Friday, April 24, 2015

End of April Grab Bag

We made it to the last weekend in April. Maybe the temperature will catch up to the calendar, so we can sit outside with our summer beers and rosé wines. Until that happens, we have lots to share today.

Events in Lawrenceville

Please join us for our regular wine tastings this weekend. The hours are 4-6pm today, and 2-4pm tomorrow. Tonight's tasting will be exclusively 90+ Cellars wines, which are new to Lawrenceville.

At 5pm today, we're tapping a keg of Troegs Nugget Nectar. Nugget Nectar Ale will take hopheads to nirvana with a heady collection of American hops. Troegs Imperial Amber Ale is further intensified with whole flower Nugget hops added to our hopback vessel, resulting in an explosion of citrus, resin and pine.

                              Events in Woodbridge

We're also holding our regular wine tastings this weekend, 4-6pm today and 1-3pm tomorrow. Click here for the tasting menu.

Over the next few weeks, we have several interesting events on our calendar. Click on the item for details:
-May 2, 1-3pm(Kentucky) Derby Day Mint Juleps
-May 2, Charity Day, Shop Smart, Do Good. The whole day is dedicated to this event at Lord & Taylor at the Woodbridge Center Mall. We'll be on site from noon to 4pm, pouring creative non-alcoholic tropical drinks.
-June 10, 7-10pm Wine Tasting Bridal Show, in-store.

We also have tastings of Troegs and Shiner on the schedule. read our Events page for details.

New Products

Not a new product, but a back in stock item. Both stores will get a few cases of the 2010 vintage of Silver Oak Alexander Valley. That's likely the last we'll get of this vintage, before the arrival of the 2011's around the end of summer. If you want a bottle of this classic from California, better act now.

It's Rosé Season. It's just about summer, so we have to have some Rosé on hand. We'll soon receive the new vintage of last year's biggest selling Rosé wines. Tavel Rosé Cuvée Royale, Domaine de la Colombe Rosé, and Saurine Rosé will arrive next week.

La Marca Prosecco, 187ML. La Marca is one of our best-selling prosecco's, and we've just added the 187ML (split) size. This size is great as a wedding favor, since La Marca is a high-quality sparkling wine that earned 90 points from Wine Spectator.

16 Ounce Growler Bottles are new at Lawrenceville. At only $3.99 for the bottle (beer is extra), a 16 ounce fill is the perfect size for a single serving, or to bring to a tasting/sharing event.

Ripped from the Headlines

Remember the stolen Pappy van Winkle? Indictments indicate an inside job. Click here for the story.

Interested in sampling some 170 year old champagne that went down with the ship? You and I probably can't, but the pros did. Click here for the story.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

New for Thirsty Thursday

Re-scheduled from yesterday, we'll preview some of our newest arrivals.

Johnnie Walker Green Label is now back in stock. The only thing missing is the age statement. Tasting notes: "The nose is quite rich and full. There are notes of mocchaccino and espresso coffee,
wood smoke and a fireplace, a touch of bitter chocolate and oak. The palate is of medium-body with notes of crisp cereals, coffee beans and chocolate, a date note with a touch of walnut. The finish is quite long and spicy with honeyed sweetness and oak."

Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages is also back in stock. "Aromas of boysenberry and cassis provide a bright fruit foundation to light floral and sweet milk chocolate notes. The palate finds more fullness of flavor in ripe blackberry and dark stone fruit, interwoven with black licorice and cocoa powder. The plush, full mouthfeel finds structure in well-integrated tannins and draws out to a consistent, lengthy finish." We have a limited amount of the 2010 vintage available.

2012 Paniza Vinas Viejas de Paniza. "The 2012 Viñas Viejas de Paniza is produced with the fruit from their older Garnacha vineyards on slate soils at high altitude, around 800 meters and aged for six months in barrel. The wine is quite dark, ripe and brooding, with tantalizing aromas of wet earth, graphite and blackberries making for a quite attractive nose that's different to other wines from the region. It reminds me perhaps of a Priorat. The palate is medium to full-bodied, with fine-grained, earthy tannins and good freshness and depth. Quite impressive, and very good value." 90 points, Wine Advocate.

Le Ragnaie wines. We have three new wines from this outstanding Montalcino producer. The 2010 V. V. Brunello di Montalcino rated 100 points by James Suckling, 94+ from Wine Advocate, and 94+ from Antonio Galloni/Vinous Media. The Wine Advocate review: "The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Ragnaie V.V. shows a masculine personality next to the estate's other Brunello wines. Dried fruit and dark cherry are followed by leather, spice, tobacco and pressed rose petal. The wine is also redolent of savory tones including bresaola, smoked ham and crushed white pepper. Silky tannins segue to fresh acidity and long persistency. This Brunello shows a greater degree of evolution and will perform nicely in the medium and long term."

