Dec 30, 2011

Three Taste's, a tip!

Three primary tastes (of wine).
Sweet comes from the grape sugars and alcohol.
Tart is triggered by acidity from the grapes.

Bitter is caused by the tannins from red grape skins (most likely to find it in red wines) and also from new oak barrels (you may find some tannins in oaky Chardonnays).

We can taste salty as well but it's not usually associated with wine, at least it shouldn't.

There is a fourth one but we will save that for a more detailed discussion later.

Dec 24, 2011

Kiwi and Koala Christmas Lunch

So as it is that time of year when most of the truly important things get shoved about to do the things that seem important Kiwi and Koala finally managed to sit down and have a seasonal get together lunch with significant others. It was a lovely sunny 65deg winter day with a light cool breeze.
The venue of choice, Wickets Bistro at the Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley. As we arrived we were warmly welcomed by the Valet and given directions to the Bistro. The question was asked as we were welcomed to the bistro, inside or outside. Given the light cool breeze we decided inside by the windows was a better choice. 

Kiwi and Koala then set about the all so important business of selecting the wine for lunch. The wine list is quite extensive although generally a bit on the pricey side with most wines being in the one and two star range. It was decided that a 2005 Marinus was to be consumed especially given it is a Bernardus wine, and priced right.

Now the wine was selected we could get on and order food. A burger, two Sirloin sandwiches and an artisan pizza. As we started our wine and conversation building maintenance decided it was time to roto-root the bar drain just a few feet away. Just a couple minutes into this the staff showed up, apologized, and asked if they could move us outside with a heater if we wished. We took them up on the offer and moved outside. With heater it was a very comfortable and a  lovely setting by the croquet lawn.

So back to the important information. The 2005 Bernardus Marinus is a blend of 74.4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5.3% Merlot, 5% Malbec, 4.8% Petit Verdot, and 0.5% Cabernet Franc. A little tight at first and would benefit from some decanting (or another year or two in the bottle if you can wait) but was a Good Drop (7) **. The wine and food was enjoyed by all. While not inexpensive, the setting and the service combined with the good food and wine made for a reasonable value.

To Kiwi and Koalas surprise when the bill came Wickets had removed the wine from the bill as an apology for the roto-rooter incident. This was definitely above the bar as most places would have only removed the desert or the coffees which would also have been nice, but the wine, classy move.

To sum up the adventure, a good time was had by all with good food and good wine with that little bit extra and a bonus to boot. Kiwi and Koala will be going back and 'recommend' you give em a go.

Go to Wickets and tell them Kiwi and Koala sent you..........

Kiwi & Koala

Dec 22, 2011

In Carmel, a fortuitous discovery.

The Adventure begins with Koala wandering aimlessly in Carmel by the Sea with his daughter while waiting to have an early Christmas Dinner. All this wandering had worked up a thirst and they thought a drink may be in order. Tis the season you know.  For a taste!

A few moments later what did they behold?  Pepe’s Vino Napoli.  How opportune! So in they went Koala and his daughter, greeted warmly by the young man behind the counter. A short discussion of the available options and the young man’s suggestion was taken. See picture to the left.  It was a Good Drop at a reasonable price ***. It was a bit tight at first but became very nice as it opened up in the glass.

Next up was the need for a snack, of which they have an interesting selection. Koala settled for the Caprese Salad. Made to order right as we waited all of 3 minutes. Holy cow was it good!  One of the best Caprice Salads they have ever had! Perfectly ripe tomatoes, wonderful Mozzarella and lovely olive oil with the most amazing Balsamic Vinegar (made in the restaurant next door).  Just occurred to Koala that a food rating scale may be in order! UPDATE 'recommend'

Next up was a glass of Pepe’s own label. Again following the guide of the Young man a red wine blend was chosen.  A 2007 “Vesuvio” which is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, 18% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot.  A definite Good Drop '6+ and also ***'.

