Thursday, May 21, 2015

Patton Oswalt, Wine Connoisseur.

In his 2011 book, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, Patton Oswalt writes a few pages of wine reviews.  Of them, here are two. (Some may have been deemed inappropriate for a family blog, though we're still not sure if this is one of those.)

As always, click on images to enlarge.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Glendale Historical Things

It's May, AKA, Historic Preservation Month.

To showcase Glendale's historical bits, the Central Library over there on Harvard set up its showcases to, um, showcase the historic buildings and other structures of Glendale.  There are maps of historic districts and pictures of notable houses within those districts.

The old Hotel Glendale, home of The Cave Wine Storage,  is    right    there.

R i i i i g h t    t h e r e. 

Doh! There it is, snugly tucked behind the art deco storage unit on Central - cool building - but still in front of the Masonic Temple, recently purchased and being renovated by Caruso Affiliates.  So, THERE!

Look! There's Grand Central Air Terminal, currently being renovated by Disney.  Tropico Station: THE Glendale Blog supplies the details.

The bridges of Glendale are mostly mid '30's. Here's more details via

The Le Mesnager Barn, home of wine maker Georges La Mesnager. The Stone Barn Vineyard Conservancy maintains vineyards and makes wine with grapes grown there, if your feeling both historical and thirsty.

There's Glendale's famous train station, most notably featured in the movie Double Indemnity.

Here's one from the 1951 movie, The Company She Keeps.

You can read about more TV shows and films that used Glendale's train station as a backdrop here, at I Am Not A Stalker (a movie locations blog).

To be considered historic, the property must have age (generally at least 50 years old)  integrity, and significance.  I applied, but I only have one of those.  Fortunately I get to sit in a place that has it all. Cheers.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Wine purgatory.

(I wrote this yesterday, but then I opened a bottle of wine last night so I'm re-writing it today.)

Forgive me, wine gods, for I have ... lapsed.

Though my personal wine "voice" is a tragically backwards version of Pygmalion (surrounded by many Henry Higgins, I devolved), in the end I subscribe to the school of Matt Kramer: "If you love wine and you’re buying anything decent—let’s say any wine that costs $20 or more—you need to know that the odds are extremely good that the wine you’re buying today will taste better, and be more rewarding to you, if you stick it in a cool space for a year or even five or 10 years." 

In that, I had a well-enough stocked cellar of easy-priced wines aging away towards a better future.  Most of these wines were accrued around 2010, with bits and pieces thrown into the mix as they piqued my curiosity.  And because they are not St. Emilion-age-worthy, they are mostly drinking well about now.

So what I did was: I started drinking them.  What I didn't do was: keep adding more into the mix to age.  What happened was: I ran out of wine.  

Now I am in Wine Purgatory.  I could be in Wine H-E-Double Toothpicks, but the lapse is redemptive.  

This recently came my way and I opened it and then I drank it and it was         D E L I C I O U S.

The gentleman who gave it to me was moving out of state and retrieving his ONE case of wine he had stored here, because we're awesome enough to do that, find a way for you to keep what matters to you, regardless. He handed this to me certain it wouldn't be very good.

He was wrong.

I emailed him my apologies for his having given it to me, and of course my gratitude for such an oversight.

Not to be confused with what I opened last night, my most modest purchase from Topline yesterday.  It is my punishment for not keeping up the rotation. Not quite $2-buck Charlie, it still affirms Mr. Kramer's advice.

While riding home from Topline, I was thinking what a twit I was to have gotten lazy about the easiest things to manage, really: a decent glass of wine.

Say you open a bottle of wine a week.  52 bottles @ around $20 is a thousand bucks.  That's not horrible.  That's, like, less than five cases.  A five case locker is only $83 per year - next to nothing.  This is all it takes. You just have to stay on it.  

So now the task begins of getting back...on it.  Of shoveling my way out of purgatory one bottle at a time.  Worth it! if you've ever had a glass of purgatory.