"Riccardo Campinoti is a rising star of the Castelnuovo dell'Abate sub-zone of the appellation. His Brunello di Montalcino Fornace is one of the most promising wines of the 2010 vintage thanks to its vibrant aromas, sharp focus and its aging potential. The Brunello V.V. is another excellent rendition, although this expression feels bigger and more evolved than the Fornace." Very limited availability.

2010 Le Ragnaie Brunello di Montalcino rated 98 points from James Suckling, 95 from Antonio Galloni/Vinous Media, and 93 from Wine Advocate. The WA review: "The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino shows easy lines with delicate nuances of red berry, bramble, rose petal, dusty earth, crushed mineral, licorice and grilled herb. No one element outweighs the others. The wine presents a delicate patchwork of Sangiovese nuances but does so in the most elegant and understated matter. Feminine in personality, the wine glides smoothly over the palate with gentle, polished tannins. This wine should show well in a few more years."

The 2012 Rosso di Montalcino is also in stock, scoring 91 points from Antonio Galloni/Vinous Media.

Decoy Pinot Noir 2013. Building on the traditions established by our acclaimed Goldeneye and Migration wines, Decoy Pinot Noir expands our exploration of the depth and diversity of this varietal to Sonoma County winegrowing. Highlighting a distinctly plush and approachable expression of Pinot Noir, Decoy is crafted to be ready upon release.

This vibrant and enticing Pinot Noir offers lovely aromas of fresh-picked strawberry, Bing cherry and blueberry with subtle hints of mushroom, lavender, sage and white pepper. On the palate, perfectly balanced acidity and well-integrated French oak underscore the bright fruit flavors to create an elegantly structured wine.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

1 Tequila, 2 Tequila, 3 Tequila...

Most weeks, we review a number of new products in our Wednesday post. However, since we're in Cinco de Mayo season, we thought we'd postpone new products until tomorrow, and discuss tequila today.

We know that lots of Margaritas will be made for Cinco de Mayo parties. Mixed drink or not, we always suggest using a quality tequila, which will maximize your enjoyment.

We start with Clase Azul, a tequila bottled in one of the most compelling packages anywhere. We carry the Plata and Reposado.

Each bottle of Clase Azul Tequila is literally touched by the human spirit. The love and nurturing our craftspeople put into producing Clase Azul starts in the agave fields and is continued through the bottling process where, in our own facility, each bottle is created by hand.

Inspired by traditional Mexican family values, we chose to produce all of our products in a small village that continues to thrive with our brands. And each bottle of Clase Azul is a work of art. Hand sculpted and individually painted, no two bottles are exactly alike.
All Clase Azul tequilas are produced from organic agaves that are grown to maturity for at least nine years before careful harvesting. Once the agave is harvested, we slow cook the hearts known as "piñas". During this process, piñas are steamed in brick ovens so their natural sugars come out. Additionally, the heat in the oven brings out the natural moisture in the piñas which is intentionally evaporated so we are able to cultivate the most desirable juices necessary for the next step. Once the most delicious flavors have come out in the piñas, they are crushed to extract the most exotic flavors which are then fermented using our proprietary yeast.

Plata is not aged and the natural colors that come from the slow cooking are filtered out prior to bottling in a stunning crystal clear bottle with blue accent at its base.

The Plata is an outstanding base for cocktails, like the El Burro:
2 oz. Clase Azul Plata
1 oz. fresh pressed lime juice
1 oz. ginger beer
Mix the ingredients, float a dash of bitters, garnish with grilled lime.

For many years, tequila connoisseurs have praised Clase Azul Reposado for its superior taste and stunning handmade decanter. By definition, reposado translates to "rested" or "calm" which can certainly influence the experience of sipping this particular Clase Azul which is aged in used American oak barrels for eight months after it has gone through the distillation process. Each bottle is made with high quality white ceramic and then hand painted by artisans in our bottling facility. Attention to detail comes second to none, which is evident when admiring what is considered an iconic bottle.

Sauza 901 Tequila. For a super smooth, triple-distilled premium tequila experience that is a cut above the rest. Every bottle of 100% agave Sauza® 901® is carefully crafted using only the finest blue weber agave. 140 years of tequila-making history and one of the greatest creators of our time come together for a distilling process as unique as the bottle in which it’s served.

The premium agave used to give Sauza® 901® Tequila its distinctive taste arrives at the distillery cleaned, cut and ready to be cooked. Each agave plant, also called a pine, weighs around 65 pounds.

