As promised in my previous New Release post, I had a chance to try the newest release in the Port Charlotte Evolution series from Bruichladdich and have some notes. I just want to say here I’m glad I made that promise, because this stuff is excellent!
For those who don’t know, the PC series from Bruichladdich is a set of bottlings featuring spirit from heavily peated malt (55ppm, I believe) meant as a precursor to the eventual reopening of the long gone Port Charlotte distillery in the Islay town of the same name. The first release, PC 5, was extremly limited and flew off the sehelves, as it was also extremely excellent. The second release, PC 6, was much larger and is still available, and while I quite enjoyed and would recommend it, it didn’t resonate for me like PC 5.
PC 7 falls in the middle of the excellence of 5 and the “very goodness” of 6. This bottling is 7 years old, 61% abv, drawn from a combination of first fill bourbon casks vatted jusdiciously with first fill sherry butts, outturn was 24,000 bottles. The first pass through uncut didn’t reveal the high abv, which is nice. Beatiful spicy, briney, mildly smokey nose (maybe a touch dirty), definite smoke on the palate but a surprising amount of fat sweetness as well. Problem here is the two didn’t immediately mesh. The addition of water changed all that, however. Once cut only slightly, then subsequently more, that beautiful smoke, salt, and spice began working in lock step with the sweetness. First thing that struck my mind was Cinnabon! There is a definite pronounced cinnamon character, but not sharp and hot like a cinnamon toothpick, but to me literally like a cinnamon breakfast bun, all the flavors you want with surprising weight for the relative youth of the whisky. This bottling shows the great potential for future release in this series.
If you like full throttle Viognier, don’t miss the Andrew Murray 06 for only $12.99. What a refreshing wine, esp if you’re tired of the usual suspects in California white wines.
Practically explodes from the glass. May not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, it’s impossible to beat this bang for the buck.
If you are a fan of California wine, you won’t want to miss our best event of the year! This book is now posted (https://www.binnys.com/secure/events/). Check it out. You’ll find an unheard of selection: Several wines over $100/btl and 30+ wines $50 and over. But for me, this event is the prime opportunity to taste what you want, and with a 15% discount, STOCK UP! Looking for the best QPR (Quality/Price Ratio)? Don’t miss the Vinum Petite Sirah (table # 56), the Guenoc Claret (table #60), the Newton Claret (table #67), the Cline Sonoma Syrah (table #84, 8.99-15%=$7.64!) or Rutherford Ranch 07 Chard (table #60, 90pts WA, 11.99-15%=$10.19).
Too many to go through. You’re just going to have to do your own homework before the event!
The forecast calls for chilly, rainydays this week. Though this winter seems to be endless, a little coldweather is all the excuse I need to pop open a few heavy reds. Though last month was Spanish month at Binny’s, here are a fewSpanish wines you won’t want to miss:
2005 Finca Sandoval
This is one of those wines where Ilook forward to every new vintage. A red blend of primarily syrah(the 2005 has less syrah than previous vintages, with more mourvedreand bobal making up the balance), FincaSandoval offers some serious weight and intensity vanilla andpowdered cocoa on the nose and dark raspberry on the palate. It’sjust what you’d expect from importer Jorge Ordonez an intense,New-World styled red that over-delivers for the price (The WineAdvocate gives this one 94 points). One case has hit the shelves atour South Loop store, and we should be able to get more. It’s a goodvalue at $42.99.
2005 Pico Madama
I try not to put too much emphasis onnumerical scores, but the 95 point Wine Advocate review for the 2005Pico Madama piqued my interest. An unusual 50/50 blend of petitverdot and monastrell, this wine has more tannic backbone than a lotof the mourvedre-based reds coming out of the Jumilla region. Thatbackbone comes from the petit verdot, which is best known for beingused in small amounts in Bordeaux and Bordeaux-style blends. Ofcourse, layered on top of the tannins are floral notes, minerality,and tons of fruit. What’s even better is that Binny’s has PicoMadama on sale through the end of March usually $34.99, it’s onsale for $31.99 (with your free Binny’scard).
