June 25, 2007

Beer Tasting, Tuesday, July 26th

Beer Tasting!
Tuesday, June 26th
Hilton Garden Inn
(the Hilton is located just behind our store, on Park Street, between Bow and School Streets)
5 Park Street
Freeport, ME
(please call the store at 865-3993 for reservations; if you call after 6pm on Monday, please call Eric on his cell phone at 730-0886)

We'll hit Germany, England/Scotland and Belgium!

One of Maine's best new wine and beer distributors (Wicked Wines), will be on hand to WOW you with some new and unusual beers. We will taste 12-13 beers - if you walk into a restaurant or bar and order a "flight" (a tasting selection of these beers), expect to pay $20-30! At $10, this is a screaming great value.

Remember - this is not a seminar. If you can't be there right at 5:30, come on down! If you have to leave before 7:30, come on down!

The Hilton Garden Inn has a wonderful bar and restaurant - on Tuesday nights, they also have live music featuring Maine's "Tony Boffa Trio, " featuring soulful jazz with people who can really play and sing!

By Maine law, restaurants and bars can't give away beer or wine, so we have to charge for these "off-site" tastings. Thanks to Jeanne Carpentier, General Manager of the Hilton Garden Inn, we are able to do more of these "extra" tastings (it's illegal for us to have a beer tasting in the store).

The Beers:

The theme - It's summer. It's time to drink some good beer and enjoy the warm days with good friends!


Leipziger Gose (25.4 oz. bottle - that's the size of a wine bottle) $14.99 - This is such a GREAT beer! It's also in the COOLEST bottle ever! Gose was first mentioned as a great beer in 1000 AD under Emperor Otto III! The beer originated in the small town of Goslar in Lower Saxony. It grew in popularity and spread to Leipzig (which, by 1900, had over 80 Gose houses). The spread of bottom-fermenting pilsner style beers as well as the economic disaster that was East Germany under the totalitarian regime ended Leipziger Gose, which was last brewed in the mid-1960's. On July 20th, 2000, Thomas Schneider (not related to the Schneider Weisse family) revived the brewing of the Original Leipziger Gose in the famours "Bayerische Bahnhof" in Leipzig. Leipziger Gose is a top-fermenting wheat beer {60% wheat, 40% barley malt} with coriander, salt, and lactic acid bacteria added in the boil. 4.5% alcohol. This resembles the famed Lambic/Geuze beers from Belgium.

Schneider Weisse (16.9oz bottles) - $3.99 OUTSTANDING! Gorgeous, cloudy dark amber color. Aromas of baking spices, vanilla, wheat and bread dough. Flavors of rich wheat, less citrusy than most wheat beers. Slight sweetness. Touch of spice. Refreshing! Little or no bitterness. Schneider Weisse is just such a GREAT beer! Perfect for summer days! Awards - "Might be regarded as the classic example of this category," Michael Jackson, Pocket Guide to Beer. Food pairings - Mexican, Italian, Chinese and Thai foods. Lightly spiced seafood. Food with mustard. Gouda, Comte or similar cheese. Brewed from 60% wheat malt and 40% barley malt. Hersbrucker and Hallertauer Hops. Unpasteurized, unfiltered and bottle-conditioned (fresh yeast and malt are added to the bottle to create a second fermentation which carbonates the beer in the bottle).

Kloster Ettal Dunkel (16.9oz bottles) - $3.99 Excellent, award winning beer from this Benedictine monastery. Rusty, amber color. Aromas of chocolate, caramel, toffee and spicy hops. Flavors of citrus, nuts, caramel, chocolate and coffee. Light-to-medium bodied...clean and fresh finish. Brewed since 1330 by the Benedictine monastery, "Kloster Ettal." The brewery and farm have sustained this monastery since 1609. One of the last remaining "monastery" beers from Germany. Food pairings - German food, smoked meat, grilled meat, fresh game, roasted chicken. Brewed from Munich, Vienna and Pilsner malts and Tettnanger hops. 5.0% alcohol.

Zum Uerige Sticke Dusseldorfer Altbier (11.2oz bottle) - $4.99 A GREAT Beer! Just a beautiful dark copper/amber color. Aromas of malt, nuts, caramel,, floral and grassy hops. Big flavors - caramel, nuts, slightly dry and malty. Clean and crisp. Reminiscent of a lager. Only brewed twice per year - the 3rd Thursday in January and November. The Uerige beers are classics! Awards - "the finest example of the style, and one of Germany's truly great beers," Michael Jackson, Pocket Guide to Beer. Food pairings - German food, smoked meats, fresh game, grilled meats, earthy cheese such as Chimay, Munster, Camembert, etc. Brewed from Pilsner, caramel and roasted malts and Spalt Spalter, Hallertauer and Spalt Hallertauer hops. 6% alcohol.


