This Week at Binny's: Sake, Champagne, Insignia & More
Plenty of new items are rolling into Binny's this week. Here's aroundup of just a few noteworthy wines you might want to check out:
Sake for a Song
I always want people to drink more sake. It's great stuff, delicate and intricate yet complex and intense in focus, at least when it's good. When it's bad, it tastes like warm distilled vinegar. We need to get more people tasting good sake so they're not so afraid of it. Hitting select stores later this week is a new collection of sake including stylistic touchstones and wonderful entry-level examples.
Sayuri Nigori isn't too intimidating. The nigori style includes dust from the milling of rice a step in sake production this is what makes nigori look milky. It gives the Sayuri Nigori a milkier, thicker texture (here's a piece of insider info: nigori is a top-selling style for its approachability).
The Nanbubijin Tokubetsu Jumai is a great example of the Junmai style. It has great clarity, weight and depth. You can get this textbook Junmai for twelve bucks a bottle. Similarly, the Dassai Goju Junmai Daiginjo is a good example of the Junmai Daiginjo style (more refined because more rice is milled away before brewing) with great texture for under fifteen dollars. At that price, this is one of the best I've seen.
One problem that I have with sake is my unfamiliarity with the names, and then remembering them. If any of these sound good to you, just ask for the most recent sake to arrive, or ask for approachable examples of sake for a beginner; the guys in the aisles will always be happy to show you what's new as well as their favorites.
Here's something fun: Dom Perignon is paying homage to a creative genius with the Tribute to Andy Warhol edition of Dom Perignon. This is a collection of three bottles (sold individually, and at the regular Dom Perignon price), playful interpretations of Dom Perignon's iconic label in red, blue, and yellow. Artsy stuff aside, this is your first chance to get your hands on the highly-regarded 2002 vintage Dom Perignon.
Of course, if you're looking for Dom in the classic bottle, we have plenty of the 2000, with 2002 gift sets complete with Champagne flutes coming before the holidays.
Also from Moet & Chandon, we are picking up a brand new expression of the Chandon California sparkling lineup this week. The Chandon Sweet Cuvee caught me off guard I don't usually go for sweeter sparklers. This is good, with notes of light fruit and candied ginger on the nose, leading to a mouthful of underripe but fresh strawberries. Not too serious, it would make for a fun girl's night. Or so I'm guessing.
Insignia and other Heavy-Hitters
Last week I mentioned the arrival 2007 Opus One. As it turns out, the 2007 Joseph Phelps Insignia arrived last week as well. Some of us were lucky to taste these wines, and several other heavy-hitters from California (and Washington), side by side (by side by side by...). The 2007 Insignia is huge and modern, with loads of candied coconut, baking spice, cocoa, and massive fruit, plus tons more. For those who live on numbers, Robert Parker has ranged this at 97-100 points, suggesting in his review that it could achieve a perfect score.
Some others tasted: 2007 Ridge Monte Bello, in a much more old-school California style with green vegetal notes, blueberry and copper. The 2008 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection is massive, with big black olive, blueberry and blackberry, black pepper, orange liqueur, coffee, and more and more, all fleshing out under the support of massive tannins. 2007 Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon is fatter with less tannins, the quite massive fruit, black olive, cedar and char absolutely packed into this huge wine.
Most of these wines are well outside my budget; I sure hope some of you get to enjoy these, over the coming months and in the coming years.
Weekend at Binny's: Scary Wines for Halloween
Don't forget about Weekend at Binny's free staff-pick tastings each Saturday from 1-4. This weekend, our theme is Scary Wines for Halloween. Each store has a different selection, so it will be fun to see what people come up with. I'll be pouring scary wines at one of the locations; maybe I'll see you there.