Monday, December 6, 2010

Great Gift Ideas!

It is that time of year when everyone is searching for that perfect gift for all the people on their list. For this reason I decided to look for some wines, spiritis and beer that are available in store now that will certainly bring a smile to the special persons face.

For the wine guru on your list here a few suggestions that may knock their socks off. The 2000 Moccagatta Bric Balin Barbaresco ($40/750ml) is known as being one of the most prestigious wines produced in Italy, made from the Nebbiolo grape and aged in Slovenian oak this wine looks like rust and smells like roses and is something everyone should try at least once in their lifetime, especially since it is a 2000 vintage. A new wine out from the increasingly popular producer of the cult classic “The Prisoner” is the new Orin Swift Abstract ($25/750ml). A blend of Grenache, Petit Verdot and Syrah, it is what you would expect from Orin Swift; big, bold and fruity.

For the people on your list that enjoy a nice stiff drink to wine here are some spirits that will help keep them warm this winter. The Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or12 year old Single Malt Scotch ($60/750ml) is matured in oak whisky casks for ten years and is finished in used Sauternes casks giving this whisky a pleasant honey note that makes this single malt smooth and mellow with beautifully combined nutty sweetness, cinnamon and a delicate layer of apricots and honey. Or if you are looking for the perfect holiday liqueur to make your holiday cocktail more fun and festive try the Leopold Bros. New England Cranberry Liqueur ($32/750ml). Three pounds of New England bog-grown cranberries go into every bottle of this fantastic liqueur, mix 2 to 1 with either vodka or gin, add a splash of club soda.

For the beer lover in the family we have a few rare items that may peak their interest. From BrewDog in Scotland comes the Tactical Nuclear Penguin ($70/375ml) a 32% ABV monster of a beer, in which the beer is frozen over a weeks time, then the ice crystals are removed making the beer more concentrated while increasing the alcohol. Another rarity that recently came into stock is the Deus Brut des Flanders ($40/750ml) that is kind of a mix of a Belgium style Farmhouse Ale and Champagne. In fact the beer is brewed in the Flanders region of Belgium then transported to France where the beer is refined using an ancestral technique of riddling and yeast removal.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wines for Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is the time when family and friends gather to stuff their faces with those holiday treats that we love so much. Traditionally there are three main dishes served on this special occasion, Roast Beef, Ham and of coarse Turkey! The most asked question I answer during this time of year is what pairs best with any of these entrees.

When pairing wine to Roast Beef or any beef entrée you want to focus on wines that will not be over powered by the beef itself. For this reason I lean towards big full-bodied reds like the Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel ($21/750ml) that offers an intense plum flavor coupled with hints of baking spice. For those who prefer a softer red should turn to areas such as Bordeaux, France. The Chateau Paveil de Luze Margaux ($25/750ml) exhibits a softer more elegant side of Cabernet Sauvignon not typically seen by their Californian counterparts.

With Ham I prefer a Syrah or Shiraz mainly due to the hint of bacon fat found within the varietal. The Peter Lehman Shiraz ($16/750ml) from the Barossa Valley of Australia pairs perfectly with its blueberry and blackberry flavors that counteract the saltiness of the ham, along with that hint of bacon fat that helps the flavors mesh sublimely. Since not everyone enjoys red wine, here is a white that will pair nicely as well. The Batterieberg Detonation Riesling ($14/750ml) is an exceptionally dry Riesling, which can be a tough thing to find in Germany, but has flavors of crisp granny smith apples with a pleasant mineral backbone.
I saved the best for last, Turkey! Turkey has soft and subtle flavors that make pairing difficult. I my experience you do not want anything to overpowering otherwise you can’t taste that delicious bird. So for your red drinkers the Adelsheim Oregon Pinot Noir ($28/750ml) is lovely, its soft, has flavors of cherries paired with a dusty earthiness but most importantly it does not overpower the turkey. When pairing whites look for something ever so slightly sweet with a bright acidity. The Domaine Pichot Vouvray ($14/750ml) made of 100% Chenin Blanc explodes with flavors of pear and green apple followed by a nice crisp acidity that cuts through sweetness experienced in your first taste. These wines will make a great addition to your Thanksgiving no matter the entrée. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Steals and Deals!

