The focus is red wine and to get right to it without distraction, click The Wine Commonsewer Speaks. The rest of the enchilada is just enough of an
eclectic mix of commentary on culture, food, tax, and econ 101 to
distract from the focus on red wine.
We appreciate your patronage.
TWC's Theme Song:
Tax & Accounting Offices of Michael R Snell
Accounting & Tax Consultation for the Discriminating Client
We will not sell, share, or otherwise disclose your email address or other personal information obtained on this site to third parties unless compelled to do so by subpoena.
Your email address is not required in order to leave comments. If you provide your email address, it will not be displayed with your comment.
Michael R. Snell & Associates will not disclose any client information to third parties without the client’s permission unless compelled to do so by subpoena.
A note from our crack legal team at Dewey, Screwem, & Howe, LLP.....
All tax and other information appears here as a courtesy to readers and clients. Please understand that we are not rendering legal advice and that each individual should consult his or her own tax professional before acting upon any of the information contained herein.
Effective June 21, 2005, regulations issued by the Treasury Department governing written communications, including email communications, between all tax practitioners (including attorneys) and their clients that have the issue of tax as a material element of the communication must include the following disclaimer:
As required by United States Treasury Regulations, you should be aware that written information contained on this site cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties under United States federal tax laws.
This site may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of a variety of issues including but not necessarily limited to, taxation, politics, human rights, economics, and science. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as is provided for under § 107 of the US Copyright Law.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, said material contained in this site is made available without profit for research or educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Hannukah began last night, Christmas is Sunday, and New Years Eve is just down the street. If you've got a budget that is stretched thin and snapping back at you, I've got five pretty good red wines for ten bucks or less to help out with the holiday entertaining.
2006 Altano Duoro
This Portuguese wine is from the Douro Valley, an area of Northern Portugal known for port wines. It is produced from Tinta Roriz, which is better known as the Tempranillo grape, and Touriga Franca, a grape used in port wine, which has the feel of Cabernet Franc. That's probably why I like the wine, Cabernet Franc is one of my favorite varietals.
Earthy, minerals, black cherry, a little bitter chocolate, almost full-bodied. I like it.
2007 Tapas Wine Collection, Vino Tinto
This is a nice Spanish Tempranillo, which, as the name implies, is perfect for tapas or other appetizers.
Medium body, smooth, ruby red, a little oak--but not too much.
Montes is a big league Chilean producer, perhaps the Mondavi of Chile. However, Malbec is more associated with Argentina than Chile. I suspect the growing popularity of Argentine Malbecs has gotten the attention of the people at Montes. Malbecs tend to be big, sturdy wines. The price value ratio of this Malbec is excellent.
Montes Malbec Winemaker Notes:
Ruby red color, leaning to very dark, intense red. Powerful but elegant flavors, with plumy and blackberry hints. A wonderful butterscotch and slight spiciness is totally integrated by the subtle notes of vanilla that comes from the oak aging. A full-bodied wine, with ripe tannins and voluptuous mid-palate and a long, very enjoyable, finish.
2009 Bogle Merlot
Doubtless that Miles would look down his nose at this wine, but it is a very quaffable Merlot. Actually, much better than I expected. You'll like it too.
Bogle Merlot Winemaker Notes:
Concentrated and full-bodied, the 2009 Merlot is a study in contrasts. Subtle and silky, yet bright and intense, this deep red wine is multifaceted. Black raspberry and dark cherry greet the nose, while the brighter fruit of ripe summer plum dazzles the palate. The toast and spice of twelve months in American oak seamlessly integrate with the tannin structure of this wine, leaving a long, lingering finish, which is ready to drink now through 2014.
2009 J Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon
J Lohr Cabernet is generally solid. Its niche market is as a wine sold by the glass in tavers and eateries. It is typically pretty good. Cabs do better in dry years, so the 2009 is better than average.
The 2009 is deep reddish-purple in the glass with black fruit aromas. On the palate it is bright and fruit laden with a nice finish. It is a big wine and will pair nicely with roast beef, red sauce, or spicy pork dishes.
