Posts Tagged ‘49ers’

The Rad List: The Raddest of the Rad from 2013

January 17, 2014

It’s that time of the year everybody!

It’s time for the Rad List!

What you are about to read is an alphabetical list of my most memorable wines from 2013. These are not necessarily the top scoring wines that I tasted in 2013 (for that, just take a look at my Rad Wine Reviews page). These are the wines that were delicious, thought-provoking, and just plain rad. Along with each wine, I’ll give you the reason why I picked them, as well as my original tasting notes.


Without further ado…

The Rad List: The Raddest of the Rad from 2013

1. Big Basin Vineyards 2009 Coastview Vineyard Pinot Noir – 91+


Big Basin Vineyards 2009 Coastview Vineyard Pinot Noir

Another tasting with my old buddy, Dave TheVegetarian.  Another knockout wine.

Dave and I both grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Now… He’s not normally a Pinot Noir guy, but he was very stoked on the mountain fruit from this Big Basin Vineyards effort.  Here’s the original video of our tasting…

2. Cornerstone Cellars 2010 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon – 91+


Cornerstone Cellars 2010 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

I’ve been such a big fan of Cornerstone over the years.  You have got to try their Oregon Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.  Always fantastic.

But… The power, balance, and structure of their Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is where their proverbial bread is buttered.

So… When I had the opportunity to taste their 2010 Napa Valley and Howell Mountain efforts side-by-side, I jumped all over it.

Here’s the 49+ minute food and wine pairing video I posted on these wines…

3. Dehlinger 1998 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – 93


Dehlinger 1998 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

One of two wines I had the privilege of tasting from my Uncle Art’s cellar last spring.  Here are my original tasting notes…

Color: Light rusty burgundy red.

Nose: Bacon and mushrooms up front, followed by a juicy strawberry component.

Taste: Ripe strawberry on the front palate gives way to leather and mushrooms.  There’s a nice touch of black pepper that is sprinkled throughout.

Score: We were all impressed by the longevity of this wine.  There’s a great acidity to this wine that, along with the balanced backbone of 14.5% alcohol, that kept this wine quite fresh some 15 years after bottling.  93, y’all!

4. The Infinite Monkey Theorem 2011 Cabernet Franc – 92+


The Infinite Monkey Theorem 2011 Cabernet Franc

One of my favorite parts about doing this blog is the great number of friends I’ve been able to make in the wine and wine-blogging community.  One such wine-blogging friend is Jeff Eckles of

Jeff lives in Colorado.

He’s a Denver Broncos fan.

I’m a huge San Francisco 49ers fan… But you knew that already.

Last year, during the NFL playoffs, our two favorite teams were looking to be the favorites to go to, and subsequently win, the Superbowl.  So… We made a bet…

If the Broncos went further in the playoffs, I would send him a bottle of wine from California.

If the 49ers went further, he would send me a wine from Colorado.

The 49ers, of course, went farther.

Now… Although I was heartbroken at the Niners just missing out on a sixth Superbowl ring last year (I mean… Come on… The best offensive line in the NFL gets a first and goal at the seven, and you dial up three straight passing plays!?!?!?!), this bottle of The Infinite Monkey Theorem helped to ease my pain.  Here is the original tasting video I did for the wine…

Incidentally, Jeff and I have the same bet going on this year too.

Follow us on Twitter (@JeffIsRad and @JeffEckles) to see trash talking live on game day.

5. Long Meadow Ranch 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – 92


Long Meadow Ranch 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Last year, I made a half-assed attempt to create my own wine day.

The idea was that the Sunday before the Superbowl would forever be known as #StayRadDay (A day to celebrate family, friends, wine, and this blog… A bad idea… I know).

Now… Although my attempt at making my own wine day fell flat, this Cabernet from Long Meadow Ranch saved the day.

Here’s my original video tasting for this wine…

6. Pontificis 2011 Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre – 91+


Pontificis 2011 Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre

If I were to only place one wine from 2013 on The Rad List, this would be it.  Here are my original tasting notes…

You know that I am a big fan of Rhone-style wines.

You also know that I’ve been loving the value and quality of wines coming from the Languedoc-Roussillon in Southern France.


When I see a seven dollar Languedoc composed of the popular GSM Rhone blend of Grenache (50%), Syrah (30%), and Mourvedre (20%), you know I’m going to be all over it.

But… Does it deliver?

Hells to the yeahs, it does!

Note: I opened, and poured, this wine a good 45 minutes before tasting it.

Color: A dense, and inky, deep ruby red.

Nose: Beautiful notes of dusty chocolate with fresh strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry fruits.

Taste: Though young, this wine has a medium body of very soft, and approachable tannins.  The front palate starts off strong with dense and brambly fruits of blackberry and dark cherry, which transition nicely to a mid-palate of cranberries and orange zest.  On the finish, these fruits begin to raisinate, and show off a wonderfully long, acidic finish.

