I'm in Orlando right now with Nena and Jackson for a week (yes, a week) visiting all of the usual kid-friendly haunts -- Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Sea World, etc. The wine selection in the nearest grocery store isn't much better than the "lists" at the restaurants we've been checking out. I know you don't want to hear about Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay or Blackstone Merlot anymore than I want to drink them, so instead I'll mention a beer that I've been drinking quite a bit at the resort pool -- Shock Top Belgian White.
I know what you're thinking "Lenn, that's an Anheiser-Busch beer. It's as Belgian as Budweiser is German." That's true. I can't argue with that. But, when you're options on a 95-degree, 99% humidity day are that, Miller Light, Coors Light, etc. it's the best of all evils. As you can see, they serve it with a wedge of orange and I noticed last night that they actually squeeze said orange wedge into the beer.
It barely tastes like beer actually, but on a hot, muggy day -- especially poolside -- I've been enjoying it. So shoot me.
Wine lovers are famously generous with their prized bottles, but if you want to drink something historic, it helps to be lucky. Our friends who came into possession of this bottle were lucky and we were lucky enough to be in their company when they decided it was time to try it.
This was a half bottle so we were skeptical about its chances. On top of that, the owner of this bottle had no idea how it had been stored for more than 40 years. Anything was possible, but a fine vinegar was most likely. When the owner dropped his nose into his glass he let out an immediate and unrestrained, "Ohhhh!" Not only was this 1961 Bordeaux still alive, it was throttling along. I won't pretend to know how much life it still might have had, but suffice to say: plenty. And when we finally reached the last sips in our glasses it was a mark of how special this wine was to glance around the room and realize that no one wanted to finish it off. I could have smelled that wine all night. When we left that evening I briefly searched my mind for how I could repay the generosity, but it hit me: Not only would I fail to match the Figeac, but friends don't open special bottles only on condition of reciprocity. I can only hope this friendship ages as beautifully as that mysterious half-bottle that brought such excitement.
During a holiday weekend filled with beer, mojitos, margaritas and champagne toasts, I managed to open a bottle or two of Niagara region wine for my friends in Boston. If there’s one local wine that begs for a special occasion it has to be ice wine, and no, I’m not talking about artificially frozen grapes. The wine has to be made from naturally frozen on the vine fruit and pressed outdoors while still frozen.
This Schulze Vineyards & Winery 2008 Block Three Ice Wine is a one of a kind wine as far as I know. You’d never guess the grape variety, thanks to its complex flavors of green apple, citrus, pineapple and pear. While it is sweet, it also retains an explosive acidity that you don’t generally find in most ice wines. It will make you rethink everything you think you know of the Catawba grape, that’s right, I said Catawba.
A blind grab in the cellar resulted in this "Where did this come from?" bottle of Malbec from Argentina. I assume it might have been brought to the house by a guest. I had high hopes, but the 2008 Gascon Malbec got off on the wrong foot with a synthetic enclosoure. It continued its mediocre impression with hints of blueberry and cocoa that did not overcome the flat, uninspired taste through the finish.
I was surprised to see that past vintages of this wine have scored well. It was okay, but really didn't have us going past the first glass.