Moose's blog

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Edge of the Ocean - Basement Tapes

Make no mistake about the Basement Tapes Complete, this is a historical document, not an "album." Others have done what I'm about to do, with more effect, better research, and with better quality writing, but I want to also try it with a little more (less?) detail. Here are the Basement Tapes, broken down, song by song. This may take a while as I'm doing it one at a time.

I am not a musician and don't pretend to be one. Comments on history and music will seem amateur, because they are.

"Edge of the Ocean"

We start off, surprisingly perhaps, with a Dylan original. I figured they'd mess around with some tried and true oldies to test the recording devices, and they do, but not yet.

Opens, endearingly, with them fiddling with the equipment. Spoken by Bob, "Once you shut it off, now, see how it's recording."

It's a nice composition to start, with some electric piano and some nice bass and accompanying guitar. The tambourine is a little out of place, and it sounds like someone is banging on the piano in lieu of a bass drum. The music almost fits the ocean theme of the song, like Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay does.

Many of the lyrics are indecipherable (at least by me), but on the surface it seems to be a little tune about seagulls and living next to the ocean. But some of the lyrics you CAN understand shoot this down for me. The last lines he sings seem to be, "...whatever will give no warning, well [___] your head to the ground. Well [let me tell?] you, brother, it's coming when the seagulls cross over town." This seems like a warning. But of what? Other lyrics seem to point to the ocean being something foreboding disaster, but I can't get enough out of it to confirm.

3 out of 5 stars. It's a good start and would be an interesting song if finished perhaps with a darker tone and, obviously, clearer lyrics.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Wine Number 30

2006 Skouras Saint George/Cabernet Sauvignon

This wine is notable because it's a case of a grape with multiple names. Many wine drinkers already know that Zinfandel and Primitivo are genetically the same exact grape. But there are many beginner drinkers who wouldn't know the difference [or lack thereof].

The Saint George grape is actually the Agiorgitiko grape, which I find it weird that a Greek winery would change the name of a Greek grape to an English one. I mean I understand it... but I like the local flair of local grapes.

At any rate, the wine was good, a bit light. Not much else to it. Oh, this "blend" is 95% Saint George/Agiorgitiko and %5 Cabernet Sauvignon so it's essentially a Saint George wine with some Cab for flavor and backbone.

Wine Count: 30; Grape Count: 30.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wine Number 29 or "The Portuguese Get Me Back in the Race"

What race? Why... the race to complete the quest, my boy!

2005 Xairel Ribatejano:

Portugal, famous for their Port, brings us things crazily inexpensive red wine from the Ribatejo region in central Portugal. And I mean crazily inexpensive. Anyone drinking Yellowtail... Sutter Home... Dancing Penguin or whateverthefrick for the sole reason that it's inexpensive and drinkable, should take a serious look at this wine and others from Portugal. On a tip from Vaynerchuk about Portugal's value I discovered the Portuguese section of my local Bottle King.

The cheapos, running anywhere from $3 to a staggering $6... quickly filled my arms. The concensus? These wines won't wow you, nor will they disgust you. They are serviceable and noticeably not up to the par of your more expensive and higher quality wines. But seriously... if you're drinking less expensive and lower quality wines already... what's to lose? Seriously... the price of a cup of Starbucks and you've got yourself an entire bottle of wine. Give it a go.

We could probably take care of this quest with just a couple bottles of Port... but we got going again with this bottle, featuring two grapes not on my Wine Century Club sheet and hopefully they are not clones of another grape, which I did cursory research and found not to be the case. The Castelao, Trincadeira, and Preto Martinho grapes were featured in this wine. Supposedly I haven't featured a Portuguese wine yet... so check off lucky number 13.

Coming very soon... my first venture into Pinotage.

Wine Count: 29; Grape Count 29; Country Count: 13.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wine 28, one of the biggest grapes:

2006 Oakton Lane Chardonnay

I like my whites, they're kind of a guilty pleasure that I don't partake of too often because my wife doesn't like white wines. So I'm stuck drinking a whole bottle on my own, and depending on schedules, it takes 2, 3, or even 4 or 5 nights to finish. That's a big commitment.

Anyway, this is a solid chardonnay, one I didn't mind drinking over two nights. Not overoaked, which is nice.

Wow... boring tasting note... which sort of goes for the wine, too.

Wine Count: 28; Grape Count: 26

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wines 26 and 27:

Went on vacation recently and encountered some wines from states which you normally wouldn't associate with wine... North Carolina and Virginia. First, let me talk about the great thing that the Charlotte Airport does. They have a wine bar with nothing but North Carolina wines, all at vineyard prices. The best wine we had there, and a wine we bought a bottle of for our vacation, was from the Yadkin Valley in North Carolina, the 2005 Shelton Vinyards Merlot. Not being a huge merlot drinker, though by no means having an anti-merlot prejudice [I simply find many of them too light], I was legitimately surprised at the smoothless and drinkability.

Another wine we had was from Chateau Morrisette in Virginia. Unfortunately I don't have more information on the wine, my label got ripped.

But at any rate, I bang out two more states in my quest and have a LONG way to go.

Wine Count: 27; State Count: 6

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Quarter Century Mark with a Big Name

2003 Chateau Musar Cuvee Rouge:

I've heard the name Chateau Musar muttered occasionally. Good luck finding it at shops that aren't serious about their business. A relative's wine cellar is packed with a Chateau Margaux, some Lafite-Rothschild... and Musar. He's Lebanese but still.

I purchased this wine at the Wine Library, I wasn't about to drop $40 on the GOOD Musar, so I settled for the $15 version. For me it had a vegetable component on the nose, and a definite tartness to the flavor. Lots of fruit coming through. But definitely a lighter version of whatever their main offering is.

Get a lot done with wine as far as my journey goes. Another country, and a non-traditional one at that, is knocked off [Lebanon]. Since this is a blend, I get to mark off two more grapes, Cinsault and Carignan, the first two grapes listed [no percentages] in a blend including Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

The main Musar offering will definitely be tried eventually.

Wine Count: 25; Country Count: 12; Grape Count: 25.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Back on Track

Wine Number 24:

2004 Las Moras Tannat Reserve

After a couple of boring wines we're officially back to the good stuff. Knocked out another country in Argentina. I was surprised to see the wine was from Argentina, but after reading a bit on the history I shouldn't be. Originally [to the best of our knowledge] from the south of France, the wine migrated to Uruguay and eventually made it's way down to Argentina. Now I want to try some Uruguaian Tannat.

The wine itself was not over-tannic as you might expect from a wine called Tannat. Noticeable oak, but notice I didn't say "over"-oaked. Good and interesting fruit. I got it for $15, it is probably offered cheaper in store, which makes this a great buy.

Wine Count 24; Country Count: 11; Grape Count: 23