Score: Wow!  This wine is a strong 91+…

And I almost feel bad scoring it that low.  My only reservation is that this wine appears to lack the ageability of a truly fine wine… But… C’mon guys… This wine is what it is.  This is a fantastic wine that is ready to be consumed right, the F, now… And the great part is that you can find this at your local Trader Joe’s… Right.  The F.  Now.  Of course, if you shop at my local TJ’s, you’re gonna have some trouble finding it.  I’m buying them all up.  Right.  The.  F.  Now.

7. Ridge 1981 York Creek Devils Hill Petite Sirah – 94


Ridge 1981 York Creek Devils Hill Petite Sirah

The second of two wines that my Uncle Art shared with me last spring.  This was I wine I had anticipated tasting with him for months, and when he finally broke it open, I was very much impressed.  Here are my original tasting notes…

Color: As older wines go, it has still retained a lot of its red color, though it does get brownish orange near the edges.

Nose: Beautiful notes of menthol and tobacco leaf with one of those dried out oranges decorated with cloves.

Taste: On the palate, this wine is straight herbaceous.  Forest floor and tobacco leaf for days.  There’s a nice note of dried cranberries that gives an impression of sweetness to this dry wine.

Score: What is most impressive about this Petite Sirah is that 32 years later, the grapes are still bringing these massive tannins.  My feeling is that the wine has the structure to go another 10 years.  This wine is massive, yet subtle in its complexity.  Does anybody else have one of these bottles they’d like to share with me?  94, fa sho!

8. Twomey 2008 Merlot – 92


Twomey 2008 Merlot

Last April, Kara and I took a tour of the Silver Oak, Napa Valley winery.  As impressive as the Silver Oak wines are (and we got to taste a bunch), the most memorable wine of the day was from their sister label.  Here are my original tasting notes…

Twomey is the sister label of Silver Oak. With a slogan like “Life is a Cabernet”, it would be kind of weird to see a Silver Oak Merlot or Pinot Noir.  This Twomey Merlot is their ode to the great wines of Pomerol in Bordeaux, France.  As such, this wine has been aged on French oak.  It costs $50.

Color: Lighter ruby red.

Nose: Blackberry fruit with hints of vanilla and spice.

Taste: Massive blackberry and blueberry fruit, balanced out with a good acidity and herbaceous notes of black tea.

Score: Yes. The Napa Valley Cab is worth it at $110, but the Twomey Merlot at $50 is a steal. 92.

9. Viña Eguía 2007 Reserva Rioja – 93


Viña Eguía 2007 Reserva Rioja

A gift from Dave TheVegetarian’s dad, Papa Don Cattivera, this wine was originally released in 2011 for $20.  At the time of the tasting, it was available at CostCo for $8.  I would pay $35 to get my hands on another bottle.

Here is the original video I made for this wine…


There you have it.

Another year…

Another Rad lineup of wines.

Stay Rad,


What was the Raddest wine you tasted in 2013? Leave a comment, and tell us about it.


Get Out of Town!

January 22, 2013

Sunday was awesome!

Earlier in the day, Kara and I watched the 49ers dominate the Falcons… But you already knew that.

After the game, we decided to drive on down to Monterey for dinner.

After checking in to the Hyatt Regency, we enjoyed a little wine while getting ready for dinner…


Krupp Brothers 2007 Stagecoach Vineyard Black Bart Syrah

This Krupp Brothers Syrah holds a special place for us.  It was part of a wedding gift to Kara and me from Jan and Dr. Jan Krupp of Stagecoach Vineyard.  We have been sitting on this wine since the Summer of 2010… Waiting for the perfect occasion… With the 49ers headed to the Super Bowl, we figured that this was as good a time as any.


On to the wine…

Color: Black.  This wine is black.  Look… Syrah can get inky… And, yes… There is a little bit of red in this wine, but this Syrah is black!  Look…


Black! This is probably due to the awesome power of Stagecoach Vineyard… That and the 2% Viognier that’s blended into it. Yes… Viognier is a white grape, but it makes Syrah darker. You can trust me, or feel free to google it… I’ll wait…

Nose: Tasty blackberry on the nose, with tons of black pepper.

Taste: Wow!  What a fun play between the savory notes of leather, tobacco, forest floor, and clove as well as the big fruit of cranberry, orange, and fig.  This wine is super silky and refined, but has the structure to go another 10+ years.

Score: This wine was fantastic!  The only problem was that the bottle ran out of wine too quickly.  93+ amazing points from the Krupps and their Stagecoach Vineyard.

After the wine, we hit up a really nice restaurant located at the Hyatt…


TusCA Ristorante


Kara and I split a Caesar Salad.


This Sausage and Peppers Pizza was all mine!

Make sure to tune in next time, as I tell you all about our fun day in Carmel–by-the-Sea…

Stay Rad,


Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 81: Go Niners! Go Ridge!