This was on the tweety yeaterday.

Friday, April 24, 2015

What Spring tastes like.

It's Spring, still, and the interwebs are conspiring to brainwash us into tackling the high maintenance fava bean. The onslaught of fava bean indoctrination was too strong, my powers against it too weak;  last weekend I bought fava beans.

The two schools of fava bean thought, according to LA Times, are the single peel or the double peel.  My fava bean vendor at the Atwater farmer's market scoffed at the double peel.  While leaving the second skin did make for a slightly more bitter bean, she allowed, it was not enough to matter.

Dandelion greens are bitter, endive, escarole and rapini are bitter,why can't fava beans be slightly bitter.

Per LA Times, I poured boiling water over the beans and when they were cool enough tried one as-was, then another after peeling off the second skin.

Okay, if you are super lazy and also craving fresh fava beans, you can leave the skin on and you won't suffer.

BUT I concede, peeling off the second layer did indeed produce a lovelier bean.  That's right, I said L O V E L Y. It's a nice bean. It is the taste of Spring.  I stirred these into melted butter and garlic with a touch of salt and they are...lovely.

Labor is not the reason to avoid this bean.  Price might be, they ran $3/lb, and this was about a pound's worth.  If you are on a budget get these once in a while as an accent flavor or color.  But get them at least once every Spring, just because.

If you like wine with your fava beans, maybe a chablis or a nice pinot gris.  If you like to eat liver with your fava beans, this site pairs liver with Chardonnay, and this one pairs foie gras with Sauterne.  But humans taste like pork. 

Dr. Vino posted this one about the blind taste test where most tasters couldn't tell the difference between the taste of (Newman's Own) dog food and various liver pates, including pork.  He concluded both would be served well with a Sauternes or a Gewurztraminer.

Sorry, folks, no Chianti. 

But here's a movie fun-fact for you:  The iconic line was a tell: were he on his meds, Dr. Lechter would not have been allowed to eat the three items he states.  MAOI's, taken to treat depression among other things, disallow foods high in tyramine.  It's WAY better to be depressed than to have to not eat these foods, liver notwithstanding.  The prevailing thought is Dr. Lechter was telling Agent Sterling he was off his meds.  OR: was he on his meds and eating those things made him crazy? I sniff a twinkie defense!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Greatest Story Ever Told: The Hotel Glendale.

If you remember to bring your library card to work, good things happen.

First you go onto the library's web site.  If you click on "my account" on the left there, the next page is to enter your library card number.  Your password is the last four digits of your phone number.

The next screen tells you all your book stuffs, but there are tabs for other things to peruse.  Like "articles and databases."

LOTS to check out here - literature, art, music, jobs, business, law - but The Hotel Glendale opened in 1925, so let's try that.
Other than the hopeful #1 and the announcements #3 and #5, we get two articles about the Hotel Glendale. I'd previously read the article about the old people.  It was nice, a niche found in every pleasant way, But that other article, #4, I'd not previously seen.  "Grand Dreams Now a Shabby Reality."

Yes, every history book and news article says it,  and they say it the same way: "...the venture was a commercial and design failure."   Specifically cited each time is the missing freight elevator and the restaurant in the basement.
(click on picture to get to the Glendale Historical Society.)
These two things alone never sold themselves as the catastrophic death knell that is this Hotel's eternal dark cloud.  This article, published in 1972,  is the missing link to the whole story, and it's a fantastic story, as told by the guy who was there for it all, Elwood M, Ingledue.  It was Elwood's father, Charles, who brought the Hotel from an idea to fruition.  But while father Charles built this dream, son Elwood ran it for four years from the day it opened. This is his story, a mere excerpt of the entire article.

