Jul
15
2014

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Alembic's Heir Apparent, one of my 7 top summer cocktails

Alembic’s Heir Apparent, one of my 7 top summer cocktails

My Top Drink Articles: July 1-15

Photos and articles by Virginia Miller

From my 15 articles/posts a week as Zagat Editor, I summarize and link to just some of this coverage here – you can sign up for Zagat’s weekly newsletter for the Bay Area here and follow along on Twitter @ZagatSF, where I post daily.

Cocktails

The 7 BEST SUMMER COCKTAILS in the Bay Area

The 10 HOTTEST BARS in SF Right Now

ABV: Elevated COCKTAILS & BAR FOOD from cocktail gurus and a Southern chef

8 FAVORITE COCKTAILS on WINGTIP‘s New Summer Menu

BLACKBIRD’s 5th Anniversary unique vertical barrel aged cocktails menu

4 UNIQUE STRAWBERRY COCKTAILS for Summer

First Taste at Parisian-influenced HAWTHORN LOUNGE with “Guilty Pleasure” 70s & 80s cocktails from ALEMBIC’s ETHAN TERRY

Wine

CHARLIE TROTTER Inspires New PARALLEL 37 (at the Ritz-Carlton) Dinners

LA TOQUE Makes Truffle Dinners a Summer Affair

OUTSIDE LANDS Summer Pairing Series from NAPA to SF

Beer

OUTSIDE LANDS Summer Pairing Series from NAPA to SF

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Jul
01
2014

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Cafe Brulot flamed in the glass at Tosca Cafe

Cafe Brulot flamed in the glass at Tosca Cafe by bar manager Isaac Shumway

My Top Drink Articles: June 15-30

Photos and articles by Virginia Miller

From my 15 articles/posts a week as Zagat Editor, I summarize and link to just some of this coverage here – you can sign up for Zagat’s weekly newsletter for the Bay Area here and follow along on Twitter @ZagatSF, where I post daily.

Cocktails

Real deal, New Orleans-style CAFE BRULOT – flamed tableside! – now on 2 notable SF cocktail menus

8 reasons to revisit LOCAL KITCHEN & WINE MERCHANT in SoMa – Victoria D’Amato-Moran’s new cocktail menu

URBAN PUTT GETS BOOZE – and what to eat one month in at the quirky mini-golf restaurant/bar

If Savannah (or other quirky, historic Southern town) met a California Gold Country Western town, it might feel a lot like PORT COSTA, home to one of the country’s best dive bars and a cosmopolitan restaurant and cocktail bar

NICO ADDS NEW ROSE PAIRING and LOW PROOF COCKTAIL menus with these dishes

The BEST COCKTAILS in LOS GATOS – and some of the best in the South Bay

Silky crudo, standout salads and Carlos Yturria’s cocktails at LURE + TILL in PALO ALTO

Wine

Chef JOSH SKENES on SAISON’s New $498 Test Kitchen Dinners and Winemaker Dinner Series

NICO ADDS NEW ROSE PAIRING and LOW PROOF COCKTAIL menus with these dishes

Wine tasting room in a submarine training vessel DEBUTS ON TREASURE ISLAND

New PIATTINI ADDS A SLICE OF VENICE to Mission St.

3 new LOCAL WINE COUNTRY GUIDES

Beer

The 8 BEST BEER GARDENS in the Bay Area

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Jun
15
2014

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Creative Asian-influenced cocktails from Danny Louie at brand new Chino in the Mission

Creative Asian-influenced cocktails from Danny Louie at brand new Chino in the Mission

My Top Drink Recommends: June 1-15

Photos and articles by Virginia Miller

From my 15 articles/posts a week as Zagat Editor, I summarize and link to just some of this coverage here – you can sign up for Zagat’s weekly newsletter for the Bay Area here and follow along on Twitter @ZagatSF, where I post daily.

As I have been for over a decade, I’m on the ground daily looking for early standouts at each new opening, while sharing underrated places and dishes you’ve seen me write about here at The Perfect Spot for years, and, of course, plenty of drink coverage (cocktails, wine, spirits, beer).

