Friday, March 27, 2015

Gloomy Weather Grab Bag

All we'll say about that is please Bring Spring. Otherwise, it's time for our weekly round-up of important information.

We'll look ahead one weekend and note that our Easter Sunday (April 5) store hours are 9am-4pm (corrected time). For recommendations on wine for Easter, click here and here. Please visit this blog on Monday, when we'll discuss beer suggestions for Easter.

For a discussion of some new Passover wines, click here.

Events in Lawrenceville

Please join us for our regular wine tastings this weekend, Friday from 4-6pm, and 2-4pm on Saturday. Click here for the menu.

Events in Woodbridge

We have a little something for nearly everyone this weekend. We start at 4pm today, with the Vermont breweries Tap Takeover. The participating breweries are Otter Creek, The Shed, and Wolavers. Details are posted here.

Also at 4pm today, running until 6pm, is a free tasting of Hiro Junmai Sake. Unwrap some of the mystery around this brewed beverage at this event.

On Saturday, we'll have our regular wine tasting, from 1-3pm. Click here for the menu.

With Brunello Tuesday's, the Art Show & Wine Tasting and more on the schedule, keep track of our programs and activities via our Event Calendar.

New Products

If you're looking for something really different, we have started carrying Oculto, which is a lager infused with blue agave and aged on tequila barrel staves.

Earlier in the week, we noted the arrival of craft beer like Rogue Sriracha Hot Stout and RJ Rockers Son of a Peach. We've also received Bud Light Lemonade-Rita in cans.

Another new craft beer is Horny Goat Black Vanilla IPA. This take on a Cascadian Dark Ale is loaded with Northern Brewer and Centennial hops for a unique flavor combination showcasing both earthy and bright hop tones. A malty and slightly roasted backbone is perfectly complemented by the addition of real
vanilla beans to the aging tanks on this one of a kind black IPA.

Maculan Palazzotto Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in the best, low-yielding vineyards and aged in French barriques for one year. The name of the wine comes from the name of the area, or località, where the grapes are sourced for this wine.

Opaque ruby-red in color, this wine is richly aromatic with notes of dark berries, anise, black pepper and just a touch of “garrigue” or Mediterranean herbs that has become a hallmark note of Maculan's wines. This is a dry, full-bodied red that is at once elegant and intense. It is bottled unrefined
and unfiltered to capture every bit of aroma and flavor that the grapes have to offer.

Pair this delicious red with a simple and unadorned meat dish like marinated London broil served with roasted potatoes. Perfect with red meats, grilled, braised or roasted.

91 points from Wine Advocate, 90 from Wine Spectator. $21.99 in the Bottle Club®.

Ripped from the Headlines

Many of you have asked us about the recently-filed lawsuit against several wine producers. Please click here for our take.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Easter Wine, Part 2

Earlier this week, we started our What to Drink for Easter recommendations with a Pinot post. If you're looking for a red wine to go with ham or turkey, you just can't beat a Pinot Noir. Click here to read those recommendations. Today, we'll consider some white wine pairings for Easter.

At Joe Canal's, we believe in the concept of "drink what you like." If you prefer a Chardonnay or anything else to what we're recommending today, our wine team in the stores will be happy to help. These suggestions are based on our experience with pairings, as well as our own palates.

We have found that a lightly sweet Riesling or a spicy-sweet Gewurztraminer to be the optimal white wines for pairing with a ham or turkey. They are not too light in body, so they hold up against the nuanced flavors of an Easter dinner, with the sweetness and spiciness playing nicely opposite the various traditional dishes.

Gewurztraminer might be tricky to pronounce, but its complex character is why it's a great pairing at Easter. We suggest the Trimbach Gewurztraminer, from the Alsace region of France.

Gewurztraminer is at once the fruitiest and the spiciest of the white varietals; it's a unique wine. It reaches the height of perfection at Trimbach in Alsace.

