Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dateline: Frostbite Falls, Minnesota

So that's a bit of a mashup of two TV shows, but it seems to pretty accurately describe the landscape around our part of New Jersey right now. "Two weeks until Spring" is a pretty decent mantra. So while we're still in the office, let's talk about a few things.


Our every day low prices are exceptional. Our Bottle Club® sale prices are often as low as we can legally go. And we offer money-saving coupons every week, in a couple of different formats.

We post coupons for beer, wine and spirits items on our website. Click here for Lawrenceville, and click here for Woodbridge. This week, we include a coupon for $2 off Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire, among other great selections.

In addition, we send out one coupon every Thursday via Twitter. Follow us on Twitter to have the coupon right in your feed. Find us here: @jcanalslawrence and @jcwoodbridge

And while we hope this is the last we'll see of winter, we do announce early closings and late openings exclusively on Twitter. Our Lawrenceville and Woodbridge locations are open at this time; please get here safely.


Art and wine does seem to go well together, and both stores have art-related events coming up. Lawrenceville is hosting a Painting Party with The Painter's Loft this Sunday, at 2pm. Advance registration is required. Click here for more information.

In Woodbridge, the Art Show & Wine Tasting is after-hours on April 12. Registration is not yet open, but we do have a few openings left for local artists who might want to participate. Please click here for the details.

                             What to Drink for St. Patrick's Day

Click here for a discussion of Single Malt/Single Grain Irish Whiskey

Click here for a discussion of Irish Cream Liqueurs

Click here for a discussion of Irish-Style domestic craft beer

Still to come: the discussion on Irish Whiskey.

Ok, we're off to make some snow angels.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Our Headline Writer Quit

Well, not really. your blogger writes the copy and the headlines as well. Sometimes, expressing a point in 4 or 5 words just isn't possible, especially considering that there are only so many ways we can write a headline talking about newly arrived products. So let's just talk about what's new in the stores, and forget that the headline ever existed.

Thorn Merlot

The Prisoner Wine Company has produced yet another spectacular wine. The Prisoner Wine Company works with passionate, devoted growers to source varietals from the best vineyards and appellations located across California in order to create interesting wine blends that are thought provoking and approachable.

While working with their growers, they came across small vineyard lots of Merlot, which had managed to survive being replanted to Cabernet Sauvignon. Inspired to preserve these remaining Merlot lots and introduce their distinct style of Napa Valley Merlot, Thorn was created. The wine is a blend of Merlot, along with Syrah and Malbec. Deep purple in color, the wine releases aromas of black cherry with hints of cedar and pencil lead. Dense flavors of dark fruits and rich plum are framed by velvety tannins and an opulent, lingering finish.

"As a winemaker for the past 15 years, I have watched many old vineyards and varieties be replanted to Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is about preserving Napa Valley Merlot." —Jen Beloz, Winemaker

Available in extremely limited quantities for the Bottle Club® price of $39.99.

Nickel & Nickel

Nickel & Nickel winery, located in Oakville, Napa Valley, is dedicated exclusively to producing 100 percent varietal, single-vineyard wines that best express the distinct personality of each vineyard. Established by the partners of Far Niente in 1997, Nickel & Nickel is focused on producing single-vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from the appellation's most significant AVAs. A small collection of single-vineyard Chardonnay, Merlot and Syrah complements the portfolio.

Very limited amounts of Quarry (2011 vintage), Rock Carin, Sullenger and CC Ranch (2012 for the last three) are being delivered this week. Please consult our wine team members for availability.

High West 36th Vote Barreled Manhattan

Creative cocktails made easy. The High West Barreled Manhattan is made from two parts of High West's Double Rye! Whiskey, one part sweet red vermouth, and two dashes of Angostura bitters for every 2.5-ounce serving. It was then aged in a 2-year-old rye whiskey barrel for 3-6 months. The addition of the vermouth lowers the pH and the percent alcohol by volume - increasing the break down of the oak's hemi-cellulose, increasing the wood sugars that dissolve into the "cocktail" inside. Because a barrel "breaths", there's also some oxidation of the "cocktail." This mellows out the sharpness of the bitters and vermouth, making what we think is a darn fine elixir. We hope you enjoy tasting this as much as we did making it.

