Category Archives: 2010

2007 Nerelo Del Bastardo

Put yr dukes up!

Now here’s an Italian red wine that really knows how to stand up for itself.  It’s a blend of 50% Whoop-Ass and 50% Take-Numbers. When Chuck Norris went to Italy as a baby, this what was in his sippy cup.

Nerelo Del Bastardo.  Yep, I think you know what this goes well with.  Big food.  That giant hunk o’ vaca you’ve been marinating all day, cooked slow on the grill.  Ya baby, this is where it’s at.

Trader Joe’s, $8.99.  The wine guy pointed me at another bottle by these same guys he says is event meater.  Yum, can’t wait.

Pastora Cream Sherry

cream sherry

Another nifty inexpensive sherrry!  Happy day for us fans of tasty Spanish stuff!

“Cream” sherry is a sweet wine, often saved for desert.  However, if you’re me (and some of you out there are) will find this yummy any time of day.   This one is definitely full-flavored and it’s going down well with this delicioso Spanish chorizo which I happen to have handy.  You might say it’s got a bit of carmel maybe, or maybe a bit of brown sugar flavor.  For $4.99 at Trader Joe’s I say it’s darn yummy.

From Wikipedia:
“Sweet Sherries
(Jerez Dulce in Spanish) are made either by fermenting dried Pedro Ximénez or Moscatel grapes, which produces an intensely sweet dark brown or black wine, or by blending sweeter wines or grape must with a drier variety. Cream Sherry is a common type of sweet sherry made by blending different wines.”

Pastora Fino Sherry


I never thought much of Sherry before I spent some quality time in the area around Jerez, Spain. While technically a white wine, Sherry is actually a little different. I like my sherry chilled a little bit.  This Fino is light like it’s supposed to be a bit floral and fruity and of course, good with snacks!

The Spanish are your go-to people on snacking.

Pastora Fino Sherry.  $4.99 at Trader Joe’s.  Go get yourself some!

Trade Winds Tripel

Tradewinds Tripel
Tradewinds Tripel

From The Bruery in California comes Trade Winds Tripel, “belgian-style ale brewed with rice and Thai basil” says the label.

What’s it like?  Floral, alcoholic, definitely a bit like sake.  Delicate.

This beverage tastes like it is balanced, balanced in a way you may never be.  Me?  I’m not balanced, merely “aimed”.

This beer is balanced like a cartoon kung-fu master on top of a stone monolith, busting down his student’s sad rookie attitude with his mad skills.

I wish I could say I could taste the basil, but perhaps someone who hasn’t smoked a big cigar earlier could.  It feels good that it might be in there.

I call it good, go out and pick up two bottles and send one to me.

White Fungus Bird’s Nest Drink and Men’s Pocky

White Fungus Bird's Nest Drink now in cans!
White Fungus Bird's Nest Drink
Men's Pocky
Men's Pocky

I love Asian grocery stores, because I like unusual food.  So I couldn’t resist the Wonderfarm brand White Fungus Bird’s Nest drink.  The can claims the ingredients are: water, sugar, white fungus and bird’s nest.  It’s a clear liquid with chunks of white stuff floating in it.  Oddly enough, it tastes like a liquid twinkie.  The Wonderfarm web site claims this stuff is a “health supplement”.  Nothing like a whole lotta sugar to turbo-up your health performance.  Frankly, this stuff is kinda boring.  Other than looking a little weird, it doesn’t bring anything to the game.

But then there’s Pocky.  I happen to love Pocky.  I could not turn down the chance to try some “Men’s Pocky”.  At last!  Pocky – for him! Ok, it’s dark chocolate Pocky, and of course, it’s delicious.  WTF it has to do with Testosterone-Americans, I can’t say.  Perhaps if you eat enough of it you become a sumo wrestler.  Not a bad idea, really.

2008 Grüner Veltliner

2008 Grüner Veltliner
2008 Grüner Veltliner

Here in Portland, Oregon the skies are starting to clear. (just occasionally – don’t get too excited yet)  What have we found at New Seasons Market for ten bucks?  picnic wine!

Yes, it’s got a delightful light white wine flavor.  Perhaps a wee hint of lemons, perhaps a wee bit of something peppery.

But get this – it’s got a bottlecap!  It comes in a one liter bottle!  I officially pronounce this wine awesome.

Put one (or two) of these in your picnic basket sometime soon.

From Weingut Berger, Austria

Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

"Cupcake" Wine

Here’s a wine one cannot taste without tasting the name.  I mean really, “cupcake” wine?  So far this poor bottle of inexpensive red stuff has been the butt of endless derision.  What does it taste like?  I guess you could say that it tastes like every one of those eight George Washingtons you dropped on it.

“Gets the Job Done.” – Alan

When Jerez Met Shaoxing

Wine image
Rice Wine or Lice Wine?

This week’s discovery: sometimes, if you can’t get an exotic ingredient, it’s because it isn’t any good.

Having been on something of an asian cooking kick recently, I noticed that I kept seeing recipes that called for Shaoxing rice wine, which is more or less impossible to find here in Pennsylvania.  The longer I went without any, the better is sounded.  Finally, the grass growing intensely green, and sucked in by the marketing promises of  “drinking quality” rice wine, I asked my friend Steve to pick some up in Portland and ship it to me.

Here’s the thing about the phrase “drinking quality.”  There are people in this world who drink Sterno, too. Continue reading When Jerez Met Shaoxing