Long day at the office but got much accomplished which is always satisfying. We were able to get the kids to bed at a decent time and settled in to watch Friends With Money. Netflix had delivered it about a week ago and we just got around to watching it tonight. You want my review? Okay here it is. It was just o.k. I had a hard time believing Jennifer Aniston would end up with the guy she did. I don't want to spoil it for anyone but let me put it this way. If you like watching a lot of couples with a lot of problems, this movie is for you! Both #1 and I sipped on a glass of 2005 Lindeman's Bin 65 Chardonnay before we started watching the flick and during. When I first started drinking wine, which seems like an eternity ago, I loved this style wine. It is loaded with oak flavors, very golden and heavy on the tongue and just seems a "little much" at first. I will say that the second glass seemed to have mellow a little bit so maybe this one needs to breathe a little to calm it down. Financially, however, it's a steal. I got this one at $4.66/bottle which is damn near impossible to find in any of the liquor/wine stores in Arkansas unless you've got a "connect". I admit, I got spoiled living in Chicago which is filled with great wine stores that specialize in just wine and don't even carry beer, liquor, etc and when we moved to The Rock we were confronted with the aforementioned liquor/wine store. I'm hopeful that will change and know that the retail store I am planning will be a wine-only location with sidelines of nice stems and accompaniments. I'm even thinking about having a nice cheese section as that is another area sorely missed. The market is here for it! A new Rhettism. He came home the other day and over dinner was asking how come he never gets to take a "sacky" lunch. We quickly determined that he wanted to brown-bag it instead of getting the daily hot lunch. We've honored his wish and don't have the heart to correct him on the "sacky" part. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often!

Mon 1/29 24 & more SAN ANGELO

Man Monday was a tough one. It just seemed like I was dragging all day. Of course the fact that our little boy came in at 5:00 a.m. after getting "freaked out", his words, about something still unknown, I'm sure had nothing to do with it! I would have hit the old proverbial sack early if it hadn't been for 24. Man that is a great show! One man's opinion but #1 really digs it as well. Not for the faint-hearted, however, as Jack Bauer, the lead character, is in rare form this season and is just itching to torture some bad guy. If you've never seen it I'd recommend taking a look. Enjoyed another glass of San Angelo Pinto Grigio . It was so good on Sunday that we decided to crack open another bottle to have with our 24 viewing. Get some of this if you like a light, smooth pinot grigio and can find it. From the mouths-of-babes file #1 was bragging about our little girl's grades and how well she has been doing with her guitar lessons which she responded with "I know Mom, and just think. We'll never have to go to Sylvan". Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often!

Sunday 1/28 & 2005 SAN ANGELO PINOT GRIGIO

Slept in today til about 9:00 when Bear came in and wanted to know when his pancakes would be ready. Just a nice, lazy morning with a good cup of coffee and the Sunday newspaper. The kids and I headed out for downtown Little Rock and the Statehouse Convention Center to go to a boat/fishing show which featured live tigers and a live trout fishing pond. On the way there Monkeydoodle was telling me about a lesson at her school where they talked about a saint going to an island and helping people affected by the Leopard Seals. Listening to a few more details I figured out that the lesson had to do with leprosy instead of "Leopard Seals" but I had a good chuckle over that and have laughed to myself several times sense. At the show we wandered around looking at the different boats and fishing booths and finally came to a good-sized trout holding pen that probably had 65 rainbows inside. For a mere $3 each kid was able to get a pole containing a hook with a pink grub on the end. I thought for sure they were wasting their time. Of course, ten minutes into it Bear caught about a 2 pound rainbow, probably the biggest in the pen, so my pessimism was unfounded. We ended up bringing 3 home in a plastic bag and cleaning them to have another day.
After a trip to the "last chance" mass, we came home to the aroma of a freshly baked chicken that I had placed in the oven prior to leaving. I prepared it like this:

Cut 2 lemons into quarters. Cut 1 orange into quarters. Placed all of the lemons and orange quarters into the cavity of a 4 pound chicken. Covered the outside of the bird with olive oil then sprinkled with sea salt, pepper, garlic salt and lemon pepper. Cooked at 425 degrees for an hour and a half.
Just before taking out of the oven I cut up day old sourdough bread and sauteed in olive oil til brown. Then placed the cut-up chicken over the croutons and served. Bon Appetit!

We had a wonderful bottle of 2005 Italian Pinot Grigio by San Angelo that accompanied the delightful, French peasant chicken we had. Very fruity and very light on the tongue. I think some Pinto Grigio's are too heavy but this one tastes like what I've come to expect out of a good Italian. I picked this up for $7.99 and it was also worth every penny. I highly recommend and will buy more on my next trip to T's. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often!