I have made it my mission in the world of wine to find those hidden gems that cost less than $20 and offer more to the drinker than some higher end styles. These wines, in my opinion, show the true extent of a winemaker’s talents and also the quality of the vineyards themselves.

The Rivetto Nebbiolo D’Alba ($15/750ml) is indeed a diamond in the rough. The Nebbiolo grape is used in the neighboring regions of Barolo and Barbaresco for making very prestigious wines that sell from $50 to several hundreds of dollars. The Rivetto offers a more new world approach to the Nebbiolo grape by making a more fruit driven, concentrated style typically not seen in Italian wines. From France, I offer you a wonderful taste of the original Malbec. The Clos La Coutale Cahors ($17/750ml) is divinely made with 80% Malbec and 20% Merlot its subtle aromas of plums and earth followed by flavors of plum, black currants and a hint of dark chocolate. A wonderful alternative to Chardonnay the Nessa Albarino ($15/750ml) is a racy, refreshing full-bodied white wine from the Rias Baixas region located in northern Spain, just north of the Portuguese border and is considered to be the perfect matches with seafood.

A tremendous value from Argentina the Llama Old Vine Malbec ($13/750ml) is 100% organically grown and produced from fifty-year-old Malbec vines. This Malbec offers deep concentrated flavors of plum and chocolate with a hint of tobacco summed up by a bold tannic finish. The Michael David Petite Petit ($18/750ml) which is a blend of 85% Petite Sirah and 15% Petit Verdot and delivers a wonderful bouquet consisting of rich blackberries and dark chocolate that leads into a chewy palate of blackberry pie and huckleberries with hints of dark chocolate and is a nice alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. After a few heavy reds I like to cleanse my palate crisp refreshing white that breathes new life into my taste buds. Perfect for this is the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier ($12/750ml) which maintains a bright, crisp acidity coupled with luscious pear and melon flavors that captures the youthful exuberance of this 80% Chenin Blanc, 20% Viognier blend. These wines are meant to stimulate the most experienced drinker, as well as, entice newcomers with flavors that excite at price that is affordable. Enjoy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Downslope Distilling Double Diamond Whiskey

I do love my beer and wine but there are those occasions when a tall pour of whiskey, served neat, is in order and this is one recent additions to my cabinet. Locally made the Downslope distillery is located just up the road on Arapahoe Rd. and Jordan Rd. This particular whiskey is more accurately described as a Irish style whiskey since they mainly use malted barley with a fraction of rye used to adding spice. giving a more unique flavor. The whiskey is aged in used small medium toast casks to add some sweet vanilla and honey notes. The flavor of rye is the first thing you notice on the palate and it lingers all the way through to the finish with the sweetness from the malted barley coming through in the mid-palate balancing the rye. Overall this is a great whiskey to sip on after a long day's work.

Price: $31.99/750ml

Rating: 89 points!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Odell Brewing Company Deconstruction Golden Ale

I sat down with a few friends the other night and enjoyed this tasty treat along with Jamaican jerk burgers and some killer beer brats, what a great night. This Golden Ale is created by blending the final recipe with its own barrel aged pilot beers fermented with wild yeast. They use neutral oak, bourbon barrels and wine barrels to give each pilot brew an unique flavor from the contributing oak barrel. Tons of spice with some subtle fruity notes. It pours a golden honey color with amber highlights. Right after you pour it the nose is overwhelmed by the bourbon barrel but as it settles you pick up vanilla and baking spice. The palate followed suit with your initial taste be dominated by bourbon and heat but as it mellows you you get some lovely citrus and red fruit flavors from the wine barrel. This beer overall was extremely complex and I swear the flavors changed with every sip.

