Let’s Talk Wine: Rancho Capistrano’s 2017 Remington Tempranillo

So yesterday I mentioned that I went to a small wine shop in San Clemente, called Rancho Capistrano Winery. I tried several of their vintages, for two reasons: a) because I’m always psyched to try new wine, and b) because they had wine on the menu.

There you go. That’s all it takes for me.

So, over a flatbread, I enjoyed tastes of a couple of whites and three different reds. I really enjoyed each of them – but this one stood out. On the nose, this one isn’t too big – but it sends the message of “wait until you taste what’s in this glass…”. On the palate, it hits the tongue with an initial blast of some dark fruits – this is a taste that I really look forward to in wine. But here’s the cool part: I let the wine sit in my glass for a bit as I chatted with a couple of dudes at the next table, mid-argument over why the NFC East sucks this year. (My response….because the Cowboys are still in the division, and they haven’t moved to the CFL yet). The result of giving this wine a bit of time to breathe was an expansion of the flavors. Hints of tobacco now popped on the tongue as I finished the glass. That was awesome.

If you are ever in Orange County, California, try to check out this place. Try the flatbreads, try the wine, and look to tease the fans of football teams that do not have the distinct honor of being called the New York Giants.

Let’s Talk Wine: Rancho Capistrano Winery 2018 Delmar Chenin Blanc

I found this little wine shop in San Clemente, called Rancho Capistrano Winery. They make a bunch of their own wines…so I sat down early one evening and tasted some of them, while chowing down on a kickass flatbread. This one stood out, so I waddled home with a bottle.

On the nose, it’s crisp – some green apple and citrus. It hits your tongue and just hangs out there for a bit in the best kind of way. This will be great with some shrimp, scallops, or tuna.

Crap – I just drank the damn bottle while watching two dudes sitting at the next table argue for the better part of an hour about who’s better: Ironman or Batman. They’re in two different universes, dipshits.

When I stood up to leave, I told them one thing: Ric Flair would smack them both around.

Let’s Talk Wine: 2015 Sanger Estates Consilience Cabernet Sauvignon

I drove up to Solvang a few weekends ago, and waddled up to Sanger Wines for a tasting. The standout vino was this one: the 2015 Sanger Consilience Cabernet Sauvignon. You won’t find the Wine Gods rating this one – but who cares? You pour this vino into a glass and it has an aroma that just screams “drink me immediately!”

This one hits your tongue like a bomb. An awesome, delicious bomb.

If you’re in CA, and find yourself taking a page out of the movie Sideways, swing by Solvang and hit the Sanger Family of Wines tasting room. Ask for this one – it will NOT disappoint. Pair it with a burger from the place across the street, called Succulent.

November 30, 2020

One of my heros…Robin Williams.

From all accounts – he was one that tried to make those around him smile, even though the darkness followed him internally.

In 1990, Robin starred in a film called Awakenings alongside Robert DeNiro. The movie was based on the book (and life experiences of) Dr. Oliver Sacks – a resident of my small home town of City Island, New York. My grandparents lived on Horton Street on the island, in a little one bedroom apartment that was across the street from the Doc. I remember Dr. Sacks as being a quiet, reserved man with a bushy dark beard, who preferred the pleasant sound of silence over the droning of detailed conversation. His house had a front porch that was in need of some TLC…and a coat or two of paint. As a Clamdigger (that’s a person that was born on the island), I didn’t know the Doc was one of our resident celebrities (the other one being my primary care physician at the time – and the man that told me “marathon running can be fun – as long as you enjoy being sore for about a week” – Dr. Norbert Sander…..to this day the only native New Yorker to ever win the New York City Marathon). I had the pleasure of “chatting” with Dr. Sacks on a number of occasions when I was young and visiting my grandparents, and a typical back & forth would mostly sound like:

“Hey Doc.”

“Hello, Joseph.”

“How’s it goin’?”

“Quite well, all things considered. And your schooling?”

“I’m not failing anything.”

“Be not a champion of mediocrity, good sir.”

I thought of the Doc as just another dude with an out-of-control beard and an affinity for ties that didn’t quite make it to his beltline. But then 1989-1990 came around, and his book was being turned into a movie with Robert DeNiro….and my idol, Robin Williams.

As part of the deal to film the movie, the movie company agreed to shoot some of the scenes at the end of City Island, only 2-3 blocks away from Dr. Sacks’ house…and my grandparents’ apartment. Each night, during filming, a bunch of Clamdiggers and Musselsuckers (those are people that live on the island…but suffered from the grand misfortune of not being born there) would watch them film scenes from behind the wooden police barricades…and every single night, without fail, Robin would walk up to those barricades and say hello to each and every resident, focusing primarily on the little kids. God he would make those kids laugh. He’d make the adults crack up so hard they’d return home with tears in their eyes. The following night, they’d all return once more to watch…and Robin would once again put on a show. He was warm, absolutely hysterical, and when he spoke to the kids…you could tell that it brought him joy to spread happiness among them.

Instead of staying in some fancy hotel in Manhattan, Robin elected to stay at the only real B&B we had on the island, and would swing by the City Island Diner for a meal or two. He never came across as spoiled or elitist. He seemed to carry his fame lightly. He was my favorite comedian before they filmed that movie – but by the time they finished it, he was my idol.

Oh Captain, my Captain.