     "This was the dream, circa 1925: Immaculately attired bellhops scurry about the lobby of the Hotel Glendale.  Situated at Glendale Ave. and Broadway, the hotel is the commercial hub of the city, and shoppers throng the hotel's fine restaurant.
     "On the roof, an aluminum dirigible discharges passengers arriving from New York and San Francisco.  A commuter train on Glendale Ave. pauses in front of the hotel to pick up hotel guests and shoppers for the quick run into Los Angeles.
     "If there is anything constant in the 47 years between the conception of the dream and the present day reality is that Hotel Glendale has steadfastly refused to live up to the plans people had for it."

     "A succession of owners and managers has attempted to operate the six-story building profitably as a nightspot, a residential hotel, a low-cost transient hotel, and, of course, a grand hotel.
     "Now well past middle age, the hotel appears to have found a reasonably stable stable identity as a combined apartment building for the retired and a low-cost transient hotel for people of all ages.

     " is difficult today to imagine Hotel Glendale with its narrow corridors, small rooms and undersized lobby topped by an oversized mezzanine, as a grand hotel.  It is hard to imagine fashionable tourists disembarking from the interurban at its front door and queuing up at the desk to register."

     "It is difficult to imagine well-dresed shoppers crowding into the cavern-like basement restaurant.
     "Such difficulties go to the heart of the hotel's woes.  The men of commerce who built it knew nothing about translating marketing plans into a functional hotel design.
     "Elwood M. Ingledue, who managed the hotel for four years after its grand opening June, 1925, rues the day he ever laid eyes on the structure.
     "'It was absolutely hopeless from the start,' Ingledue says.  'I can laugh about it now but I've been trying to forget that hotel for decades.'
     "As Ingledue and other old-timers in Glendale remember it, the story of Hotel Glendale began just before World War 1, when the economy was expanding willy-nilly.  The Pacific Electric Railway criss-crossed San Fernando Valley communities with its interurban lines.  In Glendale, the railroad chose to build its main line up Brand Ave., with a spur going over to the intersection where Hotel Glendale stands. 
     "Glendale Ave. businessmen rankled at the plan but only one tried to capitalized on it.  This entrepreneur conceived a grand hotel - twice the size of the existing structure - on the corner of Broadway and Glendale Ave.
     "The concept got as far as the digging stage when the plan fell through.  At least a part of the hole remained, a neighborhood pockmark for the next two decades.
     "After the war, Southern California resumed its rapid expansion and the Glendale and Brand Ave. businessmen resumed their rivalry.
     "These were heady days for real estate men.  A building could be purchased with an unsecured loan and then resold a few years late for double or triple its original value.  Expansionist fever raced through the community.
     "Charles Ingledue, Elwood's late father, caught a bad case of the fever.  He and other Glendale Ave. landowners soon found out they had overbought.  Land they had purchased on the assumption that almost every conceivable investment would turn a profit wasn't producing enough income to meet interest payments."

     "It was the first warning of the collapse of the real estate boom but in 1924 no one sensed the impending doom, certainly not Glendale Ave. businessmen.
     "Searching around for a device to reestablish their avenue as the city's commercial focus, they decided to take up where the prewar hole digger had left off.
     "They formed the Glendale Hotel Co. and quickly raised $600,000, a third of it thrown in by the elder Ingledue who also served as company president.  It was a mistake from which he never recovered.
     "The 100-unit hotel went up in less than a year.  The elder Ingledue had his son, Elwood, named manager and, with appropriate fanfare - it was the city's first major league hotel - the doors swung open for business June 1925.
       "Reginald Spicer, a retired drug manufacturer who participated in the disaster, remembers it this way:
     "'It didn't take long to learn the building was badly conceived.  There was only one bathroom for every two rooms.  The architect forgot to install heaters - later we had to put in gas heaters.
   "'They forgot to put a kitchen on the dining room.  There was no money left to buy furniture, so Ingledue had to buy all the furnishing out of his own pocket. And the worst thing was that Ingledue knew no more about running a hotel than I did.'
     "There were other problems.  The planners forgot that each midnight a freight train rumbled up Glendale Ave. to pick up a load of wood at a lumber company on the site of what is now Fashion Square.  The more expensive rooms were on the Glendale Ave. side, and high-paying guests ($6 a suite) complained about the nocturnal noise.
     "Then there was the plan to sell the remaining portion of the property (or hole) to meet operating costs. A buyer was never found.  Without operating capital, services fell off.  Without proper services, patronage fell off still more.