"The 36th Vote" commemorates Utah’s role as the deciding vote to end Prohibition. In fact, the Utah delegation WANTED to cast the final vote. “No other state shall take away this glory from Utah” proclaimed the leader of the state delegation and president of the Utah League for Prohibition Repeal. On December 5th 1933 at 5:32 PM EST, satisfied that the thirty-fifth state (Pennsylvania) had ratified, Utah delegate S.R. Thurman cast the last ballot for Utah and the 18th amendments’ fate was sealed. High West Distillery chose the Manhattan for this celebration because of its classic appeal and timelessness.

Charles Smith Wines of Substance Cabernet Sauvignon

"Another stunner from the team at Charles Smith, the 2013 Substance is a Cabernet Sauvignon dominated blend that comes from the higher elevation vineyards of Goose Ridge and Frenchman Hills. Harvested in early November and aged in 40-50% new French oak, it sports gorgeous aromas and flavors of cassis, violets, pencil shavings and tobacco/herbs to go with a medium to full-bodied, layered, rich and beautifully balanced profile on the palate. Scheduled to be bottled in December, it tastes like a wine that taste 3-4 times what this is going for. It is a knockout value. It should be purchased by the case and consumed over the coming 7-8 years, if not longer." - Wine Advocate, 90-93 points.

Another limited-availability wine from the state of Washington, priced at only $15.99 in the Bottle Club®.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Don't Yell "Fire!"

While you may want to yell about this great new product, we ask that you wait until you're safely outside. Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire has just reached our shelves.

Your blogger had the opportunity to visit the Jack Daniel's Distillery about two years ago, and they weren't yet talking (to us, anyway) about this line extension. We "only" got to taste these:
Oh, and we also tasted some unaged and unmellowed whiskey. The signature Jack Daniel's taste profile, of course, comes from their charcoal mellowing process. During our tour, we watched the whiskey flowing through 10 feet of charcoal, among other highlights.

In that photo, you can see the Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey, which your blogger keeps in the freezer. That shows Jack Daniel's commitment to keep up with the market, while still delivering their traditional, legendary whiskey. And, at Joe Canal's, we're pleased to be among the first retailers in New Jersey to carry Tennessee Fire.

We know you’ve waited for it and thank you for your patience. Jack Daniel’s might be the best-selling American whiskey brand worldwide, but it takes time to perfect products worthy of our name. We don’t cut any corners. We are delighted to bring you a product that Mr. Jack himself would love.

Jack’s original red-hot cinnamon liqueur is blended with Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey. The result: Jack Fire, a Classic spirit that delivers a delicious finish.

Look for Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire in the following sizes: 1.75L, 750ML, 375ML and 50ML. We're even offering a money-saving coupon on the 1.75L size. Click on the store name below to claim your coupon:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Odds & Ends

Some days, we have no particular theme to our blog posts. And after getting our car out of its ice prison this morning, today seems perfect for catching up on random topics.

Cheese & More

Cheese can pair perfectly with the wine, beer and spirits that we sell. Both our Lawrenceville and Woodbridge stores carry a fairly extensive selection of cheese, meat and other snacks. Our refrigerated cheese cases are in the front of each store (near Customer Service in Lawrenceville, and at the front of aisles 3 & 4 in Woodbridge).

We will soon add a section on our website with a full inventory of these products, along with suggested pairings, which will help you more fully enjoy your purchases.


Tomorrow is the first Brunello Tuesday at our Woodbridge store. Brunello di Montalcino is one of the richest, deepest, most age-worthy wines that you can find. Every Tuesday, from tomorrow until the end of April will feature a tasting of one of these great wines. Click here for more information.