Spirits

4 NEW LOCAL SPIRITS from a rye and New Orleans-influenced coffee liqueur, to a California aperitif and a sloe gin

Cocktails

The 5 BEST MARGARITAS in San Francisco

6 early favorite cocktails from Bar Manager Danny Louie at CHINO

5 classic NEGRONIS to seek out in San Francisco

FIRST LOOK at THE INTERVAL at the Long Now Salon, complete with robot behind the bar and a Drinking Around the World menu (among 8 mini cocktail menus from Bar Manager Jennifer Colliau)

What to eat & drink at the new Paris-meets-NY chic hotel bar, THE EUROPEAN

NEGRONI WEEK Highlights

Coffee

Unsung Heroes: GRAFFEO COFFEE since 1935

Tea

Check out the new SAMOVAR: you’ve never had tea like this

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Jun
15
2014

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St. George's NOLA Coffee Liqueur (photo: Virginia Miller)

St. George’s NOLA Coffee Liqueur (photo: Virginia Miller)

6 New West Coast Spirits

Article by Virginia Miller; photos from brand websites except where noted

[Taken from my ZAGAT article on 4 New Local Spirits to Try, I have also added two additional recommended spirits, another one from California, and one from Oregon]:

In the scheme of quality spirits, each of these is fantastic. Even better, they’re all made locally from Sonoma to Mountain View. After all, we live in the region that pioneered the craft distilling movement back in the early ’80s at Germain-Robin (home of the first Cognac-quality brandies in the U.S.), St. George Spirits (where Jorg Rupf introduced European-style eaux de vie to the U.S.) and Anchor Distilling in SF (Where Fritz Maytag pioneered craft beer in the 60′s, then moved on to whiskies, genever and Junipero gin). In this rich tradition, come four new spirits, all released recently, utilizing local ingredients and talent.

1) Sonoma County Distilling Sonoma Rye Whiskey $62

Sonoma Rye1512 Spirits recently changed its name to Sonoma Country Distilling Company in tandem with Owner/Distiller Adam Spiegel’s expansion to a much larger Rohnert Park facility. What this means for you? More whiskey. Sonoma Rye Whiskey is the brand’s flagship whiskey made from 100% rye grain, ensuring robust spice and white pepper notes balanced by sweet caramel and oak. We appreciate the grain-to-glass processes and single-minded whiskey focus. Don’t miss their 2nd Chance Wheat Whiskey and West of Kentucky Bourbon either.
How to Drink It: Whiskey lovers are going to want to drink this neat or on the rocks. But the rye also makes a lovely Sazerac or Old Fashioned.
Where to Drink: They do it right in a cocktail at Alembic
Where to Buy: In SF at D&M, The Jug Shop, Healthy Spirits; at Ledgers in Berkeley

2) St. George NOLA Coffee Liqueur ($33)

In March, venerable distilling pioneer St. George Spirits, released NOLA Coffee Liqueur. The liqueur starts local with cold-brewed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans roasted by Jewel Box Coffee Roasters, an up-and-comer in Oakland. St. George distiller Dave Smith cold-brews the coffee with their vodka base, adds distilled French chicory root, Madagascar vanilla and organic cane sugar. It’s like fresh, bracing, cold-brewed coffee – beautiful served neat, on ice, with cream. The liqueur is earthy and rich, with a whisper of sweet vanilla, and New Orleans spirit from the chicory.
How to Drink It: Sipping this spirit over ice transports us straight back to the hot, sultry streets of NOLA where we down chicory iced coffee as if it were water. It’s nearly as thirst-quenching but with a decided kick.
Where to Drink: The Lexington House in Los Gatos shows off the liqueur in this beautiful cocktail, Coffee & Cigarettes
Where to Buy: Order through K&L, Cask, or purchase directly at the distillery in Alameda

