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Staff Picks

You can trust our selections because we have almost 50 years of combined package store experience between Herb, Dave, Grant & Jacob.

DAVE’S WINE WINNERS… 

Alvear Amontillado
The D.O. Montilla-Moriles is located in Andalucia, Spain, east of Jerez de la Frontera, the heart of sherry country. Amontillado sherry takes its name from Montilla, a Pedro Ximenez based find that receives no fortification, its strength occurring naturally during fermentation. Nutty, crisp with green notes Alvear Amontillado is a sipping delight. Serve chilled in a copita (sherry glass). Great with nuts or tapas.


2006 Mark Davidson North Bore Shiraz (Australia)
It seems shiraz is synonymous with Australia and they have done a wonderful job of reinterpreting syrah and forging their own unique style. This Shiraz, therefore, won’t disappoint the Aussie wine enthusiast. Sure there’s plenty of fruit here: crushed berry & cassis flavors; wonderful aromatics and a lengthy, peppery finish. What makes this an accomplished wine is what it doesn’t possess: chemical/ medicinal flavors; green tannins; oafish, unbalanced components; searing alcohol heat. Given its humble price tag, this Shiraz overachieves, supplying the imbiber with complexity and sheer drinking pleasure.

2007 Piccini Chianti (Tuscany, Italy)
Textbook Chianti: medium-dark with translucent edges; dried cherry/cranberry/herb aromas/flavors; taut acidity; and a dry finish. Featured in the March ’10 Wine Club, Piccini Chianti has the goods to satisfy the Italian wine love. Note: This wine, like most European wines, is built for food. Save the syrupy, high alcohol wines for the coffee table. Piccini pairs freat with roasted chicken, and with its bracing acidity, sweet-smoky BBQ – no foolin’

2007 Tenuta Rapitala Campo Reale Italy
Nero D'Avola, an indigenous grape to Sicily produces an intense inky-dark wine, smooth in texture, with ripe fruit & a dry finish. Tenuta Rapitala showcases this varietal perfectly. To my mind, this one give so-called IGT/Vino da Tavola Tuscan blends & $20 under-Bordeaux a run for the money--representing tremendous value. A versatile wine, the Rapitala pairs great with hard cheeses & grilled meats or solo--American style!


GRANT’S BEER PICKS… 

Ringwood/Shipyard Old Thumper ESB
Produced by Alan Pugley’s Shipyard Brewery in Maine, under exclusive license from Peter Austin’s Ringwood Brewery in England, this is an outstanding example of an English bitter. The distinctive malt character is immediately apparent on the nose with lovely aromas of caramel and honeyed biscuit; then continues on palate entry, with fruity, caramel/toffee-accented flavors. This is rounded off by appropriate hops bitterness on the finish. All in all, “Old Thumper” is beautifully balanced, exceedingly drinkable ale.

North Coast Old Stock Ale 2009 Cellar Reserve
(Bourbon Barrel Aged)

Let me immediately dispense with any pretense of professional detachment: this beer is “OMG!” good. The almost over-powering nose—typical of old stock ales—is redolent of black figs, molasses and dates but here laced with the aroma of a fine Bourbon whiskey. Lightly carbonated, it presents a beautiful translucent mahogany color in the glass, soon taking on the aspect of a still red wine. Intense flavors of dark fruit, bittersweet chocolate and treacle dominate on the palate, accented by light oak and whiskey notes on the finish. Yes, price-wise, this is a luxury item; but share it with a loved one. You won’t regret it.


Lindeman’s Geuze Cuveé René
Forget the old Miller ad, this is the real “Champagne of bottled beers.” Like all the best Belgium gueze (goo-zah) – blends of old & young lambics – “Cuveé René” exhibits similar characteristics to fine French Champagne. An earthy aroma of mushrooms & aged cheese is followed by crisp, tart & yeasty flavors – particularly a pleasant sour apple, accented by citrus notes. This sparkling, hazy golden ale is the perfect companion to portabello mushroom burgers & pungent, hard cheeses. While this is not for all tastes, the intrepid beer lover, unacquainted with this unique ale, needs to say “hello.”

Coopers
Coopers is one of the few Australian producers of real bottle-conditioned ales & the Sparkling Ale is their flagship brew.  It’s a yeasty, hazy golden ale with a light but complex fruitiness & a pleasant citrus spiciness—reminiscent of a Belgian Saison.

Schlägl Brewery
Here is a distinctive, yet very affordable line of beers from Austria's only abbey brewery a filtered wheat ale, a rye based golden ale, & a golden double bock lager, which I especially recommend.

Interested in an unusually delicious Black & Tan?  Try mixing Young's Double Chocolate Stout with Well's Banana Bread Beer.  It's a real treat!

Innis & Gunn Original
This luscious, oak-aged beer is, in my opinion, utterly unique in its combination of easy drinkability (6.6% A.B.V.) with depth & complexity of flavor--the result of a 30-day maturation in selected oak barrels. On the nose, it offers enticing aromas of caramel & vanilla; on the palate, rich flavors of English toffee, vanilla & hints of citrus spice with notes of caramel malt & toasty oak on the lingering finish. This honey-colored beauty is truly one-of-a-kind


JACOB’S LIQUOR LIBATIONS…

Sailor Jerry Spiced Navy Rum
This rum is a fantastic value. At about the same price as Captain Morgan, Sailor Jerry is 22° higher, with notes of caramel, vanilla, & cherry. Exceptionally smooth, & surprisingly mixable. www.sailorjerry.com

Islay Mist 8-year old Scotch Whisky
This is a deliciously well-rounded blend comprised of great single malts such as Glenlivet & Laphroig. Deep peat aromas, but also delicate floral notes. A blend for single malt drinkers.

Combier Orange Liqueur
Delicious, bright orange flavor. World’s first crystal clear orange liqueur. Made from sun dried orange peel in alembic stills. Comparable to Cointreau. Excellent in Margaritas or on the rocks.

Isle of Skye 8 Year
Superbly balanced Speyside & Island malts. Matured for 8 years in oak. Flavors of fresh fruit & nut give way to a complex peaty, earthy finish.

Jefferson’s Reserve
This very small batch bourbon is exception-ally smooth with flavors of caramel corn & vanilla. Warm, rich, lingering finish.

Black Bottle Scotch
This is the #1 selling Scotch on the island of Islay. The blend contains single malts from each of the seven distilleries on the island. While full of rich peat character, this Scotch exhibits a smoothness &sweetness that makes it easy-drinking & an EXCEPTIONAL value.