Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wine Word Wednesday: Grafting

Thursday, November 19, 2015

4 Thanksgiving Day Wine Picks

Today is the day Beaujolais Nouveau gets release and that signifies the beginning of the holiday season, at least it does to me.  Will I be going out to purchase a bottle of the Nouveau, most likely, it's the first wine of the 2015 harvest made from Gamay grapes and I do like to try it. Is it a nice wine to serve with your Thanksgiving day meal?  Yes, it is, but there are other wines too that you can showcase during Thanksgiving.

I always like to begin with a sparkling wine while we catch up with friends and family and much on appetizers.  For this I would suggest the Anna de Codorniu.  I reviewed a selection back in October. They have many varieties of sparkling, a Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, Rose and Brut.  They are very reasonably prices at $14.99

Now I want you to think out of the box for a nice white to serve with the turkey.  Try Kaiken 2015 Torrontes from Argentina.  This wine I reviewed back in August and was really impressed with it. This retails for about $17.  I had someone tell me that this was better than their oaky Chardonnay. So if you are use to serving a oaked Chardonnay, try this Torrontes.

Rose wine isn't just for drinking during the summer.  In fact it is a great wine to have at Thanksgiving.  Poe Rose is made by Samantha Sheehan who left the world of finance in 2009 to follow her dream. This Rose is a blend of 66% Pinot Noir and 34% Pinot Meunier.  Delicate strawberry with hints of orange and a touch of raspberry will please and pair well with your dinner. This retails for approximately $22

You do need to have available a nice red wine on the table.  An Oregon Pinot Noir would enhance your meal.  Try Kudos Reserve 2012 Pinot Noir.  This is from the Yamhill-Carlton area of Oregon in the Willamette Valley. Nice and smooth on your palate with hints of fresh raspberries and and red cherry with black pepper on the finish that lingers on your palate. Retails for $16.99

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Notes From the Captain Lawrence Tasting Room: Cuvee De Route 9A

No one is exactly sure when Captain Lawrence last released its Cuvee de Castleton, a Belgian-style sour ale named for the Pleasantville street where the brewery was hatched, and likely the Captain’s most sought after brew ever. What is known is that Captain Lawrence has been in Elmsford for close to four years, and this is the first Cuvee de Castleton release at the new digs along Saw Mill River Road.
Either way, it’s been too long, and people came from up and down the coast to pick up their 375 ml bottles, at $15 a pop, of the fruity, tart and tangy golden ale, refermented with muscat grapes and aged for a few years in oak. Tom LillardDamico Ponzioand Mark Cincotti made the trip from outside Philadelphia. Tom recalls schlepping to Westchester years ago for the last Cuvee release. “It’s nice knowing you’ve spent the money and are guaranteed beer,” he says of the prepaid system that took the place of the former show up/line up/keep fingers crossed supplies don’t run out one. “You get a taste of everything, and you get your bottles.”
Yes, besides the Castleton on draft, there’s Barrel Select Gold, Rosso E Marrone, the funky, German-style wheat known as Bro’s Before Gose, and the Hudson Valley Harvest Sour Cherry.
Tom will keep a couple of the bottles for his wife and himself, and share a few with friends. Damico will try one or two, and let the others age; like a fine wine, the sour ales morph and evolve while in the bottle. The new Cuvee, Damico says, is “freaking amazing.” The sizable crowd queuing up for their bottles, he says, is proof: “It speaks to just how good the brews are.”
Like Tom, many in the brewery space were here for the last Cuvee de Castleton release (and likely the one before that), and cleared their schedules to be here for this one. Brandon Smith of Brooklyn, in attendance with his wife Ellen and her brotherSteve Verdibello of Eastchester, recalls bunking down at a nearby La Quinta hotel to be on Castleton Street at the crack of dawn to hopefully score a few bottles of Cuvee. “I barely slept,” he says.
“You didn’t sleep,” notes Ellen, who’s heard the story before. “Your roommate was snoring all night.”
Ellen notes the “bready finish” of the new Cuvee. “It’s not as one-note as a lot of sours,” she adds.
Brandon likes the new pay-in-advance process more than the old bakery-line ticket approach. “This is much easier than last time,” he says with a smile.
The fittingly titled Bottoms Up Dixieland Jazz Band fills the room with homey American ragtime. Several grub stations keep visitors well fed. Rich Fadigan and Adam Pardes are on a road trip from Philadelphia, with a clear cut mission at hand. “We’ve got a big group of friends back home that loves sours,” says Adam. “We’ll bring some back for them.”
Whenever Captain Lawrence has a sour ale event, Ross Spiegel of Oradell, NJ, Alex Dacey of Easton, CT and Louis Ziccarelli of Brooklyn are sure to be there. “We were the first ones to get tickets for Sour’d in September last year,” says Ross proudly.
The only one missing is Ross’s wife Anne Marie, stuck at home working on her thesis.
Alex schedules his vacations around sour ales. “I’ve been to Belgium four times,” he says, and has hundreds of bottles aging in his basement.
“It’s Willie Wonka for beer,” notes Ross.
An admitted foodie, Louis loves how sours pair up with food. “It’s a great new take on beer,” he says, a fan since falling in love at Allagash Brewing in Maine years back.
Alex has the future of his beers all planned out: One will age for three years, one for a year, one for six months. That leaves one. “I feel like this one will pop next month,” he says with a lustful look in his eye.
The mood is festive. The line for bottles is long, but there’s no line for samples. With plenty of beer, food, music and friends, no one seems to be in much of a hurry.

