The Bernard Roth Tasting Notes, Etc. Archives
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|Bernard Bio in his own words...
I was born in 1955. I'm married to "Sam the Frame Lady", living in Santa Barbara, a PhD physicist working as a "rocket scientist" for a defense contractor. Former college radical, columnist for college newspapers, I don't mind stirring things up a bit. I often try to infuse postings with humor.
My wine experience started at Cambridge University in 1980 when I took on the responsibility to procure wine samples from various purveyors. I arranged a set of tastings to chose the wines to be purchased for our college's May Ball.
I am also a gourmet cook. I began trying a large variety of wines in graduate school because of the affinity of wine with food. My first great bottles of wine were bought from Dan's in Austin, TX (now closed). Dan had a temperature controlled "wine museum" with one of the greatest retail collections of old and rare wines in the USA. My first eye-opener among great wines was a Boisset 1966 Morey St. Denis that I got from Dan's in the early 1980's. I also had a half-bottle of Hugel Reserve Personelle Riesling 1976 for about $4. What a wine and damn if they weren't all gone when I went back for more. So I fell in love with Alsatian wine.
I try to buy as broad a variety of wines as I can. Only rarely do I buy more than 1 or 2 bottles of anything. A spice of life thing, I guess. Life's too short to get stuck in a wine rut. Usually I have about 120 bottles of "everyday wines" that constantly get cycled through over 1-2 years. I keep about 900 wines in Vinotemp Units for long term drinking. We go through 3-4 bottles a week, on average.
My eclectic tastes run the gamut of top Santa Barbara wines (ABC, Foxen, Ojai, Qupe, Jaffurs, Lane Tanner, etc), Cabs and blends from Napa and Sonoma, various Chardonnay, Viognier, Roussanne, Syrah, and Pinot Noir from around the state, and Alban Grenache. Other top end wines for longer keeping include Burgundy (mostly red), all kinds of Rhones, some Barolo, Barbaresco and Tuscan superstar wines, Port, Alsace, and a few Aussie and Spanish wines. I have a few Bordeaux, but I refuse to get into the bidding war with prestige-seekers over recent Bordeaux offerings. I also have a varied selection of dessert wines from California, Alsace, Austria (Kracher!) and Sauternes, mostly in small bottles.
My everyday wines are even broader, encompassing the under $20 wines from many places including California, Washington, Oregon, Virginia, New York, and many regions of Italy, Spain and Australia. I drink a lot of Zinfandel, too, in this category.
People often ask me what I think of Tom Hill. Well, Tom can be quite intimidating to the wine novice, until one realizes that Tom's memory is better than his taste buds. He can tell you every fact about every wine ever made, going back to the earliest fermented beverages in ancient Mesopotamia. But he couldn't pick out Marsanne from Amarone if he were blindfolded.
Actually, Tom and I have a lot in common. We both know a few things
about nukes. I know about nuclear and sub-nuclear physics. And Tom is a
nukelhead of neutronic proportion. His tasting notes read like a monte
carlo random walk through a minuscule lexicon of wine descriptors that
he's memorized over the years. He's particularly fond of "dusty", "toasty",
and "Kansas feed store". I guess those are the only flavors he remembers
real well, so he can find them hiding in whatever he puts down his gullet.
We li ke to poke fun at each other, throwing barbs at each other on-line.
So if you ever read something that seems like one of us is insulting the
other, just think of us as Abbott and Costello, where he's the slow witted
side kick who isn't quite astute enough to know when he's been insulted.
You'll recognize Tom at a wine event as the sympathetic-looking guy with
a red receptacle strapped under his jaw to catch his drool. I'll be the
shrimpy nerd who looks and acts like Atom Ant.