Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Medicinal Purposes

I decided to try this Barenjager Honey Liqueur again. This time, I have my mug firmly planted and hopefully there won't be any threats of tipping over. I think I am fighting what seems to be the start of a cold and figured the extra honey flavor will help soothe the throat.

I will keep you posted on which works better to ward off a cold; Bourbon or Barenjager. If I was feeling up to it, I would make another one of those delicious Calvados Hot Toddies, but I'm feeling a bit lazy.

Still not much tasting going on at work (it's inventory time...yay!), but this Thursday I think we're popping open some gems that we've been holding onto for the right moment. I know you're all on the edge of your seats, so I will keep you posted.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back in the Game

My friends and I used to do a dance in college known as the "Back in the Game" dance. We performed this spastic exercise in weird every time one of us would get back on the horse. It was meant for getting a good review after a lousy performance or a new date after a break up...here I am using it as starting to "blog" again. After about a two month hiatus, I thought it was time to get the creative drinking juices flowing.

Before I sat down to write, I made myself a huge cup of Ginger/Peach Green Tea with a healthy dose of Barenjager Honey Liqueur in it. I was all settled in and cozy, when the mug spilled over and now I have a wet sock and two soaked towels. Btw, there downloads are pretty amazing, this is the one for "winter".

So much for sipping on a nice relaxing warm beverage. I truly believe that this happened for a reason since I had been plotting on opening my bottle of Pappy 15. No time like the present and my glass is in a much more stable position. I haven't had much time to really taste anything, but have still managed to buy some wonderful spirits and plot out some upcoming Scotch tastings. For my personal collection, I snagged one of the Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye and the Pappy Van Winkle 15. While at Char4 a few nights ago, I purchased the Sazerac 18 and then sent guilt ridden emails to the man who allocates the entire Pappy/Antique Line. I haven't heard back from him yet. The Sazerac 18 is absolutely unbelievable and since we never recieved any at the Chateau, have taken to bartering with other people who have it. I'm hoping that eventually we can have a Bourbon/Rye club that brings in hard to obtain items and we share tastes. Or I organize an official Big Boy Spirits tasting.

It's true, I have been doing my fair share of Bourbon drinking lately; Eagle Rare, Willett and of course Bulleit are all on the top of my going out to drink list. Unfortunately, not too many places have any of those and I drank all the Eagle Rare at my favorite watering hole, leaving me with Basil Hayden (which is nothing to spit out).

There was Jew Christmas, where no stops were made on the wine we drank. Jew Christmas is when people who have no place to be on Xmas Eve join us for Chinese food and wine. This was our third year in a row at Hunan Delight. Here are a few pics, but they don't do our festivities justice:

Here's to a Happy and Healthy 2009!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Whiskyfest Begging Works

I was still hopeful on Tuesday morning that someone would come through with a ticket to Whiskyfest for me, but by 5pm I had lost all hope. One of our reps said he would try and and sneak me in, but when I talked to him after he got there it seemed that it was impossible. Bummed out, I went to go and sulk in the office while I worked. Then at 7:40PM I got a phone call from one of my sales reps, "Where are you, I have a ticket". That's all I needed to hear before I started squealing, throwing on my jacket and running out the door.

I made it to the Marriott Marquee in about 35 minutes and had a glass in hand by 8:30. Along with my saviours, Alex and Peter, I jumped right in. I had an hour and fifteen minutes to taste....it was GO time!

My first stop was at the Arran table, a malt from the Isle of Arran which is off the west coast of the Lowlands. Just the night before, my co-worker and part of Team Whisk(e)y, Tara, was showing me their website and talking about how we should carry their products in the store. I thought it was an odd coincidence they were the first table I saw. I tasted through the line that they currently had available and was very impressed with the Madeira and Bourbon finishes.

I really wanted to try things that we didn't have in the store and make stronger connections with people to obtain harder to find items. I spent a few moments scanning the aisle of booths to see what else was on the row I hadn't heard of or tried and came up with Old Pulteney, Scotland's most northern distillery. It's also known as the "Manzanilla of the north" named after the famous style of Sherry. I found the Scotch to be very elegant with a bit of salt and sweet. I can't wait to bring this one into the store. It tastes great and will be on the shelf for under $40!

