Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Before the Feast

From the Joe Canal's family to yours, our best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving. For your last-minute needs, we will be open until 10pm tonight, and our hours will be 9am-4pm tomorrow.

Pizza Pairings

Today is one of the biggest days for pizza sales. Whether or not you're having pizza tonight, you're likely having some in the near future. Our staff has some great suggestions for beer and wine pizza pairings. Click here for those ideas.

Thanksgiving Pairings

Click here for staff red wine recommendations
Click here for our white wine recommendations
Click here for our craft beer recommendations
Click here for whisky recommendations

                     Gift Sets

This is the time of year when we have the best selection available, but it does sell quickly. One reason is that the gift sets are a great value; many are priced the same as the bottle without the extras. For example, the Glenlivet and Chivas Regal gift sets are the same price as the 750ml bottles. The Knob Creek gift set, on the other hand, is actually lower in price than the Knob Creek 750ml bottle.

New Products

Whistle Pig 12 Year Old World Marriage. In the spring of 2014, Master Distiller Dave Pickerell began a unique experiment on the WhistlePig Farm. After studying the best techniques of the Old World – particularly Scotch whiskies – Dave and the WhistlePig team paired bonds of 12-year-old rye with premium European oak casks – Madeira, Sauternes, Port, Cognac, and Sherry. After a series of single finish releases and extensive industry feedback, the 12 Year Old World is the product of a carefully selected marriage of three finishes that highlights their distinctive flavors to create an exceptionally balanced spirit. The 2015 San Francisco Spirits Competition Double Gold award winning Old World Series unites the bold attributes of rye whiskey with the grace and elegance of the finest European casks, yielding an ultra-premium straight rye, distinctly American, but hearkening to its stately Old World roots.

Extremely limited availability, at $99.99. Please check with Customer Service to ensure we still have this in stock.

Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey refuses to be forgotten. First produced in Maryland in the 1890s, the brand, along with the rest of the once-booming Maryland Rye industry, was shuttered by prohibition. The brand reemerged after prohibition and became the last standing Maryland Rye, as the rest of the industry's production had ceased. Now produced in Kentucky from extra-aged barrels stored in prime warehouse locations, Heaven Hill keeps this historic Maryland mark alive with this award-winning six year old, 110 proof offering.

Tasting notes: Pale copper color. Dusty cocoa notes with oaky smoke underneath. Dry and spicy, with honeyed rye and cloves. Finish is soft vanilla and baking spices.

#2 on the list of Jim Murray's 2016 World Whiskies of the Year. Scheduled to arrive today, this will also have extremely limited availability, at $49.99. Please check with Customer Service to ensure we still have this in stock.

Domaine Castillon Costières de Nîmes Rouge 2014. Fresh and very fruity. A thirst-quenching wine that is a little tannic but mellow. Pair with Barbecue, T-Bone steak, lamb chops, chitterlings sausage and matured cheeses. Only $9.96 in the Bottle Club®.

Happy Thanksgiving, and travel safely!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

No Translation Needed

It not only seems like we have some amazing Spanish wines at incredible prices, but we do. Over the last couple of years, Spanish winemakers have really stepped up their game, and we have all enjoyed the results. The Bodegas Jiminez-Landi Bajondillo is another great example of a Spanish wine that over-delivers.

Bodegas Jiménez - Landi is a family project that shows a passion for the countryside and the vineyard. We are located in Mentrida, home to a great wine tradition (some of the references to vineyards in the area date back to the twelfth century). We're located west of Madrid and north of Toledo, in the foothills of the Sierra de Gredos.

Jose Benavides Jiminez-Landi began managing the winery in 2004, producing great wines based on tradition and balance with the environment. Limited production wines that represent the typical characteristics of soils and varieties (most often, Garnacha) with which we work and the nature that surrounds them.

The vines cover about 15 hectaires, and are aged between 12 and 40 years. The landscape of Mentrida is pasture and woodland. The flora is dominated by oaks, olive trees, oaks and poplars. Flowers such as lavenders, thyme, brooms, dominate the landscape. Grain fields and olive groves alternate with the cultivation of the vines.

The Bajondillo is a very clean wine with a sparkling ruby color. It has an intense and complex nose of red berries, wild herbs, licorice and violets. The palate is an explosion of strawberry; intense and balanced with vibrant acidity that lets you drink with pleasure and ease.

Only $10.96 in the Bottle Club®. 91 points from IWC.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Hi Speed Blogging

It's a short attention span week. Everyone has so much to do this week, we thought we'd make this post as concise as possible.

