Saturday, May 30, 2009
In case you didn't know
Quixotic : (adjective)
1. Caught up in the romance of noble deeds and the pursuit of unreachable goals; idealistic without regard to practicality.
2. Capricious; impulsive: “At worst his scruples must have been quixotic, not malicious” (Louis Auchincloss)
2006 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet
Sorry, I couldn't help myself this is without a doubt one of a trifecta of undoubtedly perfectly crafted wines from California, In my opinion of course. It is not necessarily a summer wine, or one fit for BBQ but it is fit for an air conditioned dinner, with a red sauce or maybe a roast, this wine is huge and full of fruit. It has a deep garnet and ruby color with a pleasant clear rim showing this wonderful wines youth. With Aromas of Vanilla, hints of dried rose petals, and potpourri, dark fruits and blackberry, plum. On the palate creamy vanilla, nicely balanced tannin. Balanced, fruit forward with endless complexity . Hints of Acai berry, pomegranate, Swedish fish and German Raspberry. A very exaggerated finish spelled by perfection, velvety smooth tannin that will age well for 10-15 years, but drinks like a dream now. This wine is almost too complex and structured to really even write about it but I gave it my best shot. It is the essence of perfection. Nothing else can be said, other than I think that this needs to be drunk before you die.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I'm back after a nice long weekend of remembering what people sacrifice in order to let us enjoy the finer things in life. It is because of these men and women we are able to eat chicken wings and drink beer without worrying about a bomb going off. So, I want to say Thank You to these fine men and women, and take a minute to reflect and remember those people that gave their lives to give us freedom.
Over the weekend i tried a couple more summer beers, one of which is the Buffalo Bills Brewery- Orange Cream Ale, this Beer is very tasty especially for a fruit beer. With hints of coriander and honey, and a nose of Orange Crush. This is light wheat beer without the syrupy finish that some fruit beers give.
But more notably i just had the Great Lakes Glockenspiel beer. This is a traditional Weizenbock (dark wheat) style beer.
96 ponits Ratebeer.com
available at Havana House
Glassware Recommendation: Dimpled Mug
Color: Dark amber with hints of plum
Aroma: yeasty, and meaty, molasses, clove
Taste: Banana, Cinnamon. Complex and dark with layered flavors and light finish, a little hot but nicely balanced with tropical fruit and cinnamon balancing out the alcohol.
Food Recommendation: The Banana really shows through, so i suggest a tropical dish, something Spanish perhaps a tapas dish with chicken and plantains.
Cigar recommendation: This would go very nicely with a surprise from me. I think a Drew Estate Ambrosia would compliment the clove and cinnamon nicely considering the spice this beer delivers.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Finally I get to drink wine especially one like Clayhouse's Adobe Red
at between 15 and 20 retail, this wine is a killer, all the time. This is one of the most versatile wines I have ever had. This wine does not need food, however it has the ability to be drunk with food, especially a nice rack...of lamb.
Wine: Clayhouse Adobe Red 2006
Aroma: Fresh, Ripe garden berries. Cherries and Plum with a slight hint of lavender
Color: Garnet, with hues of Ruby, and violet around the rim
Flavor: A little vanilla, probably showing through from the oak, with wild blueberries and plum. Excellent wine, not only is this wine an eclectic blend of grapes (zin,syrah, petite sirah, malbec), it is also an meritage of different AVA's from the Central Coast of California. The finish and mouthfeel of this wine is unprecedented, in that its not an really long acidic finish but a smooth creamy one. Its hard to put this wine down, and youll never realize its gone until you try to pour your last glass and the bottle is lite. The Zin is very well integrated, as this is not a perceived sweetness zin as much as a well tannically balanced wonder, perfect for BBQ.
