Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pick One. Or More.

A quick review, before we get into today's subject matter.

Here are the links to our What to Drink for Thanksgiving series:

Part 1: Cocktails
Part 2: Red Wine
Part 3: White Wine
Part 4: Beer

Both stores will remain open until our usual 10pm this evening. Tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, both stores will be open 9am-4pm.

If you need a gift suggestion, please visit our website, select your preferred store, and look under the Customer Service tab for Gift Ideas. And check out our Holiday Toy Drive, also under the Customer Service tab.

Back to our regularly scheduled New Products post. We've expanded our selections in the last week or two, so that you'll have more quality choices for the holiday season. Below are a few of the recent deliveries.

Jim Beam® Maple

Jim Beam® might be the world's highest-volume Bourbon producer, but that doesn't mean they can't innovate. Jim Beam® gets ahead of the industry with their newest line extension: Jim Beam® Maple.

What happens when you infuse the world’s finest bourbon with the rich taste of maple? Our expert distillers found the answer with our newest creation: a perfect balance of warm aromas, a hint of charred oak, complete with a subtle and smooth caramel finish.

Click here for some Jim Beam® Maple recipes. Available for only $18.49.

Crown Royal Apple

We'll stay with the flavored whiskeys, but move north of the border. An extraordinary addition to the Crown Royal® portfolio, Crown Royal® Regal Apple™ is a blend of our hand-selected smooth whiskies infused with natural apple flavors.

The blend opens with a nose of bright apples balanced with our signature Crown Royal whisky and hints of spice. Crown Royal® Regal Apple™ offers a flavorful palate of slightly tart, crisp apple with notes of caramel and light spice that culminates in a full-bodied smooth finish of refined apple notes and balanced sweetness.

Available in the Bottle Club® for only $25.99.

Bodegas El Nido

Clio and El Nido, two wines from the great 2012 vintage at Bodegas El Nido, from the Juan Gil family of wines, are now in stock, in limited quantities.

The grapes for El Nido are made from 12 Ha -29.65 acres- of Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards and 32 Ha -79 acres- of very old Monastrell, with a very low yield. The grapes are harvested with small baskets to prevent bruising. The bunches are brought to triage tables where the best ones are selected. It spends 24 months in French and American new oak barrels where it gets a very typical complexity.

Glass-staining purple. Explosive, alluring scents of blueberry, boysenberry, pipe tobacco, licorice and vanilla bean. Lush and broad but juicy and firmly built, with suave candied dark fruit flavors accented by sexy floral and Asian spice qualities. Finishes broad, juicy and impressively long, with echoing boysenberry and spice notes.

Pair with rice, pasta, (noodles, spaghetti, macaroni), vegetables, mushroom, stewed meat, sausage, pork, roast meat, red and/or white meat with sauces, grilled meat, short or medium cheeses.

Available in the Bottle Club® for $106.99.

The grapes for Clio are made from 12 Ha -29.65 acres- of Cabernet Sauvignon (30%) vineyards and 32 Ha -79 acres- of very old Monastrell (70%), with a very low yield. The grapes are harvested with small baskets to prevent bruising. The bunches are brought to triage tables where the best ones are selected. It spends 24 months in French and American new oak barrels where it gets a very typical complexity.
The wine exhibits a glass-coating opaque purple color with an expressive nose of pain grille, underbrush, brier, mineral, blueberry, and blackberry fruit leading to a plush, opulent wine with great density, savory flavors, and a lengthy finish.

Pair with rice, pasta, (noodles, spaghetti, macaroni), vegetables, mushroom, stewed meat, sausage, pork, roast meat, red and/or white meat with sauces, grilled meat, short or medium cheeses.

The 2012 Clio in the 1.5 liter bottle is available for $79.99.

As always, we receive more new products than we can possibly blog about. Please ask one of our store team members for assistance in finding new items.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

From Tennessee, only for the Holidays

Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey holds a place of its own within our industry. From its humble beginnings in the backwoods of Tennessee, and in a "dry" county no less, Jack Daniel's bacame an iconic brand.

And when an iconic brand produces something unique, we all take notice. That's what we have with Jack Daniel's Holiday Select.