I quickly looked over the next few rows of booths and spotted the Glenrothes table, a whiskey I had seen before, but hadn't a chance to try yet. There were a good handful of people surrounding the booth since this was one drink that had the attention of the Hassidic community. It's Rabbi certified even with the small amount of Sherry used. I was able to get the attention of the man behind the booth and he poured me the Glenrothes Reserve, a very smooth and rich style. It's a blend of different vintages (all single malts) combined into one luscious drink. I moved onto the 1991, 1985 and then the 1975. I was asking the representative from the distillery questions, but he was being hounded by some crazy whiskyfest goers who were pouring their own drinks. While juggling the self-pourers he introduced me to Timothy who is the sales director for New York and New Jersey of the brand. I told him how excited I was bout the beverage and couldn't wait to order it from Southern. The Select Reserve is already on our shelves. (I work fast).

It was already after 9PM and I still hadn't made it over to the Pappy Van Winkle and Buffalo Trace table. I would have kicked my own arse had I not gone to see the Van Winkles. Even though I was almost sold out of our entire allocation, I still wanted to taste whatever they had. I started off with the Pappy 15, then tried the 23 and the 20. I was completely surprised by how different this years bottlings were. Last year, the 20 had turned a bit medicinal, but this year it maintained every bit of Bourbon essence. The 23 was even more exciting and now knew why it was the first to fly off the shelf. I saw David Harper (the gateway to my Pappy and Buffalo Trace Antique Line) and he informed me that there might be some more Pappy 23 in my future. YES! Heights Chateau is now the proud owner of three more of those puppies. Maybe two if I can find someone to go in on a bottle with me. I asked him about the Antique line as well, but am still not sure what is being set aside for us. That didn't stop me from trying whatever they had.

The George T. Stagg was already gone, but was able to try the Weller, Eagle Rare 17, Handy and Sazerac 18. All were amazing. I had no idea how strong any of them were until the ladies behind the booth told me that what I was trying averaged about 125 proof. Here's a copy of the press release:

The Antique Collection will once again feature five limited-release whiskies of various ages, recipes and proofs. Here is what whiskey lovers can expect:

Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old

Two time winner of the “American Whiskey of the Year” award, the 2008 release is comprised of whiskey that has been aging in Warehouse K on the first floor. The first floor enables the barrels to age slowly and gracefully. This vintage has a spicy aroma with very mature notes of oak and molasses.

Eagle Rare 17 Year Old

These barrels were distilled in the spring of 1991 and have been aging in Warehouse C. This bourbon was 17 years old at the time of bottling giving it almond, caramel and leather notes with a dry finish.

George T. Stagg

The 2008 George T. Stagg was found on the lower floors of Warehouse I and K. This bourbon was distilled back in the spring of 1993 and weighs in at a hardy 141.8 proof—very powerful stuff! The whiskey tastes of dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans and mature oak.

William Larue Weller

William Larue Weller is the Antique Collection’s uncut, unfiltered, wheat recipe bourbon. The barrels were aged 11 years and two months on the ninth floor of Warehouse I. This William Larue Weller release registers at 125.3 proof. It tastes of dried fruit sweetness, soft vanilla and cinnamon spices.

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac is the newest addition to the Antique Collection. It is an uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey. The barrels were aged six years and five months on the fifth floor of Warehouse M with a proof of 127.5. It’s very flavorful and will remind drinkers of “Christmas Cake.”

After praising the magician they call the master distiller of the antique line (how could he make something so strong taste so smooth), I wandered off to the Laphroaig table. They had already started putting bottles away and after drinking 125 proof Bourbons, there wasn't much more I could stand.

So there ended my hour and fifteen minutes of Whiskyfest 2008.

Thank you again Peter and Alex!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Begging for Whiskyfest

Tara and I are sitting in the world's smallest office in Brooklyn, sipping on Sam Houston Bourbon and Jefferson Reserve. I'm not past begging for Whiskyfest tickets...and we have drunk dialed quite a few members of the alcoholic community.

