Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2006 Rivetto Nebbiolo d'Alba 'Lirano'

This is hands down one of the best values in Nebbiolo wine available on the market today and with it being priced around $15 it has been dubbed by many as the "poor man's Barolo". Nebbiolo is, of coarse, the same grape varietal used in the making of the very prestigious wines of Barolo and Barbaresco from Piedmont Italy. What I love about Nebbiolo wines is that they are light to medium bodied like a Pinot Noir, but has the tannin structure of a Cabernet Sauvignon. Kind of the best of both worlds. This particular Nebbiolo is a bit more new world in style than most others with an alcohol content pushing 14.0% and a more fruit driven character. Classic floral aromas reminiscent of roses lead you into light to medium bodied palate with flavors of bright cherry fruits with a firm but soft structure and a smooth lingering finish. This is a wine that everyone must try!

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Friday, June 26, 2009

New Belgium Lips of Faith Biere de Mars

The best beer New Belgium has ever produced is back! A few years ago this beer was sold as a seasonal six pack available throughout the months of March and April and then out of the blue they stop producing it. This was a beer I look forward to every year and I was hugely disappointed when I couldn't get it anymore. I jumped for joy when I heard that New Belgium was re-releasing this beer as part of their new Lips of Faith bomber series. This classic farmhouse style beer comes originally comes from Walloon region of southern Belgium. The Bière de Mars is a fresh, bready amber ale made with barley, wheat and oats but possessing a slightly tart flavor. It is inoculated with Brettanomyces, a wild yeast strain that spoils many beers but here lends a mild barnyard or grassy, wet hay flavor.
$8.49/22oz. Bomber

Rating: 9.3 out of 10

Thursday, June 25, 2009

2008 Charles Smith's Kung Fu Girl Riesling

The first time I met Charles Smith was at local distributor tasting in Downtown Denver and the only thing that stood out, other than his wines, was his very eccentric and playful personality. His personality definitely shows through in his winemaking and label choices. The grapes used in the Kung Fu Girl Riesling come from a single rocky vineyard which results in a off dry minerally style Riesling that is very similar to those produced in the Rheingau region of Germany. The nose is bursting with Asian pear, green apples and spring aromas. Apricot, pear, lime, and a pleasant minerality keep this off-dry wine at the perfect level of subtle sweetness. Washington has become one of the most important wine producing states in the United States, and development continues to grow rapidly. In 1969, when California was exploding as a wine producer, Washington had only two wineries, but by 2000 that number had passed 100. This particular Washington State summer wine goes great with sushi or just a relaxing afternoon on the patio.
Rating: 8.9 out of 10

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

2005 Charles Cimicky Reserve Shiraz

I have always been impressed with the Charles Cimicky wines from the Barossa Valley of Australia and the 2005 Reserve Shiraz is no different. This wine spends 14 months in new oak barrels of which 60% are French oak and 40% are American oak. Dark purple almost black in color this wine will leave a thick purple film on your glass and teeth. Splendid aromas cedar, pepper, bacon blueberry and blackberry lead into a full round palate that is both dense and lush. There are tons of blue and black fruit flavors, ripe smooth tannins and full minute long finish. This is the type of wine that your typical Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon drinker will enjoy because of the fruit driven nature and complexity.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale

I had been staring at this beer in my refrigerator all weekend, then I finally got a chance to open last night and it was well worth the wait. The brewers at the Stone Brewing Company, located in Escondido, CA, pride themselves on being able to consistently produce such fine works of art like this truly self-righteous ale. This beer was first produced in 2007 as their annual anniversary edition release and was such a huge hit they had to make more. When you poor it into the glass the color is black as pitch with nose that similar to most imperial IPAs with notes of grapefruit that dissipate to hints of red fruits. The palate was bitter, but a balanced bitterness that comes from both the hops and malts, with hints of cranberries in the beginning and finishes long and dry. ABV 8.7%.
$7/22oz. Bomber