     "The younger Ingledue, then in his mid-twenties, made a valiant effort to put the hotel on the map, hoping business could somehow be generated if people knew about the hotel.
   "One gimmick was to hire a circus performer who dressed himself as a human fly and scaled the building from the street to the roof to the excited gasps of the crowd in the street. 
     "'As I remember it, it did some good in bringing in business for a short time' Ingledue said. 'Of course I think the performer cheated a bit, pounding spikes in the masonry the night before as I recall.'"

     "The eyes of all California turned to the hotel when the younger Ingledue and Capt. Thomas B. Slate unveiled plan to use the hotel roof as a terminal for a fleet of cross-country dirigibles.
     "Slate, a personable inventor and adventurer, got several Glendale businessmen, including the younger Ingledue, to invest in his proposal to build a dozen fast-moving aluminum dirigibles, and use a 1,000-foot elevator to ferry passengers to and from the rooftop.
     "But alas, the aluminum cracked as soon as the gas was pumped in and the Slate Aircraft Corp. went bankrupt. All that remains today of the episode are several four-inch hooks on the roof of the hotel.
     "By 1929, the bondholders foreclosed and sold the hotel for $25,000, less than it had cost to furnish it four years before.
     "The older Ingledue lost everything and didn't live to see the economic recovery in the 1940s.  But his son gained some experience from his Hotel Glendale days. He started the "Hotel Index," a reference book for the trade which he published for the next four decades. A few years ago, he decided to try his once-singed hands at running a hotel again.
     "He now operates the Pacific Plaza Motel in Glendale - with notable better success than his first venture. 
     "The next three decades were a time of humiliation for the Hotel Glendale.  It was too solidly built to be torn down at a reasonable cost, and too poorly designed and situated to be worth fixing into a thriving hotel.  It had no choice but to endure. "

Read more about the Great Dirigible Venture! 
Read more about the Hotel Glendale's Founders-with-Dreams!
Read more about the Hotel Glendale and its Speakeasy Rumors!
See the corner of Broadway and Glendale circa 1926!
See the corner of Broadway and Glendale circa 1940 -1950!
One guest had a terrible time while staying at the Hotel Glendale!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Spring shipping season.

It's Easter.  Happy Passover!

The Cave is open.  It's very, very quiet here.  It's golden

Last weekend was not very quiet at all.  It was THE weekend everyone got their spring shipments. 

Lots and lots of boxes.

Lots and lots.

If you need one.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Guiness cold-pressed coffee.

Then the new guy told me he home-brewed stout beer, and this changed everything.  Everyone seems into IPA's or sours, but it's stout all the way in this cave.  I told him I once tried adding a shot of espresso to a Guinnes but I don't remember how it was so it must have been horrible.  He said, "try doing a cold press with a Guinness."  I was like, wow, THAT never occurred to me, I need to try that.  

So I tried that.

Cold press coffee.  I discovered cold pressed coffee when I moved to California.  Though I had a job at Starbucks, a co-worker-slash-coffee nerd would stop by Diedrich Coffee on the way to work to get his iced coffee.  They used a toddy and the coffee was really a velvet bit of loveliness. I was hooked. We actually got permission to do this at our store (and our store only).  You throw a pound of coarse ground (french press setting) coffee in there, mix in cold water, let it sit 12 hours, drain.  It gives you a coffee concentrate that requires some added water before consuming.  After much experimentation I discovered if you make a standard french press with cold water, 12 hours later you'd get great coffee that didn't need additional water.

