Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Grab Bag

Our favorite blog post of the week! We cover a number of different topics in our weekly wrap-up, so let's get to it.


We offered a pretty detailed preview of our upcoming events in yesterday's blog post. Click here to read that post. We'll give you the headlines here.

Today: wine tasting, 4-6pm. Staff picks.
Saturday: wine tasting, 2-4pm. Lafite Around the World
Wednesday, 10/29: Weyerbacher Small Plates & Samplings, in-store, 6:30pm
Thursday, 10/30: spirits tasting, 4-6pm
Click here for the Events page in Lawrenceville

Today: wine tasting, 4-6pm. Staff picks.
Saturday: wine tasting, 1-3pm. Staff picks.
Sunday: Ladies Night Out, 7:30pm-9:30pm. Free admission with advance RSVP; benefits Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
Monday, 10/27: Bruichladdich educational tasting. Two sessions-one at 6:30pm, one at 8pm. RSVP.
Wednesday, 10/29: Wine Dinner at Dominic's Italian Restaurant in Avenel.
Click here for the Events page in Woodbridge

New Products

This category also includes items that may have been out of stock for a while, or are rarities. For example:

Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame. The color is luminous, sparkling gold with amber highlights.

There is plenty of effervescence. The fine, light bead swirls up slowly and gracefully. The first nose reveals a definite mineral base, with noble fruit (white peaches, bergamot) and remarkable intensity.

On agitating, the bouquet becomes gourmand and voluptuous with hints of brioche, nougat, vanilla, frangipane and jasmine.

We have an extremely limited supply of La Grand Dame in this beautiful wooden gift box.

Neely Pinot Noir. "The Pinot Noir grape varietal inspires unique interest among wine enthusiasts worldwide. The challenge and potential of cultivating Pinot Noir in our unique Spring Ridge micro-climate, at the northernmost edge of the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation, was exciting, and in 1997 we planted our first 3 acre Pinot block, Hidden."

Neely Pinot Noir typically scores 90 or more points from the Wine Advocate. Look for the Hidden Block, Picnic Block, and Upper Picnic Blocks.

Also look for:
Hibiki Whisky, 17 year old and 21 year old. Limited availability.
Classic Malts: Specialty packages of Oban, Lagavulin, Dalwhinnie, Cragganmore, and Clynelish.

Ripped from the Headlines

Old school moonshiners continue to distill their unique products in the hills. Click here to read about modern-day bootleggers.
What a modern moonshiner uses. From the article.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Our Events & Activities

At Joe Canal's, there's always something good going on. Sometimes, as we outlined in yesterday's post, we're getting deliveries of great new and/or seasonal products. Sometimes, we have killer drink or meal recipes, courtesy of our industry partners. And then there are the Special Events we're involved in, which is the topic of today's post.


This weekend, Lawrenceville has wine tastings on Friday and Saturday. The Friday tasting is 4-6pm, and features Staff Selections. Click here for that tasting menu. Saturday's tasting is 2-4pm, but will feature "Lafite Around the World".

From the Domaines Barons de Rothschild, Lafite wines are produced in several countries, and offer tremendous value. Click here to see the tasting menu.

A unique event next week is the Weyerbacher Small Plates & Samplings, coming up on Wednesday, October 29, at 6:30pm. This is an in-store event, and is a "must" for the craft beer lover. Attendees will enjoy five Small Plates, paired with five different Weyerbacher beers, in four-ounce servings. The cost is only $25.
Here's the beer and pairing menu:
-AutumnFest, paired with soft pretzels and beer cheese.
-Althea, paired with assorted cheese, figs and crostini.
-Imperial Pumpkin, paired with Curried Butternut Squash soup with roasted pumpkin seeds.
-Last Chance IPA, paired with BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders.
-Tiny, paired with chocolates, brownies, cheesecake and coffee.

For more information, please click here. To RSVP, please call the store at 609-520-0008.

To stay current, please click here and bookmark our Events page.


