Nasty, smelly wine!

This one is for those of my readers who wonder about what “corked wine” mean. Ian has such a great way to make complex issues simple.

Wine talks and tastings

Ians mugshotYou open a bottle of wine and instead of the lovely, fresh appealing aromas you were hoping for, a nasty smell hits your nose. Something is obviously wrong, but what? – and what, if anything, can you do about it?

It depends on the smell. Perhaps the most likely is a musty, mouldy smell. This suggests a ‘corked’ wine. Corked wine is nothing to do with bits of cork floating about in the glass, which are harmless (take them out with a spoon or your finger and be more careful opening the bottle next time) – but is the result of a problem in the cork production process which has tainted the cork, which, in turn, has spoiled the wine. Nothing you can do except take the bottle back for a replacement or refund.

Another possibility is the wine might smell a bit like sherry or vinegar and a white…

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The End of the Cork?

I follow a lot of wine bloggers, but Ian is one of the more authoritative and reliable. I happen to agree with him on the use of corks, but I wonder if we will ever see the day when it is all screw caps. At 69, I doubt it will happen in my lifetime.

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The Billionaire’s Vinegar–A Tale of the Other Wine World

Billionaires Vinegar

My world of wine exists for my enjoyment and the enjoyment of hundreds of others who  sip, pair and socializing with a glass of wine in our hands.  I recently read a books entitled “The Billionaires Vinegar” which tells the story of the other world of wine; the one of excesses, deceit and collection for collections sake.  The story, half history and half memoir revolves around the sale of a cache of Chateaux Lafite from the 1870s belonging to Thomas Jefferson found in the 1960’s and sold at auction in London.  Not much of a page turner, but when they discovered it to be a fraud, the story brightens a lot.  The amazing excesses that surround the wine auction and collector’s world feigns reality, but strikes right at the heart of todays wine industry and it’s simplicity and genuine nature.  This dichotomy defines the two worlds of wine; mine and he Billionaires

The Washington Post reported last week that a Swiss Auction house pulled numerous lots of 1980’s Burgundy from it’s sale amid allegations that some or all of it was in fact fake.  Why create fakes when there is so much great wine out there to enjoy?  It seems, like identity theft, that picking on the “haves” is an okay way to redistribute the wealth.  Sadly with a supply of the right paper stock, a good color laser copier, a supply of bottles, properly stamped corks and the right foil, faking rare wine is not that hard.  We now have a whole industry devoted to sleuthing out fake wines.

My point in all this; Poor Robert’s is about wine that the masses can enjoy and not have to worry whether the wine we review is real or fake.  I know if I like a wine, I know if it’s a good wine and one that can stand a little more age before drinking, but in the end they will all be consumed, not collected for profit, maybe for fun, but never for profit.  My world of wine features the winemakers that actually toil in the wine sheds making real wine for real people. It’s about the real people who buy wine on line, in wine shops or supermarkets and do it just to enjoy the taste and society that a nice affordable bottle of wine bring.  To those who turn their noses up at  affordable wines because they lack a perfect balance, I shed a tear.  they have missed the true joy of wine; the seeking, the finding and most of all experiencing new and different flavors and sensations.

To the real wine drinkers, I say rejoice as you represent the best of Today’s wine world, those who enjoy for the sake of enjoyment and not for the sake of appearing better than someone else, just because you can.

Posted in Whimsy, Wine Making, Winemakers, Winemaking, Words, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Frankie, my dear, I don’t give a damn

I saw this on one of the blogs I follow and found it both interesting and funny. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Frankly Wines

Inspired by a comment from Mr Richie Magnier of The Motley Cru, here are 10 wines / grapes / regions / producers with some connection – however tenuous – to the name FRANKIE!  If this seems somewhat vain, well maybe it is, but hopefully also a bit of fun…

1. Cabernet Franc (Loire & Bordeaux)

Cabernet-franc From Viala & Vermorel – Ampélographie

So we kick off with one of the classiest Francs around, a stalwart black grape of Loire and Bordeaux that’s also becoming quite trendy in Argentina.

In Bordeaux it’s a useful blending component on both Left and Right banks, especially as it ripens before its offspring Cabernet Sauvignon.  In fact, in Bourg, Saint-Emilion and Pomerol it’s not usual for “Cabernets” plural to indicate a mix of the two without giving their relative proportions.