Don't miss the Dogfish Head event on Thursday in Woodbridge. We'll tap a vintage keg of 120 Minute IPA, and vintage bottles of other Dogfish Head brews will also be available. Click here for more information.


Vikingfjord Vodka will no longer be available in the US. We have a few bottles in stock.


This Sunday is the Painting Class with The Painter's Loft at our Lawrenceville store. This fun event includes wine, of course, and start at 2pm. Click here for more information.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Farewell February Grab Bag

Your blogger does not like winter, and he is happy to see February come to a close. We may not be done with winter, but there's not much left.

Here's what we have in the stores for you!

Events in Lawrenceville

We have our regular wine tasting schedule this weekend, Friday from 4-6pm, and Saturday, from 2-4pm. The tasting menu includes a Wine Spectator Top 100 wine. Click here for the menu.

Coming up next weekend is our Painting Class with The Painter's Loft. Your admission fee includes wine! Click here for more information.

Also, you should check our Events page regularly. You'll be the first to know about our soon-to-be-announced Ladies Night Out, and any other event.

Events in Woodbridge

We also have our regular weekend wine tastings, Friday 46-pm, and Saturday, 1-3pm. Click here for the tasting menu. On Friday, we have our first-ever Jack Daniel's Portfolio Tasting. This event is sold out, but if you want to get on the wait list, please call the store at 732-726-0077.
Beginning this coming Tuesday, March 3, and running until April 28, Joe Canal's presents Brunello Tuesday in Woodbridge. We'll offer tastings of one spectacular wine every week. Click here for more info.

For everyone who appreciates craft beer, look for the Dogfish Head Event on Thursday, March 5. We'll have special growlers and more! Click here for info. And in exactly four weeks, we're having a Tap Takeover, featuring three brewers from Vermont. Click here for details.

Finally, save the date of April 12, for our Second Annual Art Show and Wine Tasting. This will be an after-hours even. Click here for information. And if you're an artist interested in exhibiting, information is also at that link.

New Products

Leone D'Oro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. "This red is meaty and graphite-tinged, offering sweet cherry, licorice and spice flavors. Balanced, with dense tannins and a long, tar- and spice-filled aftertaste." - Wine Spectator, 92 points, #49 of Top 100 for 2012. Only $20.96 in the Bottle Club®, and currently in stock in both stores.

Enanzo Rosado. Another sure sign of spring is the arrival of the new vintage of rose wines. Enanzo Rosado is made from the Garnacha variety by the traditional "free-running" technique. Made from grape must obtained by gravity alone which is then macerated for a few hours in its grape skins. The wine is then fermented without the skins at controlled temperatures in order to retain the fruity aromas of the grape. The result is a raspberry-pink wine with aromas of ripe fruit, and is smooth and tasty. Should arrive in both stores today.

Survey Says...

We sent out a survey to all of our Bottle Club® customers earlier this month. There were a few questions posed in the comments that we can address here.

Q: I want to have a specific brand of non-alcoholic beer at my house. You only sell it cold, and I'm concerned about letting it get warm because I don't have enough fridge space for a full case.
A: This is a frequent question in the beer aisles. Your blogger recently posed the question about temperature change to Chris Walsh, the owner of River Horse Brewing in Ewing, NJ. His answer was that as long as the temperature change isn't extreme (going from the fridge to a long ride in a hot car to an ice tub, for example), there's no issue with letting a cold beer gradually go to room temperature, then chilling it again later. Light is more of an issue for the stability and quality of beer. That's part of why so many craft brewers are adding cans to their product lines, and why so many beers are in dark bottles.

Q: Bottle Club® membership should include coupons.
A: We offer money-saving coupons every week. Every Tuesday, you'll find new coupons posted on our website. From our Home Page, look for the Weekly Coupons tab on the left of the page. You can also link under the Customer Service pull-down. You don't even need to print the coupons. Each one has a code (sku), and as long as the cashier can see the code on your smartphone or tablet, we can offer you that savings. In addition, we send out a beer coupon via Twitter every Thursday, so follow us:

Q: I can't find the specific brand of beer/wine/spirits that I'm looking for.
A: This can be a little tricky. Some requested brands, like the Alchemist, just are not available at all in New Jersey. If you want help finding a brand that we don't carry, ask at Customer Service, and we'll try to place a Special Order for you.

