Monday, January 21, 2008

2 Guys Uncorked Launches!

2 Guys Uncorked has launched! After seven months (since June '07) of hard work and wine drinking, Jon and Ted have unleashed their idea onto the world.

2 Guys Uncorked is an innovative, easy to use website dedicated to reviewing wines that can be found at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods (and generally, most any other well stocked wine store). We give you the inside info on a bottle before you buy. So check us out right before you head to TJ's or WFs.

A brief overview of 2GU:
-We have more than 30 reviews of wines from around the world
-Prices of the wines reviewed range from $2 to $25, with a strong focus on the $4 to $12 range
-Each wine we review can be found nationwide at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods
-Every review is quick, fun, and easy to understand. No pretentious wine-talk or snobbery
-We take price into account when rating each wine, giving an overall rating anywhere from a best buy to a don't buy
-We abandon the ridiculous 100 point scale in favor of a more open-minded, honest rating system
-Every week we post 3-5 new reviews of wines, along with our best buys and don't buys for the week

To keep updated with all the new reviews and each week's featured wines, please add your email to subscribe to updates (upper right, don't worry we hate spam too) or add the feed to your favorite RSS reader.

If you want to add comments to our reviews or participate in the forums, please create an account and join in on the fun!

And do stay tuned, we have tons of new features coming soon (like iPhone support, shh!).

2 Guys Uncorked: "Making Wine Fun and Easy"

Thursday, January 3, 2008

2 Guys Uncorked

I am sorry about my hiatus from Law of the Vine. I have been working on a site with my friend, Ted Serbinski, called 2 Guys Uncorked. Ted and I review wines from Trader Joes and Whole Foods. Every week, we provide a Good Buy and Don't Buy recommendation. 2GuysUncorked keeps wine simple and fun, doesn't get caught up in technicality, and helps people find great deals. Check it out!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Bar Study = Wine Time

Having devoted every second of my past 3 weeks to Bar study, I decided to take Saturday off. With just 24 hours free, I had to make it good.

So, I drank a lot of wine.

Below are of the notable moments:

After checking out apartments with Diane, our first stop was a tasting of 2005 rieslings at Dee Vine Wines. The preeminent German wine distributer on the West Coast, Dee Vine exploits a legal loophole in the producer/distributer/retailer hierarchy and opens up for approx. 5 public tastings a year. To keep overhead low, these events happen in their warehouse on Pier 19. Let's just say that you attend for the wine, not the ambiance. It's offbeat, it's unpretentious and it's worth it.

2005 Von Othegraven Kanzem Altenberg Spatlese, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer: A distinctive riesling from the Saar region of MSR, this is a wine with classic German attributes. Like a BMW M3, it's got significant horsepower and the gearbox to harness it. It drops the clutch and revs quickly with big bright acidity. Not the singular lemony cripness that one expects with German rieslings, but rather a more complicated mix of lime and tropics. Red line hits and you notch into second gear that's defined by a sugar concentrate that's almost crystaline. Second has a broad powerband and it takes some time for the coating of sweetness to melt away. Third gear transitions into a cool minerality of shale and limestone. In a couple years, I expect some age to unleash a few more speeds. $53 at DVW.

2005 Schloss Vollrads Spatlese, Rheingau: I have tasted this wine four times and each time I brought a bottle home. It's got the complexity of a bottle three times the price and all the right flavors. A great balance of acidity and sugar content at the right price. $22 at DVW.

After all that German wine, we needed some dinner. Maybe it was love, maybe it was the wine, but Diane offered up her Visa. So we went to Ame in the St. Regis in Yerba Buena. Since I am not yet a celebrity, we had to wait an hour for a table. But what the hell... there was a bar.

We split a glass of 2005 Robert Sinskey Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, Carneros, Sonoma: It's pink, it's great and it does not recall Fr@^zia. Drink it. $20 at Vino wine shop (California St. at Fillmore, next to Molly Stone's).