In the Loire Cab Franc is important in Saumur, Chinon, Anjou and Bourgueil.  It’s often a…

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Repurposing Wine Barrels – Just Cuz I Could

In retirement I make furniture, usually finely finished stuff.  Recently I got a commission to make a pair of bar stools out of  wine barrel staves and the metal barrelWine Table strapping.  They are still a work in progress as I sculpture the seats and create the barrel stave backs.  Last week was an indoor week here and I was not motivate to spend the days with my chisels and gouges so looking for something to do, I struck on the concept for a rough cocktail (patio) table, made out of the barrel scraps, that used the rustic beauty of the natural wine stain on the inside of the barrel.

Well, the whole project took me less than a day start to finish and I now have two identical tables.  While this photo doesn’t do the coloring justice, they are sturdy functional and a great conversation piece.  I  used a clear exterior water sealer as the finish.  They were super simple if you have a band saw (a hand held jigsaw will do if you are careful), a bottle of exterior wood glue, a couple of  24” clamps, 12 woodscrews and a 9”x 9”scrap of hardwood to make the sub base to support the tables legs.  You can buy all the material you need for this project at Lowes or Home Depot for less than $45.00.  They carry half barrels (good for 0ne table) in the garden department and all the rest is scattered throughout the store.  If anybody is interested, send me an e-mail at and I’ll provide more detailed instructions and more photos. 

Posted in Barware, Cocktails tables, Craft Furniture, Hodgpodge, Wine Barrells | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

A Wine Sample Policy, Say What!!

You heard it correctly, a wine sample policy.  It’s the craziest thing, I’ve always purchased the wine and other products I wrote about in my blog and never gave having a sample policy a thought.  Well I am now getting offers and requests and when I reached out to several other wine reviewers and bloggers, I found that I am not alone and many found having a policy in place to avoid any misunderstandings became a necessity.  So I have pieced together the following from the best of what other reviewers use. 

I  happily accept wine samples and wine-related products to  feature and review in my blog.  All  reviews will be my personal unbiased opinion therefore, I do not  guarantee a favorable review, nor do I grant prepublication editorial rights. All I promise: my reviews will be completely honest and I will publish my reviews promptly and in the order I receive the sample and the request.

I also enjoy wine-related travel. If you would like for me to come visit your winery and share my experience with my readers, I will be very happy to do so. You may contact me at .  If it’s not too far from Missoula, MT or I can arrange it around another existing trip I am happy to do it at my own expense, however if you want me to go to Argentina Israel or France, etc.  (not holding my breath) we may need to discuss the cost.

I am still trying to figure out where to put this in my Website to make it most conspicuous, any ideas will be appreciated.

Posted in Argentine, France, Hodgpodge, Sample Policy, Samples, Whimsy, Wine Samples, Wine Tasting, Winemakers, Wines | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Fancy a personal wine waiter? Meet Somm

This post by my collaborator the Wine Culturist was simply too good to not pass on. People always ask how to learn about wine. Well there is the old fashioned way trying them all and keeping good notes or there is the Techie way with SOMM. I love this concept, but I fear that I am too set in my ways to get full advantage of it. Enjoy


To kick off my new Wine Chat series please allow me to introduce the craft beer fanatic and startup whiz Michael Werner. Yes, you did read that right, my wine lover friends. I said the b-word. Michael co-founded the groundbreaking SYNEK company which is transforming the beer industry with its innovative countertop dispenser system. Proud owners of SYNEK units can enjoy a fresh glass of virtually any beer available on draft without having to trot down to the local pub (or bar for my dear American readers).

To complete the modernization of our home bars, the SYNEK team have now come up with Somm which works just like your own personal wine waiter. Using special 2.25 litre wine cartridges called Sylos, Somm ensures that you get a perfect pour with every glass of wine by chilling and aerating the wine just as the winemaker him/herself would serve it. Oh and…

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The Weekly Wine for April 24, 2016

Katy Michaud stands at the head of the class of new and inspired winemakers recruited by Naked Wines to  join in the fun of producing wine for their, over 100,000, Angels who crowd fund all NW wine production. The Katy Michaud, 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley represents her second Angel offering and it is a great offering indeed.

I tasted this wine over the period of five days, never evacuating air from what remained in the bottle. Day one it presented as very tight.  I decanted it for two hours and  it open up and began show its true character. It drank very nicely and paired well with a heavy meal greasy gravy laden meal. Given more time in the bottle it will pair well with lighter meals but for now it really compliments big earthy flavors. I would drink this wine with any hearty stew or Cassoulet. Day five, it opened up  nicely right out of the bottle and its complexity began to show through. The nose and the flavors developed and I could really get a sense of the layers upon layers of complex notes in the nose and on the palate  that make this wine a screaming deal.