Fans of the sours won’t have to wait long for the next release. “We hope to do one of these a month in 2016,” says Scott. “We didn’t buy all those barrels and a new bottling line to not make beer.”CL owner Scott Vaccaro takes it in with a smile. He recalls the first Cuvee De Castleton release, all of about 20 cases, back in 2007. “It’s the first sour we brewed and it instantly gave us notoriety,” he says of the Cinderella-story gold medal it won at the Great American Beer Fest.
 —Michael Malone (
Captain Lawrence Brewing, at 444 Saw Mill River Road in Elmsford, is open Wednesday through Friday (4-8 p.m.), Saturday (12-6 p.m.) and Sunday (12-5). The author is paid by Captain Lawrence, partially in India Pale Ale.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Exes In My Ipod paired with Beran Zinfandel

There's not a better thing to do on a fall day but grab a good book and sit on your front porch with a glass of wine and read for the afternoon. That is what I did with Lisa Mattson's book The Exes in my Ipod  and Beran 2012 Zinfandel.

There was a bit of a chill in the air, so the Zinfandel was a great choice as it kept me warm.

I''ve known Lisa for a while through my wine blogging and was thrilled when I ran into her in the elevator at the Wine Bloggers Conference in the Finger Lakes. I admire Lisa and follow her work as Marketing Director at Jordan Vineyards & Winery.  She is quite amazing and  I was lucky and walked off the elevator with a copy of Lisa's book.

When you meet people and get to know them, you really don't know about their struggles to get to where they are today. Many people look at people and feel jealousy as they think that success happens overnight and they want that for themselves.  Sorry to disappoint, but most people are successful do to their hard work and sacrifices they make along the way.  Sometimes it might take a year, sometimes a lifetime to achieve.

In Lisa's book, she gets personal takes you to where she grew up in the Mid West, her family life there, her move to Florida with her boyfriend and the many boyfriends she had since and how they influenced her and made her who she is today.

There were good times and bad times but Lisa never lost sight of what she wanted most.  A college education and to work in wine country. She not only has achieve her dream, she is living it every day. Read the book and follow her journey.  It will inspire you to follow your dreams no matter what obstacles get in your way.

Now the wine pairing. As I sat on the porch reading the book, the Zinfandel was jammy and almost exciting as the book.  Beran standing for "The Bear" is forever a figure of strength and head strong drive. See why it paired so well with the book!

With jammy aromas and dark red purplish hue this wine is made with new and old vine Zinfandel grapes sourced throughout California.  As the wine began to open notes of cedar, vanillin and tobacco and blackberry filled the  glass.

While sipping and reading, flavors of dark red and black fruit filled my mouth with hints of tobacco and some red licorice.  The wine was soft and easy to drink on this Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

What To Do With That Leftover Halloween Candy

It's been a few weeks since Halloween and if you have leftover candy, or you're tired of looking at your kids candy what can you do.

Well...we didn't get many kids at our house and we had leftover Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  One of my favorite.  (I really must learn to purchase candy I don't like)  Even though I stuck the cups in the freezer, every time I went in there I saw them.  Do I eat them and slowly deplete the stash?

I decided to try my hand at baking with them.  I would suggest this to anyone.

Grease a 13 x 9 baking pan. Start with the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  Once you make that line the bottom of the pan with it.  Next put those Reese's on top.  You can do this with just about any candy that goes with chocolate.

Then I made a box brownie mix according to the instructions on the back because I couldn't find my recipe for brownies.  Pour that on top of the Reese's and bake for 45 minutes.

OMG you have the best brownies!

I happen to have a 2012 Heron Hill Cabernet Franc open and oh what a pairing it was!! The peanut butter, chocolate and Cabernet Franc just complemented eachother so well on your palate.