Blanc-et Generalizations

Pintar_Sauvignon_BlancPintar 2016 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand)

5 ounces poured into:  Wine Country stemmed wine glass

Sight:  Pale yellow-green with a silver glow

Aroma:  Tropical fruit salad of passionfruit, gooseberry, lime.  A hint of lemon grass.

Taste:  Stonefruit, white peach, nectarine and honeydew melon.  Tropical sweetness and tartness.

Feel:  Medium-light, fresh, a bit zesty.  Crisp.  Clean.  Slightly chalky on the finish.

Overall:  Enjoyable and young, green with a pleasant tartness.

Suggested food pairing:  Old Bay seasoned cocktail shrimp, Havarti cheese, lime and chile dusted cashews, green curry, pad thai with shrimp

 

 

Turn it Up to 11!

On the docket:  22 oz.  Clown Shoes/Schmaltz Brewing Collaboration:  Shoebelation

Poured into:  Evil Twin stemmed craft glassShoebelation_My_Blog

S:  A deep honey-brown body sporting crimson highlights.  The head wells up in a mocha cap with good staying power (exact bottle date unknown, but on the fresher side).  Lacing left behind is leggy and thorough.  The head eventually resides into a small outer ring and an island in the center of the glass.  Opaque, no bubbles observed.

A:  Complex aroma of vanilla, caramel, coconut and molasses.  Only a slight suggestion of piney hops.  Malty and sweet.

T:  Wow.  Lots of moving parts here.  Caramel candy sweetness, molasses, barrel contributions, hoppy bitterness on the end.  The breweries picked Wild Turkey bourbon barrels, and aged the blended beer for 2 months (info courtesy of quick internet fact-finding).  This is two different beers:  Billionaire, Clown Shoes’ English Barleywine, and Jewbelation Eleven, Schmaltz’s American Strong Ale.  I’ve tasted both separately, but long ago (and remember enjoying both).

F:  Full, rich, decadent.  Starts sweet but finishes with a lingering bitterness that makes you go back to the beginning with another sip.

O:  Typically collaborations end up less than the sum of their parts, but I feel this one did pretty well.  I’ll admit I’m a bit biased.  It’s got “Shoe” in the name of the beer.  Considering the amp and guitar on the label, is it really a coincidence they turned the abv up to 11(%)?  They needed that extra push over the cliff.

Suggested food pairing:  As an after-dinner drink, creamy bleu-cheese, beef stew, bread pudding, rock-mockumentaries

Drawing a Blanc: Le Jardin d’Eolie Sauvignon Blanc

Le_Jardin_My_BlogLe Jardin d’Eolie 2015 Sauvignon Blanc (Vin de France)

5 ounces poured into:  stemless aerator glass

Sight:  Pale straw, crystal clear

Aroma:  Lime and orange citrus, a hint of melon.  Secondary aromas include grass and ginger.

Taste:  Lime, subtle tartness and acidity.  Green notes of grass, sage and melon.  A slightly earthy brine that would lend this wine to be a great pairing with fresh, raw oysters.

Feel:  Light, crisp, a touch pointy.  Dry and refreshing

Overall:  Easy-drinking, perfect for hot weather.  Flavorful and delicate.

Suggested food pairing:  Ceviche, salad, white flaky fish, sharp cheddar, goat cheese, and of course, oysters.

 

 

Roll out the Barrell… Cask Strength Bourbon

Barrell_Bourbon_Cask

On the docket: Barrell Bourbon Cask Strength Batch 008b

Notes:  Aged for 10 years in American white oak barrels​

Mash bill: 70% corn, 25% rye, 5% malted barley

Poured neat into: Wine & Whiskey Country snifter

S:  Clear, golden-orange body.  Leggy- it should be at 128.3 proof!

A:  Orange zest, spice, vanilla beans.  A slightly green and fruity ester, perhaps from the chosen yeast strain.  Even when given moments to breathe, the complex alcohols are still very present.