You would think that two girls BEGGING would lead to some results, but as of now, I've gotten a "maybe I could sneak you in x 3". This is not good as we are Team Whisk(e)y...the e is negotiable.

Tara is pointing out that certain single malts have the word "the" in front of them and we like it. I mean when you say can I have a bottle of Laphroaig, doesn't it sound better to say "could I please have a bottle of The Laphroaig." It just adds a sense of distinguished calling...like a gentleman. I would personally appreciate if customers started asking for me by "is The Elana" available...

Tara would also like to be referred to as "The The" since it could be meant for a plethora of things.

I know I have not updated THE BLOG in a while, but do have many stories to share...especially of a Didier Dagueneau brunch where I drank nothing but DD for 7 hours. I took about two or three pictures of the wines and then 20 of the wiener dogs that were present.

Ok...I think it's time we peace out and get some grub.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Drink a Cold

Kill a cold with hot booze.

Calvados Toddy

Hot Water

mix it all together and drink

*If I had a cinnamon stick and lemon I probably would have added that as well

but my cold is still here


Monday, October 27, 2008

Report from the Louis/Dressner Tasting

I was so adamant about going to this tasting that I threatened to quit if I was unable to go. I usually only get that excited when the Melvins are playing or my best friend is coming to town. As usual it was another very hectic morning at the Chateau, but I was on a mission to get my work done and go. Ariel showed up so I could leave, but out of the corner of my eye I saw two gentlemen fondling my Pappy 23. I had to turn around and talk bourbon...one of my favorite past-times. After 20 minutes, I excused myself and ran to the tasting. I still made it with an hour and a half of tasting time.

I had a laundry list of the wines I wanted to taste, but after seeing the spread of wines, my plan of attack went out the window. My main goal at this point was to try as much red as possible, move onto the sparkling and then hit up the whites.

I thought I would do my hit list of yummy juice....

Laurent Barth Marckrain Grand Cru Gewurtraminer 2006- This was probably one of the best Gewurtraminer's I've ever tasted. Lots of apricot with a dry sweet spice long finish. It ruled.
Retail price: about $40

Clos du Tue-Boeuf Cheverny Rouge 2007- a lovely little wine full of chocolate and cherries.
Retail price: $18 - $20

Franck Peillot Montagnieu Brut NV (Petillant)- rich and yeasty...just the way I like my sparkling
Retail price: $20 - $22

Francois Pinon Vouvray Petillant Brut NV- I love this sparkling wine and can't figure out how it is I don't have this at the store yet.
Retail price: $22 - $25

Larmandir-Berneir Brut Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru NV- We tried this in the store a few weeks ago and was completely in love with it. A bio dynamic Champagne with very little dosage. It's bone dry but has a very full mouth with a good balance of fruit and minerality. This is probably going to be my NYE Chompers this year.
Retail price: $58 - $60

The Eric Texier table was packed the whole time I was there...I sort of gave up on waiting in line to taste, but did manage to try his 2005 Cote-Rotie VV...yowzers that was good.
Retail price: $72 - $75

The Terre Dorees Line Up...I heart Jean-Paul Brun. He's the rock star of the Beaujolais world and all of the wines I tasted backed up that statement. All of them were great, but my favorites were th L'Ancien Vieilles Vignes 2007, the 2007 Fleurie was absolutely gorgeous and his 2007 Moulin-a-Vent was smokin' hot- big and bold with an elegance that is found in many of the great Cote du Nuits. The wines range from $16 - $26. Yay!

Going on a Beaujolais spree, I tasted the Georges Descombes 2006 Morgon and the 2007 Regnie, both of which were D E L I C I O U S. All I put after the Morgon was "holy crap that's good". If I had my way, I would hook that bottle of Morgon up to an IV.
Retail price: $26 - $30

Roagna: I've only had the good fortune to try this famous Italian producer twice before. Once was a bottle of 96 Paje Barbaresco and another time at the Polaner tasting two years ago. This time I got to try all the early 01 Barolos which were surprisingly elegant. I think Dressner was right when he compared the Vigna Rionda 2003 to La Tache. There were six on the table and I want them all! Actually there were 7 but I never made it back to try the white Roagna. Reminder to self...ask Polaner rep for a taste next time he has that bottle out.

