Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Deliveries are Back!

Most of our suppliers were on shut-down last week, meaning they were closed. Then we had yesterday's awesome snow, removing another delivery day. We're finally back to a normal schedule, so let's take a look at what's due to arrive at our stores.

Bayten Sauvignon Blanc

When you manage to get your tongue around it, Buitenverwachting (pronounced bay-ten-fur-vachk-ting) is Dutch for “beyond expectation.” Today, however, locals lovingly refer to the farm as Bayten. Nestled at the base of the imposing Constantia Mountain, it’s just a few miles from the azure blue of False Bay. The farm’s history dates back to 1773, but in 1982, the property was extensively renovated and replanted, and now produces some of the Cape’s most classical wines. Beyond expectation, indeed.

This crisp, zesty South African Sauvignon Blanc displays classic aromas and flavors of green fig, gooseberry and lime. Pepper and herbal notes are supported by elegant hints of mineral and chalk. 90 points from Wine Spectator, and #63 of the 2014 Top 100.

Only $13.99 in the Bottle Club®.

Mohua Pinot Noir

We've been carrying their Sauvignon Blanc for some time now. 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 $15.99 in the Bottle Club®.

Tomasello Ranier Red, 1.5L

From one of New Jersey's leading wineries. Named after our grandmother, the famous Ranier Red is a sweet red wine with the taste of freshly picked grapes. Its intense grape character owes its beautiful fragrance primarily to Native American Concord Grape. With a sweetness level of a dessert wine, it is perfect with walnuts and stilton cheese. Made every year at our winery since its inception, over 78 years, it enjoys a very loyal following that grows everyday! For the sweeter palette, it is the most intense of the Ranier wines.

Available in Lawrenceville only, for $13.99. Coming soon to Woodbridge.



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Latest from the Wagner Family

There's nothing like a well-made red wine to take our mind off of the New Jersey winter. Since the snow event was less than the hype, we're able to introduce you to this great new Napa Valley red.

From the Wagner Family of Wines, the 2011 Carne Humana is a red wine blend sourced from six vineyards throughout the upper-Napa Valley sub-appellations of Calistoga, St. Helena, and Rutherford. Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, and Zinfandel are among the grape varieties chosen for this vintage. Whereas most red blends are created from separate lots and combined before bottling, Carne Humana was co-fermented and barrel aged as a single lot for greater depth and integration.
This wine was aged in a combination of new and seasoned French oak barrels for 18 months, and bottled on May 29, 2013.

Tasting Notes: A scarlet purple edge in the glass with a crimson black core confirm the bright freshness and ripe intensity of the wine. Aromas include cool pomace, dried fig, black licorice and cranberry. Supple tannin and mild acidity complement the fleshy fruit character - A broadly extracted wine with mild grip and texture and a full polished finish.

$29.99 in the Bottle Club®.

Monday, January 26, 2015

What to Drink for Valentine's Day, Part 3: Beer

One sure sign of the maturity of the Craft Beer industry is the acceptance of these brews as great beverage choices on holidays. We started this project back at Thanksgiving, and we're continuing now with Valentine's Day. Because the snow will stop, eventually. In no particular order, we suggest you consider the following craft beers for Valentine's Day, with a special orientation toward dessert/chocolate pairings.

Weyerbacher Tango

Tango is a big, bold, Belgian-style dark ale brewed with 1,200 pounds of cherries!

Tango pours a beautiful ruby color with a nice fluffy head, offering a very complex aroma of cherries and other dark fruits. The strong 750 ml glass bottle finished with a cork and cage allows the very robust bottle-conditioning responsible for Tango’s effervescence. Dark fruit flavors join the cherries to match up with the strong malt bill with the Belgian yeast adding its 2 cents along the way.

Tango weighs in at 10.6% ABV and was brewed using a base of Pilsner Malt with Honey Malt, Special B, Aromatic Malt and a touch of Chocolate Malt. Apollo hops balance all that sweetness to 35 IBU.

Would pair with any sort of chocolate, fruit flavored and filled chocolate, desserts, and would be a great night cap. It is boozy and sweet, just like your Valentine's Day should be!!

Rogue Chocolate Stout

Ebony in color with a rich creamy head. An earthy flavor of oats and hops that gives way to a rich chocolate truffle finish. Pair with any dessert.

The recipe for Rogue Chocolate Stout was created several years ago for export to Japan. The exported twelve ounce Chocolate Bear Beer bottle label is in Kanji and features a teddy bear with a pink heart on his belly. Chocolate Stout was released for Valentine’s Day in 2001 in a twenty-two ounce bottle for the US market. The label features a Rogue original, Sebbie Buhler.