Trimbach's dry personality makes it ideal as an aperitif and it pairs extremely well with specialty cuisine with pronounced flavors like you find on a holiday table. It's also a fine accompaniment for fish or seasoned meats, spicy and exotic dishes, soft cheeses (think Munster), and an assortment of desserts.

Available for only $16.99 in the Bottle Club®.

When it comes to Rieslings, we're very partial to wines produced by Josef Leitz. Generally, their vineyards face 100% south. The steeply sloped vineyards have very good drainage and are perfectly adapted for complexly structured, mineral driven wines. The more vigorous vineyards are those with high loess and loam. These vineyards bring forth the juicy, fruit backed Riesling. You'll find these to be nicely balanced wines that have a light, fruit-driven sweetness.

One great choice is the Leitz Dragonstone. Dragonstone is translated from "Dracheinstein". The name goes back to the rock with this mythological name and also possibly to the form of a dragon. The soil consists of loess-loam sand stone and quartzite and in some parts also of chalk. The wines are amazingly elegant with a delicately spicy note.

The usual kirsch and lime flavors are now in the finest conceivable form: barely perceptibly sweet. Pointed yet creamy, salty and minty; animated and seductive. Only $14.99 in the Bottle Club®.

You also can't go wrong with the Leitz Rudesheimer Riesling Kabinett. It has a ripe aroma leads into flavors of apple and ripe citrus, with notes of guava and sage honey. The well-spiced finish is long. And it's only $13.96 in the Bottle Club®.

Our next set of recommendations will probably be posted on Monday, and we'll discuss craft beer selections.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Have Some

Every Wednesday, we like to introduce some of our newest products. It's impossible to cover everything, so we feature just a few. When you're looking specifically for new products, please ask any store team member.

One quick housekeeping note: Our store hours for Easter Sunday, April 5, are 9am-4pm.

Rogue Sriracha Stout

Rogue Sriracha Hot Stout Beer, made from Huy Fong original hot chili sauce and sun ripened Rogue Farms ingredients, is ready to drink with soups, sauces, pasta, pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, chow mein, or anything you'd like to wash down with a spicy kick. Sold in 750ML bottles.

2010 San Filippo Brunello di Montalcino le Lucere

"Aged two years in oak, the 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Le Lucére is expressive and deep with thick lines and a profound sense of extraction. This is a lovely wine that occupies a special place on the opulent side of the Brunello spectrum. Of course, the amazing quality of fruit in 2010 has given winemakers more variables and raw material to play with. The wine shows dark concentration and an
impenetrable appearance. Dried fruit, clove, nutmeg and toasted almond segue to cola, licorice and pressed rose petal. The mouthfeel is sweet and chewy but the overall effect is spectacular. This wine marks a huge improvement over past efforts.

San Filippo makes an impressive statement in 2010. The Brunello Le Lucére is one of the protagonists of the vintage and is a wine that captures a rare side of the Sangiovese grape. It is explosive, powerful and rich. Like the other great wines of the vintage, this Brunello proves the potential of everyone's favorite Tuscan red grape." 96 points, Wine Advocate. This wine also rated 98 points from James Suckling.

Horny Goat Archer Apple Brown Ale

Archer Apple Brown Ale has all the apple cider flavor you want in a brown ale without any of the drawbacks. Two-row, chocolate and caramel malts and oats anchor a flavor profile that’ll make your taste buds quiver, as fresh-pressed Door County apple cider blended into the brew gives you the perfect apple-shot to the kisser.

BV Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon

This is returning to our shelves after a two year absence. BV Coastal Estates wines come from select vineyards along California's Central Coast, where diverse conditions enable the winery to source each wine from a site where it develops its most intense varietal character. They then enhance this intensity in the winery
with carefully chosen winemaking methods, for wines of high quality expression at an exceptional value.

Dark ruby-violet color. This Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon promises much, and delivers more! The aromas suggest black and green peppercorn, with currant-mint and black tea overtones. Medium bodied, the aromas are echoed on the palate, and completed by hints of dark chocolate. Finishing with a light, velvety texture, this wine is very easy to drink.