Sat 1/27 Dinner w/In-Laws & 2005 BOGLE CHARDONNAY

Saturday saw a trip to the local Wal-Mart Supercenter to stock up on some essentials and get a few finishing touches for dinner I made for the in-laws. We had some really nice filets that I marinated for about eight hours in:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 T mustard seed
I also made a nice Salmon filet for my mother-in-law that I dusted with a little citrus seasoning . Both were grilled on my indoor Jenn-Air which I've just started using the last couple of months and it does a really nice job. In case you didn't notice the label above let me tell you we had a great bottle of 2005 Bogle Chardonnay with dinner. I know, red with meat but I like to throw out all the rules when drinking wine. I got this bottle for $9.32 less my usual 20% discount and it was worth every penny. I've had Bogle before, at a much higher price point, and have always liked what they have to offer. When I open the store I will definitely carry their wines! They've already got an Arkansas distributor and some weird state law, of which there are plenty, says once a distributor carries your product they, and only they, can carry it. There will be many laws set forth in Arkansas that I'll have to deal with when I open. Oh well! Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often!


Thursday brought a return to the office and the inevitable day spent catching up on everything that occurred while I was gone. Somewhat uneventful but had a nice, relaxing evening with a nice glass of 2005 Quail Ridge Cabernet. I let this one breathe for about 30 minutes and discovered a lot of blackberry and currant flavors that I didn't taste the last time I tried this. Actually I was more in the mood for a nice Chardonnay but our wine cooler was fresh out of any white graped varietals.
Friday brought another hectic day with meetings, field work and a run to Cabot just before the traffic got too bad. Stopped by T's place and stocked up with a case of a variety of whites, Chardonnays, Pinto Gris, Sauvignon's primarily. Grabbed a couple more bottles of the Seghesio Barbera just because it is so damn good. I got home and chilled everything I had just bought and opened up a wonderful bottle of Montinore Estate Pinot Gris 2005. This was more of a splurge bottle, celebrate the weekend, even though at $11.99 a bottle it's not really at the cost level of a true splurge! This one had great citrus and fruit aromas with flavors of apples, lemons and maybe a little roasted nut swirling on the tongue. Highly, highly recommend! Capped off the night with a great run of cards during the monthly game and was well in the plus column for the night. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often!


Wednesday had me heading back to The Rock after a quick two days in D.C. In the interesting things you hear in an airport department, I'm sitting behind a guy in the gate area, who is some type of wheeler-dealer, who has a series of loud, continuous conversations about different Democrat Presidential hopefuls. He tells one person that Kerry is "definitely out" and I'll be damn if I don't hear the same thing this morning, Thursday, when I crawl out of bed. He was also telling someone that Edwards wanted the backdrop for a presidential forum to be held in 4-5 months to have "more golds and blacks" and less blues. Sounded like really important stuff! Just remember, if you're gonna talk loud on a cellphone you gotta expect someone to report it in a blog.

Got home around 6:00 p.m. or so and had a couple of glasses of BIG DADDY Chardonnay, the 2003 vintage. This vineyard is out of Mendoza, Argentina and T was able to get a great deal on this which I got at $3.99 a bottle. Reminded me of my 2 Buck-Chuck day's in Illinois. It's oak barrel aged, very tropical fruity aroma and fresh and full on the tongue. My only complaint is that it had a little alcohol aftertaste that I'm not too crazy about. Can't expect much out of a 4 year old Chardonnay selling for $3.99 however. Accompanying my first glass was a decent Chicken Enchilada Casserole #1 picked up from Super Suppers. #1 used to frequent Dream Dinners in Illinois and if they ever open a location in The Rock I'm afraid Super Suppers will go under. Dream Dinners had much better recipes and their portions were twice as large for the same money. A slight recommendation for the BIG DADDY and for Dream Dinners if you can find one! Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often!

Tuesday-State of the Union & FAR NIENTE CHARD

Up and at um first thing this morning with a quick workout and then the free continental breakfast provided by the Grand Hyatt for screwing up my room reservation. Good fruit selection, fresh juices, coffee so-so, but some really great smoked salmon with capers and a little chopped onions. Nice way to start a day. Was in meetings all day, which ended up being very fruitful (got a real fruit theme going here), then back to the hotel for a lift in the great fitness center they've got, shower, then back down to the Via Bar in the lobby surrounded by an indoor lagoon and a 35-ft waterfall. A really nice setting where I grabbed a glass of Far Niente Chardonnay and did a little people watching. Great spicy oak aroma and taste like you find from a lot of Californians but was good from start to finish. Headed off to get ready for the State of the Union then its back to The Rock tomorrow early afternoon. Right before I left the hotel tonight I called to talk with the kids and got short attention as Rhetty was playing his Gameboy and Monkeydoodle was playing her new Gameboy that she got for the excellent grades. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often!


Monday brought a trip to our nations capitol. After an early morning trip to take the kids to school it was a quick pit stop at the office then a few errands to get ready for my afternoon flight. On the way to school another "Rhettism" occurred. As he was playing Donkey Kong 2 on his Gameboy Advance SP evidently one of his monkey's bit the dust which he responded to with "Why do the good have to die so young?" Don't ask where he came up with that one.

