Just like every other week, there's a great deal of diversity in what our editors and contributors are drinking. We're geeks. That's what we do.
If you truly value character and you like a wine that's unique, here you go.
It smells like a Lopez de Heredia, but with a science experiment edge added in. You've got the baked peach, caramel, almond paste... and then a fascinating layer of sun-dried tomato bread.
It's like the professor stepped out of the lab and the students tossed everything into the beaker, with psychedelic-ly wonderful results.
It pours a copper color and brings a motor oil viscosity. The flavors rush forth in unpredictable fashion. Assigning points would be absurd wrapped in ridiculous. But it's wonderful and stimulating, and I'll be buying more.
With busy schedules -- as well as 3 kids and 50 miles between us -- my buddy Dan (a frequent commenter here on the site) don't get to taste (okay, drink) together as much as we might like. So, we have turned to exchanging bottles from our cellars to enjoy on our own.
I'm not sure if he even realized how much of a gamay geek I am when he gave me this bottle, but I really enjoyed it.
I actually didn't know there was gamay in it going in. My limited Burgundy experience tells me that red equal pinot noir. But, from the first sniff and sip, I knew there was gamay in there. So I emailed Dan asking. Turns out it's two-thirds gamay and one-third pinot noir.
It's three-thirds delicious.
Crunch red cherry and cranberry character layered with dried fall leaves, subtly funky earthiness and a minearlly, pencil-lead vein all this right in my my wheelhouse. Great acidity and balance too.
Turns out that very little of this style gets imported to the U.S. but I will be seeking some out.
I made it over to the Pony Bar last Tuesday for Southampton Publick House’s launch party for the release of their Spring seasonal draft, Biere de Mars.
Southampton’s Brewmaster Phil Markowski was at the event and spoke about his interpretation of this little-known specialty beer from northern France. He said his version is different from others in that it’s a bit cleaner and crisper, has a small amount of spice to it and is stronger than average (to the tune of 6.5% ABV). It’s made with large amounts of French wheat as well as Baltic barley. It’s also cool-fermented and aged, which Markowski says helps give it a lager-like quality.
My draft Biere de Mars at the event poured a clear orange with a small white head. I got aromas of spices and floral hops and flavors of pear and honeysuckle. It’s quite light in the palate, very drinkable and not too sweet. Would never have guessed it’s 6.5% ABV.
In addition to draft, Biere de Mars is available in six-packs and in a special variety 12-pack (three Double White, three Altbier, three Indian Pale Ale and three Biere de Mars). Quite a significant production increase considering previous batches of this brew have been limited to 250 750ml bottles or less.
Also, be on the lookout for more NYC bars serving Southampton’s beers on tap in the next few months. Markowski said a big distribution push into NYC bars is in the works.
Bryan Calandrelli: Chateau Monbrison Marguax 2005 (Bordeaux, France)
I don’t often have a chance to taste good Bordeaux wines for several reasons. For one I usually stay away from anything over $25 for myself, unless I’m in a tasting room. Secondly, I’m not schooled in French wines in any way so I generally have to purchase based on recommendations or shelf talkers. Finally, I tend to buy local or look for lesser-known regions that may be doing exciting things at a fraction of the cost of Bordeaux.
That being said, in a blind tasting last week, I choose this Chateau Monbrison Marguax 2005 as my favorite among several Bordeaux-style blends from across the globe. This wine stood out among the Saint Emilion, Washington State, California and even the two buck Chuck in this blind tasting.
Ripe red fruit with gentle yet undeniable tannins, this wine was as smooth as it gets while still being dry and rustic. Clean from start to finish, this wine just tasted like it came from a serious producer and Old World region.
The $50 price tag does keep it out of my reach though but I’m glad I got to at least taste it once, especially in the context of the other wines present.
This WWD comes to you live from Stellenbosch: thanks to the time difference, I can get home from a 14-hour day of crushing merlot, take a shower, whip up some guacamole made with local avocados, and open a bottle with my friends for this post, which I'm writing as I drink.
Due to the 47-degree day we enjoyed (for you English System folks, that's 116.5 degrees Fahrenheit) I selected a cold bottle of one of my favorite roses of late: a 100% cab sauv Blanc de Noir from Peter Falke, just down the street. (For an expanded account of the very trippy tasting experience that is Peter Falke, see my latest post on stellenbauchery.typepad.com)
With rich notes of honey-molasses and toast to complement spicy lychee and raspberry, it's delicious and refreshing with my lime corn chips and salsa, and a great wine for a super-hot evening when a red would be overkill.
Without the acidity overload that often bogs down Stellenbosch whites (thanks to the bags of tartaric acid that may or may not line the walls of that "PRIVATE" room) this is a well balanced wine suited to an Indian summer evening snack-fest.
Now if you'll excuse me, my roommates and I have a bottle to finish.
When someone told me that Genny Bock was being released in a classic, retro can, my question was "Does it have a goat on it?"
The answer, of course, is yes. What's a bock without a goat on the label?
Anyway, the retro can is pretty cool and sure to impress your hipster friends.This spring seasonal beer is sweet, malty and a little spicy, but doesn't have too much else going for it. It goes down very light with a short finish, but who cares? At least it brings a little personality to the $7-for-a-12-pack area of the cooler.