Once and for all, Ponchita is Not Pregnant!

September 28, 2010

There… Does the title of this post say it all or what? How many times have people pointed their fingers at poor old Cisco (moi), and inferred that by chance I might be doing the horizontal bop with Ponchita… But that’s just not true. The bottom line is that she’s a “big boned” little lady… Here’s your sign!


And from a less flattering time and place…

Oh sure, go ahead and pick on Ponch… Call her “plump”, “stout”, “a big-boned cat in a little package” or even “gravity challenged”, but don’t call her “pregnant”. (Da Gizz “fixed” both of us, and for that he will pay sooner or later!) But in any event, that rules out the “happy hokey pokey”.

Two celibate cats blogging by the racks

P.S. A word of warning… Please don’t ask Ponchita, “when she’s due”, or if she’s been “putting on weight?” The implications are wearing thin.

P.P.S. And then there’s the word search and “write-a-story” contests…


Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.


Travels with Da Gizz: A Guest of the Trimbachs

September 26, 2010

Hey!

Cisco the blogging cat here…

Here’s yet another old post card from the wandering Bruce… (Note that we’ve added in a couple of pics from the kind folks at Trimbach Wines.)

Let the post card from The Gibson begin!

Three hours crossing Lorraine, The bread basket of France, I climbed and descended the the Vosges Mountains.  This divide separates Alsace from the rest of France  The architecture, traditions and place and people names are very Germanic laced. Thats because this land mass went back and forth ‘tween Germany and France, depending Who won the latest war.  Nuff said.

Strasbourg is the northern boundary to the Alsace.  After freshening up at my hotel, I met members of the Trimbach Family in the tavern for an evening of tasting wine and food. What a layout.  I will describe the matching foods with each wine.

(All wines are Maison Trimbach from current vintages.)

~Pinot Blanc-The subtle versatility allows this wine to be the aperitif for events of walking about with varying appetizers. A light fragrant wine that will overpower no food. The Pinot Blanc grape, with its dryness and delicate backbone, is blended with a small % of Auxerrois grape, for it’s abundance and juiciness.

~Gewurztraminer-The rich exotic spiciness is not at all lost because of the dryness.  Strange to many who have not had a Gewurztraminer the aromatic note of litchee nuts, ginger, roses and geraniums is balanced to perfection.  We ate a Thai dish laced with ginger that matched to the subtle ginger in the wine. Also, Munster and Roquefort marry.

~Pinot Gris-Yes, same grape as Grigio/different location. Increasing on the richness scale, Alsatian Gris are fruitier lusher with a longevity on the tongue than Gris or Grigio’s found elsewhere. Matched foods were Japanese appetizers, fois gras, smoked fish and salmon in a rich sauce.

~Riesling-The richest of the wines is saved till the end, so it doesn’t overpower all that went before.  Onion pie and sauerkraut, grilled and sauced fish were matched with this wine. A classic Riesling with intense floral lush fruit and crisp acidity balance perfectly.  How does that happen??  Try it and you’ll see (taste).  BTW a longer “lingeringlyness” in the mouth and on the palate is exceptional.

Much chatter and old family tales went on till early morning.  A brief walk along the Rhine River to clear the head a bit and off to bed.  Thank BOTU for an afternoon appointment in Bergheim.

Two cats pondering France by the racks…

P.S. Our word search contest and write a story contest go unsolved!!!


Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.


Cheesy Movies for the Whole Family

September 24, 2010

Hey!