Finally, we negotiated for seats at the raw bar and had some dinner. The tuna tartare with foie gras was delightfully satisfying just like deviant sex. When the waiter inquired about drinks, Diane and I decided that we were too deep to turn back, so we ordered another bottle.

2003 Movia Ribolla Gialla, Slovenia: Eric Asimov, wine editor of the New York Times, raves about Movia on his blog, so I passed over some perennial choices and gave it a shot. A grape unique to the region, it's certainly an interesting wine. The vineyard is techincally in Slovenia, but the rows often cross into neighboring Italy. Having spent some time in Eastern Europe, I should have known better. Solid and like a chardonnay, it is held up with a study oak backbone. But I just don't see potential. Its taste is neutral and palatable, but too singular to command any respect. $51 at Ame.

1999 Chateau d'Yquem, Sauternes, Bordeaux: Most people disregard it as undrinkably sweet syrup. But for some, this wine is liquid Christ. Ever since my first taste of d'Yquem, I find myself mouthing the Our Father before bed. This stuff redefines the boundaries of potency. Honey, lemon, lilac, pine and plastic all at once. Fuck oil, they should fight wars over this. $200 for a 375ml at K&L on 4th St. down by the ballpark.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Reds to Keep you Warm on those Cold Summer Nights

Although debateable whether he actually said it, Mark Twain's attributed statement remains true: "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."
I just started studying for the bar exam, so I stocked up to help me through the summer. Here are some warm reds to fend off the fog:

2003 Ruston Cuvee Lorraine, St. Helena, Napa: A Bordeaux blend of cab sauv, merlot, cab franc, and petit verdot, but obviously Californian. Initially loud and spicy, it quickly settles down into something more supple and velvety. BUY IT NOW before it's too late. $9.99 at Trader Joes.

2004 Nicolas Potel, Savigny-Les-Beaune, Burgundy: This wine is old school bourgogne. Soft, with black fruit, soil and minerality. The negociant shuns the spicy, syrupy American influence. Great Burgundy at a reasonable restaurant wine list price. I haven't found it anywhere else, but when I do, I will immediately post. $66 at Le Colonial.

2003 Chateau Bel-Air-Ouy, Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux: This is what happens when France tries too hard to market to Americans. Blunt, huge and utterly boring. This chateau shuns centuries of success in a failed attempt at galmour. It's like Paris Hilton without the sex-tape. $67 at Le Colonial (I will not immediately post if I find it elsewhere).

2001 Kamen Cabernet Sauvignon, Somona: This wine is tiny production and unheard of. The winemaker is not. Robert Kamen wrote The Karate Kid, The 5th Element, The Transporter, and A Walk in the Clouds. I grew up on these movies. As for the wine, it is tight and refined for a Napa/Sonoma cabernet (his vinyards are on the border on Mt. Veeder). Although this bottle was no crane kick, it had some potential. Let's see if his wine making career can mirror his time in Hollywood. $70 at the vineyard.

Popping the Cork!

I graduated law school a little over a week ago. This meant Champagne... lots of Champagne. Although the wines that I got to try all cost approximately the same, this experience reminded me that there is notable diversity in the region. (Note: I drank each one twice to avoid any undue influence from the celebratory circumstances)

Laurent-Perrier Brut NV: My top pick. Light, tangy and fruity with good body. I walked out of my last final exam ever and blasted this cork over 50 feet (a personal record). If I could keep a bottle of bubbly in my fridge at all times, this would be it. $37 at Bev Mo.

Perrier-Jouet Brut NV: Bigger and yeastier than its cousin. Great bubbles and body, but not as bright and refreshing as I would like. I popped this bottle right after graduation and it will always have a special place in my heart/gut (depends on what you think of law school). $35 at Safeway.

