The Germans were here and now the Russians are coming! The Russians are coming! Notes on a Wine Card

l to r: Richard Grosche (Von Buhl Winery, gusthewineguy, Fritz Becker, Jr. 


I’m always listening to your comments and suggestions and not too long ago a customer came into the Tasting Room and inquired about Russian River Valley wines.  At that time, we had but one wine from that region.  Since your wish is our command, we are having a Russian River Valley Tasting this week!  Two Chardonnay and two Pinot Noir.  So, come get your Russian on and raise a glass while you toast “Na Zdrovie!” or “Nastrovia!” I promise I won’t try to “fix” the tasting.

I had the pleasure of meeting Richard Grosche of Von Buhl Winery and Fritz Becker Jr., of Becker Winery the other day at The Tasting Room.  Both wineries are known as two of the top wineries in Germany.  We tasted through numerous wines of both wineries and I am always impressed with the high quality of the wines as well as the perfect balance and vivaciousness of them.  Germany is known for riesling and most people think German riesling is super sweet.  Riesling from Germany runs the gamut from bone dry to very sweet, but even when it is very sweet, there is always a balance.  There is minerality and acidity at the finish to counter the sweetness.  The Germans know how to do this so well. Come into the Bottle Shop and check out our German selection, I will be happy to recommend a wine to you, either red or white – yes, Germany makes fantastic red wine especially Pinot Noir – and you will come back for more!

So when is a wine made from grapes grown in France not a French wine?  When it is part of the Becker vineyards. Approximately 70% of Becker’s vineyards are located in the Alsace region of France.  Over the centuries, this region has alternated between French and German control.  After World War II, an agreement was reached and the Becker family was able to purchase the vineyards back and now are owners of the vineyards in France.  Alsace is just across the Rhine River from Germany.  The grapes are picked and taken to the Becker Winery in Germany and there the wine is made. The label on the bottles state the region as Pfalz, a German wine region.  Voilà! You now have a German wine that was produced from grapes grown on French soil.  This wine world never ceases to amaze me!

Did you know that Germany is the third largest producer of pinot noir in the world?  Germany trails only France and the United States in the production of pinot noir.  I have tasted many a pinot noir from Germany and they are amazing!

Pet peeve: Paper towels that don’t separate in a nice clean cut.  I absolutely hate it when you tear off a sheet and half of the other sheet comes with it.  Aaaaaargh!

Hey all you Laker fans from the old days, remember Showtime!? Well, it looks like the Angels have borrowed that term with a slight revision as they now are celebrating “Shohtime!” everytime Shohei Ohtani comes up to the plate to bat or to the mound to pitch.  It reminds me of Fernandomania back in the 80’s when Fernando Valenzuela was the main attraction for the Dodgers.  I’m loving it! Hmmmm maybe a sake tasting is in order soon.

Just my humble opinion, but a pregnant Eva Longoria still looks ravishingly beautiful!

Just read an article in Matador Network about the top 9 best places to go wine tasting around the USA that aren’t in California.  The first two places didn’t surprise me at all but the next three were a bit surprising to me.  #4 wasn’t a complete surprise as I have met Laurence Gruet of Gruet Winery and tasted his exceptional sparkling wines from that part of New Mexico. However, #3 and #5 threw me for a curve although I have been to Fredericksburg and I must tell you the Texas Hill Country is a beautiful place to taste wine if you aren’t there in the heat of summer!

The list: 1) Walla Walla, Washington 2) Willamette Valley, Oregon 3) Boise, Idaho 4) Santa Fe, New Mexico 5) Fredericksburg, Texas 6) Kansas City, Missouri 7) Traverse City, Michigan 8) Finger Lakes, New York 9) Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

Anyone else enjoying Giancarlo Stanton’s terrible start for the Yankees as much as my son is?  If Giancarlo can’t make it there, what does that mean? No more baseball for him?

I’m looking forward to watching the HBO documentary “The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling.” He was one of my favorite comedians of all time. Here are a few of his jokes that I really enjoyed:

“I once made love for an hour and fifteen minutes, but it was the night the clocks are set ahead.”

“I’ve never done the drug ecstacy, I’ve done agony and despair.”

“I’m dating a homeless woman. It was easier talking her into staying over.”

“I remember learning to drive on my dad’s lap. Did you guys ever do that? He’d work the brakes. I’d work the wheel. Then I went to take the driver’s test and sat on the examiner’s lap. I failed the exam. But he still writes to me. That’s the really nice part.”

Here’s the lineup for “The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming! Tasting this Thursday and Friday:

Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay, Russian River Ranches 2015  $23.99

Hartford Court Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2015  $23.99

Windracer Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2014  $29.99

Chasseur Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2014  $29.99












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