Thanksgiving Recommendations, by the Joe Canal's Staff

Click on the product category below for the recommendations.
Red Wine
White Wine
Craft Beer

There's a very strong possibility that you'll be eating pizza this week. Click here for our staff wine and craft beer pairing recommendations.

Store Hours

We have extended hours for the next three days, as follows:
Tuesday, 11/24, 8am-10pm
Wednesday, 11/25, 8am-10pm
Thanksgiving, 9am-4pm

Special orders will be accepted, but none will be processed until after Thanksgiving. Plan ahead for Christmas, as there will be a similar cut-off.

Attention, Woodbridge shoppers! We know how busy you are, so we're ready to do your Joe Canal's shopping for you. Click here for the details on our online ordering/in-store pickup program.

Gift Sets

Of course, this is also the time of year for pre-packaged holiday gift sets. Right now, we have the biggest selection of the season. Most of the gift sets are available at the same price as the item is without the extras, so that's a great excuse to get something for yourself as well.

Wine gift sets are typically multiple bottles, like the Cavit Pinot Grigio/Pinot Noir pack. For spirits, like the Knob Creek (at left), glasses are often included.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Pre-Turkey Grab Bag

To paraphrase the line from "Bad Boys 2," stuffing about to get real. With only a couple of days left to make your Thanksgiving wine, beer and spirits selections, we're here to help. And we'll include our usual weekly recap  as well.

Beginning this Sunday, we have extended store hours, as follows:
Sunday, 11/22, 9am-9pm
Monday, 11/23, 8am-10pm
Tuesday, 11/24, 8am-10pm
Wednesday, 11/25, 8am-10pm
Thanksgiving, 9am-4pm

Scroll to the bottom of this post for links to our recommendations for Thanksgiving wine, beer and spirits.

The night before Thanksgiving registers more pizza sales than nearly any other night of the year. We asked our staff, who came up with some stellar pizza pairing ideas for you. Click here for their recommendations.

New Products

Bodegas Jiminez-Landi Bajondillo. Very clean wine with a sparkling ruby color. It has an intense and complex nose of red berries, wild herbs, licorice and violets. The palate is an explosion of strawberry; intense and balanced with vibrant acidity that makes you drink with pleasure and ease.  Only $10.96 in the Bottle Club®.

This time of year is important for anyone who enjoys Fine Wine. There are quite a few newly-released vintages arriving in our stores, along with some rarities, like the next wine.

Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia 2012. Extremely limited availability. This is a perfect Fine Wine to give, to enjoy, or to cellar. WA:91-93, JS:93.

Araujo’s second wine, the 2012 Proprietary Red Altagracia exhibits beautiful blueberry, black raspberry and cassis fruit which reflects the purity that frequently comes from this vineyard.
The tannins are soft, and the wine is lighter than its bigger sibling, but it possesses medium body, velvety tannin, and a gorgeous mouthfeel. Already approachable, this seductive, plush 2012 should age effortlessly for 10-15 years.

Araujo has turned out some fabulous wines in 2012 and 2013, all incredibly young and primary, but bursting with potential. $124.99 in the Bottle Club®.

We've also just received a limited amount of Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Pedregal 2012 (WA:97) and Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Annum Diamond Mountain 2012 (WA:96).

Winter Seasonal Beers. These have started to arrive, such as Troegs Blizzard of Hops Winter IPA. Troegs created this Winter IPA to toast hop growers around the world for another successful harvest. This storm of hoppy citrus and pine notes is a bright reminder the end of the Hop Cycle is only the beginning. 6.4% ABV, 80 IBU's. Available in 6-pack bottles and 12-pack cans.

Ciroc Apple. We discussed this a few weeks ago, and it should arrive in our stores as early as today.

Holiday Gift Sets. The best selection of the season is currently in stock.

In Store Events

Both stores will have their regular wine tastings this weekend. For Lawrenceville, the hours are 4-6pm today, and 2-4pm on Saturday. Click here for the tasting menu. In Woodbridge, the hours are 4-6pm today, and 1-3pm tomorrow. Click here for the tasting menu.

Thanksgiving Recommendations

Please click on the category name for our wine, beer and spirits recommendations for Thanksgiving.

Craft Beer
Red wine
White wine

Ripped from the Headlines

Coupon Savings. We've recently mailed out a special sales flyer. In case you didn't receive one, you can view it here for Lawrenceville, and here for Woodbridge. The flyer includes a couple of coupons, along with some exceptionally low sale prices.

Your blogger happens to live in one of the targeted zones, so we received our mailer last Friday. On Monday, we received a mailer from one of our competitors, and that gave us the opportunity to sit down and compare prices and terms from the comfort of our mancave.