Veuve Clicquot Brut NV: The bright yellow/orange label is to Champagne what the turquoise box is to jewelry. Veuve has blown up over the past few years.... and for good reason. The fruitiest of the bunch with great acidity. My only slight is that it showed less body than the other two. Proof that strategic advertising can do great things. Anchors away. $38 at Zains Liquor.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Interesting Wines Around $20

Relationship issues aside, I offer my take on 5 bottles that have crossed my path recently:

2005 Qupe Syrah, Central Coast: First things first... Yellowtail makes "shiraz", Qupe makes "syrah". Same grape, yes, but have you ever seen the movie "Twins" with Arnold and Danny Devito? If you did, you will get it. Not to suggest that Qupe is a 6'2" muscleman, but, just like Arnie's character Julius Benedict, this bottle is painfully unaware of its potential. A majority of the syrahs out there dart off the line with a quick mouthfull of red/black fruit, but leave you wanting a second level of flavor. Qupe, on the other hand, eases onto the throttle initially, revs up and begs you to upshift into second and even third gear. $18 at all the usual suspects.

2005 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County: French in simplicity/elegance, Californian at heart. This may be the best bottle of California Pinot that I have had this year. It shrugs off the emerging California trend of syrup and red fruits in favor of balance and minerality. But Santa Barbara is no Burgundy, so the winemaker is not afraid to pave his own Cote d'Or. $19 most everwhere (for the next 6 months or so... just wait because it is sure to go the way of La Crema pinots).

2005 Au Bon Climate Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc, Santa Barbara County: 70% Pinot Gris, 30% Pinot Blanc. This is a white with attitude. Less bright acidity than a sauv blanc, more body with a hit of apples with an underpinning of light oak. It just doesn't have the muscle of competing California chardonnays. But maybe, in the words of Pulp Fiction's Jules Winnfield, chardonnay, "ain't the same fuckin' ballpark, it ain't the same league, it ain't even the same fuckin' sport." The question remains: can Alsatian whites play ball in California? $17 at Blue Fog market (with a new SF location at California and Divis).

2006 New Gerwurz, North Coast of California: For the price, this bottle really made an impression. Gewurtztraminer will do that to you. Spicy, floral, with some Welch's white grape juice. You don't suggest this bottle to all your friends because they just won't get it. It's wierd and funky and its got a personality. It's like the cute friend of yours whose got a strong personality. You would never set her up on a blind date with one of your buddies, because chances are, it's just not going to click. But if you really think about it, you know someone will fall for her big time. And she is monumentally undervalued. $9 on sale at Molly Stones.

Piper-Heidsieck Brut NV, Champagne: I cheated on my local regulars: Gloria, Chandon, Sofia and Piper. She was French and ready-to-go, so I upped the ante about $7 in hopes of a novel romp. Passable, yeasty, with some good bubbles. But she just didn't work for it. Honestly, she may as well have stolen my wallet off the nightstand the next morning. $23 at D+M.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Romance and Flowers - Responses

I appreciate the speedy responses from two of the biggest names in wine writing, Eric Asimov and Jon Bonne. Check out their comments below:

Eric Asimov, the chief wine critic of the New York Times responds:
"In my therapeutic capacity it would be wrong for me to offer specific relationship advice without hearing Diane's side of the story. But I can tell you this. If things work out, you'll have wonderful California pinot noir to look forward to. If they don't, well, at least it won't be Burgundy or Champagne that you'll have to forgo the rest of your life. And remember, you'll always have Paris."

Jon Bonne, wine editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, responds:
"A tricky question. My advice is this -- go for it. If you think it's up to par, and you think the lucky reunion will happen, it'll be worth the $$ to have an extra bottle. Certainly, Flowers is of a quality that, for many people, it will be a truly special wine. But there are many other Pinots in the sea. If it proves to be a special wine for you two, you'll enjoy it all the more. If it doesn't all work out, I think you should be able to find a reasonable substitute for Flowers. Finding another good Pinot in California is certainly easier than finding just the right special person."