The Robbie and Marriott’s

I love these stories.

A Pirate's Ponderings

There was a time, when I was in Junior High or early in High School, that I, somehow, found myself at my cousin’s, The Robbie, house.

At this point, I feel that I need to clarify some things. When I say that, “I was in Junior High,” that simply means that I really have no idea when the following events actually took place. I never kept a diary or a journal, as I never thought my day to day existence needed documenting. The first page of my diary would read, “I woke up. I ate something that required a lot of milk. I went to school where teachers tried to teach me things, and I tried to resist their efforts. I went home, and in lieu of doing homework, I played outside with the dog until I was filthy. I ate some more food. Went to bed.” The second entry…

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Black Friday-Cyber Monday Wine Sales: We begin with Cameron Hughes


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Well, I only have one online sale for you right now…I’m hoping readers will chime in if they hear about any good wine sales over the holiday!

Just got an email from Cameron Hughes about their Black Friday Sale. So far they have not revealed the discount (last year it was 30%) so we’ll see.  Update: (sorry it took me so long…busy holiday weekend) Yes, the sale is 30%. Cyber Monday is the last day so get your order in if you are interested!



I will update this post once I have heard what the sale entails!

The 2013 wines I’m looking at:
Meteor Vineyard Cabernet
Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet
Monte Rosso Vineyard Cabernet

If you are in the San Diego area, San Diego wine CO is having some pretty good sales too. It makes it worth it if you are local and don’t have to have it shipped. One of my favorite Tempranillo labels is on for a good price (normally $16.95 here):

Best Wines Online (AKA WineX) is also doing some Black Friday sales:


Cameron Hughes Lot 600 2013 Oakville Cabernet $29.00


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I have another Centennial Release Cameron Hughes wine for you guys to try!

Cameron Hughes Lot 600 2013 Oakville Cabernet (out of Money Road Ranch vineyard, producer unknown to me). [Full disclosure, I received this wine free of charge from It is the first time they’ve ever sent me something to review, but since I usually always end up reviewing 2 or 3 of their annual Cabernet releases, I was happy to try it and offer my opinion.] I opened this with a group of friends who are also big CH fans.

The first thing we noticed was the deep, dark, inky color. Always a promising sign to me.

Fragrance was a mix of blue and black fruit…I could smell blueberry right away but after a few swirls, black currant kept moving to the forefront. Cocoa also was evident in the fragrance.

I tasted it freshly poured and then again much later, as the wine was super tight straight out of the bottle. We decided to wait to serve it (and let it decant). My first impression is that it very young and could do with more time in the bottle. That being said, after decanting for 2 hours…here is another highly recommended (especially at the $29 price tag) wine from Cameron Hughes.

So, for the flavors: blackberries, tobacco, dark chocolate and a hint of earth were first things everyone mentioned. It is fruity but it’s nicely balanced by the tannins. Body weight is great for a Cabernet. Silk and spicy on the palate. It evolved even more as the night progressed which makes me think it could be a cellar candidate.

Thumbs up from everyone here! If I were scoring it, I’d put it at a solid 91-92 points.
As always, if you have tried this wine, I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments.

While I don’t have a coupon for this particular wine today, I do have a 20% off coupon for the Cameron Hughes Thanksgiving Wines sale. And there is a new Monte Rosso (2013 vintage) in that bunch that I’m sorely tempted to try out.

Edit: Sale is over. Will be posting any new ones as soon as I hear they are happening. Last year CHWine offered a 30% Black Friday sale so…keep a lookout!


Happy International Tempranillo day!

We are celebrating the day with some (relatively) local Oregon Tempranillo from Abacela Vineyard.

Abacela is one of the Wine Enthusiast’s American Winery of the Year nominations and one of our favorites.

Today we are serving the 2011 Fiesta Tempranillo, but we have many different options from this vineyard in our cellar.

How are you celebrating International Tempranillo day? Leave your favorite wines in the comments and if we can, we will try them!

Grocery Outlet Bargain Alert! 2012 Giormani Amarone Della Valpolicella $16



I stopped in at Salem OR Grocery Outlet – 2879 Lancaster Dr NE, Salem, OR 97305 (503) 370-8500, during their semi-annual wine sale (Nov. 4-11). All wines are 20% off.

