I bet everyone remembers the first time they felt themselves transition from Franzia box wine, too something better.  Maybe your parents ordered it, maybe you had a friend who had already gotten to that point. Hell, maybe you had it at a wedding, or snuck it out of a celler 🙂  For me, it happened one rare night in ’04 when three close friends saved up enough dough to treat themselves to something that was foreign, an elegant night on the town.  A change from flip cup, pizza, and beer pong.  We had been looking forward to the outing, and saving for months, it was time to dip our toes into the finer things in life.

Fast forward to Pittsburgh present day, I dine out quite a bit at higher priced restaurants. How can you blame me?  There are so many amazing things happening here, and the food scene is a huge part of what is making this town so great! B

ack in 2004, the wave of hadn’t hit us yet.  Mortons, and Ruths Chris were still high on the rankings, and a high end restaurant called La Strada was right there in price point with the high rollers.  I digress, (which I intend to a lot in my blogs)  My three friends and I made reservations for dinner, dressed ourselves in our finest wares, and hit the town.  I got lamb (always), and I forget what the rest of them ordered.  Something center of the plate, something with layered texture and flavor.  Although, what I do remember, is the wine list.  I remember a starting price at $30 a bottle was staggering, and it all went up from there. It was a first for all of us, 70% of the names on the list we didn’t recognize, so e went middle of the road, the waiters selection, (because we didn’t know any better) and ended up with a $42 bottle of red.  It was out of our league, considered to be one of the most expensive consumed items we would ever purchase up until that point. The wine was a 2001 Charles Krug Merlot, and it changed my life.  I have been searching ever since to find that kind of dirt, that earthiness that came along with that first, second, and twentieth sip that eventually crushed that bottle, and turned my palate towards a certain expectation of vino.

Anyways, (and i promise my reviews will not be this long)  I feel I have found the closest thing that brings me back to that moment of time, and that is all anyone can really hope for, right?   The maker is Robert Oatley.  The vintage 2010, and the varietal, Cab Sauv.  If you have tastes that run similar, do yourself a favor and grab a bottle.  The only place in town I have found it was Sewickley Wines and Spirits, and hopefully, they stocked up.  $18.99  a bottle is what the printout told me.  I am down and plan on getting a few, if

 only to catch a flicker from the past.




On a side note-  One of my good friends is a Rep for Charles Krug Wines, go figure.  The wheel keeps on turning.

charles krug merlot_1



Facebook Comments


  • February 13, 2016 at 4:11 am

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  • July 3, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Great review, loved the wine mention and the personal mention. I am lucky to work for a company that produces great wine abd enables me meet great people like you and Phil. Looking forward to reading the big regularly. See ya soon in Pittsburgh.

    • July 3, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      You too love! We will hang soon!

  • July 3, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Mmmmm. Earthy wines. love love love.

    • July 3, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      So good!


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