Posts Tagged ‘Dave Thevegetarian’

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.


Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 110: Pinot Noir and Zinfandel with Dave TheVegetarian

July 7, 2013

In this episode, Jeff and Dave TheVegetarian taste a few wines before dinner…

Wine Tasted:


XYZin 2011 Old Vine Zinfandel


Big Basin Vineyards 2009 Coastview Vineyard Pinot Noir

Food Tasted:


Homemade Bread with a Trio of Compound Butter


Linguine of Asparagus and Garlic

Stay Rad,


What’s your favorite 15 dollar Zin? What’s your favorite wine region for Pinot Noir? Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 109: Pomerol (Almost)

July 5, 2013

In this episode, Jeff shares a Right Bank Bordeaux with his clarinet-playing father…

Wine Tasted:


Chateau Garraud 2010 Lalande de Pomerol

After the Facts:


Here’s the Ribs Marcello made…


And here is his Merlot vine!

Stay Rad,


What’s your favorite value Bordeaux? Do you want to hear Dave TheVegetarian play some music? Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 100: The Big 100!

May 28, 2013

In celebration of episode number 100 of Stay Rad Wine Blog TV, Jeff shares this Champagne with long-time friend, and fan favorite, Dave TheVegetarian.

Wine Tasted:


Joseph Perrier NV Cuvee Royale Brut Blanc de Blancs


Congratulations to Kayla “The Barrel Thief” Koroush and C. “The Flying Giraffe” Colton.  You have each won a Silver Oak Calendar.  I will be contacting you shortly by email to get a mailing address.

Stay Rad,


What’s your favorite higher-end Champagne?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

It should always be this way… Always.

June 3, 2012


Kara and I were browsing wines at BevMo in Gilroy on Saturday, when Dave TheVegetarian sent me a text inviting me to a Blind Wine Tasting at The Wine Club in San Jose


Cattivera is Italian for “Vegetarian”.

The Wine Club is a sweet wine shop real close to the San Jose International Airport on Coleman Ave…


The Wine Club is technically in Santa Clara, but only by a matter of inches.

It’s been about 2 years since the last time I’ve been there (Kara and I moved out of San Jose in 2009), but getting to do a blind wine tasting of 10 wines for 10 bucks with some good friends was the perfect excuse to head on up to The City.

That’s right…

I just called San Jose “The City”.

The moment we walked into the store, we were warmly greeted by a few of the employees.  After paying for our tasting, and getting our glasses at the front register, we headed over to the corner of the store to check out the lineup…


10 Blind Wines (Note: The wines were poured into used bottles, so as not to give away anything. The four whites at the beginning of the row, for example, are in used Pinot Noir bottles.)

We were each also given a sheet to take notes on, with a list of the 10 types of wines that were to be served…


The Grapes

Armed with our palates and pencils, we were ready to get our taste on…


Wine One

Color: Light straw yellow.

Nose: Peach and lemon, and a tiny bit of grass.

Taste: This wine is all about lime acidity and minerals

My Guess: The touch of grass lead me to think of Sauvignon Blanc.  This had to be a Sancerre (a Loire wine made from Sauvignon Blanc).


Wine Two

Color: Straw yellow.

Nose: Peaches and cream.

Taste: Peaches and limes with a very creamy and viscous mouthfeel.

My Guess: Although we were told that the Chardonnay used would be unoaked, the creaminess lead me to believe that they still used malolactic fermentation.  It has to be Chardonnay.


Wine Three

Color: Light straw yellow.

Nose: All minerals.  Very vibrant.

Taste: This wine is all about acid and rocks.

My Guess: This is Reisling… The way it should be.


Wine Four

Color: This is the lightest straw color of the whole bunch of whites.

Nose: Peaches (I’m noticing a theme here).

Taste: Lemon custard with a good acidity.

My Guess: I’ve got to be honest with you.  The only white that was left on the list was Torrontes… A wine from Argentina.  I’m certain that I’ve had one in the past, but it was before I paid much attention to my wines.  By process of elimination, I had to go with Torrontes.

Let’s get into the reds…


Wine Five

Color: This is a very light burgundy red color.  You can see your fingers through it.