Only $7.99 in the Bottle Club®.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Great Buy from a Premier Wine Region

Châteauneuf-du-Pape derives its name from a combination of the early Latin name for the region and the fact that two Pope's lived in nearby Avignon in the 14th century. The image below shows the remains of the Pope's castle, sitting above the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Today, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is synonymous with rich, well made and age-worthy wines. Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre are the primary grapes in the region, but there are 10 others that also may find their way into these outstanding Rhone wines. And the rules for producing Châteauneuf-du-Pape are more stringent than nearly any other region in France.

The vineyards of La Robe Rouge are situated at the southern end of the Rhône Valley, between the towns of Orange and Avignon on the left bank of the Rhône. A Mediterranean climate makes the Southern Rhône Valley one of the warmest wine growing regions in France.

A robust blend of grape varieties gives the wine depth and body, a strong color, sturdy character and long life. Consider cellaring this for up to 10 years. La Robe Rouge is made from Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault.

Serve at about 62° F with strong meat dishes, full wine sauces, and strong cheese. Only $24.99 in the Bottle Club®.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Easter Pinot

For those who celebrate Easter with a family dinner of ham, we have a few suggestions for your table. In addition, any of these wines will also go well with Turkey. We do coordinate with our store team to get the best recommendations for you. These are a great place to start. Additional recommendations will be posted later this week.

An Oregon Pinot Noir is one nice choice. Something a bit spicy and berry-rich to play against the saltiness/sweetness of, say, a glazed ham. We recommend the A To Z Wineworks Pinot Noir.

The A to Z Pinot Noir invites with vibrant aromas of juicy berries, cherries, lavender and violets, evolving to clove, game, smoke and cherry tobacco. A succulent, focused attack has flavors of blue and red fruits, flowers and earth, then deepens with hints of mocha, gingerbread, green tea and cacao. A very tannic structure is balanced by perfect acidity, giving shape and elegance to the concentration of lush fruit. A beautiful, complex, forward wine results, walking a tightrope between richness and elegance. Built for midterm aging, the captivating A to Z Pinot Noir once again sets the standard for  Pinot Noir in Oregon. $15.99 in the Bottle Club®.

Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir. Meiomi comes from the Wagner Family of Wine, the producers of Caymus. It's classified as a California Pinot Noir, as the grapes used in Meiomi come from Santa Barbara, Sonoma and Monterey counties.

Meiomi is a high style Pinot Noir that is shaped, more than anything else, by the fruit sources that lay the foundation of the blend.  A purebred enjoyment wine, built to accommodate any pairing from food to friends.  Unifying California’s most noteworthy coastal areas opens the door for a dynamic and opulent wine that is ready to enjoy whenever you are.

From the winery: "From our first Pinot Noir vintage in 2002, we set out with a single goal for Meiomi:  To craft a vibrant, food-friendly wine that is approachable and ready to drink upon release.  Being grown and produced with all the bells and whistles available, Meiomi is known for its quality and consistency at a reasonable price.  By blending top-notch parcels of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from three great areas, Meiomi has become known as an approachable wine for any occasion – and at an affordable price it offers up the luxury of reliability year in and year out."

Meiomi Pinot Noir is available for only $19.99 in the Bottle Club®.

Here's another outstanding choice from the Wagner Family of Wines. They have already brought us Caymus, Conundrum and Meiomi, so we don't need to add anything to their well-deserved reputation for quality. Elouan Pinot Noir is their newest wine, as they grow from California into Oregon.

Elouan Pinot Noir emulates the successful sourcing philosophy introduced with Meiomi: blending the top Pinot Noir regions together for a richer, more complex style than what you could achieve by sourcing from one small area. In this instance, the grapes are grown in the great Oregon Valleys of Willamette, Umpqua and Rogue. The diversity of these cool climate areas elongates the growing season, developing intense structure, while maintaining a vibrant acidity to differentiate it from any California Pinot Noir.

