Arroyo Robles Winery is donating to Prevent Cruelty to Animals this month!

April is Prevention of

Cruelty to Animals Month

To celebrate and raise awareness, we are offering EMMA & RILEY’s EMERGENCY RELIEF on SALE for the month of April!
For this month only, receive 10% off the regular price ($19.80 per bottle, regularly $22.00) AR Wine club members can add that 10% to their regular discount.

10% Case Discounts apply for everyone.

2006 “ER”
(Zin, Syrah, Merlot, Cab)
$19.80 PER BOTTLE during April/ $17.60 PER BOTTLE WHEN YOU BUY A CASE
AR WINE CLUB PRICE: $ 15.40 PER BOTTLE during April/ $13.20 PER BOTTLE WHEN YOU BUY A CASE

In addition to that great deal, $2 of every ER bottle sold at this sale will go to Woods Humane Society
to help find homes for local dogs and cats.

Speaking of Woods , join us next weekend , April 10-11 for
WINE 4 PAWS
At AR and participating wineries, we will donate 10% of the weekend’s proceeds to Woods!

URL for Wine4Paws

Cigar Review: Ashton VSG

I picked up the Ashton VSG (Virgin Sun Grown) last week from Tobacco Road on a whim when I had a few extra dollars. At a price of $17 a stick (Grants has the same size slightly cheaper) it’s not something most of us can afford to smoke on an every day basis but I did say I’d review higher end sticks ūüôā

I picked up the Corona Gorda at a size of 5 3/4 X 46 and clipped the end. Upon the first taste I noticed a rather airy, light draw from the cigar, similar to the Padron 2000 stick (that to me indicates a looser wrapping). The construction of the cigar was firm and solid, though I was a little scared as the wrapper holds a pretty brown color but feels slightly dry.

The cigar held firm the entire smoke! Creamy notes on the first third with an almost white ash held my attention. The flavor profile later became a tad spicy but still deliciously creamy all the way until very end when I damn near smoked my fingers off! Slight cedar notes were prominent on the last third.

Ashton VSG Cigars page

I intend to get a good bang for my buck as the last stick of the month so we’ll see what comes up from Grants!

Update: Things I’ve tried

Been a week since the last update and I thought since I haven’t drank or smoked anything noteworthy, I’d just take a moment to share what I have been drinking and smoking.

First, yesterday at Grants I smoked the Triumfador by Tatuaje. I understand it’s roughly the same or similiar blend to the La Riqueza (which I need to review for this blog!) and the round of opinions from the guys who smoked it found it pleasant and and “excellent cigar.” I had to agree. Construction was solid, the wrapper held some oily notes along with that signature flavor profile by master blender Don “Pepin” Garcia. I’ll be smoking another one Saturday more than likely. Thanks Pete Johnson!

Oh, at Tobacco Road I finally picked up an Ashton VSG Sungrown. Heard this was a nice smoke and at $17 a stick, it’s blog worthy based on my standards. I’ll report that soon!

I picked up pipe smoking a few weeks back and am enjoying that but haad to deal with the learning curve. Thankfully one of the gents i smoke with has offered to introduce me to some of the finer points on pipe smoking. Btw I picked up a Perot pipe for about $35 from Grants.

This week I’ve had Murrietta’s Well Meritage which doesn’t qualify for the blog (I think it retails for about $15 a bottle) but was a delightful wine to drink. Full of structure, nice tannins and flavor, this 2005 release is one i’ll pick up a few more bottles of. Thank you Livermore Valley, California!

Also this week we had GMH Verdelho from Australia. Geoff M. Hardy’s 2006 release shows bright fruit, acidity and some tartness on this well made South Australian wine.

Of note, was a new thing I might add to the blog. Beer reviews. My girlfriend picked up Three Philsopher’s belgian style ale. Bright flavors with a typical belgian style profile and fruit held nicely on the palate with a medium finish.

Guess that’s it for now.

As always, cheers!

Consumption question

How many cigars do you smoke in a week? How many drinks do you consume in a day?