3) JARDESCA California Aperitiva $30

JardescaJust released a little over two weeks ago, this Sonoma-grown and blended apertif was created by SF bartender/Cantina owner, Duggan McDonnell, who is also behind Encanto Pisco. As with Encanto, JARDESCA is balanced and elegant, made with California grapes and 10 locally-grown herbs/botanicals. While you can consider it in the family of a lovely dry vermouth or European aperitif wines like Lillet, this is a unique, dry, crisp but also slightly sweet and floral, fortified white wine, evoking hints of peppermint and orange blossom.
How to Drink It: While you can certainly make lovely, light cocktails with it, we love it solo, served over ice.
Where to Drink: Absinthe, Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak, Clock Bar and the new Chubby Noodle Marina is featuring a JARDESCA infusion during its first month
Where to Buy: K&L, Little Vine in North Beach

4) Spirit Works Sloe Gin $38

SpiritWorks Sloe GinFrom husband/wife distilling team, Timo and Ashby Marshall, comes Spirit Works Distillery, opened last year in Sebastopol’s cool, forward-thinking The Barlow complex. They’re crafting gin, vodka, wheat and rye whiskies, but it’s their sloe gin that immediately began making waves. A berry-infused gin made from rosy sloe berries (in the plum family), traditional English sloe gins are often cloying, sweet and medicinal. But this is the best sloe gin we’ve tasted. And many others agree: Pay attention to how many local bars you’ll see stocking it. Made from wild sloe berries foraged in Timo’s native UK, the Marshall’s sloe gin maintains a bright berry sweetness balanced by dry, fresh acidity.
How to Drink It: It shines with tonic or in classic cocktails like a Sloe Gin Fizz
Where to Drink: Two Sisters Bar and Books in Hayes Valley, the new Zazu in The Barlow in Sebastopol
Where to Buy: D&M, Liquid Experience in Upper Haight

5) MARGERUM AMARO ($50)

Margerum AmaroMargerum Amaro is ideally timed for the amaro craze of recent years. California Central Coast (Buellton, to be specific) winemaker, Doug Margerum, developed a love for amari in trips to Italy and wanted to craft his own. With a Sangiovese base, its herbs and spices include parsley, sage, thyme, marjoram, lemon verbena, rosemary, dried orange peels, and local oak, for a fascinating sipper also lovely in cocktails, as Saison proved at their bar this winter.

6) CALISAYA ($30)

CalisayaFlorence, Italy, native, Andrea Loreto, lives in Eugene, Oregon, where he makes Calisaya liqueur, a sweet and subtly bitter liqueur. Bitter orange, gentle spice, floral, earthy and woody notes, and subtle bitterness from cinchona bark result in a pleasing entrant in the American amaro category.

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Jun
01
2014

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Exploring the Willamette Valley from our home base, Abbey Road Farms

Exploring the Willamette Valley from our home base, Abbey Road Farms

SAKÉ in the WILLAMETTE VALLEY

Photos and article by Virginia Miller

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SakéOne’s rice milling machine

In the heart of the Willamette Valley, Oregon’s most lauded wine region, I found myself surrounded by vineyards, rolling hills, farmland… reminding me not a little of home in Northern California. I also found myself immersed in… saké? Yes, my Springtime jaunt not only caught rare, blissful, sunny days breaking out amid a sea of rain, but an education on the quality of sake now being made in the US, thanks to SakéOne.

Studying

Studying saké

j

The only cedar Koji room in the US

Founded in 1992 (bottling began in 1998) as an offshoot of Japan’s Momokawa Brewing, SakéOne sought to fill a gap in the US where few sakés were made and most of low quality. Head brewer Greg Lorenz (who has been at SakéOne since 2002) and president Steve Vuylsteke graciously gave us proper schooling on saké, covering styles from gingo to daigingo, and walked us through the brewery for a step-by-step of the brewing process.

As with many spirits and beverages, water source is crucial, and theirs is nearby Hagg Lake, a reservoir filled with fresh coastal rain and mountain water.

SakéOne stores tons of rice, a Japanese strain grown outside Sacramento, California, which is first polished in the rice milling machine (pictured above, left), imported from Japan.