Weyerbacher Tiny

Tiny is a Belgian inspired Imperial Stout weighing in at 11.8% ABV. You’ll find big chocolate and roasted notes, balanced with the Belgian flavors from the Abbey yeast strain.

This beer is very smooth and lacks the astringency you sometimes find in these Imperial Stouts.

A good accompaniment for roasted and braised beef, caramelized, savory and also sweeter dishes. Tiny also complements chocolate, espresso and coffee flavored desserts.

Yards Love Stout

Brewery notes: "Our brewers have poured their hearts and dark, roasted malts into this rich, well-rounded stout. Luscious notes of coffee and chocolate accent the smooth, creamy mouth feel. We will not apologize for any amorous affairs resulting from the consumption of this beverage."

This is a Dry English Stout, coming in at 5.5% ABV. Significant ingredients are Roasted Barley and Chocolate malts.

Pairings: Love Stout and oysters are a match made in heaven, but this sweetheart also gets along well with rich, sweet treats, soft cheeses and winter stews.

Boulder Beer Shake Chocolate Porter

Our twist on the traditional robust American Porter, Shake Chocolate Porter is dark black in color with rich, sweet aromatics and flavors of dark chocolate, coffee and caramel. This unique brew blends five different grains, including Chocolate Wheat, that along with cacao nibs create a devilishly delicious chocolate finish with a velvety mouthfeel.

5.9% ABV. Currently available only in Lawrenceville.

Yards Chocolate Love Stout

It's Love in a Bottle. Passionately brewed with over 200 pounds of pure, 100% cacao Belgian dark chocolate, this irresistibly smooth stout explodes with the taste and aroma of rich, dark chocolate goodness. This deep black beauty will seduce you with her roasty maltiness and hints of vanilla and caramel.

6.9% ABV, this pairs with long walks on the beach (maybe not this week) candlelit dinners, big comfy beds, cabins with fireplaces, scenic overlooks...you get the picture.

Kasteel Rouge

Not exactly a domestic craft beer, but excellent for Valentine's Day. Kasteel Rouge is a unique blend of Kasteel Donker and a sweet cherry liqueur. This fruity beer makes a great aperitif on a sunny terrace. It’s certainly a beer for lovers of sweet cherries with an overpowering aroma of the fruit. The cherries get the better of the malt in the Kasteel Donker mother beer, although it contributes touches of chocolate and pepper to remind you it’s there. It is surprisingly easily digestible for quite a strong beer (8%ABV).

Currently available only in Woodbridge.


As you can see, the craft beer category offers some exceptional selections to enjoy on Valentine's Day, or any time that dessert is on the agenda. Please consult with our beer team if you need assistance finding these items, or if you're considering something else.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Grab Bag

We're not going to let a little weather get in the way of our enjoying the weekend. We anticipate opening as scheduled tomorrow, and we look forward to serving you as usual.

As we did for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's, we're offering recommendations on What to Drink for Valentine's Day. Click here for Part 1 (bubbly), and click here for Part 2 (dessert wine). We'll have more recommendations next week.

Events in Lawrenceville

We're hosting our regular wine tastings this weekend, 4-6pm today and 2-4pm tomorrow. Click here for the menu, which is the same for both days.

On Sunday, we'll be at the WPST Bridal Show at the Princeton Westin at Forrestal Village. If you're planning a wedding, we can help you save money and impress your guests. Click here for more information.

Events in Woodbridge

We're having our regular weekend wine tasting in Woodbridge as well, 4-6pm today, and 1-3pm tomorrow. Click here for the menu, which is the same for both days.

Events in Both Stores

With TV shows like "Moonshiners" and a growing number of products available, you know that the Moonshine category is popular. But, other than going to the backwoods somewhere in the South, how do you know you're getting the real Moonshine experience?

On Saturday, January 31, Tim Smith, creator of Climax Moonshine, will visit our Lawrenceville and Woodbridge stores. Tim Smith is a moonshiner turned legit, and you'll have the opportunity to sample Climax Moonshine and have Tim sign your bottle. He'll be in Lawrenceville (click here for more info) from noon-2pm, and Woodbridge (click here for more info) from 4-6pm.

This is blowing up on our social media, and we look forward to hosting a big crowd for this event.

New Products

Castello di Ama San Lorenzo Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione 2010. 95 points from Wine Spectator, and #6 on their Top 100 of 2014. "Their review: Offers a combination of power and elegance, with a racy feel. Notes of wild cherry, strawberry and rose, with leafy, woodsy flavors, permeate this driving red. The finish is long, but this needs time to shed the tannins. Well-defined from start to finish. Sangiovese, Malvasia Nera and Merlot. Best from 2017 through 2030."

