Monthly Archives: August 2008

Holy Cows on the Beach, Batman!

Sex on the Beach? Ok.  Cows on the Beach?*  How odd. 

Seeing cows grazing on a beach, is weird, and I’m not talking about a farming island.  On the drive down to Portland, near Kalama (or maybe past it, I can’t remember), there’s a thin slice of island in the middle of the Columbia River with sand and trees and cows.  And they’re either feasting on beach grass or basking in the sun. It’s damn funny actually — and weird.  And it begs the question, if one were lazing on a beach chair in a big hat and glasses and a Porterhouse mozied up, what wine would the appropriate sip truly be? 

K Vitners makes a white and red gem, easy to enjoy with a cow on a sunny beach.

Holy Cow, 2006 Chardonnay, Washington State — This is a fresh smooth brew, easy on the chops and nice on the finish.  Try it, you’ll like it, even if Chard ain’t your thang.  $12

Holy Cow, 2006 Merlot, Washington State — “Tasty as Hell,” says the notes on this wine. It ain’t bad, not flashy, not slutty.  Just simple and smooth – little cherry, some spicy sweetness. Bovine! $12

*Photo: This cow found a white sand beach much nicer then the Columbia River. But you get the gist.


Living like Heathens

Sorry for going dark.  The German and I headed south on a road trip to California by way of Willamette Valley Vineyards. ‘On your way to Napa?’ the tasting room pourers asked with keen interest?  “No, by gosh!  We’re heading to the mountains of Northern California to live like heathens and eat bad things that taste good.”

Camping in a tent for five days with no running hot water and no chance of a shower unless you count the lake could be daunting for some. And did I mention this was a family trip with lots of small nieces and nephews attached to hoards of dirty fingers groping, poking and dipping into whatever form of food I might be holding?

Oh yeah, extra crusty!

The most civilized time of day was when I would sip a wonderfully rewarding glass of wine (out of a real wine glass).  I decided that after 10am was as good a time as any. By then the coffee kicked in, the eggs cooked in bacon grease were on their way to some place elegant, and no doubt, it was 5 o’clock somewhere.

Patrick M. Paul Vineyards of Walla Walla, proved to be the first man of the hour.  With a brooding 2004, Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine was hardy and deep, juicy and sublime; lest a bit heavy, for our poorly paired yet easily prepared meal.  Nothing says delicious more then dry macaroni pasta and powdered processed cheese in a blue box.  Now that’s what I’m talking about.

The real gem emerged when, after a hard, hot day of swimming in the lake with several of the little goblins, the German appeared with a cheeseboard, crackers and two wine glasses full of the icy cold 2007, Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling.  He laid the picnic on the shore of the lake as the dragon flies hovered for a dribble.  This Riesling is an all-day drinker.  It’s wonderfully smooth and fresh with crisp green apple, pear and citrus vibrancy.   A small piece of heaven until those grimey hands found us and vultured after our cheese.  Ahhh, family vacations. 

Peter M. Paul Vineyards, 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon: roughly $40

Purchased? At the winery in Walla Walla

Recommend?  Yes – though I don’t recall ever seeing it in stores and the website is lame. Perhaps call the winery.

Willamette Valley Vineyards, 2007 Riesling: $12

Purchased?  The winery in Willamette Valley

Recommend? Yes – can’t beat the price for an all-day drinker!!

Tiny Meatballs in the Wine

I dare you to sip a sparkler without smiling.  I think it’s truly impossible.  Is it because the bubbles tickle your nose, or because, by now, you’re already snockered?  Who’s to really say, but I tell you, Roederer Estate, Anderson Valley, Brut, NV is one ample sparkler that can make the most serious event fun and exciting. This is a serious wine and a monumental occassion like a bris is no time to be playing around.  Baby bubbles burst with a spray of lemony-lime, light pear and doughy apple cobbler.  And if you’re new to a bris, a good tip is to always keep your glass covered, lest that tiny meatball launch his own baby bubbles into your glass.  Roederer’s finish is dry and smooth with traces of sweet, fresh celery.  And speaking of food, I find that serving little smokies (beef only, of course) is always a hit at these blessed events.  Another sure way to up the mood, is to play party games.  I’ve always loved the sharp knife toss and pin the penis back on the baby. 

Now, could someone take the glass from the mohel, I think it’s time we get started. Mazel Tov!

 I drank it at: Seastar

Retails: $18

Thumbs up? Why yes, It rises to any occasion!    

Stuck in a Group Photo Forever

What’s the best thing about going to your 20th high school reunion?  It may not be the people, so it should be the wine.  But when the wine is unimpressive, being stuck in an unending, fake-smiling, posed group photo session, is enough to make you postal (do we even say that anymore?)  And so it was, soon after arriving, a glass of McMenamin’s 2006 Pinot Noir found its way into my hand.  Relief, if only temporary, but I’ll take what I can get. This wine was friendly enough, not a stunner. It smiled casually and commanded unwarranted attention.  Like a too-desperate housewife, it franticly greeted former classmates overstayed its welcome in nearly every tête-à-tête;  ­­­­came on strong, held on too long, and was forgettable in the end. It had the basics of a$15 pinot – some berry, some wood, nothing fancy, though to its credit, it tried…just entirely too hard.

I drank it at: McMenimins Edgefield, Troutdale, OR

Retails: $15.50

Thumbs us? Not really

Toss the Monkey

A video game: You are an Orangutan sitting on a rock.  When a monkey falls out of the tree from above, like a discus, you heave it as far as you can gaining points for the furthest throws. It’s stupidly addictive and you end up drinking too much and closing the bar. 

This, I played on my recent trip to Portland.  I traipsed to my hometown for my 20th high school reunion last weekend, and amidst the festivities ended up at Vendetta in North Portland playing Toss the Monkey.  Lead by the infamous twin star athletes, Bob and Ron, the competition was fierce, the tension palpable.  After hours of “Nice throw” and “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth!” last call passed and we were defeated. 

So what does one pair with such an exciting, adrenaline driving, Toss the Monkey experience? Look global for something that might actually  improve your game. Here are my top five: 

  1. Affentaler Monkey Riesling 2006, Germany, $12.99-14.99
  2. Affentaler Spatburgunder Rotwein Pinot Noir 2005, Germany, $14,99 (pictured)
  3. 2007 Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand, $9.99 (also offers Rose, Chardonnay…)
  4. Red Head Studio Barrel Monkeys Shiraz 2005, Australia, $17,99 – $19.99
  5. Friday Monkey, Australia, $7.99

 *Google for reviews and retailers.

Good luck!