It is also very cool that if you visit J Lohr's tasting room in Paso, the tastes are on the house. And, they'll pour your kids some non-alcholic wine.
The Lohr is right at the ten dollar price break here in the Southland and it may be a couple of bucks more where you are.
One more Cabernet Sauvignon to consider is Montes Alpha. For a couple of bucks more think about 2009 Relative Red, which is a red blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon that favors its Zinfandel component.
The Boy has an ongoing interest in the manly arts. His latest creation is a rod iron Christmas candle holder for the house. Sometimes rod iron is called wrought iron, which I mention so as to remain clear on the particulars.
Last week, after he zipped through his literature final, the teacher cut him loose and he moseyed over to metal shop where he won five bucks in a friendly game of poker. I suppose it should bother me a bit, but it doesn't.
Oddly enough, in public school's crazy, zero-tolerance, alternate universe, where no student has any rights worth respecting, playing cards are tolerated. Back in the days of my vagrant yoot, a pack of Bicycles would get you the boot as quickly as a pack of Marlboros.
Don't get me started on pen knives, random drug searches, or ibuprofen. Did somebody say it's a free country?
I mentioned it on Facebook last night, but by now pretty much everyone is aware that Christopher Hitchens has succumbed to cancer.
Six years ago, in Lost Wages, Nevada, TWC had the opportunity to share some of Christopher Hitchens' second-hand smoke. As is typically the case, Hitchens was urbane and engaging, but I must say that, erudite commentary aside, my favorite Hitchens pronouncement is that.....
WINE. IS. RED!
Michael Totten's post is interesting in and of itself with the recounting of the story here only one part of it.....
“Well,” Hitchens said. “I’m off. I have to get up in the morning and continue the fight on CNN.”
“Oh, come on, Christopher,” I said. “You’re the one who’s supposed to keep us up all night.”
I could almost see the good angel on one shoulder getting the crap kicked out of him by the devil hovering over the other. It was the world’s shortest fight ever.
“Okay,” he said. “But this is downtown Washington on a Sunday. Nothing is open. We have to go back to my house. It never closes.”
“You left New York City for this?” I said.
He nodded and rolled his eyes.
“The bar at our hotel is open,” Jim said. “It stays open until 2:00.”
“Are you sure?” Hitchens said. He was highly suspicious.
I went to New York two weeks ago and wished I lived there instead of in Portland. But Washington made me happy as hell that I live where I live. There is absolutely no shortage of things to do and places to hang out in at 11:00 p.m. on a Sunday.
Jim turned out to be right. Our hotel bar was open, and it was a fine one – dim lighting, cozy tables, warm wood paneling, the works.
“Shall we get a bottle of wine?” someone (I think it was Jim) asked.
“Absolutely,” I said.
“Red or white,” he asked.
“Wine. Is. Red!” Hitchens said, and I couldn’t agree more.
I had a 24-hour hangover from cheap white wine in a box when I was 14 years old. I haven’t been able to touch the stuff since. Even the thought of the taste of white wine makes my stomach do somersaults.
Though this isn't quite the reason I don't favor white wine, it may well be a component.
I can relate. It has been four decades since I went to the party with Jim Beam, Milton, and five or six sweet little hotties, yet my own stomach does that somersault thing at the aroma of most whiskey to this day. No good came of it, neither. Jim ruined what could have been an otherwise delightful New Years Eve.
On her way from the dishwasher to hang up three sparkling clean wine glasses, The House Blond got a little distracted and jumped into animated conversation mode. As she became engrossed in relating the story, a particularly emphatic hand gesture sent all three glasses flying. Two of them exploded instantly, sending glass shrapnel in every direction. The third slammed onto the ceramic tile and skittered across the kitchen floor where it then ricocheted out from under the kick space and came to a halt by the sink. Undamaged.
Plastic? Nope. We have plastic wine glasses for the boat, but not at the Casa. These are roomy, good looking, twenty ounce Italian glasses, with enough swirl room to satisfy even guys the Kosmik Kid, who need a lot of glass to enjoy a big, bold red. The titanium reinforced stems also add strength and they'll hold up to the dishwasher.