Q: I would like to order online and have in-store store pick-up.
A: The logistics of this are challenging, due to the space limitations that we have, especially in Lawrenceville. However, we are actively trying to design a test program, so stay tuned!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What to Drink for St. Patrick's Day, Part 3: Singles

In this installment, we'll move in to Irish whiskey, but not in a way that you might expect. Over the last few years, Single Malt Scotch whisky has been a category with strong growth. From the lighter, sweeter drams like Glenlivet to the smoky, intense flavors of an Islay malt like Ardbeg, the Single Malt is hot.

But Single Malt (and single grain) whiskey is produced elsewhere. Balcones makes a Single Malt in Texas, for example. But, since this is about St. Patrick's Day, we're turning our attention to the Singles from Ireland.

A Single Malt, by the Scottish definition, is made from malted barley, using a pot still at a single distillery, and aged for at least 3 years in oak barrels. You can take the concept elsewhere and change some elements (the grain or the type of still, for example) and still call it a Single Malt, depending on the rules in that location. And we'll start our tour of Irish whiskey with a variation of the Single Malt.

Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey

Inspired by modern distilling techniques and through a desire to produce the smoothest and sweetest Irish Whiskey, Greenore was born. There are three simple reasons for the signature Greenore taste.

Greenore is made primarily from corn, and is distilled in column stills, allowing for a more pure spirit with a smooth taste profile. Greenore is then aged for 8 years in first fill Kentucky Bourbon barrels, adding its familiar vanilla notes.

The flagship bottling of Greenore is aged 8 years to give the perfect balance between the ingredients that produced the whiskey, the way it was produced and the ex-bourbon casks that matured the whiskey. Sweet and smooth, this delicate whiskey is produced in small batches to the highest possible quality for your ultimate enjoyment.

Nose: Clean light grain with honey and oak characters.

Taste: Silky smooth and mellow. A honey start combined with fresh almonds and spices.

Finish: A warm honey taste with a dry finish.


This is a traditional Single Malt whiskey. Inspired by Ireland’s ancient distilling traditions, Connemara’s smooth sweet malt taste and complex peat flavors makes it a truly unique Irish whiskey. Connemara is the most decorated Irish whiskey with a huge collection of Gold Medals and has been honored as the “Worlds Best Irish Single Malt”. Connemara allows you to unearth the Peated Pleasures of Ireland.

Mildly peated, Connemara has a nice balance between the malt and the peat. It's smooth and clean, with the palate evenly divided between malty sweetness and smoky peat.

                           The Tyrconnell

The Tyrconnell is a brand steeped in history and heritage, dateing back to the glory days of Irish whiskey. Traditionally, most Irish malt has been used to create blended Irish whiskey, so it is rare to find Irish malt whiskey bottled in its purest form. Distilled in the old Irish tradition, this pure pot still single malt whiskey uses only the most natural Irish ingredients of barley and fresh spring water. The resulting whiskey is then left to peacefully mature in oak casks stored in 200 year old granite warehouses, allowing it to develop its full flavor and character.

Tasting notes:
Color: Golden Yellow
Nose: Full and fruity aroma with a citrus – spiciness taste
Taste: Well structured, with honey notes hanging from the nose. A tang of oranges and lemons, a strong malt presence that balances well with the oily sweetness
Finish: A long finish, with the malt becoming more dominant to the end without the soft fruits and honey, which helped make up the middle.

The Tyrconnell Single Malt Irish Whiskey is an historic Irish whiskey brand from the 1900’s named after a horse that won a legendary race at odds of 100 to 1. Made from 100% malted barley in traditional copper pot stills Tyrconnell has a beautiful fresh, fruity bouquet with a smooth sweet taste and a delicate dry finish.

Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Sherry Cask Finish

Our final Irish Single Malt finished in sherry casks, and has limited availability.

Nose: Strong on sherry, it has a strong Fino feel to it, very grape-like, with notes of juicy raisins, golden berries, just a hint of mint.

Palate: Delectable and utterly decadent! This dessert in a glass with a hugely authentic note of wonderfully thick Fino sherry. Also hints of tarte tatin and custard.

Finish: More of that sherry, with apple tart and cinnamon.

           Yellow Spot

A limited production whiskey, aged in ex-bourbon barrels, plus Sherry and Malaga Butts. Yellow Spot is actually aged in those barrels, not finished there, imparting richer flavors.

Nose: Pepper, spice and cloves with Peaches and honey from the Malaga.
Taste: Super mix of warm, creamy tastes with honey, apple sponge and caramel.
Finish: Lovely long finish with a dry sweetness from the Malaga.

There are significant differences between the whiskeys listed here, as well as even greater differences between these and blended Irish whiskey. Your palate will appreciate the opportunity to explore something that is at once different and familiar. We think an Irish Single would be a great addition to any home bar.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Something New

Sometimes the decision is out of our hands, but our inventory is constantly changing. New vintages replace the old, different size bottles arrive, new wineries arrive in NJ and others leave. We hope that you never get tired of the varied selection at Joe canal's in Lawrenceville and Woodbridge.

Here is a sampling of our just-arrived, or just-about-to-arrive, products. We can't list everything here, so if you're looking for new products in the store, please ask an associate for assistance.

Limerick Lane Russian River Valley Zinfandel, 2012

Limerick Lane is a thirty acre estate located in the north east corner of the Russian River Appellation, just south of the town of Healdsburg. The estate was first planted to grapes in 1910. In recent years, they were selling the grapes as vineyard designates to several well known local wineries, including De Loach, Chateau Souverain, Ravenswood, Davis Bynum and Gary Farrell. The quality of the wines and reputation of the iconic Collins Vineyard quickly established Limerick Lane as a premier site for growing Zinfandel and Rhone varieties in Sonoma County. In 1986, the first estate wines were produced under the Limerick Lane label. The subsequent quality of the wines produced solidified Limerick Lane’s reputation as one of Sonoma County’s premier producers as well.

This 2012 Zin rated 94 points from Wine Spectator. "A knockout Zinfandel, balancing an opulent texture with great focus and depth. Aromas of rose petal and raspberry lead to rich and layered flavors of cherry, herbes de Provence and cracked white pepper. Finishes with a bounce of acidity and ripe, lively tannins. Drink now through 2020."

Only $29.99 in the Bottle Club®.

Rosatello Moscato

This perfectly sweet white wine romances you with irresistible aromas of oranges and a touch of mint. With each taste, you'll revel in flavors of juicy peaches and candied orange. Sweet Italian grapes in a sassy, modern style. Light, fruity, fresh, and perfect for any occasion.

$8.98 in the Bottle Club®. 

                    Stags' Leap Winery The Investor

Captivating for its fresh, lush fruit, elegance and classic balance, the inaugural release of The Investor brims with bright red fruit, blackcurrant, plum and blackberry. A savory, herbal flavor, with hints of spicy vanilla bean, sweet tobacco and sandalwood, add depth and complexity. The tannins are firm, but velvety, and this red blend is impressive for its power, finesse and integrity. 38% Petite Sirah, 38% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon.

"Named after the founder of Stags Leap Winery, the outstanding 2012 Proprietary Red The Investor is a blend of 40% Merlot, 40% Petite Sirah and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Ripe blackberry and blackcurrant fruit intermixed with notions of chocolate, lavender, unsmoked cigar tobacco and underbrush are present in this meaty, chewy, attractive, velvety textured 2012. Enjoy this well-made red over the next decade." - 90 points, Wine Advocate.

Available in very limited quantities for $46.99.