Monday morning, my weekend and the day before St Patrick's Day, I rolled over around 6:30 a.m. and thought, you know, if I get that going, it'll be ready by tonight.  So I got up and turned on the lights and got that going.

But I did ZERO research into proportions.  So I dumped the usual amount of coffee into the bottom of my 8-cup french press, opened a
Guinness that had been sitting on the counter a few days now, waiting, and looked into the bubbly mess thinking, this is going to be awful.

Also, the Guinness didn't fill the french press as I'd thought it would, so now I had a LOT of coffee in there with not enough stout.  I went back to bed.

Around three that afternoon I was convinced this would all be such a horrific mess, I went ahead and plunged the press.  Also, as there was so much coffee-to-Guiness, I thought pressing it early might just save it.

I poured it into a jar, and then a small bit into a glass to try.  It was molasses black. 

I was convinced my next sentence would read, "It tasted like $#!t."

My actual next sentence is, "This stuff is weirdly delicious."  I mean, delicious.  Smooth and velvety, neither coffee nor stout prevail.  There is no bitterness, tartness, and in fact there is a sweetness in the Guinness that comes through in just the right way. 

I absolutely need to do this again. One pint of Guinness is 16 ounces.  Starbucks standard measure is 2 tablespoons coffee to six ounces of water, but four tablespoons of coffee to one Guinness should be more than enough.  I'd even try only two. Either way, it can then be enjoyed over the course of a day or two versus the week or more I anticipate this current batch taking.  Either way, try it.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Breakfast of Champions

I said to him, "Don't worry, I won't tell them your last name."
He replied, "I don't want them knowing my first name."

When people are buried in their locker, I leave them alone.  Oh, but what you can learn about someone if you have to go ask them a question.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

What's new at The Cave?

Nothing.  OH WAIT.

This week, The Deanster tipped me off to the fact that The Cave, this very The Cave, got a lovely nod by way of the current issue of  Los Angeles Magazine.  WHA? Our humble bit of dank and darkness ? 

Because I don't have an on-line account with them, I went out and bought a copy.  Because The Cave follows them on twitter, the day I bought a hard-copy they posted the column on line.

Indeed, Mr. Stein was WAY generous to mention us specifically, because he could very well have written it as a "wine storage place in Los Angeles" without compromising his point.  But he specified us, and that's because we're that noteworthy.  Which we are. 

Thank you, Mr. Stein.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

I know it's not a contest but...

...there are days when I sit here and look at what's on my desk and I think, "What's on my desk is WAY better than what's on your desk."  Today was one of those days.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

When life hands you lemons...and Grenache Blanc.

There are only two reasons to live in Southern California: Mexican food and citrus.  All citrus, but especially the Meyer lemon.  Citrus is in season right now, and I know people.  Very generous people.  I've chosen my friends wisely.

So that when M. came in over the weekend with a generous handful of Meyer lemons from her tree, and I had already in my locker the most generous bottle of Tablas Creek Grenache Blanc from the very same generous person, I knew I needed to make an M. inspired devoted meal.


Because the other reason people think it's swell to live in Southern California is the weather which is less swell and more swel-tering.  It will take us 75 inches of rain to make up for what we've not had in three years: winter. We've had 1, 095 days, of summer. 

 Perfect soup weather! 

But I had the wine and the lemons and the inspiration of generosity, and white wine is sort of summery, I'd not have otherwise looked at it until July.

In a pot, I threw in roughly chopped garlic, ginger, serrano pepper, leeks, fresh fennel, lemon rind,a bit of butter, curry, S&P, and a couple of chicken legs.  After some bits gathered on the bottom of the pot, I covered everything with water and let it cook away for a couple hours. 

In another bowl, the juice of one lemon and two eggs, beaten. I let these come to room temperature.

I'd opened the wine Saturday.  This wine was: different.  My first Grenache Blanc, I have no idea how to explain it taste wise. Mostly it reminded me of the old, over-the-hill, white wines I've taken to for their evolved body and flavor, which I find satisfying both for what they've become and for their other-wine-i-ness. 