Price: $14.99/750ml bottle

Rating: 91 points!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

2008 Clos La Coutale Cahors

Malbec wines have really increased in popularity over the past five years mainly due to the explosion of wine production in South American countries, such as Argentina where Malbec is widely produced. Since Malbec has become so popular, I thought it would be nice to introduce the origin of Malbec. Cahors is a AOC located in South Western France, where vines have been cultivated since 50 B.C. by the Ancient Romans. The dominant grape produced here is, of course, Malbec and the wines produced from this region were known as the "black wine of Lot" during the Middle Ages. This particular Cahors is 80% Malbec blended with 20% Merlot and offers a great reddish plum color. The palate is elegant with red and dark fruit flavors with a touch of spice. This wine is better drunk young but also has the aging potential of 10-20 years and goes well with red meats, duck and robust cheeses.

Rating: 92 points!

Price: $16.49 750ml

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Great Divide 16th Anniversary Wood Aged Double IPA

I sat down last night with some great company and decided to crack open this tasty beer to accompany my amazing plate of Mexican food. Talk about heaven! Based on Great Divide's famous Denver Pale Ale this copper colored beer embodies everything that Great Divide does best. The nose was loaded with floral notes followed by citrus, pine and vanilla. The palate was well balanced with malty sweetness hitting you in the beginning followed by the earthy bitterness from the English and American hops that start to show through in the mid palate but really comes together in the finish. The oak is noticeable but not the defining character of this beer due to the use of French and American oak which rounds out the edges and just adds a touch of vanilla. Overall I thought this beer was great, virtually the same beer as last year's but with a more refined touch.

Rating: 94 points!

Price: $7.99 22 oz. Bomber

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

2006 T-Vine Cellars "T" Red Blend

This fantastic Napa Valley red blend was just recently released from restaurant only hold and is now available to retail customers. I just tried it the other day and I was surprised by the depth and complexity of this low production wine. This blend is an unique combination of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Frediani vineyard and Primativo (the Italian name for Zinfandel) from the Nicholini Vineyard. Great ruby purple color with aromas of lilac, mint and red berries that leap out of the glass. The palate was came off as bold and fruity in the beginning but really starts to mellow in the mid palate where you pick up floral notes and a touch of spice that really helps balance out all of the heavy fruit. The finish has velvety tannins and a touch of plum.

Price: $59.99 reg. price Heritage In Store Special $29.99

Rating: 93 points!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Deschutes "Hop in the Dark" Cascadian Dark Ale

We just received the new release of the Bond Street Series from Deschutes Brewery last week, and you know I had to take one home and try it the second I laid my eyes upon this tasty treat. This beer is great combination of roasted malts and intense hops. Pours an extremely dark chocolate brown with a slight bit a maroon showing up on the edges with a thin light tan head. The aromas scream IPA with intense citrus notes like grapefruit and fresh sliced oranges. You do pick up slight notes of roasted malts on the nose but it is tough to get through all the citrus. At first sip I really noticed the hops but as time progressed and the beer warmed the sweet and toasty flavors grain began to come through and actually becomes extremely well balanced. Overall this is a great beer for IPA lovers or anybody that wants to try something new.

Rating: 91 points!

Price: $4.99 /22oz. Bomber

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Downslope Distilling Wine Barrel Aged Rum

This is a great product from a new distillery located right here in Centennial, CO. I recently visited their tasting room and toured the distillery with a couple of other guys from Heritage Wine & Liquor and needless to say we liked what we saw. This rum is produced from dried Maui cane juice which means that none of the molasses has been removed therefore none has to be added back. After distillation the silver rum is aged in used wine barrels to impart unique flavors onto their already fantastic silver rum. The current bottling is aged in Hungarian Tokaji casks which is typically a late harvest sweet dessert wine from the Tokaji-Hegyalja region of Hungry. They offer the rum in a California Chardonnay cask and Napa Valley Merlot. This is absolute must try!

Price: $26.99/750ml

Rating: 90 points!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

2006 Llama Old Vine Malbec

I drank one these over the weekend, and what a fantastic buy for under $15! Argentinian Malbec has become a new favorite for many of those that were loyal followers of California Cabernet Sauvignon, which has steadily increased in price over the past 5 years. The Malbecs from Argentina afford those drinkers the big bold characteristics, similar to a California Cab Sauv, but at a less expensive price point. This particular Malbec comes from nearly 100 year old vines located in the specialized region of Lujan de Cuyo, located in the Mendoza region. Pours a rich ruby purple with elegant aromas of plum, dark chocolate and tobacco. The palate is ripe and robust with flavors of blackberry, plum and intriguing spices with nice balance and structure coming from the 6 months in French oak barrels.

