Sunday, August 23, 2009

2006 Glaetzer Wallace Shiraz Grenache

Another knock out from one of my favorite producers from Australia! The Wallace by Ben Glaetzer is named so as it is the old family name of Ben's grandmother Judith whose ancestors hailed from town of Cupar in Fife, Scotland. The wine itself is infusion of two classic grapes, Shiraz and Grenache, from the prestigious sub-region of Ebenezer in the Barossa Valley. Aged in used French and American oak for 14 months this blend of 80% Shiraz and 20% Grenache has ripe aromas of cracked pepper, blueberries and toffee. The palate is balanced between the Shiraz, which contributes weight, texture and richness with flavors black berry and blueberry. While the Grenache adds sweet cherry, strawberry and earthy characters. This wine is definitely drinking well now but if you do cellar it would be a very nice treat in about 5 years.

Rating: 9.4 out of 10

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Great Divide 15th Anniversary Wood Aged Double IPA

On June 6th the Great Divide Brewing Company celebrated 15 years of business. To kick off the celebration they released their Wood Aged Double IPA, an intensified, oak aged version of their popular Denver Pale Ale. This pours a great copper color with a creamy white head. The pungent aromas of grapefruit from the hops and vanilla from the oak show a great intensity, however I felt the taste was a little lacking. At first taste the hops really show through, however as the beer warms the oak really starts to show with strong flavors of vanilla extract that make this double IPA almost sweet to the palate and takes away all the bitterness from the hops.
$8/ 22 oz. Bomber
Rating: 8.9 out of 10

Friday, August 14, 2009

Rittenhouse Straight Rye Whisky

Rye whisky was one of the first whiskey types to be distilled in the United States, mainly distilled in the Northeastern regions of the U.S. Unlike popular belief blended Canadian whiskey is not rye whisky. This belief comes from the time of prohibition when bootleggers were smuggling whisky across the border from Canada where rye was a dominating crop. The bootleggers would take one barrel of rye whisky and blend it with neutral grain whiskey to turn one barrel of rye whisky into four barrels of blended Canadian whiskey. One of the distinctive characteristics of Rittenhouse is that it is bottled in bond, which means it had at least four years of cask aging and is at least 100 proof. The extra aging gives the whisky more complexity than some of the other ryes I have tried and makes it a worthy substitution for other American or Canadian whiskeys, especially in cocktails. For a classic Manhattan cocktail add 3 parts Rittenhouse Straight Rye Whisky to 1 part sweet vermouth, stir with ice and strain into a glass, garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Rating: 8.9 out of 10

Thursday, August 13, 2009

2009 Avery Brewing Company 'The Kaiser' Imperial Oktoberfest

I look forward to the release of this beer every year. I truly enjoy Oktoberfest beers and this is ranked up there among my top favorites. The Kaiser is brewed with imported German malted barley, noble hops, authentic German lager yeast and cool Rocky Mountain water which are all intensified to bring this beer to 9.73% ABV. This beer pours a copper color with an orange tinge and a small white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Aromas of malt, dried red berries and figs extend out of the glass bringing you classic aromas of Okotberfest marzen styles. Flavors of sweet malts and yeast linger on the palate with some alcohol warming. The finish is smooth and long with malty flavors pulsing the whole way through.
$8/22 oz. Bomber

Rating: 9.4 out of 10

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2006 Casa Barranca Cabernet Sauvignon

Organic wines are all the rage right now and this is an exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon from one of the first certified organic wineries in the California. There is a common misconception that organic wines do not contain sulfites, this is absolutely wrong. Sulfites naturally occur during the fermentation process, so unfortunately there is no getting around the sulfites. However, most organic wineries do not add any additional sulfites to their wines like some non-organic wineries do as the sulfites act as a preservative. This wine is a classic blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot and offers lovely aromas of cassis, violets and cedar. The lively palate exudes with flavors of black currant and raspberry accented with vanilla and oak leading to a long round tannic finish.

Rating: 9.1 out of 10

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kubler Swiss Absinthe Superieure

The restriction on absinthe was lifted last summer and ever since this European cult cocktail has been making a lasting impression on the states. Kubler Absinthe is distilled in the Val de Travers region of Switzerland, known as the birthplace of absinthe. It was first produced in 1863 and was the first brand legally sold in Switzerland after the ban was lifted in March, 2005. Made according to the original Swiss formula this absinthe is not green in color but rather clear with the primary ingredients being herbs grande wormwood and anise. Kubler uses a base spirit distilled from Swiss wheat that includes hyssop, lemon balm, coriander, star anise, Roman wormwood, mint and fennel. Pour one shot absinthe into a a tumbler, place a sugar cube on an absinthe spoon (a tablespoon will work also), douse the sugar cube with the absinthe, light in on fire and let the sugar melt into the glass. Next fill the glass with water to give the cocktail a creamy white color. If you like black licorice you will love this.
$47/1 liter

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hacker Pschorr Sternweisse

One of Munich's first wheat beers. This unique honey golden beer is brewed according to a traditional recipe using the greatest care, technical skill, premium ingredients and in accordance with the Rhienheitsgebot (Purity Law) of 1516. This beer has a slightly hazy dark orange hue when poured. The aroma is a bit yeasty much like that of dark bread with notes of citrus, banana and herbs that fill your nose. Hacker-Pschorr Sternweisse's taste opens with a malt, yeast and clove spiciness with sweet banana flavor and and orange notes quickly follow. As the beer warms some find hints of cinnamon and other baking spices begin to creep out. The swing top bottle first developed in 1877 and was released in 2002 shows a commitment to brewing tradition and expertise. The swing top bottle conveys a sensation of freshness when opening the bottle for the first time, it also makes the fresh and authentic beer flavor last even longer.
$3/500ml single bottle

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

2007 Charles Smith Eve Chardonnay

This is a great summer Chardonnay, a much leaner and crisper style not typically seen in domestic Chardonnays and it is refreshing to find a domestically produced Chardonnay that is not buttery or over done with oak. This wine is reminds me of some white Burgundies, such as Chablis, with its chalk minerality and floral aromas. Eventhough this wine has a bit of old world character you still find the enormouse amount of red apple aromas and flavors that are pretty distinctive of Washington State Chardonnay. The palate is lean but full bodied with well balanced flavors of red apple, melon and honey leading to a crisp but lingering finish.

Rating: 8.9 out of 10