Wine and Hockey Under the Moon

February 22, 2015

So…

Last night, my uncle took me to a hockey game…

There’s nothing really out of the ordinary about that.  My uncle and I have been to a lot of hockey, football, and baseball games together.

What made last night special was that the hockey game, in which my San Jose Sharks hosted the L.A. Kings, was played at Levi’s Stadium, home of my San Francisco 49ers, as part of the NHL Stadium Series.

Here’s what it looked like from our seats…

Levi's Stadium hosting a hockey game

Levi’s Stadium: Home of the Sharks?

Now, look…

I’m not going to get into the details of what happened in the game. Who cares if the stupid Kings won?

This blog is about wine, right?

So here’s what I had for dinner at the game…

Wine and a Frank

Wine and a Frank. One of these things cost $11.

Now, let’s get into this wine…

Fetzer Crimson 2011 Red Blend

Fetzer Crimson 2011 Red Blend

This red blend from Fetzer comes in a 187 ml (just over 6 ounces) Zipz cup.  Perfect for a stadium environment, the individual plastic cup has a resealable lid, so you don’t have to worry about spilling it everywhere when you’re carrying it back to your seat.  It’s $11 at the stadium, and available in stores from $3 – $6.

Now, let’s talk about the juice in the plastic glass…

Color: Dark ruby red.

Nose: Nice!  Notes of cranberry, orange juice, and a little lime zest. On some level, this wine reminds me of a young, thinned out version of a Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

(Side Note: Zipz are filled to the top with wine, if you’re used to sticking your nose in the glass, like I am, you may end up with wine in your nose… like I did.)

Taste: The Fetzer Crimson is a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon (along with some other stuff).  It’s very fresh on the palate.  Bright notes of cranberry and raspberry fruit.  There is a nice richness to this wine, though it may, in part, be due the the plastic vessel I drank it from.

Score: Not bad!  This wine is what it is.  A nice, fresh, red wine that comes in a plastic cup.  I can’t really get mad at the $11 price point. You’re never going to find your favorite cult wine in a plastic cup at a hockey game… or if you did, you’d pay through the (wine covered) nose for it.  I’m giving it an 83.

You could do worse…

Much worse…

You could be a Kings fan.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

We want to hear from you.  Let us know how you feel about wine in plastic cups.  Leave your comments below.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 156: How’s Your Vertical?

February 16, 2015

In this episode, Jeff tastes through some samples of Cabernet Franc from Cornerstone Cellars…

Wine Tasted:

Cornerstone Cellars 2011 and 2012 Black Label Cabernet Franc

Cornerstone Cellars 2011 and 2012 Black Label Cabernet Franc

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Cabernet Franc: European or Californian?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 155: Try Fun

February 12, 2015

In this episode, Jeff tries a Sangiovese from the Sierra Foothills…

Wine Tasted:

Tryphon Vineyards 2009 Sierra Foothills Sangiovese

Tryphon Vineyards 2009 Sierra Foothills Sangiovese

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your favorite domestic Sangiovese?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

What’s better than wine? FREE WINE! The Underground Cellar $50 Stay Rad Giveaway starts now…

February 7, 2015

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may have heard mention of Underground Cellar more than a couple of times.  I’ve got a lot of love for them.

Why?

Because, quite honestly, they provide the coolest way to order wines on the entire internet… and the internet is a big place.

When you go to their website, you will see several wine offers (usually in the 20 – 50 dollar price range).  These wines are always changing, but they are always geek-worthy.

Now… Here is where the fun part comes in…

Wines are placed into lots.  The price listed is actually for the cheapest wine in the lot.  These wines typically make up about 50% of lot.

The rest…

UPGRADES!

Imagine laying down $23 for a very exciting, 2010 Bordeaux, but you have a 52% chance of getting upgraded to one of two Napa Valley Cabernets ($26 and $38), or even better… a 2005 Chateau Brane-Cantenac!  That’s a $100 bottle of wine from one of the most epic vintages of Bordeaux ever!  Your boy, Robert Parker, gave this wine a 95!

Note: This is a current offer, as of 2/7/2015, that may not be available by the time the contest ends, but there are similar offers on Underground Cellar all the time.

Basically, buying wine from the Underground Cellar brings all the excitement of gambling, without any of the regret… ‘Cause whether you were upgraded or not, you’re still coming home with a great bottle of wine.

That’s why it is my esteemed pleasure to announce this contest…

The Underground Cellar and Stay Rad Wine Blog $50 Gift Card Giveaway!  Try saying that 5 times real fast!

The Underground Cellar and Stay Rad Wine Blog $50 Gift Card Giveaway! Try saying that 5 times real fast!

That’s right!

Just because I like you guys so much, I procured you a chance to wine $50 to the coolest way to buy wine on the internet!

All you have to do is click the image above (or follow the link right here), enter your info, and you’re good.

The contest runs through Valentine’s Day (That’s February 14th, foo!), and you must be a resident of the United States of America (Sorry Central Otagans and Canadians) and at least 21 years old to enter.