I ask this question for curiousity’s sake as well as to see where I fit in the moderation spectrum. You see, I recently upped the number of cigars I’ve had in a week from 4 to about 6 and maintained my drink count at 4 drinks a day. Usually two glasses of wine, two scotches.

I asked a few of the smokers I hang out with about their smoking habits and found that most seem to hover around 3-4 cigars a day. If I smoked that much I’d never get anything done!

My cigars and pipe are a relaxing thing for me that keeps me out of the office. Cigars require me to leave the house and be outside at least long enough to head to BART to go to Grants or Tobacco Road. Or at the very least I can sit ont he lake and light up.

Regarding drinks, I just never thought about why I can’t have four drinks in a day. The wine and last scotch of the night is centered around a hearty meal and the early drink I have with lunch.

I drink plenty of water, tea and juice. I eat fairly well and beileve in a good diet all around –which should include fine scotch and cigars!

What say you?

Wine Review: 42 Degree South 2006 UnwoodedChardonnay by Frogmore Creek Wines

A gold colored wine in the glass possesses just about the chalkiest flavors on a medium finish I have ever tastsed. Made in Tasmania, Australia, the lack of usage in wood really allows for the grapes to show a different side. Stone fruit on the nose was faint but present.

Served with catfish, jasmine rice and edamame, the pairing wasn’t “too” far off.

For a $12 bottle, this wasn’t too bad. Yeah, I know it doesn’t really fit the blog’s suggested price range either but we ARE open to reviewing free wine…

Wine Review: Aussie Vineyards Twelve Apostles South Eastern 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

From South Eastern Austrailia, this wine boasts balanced tannins and chocolate on the palate with a creamy oak feel in the mouth. A medium bodied Cab from Aussie Vineyards. A ripe berry nose that opens up after time. Paired well with steak covered in african spice mixture and fried potato slices.

This wine is priced at just under $20 but I picked it up for less at Grocery Outlet.

Wine Review: Bodegas Se√Īorio del J√ļcar Vina Bel 2008 Tempranillo

I’m not overly familiar with wines from the Castilla-La Mancha region of Spain but this one delivered. I had to hunt a little for information.

This dark colored wine with firm tannins and fruit drinks well. It’s not too young or overpowering yet it holds just enough terroir and dirt for my palate to make it a pleasurable drinking wine. Notes of violet and dark fruit lead with a medium finish.

We had it with chinese food and the two don’t really pair well but I just grabbed it not thinking LOL!

For just under $20 this wine meets the blog’s rules AND my wallet remains just as pleased as my palate. Even better, we picked this up as an overstock at Grocery Outlet so we paid $4 for it instead of close to $20.

I’d like to see what laying down a bottle would do for a year or three.

Wine Info: Franklin Square in Oakland, CA had it’s last day on Valentine’s day

Due to a staggering economy and low foot traffic plus the fact that Oakland is a struggling city both financially and with intellect (Yeah I said it!) Franklin Square, the smaller wine bar opened and operated by the folks who brought us Lukas Taproom and Lounge (just across the street) has closed.

They had a nice selection of wines, reasonable prices on very good food and a friendly atmosphere. Tastings were held on Thursdays at a reasonable price.

Hell I probably could have lit up a cigar on the patio with a glass of wine.

But this is what happens when people don’t spend money and downtown looks like hell.

Downtown Oakland looks like a ghost town on weekends now.

Sadly I hear the champagne lounge on 24th and Telegraph is also empty much of the time.

Cigar Review: Padron 1964 Anniversario

I had this earlier at Grants and all I can say is WOW! The construction of this box pressed cigar is solid, producing a tight white ash. Flavors on this easy to draw cigar include pronounced coffee and tobacco that smooth out as the cigar smokes.

This is definitely an upgrade if you’re familiar with the general thousand line of Padron, which I am as those are my go to sticks most of the time.

I sipped a decent brandy while smoking and watching the news discuss the proposed smoking ban in San Francisco and talking to some of the more politically inclined smokers.

For $15.50 a stick, this is definitely worth buying a few if not a box.