Nose: Awesome!  Think smokey dried ham and tobacco.  Just Awesome!

Taste: There is some cherry fruit up front, but this wine is more Earthy, leafy, dirty, and tobacco-like.

My Guess: Before this wine was even poured, Dave and I were joking around that it has to be a Pinot Noir (since they are typically the lightest reds on a flight).  Sure enough… The color and the nose leave me no other choice than to go with the Pinot.


Wine Six

Color: Really purple.  Like, really.

Nose: Cranberry and blackberry bushes (Note: If you’re not sure what a blackberry bush smells like, please go shove your nose in one).

Taste: Bacon with blueberry and blackberry fruit.  Smokey.  Is that a little black olive on the finish?

My Guess: Because of the smokey components, I originally pegged this one a Syrah… But that black olive got me thinking about Merlot.  After tasting the next wine, I eliminated Syrah and went with Merlot.  This has to be Merlot, right?


Wine Seven

Color: Really.  Dark.  Burgundy red.

Nose: Toffee and coffee.  This nose reminded both Kara and me of the 2011 Monte Bello in an instant.  Very nice.

Taste: Unlike the 2011 Monte Bello, the toffee and coffee smoke on the nose is also present on the palate.  The smoke on this wine is overwhelming.  There is some good dark fruit underneath the smoke.  I just can’t look past the smoke.  It’s smokey, man.

My Guess: The nose made me think of a Bordeaux Blend, but the smoke on the palate screams Syrah to me.  I’m going Syrah.


Wine Eight

Color: Dark burgundy red.

Nose: Boysenberry.  Blackberry.  Plum.  Toffee.  Really nice!

Taste: Tobacco up front gives way to blueberry, blackberry, and plum fruits.  The tannins are chalky, but mildly astringent.

My Guess: This wine had a very velvety mouthfeel.  It just tasted expensive.  It had to be either the Cabernet Sauvignon or the Bordeaux Blend.  After tasting the Ninth wine, I decided that this must be the Bordeaux Blend.


Wine Nine

Color: Dark ruby.

Nose: Plum and blueberries.

Taste: Plum fruit.  Chalky tannins.  Tastes like a Cabernet Sauvignon.

My Guess: This wine is unmistakably Cabernet Sauvignon… Or is it?


Wine Ten

Color: Dark ruby-red.

Nose: Cranberry and raspberry.

Taste: Raspberries, blueberries, and black pepper.  Very ripe.

My Guess: I’ve got to tell you that this totally tastes like a very ripe Zinfandel.  Zinfandel is also the only grape left on the list.  It also didn’t hurt that early on in the tasting, another costomer was overheard saying, “I can’t believe that last wine was a Zin!”

Now that I had my notes…


My Notes

It was time for the reveal…


And the wines are…

1. 2010 Mathias & Emil Roblin Sancerre “Origine” – My Guess of Sancerre was Right!

2. 2010 Pircas Negras Torrontes – My Guess of Chardonnay was Wrong : (

3. 2008 Dr. Nagler Reisling Trocken Rheingau – My Guess of Reisling was Right!

4. 2011 Saracina Chardonnay Unoaked, Mendocino County – My Guess of Torrontes was Wrong : (

5. NV JK Carriere Pinot Noir “Provacateur”, Willamette Valley – My Guess of Pinot Noir was Right!

6. 2009 Halcon Alturas Syrah, Yorkville Highlands – My Guess of Merlot was Wrong : (

7. 2009 Chateau Fizeaux Vieilles Vignes, St. Emilion (Bordeaux) – My Guess of Syrah was Wrong : (

8. 2008 Whitehall Lane Merlot, Napa Valley – My Guess of Bordeaux Blend was Wrong : (

9. 2008 Stone Edge “Surround” Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley – My Guess of Cabernet Sauvgion was Right!

10. 2010 Opolo Summit Creek Zinfandel, Paso Robles – My Guess of Zinfandel was Right!


In the end, I went 5 for 10 in the blind tasting.  In case you were wondering, Dave also went 5 for 10.  Our wives did not write down their guesses, but they probably would have crushed us if they did.

What is significant is how awesome the experience was at The Wine Club.

