Wine Hotline Hits the Road: France Part II

A group of Binny’s wine people traveled to the Rhone Valley in France, joined by legendary importer Peter Weygandt. Check out day one from Binny’s South Loop Wine Manager Don Sheil here. He continues to share his experience:

 

Wine Barrels

 

We spend time at Domaine Les Aphillanthes, near the village of Rasteau, with vigneron Daniel Boulle. We tasted several interesting wines – the 2011 Rasteau 1921 Cuvee is epscially good (2010 here). The name refers to the year the vines were planted – aromas of blackberry, licorice and Provencal herbs abound. The finish is long and the flavors complete across the palate.

 

Wines of Domaine Les Aphillanthes

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Wine Hotline Hits the Road: the Rhone & Southern France

Several Binny’s employees, led by Binny’s Wine Buyer Barbara Hermann, traveled to the Rhone Valley and Southern France, in search of the greatest wines the region offers. Joining them was legendary importer Peter Weygandt. Binny’s South Loop Wine Manager Don Sheil shares the experience:

 

Raymond Usseglio Vineyards

 

The business part of our journey begins when we meet Peter Weygandt, an importer of European artisan wines, in the hillside town of Chateauneuf du Pape. First stop, Domaine Raymond Usseglio, where we tour the vineyards and taste wines with Raymond’s son and heir apparent, Stephane. The impressive array of 2011 cuvees and 2012 barrel samples show the quality and care of this vigneron. Surprisingly, at least to me, the 2012 whites are amazing – lush and balanced with rich tree ripened fruit.

 

Raymond Usselgio Bottles

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Wine Staff Picks

This month, we turn to Binny’s Highland Park Wine Consultant Keith Akers for a few of his top recommendations. With his eye for value, he offers up five great selections from all over the world.

 

2011 Chateau de la Ragotiere Muscadet
Aromatic and mineral driven with seashells, crushed rocks, white fruits, and a touch of floral notes. Light bodied with crisp and refreshing medium/high acidity. Summer is over, but this is still perfect with lighter foods and is a pleasure to drink all the time.

 

Tissot Rose Tissot Rose jura-9-20-2013
Crisp and aromatic with a red fruit base of red berries, red fruits, warm dough, and a bit of mineral tones. Medium bodied with zippy high acidity, this is a great sparkling rose that competes with many Champagnes that are twice the price. Also, be sure to check out Tissot Indigene, a dead ringer for a Blanc de Blancs from Champagne at half the price. The sparkling wines of Tissot only at select Binny’s locations.

 

2011 Evening Land Blue Label Pinot Noir
The pretty and perfumed nose shows fresh picked red berries, cherries, spice tones, and roses. Medium bodied with nice and tart medium acidity. This beautiful pinot leans more towards the nuanced side instead of raw power.

 

2010 Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico rocca-9-20-2013
Tones of red cherries, berries and roasted herbs fill the glass and have a great savory quality. Medium bodied with medium acidity and silky tannins, this Chianti Classico is great to drink on its own and to have with food.

 

2009 Argyle Brut
The nose is lively and balanced with red apples, yeast, white fruits, and mineral tones. There is a real freshness on the palate as well, with a silkiness to the medium body and medium/high acidity. This is a great sparkling wine buy that is a real pleasure to drink.

 

Keith has been a fixture in the Highland Park Binny’s wine department for six years. He especially loves the wines of Italy, Champagne and Burgundy, having graduated from beer to wine after falling for wine’s sense of place. Email Keith at kakers@binnys.com or stop by Binny’s Highland Park.

 

For more wine news any time, check out the Wine Hotline.