January 13, 2013

In this episode, Jeff celebrates a 49ers playoff win with a championship caliber wine from Ridge Vineyards…

Wine Tasted:


Ridge 2010 Buchignani Ranch Carignane

After the Fact:

I forgot to score the wine on camera.  Check out the Rad Wine Reviews page for my official score.

Stay Rad,


Fantasy Baseball 2011: Halfway to Glory!

June 20, 2011

I’ve been playing fantasy sports since 2001.  It started as a way to keep in touch with one of my long time high school friends when he was living in another state.  It did not take long, however, for this hobby to become an obsession.

The first league I took part in was of the fantasy football variety.  I’ve always been a San Francisco 49ers fan, but I never really paid attention to the rest of the NFL.  In that first season, I had a horrible draft, I didn’t win a game until week 8 (Thank you Trung Canidate!), and I got hosed in the worst trade of all time (I traded Steven Davis for Doug Flutie and Larry Centers!).  In a word, I was UNPREPARED.

In the seasons to follow, I learned the value of watching more games, reading injury reports, and listening to “experts”.  I realized that the more time you put into the game, the better your team would perform.  Don’t get me wrong.  Luck plays a HUGE role in the success of your team, but hard work is what puts you in the position to win it all.  It was not long until I won my first Fantasy Football Championship.

Football is the perfect sport for an introduction into fantasy.  Most people already watch it.  Each team only plays 16 games in the season.  There’s a limited number of players on each team that can earn you points.  And let’s be honest… Football is just RAD.

I have played other fantasy sports.  I did fantasy basketball for two seasons, but gave it up after I lost out on the championship because of a tie-breaker.  For the last two seasons, I’ve played fantasy hockey.  I hate hockey, but my buddy asked me to play, so you know…  I won the championship my first year, and came in second this last year.  If I had to choose my favorite fantasy sport though, it would have to be baseball.

My first season of fantasy baseball was in 2004.  Much like with my first football league, I came into baseball being unprepared.  My draft was horrible, and my team sucked ass for the first half of the season.  Since the baseball season is so long, I did have time to improve my situation through trades and free agency.  Although I finished 9th out of 12 teams, I knew that if I worked hard enough, I could eventually master fantasy baseball.

Here’s how I’ve done over the years in my hardcore fantasy baseball league…

Year:       Team Name:                                              Place:

2004       The Sweet High Heat                               9th of 12

2005       Tha Team Builders                                   6th of 12

2006       A Dumb Owner                                         3rd of 12

2007       The Vampire Bats                                     4th of 12

2008      The Mythical Beasts                                  8th of 14

2009      The Witty Retorts                                      4th of 14

2010       Big Papa Shango                                        4th of 14

Before the 2010 season, we decided to turn our league into keeper league, in which you can keep up to 3 players by drafting each player a round earlier than you got them the year before.

My keepers going into this season were Andrés Torres (12th round), Nick Swisher (13th round), and CJ Wilson (20th) round.  Midway through the season, Here’s what my current roster looks like…

Chris Iannetta – C

Carlos Pena – 1B

Ben Zobrist – 2B

Alex Gordon – 3B

Troy Tulowitzki – SS

Logan Morrison – OF

Nick Swisher – OF

Shin-Soo Choo – OF

Bobby Abreu – OF

Andrés Torres – Util

Jayson Werth – Util

Raul Ibanez – Util

Ryan Roberts – Util

Edwin Encarnacion – Bench

Ryan Dempster – SP

David Price – SP

Derek Holland – SP

Carlos Marmol – RP

Rafael Betancourt – RP

Leo Nunez – P

Tyler Clippard – P

Chad Qualls – P

CJ Wilson – P

Eduardo Sanchez – DL

Brad Lidge – DL

I have 3 other roster spots that I use to stream pitchers.

So here’s the deal.  My team does not look good.  There’s nothing sexy about it.  I’m middle of the pack in home runs and runs batted in.  My batting average is horrible.  My most dominant statistic is walks, for crying out loud!

With all that said, at the halfway point of the season, guess whose team is in first place?

I’ll give you a second…

That’s right!  Mine!

Big Papa Shango is in first place by a game and a half!

I’ve been asked what the appeal is with fantasy sports.  For me, the answer is simple.

I pride myself in being right… ALWAYS.  If I am beating you in fantasy sports, what it means is that I am RIGHT.  I’m running my team the right way.  I’m making the right decisions.  I picked up the right pitcher on the right day.

If I beat you, that means I’m better than you.

The problem with fantasy baseball is that I haven’t won a league yet.  I’ve been in first place before.  I’ve dominated all season long.  The playoffs, however, are a different story.  When it comes to the playoffs, that’s when my team usually lets me down.  As much as I get a kick out of winning, it’s the losing that sticks with me.  Losing is Hell.  Until I win a championship in fantasy baseball, I will never be able to have peace.

Fantasy baseball is my Mount Everest.  Halfway done, I’m feeling good.  Just half a season more ’til glory.  Glorious glory.

Wish me luck… and stay rad,


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