It's Ladies Night Out this Sunday, October 26, starting at 7:30pm. There's food, fun, wine tasting, and so much more, all to benefit the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Admission is FREE with your advance RSVP. To see the full agenda, please click here.

Of course, Woodbridge will have the regular wine tastings on Friday (4-6pm) and Saturday (1-3pm). Click here for the tasting menu.

We'll also have a special Bruichladdich tasting class on Monday, October 27. There will be two sessions, and they're both free. Please click here for information; the link in the image won't work.

Two days after that, we're sponsoring a Wine Dinner at Dominic's Italian Restaurant in Avenel. Four courses, four wines, forty dollars. Please click here for information.

That just covers the rest of October! We have more great things planned in November (Kane Brewing Beer Dinner, for example) and beyond. To stay current, please click here and bookmark our Events page.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Delivering the Goods

Our buyers present us with two sure signs of the season, as a part of this week's scheduled deliveries.

Pennsylvania Dutch Pumpkin Cream Liqueur

Made with real dairy cream and delicious pumpkin flavor! Perfect holiday drink! Available in the 1.75L size.

Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Nog

Blended whiskey, rum and brandy blended with fresh dairy cream make this a holiday favorite. Just add a little cinnamon and ground nutmeg to create a wonderful holiday cocktail! Available in 750ML and 1.75L sizes.

Dolin Vermouth

Made to the same base of recipes since 1821, Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry has long been the benchmark for fine Vermouth. Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry is made of fine wines and botanicals found in the Alpine meadows above Chambéry. Together they impart a fresh and elegant nose, with a subtle and complex palate. Ideal as an aperitif or in cocktails.
Tasting notes: Dolin Vermouths are notably lighter, drier and less pungent than their larger commercial counterparts. The particular mixture of plants found near Chambéry give a fresh, restrained and elegant nose, with a subtle, complex bittersweet palate. Even the Blanc and Rouge retain great balance, with the sugar never cloying, and just enough bitterness to whet the appetite. Each can be enjoyed as aperitif on ice, with a twist of citrus, or in a broad array of traditional cocktails.

We're carrying the Dry, Rouge and Blanc, all priced at $11.99

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Finish

This is the latest in product innovation from Woodford Reserve, and marks the ninth release in the series. The Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Finish was produced by taking a batch of mature Woodford Reserve and finishing the spirit in Pinot Noir barrels freshly emptied and shipped from California’s famed Sonoma-Cutrer Winery.

Tasting notes:
Appearance: Rich, deep garnet
Nose: Bursting with rich red fruit and berry character overlaying a complex sprinkling of spice (cinnamon, clove), oak and dark caramel.
Taste: Warm and fruit forward with notes of cherry, raspberry, blackberry followed by a crisp spiciness and subtle oak sweetness.
Finish: Long and warm with lingering fruit and earthy oak character.
90.4 proof.

Available in limited quantities for $93.99 in the Bottle Club®.

In addition, these two highly allocated items will arrive within the next day or two:
-Parker's Heritage Collection,8th Edition
-Balvenie 25 Year Old
And not allocated, but available only for a limited time, as in for the holidays, until they're gone from stock, Crystal Head Vodka Gift Sets.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

From Casablanca

That's the Casablanca Valley in Chile. No, we don't carry any products from that other Casablanca. The Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay is our pick of the week, and here's why.

Chile is a land of soaring Andes mountains, a mild Mediterranean climate, and fine wines. From the premium wine producing regions of Chile come the best grapes, and it is here that Viña Errázuriz has been producing the highest quality Chilean wines for more than 130 years.

Don Maximiano Errázuriz founded Viña Errázuriz in 1870 in the Valle de Aconcagua, 100 kms north of the capital city, Santiago. Recognizing that this valley, with its cool, rainy winters, hot, dry summers and moist Pacific Ocean breezes, was ideal for growing grapes, Don Maximiano sent for the finest clones from France and with tenacity and perseverance transformed this barren land into a world-class vineyard.