Burton Bridge Empire India Pale Ale (16.9oz bottle) - $4.99 This is a great IPA - definitely the Benchmark of this classic British beer! Great combination of dry hoppiness and fruitiness. Complex flavors. The sulfur rich waters of River Trent enhance the clarity and bitterness (the bitterness is a nice one and typical for this style) of the ale. Burton Bridge Brewery is located in the famous beer town of Burton-on-Trent. IPA's (India Pale Ales) were originally brewed to preserve the beer for the long voyage to the Indian parts of the British Empire, so they upped the alcohol and the hops (both act as preservatives). Awards - Guardian Newspaper - "Bottle Conditioned Beer of the Year." Food Pairings - Indian & Cajun cuisine, steaks and roasted poultry, and dishes prepared with cream. Brewed with Pippin Pale and Crystal Malt and Challenger and Target whole hops. 7.5% alcohol.

Fraoch Heather Ale (11.2 oz bottles and 16.9 oz bottles) - $2.99 for the 11.2 oz bottle ($14.99/6-pack) and $4.49 for the 16.9oz bottle. This is a TRADITIONAL Scottish ale, that might just be the oldest style of ale produced in the world. First brewed in Scotland in 2000 BC - "Fraoch" means heather in Gaelic. It's an amber ale. Aromas of flowers, peat and herbs. Flavors of rich malt, spicy herbs and it has a dry finish. From an ancient Gaelic recipe, this has been revived and reintroduced to Scotland. And is now in Maine - thanks to the boys at Wicked! When boiling the malted barley, sweet gale and flowering heather are added to the "wort" (boiling stuff used to make beer and ale). After cooling a wee bit, the hot ale is poured into a vat of fresh heather flowers and left for an hour; then the liquid is fermented. Awards - 1996 and 1997 "World Beer Championships, Gold Medalist. I alternate between loving this brewery's website and occasionally being freaked out by its dark graphics! http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=nquqpbcab.0.z5ztpbcab.5lacw5bab.1&ts=S0262&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fraoch.com%2F Food pairing - rich and spicy foods. 5% alcohol.

Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted (16.9oz bottles) - $4.99 This is just a wonderful beer. On the pale side of a bitter. Golden in color. Sharp, beautiful blond beer with great, distinctive hop flavors -honey & grapefruit tang (from the Hersbrucker), a "twist" of lemon (from the Challenger hops), and subtle spiciness (from the Styrian hops). This Scottish Brewery is the original "new" microbrewery in Scotland - in the mid-to-late 20th century, microbreweries completed disappeared in Scotland - the nation was too poor to support more expensive "craft-brewed" beers. As money and jobs returned to Scotland, so did great beer! Crisp with a good head. Awards - Supreme Champion Beer of Britain 2003; Supreme Beer Champion of Scotland 2002; Champion Beer of Scotland (Bitter) 2001, 2003; Gold Medal & Champion, 2004 Brewing Industry International Awards, Champion Beer of Britain 2001. 4.2% alcohol.

RCH Brewery Old Slug Porter (16.9oz bottle) - $4.99 A delicious Porter with a full bodied taste of chocolate, coffee, blackcurrant and black cherry. It features a dark near black color with a good white head when served in a clear glass. Old Slug Porter is brewed with pale malt (86 %), crystal malt (6 %) and black malt (8 %) and Fuggles and Goldings whole hops. The original brewery was in the Royal Clarence Hotel - that's where the "RCH" comes from. They quickly outgrew the hotel's water supply and had to move. The old brewery site was also filled with slugs. Just as a slug leaves a trail behind, so does this Porter on your glass - hence the name, Old Slug." Lovely! Awards - Winner, "Porter, Stouts & Old Ale" at Tuckers Maltings Beer Festival, 2nd Place, "Stouts and Porters," Great British Beer Festival. Porters were originally brewed to give London workingmen ("porters") a hearty, but lower alcohol beer so that after their allotted 2 pints for lunch, they could still work! 4.5% alcohol.

We're adding a stout into here - have to pick it Monday!