When everything in the pot was done I shredded the chicken and pushed everything else through a sieve and then discarded it.  Then I tempered the eggs/lemon and added it to the soup.  I've never tried this before. It worked.  It worked A LOT, in fact it's fantasic. Lastly I added the wine and simmered it long enough for the soup to thicken and the alcohol in the wine to cook off.

This soup is killer good. This soup is life changing amazing.  Why haven't I tried this before?  I didn't even have the concept for this soup in my head until the accidental intersection of generosity, the gift of a really nice wine fortuitously coinciding with the gift of most amazing lemons.  Thank you, M. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Once upon a Trader Joe's

Rifling through someone's locker, really, is like rifling through someone's underwear drawer when they're not home.  NOT THAT I'VE EVER DONE THAT.  There is the exquisite surprise.

And the worthwhile bonus.

Love, the ghost of Trader Joe's.

The 24-case locker fully realized.

It's a work of art, really.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Drink the Good Wine.

I was thinking I was going to do some big, year-end, The-Cave-is-Awesome round-up, which it is, but the year ended on a story that also began it.  So here we go.

2014 began and ended with stories of loss.  The second one came in the end of December to talk to me about closing a multitude of lockers filled with many bottles collected over years of trips together traveled,  bouncing around various wine countries with a partner no longer on earth.

It began years ago, in Oregon, on a random road with a random sign and an arrow pointing to "wine tasting." They were hooked and it became part of their lives; they, the trips, the wine, and the lockers, all growing together.  

There are many lockers filled with wine, lockers filled with all the trips taken together,  private jokes, intimate moments, disagreements.  Everything that is two lives together is in those lockers.  That now will be emptied and auctioned, most likely, two lives emptied and auctioned to the highest bidder. 

There is so much difficulty in this, it will be a very difficult NEXT for this person.

January 2014 opened with a similar story twice removed, and the gentleman was retrieving a bottle of wine to open with the friend who just lost his wife.  He asked me to Google a few bottles for him, to check in on how they might be drinking then.  The bottle he took with him was posted at several thousand dollars.  Several.  "Drink the good wine," he said, after he told me why he was taking that bottle, and as he was walking out. 

So that's my new years moment.  All the wine waiting for the perfect moments to be had, do me a favor and just OPEN one of those once in a while, randomly, for no reason, but to drink the good wine that day.

PS: Also this favorite moment from last year.
Two Hawaiian shirts in, two Hawaiian shirts and two tall boys out.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

6 weeks of Christmas. Wine.

Why are there nine bottles in the photo of six wines of Christmas?  What's going on with the badly photoshopped Williams Selyem Pinot Noir?  Is that even wine on the far right? 

Week 1.  November 21, 2014.

This is where we left off, the ArmAs 2012 Areni.  Strong fruity front, and like nothing I've ever tasted before peppery back. Not the heat of pepper but the fruit of it - really intriguing.  Try it.  (available at Mission.)  Also, This was the week before thanksgiving, so it doesn't really count.

Week 1, November 28.  (Thanksgiving.)  I think.  Give or take a few weeks.

I once went to a local wine place and I was getting champagne for a special occasion and I know nothing about it.  I asked the guy there for help.  He said, "Here, try this.  It's what I like."  My immediate thought was,well, what does that have to do with what I like?  But I took and then brought it to the special occasion and I hated it.  I ended up not drinking any.  And never again buying product from that person or his business. All these years later, after some trial and error, a very kind and patient resident-sommelier started to try to understand my palate, a fool's errand to be sure.  I don't like Cabernet over Pinot Noir, for instance, because I've had good and bad of both.  So it seems I like good wine and I don't like bad wine.

After a long and torturous conversation, he gave me this to try, 2007 Senorio de P. Pecina Crianza Rioja.  It was really all I could want out of a wine, a soft balance of fruit and age. KandL got it right: orange and a hint of tobacco creeping through. Entirely satisfying.