Unfortunately time was not on their side, and the tasting had to come to an end sooner than was desired.

While not on the radar for an official WineWalkabout Adventure, nor was Kiwi in attendance for this fortuitous discovery, Koala never the less felt it was too nice a surprise to keep to himself. So if you are in Carmel by the Sea, check it out and let them know Koala sent you.
Pepe’s Vino Napoli on Dolores and Seventh. They won’t have a clue who you’re referring to but that’s ok.
Koala strikes ..............

Kiwi & Koala

Dec 11, 2011

The official WineWalkabout rating scale.

The official Restaurant, Hotel and Travel Rating Scale

Must Do / Go
Good, Would Go Back
Yeah it's OK
Probably not. If they ask us back we would give them a second chance (sometimes stuff happens)
Moving on / Don’t stop
The Official Wine Rating Scale

1- down the drain.
2- send it to the in-laws, they drink anything (they put ice in their wine)
3- pour for drunk friends (don’t waste good wine on drunks)
4- take it to other people’s BBQ parties (it’s OK wine, you will drink it, plonk)
5- spaghetti wine, good every day wine that you choose to drink, usually great value
6- good wine, week night home special meal (cooking good meat)
7- great drop, fine dinner wine (take to restaurant with friends)
8- excellent, very special occasion (share with wine friends)
9- awesome, dam near perfect
10- brilliant, perfect (rare find indeed)
11- a religious experience. (you make noises as you drink and you don’t care)
$0 - $25 ****
$26 - $50 ***
$51 - $100 **
$101 - $200 *
$201 <   no stars for you!

Dec 7, 2011

Cork Dorks, Wine wankers, Tossers and Ponces !

Some time ago we were drinking and (surprise eh) it occurred to us that, It’s all well and good, but does the world need them? You know, them!


But then we asked ourselves the question, you know, really pushed our brains to the brink, made those rusty cogs move and had a good long hard think about who they are.

Who is the cork dork, the wine wanker, the tosser or ponce, what do they look like, and where do they congregate or hang out?

Are we, or you, one of them we asked? We looked at bosses and colleagues, cell mates and school mates, cobbers, friends and foes, lovers and fighters, crazy rellies and even those nutty neighbors across the street. And then it hit us like a bean and rice burrito with extra jalapeƱo's on an empty stomach, we, yep, we all sunshine, are the biggest dorks, wankers, tosser's and ponce's that ever critiqued anything.

Wait, what, you ask? Not us you say with indignation! Look, stay with us here an follow along as we will eventually get to the point. You see, its not just about wine. No really, its about all kinds of stuff people are into, because what they do, and we do, but think we don't, are exactly the same things, just packaged differently.

The process of identifying and describing the colors, smells and feel of food, drink and a lot of stuff, is what tasting is all about, and is something we all do often.

Think of your last visit to the hair salon ladies (and some fellas). There you are with your Starbuck's soy no whip extra hot latte with an extra shot in hand, head still buzzing from the crazy scalp massage the assistant just gave you, headline scanning though the latest entertainment trash magazine and talking with your hairdresser about what shades of blonde you should be. Did anyone cry 'ponce' at you when you said "more honey than blonde, with a few muted red tones, but not too bright.” Did you even think to check yourself up when you heard what you said? Yeah, nah, we thought not! Hair wanker!

Look even the most ocker beer swilling blokes out there are into it as well. Some of the biggest arguments between friends and family are over religion, footy and what makes good beer.

Blokes think they're just being, well 'blokey' when they argue that Fosters beer tastes just like a bunch of chemicals, or that West End and West End Export are the same and that Stella beer is for little girls because its too light, and 'cause that’s what it is anyway'.
It's got a sheila’s name after all and you wouldn't go drink a can of something called Debbie would you?  Did anyone scream tosser? Thought not Nancy....