St. Bernardus ABT 12 Strong Brown Ale - One of the WORLD'S GREAT beers! Traditional Trappist Monk-style Belgium ale. Dark in color. This is smooth, creamy and big - it's a full-bodied beer with a great feel, aroma and taste! Aromas of caramel, figs, raisins, bananas, toasted bread - it's a warming aroma! Flavors of figs, malt, baking spices, raisins, poached pears, a banana dessert torched in rum. Long, long finish. This is so complex it is hard to figure out! Blend of Alexis and Prisma malts, roasted malts and Target and Styrian Goldings hops. Awards - Gold Medal, 2006 World Beer Championships. Available in 11.2oz bottles ($3.99/bottle and $14.99/4-pack) and 750ml bottles ($9.99/bottle) - that's the same size as a wine bottle. 10% alcohol.

Chouffe Houblon Triple IPA - These little gnomes on the Chouffe bottles aren't playing around - they are helping make some of the world's best beer! Aromas of clean fruit, yeast, fresh bread, jalapeño, hops, citrus and malt. Flavors of grapefruit citrus, plus lemon. Tropical fruits such as pineapple, toast, minerals and baked apples. Nice balance to the bitterness. 9% alcohol gives this some warmth. Crisp, dry, fruity finish. Unfiltered, non-pasteurized, bottle-conditioned. Available in 11.2oz bottles and 750ml bottles - that's the same size as a wine bottle) - $3.99/11.2oz bottle ($14.99/4-pack) and $9.99/750ml bottle. Awards - Beer Advocate, 91 points.

Delerium Tremens - this has Pink Elephants and more on the label. It is one of the classics of Belgian-over-the-top brewing - packing over lots of alcohol (have a 6-pack of this and you will awaken to see Pink Elephants dancing in your room!). Aromas and flavors of yeast, dough, strawberries, spice, white grapes and pepper. Flavors that remind you of white wine, champagne, white pepper, cloves and citrus. This is a sipping beer! Awards - Gold Medal, 1998 World Beer Championships. Available in 11.2oz bottles and 750ml bottles - that's the same size as a wine bottle) - $3.99/11.2oz bottle ($14.99/4-pack) and $9.99/750ml bottle.

Brasserie Caracole Saxo Blonde - This is a wonderful, complex, lighter (well, as light as 8% alcohol beer can be) Wallonian style ale from Belgium! Aromas and flavors of hops, bitterness and hints of spice. Hints of bananas and cherries. Organically grown Pilsner and Munich malts, wheat and hops. Awards - Gold Medal, 2002 World Beer Championships, "Exceptional." Available in 11.2oz bottles and 750ml bottles - that's the same size as a wine bottle) - $3.69/11.2oz bottle ($12.99/4-pack) and $8.99/750ml bottle. 8% alcohol.
That's the list of beers!

These are some cool, unique, absolutely wonderful beers that you will not find everywhere!

We hope to see you Tuesday!

Please call the store (865-3993) for reservations!

June 2007 Wine Tasting

June Wine Tasting!
Friday, June 15th

Ned Swain, who is Devenish Wines, will be on hand with his usual eclectic assortment of delicious wines and his usual verve and enthusiasm. We always have fun with Ned and his wines.

The Wines:

The theme - Perfect wines for summer days and entertaining!

The Sparkling:
Avinyo Cava (Spain) $16.99
- Excellent sparkling wine from Spain! Aromas of green apples, citrus, fresh bread and minerals. Fresh and dry flavors of apples, fresh bread, pears and peaches. It's been aged on its "lees" for 18-22 months, adding a yeasty quality to the wine similar to many Champagnes. Minerally-driven dry finish. This shows as much complexity as many Champagnes at a fraction of the cost! Blend of Macabeo, Xarello, and Parellada. Aged on lees for 18-22 months. Non-vintage. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 89 points; Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 88 points

The Whites:
D'Orsaria Pinot Grigio 2006 (Italy) $13.99 - Ned really wants to show off this new Pinot Grigio. Marco Cecchini is the winemaker - he dropped out of college in 1998 when he inherited his grandfather's 1 hectare (2.58 acres) vineyard to the dismay of his mother. He became a winemaker and he has never looked back! He always strives to make sure as little oxygen as possible contacts his wines - so, they are bright and fresh. This Pinot Grigio has more floral aromas than fruit. It's not too acidic - so, it drinks well without food. Clean finish. Flavors of dry fruit, tropical fruit, and subtle, subtle grapefruit. Brand New to Maine! Food pairing - Lighter foods, seafood, shellfish - drinks well on its own!
Chateau Bonhoste Bordeaux Blanc 2006 (France) $12.99 - One of our favorite white wines from an obscure little Chateau in Bordeaux. This is a FABULOUS wine! Soft, has a velvety, lush feel at the start and middle (that's the Semillon grape). Finishes clean and crisp (that's the Sauvignon Blanc)! Aromas of pineapples, freshly mown grass & green bananas. Nice minerality. Nicely balanced acidity and fruit. Blend of mostly Semillon & Sauvignon Blanc with a little Muscadelle. Organically farmed grapes. New Vintage! Food pairing - Goes great with lighter poultry and seafood dishes. Drinks real well on its own!