What rice looks like as it ferments

What rice looks like as it ferments

SakéOne is the only saké brewery in the US who mills their own rice. The milling/polishing process strips fats, removes bitter and “undesirable” flavors, getting down to the starch core. As with beer and spirits, there are yeasts involved, but with saké, there is also mold (aka koji), which helps convert starch into sugar over a 2-day period in their cedar-walled Koji room – the only one in the US (pictured right). The room is like a dry sauna, hot with aromas of cedarwood and rice.

g

Milled rice

While there are numerous styles of saké, SakéOne focuses only on junmai gingo sakés in their production, which refers to the level the rice is milled or polished down to (60% or more, which gets to the essence of the grain, daigingo is at least 50%, gingo is at least 40%) and in Japan, it also refers the fact that no brewer’s alcohol (aka honjozo) is added (in the US, adding brewer’s alcohol is outlawed entirely). They also import a number of sakés from Japan, allowing the pleasure of comparing the subtle differences between US produced and Japanese sakés.

Studying rice in various stages of sake production

Studying rice in various stages of sake production

They cover the range, starting with entry-level sakés, like fruit-infused Moonstone sakés, or the soft, elegant import SakéMoto, produced in Japan in partnership with Hakutsuru brewery. I am particularly taken with their unpasteurized Nama saké, which is sadly only available in Oregon since it is quite fresh and perishable so quality degrades when shipping. It’s subtly effervescent and crisp, gorgeous with food.

I can’t get enough of Momokawa Organic Nigori, the unfiltered, creamy style of saké that leaves rice solids in for texture. It sings with coconut and pear notes and goes well with all manner of takeout and every day eating. One of their imports I am drawn to is the Kasumi Tsuru Kimoto Extra Dry, which is, yes, dry, but also crisp and earthy, produced by traditional methods from a brewery that goes back to 1725.

Hanging with llamas, sheep and goats at Abbey Road

Hanging with llamas, sheep and goats at Abbey Road

Try not to fall in love - my new friend, a precious, one day old baby sheep

Try not to fall in love – my new found friend, a precious, one day old lamb

Abbey Road Farms silos

Abbey Road Farms silos

Sleeping in Silos on a Farm

Enjoying a lovely charcuterie and cheese platter over dinner in the wine room/event space at Abbey Road

Enjoying a lovely charcuterie and cheese platter over dinner in the wine room/event space at Abbey Road

After one night in Portland, I made the jaunt about an hour outside the city to stay at Abbey Road Farms, an idyllic farm where I was surrounded by sheep (including just-born lambs who won my heart), goats, llamas, all manner of animals, and slept in converted, upscale silos.

The stay was made memorable by husband-wife owners, John and Judi, and their sweet dog, Fuzz, whose soulful calm invades the place, ensuring a visit is rejuvenating and restoring… even a press trip, which is normally about a morning-till-night, nonstop schedule. Over farm-cooked breakfasts and singing around a fire pit at nights under the stars, I left renewed and inspired.

Wandering the farm

Wandering the farm

Dining in a Restored Victorian

The Painted Lady

The Painted Lady

The Painted Lady in the town of Newburg, OR, is a special dining experience in a restored Victorian house (yes, the house is a historic Painted Lady, restored as part of the movement begun in San Francisco), which also doubles as a guest house. Charming and elegant, we ate in the intimate upstairs dining room with excellent service over fine dining, each course thoughtfully paired with saké.

Hazelnut-crusted venison loin, horseradish potatoes, foie gras & chestnut sauce with G Sake Fifty

Hazelnut-crusted venison loin over horseradish potatoes in a foie gras & chestnut sauce infused with G Sake Fifty

There were a number of standouts from Chef/Owner Allen Routt, including sweet onion custard accented by smoked, raw diver scallops and porcini consommé (paired with Momokawa Diamond saké) and pure-as-silk, slow-roasted (blessedly rare inside) steelhead salmon alongside spinach and butternut squash ravioli, paired with Momokawa Silver saké.

Tasting Regional Beverages

Big Bottom Whiskey

Big Bottom Whiskey

SakéOne threw an Oregon Craft Beverages tasting while we were visiting, showcasing regional wines, beers, spirits, cider and liqueurs that gave us a chance to meet producers and sample what is happening in drink in the region.

While Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider was a fresh, strong cider in the scheme of artisanal, small production ciders, they were oddly withholding at their table (considering this was a press event) in allowing tasting of the most interesting-sounding bottles at their table saying they were for display (?) and weren’t coming out till the fall, though the full bottles probably shouldn’t have been brought if they weren’t meant to sample. We’ll have to guess what their Sacrilege Sour Cherry (modeled after kreik lambic beer) tastes like.

Reverend Nat's Hard Ciders

Reverend Nat’s Hard Ciders

While I was wary of Vertigo Brewery‘s Razz Wheat beer made with fresh raspberries, fearing it might be too fruity, even after tasting their enjoyable Friar Mike’s English IPA, I actually preferred the Razz Wheat, which was dry, tart and subtle.

Based in Hillsboro, OR, Big Bottom Whiskey was refreshingly forthright about sourcing their “juice” (whiskey) from the South, as countless distillers do, to blend their Big Bottom Straight Bourbon Whiskey. It’s a pleasing whiskey, blending 36% rye whiskey with the corn/bourbon for stronger spice and complexity. They also were also pouring Calhoun Bros. Aged Rum, aged in their bourbon barrels, subtle with sweet, bracing spice.

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Jun
01
2014

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Sampling beers during Strong Beer Month at Magnolia Pub in San Francisco

Sampling beers during Strong Beer Month at Magnolia Pub in San Francisco

5 NorCal Beers You Should Try

Article and photos by Virginia Miller

SANTE ADAIRIUS’ SAISON BERNICE, Capitola

Sante Adarius' cask

Sante Adarius’ cask

Sante Adairius is Santa Cruz’ beloved beer haven since it opened in May 2012. Run by gracious Sante Adairius co-owners Tim Clifford and Adair Paterno, they not only make some the best beers in the area, but among the more exciting to come along in the massive beer world of California in the last couple years.

When I visited back in January, the place was mobbed on a Sunday afternoon, though at the end of deserted-looking street bordering the freeway. While I enjoyed the like of their Vanilla Joe made with local Verve Coffee, it’s their Saison Bernice (6.5% ABV), named after Tim’s mom’s middle name, that made the strongest impression, with its classic Belgian profile and lively nature. 

MAGNOLIA’S PROMISED LAND IMPERIAL IPA, San Francisco

Promised Land Imperial IPA’s 10.5% ABV, long, grapefruit-bitter finish was a standout during Strong Beer Month in February at Magnolia Pub. Thankfully, it’s still on the menu so we can continue to enjoy this bright, boozy beer.

RUHSTALLER’S GILT EDGE CALIFORNIA GOLDEN LAGER, Sacramento

Weekend crowds at Sante Adairus

Weekend crowds at Sante Adairus

Ruhstaller Beer uses almost all local, organic hops, grown at 2000 ft. elevation in volcanic soil near Mount Konocti. They’ll inform you that pre-Prohibition, Sacramento was once the world’s greatest hops growing region.

Their understated beers keep winning awards, particularly the refreshing Gilt Edge California Golden Lager. Best of all, they give a percentage of their sales to Pride Industries towards jobs for disabled and mentally handicapped.

PALO ALTO BREWING COMPANY’S COOL BEANZ COFFEE PORTER, Palo Alto

Palo Alto Brewing Company‘s Kasim Syed was brewing in San Jose, serving his beers only at Palo Alto’s Rose and Crown Pub, but demand grew and now his beers are all over the Bay Area. Cool Beanz Coffee Porter is a nutty-chocolate laden standout made with beloved cult SF coffee, Philz.

KNEE DEEP BREWING CO.’s HOPTOLOGIST DOUBLE IPA, Lincoln

Yes, it’s hoppy. In all the right ways. Knee Deep Brewing, located in the town of Lincoln between Sacramento and Auburn, creates award-winning, uber-hopped beers, thanks to Founder/Brewmaster Jeremy Warren, that keep the sometimes maligned category from being merely a gimmick. He crafts drinkable, flavor-intense beers, particularly Hoptologist Double IPA and Simtra Triple IPA.

