New Cotes-du-Roussillon, Flying Dog and More Great Summer Wines.
Thursday, July 12:
Cotes-du-Roussillon-Villages-Tautavel, Gerard Bertrand 2008- $14.99/btl ($11.99 by case or mixed case): France's Languedoc-Roussillon, formerly a viticultural wasteland of truckstop plonk and wine for distillate, is now a great source for high-quality, reasonably-priced wines. Although virtually every major vinifera grape variety is being cultivated there, we've found that the most successful wines come from Rhone varietals and are vinified in what could roughly be called the Rhone fashion: that is to say, filled with plenty of spicy, garrigue-tinged aromas and flavors. Gerard Bertrand's new vintage of Tautavel falls squarely into this category, as this Grenache, Syrah, Carignan mix features exceptional concentration, plenty of brambly, blackberry intensity and tannins which are pleasantly fine and dusty. If you're planning any kind of vaguely Mediterranean-style outdoor dining soon, this is the perfect pairing! We also have a bit of Bertrand's traditional fizz, the Cremant de Limoux 2010 ($14.99), and his surprisingly California-like Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2010 ($12.99).
Monterrei Godello, Pazo de Monterrey 2010- $13.99/btl ($11.20 by case or mixed case): The fish-friendly white wines of Galicia are no longer a secret. Thanks to the success of estates such as La Cana, Pazo Senorans, Godeval and Burgans, we have almost too many choices for top-quality Albarino, Verdejo and Godello. Unfortunately, all this success has been quickly followed by an inevitable uptick in prices, and as many of Galicia's top whites now command upwards of $20, we've turned our attention toward less-expensive examples that remain priced for everyday consumption. One of the best wines we've found so far has been Pazo de Monterrey's 2010 Godello, which marries Godello's stony, citrusy, white-flower qualities with a bit of the fattiness typical of the best examples of this grape. This is our first choice for any kind of sashimi (especially tuna), and it wouldn't fare too badly with a bucket of steamers, either.
Friday, July 13:
The Brews of Flying Dog: What can you say about: a) a brewery founded by a friend and neighbor of Hunter S. Thompson (George Stranahan); b) a brewery named after a Pakistani barroom painting of a dog that Stranahan saw after summiting K2; c) a brewery whose packaging is adorned with the rather disturbed art of Ralph Steadman, Thompson's famous sidekick and illustrator? Perhaps nothing needs to be said at all, as Flying Dog's range of outstanding brews certainly speak for themselves. One taste of their Wildeman, Raging Bitch, Underdog, Gonzo Porter, In-Heat Wheat or Double Dog Pale Ale reveals that this is one of the US' most serious craft breweries and that behind the tongue-in-cheek labeling is an exacting aesthetic and ability to fashion honest, true-to-type beer. Whether your taste runs Belgian/funky, straight-ahead or American Craft/extreme, chances are good there's a Flying Dog brew you'll love. Join us today, as we taste through a range of Flying Dog's current releases.
Saturday, July 14:
Rioja "Cinco Denarios", Bodega Las Cepas 2010- $15.99/btl ($12.79 by case or mixed case): American-in-Paris wine merchant, Thomas Calder, set his sights on Spain and unearthed this rarest of finds: an organic, hand-harvested, estate bottled Rioja! One taste of this stately, elegant wine reveals that it falls squarely in what we call the "hard candy-balsamic" vein of Rioja; it's neither overtly oaky nor showy in the way many contemporary Riojas can be. However, if you love wines that are reflective of region, structured, balanced and traditional, this one is for you. We also suspect that while it drinks well now, a couple of years in bottle will reveal even more. Too bad that this one is likely to be long gone by that time.
Alsace Blanc, Kuentz-Bas 2009- $11.99/btl ($9.60 by case or mixed case): We can't stop ourselves from loading up on the great value wines that seem to constantly issue from Alsace. And, we've always been especially fond of the basic blend- sometimes called Edelzwicker- from top growers, such as Kuentz-Bas. In the hands of less-vigilant estates, these blends are often nothing more than an afterthought, but in the hands of a talent like winemaker Samuel Tottoli, a wine like this can (and should) stand with the top Rieslings and Gewurztraminers of the portfolio. His 2009 is a Sylvaner-based dry white of typical Alsace minerality and aromatic freshness, given plenty of complexity through the additions of Auxerrrois, dry Muscat and Chasselas. It excels as an aperitif, with a wide range of picnic-type fare and with white meats from roast chicken to schnitzel and sauerkraut. Best of all, at just over ten bucks, this is all the answer we need to quiet any critic who says you have to spend a lot of money to get great French wine.
New Beer Arrivals
This Friday, we'll have several new beers from all over the planet. As this goes to press, we're still working on the logistics, so one or two of them may end up coming later. That being said, here's what we're hoping goes onto the shelf:
Anchorage White IPA- 750ml
Anchorage Whiteout Wit- 750ml
Voodoo 4 Seasons IPA- 22 oz
Founders Devil Dancer Imperial IPA- 12 oz LIMITED
Cuvee des Jacobins Rouge- 11.2 oz
Meantime IPA- 750ml
DeRanke Hop Harvest- 750 ml
Birra del Borgo Pink IPA- 750 ml
Birra del Borgo L'Equilibrista- 750 ml
Stone 10th Anniversary Ruination- 22 oz LIMITED
Epic Brainless on Peaches- 22 oz
Epic Sour Apple Saison- 22 oz LIMITED
Absent Lawyer's Queue
Whoever said crime doesn't pay never went up against a New Hampshire prosecutor. We've gotten reports this week that our absent lawyer's opponent has been turned into a quivering bag of cellulose and blood (she has the same effect on us, too). No plea bargains, no deals...it's Brenna FTW! Were it legal to ship wine "care packages" into NH, here's what she'd get:
St Aubin Blanc "Le Ban", Prudhon 2008- $27.99
VdP des Collines Rhodaniennes-Marsanne, Cuilleron 2011- $19.99
Montefalco Sagrantino Secco "Vigneto Pagliaro", Paolo Bea 2005- $87.99 LIMITED
Vespolina "Barbatasso", Monsecco 2010- $18.99
Pinot Auxerrois "Vieilles Vignes", Maurice Schoech 2011- $17.99
Muscat Ottone "Petite Fleur", Julien Meyer 2011- $21.99
Voces Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa 2006- $25.99
Cotes-du-Rhone-Villages "Plan de Dieu", Domaine Les Ondines 2009- $16.99
Franciacorta "Pas Dose", Il Mosnel NV- $29.99