From the winery notes: "Castello di Ama San Lorenzo takes its name from the magnificent wide valley that our18th century villas overlook. Castello di Ama San Lorenzo is made from grapes that come from our best vineyards.

Part of the vineyards were planted between 1974 and 1978, at an average density of 3,000 vines per hectare, while newer plantings at a density of 5,300 vines per hectare, starting in 1996 and continuing to the present date, replace the outdated vineyards.

Castello di Ama San Lorenzo is an extraordinarily elegant, powerful and intense wine. Undoubtedly it represents the perfect picture of the uniqueness of our territory. The varieties, grafted onto rootstock 420, are 80% Sangiovese and 20% Malvasia Nera and Merlot.

A ruby red that is at the same time luminous, lively, and intense. The bouquet is composed of wild red berry fruit. A gorgeous, aromatic marriage of fruit and spice mark an impressive attack, in a wine that is overall refined and stylish.

At this writing, there are about 5 cases available in Lawrenceville only. This will be available in Woodbridge next week. The release price was $52, but it's on sale in the Bottle Club® for only $44.99.

Ripped from the Headlines

There's an unnamed state near New Jersey that is what's called a "Control State". That means wine and spirits must  be purchased from the state, not a small, locally-owned business. There are about a dozen such states in the US, and this is an artifact of the repeal of Prohibition.

They're in the news this week because they've stopped taking special orders, state-wide, due to a backlog and manpower shortages. At Joe Canal's, our staff is always ready to accommodate special requests. Some products simply aren't available in New Jersey, but we're always ready to investigate for you.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

What's New?

Glad I asked. Although this is shut-down week for many of our product distributors, a few new items found their way into our stores. We think you'll want to know about these great products.

Carne Humana

Your blogger wasn't too sure about the name, until it was learned that this comes from the Wagner Family of Wines. They're the folks who produce Caymus, Meiomi, Conundrum, and so many other outstanding wines.

Carne Humana is a Proprietary Red Blend from the Napa Valley, featuring Petite Sirah (for structure, chocolate notes and the inky color), Zinfandel (for lively acidity and dark red fruit), Petit Verdot (for firm tannins, plus violet and anise notes), and Syrah (notes of bacon, blackberry and black pepper).

There's blackberry, dark chocolate, black licorice, ripe cherry, hints of black pepper and cured meat on the nose. On the palate, a hint of sweet tobacco, maple, cherry pie filling, black licorice and an enlivened, bright acidity on the entry that is quickly followed by rich, dark fruits, dried cranberry and sweet oak. Lingering finish. It's rich and bold, balanced by acidity and integrated tannin. $29.99 in the Bottle Club®.



Giuseppe Cortese Rabaja Barbaresco 2010

This amazing wine ranked #37 on the 2014 Wine Spectator Top 100, at 94 points, and never got fewer than 92 points from any professional reviewer.

Barbaresco wine, made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes, must undergo a two-year ageing process, of which one at least in barrel. The maximum yield per hectare is not allowed to exceed 80 quintals of grapes, equivalent to 56 hectoliters; minimum natural alcohol content is 12%.

The Wine Spectator review: "Bright, with cherry, strawberry and floral aromas and flavors, this is backed by a firm yet integrated underlying structure. Beautifully poised for development, so hands off for now. Juicy and long, delivering a lingering aftertaste of cherry, spice and mineral. Best from 2015 through 2027."

And the winery tasting notes: "Barbaresco Rabajà is our most important wine and has an intense and ethereal perfume with fresh notes that evolve into scents of spices, tobacco and brushwood notes as it ages. A dry, full and robust flavor with a rich and harmonious structure; garnet red color."

The release price for this wine was $55, but it's on sale in the Bottle Club® for $46.99.

So while it was a light week in quantity, the quality of these wines more than compensates.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What to Drink for Valentine's Day, Part 2

It probably won't surprise you to learn that candy rates as #2 on the list of most popular gifts for Valentine's Day. Number 1 on the list is cards, which some people may not really consider a gift. Flowers (34%) finished well behind candy (47%, statistics from the Retail Advertising and Marketing Assoc), which was a mild upset. But since candy has always been associated with Valentine's Day, we thought we'd give you some wine pairing options for that box of chocolates.

The Golden Rule in successfully pairing chocolate (or any dessert) is simple: The wine should be sweeter than the dessert. From there, you can get more nuanced; an intense wine pairs best with a rich dessert. Wines with more acidity do well with fruity desserts. Skip the ice cream, however, as frozen desserts tend to dull the palate (although we can suggest a variation of the Root Beer Float, using Prichard's Sweet Lucy Bourbon Cream with root beer and vanilla ice cream, but we digress).