Coffee is another example where it's cool to be all knowing and such so you can get a 'proper' one. If it's your thing, you do it! You know who you are with the grande extra Latte double steam extra foam extra hot soy but not too soy or hot or something. Bloody ponce!

But look, at the end of the day it's all about personal taste. And those arguments are essentially battling out the same points of contention, personal preference and opinion. Some wine experts in the world have been known to say "great complexity, lifted fruits, nicely balanced and very full on the mid-palate, finishing with a frisky acid kick". This is just the same as he who cries "Top drop eh? Bloody knock your socks off with all that flavor. Dunno about the funny aftertaste, but." What do ya reckon mate?
Passionate people are everywhere; they're into everything, not just wine. And language and venacular that's specific to a hobby always excludes those who don't know. It's what you know and what you're into. The terminology or vernacular used within any hobby or passion are always a little foreign to the newbie.

Hey we’re not defending anyone here, a goose is a goose no matter what they're into, and wine wankers do exist, but we reckon you chuck that person into any hobby and they'd turn out the same. That's not wine's fault.
Let’s not spit the dummy and tarnish this exciting path of discovery and adventure that wine can take us on, just cause they're a few drongo's who don't know when to shut their pie hole.

Join us in finding good wines, places to eat and stay and just enjoy these things for what they are. No pretentious b*~>^%-t. We will try to tell of our Adventures in regular speak and not get all caught up in technicality and expertise. Just a couple of simple blokes telling stories of what we experience along the way.
So go ahead and get stuck into it and just pull the cork or twist off the cap and enjoy a glass or three of what we call a bloody good drop! Cheers!

Happy Tasting Adventures,

Dec 4, 2011

We were thinkin while drinkin!

Rating Scale

We have been hanging out eating and drinking on multiple continents for a while now. We were doing just that one lovely afternoon while discussing some article with wine friends, that we had both read, that we thought was just way to poncy for 80% of the people we know that enjoy wine. About that time someone said 'well if you think its to poncy why don't you two drongo's write about wine, food and travel in a non poncy way'. 
At that point in time we had had enough to drink and thought that's it we can do that, so we set about planning an adventure. 
Here we go! We were excited about all the information we were going to impart. We could tell you about the wine we had with the dinner and about the hotel as well as whether or not we were happy with the airline or rental car or, well everything that we experience whilst on our Adventures.
But our plan of telling you about the food and wine we were consuming got a little side tracked as we discovered that the current methods of ranking wine let alone food and travel may not be our best choice. What were we going to do? If there was not a good system of passing on some form of rating that average people could embrace how would people know what we experienced and therefore what they might expect. Other than our ramblings.
So as a significant amount of wine was consumed to lubricate our brains we decided to create our own system.  A system that we hope most everyone can relate to.

Basically, a ten point system 1-10 with ten being best (an 11 is a guaranteed awesome sex wine) and some sort of bonus system for cost, or lack thereof. We thought a reward system would be good for cost. The lower the cost the more stars (almost used happy faces). Four stars being best, all the way to, that is too much, no stars for you! Each rating has a description that puts into perspective how that rating relates to us, and hopefully to all of you. There is also a simple system for Hotels and Restaurants etc. that we feel covers the needs without being complicated. Now with our Adventures you can read how it went for us and hopefully get a feel for how it may go for you...

Let the Adventures begin..............

Cheers and happy Adventures,

Dec 3, 2011

The weekend is here!

So the weekend is upon us what shall we do? Time to drink some wine and plot an adventure!
Stay tuned!

Dec 1, 2011

Our Goal

Our goal is for you to have a wonderful wine tasting experience even if it needs to be in the comfort and safety of your own home. Venture out only if you want. We will do the drinking and eating for you. We will also do the accommodation and travel and tell you what we experience.

We are looking for everything, but most importantly we are looking for a good time, at an appropriate price based on what is being received. Value! An overused term but basically what we are looking for.

So sign up and follow along and see what trouble we get into for your benefit!

Let the adventure begin!