Cigar Recommendation: The somewhat meaty structure and well layered aspect of this wine would show well with a cigar of the same capacity i recommend a Cusano Cuvee Sungrown, for its spicy layers and pleasant aroma
Stone brewing in San Diego California produces some of, in my opinion, the best beer this country has to offer. They are unparalleled in consistency and flavor. The Pale Ale is one of my personal favorites because it offers a few things. To me it is an introductory beer for those that are not used to a hoppy, bitter, IPA's or Imperial IPA's, Slightly hopped it gives newbies an opportunity to enjoy the hops and not make faces. Stone keeps me interested with a plethora of seasonal, and limited release brews. Another reason I enjoy Stone Pale Ale is because of its session beer qualities, because you can easily down six with friends playing your favorite game of "shoot each other with Roman candles" this Independence Day. Why not drink a 100% American Pale Ale. (adapted from the British ironically)
Beer: Stone Pale Ale
Glassware: Shaker (pint glass)
Aroma: very slight hops, with hints of fruit and caramel, slight malt
Color: Deep Amber
Taste: Hops on the front of the tongue accompanied by crisp and refreshing carbonation. Layered, and structured with a robust finish of malt.
Hops: Magnum and Ahtanum
Food Recommendations: This Robust Ale lends itself to be general versatility in choosing a food to accompany it. It goes well with anything from chicken teriyaki to filet medallions, don't over do the spice or the sauce on either of them for they may overshadow the beers complexity.
Cigar Recommendation: This one screams the lusty sweet taste of a Ashton Maduro #20. The size and the draw of this cigar is a perfect compliment to the slight caramel of the beer.
A must bring to the BBQ
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Beer: Delirium (Huyghe Brewery)
90 points Ratebeer.com
Aroma: Huge Citrus, Orange, very herbaceous Belgium style
Flavor: Citrus notes, typical Strong Ale, very tasty, Acid, and long lingering finish
Appearance: Very clear with a hint of hazy gold
Delirium is a serious Belgium Strong ale, with hints of orange and citrus.
Food Recomendation: Excellent with summer foods such as fruits and veggies, maybe cedar planked Tilapia, Grilled Salmon, Or Teryiaki.
Cigar Recomendation: Bitterness from hops, and acidity lends itself to smoke a Cameroon Wrapped Dominican like Arturo Fuente Don Carlos #3 yumm!!!!
2009 Sierra Nevada Summer Fest
Glassware: Lager Glass
Aroma: Yeasty, Stinky, Floral, slight hops
Appearance: Straw golden, small celled white foam
Flavor: Pilsner style, balanced hops, citrus, lemongrass, acidic finish, lingers around a little too long
Sierra Nevada's Summerfest isn't my favorite Sierra Nevada, but is has very nice drinkability, another session beer, good for backyards and BBQ
Food Recommendations: Great at barbecues, picnics, or any time you want a smooth, refreshing beer. Assertive enough to stand up to spicy meats and sauces, its tangy hoppiness also goes well with the sharp, peppery bite of specialty mixed salad greens.
Cigar Recommendation: Ashton White Label Corona- this is a favorite cigar. Connecticut Shade wrapper, and a blended binder and filler, provide a toasty, mild smoke perfect for the outdoors.
Beer : North Coast Brewing co. Scrimshaw Pilsner
Glassware : Footed Pilsner
Place: Havana House
Aroma: Fruity, Slight Smoke, Malt, Fresh Cut Grass
Appearance: Golden, Straw colored, Light
Taste: slight sweetness, almost non-existent hops, nice for summer, fruit forward, classic pilsner style, clean light and little flavor, low alcohol (not on bottle), but apparent. Its a little metallic. Average
A beer with very high drinkability and low alcohol tends to be considered a session beer, you can have a couple with friends and not be absolutely hammered. Very Easy to drink and nice for a backyard game of Bocce with friends.
Cigar Recommendation : Arturo Fuente- Double Chateau natural, or a light and mild Connecticut Shade Wrapper, with Dominican binder and filler.
Food Recommendation: Veggie Shish-ke-Bobs, Corn on the Cob, Lemon Chicken
Ah, Summer. Summer is finally upon us, a time for Backyards, Beer, BBQ, and..... Brown Chardonnay?
