Posts Tagged ‘Hate’

Love/Hate or The proof is in the off-putting.

August 5, 2011

Wednesday was a free day for Kara and me… It was our last free day of the summer, so we decided to hit up a few local wineries.

You’ve got to know that we had an amazing day.


The amazing 2007 Lila's Cuvee Rhone Blend paired with an amazing view at Clos La Chance.

I could tell you about how much fun we had at Clos La Chance

2008 Biagini Vineyard Pinot Noir side-by-side with the 2008 Erwin Vineyard Pinot Noir at Clos La Chance. Both wines were hella RAD!

I could tell you about our awesome pre-dinner visit to Bubbles Wine Bar


Hella to the yeah, son!

The only thing better is bubbles and oysters. Dope!

I could even let you know about the Rad Mexican feast we had at Sinaloa Cafe

Come for the margaritas. Stay for more margaritas.

So please forgive me if I don’t.

I’ve been dying to write about some wine that I hated…

I mean HATED.


Please alow me to present Fortino Winery

Fortino... unfortunately = (

Fortino is a neat looking venue on the corner of Watsonville Road and Hecker Pass in Gilroy.  We hit it up after Clos La Chance because it was one of the few wineries in the area that was open on a Wednesday afternoon.

Now, you should know that I’ve been to Fortino twice before.  Once was about two years back before I was as passionate about wine as I am today.  It was also well before I would take notes on wine.  The other time was after a long day of tasting during the Santa Clara Valley Passport Weekend, so my palate was shot.  You even read about me having their Almond Champagne at the Garlic Festival.  But this time… This time, I was gonna take it seriously (Not so fortunate for Fortino).

Here’s the breakdown…


2009 Chardonnay ($16.95):  Nose of honey, pineapple, apple, and flowers.  Not bad.  The palate was a thick and sweet version of lemon/lime soda.  Not good.  Score it a 75 and trust me… You don’t want it.

2010 Black Muscat Blush ($16.95):  Tropical fruit (mango and guava) on the nose.  The taste was of ridiculously sweet flowers.  This wine is obnoxious.  I’m mad that they served it at the beginning of the tasting, because it’s basically a crappy version of a desert wine.  78.  Pass.

On to the Reds:

2008 Carignan ($18.95):  Here’s where I start to get angry.  Carignan, when done right, is one of my favorite varietals.  Fortino makes a big deal about their estate carignan coming from 80 year-old vines.  The only way you could mess this up is if you don’t know how to make wine, or don’t care how it turns out.  My guess is that Fortino falls into the latter category.  There was this nose of green bell pepper that gave me some hope, but it came with this over-the-top sweet red fruit that destroyed it.  The taste was sweet red cherries with just a little bit of tires and nice acidity.  The problem with this wine was there was no balance.  It was all sweetness.  If I want a sweet red wine, I’ll hit up 7 Eleven.  This is a 79.  In a better mood, maybe I’d give it an 80-.

Non-Vintage Maribella ($16.95):  The bar menu reads, “This off-dry blend named after Marie Fortino offers hints of cherry and raspberry.  Blended from Cabernet, Sangiovese & Carignan”.  Here’s what it should say, “We threw a bunch of leftover grapes from a bunch of different vintages together and came up with this nasty sweet red wine.  We named it after our grandma to guilt you into buying it.”  This wine smelled like sugarfied sweetness with tires and fruit.  It tasted like cherry syrup.  This wine, more so than the others, sucks ass.  58.

2008 Zinfandel ($22.00):  The bar menu reads, “Aged in vintage oak barrels for 20 months, these Santa Clara Valley grapes go great with chocolate”.  It should say, “We went to our local nursery, picked up a few wine barrel flower pots, superglued them together, and were all like, ‘We should put some Zin in here!’  So we did.  It doesn’t taste good, unless you have it with a brick of chocolate.”  The nose is big and chocolatey, with a bit of plum.  It showed some promise, but then I tasted it.  Imagine taking a jar of canned cranberry sauce and spreading it over a dirty ass chair that had been left outside for years.  Now wait for the hottest day of the year, and take a bite of that dirty cranberry covered chair.  Doesn’t sound good, does it?  The wine wasn’t good either.  60.

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($28.00):  Cured ham, blackberry and oak on the nose.  Blackberry, black olive, and oak on the palate.  I’m giving it an 81.  The good news is that it’s not horrible.  The bad news is that for $28, I could buy half a case of something better.  What a shame.

Sparkling Wine:

Non-Vintage Almond Champagne ($16.95):  You’ve heard me say it before.  The almond tastes very fake, but the wine is still nice and refreshing.  It’s made from 100% French Colombard.  In making conversation with our server (who was very nice), I asked her where the French Colombard was from.  Her response, “Well… I’m not sure.  There’s this other company that makes it for us.  We just put the label on it.”  That makes sense.  No wonder I’m giving it an 84.  This is worth trying.

