very much like the nose, with a great acid back-bone. (91 Points)

2003 Deux Montille Corton-Renardes – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton Grand Cru A lot of sassafras and cherry, with a little earth and spice mixed in. Juicy on the palate, the cherry and tea mix was very good. The mid-palate had good acid, and finish had the same cherry and tea flavors as the beginning. (91 Points)

2005 Domaine des Perdrix Nuits St. Georges – France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Nuits St. Georges A good wet leaves and cherry mix lead the way, with some spice and dark berries in the middle, and a little sweet and sour aromas at the end. It was a bit tannic on the palate, probably because it is so young, but the fruit was tasty and the forest flavors were nice. (90 Points)

2006 Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune 1er Cru Grèves Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Beaune 1er Cru An interesting nose of coffe and raspberry, with a little cherry and earth thrown in to the mix. A juicy palate of cherry and berry, with earth and coffee bean on the mid-palate. The finish was a little tannic, but had some good minerality. (90 Points)

2007 A. et P. de Villaine Aligoté Bouzeron – France, Burgundy, Côte Chalonnaise, Bouzeron A nice stony nose, with good citrus and apple flavors. There was a slight creamy spice on the tail end. It had great acidity, and a nice crispness to the fruit. There was some lemon and pear, a little melon, and the finish had a massive amount of crushed rock. (88 Points)

2008 Château de la Maltroye Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos du Château de la Maltroye – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Not my style of Chardonnay. The nose was very tight. All I got was buttered popcorn. The palate was a little better. It still had the buttery oak, but it was slightly hidden by the apple and minerals. The finish had a lot of citrus. (86 Points)

2008 Hofkellerei des Fürsten von Liechtenstein Vaduzer Pinot Noir Sélection Liechtenstein Bocker Herawingert – Liechtenstein, Vaduz A very earth nose, that hides some nice cherry and berry fruit. There’s a floral and spice component that is also very nice. Tannic and a little bitter on the palate, the fruit flavors are masked and the earth flavors are a little unpleasant. (80 Points)

Staff Favorites

Staff Favorites
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Saturday, November 13, 2010


2007 Newton Chardonnay Unfiltered – USA, California, Napa Valley A very exotic nose that kind of hid some of the oak. There was a smoky fig aroma that was mixed with melon and honey. The butter made an appearance at the end but it was masked a little by the spice. It had great acid on the palate and that nice smoky fig flavors, some melon on the mid-palate, and an interesting burnt honey flavor on the finish. (91 Points)

2008 Bodegas Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero Finca Resalso – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero This had a really earth nose. It was very floral, with nice saddle leather aromas rounding it all out. The fruit was there, but in the background. Cherry and cranberry were the main ones. Soft on the palate, it had spice mixed with leather, and a good floral finish. (90 Points)

2007 Bacio Divino Pazzo – USA, California, Napa Valley The nose reminded my of a roasted mirepoix. It had lots of onion, celery, and carrot aromas after roasting them in the oven. It also blueberry and raspberry, and a touch of spice. There was a good amount of acidity on the palate, and that was accented by the roasted mirepoix flavors. The fruit was not as dominate on the palate, but I really like the vegetale aspect, so it didn’t bother me. (89 Points)

2005 Nota Bene Cellars Syrah – USA, Washington Loads of bacon and leather on the nose, with a shot of blueberry and black cherry. At the end, it was very gamey. Soft and juicy on the palate, it was a bit tannic, but the fruit and earth flavors made it all worth it. (89 Points)

2007 Mi Sueño Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley A big juicy nose of pomegranate and cake spice, with a bit of wet leaves thrown in at the end. The palate was not as good as the nose. It had good acid and minerality, but the fruit was a bit muted and the tannins were bitter. (80 Points)

2008 Bodegas Alto Moncayo Campo de Borja Veraton – Spain, Aragón, Campo de Borja I’m not sure what to make of the nose on this wine. All I got was toasted wood. Maybe a little spice, too. I think they used too much oak on this. The palate was much like the nose. Lots of wood that completely masked the fruit. (79 Points)

Poulet Basquaise

I made Poulet Basquaise.


  • 1 whole chicken about 4 lbs. cut into 8 pieces
  • salt and black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 red bell peppers cut into julienne
  • 2 green bell peppers cut into julienne
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 16 ounces canned Italian plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light chicken stock or broth
  • 3 sprigs of flat leaf parsley finely chopped


  1. Season the chicken all over with the salt, pepper and cayenne. Heat a large pot over medium high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot add the butter. When the butter has foamed and subsided, add the chicken, skin side down, and brown on that side only! Remove chicken with tongs and set aside on a plate. Add the peppers and onion to the pot and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for about 10 minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the wine, scraping, scraping – as always – to get the good stuff up. Cook until the wine is reduced by half then add the water and the chicken stock. Return the chicken to the pot, making sure to add all the juice that’s accumulated on the plate while it rested. Cover the pot and allow to cook on low heat for about 25 minutes, then remove the chicken to your serving platter.

  2. Crank up the heat to high and reduce the sauce for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the parsley. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.

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