A Tour of Scotland Distilleries

scotch_Collection_blog
I was recently in Scotland on vacation with my girlfriend Kimberly, and we were able to visit a few distilleries. We started off in Edinburgh where we visited a place called the Scotch Whisky Experience. They have a fun interactive tour that shows you how whisky is made. After the tour they bring out samples of whiskies from Speyside, the Highlands, the Lowlands and the Islands to show the difference in taste between these regions. Then they bring you to a room that holds the Largest Bottle_bloglargest Scotch Whisky collection in the world. This collection was built by whisky connoisseur Claive Vidiz. It took over 35 years to build and holds 3384 bottles of Scotch Whisky. Needless to say, this puts my collection to shame. Then we finished the tour in the tasting room where they have the largest bottle of whisky on display. This bottle stands 4 feet 9 inches and holds 105.3 liters (about 150 bottles).

 

Our next stop was in the Scotch Whisky capital of the world, Dufftown. First stop Aberlour. We tried samples of the Aberlour a’bunadh, Aberlour 12 year and Aberlour 16 year. The 16 year in particular stands out for me. This was well rounded and has a nice complexity from both the ex-bourbon and sherry casks.

 

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Binny’s Mailbag: Sweet Reds

Here is a question we are asked frequently at the Binny’s Mailbag:

Binny's Mailbag

 

I like sweet wines. I’ve had had Sauternes, ice wine and moscato that I like a lot. Are there any sweet red wines you can suggest?

Thanks
- PS

Hi P, thanks for the question.

 

We have a ton that you’ll enjoy. Here are just a few.

 

Marenco Pineto is from the Brachetto grape of Northern Italy. It shows sweet red berry fruit, and remains floral and balanced – not cloyingly sweet. The style is increasing in popularity and has earned its reputation as the “Red Moscato.”

 

For something similar but a little less expensive, give Serena a try. This Italian blend is a little lighter, fresher and very easy to drink.

 

For a fuller bodied red, check out Adesso. It’s one of our top sellers in the sweet red category. 100% Refosco from Emilia Romagna, just south of Venice, Italy. It has an inviting character of red berry, black raspberry and touch of spice. Food-friendly or great by itself.

 

Of course, that’s just the start. You’ll find tons more sweet red wines at your favorite Binny’s location. Stop by, check out what’s on hand, and ask your local wine consultant about their favorite sweet reds, too.

 

The Perfect Father’s Day: The Macallan and a Cigar

Celebrate Father’s Day with The Macallan & a Cigar

a FREE seminar at
Binny’s Highland Park

Thursday, June 13, 6:30 pm
RSVP: 847-831-5400

 
Join Binny’s Highland Park in this free seminar featuring some of the world’s finest Scotch. Macallan Brand Ambassador Jeremy Fonicello will lead us through some excellent expressions from this classic distillery. And if Scotch with the right cigar sounds like an even better way to relax on Father’s Day, Jeremy and the Binny’s Highland Park crew have put in weeks of research to recommend the perfect smoke for each of the featured whiskys. RSVP soon at 847-831-5400, or by emailing highlandpark@binnys.com.

Wine Hotline Hits the Road: Walla Walla, Washington

A group of Binny’s wine staff visited Walla Walla, Washington. Jon Kaiser reports from the road:

 

Long Shadows Barrels

 

Most of the Walla Walla wineries we visited, with the exception of Woodward Canyon, source their grapes from the Columbia, Cascade, and Yakima Valleys. The vineyards in Walla Walla have to be in elevation above 600 feet to avoid damaging frost when the vines start to bud. A primary characteristic of these valleys that create such rich and full bodied Cabernet Sauvignons, Syrahs, and Cabernet Francs is that during the warmer months the valley floors get very warm but the vines enjoy drastically cooler nights. The sun warms the soil during the day so that it radiates heat throughout the night, keeping the vines active even when the temperature cools. Average rainfall in Walla Walla is only 17 inches per year, so most of the agriculture in the area is dry farmed wheat while vineyards utilize drip irrigation.