2014 marks the first time that Jack Daniel's Master Distiller Jeff Arnett chose Holiday Select barrels to be bottled individually. This year, he wanted to showcase the depth and richness that a single barrel can offer and selected the most robust and complex whiskey he sampled. Each barrel is truly unique and we hope the bottle you’ve selected helps make your holidays special.

(For those still learning about whiskey, a single barrel bottling means that only a specific number of bottles were filled from that one barrel. A whiskey is usually a blend of multiple barrels, each aged in a different part of the rickhouse, for differing lengths of time, to achieve a consistent taste. Single barrel bottlings will be consistent within any specific barrel, but there can be noticeable differences in taste between two different barrels.)

Jack Daniel's Holiday Select is available in limited quantities, for $56.99. Their single barrel bottlings tend to sell out quickly, so get your today!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Now Try This

Last week, we thoroughly explored your adult beverage options for Thanksgiving. If you missed it, here are links to each topic:

Red Wine
White Wine

If you prefer, simply click here and scroll down to find the options that interest you.

Today, Woodbridge Floor Manager David Rudd offers a few additional cocktail recipes, just in time for the holidays.

Old Fashioneds for a Group

Lots of classic cocktails can be mixed up ahead of time.  When you’re catering to a group, you won’t have to make each drink individually.  Use a funnel to empty a 750ML bottle of bourbon, like Marker’s Mark™, into a one liter bottle.  Add 1 ounce of simple syrup and 12 dashes of Angostura™ bitters.  Lastly add 4 ounces of water – this mimics the ice that would melt in each cocktail if you were to make them individually.  You can chill the bottle or pour it over ice…no need to stir!  Garnish with a lemon peel.  Enjoy!


James Bond ordered this in Casino Royale, although I think he ordered it wrong.  In my version, the proportion of gin to vodka should be 1 part gin to 3 parts vodka, with ½ measure of Lillet Blanc.  Stirred – not shaken, served in a champagne flute and garnished with the slighted twist of lemon.  In this version, the gin offers a hint of herbacity – it doesn’t hold the martini hostage…let the Lillet speak, shall we?

Añejo Alexander

This is an exotic twist on a classic – the Brandy Alexander – but this time, made with tequila. Try this at a holiday soiree this year. 1 ½ oz of Patron™ Añejo, 1 oz of Patron™ XO Café, 1 oz of whole milk together in an iced cocktail shaker.  Shake it up for a 12 counts and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with grated nutmeg.  This is sweet and creamy and slightly spicy…you will order another one.

Spiced Pear Sangria

I recently served this one at a party at my house and it was a huge hit. And it couldn’t be easier. In a pitcher, combine one Asian pear sliced very, very thinly, one 750ML bottle of Gazela Vinho Verde, ½ bottle of the Pear William™ by Marie Brizzard™ and 1 liter of club soda.  Float 5 star anise pods and 5 sprigs of rosemary in the pitcher.  Let it mellow in the refrigerator for about an hour.  Pour over a little ice and serve with one of the slices of pear.  Notice how the pear absorbs some of the effervescence!  Fizzy Pear!

Friday, November 21, 2014

What to Drink for Thanksgiving, Part 4

Whether you're planning the dinner at your home, or whether you're a guest in need of something to bring, or whether you're eating out and you want to be knowledgeable when ordering, today's final "What to Drink" installment is all about craft beer. At the end of this post, we'll link to the earlier installments.

Certainly, craft beer pairs perfectly with all of the the Thanksgiving Day football games. But beer is often an afterthought when it comes to the dinner itself, and we'll argue that beer has earned its place at the table. And if you want to make the beer menu as varied as the food, here's a quick guide: start with something lighter (like a Pilsner), move to something more bitter and/or acidic with the meal, before moving to a stout or a porter. Beer with caramel or malty notes are also great companions to the varied dishes that are part of a traditional Thanksgiving.

Here are several beer recommendations that will fit nicely on your holiday table:
Thanksgiving can be a marathon of eating, whether you're preparing the meal or not. It's best to start out with something light and easy-drinking, Victory Golden Monkey is an excellent choice, with its richness of imported malts and Belgian yeast that are tempered by a sparkling approach and overall light body. If you're looking for something with a slightly more assertive and hoppy character, the Victory Prima Pils is a good beer to enjoy with football and appetizers.

