If there is one thing that drives me crazy while dining out, it’s an overpriced and uninspired wine list. I get all worked up, pointing at wines and loudly reciting what we charge at Binny’s. I think it annoys the people I’m with. And it happens a lot, because I’m poor and I can’t afford to dine at places that put much of an emphasis on wine.
My girlfriend’s birthday is coming up in the next couple of weeks which reminded us that she still hadn’t used the gift card to a restaurant that was my gift to her last year. So this last weekend, we decided that it was finally time to use it. So we had a very nice dinner at the restaurant where the gift card was from.
I’ve had the chance to try quite a few South African wines in the past couple of weeks – and while I am not, say, enamored with the wines of the country, I do think South African producers are doing some interesting things, and are making some wines that will at least elicit consideration and conversation, which is what I love about wine. The general consensus is that wine growing, production and quality in general are all improving in South Africa.
First: Great, Affordable Whites
I do love white wines from South Africa, known to be plush and fruity yet vibrant and crisp and refreshing, from chardonnay to chenin blanc, sauvignon blanc and more, and usually at great prices. They tell me the cool climate helps. A winemaker from South Africa I spoke to last week said, But we don’t want to be known only as a white wine producing country. That’s fine, but white wine from South Africa is just so good!
Lagunitas has really impressed us recently with their past and present seasonal offerings, as well as their recently released 2009 Correction Ale. As was mentioned in a previous blog, Lagunitas had plans to release a brand new summer beer that was to be announced. Well their spanking new summer beer hit Binnys shelves this week. Here is the description of the innovative beer from Lagunitas:
A Little Sumpin Sumpin Ale
“Way smooth and silky with a wheaty-esque-ish-ness. Just the little sumpin sumpin we all need to kick Summer into full swing.”
To us, A Little Sumpin Sumpin Ale was a tantalizing hopped up wheat beer. We found ourselves wondering if this was indeed a wheat beer or an IPA, and came to the conclusion that it is both. Look out for its deceptive drinkability despite its 7.7% ABV. It is a refreshing beer perfect for summer, and is poised to compete with heavy hitting summer beers like Bells Oberon and Three Floyds Gumballhead. Just as we would say for any of the Lagunitas line of beers, A Little Sumpin Sumpin Ale is a must try. It will be on sale for the short remainder of May, so if you are looking forward to trying it, it would be wise to head over to Binnys in the next few days. Are there any other breweries that have impressed you more so than Lagunitas over the last several months?
A couple good friends of mine got together the other night for one of the Blackhawks playoff games, where grilling and good beer was a must. Before the game we casted a fishing line out in a neighbors pond, and brought a few Brooklyn Summers and Metropolitan Flywheels. Although we hate wasting beer, the fifteen pound carp made up for the bottle of Flywheel I spilled.
Sometimes it feels like my life is full of lucky coincidences like it’s a series of events where I happen to be in the right place at the right time. I’m pretty sure that’s how I wound up with an invite to the 2009 Wine Spectator Grand Tour, and how I found myself waiting in line to get into the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier at 6:45 last night.
It was two nights ago that I was at the Wine Spectator’s Grand Tour 2009. I was running out of time, skipping my way through a row of Australian producers, and as I passed the crowded Mollydooker table, I overheard the pourer (I didn’t catch her name) explaining the “Mollydooker Shake.”
I was amazed. A co-worker had told me, years ago, about how some people on the Internet (you know you can trust people on the Internet) said that the best way to enjoy a bottle of Mollydooker wine is to pour a bit into a glass, replace the Stelvin enclosure (screw cap) and shake the wine up a lot.
“I can’t believe you’re actually promoting that,” I said to the woman pouring the Mollydooker.
It was a few days before my 21st birthday and I had a day off from work and school. I decided to rent a movie. I picked up Sideways and thought, sure, this is critically acclaimed and sounds funny.
Little did I know, this movie would change me forever. I was about to finish my Culinary Arts Degree from Joliet Junior College. Working in kitchens throughout my high school and college years, wine was just an afterthought. Not after viewing Sideways.
I get this question alot, from both our suppliers and from Binny’s shoppers. The suppliers of course want to know what category might provide them another business opportunity, but our shoppers really want to know “what’s new?” is there something I might be missing?
After a decent amount of research and consultations with experts like Chris Speir, wine manager at Binnys in Willowbrook, the following list was formed. Besides pairing beers and cheeses that go together harmoniously, we tried to incorporate as many styles of beer and cheese as possible. If you have any suggestions on how to better our list, or have any other ideas of some quality beer and cheese pairings, please leave us a comment. We hope to see you May 28th!
Part of working in the wine business is taking advantage of every possible opportunity to taste wine and tasting all this killer wine all the time is pretty awesome. It’s sort of a Catch-22, though. While I’m always finding new favorites, as long as I sell wine for a living, I’ll probably never make enough money to actually buy most of it. (What a complaint to have!)
So you shoppers out there should know that if you’re looking for good deals, be sure ask the wine guys in the aisles we’ve all pretty much made a career out of finding good wine values.
Because May is French Wine Month here at Binny’s, and because I was pretty impressed with these particular wines, here are a few values from all around France that I tasted recently.