Well…

What are you waiting for?

Go get you some free wine!

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Do you typically buy wine online?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 154: Soul Fight

January 30, 2015

In this episode, Jeff samples a product which claims to remove sulfites from wine on a killer sample of some Finger Lakes Riesling.  Watch all the way to the end of the show to learn how to get yourself some FREE STUFF…

Wine Tasted:

Villa Bellangelo 1866 Reserve 2012 Riesling with Just the Wine sulfite drops

Villa Bellangelo 1866 Reserve 2012 Riesling with Just the Wine sulfite drops

Stay Rad,

Jeff

 To get yourself in the running to get a sample of Just the Wine, leave a comment, letting us know how long you have been a follower of StayRadWineBlog.com, a Stay Rad Wine Blog TV watcher, or a listener of the We Like Drinking Podcast.  We’d love to hear from you.

Wine from North Carolina: A We Like Drinking Podcast Exclusive

January 29, 2015

Every Wednesday night, when I get together with my friends from We Like Drinking via Google+ to record the We Like Drinking Podcast, each member of the squad spends a little time talking about the drink that is in their glass at that moment.

This week, I broke into a really special wine that I’ve been sitting on for a while…

But it had to be done…

This week, it was reported that Police recovered almost all of the 76 bottles (worth an estimated $300,000) stolen from French Laundry on Christmas day.  Police recovered the wine from a private wine cellar in North Carolina.

In honor of the the good guys saving the day for all high-end food and luxury wine aficionados out there, I found just the wine to drink…

Biltmore Reserve 2011 North Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon.  What?  You thought I was going to pop open some DRC?  You crazy!

Biltmore Reserve 2011 North Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon. What? You thought I was going to pop open some Screaming Eagle or DRC? You crazy!

This North Carolina Cabernet was a gift from my sister, who visited the Biltmore Estate a few years back.  If you’d like to hear my exclusive take on this particular wine, check out the beginning of this weeks episode of the We Like Drinking Podcast.

You can stream the episode here, or search it up on iTunes under “We Like Drinking Podcast” (you may as well subscribe while you’re there).  We’d love to get your feedback in the comments here, on Twitter (#WeLikeDrinking), or on the We Like Drinking website.  And… of course, if you like it, tell a friend.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s (Not Quite) Cookin’?

January 24, 2015

Hey Y’all,

Just checking in to show you what’s for dinner…

Talapia Ceviche on Mini Tortillas

Tilapia Ceviche on Mini Tortillas

And here’s the wine sample that went with it…

Villa Bellangelo 2012 Dry Riesling

Villa Bellangelo 2012 Dry Riesling

What are y’all having for dinner?

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 153: France vs Italy

January 24, 2015

In this episode, Jeff pits two cool-climate Gewürztraminer samples against each other.

Wine Tasted:

Willm 2012 Gewurztraminer, Elena Walch 2013 Gewurztraminer, and Curry Soup

Willm 2012 Gewurztraminer, Elena Walch 2013 Gewurztraminer, and Curry Soup

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your favorite Gewürztraminer? Leave a comment, and let us know.

10 MORE things Starbucks won’t tell you…

January 18, 2015

2014 was a bad year for the coffee giant, Starbucks.  Last fall, the company faced a viral onslaught of amazingly thorough masterpieces of investigative journalism and top ten lists from the likes of the Food Babe, Thrillist, and BuzzFeed.

Each of these riveting exposés, which proved so bad for Starbucks, were so good… so informative… so original that it appeared that every news outlet who chose to cover the scandal decided to copy the story and publish it as their own… And I loved every single one.

There’s only one problem about all these top ten lists…

The deeper you dig into the corporate enigma known as Starbucks, the more you realize that there are way more than just ten things that the company has been hiding from you.

So…

I decided to do a little research for myself, and share it with you.

I present to you…

10 MORE things Starbucks won’t tell you!

You can't handle the truth!

You can’t handle the truth!

1. Temperature Matters

Sure.  Even your average barista knows the difference between “iced” and “extra hot”.  But, when I asked them what temperature I should serve my red wine at, they looked at me like I was crazy.

The truth is that the serving temperature of wine definitely matters.  Red wine should ideally be consumed somewhere between 57 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.  So, if you’re the type of jerk who leaves their red wines on the kitchen counter at room temperature, throw it into the fridge a half an hour before you plan on drinking it.  It’ll taste way better than a Mocha Frapachino.

2. Screw You

If it were up to Starbucks, every beverage would be sealed just loosely enough with a plastic lid and a green stick to splash their scalding hot concoction all over your crotch.  When it comes to wine, however, the bottle closure is really important.

While corks have been the reigning champ in the wine game for a few centuries now, modern technology has provided some great, synthetic, alternative closures.  Screw tops have been all the rage in Australia and New Zealand  for a while, and even some heavy hitting producers in the States (like Bonny Doon Vineyard) have switched exclusively to these closures.

Starbucks would never have told you this.

