Posts Tagged ‘Chateauneuf-du-Pape’

Wine and Hockey Under the Moon

February 22, 2015


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,


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


Don’t hold your head so high. You won’t see the Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

November 20, 2011

Did you read my post about the Bordeaux tasting I did at Cin-Cin Wine Bar the other day?

If not, you can read it here.

Now, you gotta know that Kara and I really did have a blast at that tasting.  It’s also nice just to have an excuse to spend a day in downtown Los Gatos, CA.


(There’s always a big but.)

There was one problem…

The people.

Not all the people.

Not most of the people.

Not even one percent of the people.


The interactions that we had with just a few of the people at the tasting really put a sour note on an otherwise sweet day.

The one thing that I hate about wine is the show that some people feel like they have to put on.  You have a lot of people at these events dressing as if they are going to the opera.  Now, there is nothing wrong with dressing nice.  Nothing at all.  The problem comes when people bring along an attitude of self-importance with their freshly pressed suits… their diamonds… and their pearls.  People trying to prove how classy they are, and failing miserably.

Not long after we entered the wine bar, and had begun our tasting, Cin-Cin became quite crowded with people.  As is always the case in crowds, people will occasionally bump into each other.  It’s almost expected.  While talking to Kara, I noticed a tall gentleman in a fine suit walking in our direction while looking for his wife on the other side of the room.  As I scooted over to the left, I motioned for Kara to move with me, but it was too late…  The man walked right through Kara… almost knocking her over and spilling her glass.

Kara was not happy to be bumped so hard, but what made it worse was the reaction (or lack of reaction) of the man.  After bumping her, this “classy” older gentleman did not even break his stride.  He continued on to the other side of the room, head held high, to join his wife.  Never mind the fact that if he took the time to look around he would have avoided Kara all together.  Never mind the fact that he nearly knocked my wife to the ground.  Never mind the fact that he did not apologize for the incident.  This guy didn’t even acknowledge that the event even happened!  He was so much in his own world…  He felt that he was so much more important that everyone else, that he didn’t even recognize that we existed!  Just writing about this now makes me want to start kickpunching!

It took a few minutes for us to cool down, but Kara and I decided to move on from the incident and continue with our tasting…

Later on, I got into talking to one of the distributors about some Pomerol when an older couple broke into the conversation…

“Do you know where I can find any Chateauneuf-du-Pape?” the older gentleman asked the distributor.

“We mainly focus on Bordeaux,” the distributor responded, “so I wouldn’t really know.  I’m not from here.”

Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the best!” the woman broke in, “I can’t believe you don’t carry it!”

“Sorry,” he replied.

As the distributor moved over to help another couple, I leaned over to the couple and said, “You can find Chateauneuef-du-Papes almost anywhere.  I’ve seen plenty at BevMo, CostCo, even some at Trader Joe’s on occasion.”

“Sure they do,” the gentleman said in a very sarcastic tone as he grabbed his wife by the hand and moved over to a different table.

“Was I out of line?” I asked Kara, “I was just trying to be nice.”

The distributor looked over at me and shook his head in a way to tell me, “I feel you, brother.”

You’ve gotta know that the majority of our interactions with folks at the tasting were very pleasant.  But the bumping incident and the Chateauneuf-du-Pape episode really got to me.  Especially the Chateauneuf-du-Pape thing.

Especially the Chateauneuf-du-Pape

So, the next day, Kara and I went to CostCo.  Look what I found…


Kirkland Signature 2009 Cuvee de Nalys Chateauneuf-du-Pape!

Last night, the Thevegetarians invited us over to a dinner party, so I decided to bring the Kirkland Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  I wanted to get another bottle to bring as well, so I swung by Trader Joe’s on the way.  Guess what I saw?


Quinson 2010 Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Well, what do you know?

It was almost too perfect!

So I decided to taste these two bad boys side-by-side…


Hey, snooty couple at the Bordeaux tasting! This one’s for you! Go sit on a tack!

Before we begin, a few nerdy facts about the region…

Chateauneuf-du-Pape (New Castle of the Pope) is one of the premier winemaking regions on the southern end of the Rhone Valley.  Mainly consisting of Grenache and Syrah, these wines can also have Mourvedre, Cinsault, Picpoul, Terret, Counoise, Muscardin, Vaccarese, Picardin, Clairette, Roussanne, and Bourboulenc.  The best Chateauneuf-du-Papes should contain higher amounts of Grenache and Syrah.   If you are looking for this stuff at the store, just keep an eye out for the bottle.  Most of them will have a  really cool coat of arms etched into it.

To start, we tried out Quinson 2010 Chateauneuf-du-Pape from Trader Joe’s…

Color: Dark ruby red.

Nose: Cranberry, chalk, and rubber.

Taste: On the initial attack, there is a big hit of sour cherries.  There is a big acidity to this wine that would make it great to pair with a variety of foods.  There was also a nice green spinach characteristic.  Nice!

Score: Pick it up!  89

Next, we hit up the Kirkland Signature 2009 Cuvee de Nalys Chateauneuf-du-Pape from CostCo.  A blend of 59% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 4% Vaccarese, 4% Counoise, 3% Mourvedre, 3% Muscardin, and 2% Cinsault, the Cuvee de Nalys is sourced from 3 of the premier vineyards of the region.

Color: Dark ruby red.  Darker than the Quinson.

Nose: Big chalk, raspberry, and orange zest.

Taste: There are some nice powdery tannins that coat the whole mouth.  It’s hella smooth.  The fruit is cranberry and orange.  I’ve never really experienced orange as a flavor profile on a red wine before.  Though it was unexpected, I loved it!  There are some spices of clove and nutmeg on the back-end.  I’m getting some tires as well.

Score: This would be the perfect wine for a festive holiday meal (if only there were one of those days coming up soon… if only).  Rad!  91

Now, of course, you can’t go to the Thevegetarians’ house without getting some food…


Warm Cerignola olives with thyme and sesame. Fantastic!


Peperonata. As Dave would say, “Hecka Italian!”


I made my way into the kitchen to find Dave grilling up some pumpkin…


A couple of minutes later, it turned into this… Zucca in Agrodolce (Sweet and Sour Pumpkin). Gnarly!


Lasagna. Fa sho, fa sho!

Lesson learned:

Don’t hold your head so high.  You won’t see the Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Take it away, boys…

Stay Rad,


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