For 10 bucks, we got to taste some great wines in a fun way.  During the event, plenty of the employees there were checking in with us to compare their tasting notes with ours.

The store itself is totally legit too.

After our tasting, we spent quite a bit of time checking out all the buys to be had.  All of the folks working there were very knowledgable about the wines on the floor, and the prices were some of the best I’ve seen in the bay area.

What counts the most to me is that you can tell every person in the store if passionate about wine.

They taste it.  They live it.  They talk it.  They know their stuff, but they’re not snobby about it.

They just love wine.

It should always be this way at a wine store… Always.

Stay Rad, Wine Club.

I’ll be back.


“Now THAT’S Italian!”

February 12, 2012

This past Saturday, Kara and I hit up Cin-Cin Wine Bar in Los Gatos with our friends Dave and Kara Thevegetarian for another one of their HUGE tasting events.

The theme?

Italian Wine…

Hecka Italian

Dave’s dad always says, “Italians invented wine!”

I’m pretty sure that’s not true, but one could make the argument that they did a good job perfecting it.

Let’s take a look…

First... Table 4

La Colombera Bricco Bartolomeo 2010 ($20): This white wine was all about the citrus fruit.  Tons of lemon and orange with a good hit of minerality.  86+

Poderi Foglia Conca Bianco 2010 ($21): Another white wine.  Totally different profile.  White peach.  Soil.  Lime.  86+

Cantine Del Indie Vino Rosso di Popolo 2010 ($18): The nose on this wine is a trip.  It smells like candy corn.  Straight up.  Candy.  Corn.  I asked Kara, Dave, and Kara if they were getting that aroma too.  They were all, “No.”  But, on the real… That’s what it smells like.  Not very Italian.  On the palate, this red was light in body.  It brought some good, spicy tires and red licorice.  88

Podri Foglia Conca Rosso 2009 ($24): This red wine has a wicked butter cream nose.  It totally caught me off guard, but it was kinda nice.  Loaded with condensed red fruit and spicy tires.  88+

Not a bad start…

Second... Table 1

Vietti Nebbiolo Perbacco 2008 ($27): On the nose, the Vietti brought this great tomato soup aroma.  After I mentioned that to Dave, he got mad at me.  He is the only Italian guy I know who hates tomatoes.  I, on the other hand, LOVE tomato soup.  On the palate, this wine brought a balanced attack of chocolate, tomato leaf, spice, and chalk.  This is a dope wine.  90+

Piancornello Poggio dei Lecci Sant’ Antimo 2010 ($24): This wine is primarily Sangiovese.  Cocoa and pepper pop on this nose.  Bell pepper and raspberry on the palate.  89

Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Grasparossa di Castelvetro, Amable, NV ($12): Here’s the thing about Lambrusco.  It’s basically Manischewitz with bubbles.  It’s fun.  You’ve got the nose-tickling frizzante action.  You’ve got concord grape juice with a hint of blackberries.  It’s just fun.  85

On to the next table…

The Next Table... Table 3

Nino Franco Rustica Prosecco di Valdobiaddene, NV ($15): From bubbles to bubbles… This Prosecco brought a great, crisp, palate-cleansing acidity of lemons and minerality.  Simple and fresh.  86+

Bertani Velante Pinot Grigio, Veneto, 2009 ($10): With a nice nose of fresh bread, this Pinot Grigio brings clean flavors of lemon and stone.  85+

Hofstatter Meczan Pinot Nero, Alto Adige 2009 ($21): This Italian Pinot Noir tastes like it sounds.  Leather.  Cherry.  Acid.  Spice.  Earthy nose.  Good stuff.  88+

Trerose Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2007 ($20): A really nice Earthy nose with loads of cherry.  On the palate, this Vino Nobile brought it with big, bright cherry, soil, and spice components.  I looked over at Dave, and he was all, “Now THAT’S Italian!”  I could not agree more.  90

Le Ragose Ripasso Valpolicella 2007 ($29): Ripasso is kind of a fun wine.  It’s a Valpolicella that has been run across some Amarone.  The nose was a cross between raisins (from the Amarone) and band aids (from the drug store).  On the palate, this Ripasso brought some concentrated bright cherries and notes of soil.  Good stuff.  90

On to the last table…

Last... Table 2

Contadi Castaldi Franciacorta Brut NV ($29): Yeasty lemon peel on the nose.  Crisp acidity and minerality on the palate with hints of brioche.  87

Decugnano Dei Barbi Orvieto Classico il Bianco ($25): Look… When you taste this many wines in one sitting, some become instantly forgettable.  My note book says, “Floral nose.  Creamy –> Lemon Acidity”.  I did not write a score.  Take this however you would like.