Week 2, December  5.

My customer from Hong Kong was in town again recently and came in to raid his locker.  He left this behind, (on purpose, not like it was an accident and I ran off with it), a Fisher Vineyards 1993 Coach Insignia Cabernet.  I figured, date-wise, it might be drinking nicely, and it was.  Delicious.

Week 3, December 12.

Another most generous donation to the cause, this 2011 Two Old Dogs Cabernet by Herb Lamb.  Didn't taste anything like dogs, in fact it was delicious

Week 4, December 19 (the weekend before Christmas) and December 25, Christmas.

When this came to me early November, the 2012 L'Aventure Rose Paso Robles, my heart went all warm and grateful inside.  The same gentleman had given me a 2010 in 2012, and it was, is, really one of the loveliest wines this troglodyte has ever the fortune to have. Not partial to rose, and I've googled/tried every short cut to get the proper accent over the 'e' in rose to no avail, this stuff is either transformative or transformational, either or both or the one that's correct. 

 Like, okay, here's me usually...

...but this stuff puts me here. Everything glows, angels hover.  This wine is where you want to live.

It came with The Grand Plan, that it I'd open it Christmas to go with the traditional holiday meal of Hebrew National hot dogs, sauteed with onions, garlic, jalapenos, and this year a bit of ginger.  Warm corn tortillas with Jack cheese, hot sauce, and mustard.  Delicious AND festive.  I decided this wine would be a perfect match. 

Then the same guy, what's wrong with this guy, handed over the 2008 Domaine Huet Vouvray Sec.  Suddenly, it seemed this might go better with the hot dogs.  And Also, Christmas was on a Thursday this year, so I reasoned I could open the rosE the weekend before and this on Christmas and great happiness would ensue. 

So what I did was, I opened the rosE the weekend before, and the Chenin Blanc for Christmas and great happiness ensued. The Vouvray was, *surprise,* fantastic; fruity and minerally.  Perfect. 

Week 5.  December 27.
Right about now you might be thinking, wow, that troglodyte is drinking a LOT of wine.  Three retorts: 1.  It's cold.  2. It takes me no less than three days to kill a bottle of wine, so I have three glasses of wine a week.  3. It's the holidays!  Onward! 

The original bottle of this is MIA.  I'm pretty sure it was an '06. I opened it the first night and it was...okay.  The second night, some friends of mine called and they just bought a house and they wanted to paint paint samples on the wall to pick a color and so this wine and I went to their house after work.  Except the paint samples were on the other side of the freshly refinished wood floors, so instead we hung out and caught up and drank this wine from glass bowls and it was really stunning. It was like lying inside the bottom of a raspberry jam jar on a lazy summer's day, and slowly, with great delight, licking the jam off the glass. 

Week 5.1, December 29.

It's been so cold I decided a slow-and-low was necessary.  So I retrieved this one and shared it with the impending pork shoulder.  2010 San Felice Chianti Classico, this wine was bright and lively with nice notes of age lingering off the back.  A perfect meal all around for the cold days. Comfort food when it's a hundred degrees out just doesn't work. 

Week 6, December 31. 

Okay, so it was only two days later, but it's the gift that keeps on giving: four days later it's still here, this tiny bottle of Goose Islands Bourbon County Stout, 2013.   Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels, a tidy 14.9% ABV.  What the '06 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir is to summer and jam, this stuff is to a thick, sweet chocolate syrup with a bit of booze tossed in for good measure. Thick, rich, decadent, this 12 ounce bottle could give you six satisfying pours. 

Such a kind and generous Cave I inhabit, how did I get to be so fortunate?  Have you read the troglodyte wanted ads recently? Not since 1997 has a proper troglodyte been wanted, and this guy wants to KILL THEM!  I am fortunate, indeed.  Thank you for the privilege of being here.