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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Currently Drinking....

We haven't toured any wineries or breweries lately; instead, we've been clearing out our wine cellar. That means, drinking wine that we have purchased over the years and determining why we purchased it in the first place. Many were from our travels in Virginia. We had two bottles left from our friends at Corcoran Vineyards, their Viognier and Malbec. Both superb. In addition, there was Petit Verdot Veritas Vineyards and Jefferson Vineyards and White Hall Vineyards Petit Manseng from our Monticello WineTrail tour last year. We would purchase each again - no doubt - Petit Verdot is destined for Virginia's vineyards. We also had on hand the Valhalla Vineyards Alicante Bouschet. This grape is normally used in a blend in order to add color, but this winery choose to make a 100% varietal. And initially, we felt this was a poor decision - there didn't appear to be much flavor. But by the second day - the wine had breathed enough to come out of its shell - it turned into a decent wine - slightly spicy - similar to a Shiraz. In total - nice, but we prefer others. The last Virginia wine was a surprise, the Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery Perry- 75% Pear wine and 25% Mead. We were expecting an overly sweet dessert wine - but its actually made dry. The pear flavors take precedence with just a slight honey finish.

Of course we had to bleed through our Norton collection and found an abundance from Mount Pleasant Winery and Stone Hill Winery. These two Missouri wineries have mastered the art of eliminating the grape's inherent acidity and grapey flavor. The Mount Pleasant version was aged slightly longer so is a bit spicier and oak - but for Norton wines - these are perhaps the most consistent.

While traveling to Seven Springs we usually visit Glades Pike Winery - so there were several samples available. The Baco Noir was not very impressive and we are not sure what instigated the decision to purchase. The Diamond was good - we had to be in a sweeter mood - but this is perhaps the most drinkable labrusca grape. We also opened a bottle of their Mountain Mead - and although a little sweet - is a good honey wine. I also blended with Apple Jack made in North Garden for an interesting concoction - talking about keeping warm.

Finally we found a two wines that we should have bothered aging - we must have forgotten about them, but these wines are made to drink now: Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red Lot #44 and Gnarly Head Zinfandel. Sonoma's, Marietta Cellars wines are usually excellent and the Old Vine Red is an affordable everyday wine. The same holds for the Gnarly - there are others that have a better pedigree - but for the price - this is our Zin.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Barbancourt & Haiti Earthquake

We learned through the Rhum Barbancourt twitter account that the proprietors are safe - but no word on the condition of the distillery. For those seeking to help the country, donate to charities where all the money goes to the victims such as Catholic Charities or Doctors Without Borders. And to help the distillery, purchase a 15 year old Rhum Barbancourt.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Satisfying a Dark Beer Craving

I've been really craving dark beers during this winter cold spell, but not just any dark beers, specifically porters and milk stouts. Don't know why, I guess a combination of chocolate and cream. After trying several, I discovered two that are great representatives of these styles, the Founders Brewing Company Porter and the Left Hand Brewing Company Mile Stout. The first comes out of Michigan and has a nice chocolate, slightly creamy flavor. The hops are balanced making this an easy drinking - but warming - beverage. The latter is made in Longmont
Colorado and was a fine recommendation from Norm's Beer & Wine. It contains a hint of coffee, but otherwise malty, mellow, and creamy. Just the right combination to satisfy my craving.