Rating: 9.4 out of 10

Friday, June 19, 2009

Glenmorangie Original Single Malt Scotch

This whisky has been called ‘the perfect ten’ and most Glenmorangie drinkers will readily drink to that! After 10 years in ex-Bourbon casks, the Glenmorangie spirit has had enough time to mature and mellow into a beautifully balanced yet marvellously complex malt whisky. Located in the far north of Scotland the Glenmorangie Distillery was established in 1843 and still to this day perfected by the Sixteen Men of Tain. The intriguing pale golden color leads to light and delicate floral aromas with traces of citrus and vanilla. The palate is well balanced with notes of honeyed nuts that shine through to a short clean finish that leaves delicious juices on your tongue.

Rating: 9.3 out of 10

Thursday, June 18, 2009

2006 Tikal Patriota Bonarda Malbec

I just tried this today and thought it was fantastic, a very unique blend that offers great complexity and flavors. The Medoza region is somewhat pf an oasis, where vineyards produce some of Argentina's finest grapes which are hand selected by Laura Catena of the famous Catena Winery, also located in Mendoza. Bonarda is the second most widely planted grape in Argentina and when blended with the fuller-bodied Malbec you are in for quite a treat. This blend of 60% Bonarda and 40% Malbec offers aromas of bright cherry and red fruit with dark purple color. It is like swallowing a whole bowl of mixed ripe berries at once. Big body yet very balanced, with luscious layers of raspberry, cherry, and cocoa flavors. Just a hint of baking spice at the end brings it all together.

Rating 9.2 out of 10

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2007 Gritos Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon

The more I try Argentinian wines the more I am impressed with the complexity and flavors these wines offer. The Gritos Malbec/Cab Sauv is from the Mendoza region of Argentina which is approximately 600 miles west of the of the capital city of Buenos Aires and has become the epicenter of winemaking in Argentina. The Gritos is medium-bodied, intensely ruby red wine offering lovely dark berry aromas and a palate focused on red fruit, plums and figs with a hint of dark chocolate. The sweet and persistent tannins are complimented by aging in French oak barrels which adds a hint of vanilla that leads into a long well balanced finish that shows notes of chocolate and vanilla. This wine is particularly good with grilled meats, poultry dishes and pasta with heavy meat sauces. Enjoy now through 2015.

Rating: 9.1 out of 10

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Balvenie Doublewood 12-year-old Single Malt Scotch

Every time I drink this I remember why I love single malt scotch. The Balvenie Distillery lies at the heart of the great scotch producing region of Speyside, located in the Scottish Highlands. Nowhere else while you find a distillery that grows its own barley, still malts in its own traditional floor maltings and still employs a team of coopers to tend to the stills and a coppersmith to maintain the stills. The Balvenie Doublewood 12-year-old gains distinctive character from being matured in two oaks. Over the maturation period the whisky is transferred from a traditional oak whisky cask to a first fill European oak sherry cask. The traditional casks soften and add character to the whisky, while the sherry wood brings depth and a fullness of flavor.

Rating: 9.3 out of 10

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Odell's Brewing Company Woodcut No. 1

I can't believe we have some of last years Woodcut left. This was the first release of Odell's barrel-aging series, released August 2008 this oak aged ale already has a year in bottle making closer to its ready to drink time. Cut from new American oak Odell's Woodcut No. 1 was aged in barrels with a medium toast. The wood imparts flavors of vanilla, almonds, and dried fruits, complementing the caramel malt sweetness. Each Woodcut offering is a truly limited-edition beer with unique flavors that comes from hand selecting special hops, fine malted barley and the brewer's personality. Each bottle is numbered and signed. get it while it lasts!