 

Several of the wineries we visited in Walla Walla are located on the property of the Walla Walla Regional Airport. It was an Army Air Base during World War II where pilots learned to fly B-17 bomber aircraft. While the airport still flies small commercial planes, The Port of Walla Walla overtook ownership of the property in 1989 and the older barracks, firehouse, hangars, and buildings associated with the base are now home to 20 plus wineries including three of the biggest. We got a chance to visit Tamarack Cellars, Buty, Dunham. The quality of product and volume of production coming out of these small facilities is astounding, with production on the scale of both very large and very small. From 100,000 case production wines to just a few thousand. We tasted barrel samples at many of the wineries we visited, and one of our favorites was at the Long Shadows vineyard. Customers will love Michel Rolland’s 2012 Pedestal Merlot when it finally hits the shelves at Binny’s – in a few years.

 

Long Shadows Fermentation Tanks

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Jim Beam Seminar in Champaign

This ain’t your Grandpas Bourbon! When Jim Beam started distilling in 1795, bourbon was pretty simple. Now it’s more complex and lots of fun! Join us for an evening of sippin’ and learnin’ with Kyle Gilligan of Jim Beam Brands this Friday.

 

Jim Beam Bourbon Seminar
Binny’s in Champaign
Friday, May 17th 7pm
RSVP (217) 355-0625 or champaign@binnys.com

 

During this seated seminar, taste several of the Beam family whiskeys, and to learn how they are made. See how this family is changing the way we think about this traditional American spirit.

 

Space for this event is limited so sign up early! The seminar will begin promptly at 7 and is free with your Binny’s card. If your plans change and you are unable to attend please contact us as we always have a waiting list.

 

 

RSVP by email by sending your name, phone number and # in your party to champaign@binnys.com and we will contact you to confirm your reservation, or call us at (217) 355-0625.

 

Katharine Schenck is a Wine Consultant at the Champaign Binny’s.

Mike Kiessel’s Smoky Grilled Asparagus with Gruner Veltliner

Have you met Elmwood Park Binny’s Wine Consultant Mike Kiessel? Mike has been working with Binny’s for seven years, and his interest in good wine and food goes a lot further back than that. Critical to this was the decade and a half he spent living in San Francisco, within striking distance of some of the world’s greatest wine producing areas.

 

“With easy access not only to the great wines of northern California, but abundant fresh fruit and vegetables too.” Mike recalls, “It was a great time to cook, eat, drink, and learn how to make flavors work together.” Now he likes to share these wine and food pairings with customers on the Binny’s sales floor. He has discovered over the years that some combinations are more difficult than others.

 

Paring asparagus and wine can be a tough proposition, but it’s a challenge Mike doesn’t fear.

 

“The key,” Mike says, “is the combination of spices to enhance the flavor, the ideal method of cooking, and then the right wine to bring it all together.”

 

 


Smoky Grilled Asparagus
 

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 pound thick asparagus, trimmed

 

In a shallow dish, whisk mayonnaise with oil, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, salt and cumin. Add the asparagus and toss; let stand for 30 minutes.

 

Grill asparagus over moderately high heat, turning, until tender and blistered in spots, about 6 minutes; serve.

 

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Binny’s Mailbag: Champagne Recommendation

Here’s another peek into Binny’s Mailbag:

 

Hello:

Can you give me a champagne/sparkling wine recommendation in the $10 – $15 range? I would prefer something that is not too dry.

Thanks,

Mark

 

Hi Mark,

 

Sounds like Prosecco would be right up your alley. This light, delicate sparkler from northern Italy tends to be not as dry as true Champagne. A favorite of ours is the Nino Franco Rustico. It’s always a value, and you’ll see extra savings this month when you use your Binny’s Card.

 

You would probably also love the Gruet Extra Dry - a stunner of a value, this is made in New Mexico (of all places!)  by a French family. This is also just $12.99 with the Binny’s card in December, and is just off-dry with very fine bubbles. They make it using Methode Champenoise, the same processes used in Champagne.