2007 Altos de la Hoya
Bob Calamia, ourSpanish wine buyer, wanted me to be sure to include the Altosde la Hoya Monastrell in the Binny’s Blog. This is the deal ofthe day: Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar gave this wine 91points, calling it another crazy value. (They have it listed at$14; Binny’s is selling it for $8.99!) Robert Parker hasreferred to past vintages as a stupendous bargain and aperennial Best Buy. The Altos de la Hoya is another red from theJumilla region of Spain, this one is 92% Monastrell with just a bitof Garacha blended in. It offers a balance of weight and lift usually foundin wines three times this price. We’ve got plenty on hand right now, so stop by and grab a bottle. Or a case!
Itseems like there is an overwhelming stream of new wines coming comingthrough our doors, but we’re up to the challenge of keeping up todate with everything new in the world of wine. Here are a few thatcaught our attention recently. Give them a try and let us know whatyou think.
Dona Paula Malbec
Binny’s has carriedDonaPaula Los Cardos Malbecfrom Mendoza, Argentina for years – it has always represented anoustanding value. New to Binny’s is the premium 2007Dona Paula Malbec. I’malways excited at the opportunity to try a step up from something Ialready like. Both Wine Spectator and The Wine Advocate give it 90points, and at $13.99, it is still a terrific value.
Also new to Binny’s is2005Dona Paula Malbec Seleccion de Bodega,the high-end malbec from the same winery. The Wine Advocate givesthis one 94 points, so if you like the Dona Paula malbecs (or anygood, modern-styled Argentinian Malbec) this one might be worthsplurging the $37.99.
Some great value wines ofnote are the Rooglewines by Marquis Philips.The 2007 reds and 2008 whites were just released. They haven’t beenreviewed yet, but they always seem to land scores right in that 89-90points range. A consistent value brand, they pack a lot of fruit andweight. Supply is always a little tight on these wines, and at $9.99,you should give them a try while we still have them.
From the same importer(Dan Philips of The Grateful Palate) is 2007R Wines Strong Arms Shiraz.This one also hasn’t been rated yet (The Wine Advocate gave the 2006Shiraz 91 points and calls it a “remarkable value”) but wegot the chance to sample it recently. At $10.99, it’s an excellentand affordable example of a heavy, jammy, fruit-driven AustralianShiraz.
2006 Chateauneufdu Pape
Want an opportunity to trygreat wine? We recently sampled two great 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape: 2006Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf du Pape(93 points, Wine Spectator) and 2006Clos Saint Jean Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes.(93points, The Wine Advocate). Southern Rhone wines from the 2006vintage may be a little underrated – 2006 was a decent vintagesandwiched between the highly regarded 2005 vintage and thesure-to-be amazing 2007 vintage. What is surprising about these twowines is that 1) they are both drinking beautifully right now, whichis great considering Chateauneuf du Pape’s reputation for requiringcellar time, and 2) while retaining their Rhone character, they wereeach surprisingly different. The Vieux Donjon has that classicalstructure found in Chateauneuf du Pape with woody, mineralicstructure, while the Clos St. Jean V.V. is softer and moreimmedaitely appealing with that sort of cassis and cherry fruit foundin great grenache. And at under fifty bucks each, they’re bothrelatively affordable (in the world of Chateauneuf du Pape).
Ska Brewery is getting crafty with cans.
They are one of a growing number of breweries beginning to can a craft beer, once considered taboo. Ska Modus Hoperandi IPA is now available at Binny’s (email firstname.lastname@example.org for store availability) and is primed to take the beer world by storm with it’s prodigious flavor and unique can. This is one of the only craft beers available in cans in the Chicago area. I talked it over with Ted Sullivan, our corporate beer buyer, who had a six pack of this stuff last night. That it exceeded his expectations might be a vast understatement. “To be honest, I was drinking it to get it out of the way,” Ted admitted. “I ended up drinking two or three in twenty – five minutes, while eating homemade pico de gallo. I ended up drinking all six, and had no hang over at all.”
Canned beer can be like a blind date–one never knows what to expect or what will happen or how it will all turn out. But Ska Modus Hoperandi IPA made a great first impression with hops on the nose. It wasn’t bitter and lacked the trademark pine cone aroma and flavor, which cause some to recoil and others to rejoice.
Drinking beer from a can has some advantages over beer from a bottle. It is cheaper and easier to package canned beer, serving to hold down costs. Canned beer is protected from light, which is destructive to beer, has a longer shelf life, and gets colder faster. This is not some canned sales pitch. If you disagree with us, we want to hear from you. It’s not healthy to keep these kinds of feelings bottled up!