What I have left (three bottles) I will hold on to for a while perhaps as long as five years. I am not a big fan of most Washington Cabs as I find them young, light and generally overpriced for the quality, but Katy really nailed this one as having a solid foundation to be a big Cab, and priced it really, really well for its quality at this age. If this wine lasts five years in my cellar it will compare very well to any Cab from anywhere in the $100.00 retail price range. At NW Angel pricing it is an absolute steal at $13.99 and a smart buy even at retail $24.99

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Wine and great Southern Bar BQ–Say What!

I am changing up Poor Robert’s posts yet again and moving into the cooking side of things for this one. You read it right, I use wine in cooking Smoked Southern Bar BQ.  I have to admit to being a novice smoker, but I love really good smoked meat and as you all know I do enjoy a glass of wine now and then.  I’ve often wondered why “the King of Beers” or “Black Jack” seemed to show up in every Bar BQ completion, but never a nice Cabernet, Merlot or Zin.  Well I’ve been working on changing that by experimenting in my own back yard.  I started with a Pork Butt and a Beef Brisket and I’ll be moving on to Baby Back Ribs and Chicken as soon as I get these perfected.

For the Pork Butt  I selected a nice inexpensive ($11.00) but very drinkable very dry Rose’.  Why in the world a Rose’, you ask? Well I want you to think eastern Carolina Bar BQ sauces.  They are made with mustard and vinegar and are more liquid than thick.  So th[7]here goes.  Take about a five pound Butt (bone in preferred) and inject it with a mixture of  one TBS bottled yellow mustard and one-half cup Rose and one-half cup apple juice well mixed.  Get as much into the Butt as you can without having two much run out.  Put the remainder in a clean plastic spray bottle.  Place the Butt in a smoker (follow smoker instructions) and cook (smoke) it for three hours undisturbed.  Open the smoker and spray the butt with the mixture from the spray bottle until the top appears wet.  Repeat this process every two hours, until the Butt registers 195 degrees F in the middle of its thickest part. At about four and a half hours put the Butt in a foil lined pan and keep smoking  If you don’t like your Pork Butt crispy, when it reaches your desired color you can tent it with foil for the remainder of the cooking process.

When its done (195 F internal-for five pound Butts I estimate total time at about eight to ten hours.) Remove it from the pan to a cutting board and let it rest for at least half an hour tented to keep it warm.  While it is resting pour the drippings in to a separating pitcher and let the oil rise to the top.  In a bowl mix the drippings (as much oil removed as possible, a quarter cup of cider, a quarter cup of the Rose’, a level TBS yellow bottled mustard and 1 cup of your favorite bottled BBQ Sauce (adjust until you get the sauce the consistency you like it).  Shred the Pork Butt with two forks or your fingers and serve.  You can either mix in some of the sauce until it has the consistency you like or just serve it on the side.  I prefer the latter as I like the pork just as it it is with a nice vinegar/wine based slaw and corn bread.  You can do the bun thing if you like so people can pick it up and eat it.  Oh by the way serve the Rose’, nicely chilled or if you prefer a really tart Sauvignon Blanc goes well.  Bon Apatite.

I’ll post the Brisket in the next edition, but before I kick this one to press, I must note that my recipe is to my taste, every one should feel free to adjust proportions to individual tastes.  In the interest of those that don’t like the wine idea you can mix apple juice and apple cider vinegar just as well, but I would start with a little less vinegar and a little more apple juice until you perfect your own sauce.

Posted in Bar BQ, Food and Wine, Hodgpodge, Rose', Whimsy, Wine laced Bar BQ sauce, Wine Photos | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

The Weekly Wine for April 11, 2016


Ghost Pines Cabernet 2012,13,and 14.  Yes I am presenting all three.  This is a supermarket wine that I really like.  It is a top end everyday wine or a lower end high priced wine with a price point of $25.00 retail, $17.50 at discount and $35.00 to $40.00 In most local restaurants.  I find it one of the better values for a restaurant wine as the mark up is generally much lower than some similar wines.   This wine is part of the Louis Martini family of wines and I would even venture to call it a  semi-craft wine.

I have no Label Photo for this weekly wine as I consumed the 2014 at a restaurant and simply forgot to pull the label of take the bottle home.  In any case I’ve been drinking this wine for at least three years and have tasting notes going back three years.  It is without question the most vintage (year to year) consistent wine I’ve seen from a production shop that I consider worth drinking.  You can find my tasting notes for the 2012 vintage in my wine reviews.  If you can find it buy it and let me know what you think.

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Louis Martini, Red Wine, Varietals, Wine Buying, Wine Tasting | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments