Sunday, May 31, 2009

St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

St. Germain is the first liqueur in the world created in the French artisanal manner from freshly picked Elderflower blossoms. The Elderflower blossoms are picked in the foothills of the Alps and can only be harvested for a few short days in Spring. The blossoms are then transported via bicycle to the local markets for purchase. It is the combination of such technological marvels as handpicking and bicycles that make this liqueur so unique. Neither passionfruit nor pear, grapefruit nor lemon, the exquisite taste of St. Germain hints at each of these flavors and yet hit none of them exactly. This is a great summer liqueur that can add little something to your backyard barbeque's with fun cocktails such as, Bubbling Germain. In a Champagne flute, pour 1/2 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur into the bottom of the glass and fill with you favorite brut sparkiling wine, I find Spanish Cava works the best.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Saturday, May 30, 2009

2007 Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier

Australia has been known for producing great quality wines at a reasonable price for the past few decades. With the climate conditions the way they are in Southern Australia it is no wonder the excel at growing Rhone Valley varieties, such as Shiraz, Grenache and Viognier, since it mimicks that of Southern France . The wine is pale gold in color with green highlights, with a nose displaying aromas of apricot nectar, lifted honeysuckle and orange oil perfume. The palate is long, rich and luscious with intense stone fruit flavors, particularly white peach and apricot, finishing with an aromatic citrus freshness. Viogniers are wonderful white wines for the summer time and are excellent alternatives to Chardonnay. Pairs best with fish and summer salads.

Rating 9.1 out of 10

Friday, May 29, 2009

Jim Beam Red Stag Cherry Infused Bourbon

Jim Beam Bourbon, the world's number one selling Bourbon, proudly launch Red Stag by Jim Beam, a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey infused with natural flavors. The fresh, contemporary taste appeals to both longtime Jim Beam fans and new consumers who may not have previously considered the Bourbon category. Red Stag by Jim Beam is a new innovation from Jim Beam. Through a unique, artisan infusion process, natural black cherry flavors are slowly and carefully infused into fine, four-year-old Jim Beam Bourbon. The tasting notes are distinctively fruity, without disguising the familiar, rich nose of Jim Beam Bourbon. The corn sweetness and mellow oak taste of Red Stag is accented by a hint of black cherry for smoothness and balance. Perfect for making Manhattans, especially Chicago style where they add actual cherry juice to the bourbon.
Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Thursday, May 28, 2009

2007 Chateau Tour Leognan Pessac-Leognan Blanc

I love white Bordeaux! They are very easy drinking, very food friendly and refreshing white wines that go with any occasion. This particular white Bordeaux is produced by Chateau Carbonnieux, a notably Grand Cru Classe from the subregion of Graves. Located to the north of Graves, Pessac Leognan decided to become its own appellation in 1987 as a subregion to Graves in order to represent the areas better known producers. Within Pessac Leognan there are 17 Grand Cru Classe chateaus, making this appellation one of the best well known appellations for white Bordeaux. This blend of 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Semillon has aromas of lemons, wheat and minerals. A palate that comes off clean and crisp with citrus, pear and apple flavors that coat your tongue. The Semillon helps to tone down the acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc leaving you with long dry finish with a hint of oak.

Rating: 9.2 out of 10

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2006 Numanthia Termes Tinto de Toro

Many wine drinkers are becoming increasingly bullish for Spanish wines of all types, including the distinctive Tinto de Toro reds. These wines are made from the Tempranillo grape, made famous by Rioja wines, and are named such for the town on the Duero river in the Zamora, northwest of Madrid. The Termes represents a determined attempt to revive the tradition of fine wine production in the Toro region. Throughout the middle ages the wines of the Toro region were coveted by the kings of Spain and romanticized by the poetry of King Alfonso XI. The sandy soils of this region inhibit the growth of phylloxera, a pest that devastated so many wine growing regions all over the world. It is these unique conditions that make it possible to harvest grapes from 30 year old ungrafted vines. Spicy, oak-inflected aromas of cherry, licorice and roasted coffee. Medium-bodied and firm, the cherry flavor braced by fresh acids and supported by gentle, dusty tannins. Finishes youthfully taut and with impressive persistence, a note of tobacco sneaking in on the back.

Rating: 9.3 out of 10

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey

This is the first Colorado born whiskey, distilled in Denver at 200 S. Kalamath St. and is the first of a new category "Rocky Mountain Straight Whiskey". The whiskey is made from a unique four barley fermented wash that consists of carbon filtered Rocky Mountain water and western barley that is grown in the Northern Rockies. Then it is aged in American white oak for 2 to 5 years, after which 10-12 barrels are selected and combined to produce only 2500-3000 bottles per batch. Each bottle is filled by hand and each label is hand written identifying the distiller, the batch number, the youngest barrel in the batch and a unique comment. This incredible full bodied, small batch whiskey is very distinctive with aromas of vanilla and charcoal that leads into a smooth full-bodied palate and a long, lingering finish.

Rating: 9.4 out of 10

Monday, May 25, 2009

Russian River Brewery Damnation Golden Ale

Belgium beers have been sought after for centuries. In the great beer producing country of Belgium the brewers have made some what of a tradition to give their brews an unusual name. Sometimes the names are curious, other times diabolical and then again they can just be silly. The Russian River Brewery out of California has prided themselves on their Belgium style ales and have out done themselves with the Damnation. This Belgium strong golden ale is 7.0% ABV, has extraordinary aromas of banana and pear with mouth filling flavors of sweet malt and earthy hops. The lingering finish is dry and slightly bitter, but very very smooth.

Rating: 9.4 out of 10

Sunday, May 24, 2009

2005 Salvatore Molettieri Irpinia Aglianco

This is a very unique red wine, perfect for those looking to try something new and interesting. Irpinia is a region in the Apennine Mountains near the town of Avellino in Campania, South Italy which is about 40 miles east of Naples. The grape Aglianico actually originated from Greece and was brought to southern Italy by Greek settlers before the height of the Roman Empire. The wine itself is very purplely with hues of ruby red with a fresh and clean nose that offers aromas of ripe black fruit, chocolate and coffee. The palate is warm and structured with earthy and incisive tannis completed by an intense but elegant finish.

Rating: 9.2 out of 10

Friday, May 22, 2009

2008 Allan Scott Sauvignon Blanc

A perfect white wine to enjoy this summer while you are sitting on patio during those hot afternoons. An aromatic mix of limes, passionfruit and melon with undertones of gooseberry. The firm but balanced acidity and clean crisp flavors make this a mouth filling and lingering wine. This Sauvignon Blanc comes from the Marlborough region of New Zealand, an area that has been on the rise since the late 70's. Located on the northeastern tip of the southern island of New Zealand the Marlborough region contains 62% of the country's existing vineyards, which mainly produce Sauvignon Blanc with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay following closely. There are many occasions to enjoy the 2008 Allan Scott Sauvignon Blanc, either as an aperitif, on its own or accompanied by seafood or salad dishes. Serve lightly chilled.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Aberlour 12 year old Single Malt Scotch

One of the best values in single malt scotch whisky. The Aberlour Distillery is at the heart of Speyside, the country's premier whisky-making region. No fewer than half of Scotland's malt distilleries are located in Speyside, which is renowned for producing whiskies of subtle depth and elegance. Pure spring water for making the whisky is drawn from the Lour River, and the maturing spirit stored in the warehouse beneficially inhales the moist Speyside air. This particular single malt is doubled matured in both traditional whisky oak and used sherry oak casks. Lovely aromas of vanilla and baking spices lead into a palate that is soft, creamy and fruity with hints of berries. A wonderful single malt if you are looking to expand your horizons and trying to stay within your budget.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2006 Catena Malbec

Argentinian Malbecs are becoming more and more popular everyday. This may be because it is perfect for those looking for a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon. The Catena name has been made prominent throughout Argentinian winemaking since Nicola Catena planted his first Malbec vines in the Mendoza region in 1902. Since then the Catena family has taken pride in developing the micro-climates of the high altitude Mendoza region. This particular Malbec is selected from the most concentrated grapes, has powerful aromas of black currants and plums, a palate filled with black fruit flavors with hints of dark chocolate and a smooth lengthy finish. Cellarable for 10+ years.

Rating: 9.1 out of 10

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2008 Nessa Albarino

Albarino is becoming one of my favorite white wines because its such a great alternative to other full bodied whites, like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Albarino comes from northwestern Spain, just north of the Portuguese border in the Rias Baixas region. This Albarino has distinctive floral aromas with peach and apricot and minerals, somewhat similar to Viognier. The palate is fleshy and racy with citrus, apricot and minerally flavors and finishes with a bright but balanced acidity. Many boast that Albarino is that absolute best pairing with lobster, shrimp and crab. I find Albarino to be a very versatile white wine and pairs great with baked or roasted chicken, grilled tuna and a sunny afternoon on the patio.

Rating: 9.1 out of 10

Monday, May 18, 2009

2008 La Spinetta "Vigneto Biancospino" Moscato d'Asti

I absolutely love Moscato d'Asti and the La Spinetta has been a favorite of mine for many years. This semi-sweet, slightly sparkling white wine comes from the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, an area known for producing such prestigious wines as Barolo and Barbaresco. This Moscato bursts forth with an incredible freshness, fruitiness and balanced acidity which makes this "dessert wine" perfect any occasion not just with your dessert. The candied apricot flavors with hints of nutmeg, cinnamon and other baking spices lingering on the palate as the bubbles dance on your tongue. Finishing with a crisp but balanced acidity that cut through the sweetness. This a wonderful summer white wine and at only 5.5% you don't have to feel bad about popping a bottle in the afternoon.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Guiness 250th Anniversary Stout Limited Edition

Guinness just released its limited edition 250th anniversary stout in order to celebrate the date that Arthur Guiness signed the lease on the St. James' Gate in Dublin. Guinness has not yet jumped into the craft beer market but with release they soon may since this brew may be more appealing to craft beer drinkers. I found this Guiness to be lighter than the standard Guiness Draught with a bit more carbonation, which is okay since it was release half way through spring and will be available throughout the summer. Flavors of bitter chocolate, oatmeal, caramel and roasted coffee start off this summer stout then leads into a bone dry finish with hints of raisins. This is definitely a great anniversary edition stout from Guiness.
$10/6-pack 12oz.

Rating: 8.9 out of 10

Saturday, May 16, 2009

2007 D'Arenberg Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier

Since 1912 the D'Arenberg Winery, located in McLaren Vale, South Australia, has been producing extraordinary wines in all price levels. Reminiscent of a Cote Rotie style blend of 90% Shiraz and 10% Viognier, this wine is a gentle giant. Cote Rotie blends are interesting since a red and a white are being blended together, in fact the Viognier actually makes the color of the Shiraz dark and turns it into this real deep plum color. Very ripe concentrated bunches of Shiraz and Viognier are gently crushed and fermented together in traditional open fermenters where the foot-treading in water clad feet takes place. While the juice is still fermenting it is gently basket pressed using D'Arenberg's 19th century Coq and Bromley & Tregoning presses, then finished off with 12 months in American and French oak barrels. The name Laughing Magpie comes from unique native Australian bird, the Kookaburra, known for its distinctive laughing call. This wine definitely would benefit from aging somewhere along the lines of 10 years. Although if you decide to enjoy it sooner rather than later, I recommend letting it sit in a decanter for a few hours. The seductive aromas of jasmine, lilac, peach and maraschino cherries lead into a palate that is full, juicy, soft and mouth filling.

Rating: 9.2 out of 10

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Port Ellen 23 year old Single Malt Islay Scotch

The Port Ellen Single Malt is an Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky produced by the Port Ellen Distillery in Port Ellen, Scotland, on the isle of Islay. The distillery was built in the 1820s, and was acquired by Distillers Company Limited in 1925. The distillery closed in 1983, although supplies of the malt are still available. Due to the closing of the distillery, Port Ellen whisky is becoming more and more collectible. This bottle is an independent bottling by Gordon and MacPhail, 1982, aged 23 years in oak. The Islay Whiskys are typically peaty, smokey monsters, however the amount of time spent aging in oak casks definitely smooths out the smokey flavors and adds a touch of vanilla sweetness.

Rating: 10 out of 10, a must have!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Avery Brabant Barrel Aged Wild Ale

This is probably the most interesting beer I have ever tried! This beer is #1 in Avery Brewing Company's "Barrel-Aged Series" and was released in February 2009. Due to its limited production the beer is sold as single 12oz. bottles. This exceptional dark ale is fermeneted with two types of wild yeast (Brettanomyces) and then aged for 8 months in used Zinfandel barrels. This beer is incredibly unique with a Belgium Lambic style acidity and fruity flavors of plums, raspberry and raisins. The barrels definetly adds some of the characteristics of the Zinfandel previously stored in the barrels, as well as, light woody and vanilla flavor and aromas. This beer is best enjoyed slightly chilled (45-55 degrees F) and should be served in a globe beer glass (like a Stella Artois glass).
$7.99/ 12oz. single bottle
Rating: 9.7 out of 10

Monday, May 11, 2009

2006 Chateau Pesquie Les Terrasses

An extremely versatile and food friendly wine. This blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah comes from the Cotes du Ventoux region of the Southern Rhone Valley of France. This has been a staple in my wine rack for years, its great for taking over to peoples houses for dinner, opening up when friends come over or when you just want a good red wine with dinner. Deep ruby purple in color accompanied by a lovely bouquet of black currants, black cherries, licorice, smoke and herbs. Deep and full bodied with velvety tannins, tangy acidity and long lasting finish. A great wine to enjoy now through 2012.
Rating: 9.0 out of 10

2005 Stolpman Hilltops Syrah

What a beautiful Syrah! With its dark inky color I couldn't wait to get my first sip, and I wasn't disappointed. The aromas leap out of the glass with pungent smells black currant, blueberry, oak and white pepper. When it first hits your tongue you notice all the dark fruit flavors as the structure and complexity forms, leaving you to enjoy all the subtle nuances. In the very smooth, medium tannic finish slight flavors of bacon fat and baked blueberry pie emerge. The 2005 is still a bit young and should be drinking great from 2010 to 2015. I would recommend either opening it up to breath for several hours before you enjoy it or throw into a decanter and just let it sit for an hour or so.
Rating: 9.4 out of 10

Sunday, May 10, 2009

2005 Sierra Carche Jumilla

This wine is unlike another Jumilla I've tried. Typically you expect a Jumilla to be very bold, fruit driven styles, however the Sierra Carche is quite the opposite. This softer side of Jumilla comes from blending 25% Malbec and 25% Petite Verdot in with the other 50% Monastrell and is then aged in French and American oak for 13 months. With a dark inky purple color this wine offers a powerful bouquet that jumps out and bites your nose. Notes of toasty oak, pencil lead and tar fill out the flavors of black cherry, blueberry and blackberry accentuate this full bodied structured wine with loads of flavor and a lasting impression. Enjoy now through 2025.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 Rum

Best rum ever!!!!! This ultra premium rum has been distilled by a family that has been making rum since 1820. Originally one of the first rum distilleries of Cuba they used to make their rum intended for the governors of Cuba. Since 1960 they have been producing this rum from the Dominican Republic, an island with similar soil and climate conditions to Cuba. Using sugar cane harvested by hand and freshly pressed for its juices it is fermented and distilled in small batch tanks and aged in selected used bourbon barrels. Sweet aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg and other baking spices lead into smoothness and a delicately refined palate. This is a must try!

Rating: 10 out of 10

2009 Deschutes Brewery Mirror Mirror

Deschutes released the 2009 Reserve Mirror Mirror this passed week. This very age worthy barley wine was born of a double batch of Deschutes popular Mirror Pond Pale Ale. On the bottle it says "Best after 04/20/2010" and they are right it definitely needs to settle down in order to get the full experience. When I drank this 11% ABV monster my mouth was filled with flavors of caramely hops which leads into a enormous malty base with hints of citrus and oak both on the nose and on the palate. If you can keep your hands off of it defintely wait and age this beer and with the ungodly amount of wax covering it may take you a year to open it.
$11/22oz. single bottle

Rating: 9.2 out of 10