Cisco the Harwich Spirits Shoppe cat here…

We’re going to take a brief respite from the new “Travels with Da Gizz Through the Wine Regions of the World” (or whatever it is that he calls the series) and go in a different direction – that of cheap, cheesy family entertainment. We’re talking silly, goofy, campy movies (at least by today’s standards). Take a look below…

These are movies for the whole family and friends to boot. (And maybe a bottle of wine or a six pack for the grown ups…) Movies framed for simple fun times on chilly weekend evenings accompanied by shadow, popcorn, and quilts. Almost all of the cinematic masterpieces below are available via NetFlix or a similar service. Without further chatter, here are the “HSS Two Paws Up” recommendations:

  • Attack of the Crab Monsters – 1957
  • Invasion of the Saucer Men – 1957
  • Target Earth – 1954
  • Robot Monster – 1953
  • Plan 9 from Outer Space – 1959
  • Tobor the Great – 1954
  • Forbidden Planet – 1956 (Look closely… You might just recognize a few actors!)
  • The Astounding She Monster – 1957
  • The Man from Planet X – 1951
  • The Green Slime are Coming – 1968
  • The Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes – 1955
  • The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms – 1953 (Again, look closely… You might just recognize an actor or two.)

Like we said… It’s silly stuff, but it sure beats the all-too-realistic, dark, flesh-ripping, sadism of the 8PM Saturday SyFy Channel.

Two cats chewing their nails under the sheets between the racks…

P.S. Don’t forget the word search contest and write a story contest!!!


Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.


Intro: Exploring the Wine World with Bruce

September 22, 2010

Hey,

Cisco the HSS blogging cat here… Thought it was about time to unearth the experiences of Da Gizz as he roamed the world in search of wine… What follows is his first “getting acquainted” memories of France. (More wine details in subsequent posts!)

Landing at Charles de Gaul Airport @ 7:am after an all nighter from New York is the beginning of My 3 week wine tour. To preface, I was working for a wine importer and set up a whirlwind tour of France, from Paris to Paris, clockwise…

After renting a car and looking at a map, I headed for Epernay, to the north east of Paris. Along the way, I stopped at the open market in the town of Brie de Maux and picked out a scrumptious fromage and jambon on baguette {that’s cheese and ham on a roll}, with a local mustard. It definitely hit the satisfaction spot.

Back on the road to Epernay, I had 2 hours ahead of me to think about the landscape. The roads are much smaller than the States and the vineyards are all along the path. Interestingly enough, when approaching a village, the houses were built up to the sidewalk with fences between them. The front yards are all where we would call the back yards. They open up to some family space and to the vineyards.

Coming upon the city of Epernay, the land scape was not white to black but there was an abrupt change in roadside looks. My first desire was to find My hotel, shower and rest. I had 3 hours until my first winery appointment so it was definitely time to relax…

Epernay and Reims are the two major cities of the Champagne Region.  Keep in mind only wines made from grapes grown and processed by a stringent set of rules from this region may be called Champagne. No other wines made anywhere in the world may be called “Champagne!” The Methode Champenoise is the ‘process’ used, also known as Methode Traditional, these terms may be placed on the label of any wine made anywhere in the world that is a sparkling wine using the Champagne method.  One last techie point before tasting and discussing is that of the grapes used: Pinor Noir, Chardonnay, and a little bit of Petite Meuniere…

I had 2 appointments in Champagne.  One at Krug and the other at Moet Chandon.  To be honest with you, the wines from both houses were similar in nature.  The “Tete du Cuvee’s” or literally “head of the blends” or otherwise known as specials of the house were both clean on the palate with crisp tiny and plentiful bubbles.  If there was any difference, I noted that the Dom Perignon from Moet was a little lighter and the Krug was a bit creamier, but not by much. (One point to keep in mind is when comparing wines tasted on a different day of even later in the day – you must rely heavily on your notes.  This is why a well constructed tasting sheet and a very technical one is used. )
Another wine I was totally blown away by at Moet was both levels of Rose.  The Dom Perignon Rose and the lesser, Moet Chandon Brut Rose.  These wines are not sweet as in the on-occasion still wine rose’s.  They are floral to the nose yet clean on the tongue.  There is a richer quality the wine gives to the palate that comes from the pinot noir grape.

As for appropriate foods, I believe Champagnes can be served anytime with just about any food, but especially great with appetizers and desserts.  Desserts of a raisin, apricot or chocolate base are extra specialanzzo.
Hope you enjoyed my days in Champagne but we are now off to Strasbourg and the wines of Alsace/Lorraine.