Today, the tradition of quality lives on with Don Maximiano’s descendant, Eduardo Chadwick. Eduardo is the fifth generation of his family to be involved in the wine business.

Over the last five years, Errazuriz’ Chardonnay Wild Ferment has become recognized as perhaps the top Chardonnay from South America.  Errazuriz ferments its best lots of Chardonnay using natural yeasts. Natural fermentation starts slower than inoculated fermentation because the yeasts must grow to sufficient numbers to transform sugars into alcohol. During this period the yeasts produce by-products which add distinctive flavors and complexity to the wine. Some lots start the fermentation and eventually finish, others ferment slowly and do not finish off the sugars completely, leaving more mouth feel. These natural fermentations take anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks to complete while the inoculated lots take less than a week.

This 2013 vintage was a big hit with the wine industry's professional reviewers:

"This a phenomenal white with sliced apple, papaya, and chalk with hints of slate. Turns to limes. Full body, with bright acidity and a racy acidity that goes on for minutes with the fruit. Dry austerity at the end gives it incredible character. This was fermented and aged in second and third year oak. Ten months. A triumph. A reductive structured style. Screw cap. Drink now." - 95 Points James Suckling.

"The 2013 Chardonnay Wild Ferment Aconcagua Costa, from vineyards planted in 2004-2005 on schist soils on the coastal part of the Aconcagua valley, 10-12 kilometers from the sea, is fermented with indigenous yeasts in French oak barriques (and aged there for 10 months, 0% new). Fifteen percent of the wine went through malolactic fermentation, because it was a cold year and they wanted to give it more volume, with no battonage and only 13% alcohol. The nose is very clean, with well-integrated wood, orange peel, crisp aromas of citric fruits, high acidity, great freshness and minerality. The wine is light to medium-bodied, sharp and delineated, in a Chablis way. Drink 2014-2018."  - 90 Points Wine Advocate.

This great Chardonnay is available at Joe Canal's for only $22.99.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Dram a Day

As a category, Scotch whisky can be a little challenging to a novice. Distillery names can be difficult to pronounce, and the right inflection for the region of Islay (eye-la) can also be elusive. The styles of Scotch are intriguing, but where to start? What's light and sweet? What's heavy and peaty? How can I tell the difference? Joe Canal's is here to help.

On Monday, October 27, in conjunction with Bruichladdich (brook-laddie), we're offering two FREE, hour-long tasting sessions, exploring five different drams.

Bruichladdich believes that Islay whisky should have an authenticity derived from where it is distilled and where it is matured...from the philosophies of those who distill it.

At this intimate, private event you will learn about what sets Bruichladdich apart and why terroir matters while tasting authentic Islay whisky in five distinct styles. If you have a passion for single malts and enjoy fine spirit that captures rich history and tradition in every bottle, then come experience Bruichladdich with a small, inspired group of fellow Scotch enthusiasts.

There will be two sessions, each limited to 25 people, each running 60 minutes. One is at 6:30pm, the other at 8pm.

Participants will sample:
-The Botanist gin ("Welcome" drink, either neat or gin & tonic)
-Bruichladdich Black Art
--Scottish Barley
--Islay Barley
--Port Charlotte

Light hors d'oeuvres will also be available.

Click here to RSVP, or call the store at 732-726-0077.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Your Weekly Grab Bag

It's Friday, and that means it's time for our weekly round-up of events, news and new products that we call the Grab Bag. Since it's also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which leads to two very busy months in the stores, this will be a pretty full report.


Lawrenceville kicks off its weekend with the regular weekly wine tastings, 4-6pm today and 2-4pm tomorrow. Click here to see the tasting menu. At 5pm today, we also have the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp tapping, featuring Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock and Torpedo Pilsner. Click here to read more about the Beer Camp tappings, which are 5pm every Friday in October.