I'll get back to the brown Chardonnay, even though I know we are all very confused about this topic, see if I talk about it now there will be no excitement to get to the end of this blog, and you won't enjoy the substance, or "the round mouth feel" of the whole thing. Starting with barbecue, I recently had the opportunity to have probably the most mouthwatering, most well prepared pulled pork from the Bone Bucket in Boardman, Ohio (www.bonebucketbbq.com). This seductive and sultry, well, Pig was done just right with a little bit of coleslaw, and not-so-ironically pickles, which i hate, but I am sure and so I have heard are quite delicious on this sandwich. Bone Bucket has quite the arsenal of hot and BBQ sauces from around the country and a wall which to choose from. However, I recently had the chance to use their catering services to compliment a beer and wine taste at Havana House, for Charity nonetheless, (my good friend Scott is riding his bike across the country for Akron children's hospital www.califorkids.com). Back to BBQ, On my sandwich without pickles, I used the Stone Double Bastard habanero hot sauce. which was a perfect compliment to the well-balanced hops, and somewhat subtle sweetness of the Stone Double Bastard, which is an American Strong ale, although it is kind of thick, with little carbonation it has a very round mouth feel and delicious finish, and is big enough to compliment the BBQ nicely.
I have been trying to find light summer beers that are available regularly and easy to drink, especially on a sweaty summer day. They are somewhat easy to find and i suggest lagers, ales, heffeweizens, and some not-so-fruity, fruit beer. I will be tasting some stuff this week, and ill do some tasting notes on each so look forward.
White wines are also good "back porch wines" and some will actually be nice in a backyard setting or a backyard BBQ. Blends, Sauvignon Blanc, and un-oaked chardonnay, generally show tropical fruit, straw, and citrus flavors, without the overbearing butter of oak, giving a creamy full mouth feel. If your generally a Wooded Chardonnay drinker, ask your local wine specialist (me) about slight malolactic fermentation as this adds a well balanced mouth feel, and a slight, but not thick profile. Slight Malo also gives vanilla undertones as well as a nice long uninterrupted finish, without a lot of astringent acid... balancing them nicely. Again Ill be doing some tasting of these gems for your reading pleasures.
Recently I watched the movie "Bottle Shock". This movie was very well done, although it did not follow to a T the actual events leading up to the famous "Judgment of Paris" wine taste in which the 1971 Chateau Montelena chard beat the French and put California wine on the map. The one thing i did not like was the lack of mentioning Michael Grgich as winemaker of the project, considering he was instrumental in making this famous vintage. I had the opportunity to meet Bo Barrett recently at a wine taste at Moxie the Restaurant in Beachwood. We had a very interesting conversation about what he has changed in the vintages of the Napa Cab over the years, I will discuss this later also. Finally this brings me to the brown Chardonnay discussion. There was a part of the movie where Jim and Bo discover that all of their chardonnay had turned brown, right before the "judgment". Bo then travels to UC Davis to find out what the problem was, considering the wine tasted and smelled perfect. A scientist then discovers that the wine was actually made to perfection, and that a 100% lack of oxygen leads to the discoloration, and will subside over a couple of days, and the wine was done perfectly. I had to investigate. This lead me to the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, and an article written in 1976 about this very subject. Turns out its true and can happen!! check it out (http://www.ajevonline.org/cgi/reprint/27/4/157).
I have decided to share my opinions, and suggestions concerning buying, and tasting all of our favorite vices. I.E. Premium cigars, Imported and Domestic Fine Wines, and Craft Beers. All of my opinions are strictly mine, and everyone's palate is different. It is something i thoroughly enjoy and I have based my life and career around it. I believe that wine, cigars and beer are a craft and an art form and I respect all those that are involved in the process of pouring their heart and soul into some of the most beautifully crafted works of art I have ever come across period. The amount of dedication to the craft, as well as the intuition, creativity, technology, and knowledge is unprecedented. I have been privileged in my short tenure to have been to some of the finest tastings, and met some of the finest vintners, brewers, and tobacconists in the world, and i would like to share my experiences with all. Check back weekly for new posts and comments.