Fruit Wine:

Apricot ($16.95):  How can you dis fruit wine?  It’s delicious.  It smells like a bag of dried apricots.  It tastes like apricots.  I would try it with some vanilla ice cream (I gots ta get me some of that).  But, at the end of the day, it’s fruit wine.  I have a physics teacher friend that makes stuff like this for fun.  Take some fruit.  Crush it.  Throw it in a vat.  Add some yeast.  Let it sit for a few weeks.  Bottle it.  83.

Here’s the thing that gets me mad.  There are tons of vineyards in this area.  Tons!  Please check the map.  The fruit, from one vineyard to the next is essentially the same.  And the fruit is good.  There are plenty of wineries in the Santa Clara Valley that are making great wine with their grapes.  The problem is that there are almost as many wineries in this area that just don’t care enough to make good wine.  They use cheap methods (like using “vintage” barrels), and have no problem pushing a crappy product on their customers.  That’s just what Fortino is doing… and it’s off-putting.

If you look at their website (which looks worse than this blog) or their Yelp Page, it becomes apparent that they are much more into pushing events and weddings than making good wine.  In fact, the only other people in the tasting room that day, were two different couples that were planning to have their weddings at Fortino.  I overheard one couple say, “We don’t normally like Cabernet, but this stuff is great.”  On the other end of the bar, the other couple was all, “This Maribella is great!”  Kara and I just shook our heads.  I could not imagine having to serve that kind of garbage at my wedding.

Now look…

Fortino has a loyal following.  Many more than I have.  If you’re a big fan of them, all the power to you.  You’ve got your own palate, and you should trust it.  I’m sure they put on great events.  I’m sure the weddings there are beautiful.  And hey… The Almond Champagne and Apricot Wine ain’t bad.


I’ve got a message for Fortino…

I love wine.

You make bad wine.

I hate it.

You can do better.

Step it up.

Get Rad,



Facing Your Fear: Over Easy

July 14, 2011

I hate eggs.

HATE them!

Eggs. Yuck!

My list of hates is pretty short.  There are birds, and there are eggs.

The bird thing has everything to do with the time I got attacked by a crow (a story for another day).  That’s understandable, right?

The egg thing requires a bit more history…

When I was in elementary school in the 1980’s, I was a HUGE professional wrestling fan.  Every Saturday morning, I would wake up bright and early to watch WWF Superstars of Wrestling on TV.  On the show, big time wrestlers like “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Andre the Giant, and King Kong Bundy would take on jabronis (bad wrestlers hired to lose matches) like Leaping Lanny Poffo, The Brookly Brawler, and Barry Horowitz.

My favorite part of the show was not the actual wrestling.  It was the interviews.  This was where the personality of the wrestlers was exposed to the audience.

Like most kids my age, I was a big fan of Hulk Hogan.  In retrospect, his wrestling skills were not that great… but his interviews… those things were epic!

Hulk Hogan back in the day.

So one day, my folks took me to the video store, and I saw that there were a few tapes all about Hulk Hogan.  I was very stoked that they let me check all of them out and allowed me to spend the entire day watching clips of his matches and interviews.  There was one segment in particular, where Hulk Hogan showed Vince McMahon and Lord Alfred Hayes how to make “Hulkster’s Powerful Protein Shake”.  All the ingredients that he threw into the blender seemed pretty normal (milk, bananas, protein powder, etc…), but to finish the shake off he added two raw eggs (shells and all).  While sipping on the shake, Hulk said something like, “If you want 24 inch pythons (arms) like me, brother, all you need is your training, your prayers, your vitamins, and Hulkster’s Powerful Protein Shake!”

That gave me an idea…

I ran up to the kitchen to raid the fridge.

Milk?  Check!

Banannas?  Check!

Chocolate Sauce and Cream Soda (Hey!  I was eight!)?  Check!

Raw Eggs?  Check!

I didn’t know how to use a blender, so I just started throwing all of the ingredients into a tall glass.

“What are you doing?” my older sister asked.

“Making a power shake.”

“Are those raw eggs?”

“Yup.”  I threw spoon into the glass and began to stir.

“You’re gonna get sick if you drink that.”

I took my first sip.  “It’s not bad,” I told her.  “You want some?”

She took a sniff.  “If you drink any more of that I’M gonna throw up!”

“In that case…”  I put the glass back to my lips, and chugged the rest of my “shake”.

For a while after I drank the shake, I was feeling great.  The kind of feeling that a kid gets when they have a new pair of shoes… You know… How they think they are instantly faster.  Now that I had ingested my “power shake”  I was instantly stronger.  I ran around the house trying to pick up every heavy object I could.  For a good ten minutes, I was Hulk Hogan.


Then things started changing.  My stomach started turning and growling like crazy.  I didn’t throw up, like my sister had warned.  It was much worse.  I was woozy for hours.  I couldn’t see straight.  I couldn’t think.  The only thing I could do was curl up in a ball.  It was a BAD feeling.