Cheese platter with beer at Magnolia Pub

Cheese platter with beer at Magnolia Pub

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May
15
2014

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Kavalan Master Blender Ian Chang visiting from Taiwan

Kavalan Master Blender Ian Chang visiting from Taiwan

Bests from Whiskies of the World 2014

Article and Photos by Virginia Miller

Every year I look forward to Whiskies of the World (WoW) on the San Francisco Belle docked in the Bay, held this year on March 29. Although it is one of the big whisk(e)y events in the country (also in San Jose, Atlanta and Austin), it remains more intimate than others; packed, yes, but more like a big party than a corporate hotel space, with this year’s pour list for SF 9 pages deep.

City-facing view from the deck of SF Belle

City-facing view from the deck of SF Belle

Only-at-WoW-highlights include the rousing Bushmills Pipe & Drum Band walking through the festivities and the boat’s rooftop deck (with inspiring SF and Bay Bridge views) that doubles as a cigar lounge. Yes, one of the huge benefits of WoW over any other large whisk(e)y tasting event is the ability to smoke cigars, given away at the annual cigar and whiskies pairing class held on the deck.

Taste highlights are many, from bourbons and ryes to Japanese whisky and Scotch. I make a beeline for the few I haven’t tried so there are many “bests” I’ve tasted numerous times over the years, but for the sake of a few I have not shared with you before, I call out these three (I also loved Speyburn 25 year Scotch and High West’s limited edition Midwinter Night’s Dram):

LOST SPIRITS UMAMI from MONTEREY, CA

Lost Spirits Umami

Lost Spirits Umami

Lost Spirits makes some of the most unique spirits anywhere, including their ever-fascinating, experimental whiskies. I’m already nuts about their unique overproof room, which I told you about here. One thing I love about WoW is that small producers like this – in this case, a little operation in Monterey, CA – can be exposed at a large whisk(e)y event (they tend to be priced out of other such events). Pouring both their Leviathan whiskies at WoW, as well as the rum, it is their now already sold-out Umami Single Malt that blew my mind. I’ve never heard of any one doing anything like it.

Distiller Bryan Davis uses Canadian peat and locally-sourced barley in this whiskey … and salt water from the mighty Pacific ocean which he ferments with the whiskey, then ages in Oloroso sherry-seasoned French oak barrels. While this level of experimentation could easily go too far, Davis’ precise, scientific knowledge keeps it in balance. The result with Umami is a briny, salty (but not excessively so), smoky and robust whiskey. I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.

KAVALAN SINGLE MALT from TAIWAN

Kavalan is the first whisky out of Taiwan, which can have a hotter, muggier climate than other famed whisk(e)y territories like Scotland, Ireland and Japan. But akin to Kentucky, the heat and moisture ensures a faster maturity and unique flavor profiles to the whiskies. I’ve tasted through the line three times, including at Whiskyfest 2013 last fall and this year’s WoW, as well as a recent dinner with Master Blender Ian Chang out visiting from Taiwan.

Balblair 1969 (photo source: Balblair website)

Balblair 1969 (photo source: Balblair website)

Because of the sweet vs. the dry aspects (I prefer a bit of the latter), I sometimes can be drawn to bourbon cask-aged Scotch more often then sherry cask (not counting the meaty spice of my beloved Mortlach 16 year Scotch). So it surprises me to find that my favorite of the Kavalan line is the Solist Single Cask Strength Sherry Cask ($117). I am a big fan of cask strength whiskies so that part adds up. Roughly 7 years of age, this whisky is fascinating, funky-but-elegant, nutty with spice and a long, uber dry finish.

Out of their seven whiskies, my other favorite is the utterly elegant, rare Kavalan Fino, also cask strength and going for roughly $450 per bottle. It is matured in fino sherry butts with no chill filtration, has already won numerous awards and is dry yet graced with subtle chocolate and citrus notes.