Only $22.99 in the Bottle Club®.

If you prefer something of a rock & roll Easter, try the Dreaming Tree Pinot Noir. This is the newest wine from the partnership between Steve Reeder and Dave Matthews.

When Steve Reeder and Dave Matthews first met, they realized they had a few things in common, like a passion for making wine at least as strong as their passion for drinking it.

They set out into wine country, looking for a way to make quality wines accessible to everyone. Along the way, they found inspiration in the down-to-earth characters and unforgettable flavors that give the region its rare kind of charm.

"We think this wine hits all the right notes. No matter what your journey may be, this is the perfect wine to share along the way." - Sean McKenzie, Winemaker.

$13.99 in the Bottle Club®.

Mohua Pinot Noir. As we've been seeing, New Zealand winemakers made Sauvignon Blanc their own, and then started putting their unique approach to Pinot Noir, again, to great acclaim.

Capturing the essence and excitement of Central Otago in every glass, the hand-picked fruit of this dramatic Pinot Noir embody the character and purity of a major new wine region.

Mohua offers a floral scented, rich and juicy Pinot Noir. Layered with fine tannins, raspberry and blackcurrant, wild strawberry and spice flavors.

Only $13.99 in the Bottle Club®.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Weather or Not Grab Bag

We're as happy to celebrate the arrival of Spring as anyone. We don't want to see our ice scraper again. Ever.  With that mini-rant over, let's get this started.

Events in Lawrenceville

We have our regular weekend wine tasting schedule, which is 4-6pm today and 2-4pm tomorrow. Click here for the tasting menu.

Events in Woodbridge

It's a busy weekend for our Woodbridge team. We start with our regular wine tasting today, from 4-6pm. Immediately afterward is our tasting of beer from Pittsburgh's Penn Brewery, 6-8pm.

Tomorrow, we have our regular wine tasting, 1-3pm. Also on Saturday, look for our experts at the Bridal Expo, being held at the Lord & Taylor store in the Woodbridge Center Mall. We'll be there from noon until 9pm. Find out how we can help you save money on wine, beer and spirits for your wedding. Click here for more information on the Bridal Expo.

Looking ahead, we've got a busy week planned as well. We have Brunello Tuesday on the 24th, and we'll be tasting the 2009 Casanova di Neri Brunello di  Montalcino. On Wednesday the 25th, we're having a tasting of Passover wines, in conjunction with Big Tent Judaism. Passover starts only 9 days later, so this is a great opportunity to see what we have available.  We've also brought in some new Kosher for Passover wines that scored 90 points or higher (available in both Lawrenceville and Woodbridge). Click here for our preview of those wines.

The events continues with a tasting of Yards Brewing beers, a Tap Takeover by several Vermont breweries, and a tasting of Hiro Junmai Sake. Click here for our full Event Calendar.

New Products

This was a week where the blog just couldn't keep up with the deliveries. As always, if you're just looking for new products in general, ask any of our in-store associates. Here are a couple of additional new wines:

Lafon & Meurgey Duets Chardonnay. Sourced from vineyards in Burgundy and Languedoc, this beautifully crafted Chard offers flavors of ripe stone fruits (think apricot) and juicy apples.  Rich and balanced with fresh acidity and a touch of creaminess on the finish. $14.96 $13.96 in the Bottle Club®.

Rafael Reverte Cistum 2009. This is a "back in stock" wine, and a great choice as an everyday red. "The 2009 Cistum was sourced from 120-year-old ungrafted pre-phylloxera vines aged for 6 months in new French oak. Cedar, pencil lead, Asian spices,
incense, and black cherry liqueur aromas are some of the elements leading to a voluminous, focused, layered wine with enough structure to evolve for 2-3 years. This remarkable example of old-vine Garnacha will be at its best from 2014 to 2024." - Wine Advocate, 92 points. $11.96 in the Bottle Club®.  