9.7 out of 10

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum

Bacardi Rums have added Dragon Berry to it's range of flavored rum. The rum combines the taste of tropical dragon fruit with strawberry flavor. Dragon fruit is a beautiful fruit grown in Southeast Asia, Mexico, Central and South America, and Israel. It is actually the fruit of a type of cactus, and the fruit comes in 3 colors: 2 have pink skin, but with different colored flesh (one white, the other red), while another type is yellow with white flesh. Dragon fruit is low in calories and offers numerous nutrients, including Vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, plus fiber and antioxidants. This flavored rum has intense fruity aromas resembling Hawaiian Punch, the palate is warm and sweet then smacks you in the face with the taste dragon fruit and strawberry. I don't usually go for flavored rums, but this would be a nice one to keep around to make some summer cocktails.

Rating: 8.8 out of 10

Thursday, June 11, 2009

2005 Veramonte Primus

This is probably one of the best reds out of Chile for under $20. The story of this Bordeaux blend goes all the way back to Bordeaux in the 1800s, when a wave of French immigrants were setting off to the new world to try and make their fortunes. Being French, they weren't going anywhere without their wine, and knowing that they were headed to an unknown world, the only way to ensure that there would be wine there was to bring the vines to grow it themselves. So off they went to Chile with vines representing the best of Bordeaux packed in wet sawdust and paper, to ensure the vines survived the trip across the Atlantic. The Veramonte Primus is a blend of Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. The best grapes from the top vineyard parcels are carefully sorted, destemmed, and fermented separately before blending and aging for 2 years in French Oak barrels, about 50% of which are new each year. This dark ruby red wine has aromas of chocolate, cherry and vanilla followed by a palate that seems to burst in your mouth with flavors of chocolate covered cherries summed up by a dusty tannic finish.

Rating: 9.1 out of 10

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Marietta Cellars Old Vine Cellars Lot # 49

I first tried the Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red a few years ago when I just needed a good red at a good price to take over to friends house warming party. I was truly amazed at the flavor and complexity this wine has, especially with it being priced under $15. Located in Sonoma County, Marietta Cellars specializes in Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Each year the winery creates a proprietary blend consisting of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignane and lesser amounts of Cabernet and Syrah. This years blend is predominately Zinfandel with Petite Sirah, Old Vine Carignan and a slight touch of Cabernet Sauvignon. Old Vine Red Lot 49 is somewhat of a culmination of the best attributes of Lot 47 and 48. Highlighting the structure and maturity of Lot 47, and the fruit forward Zinfandel blackberry, plum and spice qualities of Lot 48, Lot 49 is incredibly balanced, lush, supple on the palate with a round mouth-filling finish.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Avery Sixteen Anniversary Ale Saison

This years Anniversary Ale from Avery Brewing Company, located in Boulder, CO, is a saison-esq ale that is brewed with jasmine flowers, peaches, honey and fermented with Belgium yeast. The saison style originated before the advent of refrigeration, Belgian brewers had to brew in autumn or winter to prevent the ale from spoiling during the storage period. After brewing, the ale was stored until the late summer harvest. Although now most commercial examples range from 5 to 8% abv, originally saisons were meant to be refreshing and thus had alcohol levels less than 3%. Because of the lack of potable water, saisons would give the farm hands the hydration they needed without the threat of illness. This particular saison has cloudy golden color with aromas of hops, jasmine and citrus that leads into refreshing palate.
$7/22oz. bomber

Rating: 9.3 out of 10

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Oronoco Brazilian Rum

Two brothers, Roberto and Vicente Bastos Ribeiro, have spent more than 20 years refining a distillation process suitable to produce the smoothest rum in the world. With years of experience as caçhaca distillers and a profound knowledge of distilling freshly cut mountain sugar cane, the Ribeiros have developed a distillate that raises the standard of fine rum. Oronoco is the first super-premium white rum made with fresh cut Brazilian mountain cane. Unlike most rum with a molasses base, Oronoco’s distinct quality is the result of freshly cut, unprocessed mountain cane juice. The Ribeiros insist on mountain cane, as they believe that it yields a far superior taste. The result is a complex and flavorful cane that is harvested by hand and crushed within hours of cutting. These pain staking efforts allow for a rum with clean nose with light hints of vanilla and a crisp, clean palate and long naturally smooth finish.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

