Binny’s has the best people around. So we asked Binny’s specialists from Chicago to Champaign, Evergreen Park to Highland Park, for their Top Ten of 2013. We put an emphasis on value and on availability. The response was huge, and distilling all the great suggestions down to a list of just 10 wasn’t easy.
#1 2011 Dow’s Vintage Port
Extracted, complicated, ultra ripe, but not overripe like raisins. This blockbuster is so enjoyable as a young ruby, why wait 30 years for it to tawny?
– John Pickering, Wine Manager at Binny’s Skokie, email@example.com
A true India Pale Ale from Revolution Brewing out of Chicago; this beer is well balanced. Huge hop bitterness works in unison with a biscuity malt body. This beer is to be enjoyed year round by those who love the fragrance and character of hops.
This right bank Bordeaux is always one of my favorite values. With a nice core of black fruit, black tea, nice oak shadings and cocoa notes, this medium-full red is absolutely singing right now. It could be cellared for a few more years, but why not just enjoy it now.
My favorite dram is very much a result of bias toward the birthplace of one of my passions. Scotland is the home of both golf and my favorite whisky, Ardbeg Uigeadail (oog-a-dal). Rich, weighty and smoky and in perfect balance, add a little water and open up all the smoke and oiliness one could want from Islay malt.
Year after year Marietta manages to turn out the best value in zinfandel blends, always performing well above its price tag. The exact blend changes with each lot, but the flavors don’t; loads of ripe, dark, brambly, berries and exotic spices. It starts with a wallop, but the smoothness in the mid palate leads to a soft finish.
A strong, complex brown ale. It pours reddish dark brown with a rich tan head. This robust and malty ale is at once extremely nutty and sweet, with a complex tobacco-like spiciness. Full bodied and rich, yet finishes very dry. It’s perfect for this time of year, which makes sense because it’s a seasonal. Buy some soon before it’s gone.
Heaven in a bottle! A blend of 6 year old whiskey made from 95% Rye, and 16 year old made from 80% Rye. Notes candied fruit, vanilla, sweet notes of caramel, and a some spice on the finish. This is one the best whiskies for we carry, and much cheaper than some designer bottles.
#8 Asylum 13
Nicaraguan Puro with a dark Nicaraguan wrapper and filler grown Nicaraguan black volcanic soil. Medium- to full-bodied, rich and complex, try this with Glenrothes Select Reserveor Pierre Ferrand Ambre. The citrus, vanilla, and spice notes of both balance perfectly with this cigar.
A great sparkling buy that is a pleasure to drink. The nose is lively and balanced with red apples, yeast, white fruits, and mineral tones. There is a real freshness on the palate and silkiness to the medium body of this incredible buy.
One of the best sours you can buy, especially for the money. Intense cherry and stone fruit flavors leave a lingering sourness on your palette, but a subtle sweetness keeps everything balanced and never too sour.