The big event of the weekend, of course, in Ladies Night Out, happening after hours on Sunday, October 19. Admission is free, with your advance RSVP. Click here to see the full agenda for Ladies Night Out in Lawrenceville. Ladies Night Out will benefit the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
Wine tasting at a previous Ladies Night Out
Looking ahead just about 10 days, we're hosting an in-store Beer Dinner on October 29, featuring Weyerbacher. We'll have the complete details available early next week.

Woodbridge doesn't have Ladies Night Out until October 26, but it's still a very busy weekend. Today's wine tasting is 4-6pm, and it's a Staff Picks menu. Click here for that menu. At 6pm, we also have the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp tapping, featuring Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock. Click here to read about the Beer Camp tappings at Woodbridge.

Saturday's wine tasting will feature selections from Barton & Guestier. With almost three centuries of experience in the wine business, Barton & Guestier is the 1st French brand name, with a range that represents  the wonderful diversity of French wines from the main winegrowing regions: Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Rhône Valley, Languedoc, Gascony and Corsica. The tasting will run at our regular time, 1-3pm.

Later in the day, we're offering a tasting of Deep Eddy Vodka. That runs from 5-7pm.

As we noted, Ladies Night Out in Woodbridge is October 26. Admission is free, with your advance RSVP, and the evening will benefit Susan G. Komen. Click here for the full schedule of Ladies Night Out.

The crew at Dominic's
There are a couple of other events worth noting at Woodbridge. On October 29, we're hosting a wine dinner at Dominic's Italian Restaurant in Avenel. You'll enjoy four great courses perfectly paired with four different wines. Click here for information.

On November 14, we're hosting an in-store beer dinner with Kane Brewing. Details will be posted shortly.

New Products

Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay. Over the last five years, Errazuriz’ Chardonnay Wild Ferment has become recognized as perhaps the top Chardonnay from South America. James Suckling scored this vintage at 95 points, writing, "This a phenomenal white with sliced apple, papaya, and chalk with hints of slate. Turns to limes. Full body, with bright acidity and a racy acidity that goes on for minutes with the fruit. Dry austerity at the end gives it incredible character. This was fermented and aged in second and third year oak. Ten months. A triumph. A reductive structured style. Screw cap. Drink now."

                                      Ripped from the Headlines

Click here for an update on the Napa Valley earthquake.

The science is settled: Beer is delicious. Click here to discover the actual science that went into that breakthrough.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ladies Night Out, Lawrenceville and Woodbridge

The team at Joe Canal's gives back to the community in many different ways. One of the most important causes we're involved with annually is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. As a part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, both stores are hosting a Ladies Night Out, to raise funds for this important cause.

In Lawrenceville, Ladies Night Out will be this Sunday, October 19, from 7:30-9:30pm. Because this is an after-hours event, we do need an RSVP. Your advance RSVP, however, does get you free admission.

We have about a dozen different vendors participating in Ladies Night Out, for your shopping enjoyment. Your can test and purchase skin care items, handbags, fashion jewelry, accessories, candles, and so much more. Di Bruno Bros. will be on hand with samples of their delicious cheese. And, of course, there will be plenty of wines to taste.

To help you appreciate what you're sampling, Wine Manager Kevin Saunders will host a wine tasting class (free, with advance RSVP) during the event.

Please click here to visit our website and see all of the details.

In Woodbridge, Ladies Night Out will be next Sunday, October 26, also from 7:30-9:30pm. Here as well, your advance RSVP gets you free admission to the event.

Woodbridge will also have about a dozen vendors participating, including the Man Made Barber Shop. If you'd like to bring your man along, he can get a hot towel shave or haircut for a $5 donation to Susan G. Komen.

As a part of Ladies Night Out, you're invited to participate in the "Undead Gorgeous" Halloween costume contest. Dress up in your best Halloween costumes to compete for a $50 gift card to Vito Mazza Salon. Please note that masks, face paint, or anything else that covers your face cannot be included in your costume.

We will also have a number of door prize drawings, and attendees will receive a goodie bag upon leaving. Please click here to visit the Woodbridge website to get full details on Ladies Night Out.
We hope to see you there!