During a visit to the tequila heartland of Jalisco, Mexico , Justin Timberlake was struck with the idea of connecting with his fans by uniting the passion he has for his craft with the art and dedication that goes into every bottle of premium tequila. He set out to tell the story in a way that fully embodies his creative and hardworking, yet easygoing lifestyle. The result is an incredibly smooth premium tequila named for the time when the night gets interesting - 9:01 p.m.

He turned to one of the largest and most storied tequila houses in Mexico – Sauza® Tequila - as a means to reach fans in the broadest way possible. The two icons joined forces to change the way people think about premium tequila with Sauza® 901® - creating a co-branded partnership and a one-of-a-kind spirit.

Patrón Silver. When you're looking for the brand that started the interest in high-end tequila, Patron is commonly cited. Using only the finest 100 percent Weber blue agave, Patrón Silver is handmade in small batches to be smooth, soft and easily mixable. A favorite of tequila connoisseurs worldwide, each bottle is individually crafted by a glass artisan and is hand-numbered for authenticity.

The Silver is crystal clear, with a nose of fresh agave with fruits and citrus. The taste is smooth and sweet, with more notes of fresh agave and citrus. The finish is highlighted with subtle peppery flavor.

Right now, we have an outstanding sale price on the Patrón Silver, 1.75 Liter size (you'll be making margaritas, after all). The Bottle Club® price is $75.99.

Patrón Silver also makes a great base for cocktails, like the Hermosa Sunset:
1 1/2oz Patrón Silver
1/2oz Patrón Citrónge
2oz pomegranate juice
1oz fresh lemon juice
1/2oz simple syrup

In an ice filled mixing glass add all ingredients; shake until well blended. Strain into an ice filled 14 oz. goblet. Garnish: Red currants.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Terredavino Tuesday

We started carrying wines from Terredavino last year, and they've been very well received. With a location in the heart of the Langhe region in Piedmont, Italy, Terredavino combines outstanding terroir with excellent winemaking to deliver palate-pleasing results.
Their philosophy is "Only wines from Piedmont and only wines that have the appellation disciplined by DOC or DOCG regulation." That means Terredavino works with over 2500 growers, covering more than 5000 hectares of vineyards.

Today, we're looking closely at the Terredavino Barbera d'Asti Superiore DOCG "La Luna e i Falò". This wine comes from vineyards dedicated to their "SuperBarbera" project. A deep ruby red, La Luna e i Falò has a rich and deep bouquet, with a complex balance of violet, liquorice, and vanilla notes. The palate is crisp and dry, with a subtly-veined background of vanilla and wild berries, which carry through to its lingering finish.

The cuvée is blended from vineyards with slightly different soils and microclimates so that the final wine will offer a better balance between structural solidity and bouquet complexity.

The wine matures for about 12 months in small oak barriques (see photo below), about 1/3 new; here, the wine, already impressively structured, acquires a multi-layered depth of flavor and character, evolving into a richly-nuanced Barbera of grace and expressiveness.
Available in the Bottle Club® for only $19.96.

Also new from Terredavino is the 2008 Essenze Barolo, which scored 92 points from James Suckling. It's bouquet is ethereal, with hints of violets, blackberry jam, licorice and cloves. The palate is dry and full-bodied, with silky tannins and a lovely chocolate, berry aftertaste.

Aged in oak for 36 months, then 24 months bottle aging. $29.96 in the Bottle Club®.

Look also for the Terredavino Roero Arneis, available for only $9.96 in the Bottle Club®.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Cinco de Mayo Preview: Cerveza

Since we're about two weeks away from Cinco de Mayo, we thought this was a good time to (briefly) review the history of the holiday, and also review the excellent Mexican products that we have available.

Cinco de Mayo is observed to commemorate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín.

You already know about Corona and Dos Equis. We do have a number of other Mexican beers in stock.

Modelo Especial is a pilsner-style lager whose original recipe was first brewed in Mexico in 1925, under the vision to create a ‘model’ beer. Modelo Especial is made with filtered water, malted barley, hops, corn and yeast. Modelo Especial is a rich, full-flavored pilsner beer brewed with premium two-row barley malt that gives it a slightly sweet, well-balanced taste with a light hops character and crisp finish.

Negra Modelo has been brewed the same way since 1925. This Munich Dunkel (dark) style is characterized by its liberal use of roasted or toasted malts. The slow roasting of the malts alone makes the brewing process last twice as long as other beers, producing its signature reddish color and hint of sweetness. Negra Modelo is made with filtered water, malted barley, hops, rice and exceptional yeast varieties, which give way to the balanced flavor and remarkably smooth taste you can only find in a Negra Modelo. Hints of caramel sweetness and dark chocolate balance out this smooth, medium bodied beer.

