The Fine Details
We're feeling rather piqued because we'll have some absolutely intriguing and delicious Spanish wines open for our tasting with Vineyard Road. Most of us were introduced to Spanish wines through the likes of big bold Rioja or the effortlessly delightful Albariño but there's plenty of small wine-making regions (Denominación de Origen) that fascinate our inner wine geek. There's Ribera Sacra, The Canary Islands, Priorat, a little over 70 in all, though we're focused on Castilla y León, Ribera Del Duero, Ribeiro, and Rías Baixas.
Alfredo Maestro is one of the more intriguing up-and-coming producers in Spain today. Originally from the small village of Peñafiel in RIbera Del Duero, Maestro wanted to compose elegant wines from forgotten vineyards and sought out forgotten parcels, retraining the vines when needed, and making the wine in a natural fashion. That's certainly the case for Amanda an absolutely breathtaking rosé made from Garnacha Tintorera (better known as Alicante Bouschet) from a 60 year old single vineyard named "El Cuchillejo" located some 850 meters above sea level. Due to the extreme nature of the vineyard, and the small source, there are only 750 bottles produced in a vintage, and we're already pining for the next one.
Nothing quite prepares you for the other wine that we're featuring from Maestro, El Rey Del Glam. This freaky 100% Granacha is an organic cuvee, split between two vineyards. The first is not far from "El Cuchillejo" in Peñafiel at some 700 meters but the second vineyard is found in the Sierra de Gredos mountain range in the province of Avila northwest of Madrid at extremely high elevations (1,100 meters!). Best enjoyed with a slight chill, El Rey Del Glam (The King of Glam) is both a cheeky reference to a song done by the Spanish group Dinarama + Alaska) and an homage to the country wines of Spain's past, where drinkability reigned supreme.
Of course, we would be remiss to not include Spanish whites. Famously known for their refreshing qualities, we find ourselves in Galicia, Spain. Here you find both Rías Baixas and Ribeiro. From the former we have La Val, a beautiful Albariño and from the latter we have Adega Eloi Lorenzo Ribeiro Blanco Villa Paz, a sublime blend of whites including Treixadura, Albariño, Loureira, and a pinch of Caiño Blanco.
As natural as finding the rain in Spain on the plain (mainly), we're serving the 1605 Manchego from La Mancha and Fermin Paleta Iberico Jamón.
Rob from Vineyard Road exemplifies the term consummate professional. Exceptionally gracious and bespoke, he's one of our favorite wine reps.
We're celebrating this quick respite from the snow with a great little local tasting of hop libations. We'll be showcasing Apollo Sunshine (Super Fresh Pilsner), Barley Smalls (Perfect little Vienna Lager), Bunnies (Double Dry Hopped IPA with Nelson Sauvin and Azaca Hops), and So Much For Subtlety(Rotating Double IPA with Ella Hops) beccause we love making mixed metaphors. We have Apollo Sunshine and Barley Smalls for those fresher, full spring kind of days, and those hoppy full IPAs for the...more wintery ones. A++ stuff. Join us from 5-7
More about the Brewery:
Cantina Della Volta (Or, Winery of the Vault) is a winery that we fell hard for, so when we heard that they'd be in town for a visit we made sure to put our ducks in a row to make sure they could lead us through a tasting of their dynamic sparkling wines.
Cantina Della Volta is headed by Christian Bellei, a fourth generation winemaker, with holdings in Modena, which is pretty much dead center of the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, and also has quite the reputation for balsamic vinegar.
What makes Bellei different was his quest to make Lambrusco di Sorbara into a champagne style wine, having spent a considerable amount in time in Champagne to learn their approach to sparkling wine.
That's not the only trick up their sleeve, Cantina Della Volta does make a wine in the champagne method using traditional Champagne grapes as well (in this case Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) and a couple of other fun sparkling wines as well.
We'll also be taking advantage of the natural savory pairings that work so well with Lambrusco by having little truffle pasta bites with fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano from Giorgio Cravero. buona mangiata!
More About The Vino:
Oh, Canada, it's more than just the home of The Barenaked Ladies and Labatt Blue and yes, curling, but I think we won that medal, so it's ours now. So we're showing a little more of what they have to offer in the hops department with brews from Le Trou Du Diable, Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!, Les Trois Mousquetaires, and Collective Arts Brewing.
So get your practice curling technique down with some shoveling and then come by for some of their excellent beers. This is a true mix of hazy, tart, and fresh beer styles that are not to be missed. Boire de la bonne bière!
We are absolutely thrilled to have Pascal Schildt with us to bring us through some fantastic South African Wines.
Born and raised in South Africa, Pascal moved to France in 2001 to study wine before going back to South Africa to champion some of the great wines from the region. He'll have with him selections from FRAM including their outstanding Pinotage sourced from the remote Skurfberg Vineyard in the Western Cape, as well as Tierhoek, a winery that is 100 miles north of Cape Town with their Chenin Blanc and Grenache.
Wilde Weide Gouda has been a favorite on our cheese counter for as long as I can remember, and with good reason. It's more floral with notes of an end of the day snifter of good whisky and is typically around 15 months of age before it makes it to our store. We're also pleased to have Maplebrook Farm's Cheddar Bites, which have the springy quality of cheese curds, out of Bennington, Vermont. and to round out the local front, we also have Waltham's own New England Charcuterie Mole Salami, which is made with Mexican cocoa and ghost pepper, a surefire treat in more ways than one.
More About the Wine:
Tonight we're thinking about pulling the old velvet rope out of the closet because we're doing a highfalutin classic and modern tasting of some great brews from Finback, Upland Brewing Company, and Brouwerij Huyghe, beers so fine that I had half a mind to keep them all to myself, but my doctor said that was probably a bad idea.