Port wine is a classic dessert wine. It's fortified (higher in alcohol), and, like Champagne comes from Champagne, France, true Port will come from the Douro Valley of Portugal. Port-style wines (sometimes using the term 'port') come from virtually every wine-producing region.

At Joe Canal's, we carry a wide range of Port wine, so you're sure to find something to please your palate and your wallet. You may want to consider the Dow's Vintage Port 2007. Dow’s Vintage Ports are only produced in years of exceptional quality and represent only a very small part of the total company’s production in that year.

Wine Spectator ranked this as #14 in their Top 100 of 2010, scoring it a perfect 100. From the review: "Amazing aromas of lilac, violet, crushed blueberry and mineral that turn to black pepper and spices follow through to a full-bodied, medium-sweet palate, with a long, chewy finish. Evolves to tar and asphalt. Really held back, yet powerful grip slaps you—and makes you happy. This is mind-blowing in texture. The greatest Dow ever made." Available in the Bottle Club® for $148.99. At the time of this writing, we have only two bottles in each store.

If you're looking for a Port that's an excellent introduction to the category, you would do well with Fonseca Bin 27.

Bin 27 shares the heritage and style of the great Fonseca Vintage Ports, as well as much of their depth and character.

However, it is bottled when ready to drink and can be served by the glass directly from the bottle. Blended for consistency of character and quintessentially Fonseca in style, this reserve blend provides reliable and affordable value, priced at $14.99 in the Bottle Club®.

Deep youthful ruby color. Intense rich fruity nose crammed with pure blackberry, cassis, cherry and plum aromas interwoven with notes of spice. 

The palate full bodied and round, with a smooth velvety texture balanced by firm mouth filling tannins. The juicy black fruit flavors linger into the rich luscious finish.

The rich black fruit flavors of Bin 27 are a perfect match for chocolate and berry fruit dishes. A chocolate fondant with strawberries makes a deliciously hedonistic combination with Bin 27, the rich creamy chocolate and luscious ripe strawberries blending seductively with the blackcurrant and cherry fruitiness of the wine. Bin 27 is also excellent served after a meal with bitter chocolate with a high cocoa content or a plate of chocolate brownies or truffles.

One of the interesting Italian wine traditions is the drying of grapes before they're crushed. The Amarone is a classic dinner wine made in this manner, and the Recioto della Valpolicella is the dessert wine counterpart.

The Roberto Mazzi Recioto della Valpolicella "Le Calcarole" is made from the traditional grapes (65% Corvina, 10% Corvinone, 20% Rondinella and 5% Molinara) in the traditional manner (drying via natural methods in boxes and racks in well-ventilated areas with periodic monitoring of the state of health of the grapes and crushing in early or mid-February according to the vintage). The wine is aged in oak for two years, followed by another year in the bottle.

At 15.5% ABV, it's higher than many table wines, but lower than some of the fortified dessert wines. It exhibits an intense ruby red color, with aromas of red berry fruit jam and spices. The taste is round, warm and inviting, with a very persistent finish, having a typical slightly bitter after taste due to the type of soil. Pair with spicy cheese and dessert. Also ideal with dark chocolate (max. 70% cocoa ).  Available for $29.96 in the Bottle Club®.

We have plenty of other dessert wine choices, including Sauternes, Tokaji, Sherry, and Madeira. Any member of our wine team can help you find the right bottle, so just ask!



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

On the Boulevard

Due to a sizable number of requests, we've just added a number of products from Boulevard Brewing, located in Kansas City. Check with anyone on our Beer team to see what's currently in stock*.

Boulevard Brewing Company has grown to be the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest. Since 1989, the brewery has remained dedicated to the craft of producing fresh, flavorful beers using traditional ingredients and the best of both old and new brewing techniques.

Today's New Product is Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer is a lively, refreshing ale with a natural citrusy flavor and distinctive cloudy appearance. This easy drinking American-style wheat beer has become their most popular offering.

It's a  slightly cloudy, light-bodied, straw colored beer with a sweet, bready malt flavor, low hop bitterness and a hint of citrus. Serve in a Wheat Beer glass.

Pair with breads, Manchego or Mozzarella cheese, pizza, salads, seafood or sushi.

*Stock varies by store. As of this writing, 80 Acre, Pop Up IPA, Single Wide IPA and Tank 7 are available in bottles. 80 Acre and Tank 7 are currently available at the Growler station in Woodbridge.