Renzo Masi Rufina Chianti Riserva 2008 ($15): This Chianti was easily the best deal of the tasting.  Mushroom.  Cherries.  Fennel.  90+ points.  Keep an eye out for this one.

San Fabiano Calcinaia Cerviolo Rosso 2007 ($39): This Super Tuscan is made of Sangiovese and Merlot.  The nose is loaded full of big cherry fruit and tires.  On the palate, it is a chalky, Earthy beast with red fruit goodness.  Fantastic!  91

Azelia Margheria Barolo 2006 ($83): On the nose, this Barolo brings soil, raspberries, and cherries.  On the palate, this wine is all about subtlety and nuance.  Spice.  Tomato skin.  cherry.  Bell pepper.  The wine of the day.  91+

As we were bouncing around to the different tables, we discovered a few dessert wines that we wanted to save for last.  Here they are…

Mionetto il Moscato NV ($12): It’s a fun melon.  That’s it.  86

Badia a Coltibuono, Vin Santo, 2005 ($38): This Vin Santo reminds me a lot of that Yalumba sticky I had a while back.  Nutty toffee and coffee on the nose.  Sweet espresso on the palate.  This is the goopy stuff that drives me wild when it comes to dessert wines.  Love it.  90+

All in all, this was a fun event.

Maybe Italians did invent wine…

Stay Rad,


Bringing the Wine. Calling the Bluff.

July 25, 2011

At the end of a recent post, I found this comment…

“Dave Thevegetarian Says:
July 23, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Reply   edit

If I would have known my meal would be featured on Stay Rad, I would have picked more handsome looking menu.  I demand you come back soon for another night of vegetarian goodness.  Don’t blow this by not bringing more wine.


Dave Thevegetarian

PS – Seriously.  Bring more wine.  I’m running low.”

Later that day, Dave texted a picture of grilled halloumi to me, via my wife (I don’t own a cell phone), with the message, “Come on over… and bring the wine.”

Never having been one to back down from a challenge, I yanked two random (yet related) bottles of wine from the rack, grabbed Kara by the hand, jumped in the car, and shouted, “It’s on!”

Kara began to shake her head.  “Again?!?!”

Once we arrived at the House of Thevegetarian, I reached into my fanny pack to see which wines I had picked…

A Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah and a Syrah. Who'd a thunk it?

Since there was no halloumi left, we jumped right into the wine.

First up…

Montgras 2009 Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon - Syrah

Here’s the thing about the Montgras 2009 Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon – Syrah

I first started following this Chilean blend a few months back when I saw that Jay Miller of the Wine Advocate gave this wine a 90.  When I saw that it was $9.99 at BevMo, I picked up a bottle and really liked it.  The next week, BevMo started their 5 Cent Sale.  I was stoked to see that it was on the list of 5 cent wines, until I saw that they jacked up the price of it to 17 dollars!  Since I liked the wine, I still decided to pick it up with a savings of $1.50 per bottle (when you buy two).  What’s crazy is that now that the 5 Cent Sale is over, BevMo lists the regular price of the wine at 17 dollars, but sells it for $11.38 with your BevMo Club Card.  Meanwhile, Wine Library lists the regular price as $12.98, but sells it for $9.99.  If I lived in New Jersey, or if I had a free shipping coupon, I’d hit up the Wine Library for this one.

Aside from the weird pricing thing with the Montgras, there is also a question about the blend.  I could have sworn that when we checked the back of the label, it said it was 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Syrah.  Jay Miller refers to it as a 50/50 blend, as do all of the websites that quote Jay Miller’s rating.  The Montgras website says it’s 60% Cab and 40% Syrah, so I should go with that, but remind me to have Dave check his recycling bin.  As Tom Cruise once said to Jack Nicholson, “I want the truth!”