BALBLAIR 1969 from SCOTLAND
Since my travels in the Scottish Highlands, I fell in love with Balblair, particularly their younger 2000 and 2001 whiskies. I wrote about their 1975 Scotch from Whiskyfest 2013, but I love their 1969 even more. This rare, non chill-filtered treasure sells for 1300 pounds in the UK so it’s far beyond my reach, but thankfully WoW provided the opportunity to breathe in its complex spice, pear and toffee aromas, and to taste its layers banana, green apple, with whispers of smoke and toffee. A stunner.

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May
01
2014

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LODI’S LIGHTER SIDE: White & Rosè Wines

Article and Photos by Virginia Miller

In the heat-drenched valleys of Lodi, between Sacramento and Stockton, one expects big, jammy red wines and there are those. But there’s also a surprising number of deliciously affordable whites and roses, in a range of varietals, from the dry soils of the region. Thanks to Charles Communications, I’ve enjoyed a number of tastings with Lodi winemakers in recent months. Here are a few my standout whites and roses from these tastings:

Whites

(photo source: acquiescevineyards.com)

(photo source: acquiescevineyards.com)

- 2012 Estate Crush Albarino ($18): Though a custom crush facility, Estate Crush does produce a small amount of their own wines, including this crisp, lemon-y citrus white, fermented in stainless steel.
- 2011 St. Jorge Verdelho Seco ($18): This dry, tropical white from the Alta Mesa region of Lodi is from a varietal acquired in Winemaker Ron Silva’s family village in the Azore Islands of Portugal.
- 2012 Intuition Field Blend White ($22): Swiss-born Winemaker Markus Niggli takes more than a little inspiration from the fantastic whites of the Germanic countries in his lively, dry blend of 60% Kerner, 20% Riesling, 20% Gewurtzraminer grapes, the wine redolent of white pepper and lemon.
- 2012 Acquiesce Belle Blanc ($24): This soon-to-be-released blend of 60% Grenache Blanc, 30% Roussanne, and 10% Viognier varietals, is lush with pear, subtly floral, with a nice, dry finish.

Rosès

(photo source: onestawines.com)

(photo source: onestawines.com)

- 2012 Onesta Wines Cinsault Rosè ($18) – Fermented in stainless steel and 20% neutral oak for a touch of lush texture to the otherwise dry wine, this rose is 100% Cinsault grapes made in my favorite rosè style: Provencal. Though not from Provence, the grapes are from Lodi’s oldest vines planted in 1886, produced by a rosé production method, saignée, that involves bleeding off the juice after limited contact with the skins.
- 2012 McCay Cellars Rosè ($18) – This rosè is a blend of Carignane, Syrah and Grenache grapes, resulting in a dry, strawberry and citrus-laden wine, fermented in stainless steel.
- 2012 Sorelle Winery “Bella e Rosa” Rosado ($16) – From a winery that tends to make big reds in the Super Tuscan, Italian varietal vein, this blend of Sangiovese and Barbera varietals plays with tart strawberry notes on the crisper side.
- 2012 Heritage Oak Grenache Rosè ($18): This acidic yet round sipper calls for a summer afternoon and a warm breeze. It’s a blend of 75% Grenache, 12.5% Chardonnay, 12.5% Sauvignon Blanc grapes.

This Rose’ is Carinagnae based with Grenache and Syrah. The Carinagnae vfneyard was planted in 1909 and give this Dry Rose’ a Strawberry, Stone Peach and Red Ruby Grapefruit profile. Well balanced in the palate this Rose’ pairs well with food and is the perfect companion on a summer afternoon. Native fermentation and produced in stainless steel. – See more at: http://www.mccaycellars.com/wines.php#sthash.jVXG5R56.dpuf
This Rose’ is Carinagnae based with Grenache and Syrah. The Carinagnae vfneyard was planted in 1909 and give this Dry Rose’ a Strawberry, Stone Peach and Red Ruby Grapefruit profile. Well balanced in the palate this Rose’ pairs well with food and is the perfect companion on a summer afternoon. Native fermentation and produced in stainless steel. – See more at: http://www.mccaycellars.com/wines.php#sthash.jVXG5R56.dpu produced in stainless steel.
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