As I'm going through my tasting booklet I realized I missed the best table of all...the table with all the 1988 vintages. I am kicking myself firmly in the ass as I read through the list of wines that I missed. The biggest bummer, missing the Chidaine Montlouis Clos Habert 1988....DAMN!

Still trying to taste all the reads I stumbled over to the Thierry Puzelat bottles. I triple starred his Le Telquel VDT 2007 Rouge. Inexpensive and really really really good. I wrote a big fat YAYTouraine Rouge "Pouille" 2006, but was diggin the "In Cot We Trust". Huge robust flavor. Malbec from France rules. I might have found my new Loire Valley darlings.

Just as I was finishing up the Puzelat, I ran into my Polaner rep Michael who pointed out the Massa Vecchia. Always listen to your wine rep at a tasting. They rarely will let you down. The Rosato was unlike any other rose I've ever had. Rich, full bodied and absolutely luscious. It was more red than pink. Even with the sticker price leaving me in shock...I still wanted it. Michael pointed out I should keep myself in check since that was only their rose and I hadn't even tried the big guns, their Rooso Querciola IGT Maremma 2004. All I could write was "cry so good." My plan was to quickly taste everything else and run back to DRINK those. They were also next to the Radikon table. Michael was tempting me with their pure silkiness, but I had so much more to try and about 30 minutes left. I put the Radikon on my "go back to it and drink" list.

I quickly dashed over to the sparkling table to find it almost all gone. The biggest disappointment

under the wine heading. I was also impressed with his being that there was no Saint
Peray left to sample. My associate Tara and I had been on a mission to try some for 6 months with no luck. I told Joe how disappointed I was to be so close yet so far, and he was kind enough to obtain a sample for me.

Twenty minutes to go and I finally got in the Texier and then ran over to try the Chidaine and Pinon. I don't know how to choose. They're all sooooo good, especially the 2006 ChidaineMontlouis Clos Habert. It tastes like a fine aged still champagne. Unbelievable! As if that wasn't good enough, I tried Pinon 2005 Vouvray Cuvee Botrytis. My mouth was in a state of ecstasy.

The people who were working the tasting were pulling bottles off the table as I was still running around trying to taste everything. I never even made it to the Brenton, but I left feeling very satisfied with everything else I got to try. My only other disappointment was that Joao from Quinta do Infantado cancelled and I never got to worship his port in front of him.

Now I need to figure out what I can bring into the store and where to put it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why does everyone think Tuesday is Wednesday???

It's Tuesday, but yet in my head it felt like Wednesday. Yesterday was an ordinary Monday at work and today was a typical Tuesday morning, but somewhere down the road...it just became Wednesday. I kept staring at the schedule and looking at all the people coming in, but in reality I was looking at the wrong page. But then sales reps who are scheduled for tomorrow came in today.

I honestly just thought that today was a really strange day. I was insane at work and there was a crank caller who wouldn't stop calling. I called our phone company and the woman on the other end of the phone said she was having a bad day as well. Now I'm in the safety of my own home having a conversation with my best friend who was also having a not so hot day. So while drinking our respected Blue Moon's 1500 miles apart from each other, I started asking her if it was a full moon. Michelle, my BFF, said that it was an excuse to cover up for when people behave irresponsibly. I can understand that to some point. It's like getting away with murder because you have P.M.S.

I decided to test out this full moon theory and looked it up...low and behold, IT'S A FULL MOON! I'm not one to go running to point the finger at mother nature, yet I can't help feeling this moon thing is paying it's price today. I wonder what day the vines think it is...

And Michelle kept thinking it was Wednesday.

At least my bagels got to Washington and I got to order Hirsch 20 year old Bourbon & 22 year old Rye!