As you might expect, even with a special sale, our prices were lower on most items. It was, however, the terms and conditions that set us apart. For Joe Canal's, each store sent their own mailer. For our competitor, a brand name with multiple locations, one mailer covered all the stores. You had to read the fine print for these important conditions:
1. "Products and their prices may not be available at member stores"
2. "All prices cash and carry"

Here at Joe Canal's, we value and appreciate your business. Our low prices don't change based on how you pay. And on those rare occasions when something is available at one store, but not the other, that information is clearly presented.

This is a good opportunity to remind you that we also offer new coupon savings every week. We publish coupons on our website every Tuesday. We also offer a coupon every Thursday via Twitter, so you should follow us there.

Ballast Point Brewing. Sold to Constellation Brands for about $1 Billion. Click here for the story.

Wine Spectator Top 100 for 2015. Click here for their list. Consult our store staff to see which wines we still have in stock.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Just In Time

Today, we're featuring some of our newly-arrived products. If you need something for Thanksgiving, well, we're here to help.

Before we get there, however, please note our extended holiday hours, beginning this Sunday:
Sunday, 11/22, 9am-9pm
Monday, 11/23, 8am-10pm
Tuesday, 11/24, 8am-10pm
Wednesday, 11/25, 8am-10pm
Thanksgiving, 9am-4pm

If you need recommendations from our staff for a Thanksgiving beverage, please click on the product categories here:
Craft Beer
Red wine
White wine

And if you're also having pizza the night before Thanksgiving, and you want some great new staff suggestions, please click here. You may want to keep that link handy, because those recommendations will always be applicable.

New Products

Gift Sets. We have a wide range of gift items in stock. If you're gifting wine, there are multi-bottle sets available. If you're looking for spirits, the gift sets might include a cocktail shaker, glasses or 50ml sample bottles, among other selections. Our beer gift sets include a mix of multi-bottle packages and add-on products. And some gift sets, like the one pictured here, are category-breakers.

While we'll continue getting new gift sets for a little while, the best selection is available right now.

Georges Dubœuf Beaujolais Nouveau. Today is Beaujolais Nouveau Day. This is the first wine release of the 2015 harvest, and always sells out because of its connection to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. The Georges Dubœuf Beaujolais Nouveau will be on sale today in the Bottle Club® for only $8.09.

The hallmark tasting notes of Beaujolais Nouveau are a radiant ruby red color, with fruit flavors of strawberries and jam-like fruits, accompanied by a perfumed nose. It's well-balanced, with a smooth finish.

If you like the Beaujolais Nouveau, you may want to consider some of our other new Beaujolais arrivals. For example, we've just received the Domaine de la Combe au Loup Beaujolais Village. While the Nouveau is really fresh, the Village is from the 2014 harvest, making it a more balanced wine.

This wine comes from a family owned estate that was established in 1870. The vineyards are 100% Gamay, and most of the vines are over 50 years old. The grapes are hand-picked. The wine is bottled early to capture the freshness. Pairs with cooked meat, poultry and grilled meat. And lots of people recommend a Beaujolais as the perfect burger wine.

The Domaine de la Combe au Loup Beaujolais Village 2014 is available in the Bottle Club® for only $10.46. Goes with turkey...goes with burgers...maybe 2 bottles are in order.

Bailey's Espresso Creme. A bold dark roast coffee aroma with the taste of fresh ground espresso beans on top of Irish cream and chocolate throughout the smooth classic Bailey's finish. The new flavor is available for $21.79 in the Bottle Club®.

Click here for some delicious cocktail recipes for the new Bailey's Espresso.

Smirnoff Peppermint Twist. This is available for a limited time, and is perfect for this time of year. Deliciously cool and sweet candied peppermint aroma. Perfect as a chilled shot or creatively mixed in your favorite holiday cocktail…and of course, candy cane garnish is a must!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Other Big Dinner Next Week

According to the folks over at, the night before Thanksgiving is one of the top 5 days for pizza sales. The others are, in no particular order, Super Bowl Sunday, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day and Halloween. We thought we'd take a quick survey of our staffers, to see what recommendations they had for a pizza pairing. Please note that every product mentioned is linked to the Joe Canal's website page for that item. This will allow you to learn more about that product, and see the pricing as well.

Here are their suggestions:

Toni Carver
Toni Carver, Lawrenceville Store Manager: "I love an imperial IPA with an extra cheese and garlic pie!! In general, an IPA will pair very well with cheese. The crispness of the IPA cuts the pizza grease and heightens all of the flavors."

