Our “friend” Grant brought a couple of interesting beers for us to sample the other night. He is a real beer “freek” & really has a pssion for interesting beers from around the world. Here is what he graciously shared with us.
Ithaca Beer Co. Excelsior Brute
Here is a beer project, founded in 1998 whose goal was to feature “the spirit of the Finger Lakes” via beer rather than wine. On this night, we sampled their Brute, which is a Golden Sour Ale, produced from American barley, wheat, corn & local hops….fermented in oak (in this case for 4 months) with Brettanomyces & then finished with 3 different Champagne yeast.
I first met wife & husband team, Schatzi Throckmorton (whose day job is GM of Behrens/ Erna Schein) & Mike Hirby (then–ass’t winemaker of Behrens/Erna Schein), just as they were ready to launch their Relic label. These are two incredibly nice people whose true passion for wine was quite contagious. It was no surprise when Relic came to fruition & was deservedly & wonderfully received by the wine media.
Here is what their website explains–
Yes, it was a crazy kind of tasting last night in VINO, which was spearheaded by2 of the regulars. Interestingly, we all share a real appreciation for Napa Valley’s Ric Forman and his wines. (There is another post on this site with a picture or 2 of the vineyard itself).
Here was the “lead off batter”…..showcasing the same graphite/pencil lead/gravel character typically found in Forman’s red wines & therefore found in the bevy of Cabernets tasted later. This one has a little more plumpness in the middle. We were so impressed how remarkably youthful this wine still is.
Cheryle & I had a sampling of some interesting Greek wines at the starchefs.com’s “Chef’s Congress” last October, which really perked our interest. Finally…..some are making their way to our Islands. Here are a few of the highlights we tasted today.
2011 Domaine Douloufakis Dafnios
Produced exclusively from the Vidiano grape variety, which is organically farmed on the southern Isle of Crete at roughly 1800 feet elevation. Very pretty, well made, fascinating perfume, good balance with lots of life & vigor. This wine has an innate bitterness in the finish, so one needs to be thoughtful on what foods to pair with it.
We did a staff winetasting down at Sansei Waikiki/DK Steakhouse the other night. The staff wanted to learn a little more about Italian red wines. Since we had previously tasted some examples produced from Sangiovese, Nebbiolo & Aglianico before, I decided to show them some wines, which were more “country-ish” in style. Thankfully the wines showed wonderfully.
SELLA & MOSCA CANNONAU DI SARDEGNA “RISERVA”
As VINO regulars well know, we have been HUGE fans of winemaker Van Williamson over the years & his tenure at Edmeades Winery. He made some superbly vinous, beasty, yet well textured, surprisingly balanced Zin behemoths which displayed the raw character of some interesting Old Vine Mendocino vineyards, such as Ciapusci, Zeni, Piffero & Eaglepoint Ranch, just to name a few. From 1994 to 2007, it really was an era of Van Williamson in all his glory.
We were treated to a very invigorating dinner recently at DK Steakhouse, which featured the foods of Chef Jason Miyasaki…..& the wines from TWO visitng, female French winemakers, Catherine Breton & Christine Campadieu. What a treat it was!
Catherine & Pierre own & run an 11 hectare domaine in France’s Loire Valley, with holdings in Vouvray, Chinon & Bourgueil. Amongst a myriad of soil types–gravel, clay, limestone, schist & yellow tufeau, they grow Chenin Blanc & Cabernet Franc. They were certified organic in 1991 & started down the road towards biodynamic in 1994.
Bordeaux is a geographically defined appellation in France. When one really delves into understanding the wines of Bordeaux, it really can be based upon the soil….& the winemaker.
The other night, we did a tasting of 7 wines from Bordeaux for the staffs down at Sansei Waikiki & DK Steakhouse. The challenge really was “how can we focus the VERY involved information, culture & history to make it more understandable”…..to the point of the server can use it on the “floor” the very next night of service.
Here is what we did………
I distinctly recall Robert Mondavi, the iconic Napa Valley vintner, standing up at one of the early Wine Spectator Grand Tasting events in San Francisco and telling the hushed crowd of attendees that one day California would produce Pinot Noirs which could stand up to those from France.
Although he was generally regarded as the leader of a generation who did just that with the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon grape varieties, Pinot Noir was sure to be a bigger challenge and most of the wine professionals understood that.
As VINO regulars well know by now, we are HUGE fans of winemaker Fred Scherrer & his wines. Fred epitomizes the concept of artisan, handcrafted & boutique, as he is essentially a one man show.
Interestingly, we have found over the years, it is hard to find a winemaker/winery who excels at 1 grape variety…..much less Fred excelling at 5 or 6! Yes, his are wines to search out for…..AND they do get better with age…..even his Zinfandels.