Ever since then, eggs and I have not been on the best of terms.

Look… I know that eggs are in a lot of products.  I’ve got no problem with bread and baked goods.  I’ll mack a quiche.  I’ll even eat an omelet or a scramble.  The problem for me is when the egg looks, or tastes, “like an egg”.  Specifically raw eggs, fried eggs, poached eggs, and especially hard-boiled eggs (yuck!).  Even the thought of eggs makes me sick.

There comes a point, however, in a 32-year-old man’s life when he has to grow up.  I’m tired of avoiding certain foods.  I’m tired of making funny faces every time someone mentions eggs in front of me.  I’m tired of asking people to make sure to scramble my eggs.  It’s time for me to face my fear.

Yesterday, Kara and I went to the mall together.  I broke off on my own for a little bit to get her a gift (our anniversary is this Sunday).  Since I don’t have a cell phone, we arranged to meet up at Starbucks at 2 o’clock.  I finished my shopping around 1:30, so I had some time to kill.  I peeked my head in Williams-Sonoma and found this book…

After flipping through the book and seeing some delicious pictures (and many disgusting ones), I decided to pick it up.  My goal is to read through the whole thing, and eventually make all of the dishes (like in that one movie) from front to back.

Today, I had my first test…

Fried Eggs!

The most difficult part for me, was learning the difference between sunny-side up, over easy, and all the rest.  I’m sure you’re probably yelling at me through the internet right now.  “How could he not know what over easy means?!?!?!”  You have to remember that I’ve been avoiding fried eggs my entire life.  They all seem gross to me.

After reading through the fried egg section, I decided to go for over easy.  Runny, but not a yellow ass yolk looking like it’s gonna blow up on you.

Here’s what I made…

Fried eggs over easy with sweet pepper piperade. One for me. One for Kara.

Piperade is a spanish style of sauted onions and peppers made with a little sugar and vinegar.  Immediately, when I sat down to eat this thing, I broke open the egg to let the yolk out to mix around with the peppers.  The egg was definitely rich, and went well with the sweet and tangy peppers.  The egg was good, but I still don’t know why anyone would ever go out of their way to eat one.

I asked Kara what she thought, and she wants me to make it for her again, so I guess I made it right… maybe.

The next recipe sounds a little bit more up my ally:  Egg, Bacon, and Brie Panini.

I’m glad I made these eggs today.  Mainly, because I know that a fried egg will not kill me.  It really was a test for me, but I think I made a little progress in overcoming my fear.

So maybe I can get over this whole egg thing… but birds?  That’s another story.

Stay Rad,


“If you don’t like Jeff, you don’t like people.”

June 11, 2011

When I was a senior in high school, my mother was talking with my uncle on the phone.  My name had come up in the conversation, and my uncle proceeded to tell my mom,

“If you don’t like Jeff, you don’t like people.”

My mom relayed the words to me a few days later, and I was completely flattered.  That is, without a doubt, the greatest compliment I have ever received.

Those words were said well over a decade ago.  Although I doubt today that neither my mother nor my uncle would recall that conversation, I’ve worn those words like a metal ever since.

That quote means so much to me, because they explain so perfectly how I want people to think of me… A genuinely nice person.  That’s not always the case (just ask one of my old roommates), but I try.

Whether you’ve known me since I was a kid in Ben Lomond, met me as a punk rocker at San Lorenzo Valley High School, studied biology with me at San Jose State, or are reading my words for the first time in this blog (Hello There!), I want you to know that I’m a good dude who’s always looking to enjoy life.

That brings me to this blog.

My goal here is to highlight as many good things in life as I can.  I want to tell you about what I’m watching on TV.  I want to tell you about my fantasy sports teams.  I want to tell you what I’m listening to on my iPod.  I want to tell you how my last race or long run went.


I also want to give you focus.  Because of this, I’ve decided to make this a blog about WINE.  I can’t think of any one thing that does a better job of bringing all of the good things in life together.

What am I sharing with my wife when we watch TV together?

How do I celebrate my fantasy football championships?

How do I set the mood?

How do I congratulate myself for a job well done?

WINE (period)

This blog will be THE place to find my wine reviews.  I am not an expert.  I am not critically acclaimed.  I do, however, love wine.

You will also read about the people and places I encounter whenever wine is involved.

My hope for you, is that you simply enjoy this blog.  Please subscribe to it, and tell your friends, if you like it.  If you can’t get enough of me, you can also follow me on Twitter @JeffIsRad.

It’s possible that some of you could end up reading this only to find that you hate me.  (Yikes!)   You may think that my writing lacks pizzazz.  (Ouch!)  You could be frustruated by my spelling.  (Yowza!)  You will tell your friends that I have no business writing a blog about wine at all.  (Noooooooooooo!!!!!!!!)

If that is the case, please just remember what my mom once told me my uncle said to her on the phone over a decade ago…

Don’t you feel bad now?

Stay Rad,


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