It's a love/hate thing. Cranberry sauce can be one of the usual sources of disagreement with your relatives, but there's little arguing the virtues of the seasonal Grateful Harvest Ale, from Harpoon Brewery. The cranberries are harvested from the local bogs of AD Makepeace, mere miles from where the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock! But this beer is about more than history. Harpoon donates $1 per six-pack to the local food bank in the area in which it was purchased.

Harpoon Grateful Harvest combines rich malt character with the subtle sweetness of those locally harvested cranberries, giving a tart, fruity, slightly acidic finish.

Then there's The Bruery Autumn Maple. Brewed with 17 lbs. of yams per barrel (in other words, a lot of yams!), this autumn seasonal is a different take on the pumpkin beer style. Brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses, and maple syrup, and fermented with The Bruery's traditional Belgian yeast strain, this bold and spicy beer is perfect on a cold autumn evening. And we've already had our share of cold November nights.

Finally, we recommend Southern Tier Pumking. This king among pumpkin beers makes a welcome addition to a meal that celebrates the bounty and flavors of fall. Sweet, with a bevy of spice notes that include cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, it achieves that pie-in-a-glass quality if you're looking for more of a liquid dessert.
The earlier installments of "What to Drink for Thanksgiving":
Part 1: Cocktails
Part 2: Red Wine
Part 3: White wine

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What to Drink for Thanksgiving, Part 3

Whether you're planning the dinner at your home, or whether you're a guest in need of something to bring, or whether you're eating out and you want to be knowledgeable when ordering, today's "What to Drink" installment is all about white wine. We'll also have beer recommendations, so come on back for that.

Certainly, we support the notion of "drink what you like." If you prefer a Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio to what we're recommending today, our wine team in the stores will be happy to help. Our 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 Thanksgiving. They are not too light in body, so they hold up against the bold flavors of a Thanksgiving table, with the sweetness and spiciness playing nicely opposite the various traditional dishes.

Gewurztraminer is difficult to pronounce, but its complex character is why it's great for Thanksgiving. 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 the Thanksgiving 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.

The Leitz Rudesheimer Riesling Kabinett is one excellent choice. 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®.

We're also partial to 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®.

In case you missed them, click for Part 1 and Part 2 of "What to Drink for Thanksgiving."Next up: Beer for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What to Drink for Thanksgiving, Part 2: Red Wine

Whether you're planning the dinner at your home, or whether you're a guest in need of something to bring, or whether you're eating out and you want to be knowledgeable when ordering, today's "What to Drink" installment is all about red wine. Come back here tomorrow for our white wine recommendations.

We're of the opinion that wine will enhance most any meal, and there aren't many meals that are more special than Thanksgiving. So to assist you in your selection process, our wine team got together to recommend a few wines that will please every palate and budget.

Thanksgiving can be a challenging meal when it comes to wine pairing. There is a range of flavors and aromas that are unique to this holiday. Tart cranberry, savory stuffing, creamy green beans and, of course, the turkey itself, combine for a flavor explosion.

Pinot Noir is one of the two most recommended red wines at Thanksgiving. Its subtle flavors and light character make for a natural pairing to most of the flavors found during the Thanksgiving meal. Pinot Noir is considered the most difficult grape to grow, due to its thin skin, but a well made Pinot can be sublime.

That leads us to our first recommendation, 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 pure bred 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®.

Another highly recommended Pinot Noir is The Pinot Project. In fact, your blogger had recently recommended this for an event where we were a guest. Other guests knew that we had recommended the wines, and this was a big hit.

The Pinot Project is one of the greatest red wine values coming out of California. It is hand-crafted from grapes grown in notable AVA’s, such as Sonoma County, Carneros and Monterey. The Pinot Project has a full and silky mouth feel, with just the right amount of acidity to complement a variety of dishes. The wine is 100% stainless steel fermented with the caps receiving periodic punchdowns, before finishing dry with just a kiss of oak.

