On your other point, I too have cut back substantially on the wine purchases. I find it interesting that wine (at least for some of the "more famous/sought after" names) can easily run $50-$75/bottle - and substantialy more if chasing cult Cabs, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Brunello, Barolo etc. They are also gone in one meal - but a $75 purchase for a bottle of straight bourbon or rye gets you something pretty amazing that lasts significantly longer and can last with significant empty space in the bottle with no ill effects.
We've been drinking down the cellar and making more of our own wine each year - my wine purchases focus now on the lesser known regions where you can still find value, but eventually even these will rise in price (look at Oregon Pinot Noir over the last 10-15 yrs). Lesson for the bourbon lover - prices can only go up as more discover the value hidden in these whiskeys.
(I also find it a bit odd that everything I prefer to drink starts with a "B" )
Going cheap tonight! 2010 Sterling Vintner's Collection Central Coast Chardonnay.
Great thread! (Just found, as I rarely visit this area.)
Over the weekend had many great bottles. Sinskey 2011 Vin Gris is much better than last year's, which was also good. Paired well with BBQ Chicken. Paul Achs 2009 St. Laurent was great with spaghetti of all things. And a Selbach 2009 Zelt. Himm. Kab. Halbtrocken was great all by itself.
Went over to my in-laws last night for dinner. Had a bottle of 2001 Arcadian Garys's Vineyard Pinot and a bottle of 1990 Beringer Private Reserve Cab.
The pinot was killer, probably drinking at peak or close to it. The Beringer seemed like it could use a few more years in the cellar.
Did a little 2009 and 2010 Lapierre Morgon and some 09 Switchback Ridge Petite Sirah.
2004 Livio Sassetti Pertimali BdM and 2000 Elio Grasso Case Mate Barolo; paired well with grilled veal chops and wild mushrooms.
The BdM has many years left to evolve; the barolo imho is at its peak - both wines were fabulous examples of what these classic wine regions are capable of producing. Well-balanced and long-lived, secondary and (in the case of the barolo) tertiary characteristics in abundance on both nose and palate, and a silky texture.
I tend to like Barolo better than BdM. We had a 1985 Marcarini Barolo Brunate earlier this year that was singing!
Damn, you guys drink some wines I can only dream of trying!