T:  Mineral, caramel sweetness, hint of baker’s chocolate, expressive warming alcohol.  A bit of spice courtesy of the rye.
F:  Full, oily, earthy.  Very long finish.

 

With a drop of water:  A drop or two of cold, filtered water does an admirable job of taming this colossus of this cask strength bourbon.  Warming alcohol is still present, albeit in a sledge hammer-wrapped-in-velvet sort of way.  The corn component is more easily blended with the rye and caramel sweetness.
O:  Cask Strength Bourbon for cask strength enthusiasts.  Even with a rest of 10 years, this beauty still has plenty of life.

Suggested cigar pairing:  Arturo Fuente Don Carlos, other similar, full-bodied cigars

 

 

 

Dark Metal… As Opposed to Light Metal?

Birrificio_Indipendete_Dark_Metal_Imperial_StoutOn the docket:  750mL bottle of Birrificio Indipendente Elav’s Dark Metal Imperial Stout (8% abv)

Poured into:  River Horse snulip

Sight:  A hue straight from the Dark One’s soul- so black it seems to suck in the light around it.  A big, velvety, khaki cap of a head sits on top.  Gradually, it recedes.  The lacing looks like the font artist for Borknagar doodled on the rim of the glass.

Aroma:  Luscious, bold dark chocolate, French-roast coffee, anise.  A tingle of complex warming alcohols.  Subtle whiff of pine and spice from the Chinook hops.

Taste:  Roasted barley, high-cacao content dark chocolate.  Smooth, almost cold-press coffee and a bitter finish to balance off the sweet malt.  Long finish of black licorice and earthy, peppery spice.  As it warms, a slight twang emerges, like that found in Guinness.

Feel: Medium-full.  Not quite chewy, but getting there.  Light, tingly carbonation.

Overall:  Pleasant imperial stout from a prior-unknown Italian brewery.  Puts Peroni to shame (which, FYI is owned by Asahi!!  That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, Peroni is actually Japanese).  Throw up horns and crank up the volume on some Kreator, Testament, or Opeth.

Suggested food pairing:  Smoked gouda, baby-back ribs, vanilla-bean NY style cheesecake, the blood of the innocents…

… that last one was a joke

Paranormal IPA? Stone’s Ghost Hammer

Stone_Gost_Hammer_IPAOn the docket: 12 oz. can of Stone’s Ghost Hammer IPA

Poured into: Wine & Whiskey Country snifter

S:  A Lightly golden, somewhat hazy body stands beneath a white frothy head.  Decent lacing accrues on the sides of the glass, but the head dissipates, like a specter you’re not sure you saw.  Small zippy bubbles make their way to the top.

A:  A grapefruit citrus mixes with a subtle floral aroma.  A pinch of pine.

T:  Mirroring the aroma, citrus leads, followed by the floral component.  Interesting hop choice.  It finishes with a bit of cracker-y malt and firm but not bracing bitterness.
F:  Medium-light.  Gentle, but discernable carbonation.  Excellent bitterness to balance the malt.
O:  On the lighter side, but a smooth, easy-drinking IPA despite the 6.7% abv.  It’s a bit of a departure from what we expect from Stone, but that’s by no means a bad thing.  An intermediate-level IPA that will vanish quickly from your glass.  Ooooooo!

Suggested food pairing:  Arugula salad with sliced mango, tropical style roasted chicken, fruit tart, medium-sharpness cheddar.

One For the Now: California Project Pinot Grigio

California_Project_Pinot_Grigio

California Project Pinot Grigio, Non-vintage

5 ounces poured into:  Wine Country stemmed wine glass

Sight:  Very pale golden, clear, clean

Aroma:  Subtle nose of lemon, slight tartness

Taste:  A small thread of Meyer lemon, plus citrus, and light, zippy tart acidity

Feel:  Light, crisp.  What you want for casual company, a hot day, and a back deck

Overall:  Easy drinking, casual-consumption wine for those hot days on the deck, by the pool, or out in the sun

Suggested food pairing:  spring-mix salad with Meyer lemons, lightly-washed rind cheese, pasta with Alfredo sauce