Now remember… I’ve had this wine before, but have never scored it.

Here’s the breakdown…

Color: Reddish purple.

Nose: Chalk (I love chalk!).  Plum.  Raspberry.  Tobacco.  I really loved the bouquet.

Taste: There is an instant BIG plum attack, followed by tobacco and green bell pepper.  The one drawback was the tannins.  They were HARSH!  I love mine big and round.  Not harsh.  I made a note that it would probably be best served after some decanting or cellaring for a year or two.

Score: I was surprised by the Montgras.  Maybe it’s bottle variation.  Maybe I’ve become a harsher critic.  I just remember liking this wine a whole lot more a few months back.  The first time around, I would have said this wine lived up to the hype… But this time, I was kind of disappointed.  Don’t get me wrong.  The wine has a beautiful nose, and the balance of fruit and vegetal flavors is interesting.  The problem is those harsh tannins.  I just can’t get over it.  At 86 points I cannot justify paying 12 bucks for it.

Up next…

Kendall-Jackson 2006 Syrah. Crappy tasting room. Crappy cork. Coincidence?


You know how I feel about the Kendall-Jackson tasting room by the Healdsburg Plaza.

You don’t!

Oh man…


In short, it sucks.

If you want the full story, click here.

When I pulled out the 2006 Kendall-Jackson Syrah, Dave was all, “I thought you hated Kendall-Jackson.”

“Their tasting room is for the birds, but… I already had this Syrah.  We may as well try it.”

Here’s what I thought…

Color: Reddish purple.  Much like the Montgras.

Nose: Chalk (mmmmmmmm).  Plum.  Tomato.  Nice!

Taste: A very nice combination of dark fruit, chocolate, and bell pepper.  The tannins are very soft and round.  Good finish.

Score: Believe me, I really wanted to hate this wine.  I really did.  There was just one problem.  The wine was good.  You cannot deny how delicious this thing is.  I’m giving the wine an 87.  The Kendall-Jackson website says current vintage of the wine is $16, but I’m pretty sure I got it for around $12 at Safeway.  If you are in a pinch, and looking for a nice Syrah, you may want to give the Kendall-Jackson a shot.

The Thevegetarians had opened up some nice wines as well.  I really liked their wines, but I promised not to score them.

I can respect their wishes, but…

They did give us a tomato from their garden before we left…

Tomato del Vegetarian

Look… I said I wouldn’t score the wine, but I didn’t make any promises about tomatoes.

Lucky for me, I just found a ripe tomato in my back yard this morning…

A Rad Tomato

So I decided to do a little head-to-head tomato challenge today…

Who will win? Who gets cut?

Tomato del Vegetarian:

Looks: A light brick-red color.  This tomato was the bigger of the two.  It was about the size of a racquet ball.  There was a low flesh/seed ratio with lots of juice-filled seed-pocket space.

Bite: The membrane was a little bit chewy, but not unforgivably so.

Flavor: Sweet, but with a green sensibility.

Score: This tomato was very nice. Considering his inability to build a succesful fantasy baseball team, I was surprised that Dave was able to produce such a good tomato.  This tomato would taste great sliced up on a turkey sandwich.  I give it two wedges and a stem.

Not bad.

A Rad Tomato:

Looks: A much darker red.  Let’s call it ruby.  My tomato was about the size of a large ping-pong ball.  With a much higher flesh/seed ratio, this tomato had much smaller seed pockets and a meatier flesh.

Bite: There was a nice snap to the membrane, and the flesh was the perfect blend of meaty and juicy.

Flavor: Sweet and dark tomato flavor.  Much sweeter than the first one.  It had almost a salsa-esque flavor to it.

Score: With these two tomatoes, it’s all about preference.  I think the sweetness and texture allows this tomato to stand on its own.  I’d love to have this one quartered with a plate of charcuterie.  I give it three solid wedges.

The winner!

It looks like when it comes to tomatoes, the Rad ones always come out on top…

The cream always rises...

And just so you know I didn’t pre-plan my victory, I took this picture in the off-chance that Dave’s tomato would have won…

In Dave's dreams...