After a nice lunch with #1, I hopped aboard an afternoon Southwest flight to Baltimore. SWA is the only thing flying out of The Rock that goes non-stop to anywhere near D.C. I got to my hotel around 7:30 p.m. and went to check in. I'm staying at the Grand Hyatt on H Street, great location and a nice, classy hotel. However, don't expect to get what you reserve! As Seinfeld once said, "They know how to take the reservation, they just don't know how to keep it!" I reserved my room well over a month ago, a King-sized, non-smoking, and of course when I checked in they had nothing but doubles. They tried to bribe me with free continental breakfast, not even full breakfast, but I would have rather had the room I reserved. Oh, well. I'll write a letter to Hyatt corporate and see if that does any good. Probably not. I had a crab cake sandwich in the Grand Slam Sports Bar in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt which was accompanied by a nice, decent glass of 2005 Glass Mountain Chardonnay. Typical huge hotel mark-up, $6/glass but nice flavors of apple, vanilla and a slight oakey finish. I'd drink it again and it was by far the most affordable on the menu. Tomorrow I'll watch the State of the Union here in D.C. and head home on Wednesday. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often!


Sunday saw us camped out cheering on our mighty Chicago Bears in their great win over the Saints. Sorry Katrina victims but I just had to pull for my Bears. I've always loved New Orleans, got engaged there, and hope it comes back stronger than ever. We can only hope! No wine during the game but we did have some tasty bloody marys made like this:

Buy one bottle of Mr. & Mrs. T's Mix, Spicy preferably. Pour into blender. Add appropriate amount of vodka. Then add old bay seasoning to taste as well as hot pepper sauce and about 8-10 large, boiled shrimp. Mix and pour over ice in highball glasses. Top with a little pepper. Good stuff!

We finished the night off with a delightful glass of Green Point Chardonnay, a great little wine from the Yarra Valley of Australia. I don't normally like Australian chardonnay but T has been getting some great buys on these and finding some diamonds in the rough. This was normally a $14.99 bottle that I was able to get for $6.99. I originally bought 3 bottles and liked it so much that I went back and bought the last 7 bottles T had.
I highly recommend Green Point, if you can find it, and hope you enjoy the bloody mary recipe.

My first "Rhettism" I wanted to share occurred this morning when he woke up shaking his head and exclaimed, "Man that was a quick night"! That's my boy summing things up in a nutshell. Remember, Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often!


Well, it was an action-packed weekend to say the least. We started out with an impromptu happy hour with the next door neighbors, Jim and Charlotte, that stretched out til 11:30 p.m. We started with a great bottle of 2004 Seghesio Barbera, originally retailed at $17.99 but I got it from T's place for $9.99, full of berry flavors and just the right amount of tannin, and followed that up with two bottles of 2003 Quail Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, originally priced at $15.99 but I got a great deal on this at $5.99 a bottle. I ended up buying a case because it was such a good deal. Nice fruit, spicy oak with this one and a little tanin finish that everyone agreed was very tasty (a fancy wine term). Saturday was just a lazy day with the kids, hanging out, watching a little t.v., then out to Alltel Arena to see the Arkansas RimRockers play the Sioux Falls Sky something or another in an NBA development league game. It was quite the snoozer with the old RimRockers (yes, that's really their name), losing their 14th in a row. We topped the night off at home, after the kids snuggled in for a long winters night, with a nice bottle of Cooks Brut champagne. Paid a full retail of $5.99 but at that price it's great for a no special occasion sip. I recommend everything we tasted on Friday and Saturday especially if you can find it at close to the prices I paid. Remember, Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often!

Welcome to 365Corks.com

I'm Lee W and until late 2006 I happily resided in the Windy City, Chi-town, U.S.A. In late 06 I got an opportunity to "go south young man", to, of all places, Little Rock, Arkansas, where I'm happy to report MOST of the women wear shoes and have all of their teeth contrary to popular belief. I'm happily accompanied through this life by #1, who I'll refer to my wife as, monkey doodle, my 8-yr old princess and Rhettman, my 6-yr old football/basketball/baseball/soccer star, boy to the core, son. I established 365Corks.com to chronicle my 5-yr plan to establish a wine distributorship and retail outlet but most importantly to provide reviews of the many bottles of wine I try, and most often, consume, during a years time (hence 365Corks.com) My primary focus will be wine but I'll also include details of daily life in The Rock, a good recipe when I come across one, and "Rhettisms". My 6-yr old is damn near world famous for coming up with "humorous" observations of how the world appears to a boy in kindergarten so we started naming them Rhettisms. My good friend, T.C., is my connection for affordable and interesting wines which can be hard to come by in Little Rock, Arkansas, to say the least! I hope you get something useful from this site and maybe a good laugh once in awhile. Come with me on this journey and check back often as I'll try to post frequently. Any links from fellow wine lovers would be most appreciated.

UPDATE: Well, like all good plans mine have changed a little. Life in Little Rock, Arkansas, just wasn't getting it for us so we up and moved to beautiful Northern Virginia. We're a short 30 miles from Washington, D.C. and close to all the East Coast has to offer. We're also surrounded by vineyards, 130+ at last count. Stay tuned for new life adventures from this new part of the country.

UPDATE PART II: Well yet another life changing experience. After six years in Northern Virginia I've relocated to beautiful Huntington Beach, California. Why you might ask? No reason. Just never lived in this part of the country and the rest of the family was all for it. I was the only hold out and finally gave in. We'll see how this new adventure works out.