They had available a wine tasting table and the 2012 Giormani Amarone Della Valpolicella was open to taste test. It was very smart on their part…their price is normally $20/bottle for this wine, so even at the sale price of $16, it’s a higher price point than normally seen for Grocery Outlet wines.

After tasting, I purchased 3 bottles (would have purchased more but I have overly stocked my reds this year). Mind you, this was just a quick taste from a tiny plastic cup…but the quality of the wine was very evident and at the $16 sale price, it is (IMO) a steal. When I was there today, Sue, the owner, mentioned that they have only about 2 cases left in stock.

When I was reading the 2012 Amarone harvest report, I had pretty much decided not to purchase any from that year. However, at the end of the report (see link) Amarone buyers were just advised to choose carefully when buying a 2012. This write-up is to say, not only is this Grocery Outlet find a nice 2012 but it’s an excellent value. If you aren’t familiar with Amarone, Wine Folly did a short write-up, a while back.

If you’d like to read a more detailed write-up on the tasting notes (the contents of which I heartily concur), EHL from the Guest Contributions page of the Grocery outlet wine blog, did a very nice job of covering the highlights.

As always, if you try any wines from the blog and want to report back your own findings, I’m quite happy to hear your comments!


Costco Bargain Alert! Tres Picos Borsao Garnacha 2013 $9.99



Saw this at our Costco today…it’s a great buy, if you like a decent Garnacha for a good price. $9.99 (normally $18.99).


This vintage scored really well too. 90/91 points. Earthy & spicy really does sum it up.

If you’d like to read about it:

Cameron Hughes Private Reserve Collection Available now!


This is just a FYI post. I haven’t made up my mind whether or not I think this is a bargain, however, I am a fan of Cameron Hughes. He always seems to pick up great Cabernet for very decent prices.


For a limited time, Cameron Hughes is offering a vertical collection of Cabernet from “one of the best Cabernet producers in the Napa Valley”.

They go on to say that the winery recently “quietly changed hands”.

So, putting 2+2 together, I’m guessing this is Jamieson Ranch Vineyards that sold in mid-Sept. Jamieson is the southernmost winery in Napa Valley. Regarding the wine origin, I could be wrong, it is just a guess. However I cannot find any other wineries in Napa that recently changed hands. (edit: there has been a lot of speculation as to where this wine comes from, so I will just point out again…my thoughts are also just that…speculation)

Jamieson’s single vintage (not-private-reserve) Cabernet sells for $780/case of 12. So a vertical (2006-2011) at $369 may or may not be a decent price for 6 (depending on the individual year ratings). I’m considering it though. So far I’ve never been disappointed by his Napa Cabs. No coupon codes are allowed for this sale.

Costco Alert: Beaulieu Vineyard BV Napa Valley 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon


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Beaulieu Vineyard BV Napa Valley 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
14.9% ABV
While I know it is Beaulieu’s lower end Cabernet, Costco’s wine buyer rarely lets me down; so I picked this up yesterday for $14.99. If it’s even half as good as their higher end wines, it should be an absolute bargain for holiday and winter evenings. I’m waiting for cooler weather to sample.

Let me know if you’ve tried it & what you think!

From the label:
“I am pleased to offer this elegant and balanced wine, which expresses velvety layers of blackberry, ripe plum & chocolate” ~ Jeffrey Stambor, Winemaker

Steve Heimoff’s Current Round of Wine Reviews


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If you are like me, you have wine writers that you like to follow (either they are entertaining, informative, their palate seems to mesh with yours or all of the above). I like to follow Steve’s page.

He recently posted a new round of wine reviews and some of my favorite Cameron Hughes Cabernet were listed (along with many other interesting, but not quite as inexpensive, wines).

Steve Heimoff’s Wine Reviews

Picture it in Pencil

In the last year, I’ve had two drawings done and framed, by artist Janine Meister of Picture it in Pencil.

The first drawing we had done was of our springer spaniel. He’s getting older these days and not as crazy as he used to be. I’d taken some photos of him as a puppy, that I thought would be a good option for a drawing and Janine didn’t disappoint.

(click for larger versions of photos)


Then, after being so pleased with the first sketch, we asked her to do our beloved cat Pacha, who’d passed on just the year before.


I linked her website at the top of the blog. She also does wildlife sketches. My first love will be her pet drawings though. The way she nails the eyes…it just draws you in.


I’d encourage you just to check out the site and see what this up and coming artist has to offer.