It's rare in these parts to have so many Finback beers in one place, but since we're great people like that, we're opening them up. We'll have Zero Point, a coconut flavored gose, Vermillion, another hit in their long line of great IPAs, Telephone Lines, a freakishly good Pilsner, and Chromoscope, a DDH IPA. Still thirsty? We're pouring Champagne Velvet, the beer with the million dollar flavor, and finishing it off with the quintessential Belgian Beer, Delirium Tremens. It's going to be one heck of a lineup.
We're thrilled to have Brittany from Olmstead Wine Company join us for this tasting! Olmstead Wine Company is all about working with small producers that strive to feature organic wine. We'll be gallivanting across France, Austria, and Italy for our tasting. We'll be featuring Chablis from Domaine Oudin, Roussanne from Denis Lattard in the Rhone, a Zweigelt from our friends Meinklang in Austria, and È Rosso, a fun liter of Barbera from Poderi Cellario in Piedmont.
We'll be making a plate to highlight this international tasting with some charcuterie from the United States and cheeses from the UK. Red Table's Big Chet is a spicy fennel and garlic salami from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is done in the Finocchiona style. We're flanking that with the Lincolnshire Poacher, a raw cow's milk cheese out of Lincolnshire which is made by cheesemaker Richard Tagg at Ulceby Grange, a small family farm. In addition, we have Appleby's Chesire, a traditional English cheese that's been passed down through the centuries, and is often seen as a flavorful antecedent to cheddar.
Wild warm days and cold nights call for a little mix of everything, which is why we've crafted this playlist to suit the mood.
Bacco's Wine + Cheese Cold Night Warm Night
Prairie Artisan Ales was founded by Chase and Colin Healey in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Yes, Oklahoma, it's not just that pan-handle state that people fly over. Prairie Bomb was the first stout to fall into our hands (and hearts) with its sublime combination of coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and chilies. We've ramped it up this week with the Pirate Bomb (aged in rum barrels), Prairie Noir (aged in whiskey barrels), and Prairie Vanilla Noir ( aged in whiskey barrels with vanilla barrels). The good news, aside from having some great stouts for a snowy Thursday, is that I can finally spell Prairie without thinking about it.
Come join us on Thursday from 5-7 to try a little bit of the good kind of dark and stormy.
Featured Wines of the Week:
We're celebrating Canary Island Wines all week with Los Bermejos from Lanzarote and Envinate's Benje Blanco and Benje Tinto from the island of Tenerife. We're taking 5 dollars off the original price all week, and tasting them out from Monday-Wednesday for the curious.
Want a little more info about the history of the Canary Islands and more information about the featured wines, read more in Wine Times.
Los Bermejos Malvasia Seco
Envinate Benje Blanco
Envinate Benje Tinto
Further Information on The Producers:
Leave the Cannoli, Save the Rosé
February showers bring March flowers may not be the phrase that gets remembered, but we're in a spring kind of mood regardless, and nothing quite matches spring like Rosé.
Some time ago, Rosé was the Smirnoff Ice of the United States wine world. In copious supply, mostly flavorless except for the overwhelming sweet finish. The rest of the world has been making great Rosé for a very long time, and now Provence might as well be synonymous with the high quality Rosé everybody craves today. We're broadening our palates and including two Rosés from outside that part of France--one from the Loire Valley, and the other from Bourgogne. What better way to explore the variety Rosé has to offer than to taste the differences?
We'll also be featuring L'Amuse Brabander Goat Gouda, a 9 month aged wonder out of Holland, and Flory's Truckle, a cloth-bound cheddar that tastes like fresh apples on a midwestern fall evening while the sun starts to fade.... but not before rounding it out with a little Speck from our friends at La Quercia, home to the best producers of American prosciutto (Speck is the smoked version). Swing by from 5-7 tonight!
We've been focusing on the local beers the last couple weeks but that changes today with a jaunt over to Half Acre Brewing in Chicago and Burial Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. This is the first time that Burial has made it up the East Coast to our store, in no small part due to the Extreme Beer Fest that happened two weeks ago. We'll be pouring The Prayer, a Belgian Blonde beer, and Griddle, which is an Imperial Stout made with espresso from a roastery down in Asheville.
Half Acre makes its way to us every once in a blue moon, and it's always a welcome addition, especially in terms of bang for your buck. We'll be featuring their more hoppy driven stuff, with Daisy Cutter, their great Pale Ale, and Gone Away IPA, which is, as you might have guessed, a rock solid IPA. The pours will be flowing from 5-7, so don't miss it.
We're a little taken with the Loire and Burgundy, they'll always be well represented in our hearts and on our shelves, and both of these French wine regions have great producers and great grape varietals. We won't have them all, but we're showcasing some fantastic Gamay out of Beaujolais, A Vouvray Sec (that's gosh darn good dry Chenin Blanc), a classic Macon Chardonnay and a fun and funky Loire Cabernet Franc.
We'll also be making a cheese plate featuring the fabulous Marcel Petite Comte, Twig Farm Tomme, and Saucisson Sec from the Von Trapp Farmstead and other accoutrement worthy of an opening night to the Olympic Winter Games.
To meet the mood of the Loire and Burgundy, we thought Curtis Mayfield combines just the right amount of class and funk, so we're throwing on some of our favorite cuts from the man who gave us "Move On Up". Drop on by!
Porters, Stouts, and DIPAs oh my. We're featuring the mostly local crowd, but with a shout out to Chi Town with Off Color's Known Gnome being our creature feature. Stop by for a sampling of So Much for Subtlety, Daikaiju, Jolly Woodsman, Sweet Tats, Spring Heel Jack, and the funky gnome. Pouring from 5-7, don't be shy.