Price: $12.99

Rating: 89 points!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Duchesse de Bourgogne

This has become one of my new favorite beers. This is a traditional top fermented reddish-brown ale from the West-Flanders region of Belgium where these refined ales are known as "The Burgundies of Belgium". This ale is a blend of 8 and 18 month old ales following careful maturation in oak casks. This beer pours a reddish brown color with a light fizzy that actually increase if you let it sit for a few minutes. The nose was loaded with red berry fruits, citrus, sweet malts and yeast. The palate follows suit with the flavors you pick up on the nose plus some notes of bread and spice. Absolutely delicious!


Rating: 9.6 out of 10

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Dalmore 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch

This is a great single malt and a nice alternative for those who enjoy names like Macallan, Aberlour and Balvenie. A very well balanced single that is matured in 50% Bourbon American White Oak and 50% Oloroso Sherry Wood. Pours a deep golden color with some orange highlights. The nose had nice aromas of spice, sea salt with notes of citrus and vanilla. The palate was concentrated but delicate at the same time with wonderful flavors of citrus, vanilla extract, sherry and dried red fruits. The finish is long and lingering with a great complexity that really shows the sweetness of the sherry wood.

$39.99/750ml Heritage Wine and Liquor In Store Special

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Thursday, April 8, 2010

2006 La Spinetta Il Nero di Casanova Sangiovese

What a great Sangiovese by one of my favorite Italian wine producers and unlike most of there wines it is priced under $20!
La Spinetta is mainly known for producing wines out of the Piedmont region of Italy , but back in 2003 they acquired some Tuscan vineyards where they now produce Sangiovese and a small amount of Colorino. This Sangiovese is typical of what you would expect out of a La Spinetta wine, it possesses a ton of personality. This medium to full bodied Sangiovese has an intense ruby color with aromas of ripe berries, plum and coffee. The palate is well rounded with ripe red and dark fruit flavors, a good amount of oak, sweet tannins and nice acidity. This wine would go great with grilled meats and pasta.
Rating: 9.2 out of 10

Saturday, March 13, 2010

2008 Wrongo Dongo Monastrell

This has become one of my favorite wines for around $10. Made from 100% Monastrell (Mourvedre) and sourced from the Gil family estates in Jumilla, Spain this wine is essentially the baby brother to the ever popular Juan Gil, which is priced from $15-$20. Pours a wonderful purple color with a nose that is exceptionally fragrant with notes of blueberry, baking spice and earth. The palate is loaded with rich fruit and tons of spice while being well rounded and exceedingly smooth. This wine has enough backbone that it would stand up to any number of roasts, steaks or barbeque but yet it is still fruit forward enough to pair with even some lighter dishes. This is why I love most Spanish wine, they tend to be some of the most versatile styles of wine available.


Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dogfish Head Black & Blue Ale

What a unique beer to say the least. This Belgium style Golden Ale brewed with black raspberry and blueberry puree is a must try for any serious beer lover. The label art comes from the portrait painter David Larned from Pennsylvania, accompanied by his wife Sarah, they are both huge Dogfish Head fans. This interesting brew pours garnet color with a thin white fizzy head. Aromas of black raspberry and blueberry are the most pronounced along with hints of citrus. The palate is not dominated by the fruit like you would think, it is definitely there but it is different than you expect. The fruit is balanced with a nice amount of malts, a great acidity and fine bubbles that are almost Champagne like. If you are looking for something new and interesting to try, this is it.


Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Roundhouse Spirits Corretto

Roundhouse Spirits was started in 2008 in Longmont, Colorado with one simple goal in mind, be the first premier distillery in the Colorado Front Range. In Italy, a "cafe Corretto" is a coffee "corrected" by a shot of alcohol. The Roundhouse Corretto is a coffee liqueur that needs no correction. To handcraft this small batch Corretto Roundhouse uses the freshest locally roasted coffee beans from the Unseen Bean in Boulder, CO. A touch of vanilla bean is added to sweeten this liqueur just the right amount. The end result is a dark, rich, full flavored coffee liqueur like you have never tasted before. If you are a fan of Kahlua you will most certainly love this!

Price: $19.99/750ml

Rating: 9.2 out of 10

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Peter Franus Brandlin Vineyard Zinfandel

This is such a great Californian Zinfandel! One of the few I have tasted lately that can rival such names as Turley and Seghesio. Peter Franus started up the Peter Franus Wine Company in 1991 after he was the wine maker for Mount Veeder Winery for a number of years. Produced from 92% Zinfandel grapes from the Brandlin Vineyard in Mount Veeder along with a splash Charbono, Mourvedre and Carignan this warm and inviting Zin shows great complexity. The wine is dark ruby in color with aromas of raspberries, lavender, plum with a touch of clove and anise. The lush palate exudes fruity flavors of plum and blackberries balanced with hints of spice. The finish is lingering with a low tannin profile and a subtle warmness.

Price: $35/750ml

Rating: 9.3 out of 10

Friday, February 12, 2010

Stone Brewery Cali-Belgique IPA

When reading the name "Cali-Belgique IPA", Cali hints at a California IPA and Belgique says that it has an undeniable Belgium influence. In this case both are correct, a carefully selected Belgium yeast strains differentiates this brew from the standard Stone IPA. This brew pours a golden amber color with large fluffy white head that likes to stick to the glass. The nose is definitely is reminiscent of the Stone IPA with a slight hint of a Belgium sour. Big hop notes lead to floral aromas with a slight hint of citrus. As you would expect the palate is loaded with hops, however, the Belgium yeast cuts some of the bitterness away and adds some lemon citrus notes rather than grapefruit. This is an excellent twist on a big IPA, one that hop heads will really enjoy.

Price: 7.29/22oz. Bomber

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nicolas Feuillatte Rose Champagne

This is perfect for Valentine's Day! This has always been one of my favorite Rose Champagnes. One because it tastes fantastic and two because it is priced relatively low compared to other Rose Champagnes on the market. There is simply nothing like the this cuvee from Nicolas Feuillatte. Made from 90% Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier with a dollop of Chardonnay. This wine explodes in the glass with aromas of strawberry, raspberry and citrus. The red berry flavors meld perfectly with the fine bubbles. Enjoy this with your special someone with some nice dark chocolate and mild cheeses.


Rating: 9.2 out of 10

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon

This is a great Bourbon! It is only bottled one day out of the year on the birthday of the distillery founder George Garvin Brown. This bottling is different from the basic Old Forester in that it is a vintage dated Bourbon and not a blend of several. The result is unique Bourbon with one of kind character and flavor that cannot be replicated. The unique decanter style bottle is a throwback to late 1800's when Old Forester was first produced. Oak aged for 12 years this Bourbon is bottled at 97 proof and it hardly shows any heat. Full, rich and robust this Bourbon has received great acclaim since its introduction in 2002. Perfect for any Bourbon lover.


Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tommyknocker "Legend" Oak Aged Brown Ale

In December 2009, Tommyknocker Brewery released the Legend Olde Oaked Brown Ale to commemorate their 15th anniversary. In my opinion this is the best Tommyknocker beer I have ever had. This limited edition release has generous amounts of Crystal, Munich and Chocolate malts with a blend of American hops and a touch of pure maple syrup. Brewed and aged with toasted Hungarian oak, which has been sought after by ship builders for centuries. This full-bodied ale has intense aromas of caramel, vanilla and toasty oak. The palate is deep, bold and complex with flavors of spiced vanilla and oak with notes of black pepper and a touch of coffee bean and dark chocolate. This ale is surprisingly well balanced, I was expecting more sweetness to it with the maple syrup in there, but the hops and oak add a slight bitterness that was extremely welcome. Buy this while you can!

Rating: 9.7 out of 10