Her recommendations:
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Elysian Space Dust IPA
Victory Vital IPA
Sam Adams Rebel Rider

Tom Broderick

Tom Broderick, Woodbridge Store Manager: "I'm a big fan of Margharita pizza and the perfect pairing is a funky, crisp Belgian saison, such as Saison Dupont or De Proef Saison Imperiale. The mellow, fresh qualities of the beer complement the earthiness of the basil and oregano while the hops cut the acidity of the pizza."

Brandon Bartfalvi, Lawrenceville Senior Wine Manager: "No question, it's Poggio Anima Samael Montepulciano D'Abbruzzo. Ripe, flavorful and generous with ample spice notes. This is my comfort wine and it is awesome with a good tomato pie. Delish!!!"

David Rudd, Woodbridge Assistant Store Manager: "I love a Zinfandel with meatsapizza! The spicy, jammy character absolutely compliment the seasonings used in cured Italian meats and sausages. Like a party in your mouth, gotta gotta get up to get down."

"Try the Carol Shelton Wild Thing or the St. Francis Old Vine Zinfandel."

Kevin Saunders, Lawrenceville Wine Manager: "I am a firm believer in the idea of 'what grows together, goes together.' When I'm eating Italian food, I'm drinking Italian wine. One of my go to wines is the Cerro Manero Rosso di Toscana 2013. It's only $9.96 in the Bottle Club® and it's rated 93 points. How could you not?"

Dave Glaubinger, Woodbridge Wine Supervisor: "I always seem to go back to Italian reds with pizza and pasta. They just have a certain texture that compliments the red sauce, cheese and various toppings. Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is a really good example of an easy-drinking and affordable red from central Italy. Of course, that small grapevine they have tied to the bottle is one of the greatest marketing tools ever created !!! People come back looking for a delicious, nameless Italian wine 'with the stick'. Just to give representation to other worthy pizza pairings from elsewhere in Italy, Mastroberardino Aglianico - from the home of 'Napolitano' - is a mouthful of fruity, soft velvet, . . . . .and Altesino Rosso di Altesino, from the master Brunello maker, with it's typical Tuscan 'bite' also hits the spot with any pizza and pasta meal (spaghetti is often on my table, next to the pizza)."

Stephen Kubowitz, Lawrenceville Floor Manager/Beer Purchaser: "A bock will pair nicely with a sausage and mushroom pie.  The spice of the sausage and the earthy mushroom flavor enhances the maltiness of a bock. And my preference is Shiner Bock."

So your blogger is about ready to grab a quick slice of pizza right now. Buon appetito!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

New Italian Masterpiece

In the same way that the night before Thanksgiving is a pizza-filled distraction from turkey, we're taking a break from our Thanksgiving-related topics to talk about another Italian delicacy.

Earthshaker wines come to us from the same team that brought us 90+ Cellars. Earthshaker is a collection of wines that focus on place more than points, and stories more than scores. Today, we're featuring their L'Amis Barbaresco.

Barbaresco is comprised of the rolling hills on the southern bank of the Tamaro River, northeast of the city of Alba in Italy’s Piedmont. The clay soils in these hills are a key ingredient in the famous white truffles of Alba. Like its neighbor Barolo, the wines are elegantly scented and powerful reds made from the Nebbiolo grape. The warmth derived from the proximity to the river, along with shorter aging requirements, allows these wines to express themselves at a younger age. While Barolo is a baritone, Barbaresco trends toward a tenor. For some time it was considered a "junior" to Barolo, but over the years Barbaresco has clearly revealed its own unique essence.

The grapes are hand harvested from hillside vineyards in the communes of Barbaresco and Neive. In the commune of Barbaresco, the vineyards are planted on southwestern facing slopes of marl and limestone spliced through by a rich vein of clay. Here, the deeper soil gives the wine muscles, depth, and texture. Vineyards within the township of Neive are composed of white clay marl and limestone with a bit of sand. These thinner, more loosely composed soils bring elegance and finesse to the wine.

Grape bunches are hand harvested and hand selected before a soft crushing. Selected yeasts are introduced to the must, and the wine ferments for two to three weeks in stainless steel. The finished wines are blended and aged between 16-24 months in Slavonian oak.

The wine has an intense garnet color with orange highlights. Its aroma is a dense core of blackberry and cherry fruit with overtones of withered rose petals and spices. These flavors persist after your first sip, the freshness of fruit melting into a floral and savory finish. It has a lofty elegance while maintaining its approachability, making it a wine you can have fun with now, or cellar away for years to come.

Earthshaker L'Amis Barbaresco is $19.96 in the Bottle Club®.