Sol traces its roots to 1810. 300 years of thick Spanish beer. What a nightmare. Until in 1810 a Mexican, maverick priest, Father Hidalgo, put together a rag tag army and ignited the fire of revolution. Fast forward to 1899. Fresh, light, this beer was different. As if a message from deceased Father Hidalgo, a beam of light pierced through a hole in the brewery’s roof, illuminating its golden colour. They named it "El Sol".

Pacifico beer was first introduced to the US through California surfers. Many ventured into Baja Mexico, and tried this local beer in tiny cantinas. Bringing cases back home, these were the first importers of Pacifico. It’s quite light but has a great, crisp flavor that will quench your thirst any time of day, any time of year.
Tecate, the beer con carácter, brings a masculine wit to those everyday situations that call for character. Tastes best ice cold, with a lime and salt if you prefer. Tecate is also great to make your own micheladas.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Grab Bag

The promise of nice weather for the weekend makes us all happy. We hope you'll include a stop at Joe Canal's in your weekend plans. In case you need them, here are a few reasons why you should stop in.

Events in Lawrenceville

We have our regular wine tastings this weekend. The hours are 4-6pm on Friday, and 2-4pm on Saturday.

Events in Woodbridge

We have back-to-back tastings today, starting with a free (they're all free) tasting of Senor Sangria at 4pm. Everyone loves a nice Sangria in the warmer weather, and Senor Sangria is a best seller.

Also today is a tasting of Weyerbacher beer. Based in nearby Eastern Pennsylvania, Weyerbacher is a pioneer among craft brewers.

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

New Products

We'll start with two new seasonal arrivals from New England. Harpoon Summer Beer is their version of the traditional German Kölsch-style ale.  This beer, which is light and refreshing, appears to resemble a lager rather than an ale. The Kölsch style is a testimony to the broad spectrum of characteristics an ale can produce, as well as the brewer’s art.  The body is soft and delicate with a dry, crisp finish. Available in bottles and cans.

Harpoon UFO Big Squeeze Shandy. Sweet with a hint of tartness, UFO Big Squeeze Shandy is perfect for all of your summer adventures! Available exclusively in cans.

Appearance:  hazy, slightly orange, fine foamy head
Aroma:  clean citrus, some crackery notes from the wheat malt
Mouth feel: light bodied
Taste:  sweet malt, sweet / tart grapefruit        
Finish:  quenching, refreshing

Exclusiv Pineapple Vodka is new in the 1-Liter size. Exclusiv evokes images of icy mountain peaks and crystal clear streams. It brings to mind expressions like clean, fresh and crisp. The tropical pineapple flavor is perfect for lazy summer days. And nights. Click here for a coupon good for $1.00 off a 1-Liter bottle of Exclusiv.

Art Show & Wine Tasting

Yesterday in this blog, we posted a few pictures from last week's Art Show & Wine Tasting. What a great time. Here are additional pictures, because you missed a fun night.

Ripped from the Headlines

Joseph Phelps, Pioneering California Wine Producer, Dies at 87. Click here for the story.

Will a strong dollar and a weak Euro mean lower prices for European wines? Click here for the story.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

What You Missed

Joe Canal's isn't just New Jersey's leading wine & spirits superstore; we're proud members of the community in both Lawrenceville and Woodbridge. This shows in many ways, but today we'll talk about community service and involvement.

In October, our stores are covered in pink ribbons. Last Christmas, we organized a cooperative toy collection. Our Ladies Night Our events raise funds and awareness for local, woman-oriented charities and programs.We're able to succeed in those efforts because of the tremendous support we receive from you, our loyal customers, plus the hard work of our staff. Follow along on the Events page of our two stores (Click here for Lawrenceville, and click here for Woodbridge), so that you can be up to date on our programs and activities.

Nearly every weekend, we have a wine tasting event in both stores. With four wines featured, we give you the opportunity to sample before you buy. And the tasting menus are usually posted in advance.
Wine tasting in Woodbridge
Our special events really set us apart. We have occasional wine, beer or spirits dinners at local restaurants, and some in-store events are after business hours on Sunday evenings. One recent example was our Art Show and Wine Tasting at our Woodbridge store.

Here, in addition to a fun evening, attendees helped raise money for the Woodbridge Domestic Violence Response Team.

The Art Show and Wine Tasting featured the work of about a dozen local artists (there's that theme again), with wine from around the world. It was a great night for everyone involved.

We hope you'll make time in your busy schedule for our upcoming events. You'll have a great time, and you'll often support a wonderful cause.