2005 Mr. Riggs Shiraz Viognier

A killer wine at a great price. The 2005 Shiraz Viognier is 95% Shiraz and 5% Viognier, which spent 10 months in primarily French oak,25% of which is new, is a classic South Australian red with more finesse and complexity because of the Viognier component. Reminiscent of a French Cote Rotie, its dense ruby/purple color is followed by a knock-out nose of lavender, creme de cassis, tar, and spice. Layered, plump, velvety texture, beautifully fruity, and long. This blend is interesting since you have a red and white grape blended to together. Taking the dark Shiraz grapes and co-fermenting them with a hatful of the purest white Viognier grapes. The Viognier actually deepens the color of the Shiraz to a ruby/purple color and intensifies the aromas by adding a slight floral and citrus character. Pairs best with pork tenderloin and lamb. Will be drinking well for the next 5 to 7 years.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Friday, June 5, 2009

Buffalo Trace Bourbon

This whiskey is produced at the scenic Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, close to Woodford Reserve Distillery if you are touring home of numerous other whiskies such as Eagle Rare 10 year-old, Eagle Rare 17 year-old, Blanton's, Rock Hill Farms, Hancock Reserve, and Elmer T.Lee. The mixture of Corn and rye gives off aromas of vanilla and mint. You can smell the oaks influence on the whiskey in the peppery scent towards the end. Wonderful thick mouthfeel, warming but not burning at first. Smooth sweet honeyed notes with oak pepperiness at the end and a aftertaste of vanilla, fruits, mint and a warming heat. Goes down the throat with a warming pleasant burn. Lets you know you are drinking whiskey but doesn't punish you for it.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Thursday, June 4, 2009

2006 Perrin & Fils Vacqueyras

Located in the Southern Rhone Valley of France the appellation of Vacqueyras has producing exquisite red wines for centuries. The appellation lies between the villages of Sarrians and Vaison la Romaine near the rolling Dentelles de Montmirail hills. This blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah is bright red and seductive. Laid-back strawberry and raspberry aromas are brightened by fresh rose and cracked pepper. Silky in texture, with sweet red fruit preserve flavors, gentle tannins and a long, sweet finish. Surprisingly delicate but not lacking for flavor punch. Pairs best with lamb and pork tenderloin. Drink now through 2015.

Rating: 9.2 out of 10

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

2006 Lyeth Meritage

Lyeth Meritage is an example of a wine that tastes more expensive than its is. Tasted within minutes after opening, its nose is closed, it has a harsh bite on the palate, and at best it seems clumsy. However, if you open the wine, decant it, and let it breathe for 10-20 minutes, you will be rewarded by ripe red and black berry aromas and flavors, some black pepper, a hint of licorice and clove spice, firm tannins, and ample acidity. With the initial harshness replaced by a smooth texture and fairly long, ripe finish that might end up just a touch too hot. Enjoy this wine with a fatty ribeye, porterhouse or assortment of strong cheeses. Drink now through 2015.

Rating: 9.2 out of 10

Monday, June 1, 2009

Oskar Blue's Mama's Little Yella Pils

This is a great pool beer for the summer! Before recently you had to buy some inexpensive domestic beer to take places that do not permit glass containers. In my experience this led to me drinking the afternoon away on something that did not taste very good and left me regretting my beverage decision. Thank God the Oskar Blue's Brewery in Lyons, CO produce a number of great beers in the pool friendly aluminum cans. This delicious Czech style Pilsner is made with hearty amount of pale malt, German specialty malts and traditional Saaz and 21st century Bavarian hops. This is the perfect beer to show the world that not all American made Pilsners are water downed, flavorless beers that flood the shelves here in the U.S.
$8.49/12oz. 6-pack

Rating: 9.2 out of 10