Stay Rad,


Still Facing My Fear… and ready to #CrushIt!

July 23, 2011

A while back, you read about my life-long hatred of eggs.

What’s that?

You didn’t?

How dare you!

Click here to catch up.

Now as gung-ho as I was about attacking all of the recipes in Jodi Liano’s “Egg” book

"Eggs" by Jodi Liano. You know what time it is! Yeeeeaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh Boooooooooyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!

writing the post about it, and reliving the Hulkster’s Powerful Protein Shake experience was really tough for me. The more I wrote, the sicker I felt.  After I published the entry, I avoided eggs for about a week.

Now look…

I’m not one to give up so easily.  All I needed was a little BREAK from the EGGS (You like that one?).

A few days ago, I decided to jump back on the egg wagon.  Here’s what I made…

Jeff and Kara in a Hole.

I really liked this one.  The letters that I cut out of the bread were a little too small.  As the egg was frying in the hole, a lot of it piled on top of the bread.  This increased the cooking time, and made for a messy presentation… But… It was delicious.

Kara would have liked it to be a little more runny, but I’m beginning to like mine over hard.

This morning, I made this…

Egg, Bacon, and Smoked Mozzarella Panini

Now, in the book, Jodi uses brie, but I had some smoked mozzarella that I wanted to finish off… so I did.  I got the ciabatta and bacon from Trader Joe’s.  One problem was that the ciabatta loaf was too fat, so the panini could not get as flat as I would have liked.  Another issue was the bacon.  Trader Joe’s is a nice store.  I love it.  Their bacon selection, however, is HORRIBLE.  I got this crappy turkey bacon that did not get anywhere as crisp as I would have liked.  Next time, I’m going to Safeway to get me some real crispy pork action.

By the way, the sandwich was f-ing AWESOME!  I can only imagine how good it would have been with better ingredients.



Here’s the deal…

Since we returned from Healdsburg, I haven’t tasted any new wines… but I have been reading a lot recently.  I wanted to share some of these books with you.

I know.  I know.  This is a wine blog, so let’s see if we can tie in some wine…

When I was in high school, I was in a punk rock band called The Willies.

I'm the skinny kid, practicing my punk rock jumps with a mic in my hand.

A few weeks back, my old friend and drummer, Nick Thedrummer, suggested that I read “Crush It!” by Gary Vaynerchuk.

“I know Gary!” I wrote back to Nick.  “I’m a huge fan of his video blogs Wine Library TV and Daily Grape.  He even follows me on Twitter.  I just don’t know if I want to read a book about business.”

“Just read it, dude.”

A few days later, I was kicking it with my buddy Dave Thevegetarian when I meantioned Gary’s book.  Dave was all, “I’ve got Crush It right here.  You want to borrow it?”

"Crush It!" by Gary Vaynerchuk... and you should too.

I was all like, “Sure.”

The book is a quick 142 page read (including two appendices).  It’s all about tapping into things that you are passionate about, creating blogs, and using social media to build your personal brand.  This book is very entertaining, and… dare I say it… inspiring.  I was just a few weeks into this blog when I read Crush It, and have since been inspired to take on the world.  If you like blogs…  If you have a Facebook or Twitter account…  If you are passionate about anything… You must read this book!

One of the things that Gary preaches in his book is to become an expert on your passion, by reading as much as you can on the topic.  So last week, I picked up this…

"Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World Complete Wine Course" next to some spheres inside some cubes.

This well-written 338 page textbook is the number one selling book about wine in the world.  Kevin takes the reader through a step-by-step guide on getting to know all the wines on the planet.

Right now, I’m in the middle of Class One: The White Wines of France.  I am stoked on the way he presents information in this book.  Zraly makes wine a whole lot easier to understand.  If you like wine, and want to know more about it… Grab this book!

As interesting as Windows on the World is, I’m realizing how much more I have to learn about the subject of French wine (and wine in general).  The good news, according to Zraly, is that the best way to understand wine is to TASTE it.

Looks like someone’s gonna have to make a run to the wine shop and make a raid on the Alsace section.  Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris better watch out… None of them are getting out alive!

Stay Rad,


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