Enjoy pure PINOT aromas and flavors -- black cherries kissed by oak and complimented by just the right amount of Asian spice. An incredible bargain at only $9.96 in the Bottle Club®.

Zinfandel is considered the quintessential American red, making it a natural pairing for the quintessential American celebration. Genetically, Zinfandel is nearly identical to Italy's Primitivo, with Zin's typically more fruit-forward, while finishing with a peppery touch.

One of our favorites is the Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel, from Lodi, CA, in the Central Valley. The most rich, intense and multi-dimensional zinfandel tends to be produced from “Old Vines”, vines that are at least 50 years old. “Old Vines”, also known as Ancient Vines, Gnarly vines, Old Timer Vines, Old World Vines or Old Twisted Vines are in decline, mature in age, with low vigor. They tend to have fewer clusters of grapes with smaller berry size, yielding more intense sugars, color and concentration of flavors typically producing wines that are generally better balanced with more body and structure.

The 2012 Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel is a blend of 16 different vineyard blocks of old vine zinfandel vineyards with an average age of 85 years. With berries and spice on the nose, dark, sweet fruit fills the palate with just a hint of black pepper. This wine has a long, lingering finish.

Here's what our team said about Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel: "A full-bodied and ripe Zin offering flavors of sweet red fruits, licorice and spice with a black pepper infused finish. Lush and jammy style."

Since today is National Zin Day (we're not making that up), we'd suggest enjoying one today, and another on Thanksgiving. Only $15.99 in the Bottle Club®.

Since Zin and Primitivo are basically the same grape, we're also recommending a Primitivo this year. The 2010 Feudo di Santa Croce Primitivo di Manduria LXXIV scored 91 points from Wine Spectator, and finished as #69 on their just-released 2014 Top 100.

The Wine Spectator review: "A burly, brambly red, underscored by tarry smoke and underbrush notes, offering flavors of blackberry coulis, herb-marinated black olive, grilled mushroom and ground spice. This shows muscle that recommends it to short-term cellaring, made accessible by integration and balance. Drink now through 2024."

Our wine team's review: "Very enticing aromas of vanilla, stewed fruit, blackberry, cedar and prunes. The flavors are silky and lush with bold vanilla, blackberry, licorice, blueberry and chocolate with black pepper on the finish."

Finally, from the winery: This has a ruby red color, enriched with garnet reflections. It offers a generous perfume, which recalls plums and ripe red fruits. This wine has a velvety texture, dry and spicy. Only $19.96 in the Bottle Club®.

Our last red wine recommendation will not be available for sale until tomorrow. The third Thursday in November is the traditional sale date for Beaujolais Nouveau from Georges Duboeuf, which is the first wine released from the most recent harvest.

Because the wine is officially embargoed until tomorrow, there are no reviews currently available. But because of its release date, many people will enjoy this wine from Thanksgiving through Christmas. Typically, the Beaujolais Nouveau is a light and fruity wine, best enjoyed with a slight chill, rather than room or cellar temperature. It will be priced at $8.09 in the Bottle Club®.

Monday was Part 1 of What to Drink for Thanksgiving. Click here to review that post. And come back tomorrow for the final installment.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

This Spirit Moved Us

Throughout our spirits aisles, you'll see products marked "Canal's Family Selection". These products are brought to you in cooperation with other New Jersey retailers, so that we can bring you some amazing Single Barrel offerings at reasonable prices.

(If you're still learning about whiskey, a Single Barrel bottling means that every bottle in that series comes from one particular barrel. Normally, a number of barrels, often of different ages, are blended before bottling. This blending process typically assures a consistent taste profile, regardless of when or where you buy the whiskey. With a Single Barrel bottling, there likely will be differences in the taste profile of one barrel compared to another.)

Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is masterfully crafted and carefully aged for no less than ten years. The rareness of this great breed of bourbon is evident in its complex aroma, as well as the smooth and lingering taste. Eagle Rare is a bourbon that lives up to its name with its lofty, distinctive taste experience.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Complex aromas of toffee, hints of orange peel, herbs, honey, leather and oak.

Taste: Bold, dry, oaky flavors with notes of candied almonds and very rich cocoa.

Finish: Dry and lingering