I was a bit skeptical of Luigi Bormioli's claim that the glasses were nigh on unbreakable, but the proof is in the puddin' so to speak. I watched the glass bounce across the floor and it didn't break, chip, or mar, which may explain the twenty-five year warranty.
Wish I'd had unbreakable glasses hanging up when the wine glass rack let loose one night and left this mess behind.....
These are perfect every day glasses but they are classy enough for your exquisite holiday table. They'll also make a wonderful holiday gift for the wino in your life.
They ain't Reidels, but you can buy sixteen unbreakable Luigi Bormioli Symphony wine stems for the price of one Reidel, which is guaranteed to shatter upon impact with ceramic floor tile.
Back in the days of my pre-vagrant yoot, I was crazy for this cute little Jewish girl, except I didn't know she was Jewish or even what that meant. After Christmas Vacation, er, ah, I mean Winter Break that year, I asked her about her Christmas gifts. A puzzled look crossed her face and she simply said that she didn't do Christmas, which confused more than enlightened. Kids don't always understand mad crushes or the subtle distinctions that delineate things in the real world.
I suppose that my parents meant well as they explained that Jan lit the Menorah and well, what if you grow up, fall in love, and have kids? What ever will you do? On the the bright side, they were relieved she wasn't Catholic.
Decades later, in a bit of irony, my cousin (Mr Macintosh) married a lovely Jewish girl, had kids, and they worked it out. Pretty sure they light the Menorah and the Christmas tree.
That said, for some inexplicable reason, this video brings my dear Mrs TWC a disproportionate amount of enjoyment. White Christmas? Meh. Run, Run, Reindeer? Just OK. Adam Sandler? Whole 'nother thing. Might be her favorite Christmas song. Don't give up before you get through the intro.
TWC cannot get within 100 feet of the Viet Nam War Memorial. Mostly that's because if you get closer than that you can read the names. I was in DC when the Holocaust Museum opened but nixed that as well. I don't do funerals, except now and again. And, that's probably why I'll not see the USS Arizona up close and personal neither.
Seeing all them planes'd make you chit nickels wouldn't it? A lot of people proved their mettle that day. A lot of others lost their lives.
Don McLean was right. So was Patton. At the rate things are going, my kids will be fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan a decade from now. Armageddon anyone? Pass the tinfoil hat. Thankee.
Speaking of dorks and Samurai's, I almost cut my thumb off with a Samurai sword three years ago on Thanksgiving night. The sword is real, taken from a dead Japanese warrior and smuggled back to the US by Wayne Weber's uncle. It was bequeathed to me by an accident of death. Actually, it was bequeathed to my custody until such time as my son is old enough to take care of it properly.
As I picked the dam thing up to show it to my friend Stevie Crown of the Dark Side, I tipped it down toward the floor and it started to slide out of the scabbard (because the locking mechanism is old and doesn't work right). I reflexively grabbed this HEAVY STEEL SHARP-EDGED MOVING OBJECT with my hand. Bright boy.
Doh. One of those times where you know immediately that you have miscalculated and your brain is saying DON'T GRAB THAT but it's too late because your automatic reflexes overrode the message...... Lisa said I had a big OH-Oh look on my face.
It needed stitches but I could not bear the thought of five hours in the ER with a bunch of illegals and assorted sticky, sneezy children. Taped it up good. Used butterfly bandages.
There is a lesson here, Jacob my son. This is how people get accidentally shot to death. Pay attention Boy.
I know y'all scoff at what we Californios consider cold, but TWC had to bring in the brass monkey last night. High twenties with winds approaching Mach II was the overnight forecast and I'm thinkin' it may have got there. Thank the Sweet Lord that fireplaces are still legal in the Golden Fleece State. Well, technically, you can't build a new house with a wood burning fireplace, but you know what I mean. Ours was cranking out the btu's.
No frost damage last night, mostly because all the frigid air slides down the slope to the valley below, which allows the warmer air to rise.
Supposed to be down in the mid-thirties tonight and the Santa Ana winds are still blowing the doors down.
Photo Credit: TWC, all rights reserved. Yep, that's out fireplace, for reals.