Da Gizz

So that’s our first entry from Bruce… Stay tuned for more, maybe even with pictures!

Two cats blogging by the racks

P.S. Don’t forget our word search contest and write a story contest!!!


Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.


Wines of the World

September 20, 2010

The image below is a map of just the wine regions of France…

Pretty isn’t it? (Though you may not be able to see all of the details.)

Some time ago, Bruce and I discussed the idea of listing the wines of the world, complete with a collection of related details. Well, we’re half way there thanks to the following link:

http://www.wineintro.com/regions/

Seriously, the folks at wineintro.com truly did a remarkable job, and they certainly deserve a hat tip.

So now what does Da Gizz and Harwich Spirits Shoppe do to further the effort of exploring all the vineyards/regions/wines of the world? How about this… Let’s have Bruce pick a region at a time, and let him lend his expertise especially when it comes to stuff like accompanying food, history, finest products, best value, style, etc. (And for that matter, anyone with expertise in any of these regions should certainly chime in via a “Comment”.)

Keep your eyes open… This blog is about to become very interesting indeed.

Two cats blogging by the racks…

P.S. Don’t forget that we have two outstanding contests:

* “Write a story
* “Word search


Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.


New Contest! Write a Story…

September 18, 2010

Hey!

Cisco the blogging cat here…

Ya see the painting below? That there is Bacchus, the God of Wine along with a nymph or two… That painting is hanging in Harwich Spirits Shoppe, and we’d like you to write us a story about it… In fact, we’re going to make the story writing a contest…

Rules:

  • Maximum of 300 words per story
  • Story must be rated “G”, or “PG-13″… And we (Da Gizz et al) are the rating board
  • One story submission/person
  • We decide winner and retain ownership of story content
  • Entrants must be 21 years of age or older to enter
  • No store employees or their immediate family members may enter
  • Story must be sent to hss_bruce@hotmail.com
  • Contest closes whenever we darned well say it does
  • The prize is unknown… Da Gizz says that it will be “BIGGER” than the usual $25 – $30
  • Prize must be picked up in person at Harwich Spirits Shoppe…

My God! We’re going from Lobster Man from Mars to Roman mythology complete with Bruce Gibson as a deity. Sublime or psychotic…

Huddling by the racks and awaiting your tales,

Two cats blogging

P.S. Don’t forget our word search contest!


Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.


How to Build a Boat

September 15, 2010

Alright… Enough about “Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Rose“, and enough about easy contests… On to stuff that really matters…

Well, ’tis fall, and that means boat building… So us cats might as well enlighten you cretin humans as to how to build a boat…

If you remember, we described our misadventures in a small sailboat that Ponchita and I built… While the tree collision may have been a bit of a setback, the boat was still a keeper.

There are only five things you need to do to build an economical small craft that will last the rest of your life:

  1. Read the following three books, all by Dynamite Payson: “Instant Boats“, “Build the New Instant Boats“, and “Instant Boatbuilding with Dynamite Payson“. “Three books!” you scream? Calm down. Dynamite is a fantastic author. (Literally one of great American writers in this cat’s humble opinion.) Those three books will probably take a couple of weekends to consume, and a lifetime to digest.
  2. Make your decision concerning what boat to build. We’d recommend the “Teal”. There are several reasons for this choice:
    * We’ve built the thing…

    It’s a simple build, and a damned fine boat.

    * Dynamite explains how to build the boat in”Instant Boats“.
    * It’s a cheap project… Around $500 will get you a very respectable craft.
  3. Buy the plans to the boat.
  4. Learn the basics, hands on…
    * Build a scale model! (This is a “must do!“)
    * Practice with epoxy and fiberglass.
    * Practice using an architect’s rule.
  5. Go forth and build her!

And that’s it… Soup to nuts boatbuilding in a matter of two or three comfortable months spare time… Now the only thing stopping you is you…

See you by the racks…

Two cats blogging… (We’ll be reading Dynamite just for the fun of it…)


Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.