Dearly Beloved: Red Wine of Mendocino County

f1361322778429_3986047_7Name: Dearly Beloved Red Wine Mendocino County
Vintage: 2009
Varietal: Syrah; Zinfandel; Petite Sirah; Sangiovese Carignane; Grenache;
Winery: Beloved Wines
Region: USA > California > Mendocino County
Price: $6.99
NTT Rating: 3/5

The first thing that caught my attention on this is of course the bottle. The label is a print cleverly designed after the “Calaveras” from the Mexican tradition of the Day of the dead.

The wine is good, in fact too good for the price and for being a generic red. I liked how smooth it was and how easy to drink.

I brought it to a  a casual family get together and it turned out to be a great compliment to a bunch of snacks and appetizers.

The wine has a bite to it that must be due to its age, 2009 is quite early. Definitely not your top or even mid-tier wine but easy to drink and good to share casually with some food without much thought about paring.

Apparently it is only available at Trader Joe’s for the time being. I think the price is right to buy a dozen or so and enjoy them in a few years.

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Apricot and sage stuffed pork fillet whole grain mashed cider jus

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May 30, 2013 · 5:51 pm

Baked monk bed of basil mash roasted carrot anise lemon drizzle

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May 30, 2013 · 5:50 pm

Grilled sea bass charred aspearagus, roast piquillo, pan seard fingerlink potato, purple brocolini oregano and anchovy oil

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May 30, 2013 · 5:43 pm

Roast organic chicken salad crisp pancetta, ciabatta croutons, wild rocket, Irish watercress, shaved Parmesan 12 yr old balsamic, fennel, and new grange gold emulsion

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May 30, 2013 · 5:39 pm

What a beautiful pig: Pig’s Nose Whisky

Pig’s Nose is a blended whisky containing a mixture of Lowland, Speyside, and Islay single malts with a touch of specially selected grain whiskies. The age of a blended whisky is that of the youngest whisky used in the process, therefore, Pig’s Nose is labeled “aged five years.” Though Pig’s Nose has been around since 1977, the packaging as well as the whisky itself has been revitalized in recent years by Whyte & Mackay’s master blender Richard Paterson. The name evolved from an exchange Paterson says he had with a friend when presenting his blended whisky. The friend commented that it was ”as soft and smooth as a pig’s nose”. It’s bottled at 40% ABV and a 750ml bottle should cost around $35.00 – $40.00 from specialty liquor retailers.

The color of Pig’s Nose is golden amber and the nose is bold but young. There’s plenty of caramel and fruit up front. These are followed by some distinct cereal grains and dried fruit. The character of the nose matches the taste on the palate, although it’s a little more rich and thick than the nose suggests. The finish is of decent length, the younger age of the spirit comes through, and it becomes sharp at the end.

It’s said, “Even a pig is beautiful – to another pig.” Pig’s Nose Scotch Whisky is no ordinary pig. It’s one wickedly handsome hog, that everyone will find appealing.

Hussong’s Liquor in Winsted, MN has this item in stock now. Go get some!

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Beer Run: Rise To The Top – Cream Ale

Rise to the Top by Third Street Brewhouse is a Cream Ale, although Third Street refers to it as a “manly”, “don’t hold back”, “bar-none” “full-flavored” brew, with 4.1% Alcohol By Volume (ABV). Rise to the Top is the signature beer of Third Street Brewhouse and I have even heard non-craft beer drinkers say that they have had it and liked it.

Cream Ale isn’t a style that you see very often. In fact, Rise to the Top is one of very few that are currently produced that I recall having had (Wisconsin has Spotted Cow by New Glarus and Rogue Ales used to make one that I tried, but it has been retired). It is a top fermented ale which is subjected to a period of lagering after the primary fermentation has been completed. I don’t know to what extent Third Street has played around with the style, since I honestly don’t know that much about what a “typical” Cream Ale would be like.

Rise to the Top is a pale straw colored beer, mildly hazy, topped by a small white head, and trailed by a minimal amount of lacing. If you examine the beer very closely, you will notice that an extremely fine particulate matter is suspended throughout the body.

The nose is pretty light, with sweet pale malts, a bit of a floral influence.

Pale malts open the taste, but the dominant flavors are light fruits and floral hops. A bit of adjunct malt is present, but it is light enough that it doesn’t wreck the beer like most beers that are brewed with adjuncts. The mouth is light to medium and fairly active on the tongue.

The first few times that I had Rise to the Top, I really had to get used to the taste. I am finding it a bit more appealing with every bottle, and I understand why it is popular with non-craft beer heads (I’m not implying that craft beer people won’t like it, but it has more of an broader appeal than the bigger craft styles would). It is a pretty light beer, the flavors aren’t overwhelming, and it’s not a drastic departure from Pale Lagers, so it isn’t as intimidating as other beer styles might be to a beer noob.

So if you are looking for a nice, light and easy drinking beer, or if you are looking to expand someone’s horizons a bit, then Third Street’s Rise to the Top should fit the bill. I personally like all three beers they have to offer, but this one does “rise to the top”.

Available at Hussong’s in Winsted, MN

Eat. Drink. Smile

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