3. Legs Don’t Matter

Last time I was at StarSucks (see what I did there), I watched an employee dump his Caramel Macchiato into a glass, swirl it around, and hold it up to the light.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Checking out the legs,” he responded.  “This is some high-end stuff!”

Oh brother!

See… The thing is, when it comes to wine, as pretty as legs running down a glass can appear, they have nothing to do with the overall quality of the juice.  It’s really just a product of the alcohol in the wine evaporating before the rest of the wine has a chance to rejoin the rest of the juice.

If your coffee had alcohol in it, it’d make legs too… That, and it would taste better.

4. Price and Quality are Not the Same Thing

Starbucks doesn’t hide the fact that it is way more expensive to buy a cup of coffee at their store than it is to make it yourself.  Everybody knows that.  What they refuse to tell you, however, is that the price of wine has virtually no impact on quality.

Sure… While it’s almost impossible to find a truly great Pinot Noir for under $20, for the same price you can take home some of the best Gamay-based wines (with a similar profile to Pinot Noir) on the planet.  The key here is to search for value… Starbucks will offer you none of that.

5. Flavor Flav

We all know that there is no actual pumpkin in the Pumpkin-Spiced Latte, but Starbucks will never tell you the truth about your favorite flavors in wine.  Did you know that of all the common flavors that we taste in Cabernet Sauvignon (Plum, Cassis, Blackberry, and the like), not a single one of these things are actual ingredients in the wine.

Let me repeat that…

There are no Blackberries in your Cabernet!

6. Soul Fight

Not only are preservatives found in your fancy espresso drink, they’re also found in your wine.  What Starbucks refuses to tell you is that Sulfites don’t matter.

Sulfites are naturally found in grapes, but are added to almost all wine to prevent contamination, and allow them to age longer.  There are some people who actually do have sensitivities to Sulfites (less than one in a hundred).  Starbucks is afraid to tell you that you are (most likely) not one of these people…

You’re not that special.

7. Second’s the Best?

Starbucks is not the only company that started from humble beginnings, only to climb their way out to world domination.  They will never tell you about Chateau Mouton Rothschild…

When the wines of Bordeaux were originally classified into tiers in 1855, Mouton was listed as a Second Growth!

I know!  It’s enough injustice to make a soccer mom spit her Oprah Chai Tea Latte all over her Target Coupon App.

Anyways…

After over a century of lobbying, Chateau Mouton Rothschild was reclassified as a First Growth in 1973.

8. The Perfect Pairing

No.  No.  No.

I’m not talking about the scone you ordered with your Americano.

I’m talking about Champagne and Potato Chips.

Starbucks will sell you neither of these items.

Jerks!

9. What are You Waiting For?

Starbucks wants you to drink your coffee the moment the barista serves you… Apparently their coffee tastes like poop once the temperature starts to dip.

What they refuse to tell you is that there is no need to save your wine for a special occasion.  The way I see it, the more wine you save, the less wine you drink.  If you keep waiting until “just the right time” to pop that cork, you’re never going to get the chance to enjoy it.

That’s right…

Starbucks does not want you to enjoy your wine.

10. Everyone’s a Critic

Starbucks literally pays five hundred thousand zillion million dollars every day to convince you that their coffee is the best.  This is not news.

In a world where wine aisles are littered with 90-point scores from every critic under the sun, Starbucks does not want you to know that YOUR opinion about the wine you drink is the only one that matters.  I find myself disagreeing with the likes of Robert Parker, Wine Spectator, and Wine Enthusiast all the time.  I’m sure many of you may disagree with some of my reviews…

But…

You are the one that is paying for your wine.

And you are the one who has to drink it.

So, quit trying to convince yourself to like something that you really don’t, just because some random guy with fancy credentials and a nice tie tells you it’s the vintage of the century.

In Conclusion:

After compiling this detailed list, I feel like I’m just barely scratching the surface on things that Starbucks won’t tell you… especially when it comes to wine.

Please be sure to share this article with your friends, and keep the movement going.

We cannot let Starbucks get away with this!

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What else is Starbucks not telling us?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

We Like Drinking (and so do I): A Podcast

January 17, 2015

Not so long ago, my wine-blogging buddy, Jeff Eckles, told me that he, along with Jim Myers (his partner at the Beer/Wine Blog “We Like Drinking”) and their friend John Ruyak, was starting up a podcast, and asked me if I would be willing to come along for the ride (in spite of my penchant for long pauses, the words “um” and “you know”, glitchy microphones, and run-on sentences).

I was like, “Sure!”

Well…

A few practice Google Hangouts later, our first episode of The We Like Drinking Podcast is live.

I like drinking too.

Maybe I’m a little biased, but I really enjoyed listening back to our first podcast.  There is a lot you can learn from listening to a bunch of beer and wine drinkers goof around and talk about all things drinking.

You can stream the show at WeLikeDrinking.com or download it from iTunes right now, so please subscribe, give it a listen, and tell us what you think.

Stay Rad,

Jeff


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