                                                      Ripped from the Headlines

-Diageo is planning to include nutritional information and alcohol content per serving on its Smirnoff vodka, Tanqueray gin and Guinness stout labels or on its responsible drinking website.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

But Wait, There's More!

More new products to discuss, that is.

Hayes Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot

Two different wines-not a blend. Located in the northern Central Coast of California, the lore of Hayes Valley extends back to the days of missionaries and the historic El Camino Real. The land was planted with wine grapes in the late 1800’s, but the vineyards eventually succumbed to Prohibition.

Agriculture was restored to the Valley in the late 1990’s with the planting of new vines. The Hayes Valley is an ideal climate for growing grapes—cool, foggy nights followed by warm sunny days.

Hayes Valley Wines are grown and produced at Clos LaChance Estate Vineyards and Winery in California’s Northern Central Coast, which was one of the first certified sustainable wineries in California.

The Cabernet shows aromas of cocoa, dried cherry, black currants and a hint of cigar, with vanilla and spice undertones. Rich cherry and blackberry flavors upon first sip. Medium tannins and acidity create perfect balance. A bit of bakers spice and rosemary on the finish.

Pair with Beef Dishes (New York Steak with Gorgonzola Butter, Prime Rib, Grilled Filet), Grilled Lamb with Mushrooms, Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts or Pecans, Blue Cheeses (Camembert, Aged Jack, Parmesan, Gorgonzola).

In the Merlot, bramble berry, vanilla and a hint of fresh dill on the nose. A hint of cocoa and dried strawberry. On first sip, bright acidity and blackberries dominate. Secondary flavors of raspberries, savory and rosemary follow. The finish is very smooth with soft tannins and a hint of that vanilla peeking through.

This wine would pair great with Beef dishes (Grilled Flank Steak or a Beef Brisket Pot Roast) or Lamb dishes (Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks or Roasted Rack of Lamb).

Each is priced at only $9.96 in the Bottle Club®.

Dreaming Tree Pinot Noir

This is the newest wine from the partnership between Steve Reeder and Dave Matthews.

When Steve Reeder and Dave Matthews first met, they realized they had a few things in common, like a passion for making wine at least as strong as their passion for drinking it.

They set out into wine country, looking for a way to make quality wines accessible to everyone. Along the way, they found inspiration in the down-to-earth characters and unforgettable flavors that give the region its rare kind of charm.

"We think this wine hits all the right notes. No matter what your journey may be, this is the perfect wine to share along the way." - Sean McKenzie, Winemaker.

$13.99 in the Bottle Club®.

Prats & Symington Douro Post Scriptum de Chryseia 2011

2011 was another exceptionally dry year whose effects were mitigated by the abundant rainfall of the previous winter, which was crucial in building good water reserves deep in the subsoil. The opportune rains of late August/early September, and the dry, sunny conditions which ensued, proved decisive in delivering grapes of exceptional quality in our vineyards of Quinta de Roriz and Quinta da Perdiz. A great year for wine.

Deep garnet center with vivid velvet-red rim. Aromas of plums and attractive resinous notes. Lush and mouth-filling with satisfying pure and compact black fruits, displaying undertones of mineral and spice, underscored by fine acidity. 90 points from Wine Spectator. $23.99 in the Bottle Club®.

Touriga Nacional – 56%, Touriga Franca – 30%, Tinta Barroca – 7%, Tinta Roriz – 7%.

Tozai Snow Maiden Junmai Nigori

Produced in Kyoto by the Kizakura Brewery, this unfiltered sake is flavorful, full, and creamy. While fairly dry, it displays abundant flavors of fresh fruit underscored by the assertive character of the rice. Tozai "Snow Maiden" Junmai Nigori is remarkably food-friendly, and an excellent overall value. Enjoy slightly chilled. Only $14.99 in the Bottle Club®.