While wine is my everyday elixir, some time in Aberdeen, Scotland combined with years on a sailboat has left me with a lingering affinity for Island and Islay whiskies. As the evenings and mornings get cooler, a wee dram of the "water of life" can hit the spot. The last of the briny Spingbank 18yr was finished off last night and I was able to taste James Macarthur's 12 yr old single malt from Bowmore earlier this week as a possible replacement.
Bowmore likes sherry casks but this one is matured in bourbon casks. Macarthur finds casks that have potential and is an independent bottler who doesn't add color or chill filter. The peat and pungent Islay character is very evident along with the lovely seashore brine showing through more subtly than the Springbank. The sweetness and toffee from the bourbon oak cask holds its own against the robust peat and sea salt. A small splash of water brings a lovely creamy texture to your glass and slightly mellows things out. It truly is a well crafted, beautifully balanced Scotch.
While they may sound like lovers from an Italian opera, they are actually two great new wines added to our flight and by the glass list!
The white is the ancient Falanghina, key ingredient in Falernium - a gift from the gods and a favorite of Pliny the Elder and Cicero. Legend has it Bacchus came down for stroll around the Italian countryside in human form. He got hungry and looking a bit disshevelled was appreciative of an old farmer named Falernus taking him in and feeding him. Being nice to gods tends to pay off and Bacchus filled the farmer's fields with beautiful vines. Aglianico (we also pour this!) and Falanghina were those ancient varietals and are still grown in Campania. With flavors of peach and white plum, bright acidity and full body this is a great and affordable ($11 a bottle in the wine shop!) wine to have here or at home all year. After all, you never know when Bacchus may stop by!
The red is special purchase we negotiated with a favorite importer. The Chateau Sainte Eulalie La Cantilene Minervois is an elegant, well structured wine from the southwest of France. Syrah, Grenache and Carignan farmed on rocky hillsides and aged in oak for a year before release. Named for one of the fist female Christian martyrs, this is already a staff favorite for its soft spice and warm red fruit flavors.
We are so excited for you to try these, we're offering a free flight pour of either to anyone who "checks in" here at W&C on Facebook! If you aren't a "friend" already, head over to our facebook page and get it before these are gone!
I found 3 fun, super-affordable wines that we added to the flight list this week! Two from Sicily and one from the Armganac region in France. The one red is a Nero d'Avola. The pimary red grape in Sicily, Nero is often used for Marsala but is making in-roads as a varietal thanks to increased investment and quality oversight throughout Sicily. Think of Zinfandel crossed with Cabernet Franc, lots of blackberry and black cherry but not as jammy as many CA Zins.
The Siciian white is a 100% organic Grillo grown on a WWF preserve by two sisters. Good body, fine acidity and slight tropical overtones, this is a wine to always have in the fridge as it stands up to about anything without being overpowering.
The French white is a 60% Ugni Blanc, 40% Columbard blend from Cotes de Gascogne (Armagnac). This Domain de Pouy may be my favorite of the three due to its uniqueness. The often maligned Columbard brings a floral, peach and apple blossom nose to some vibrant acidity that will tickle your tongue. Leaving the wine in contact with the skins for 4-6 hours before pressing pulls a ton of flavor out. A touch off-dry but with fun depth, this is one to try for yourself!
Remember these are just three of the sixty wines we have open for flights or glass pours every day. Best yet, any of these can be had for $11 or less (per bottle) in the wine shop. Have dinner with us first and we'll even take 10% off of that price!
Riesling is a elegant yet powerful varietal that dates back to at least the 1400's in Europe. One of the most popular whites, Riesling can make quality wines from very sweet to bone dry and when crafted appropriately can be aged longer than pretty much any other white wine. Here in the states, sweet bulk Riesling flooded the market after WII in response to how much it was loved by those serving overseas. This lower quality wine has prejudiced many against this remarkable grape and its potential. This flight will destroy any prejudice you might have had! The flight is $28 and features Rielsing from Austria, Germany, New Zealand, France with a "bonus" wine from New York.
Wine #1 is the Nigl Dornleiten Riesling, Kremstal, Austria and is very light, crisp and shows some nice acidity. Subtle nose with attractive, bright fruit, elegant lemon notes, hint of stone fruit, a little white bread and lightly spicy. There is the slightest hint of sweetness ever so briefly on the front of this wine. Kremstal is a region in northern Austria and it is known for producing dry white wines, mostly riesling and gruner veltliner.
John McKay is in for Ash Ganley tonight. As a Lyons resident, Ash is still digging out from the mess from the past week. We wish our friend the best!
Guitarist/singer/songwriter John McKay blends the deeply personal insights of a man immersed in nature, places of the past and love along with political observations of a protest singer, and the broad musical traditionalism of a folk rock musician with the passion and commitment of a rock and roller.