Echeverria Chardonnay 2006 (Chile) $12.99 - This is a wonderful Chardonnay and a GREAT value in an organically-farmed wine! Unoaked Chardonnay - so, this is bright, fresh and crisp. Aromas and flavors of peaches, bananas, green apples, citrus and honey. Small, family-owned winery in the Molina Valley. Hand-harvested grapes. Organically farmed. Partial malolactic fermentation so you get a little butter creaminess to the wine - especially at the finish. New Vintage! Food pairing - chicken, duck, pork, salmon, lobster, etc. Drinks nicely on its own!

Philippe Raimbault Apud Sariacum Sancerre2005 (France) $22.99 - A great Sancerre! Citrus nose with that great smell of freshly mown grass. Rich wine. Limestone minerality, lemon, peach & melon flavors. Juicy. Hints of earth & herbs. Good acidity. Long finish. The fossilized shell on the label pays tribute to the "terroir" producing this wine and the many fossils in the soil in Raimbault's vineyards, and tells us that this wine is IDEAL with shellfish and seafood. Fermented in old oak barrels. Apud Sariacum is the ancient name for this village, Sury-en-Vaux. Food pairing - GREAT with seafood and fresh goat cheese!

The Reds:

Crosby Merlot 2005 (California) $13.99 - Crosby is a private label from one of our favorite wine merchants, T. Edwards Wines. The Pitch Cabernet Sauvignon is also one of their "private label" wines. This is big, ripe and round with no hard edges to it. Notes of chocolate, mocha, dark berries and plums. It's dense and ripe. Stainless steel fermentation. Brand New to Maine! Food pairing - drinks well on its own. Pair with grilled chicken or pork, or roasted meats, a steak, lasagna, etc.

Pichon Pinot Noir 2005 (France) $14.99 - This is a ripe and juicy Pinot Noir from southwestern France - if you've had our Cinquante-Cinq wines (Viognier, Merlot or Sauvignon Blanc), you've had wines from the same winemaker! This is round and soft - not tannic, a nice touch of earth, loads of cherry, black cherry and red berry fruit and aromas and flavors. Nice weight to the wine. Stainless steel fermentation. Brand New to Maine! Food pairing - drinks well on its own. Pair with grilled chicken or pork, or roasted meats, a steak, lasagna, etc.
Matilda Plains Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 2004 (Australia) Reg. $16.99 Sale $14.99 - This is an AWESOME Aussie Aussie Aussie blend! Killer wine! It's a deep rich color. Aromas of dark berry fruit, vanilla, peppery spice & mocha. Flavors of dark berry fruit, black cherries, white pepper spice & more - plus a long, lingering finish. Blend of Shiraz (34%), Cabernet (60%) & Merlot (6%). Female winemaker - unusual in the male-dominated wine world. Matilda is the family Border Collie - it's named in her honor. Each year the blend changes slightly. New Vintage! Food pairing - Great wine with beef, lamb, rich, aged cheeses such as 3- or 5-year gouda, Piave Vecchio, Parmesan, etc.

Trentadue Alexander Valley Petite Sirah 2002 (California) $29.99 - This is a beautiful wine! Tastes great & it's a beautiful blue/purple color. Blackberry, violet, herbal, and spicy aromas. Flavors of dark berries, spice, chocolate & cocoa with hints of minerality. Full-bodied. Big, massive wine, with substantial, but "soft" tannins. Well-balanced - lots more to it then just being a big, massive wine...it has grace & suppleness as well. This is a California "cult" wines, but not at cult wine prices. This is Trentadue's signature wine. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points; Eric Azimov, NY Times, "...our favorite..."

The Dessert:

Toro Albala La Noria* Pedro Ximènez 2003 (Spain) $22.99 - Superb dessert wine! Aromas and flavors of figs, caramel and toffee. Viscous, smooth, exotic texture! Nice acidity that keeps this sweet wine from being syrupy or cloying. Single vineyard. Organic winery. From the Montilla-Moriles region. Unfiltered. This will keep after opening for a month. Food pairing - great as a dessert wine...I'd pair it with a cheese course, but it will work well with a sweeter dessert. Serve COLD! Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points

June 1, 2007

Wines of the Month Club

Wines of the Month!

A Great way to try different wines!
A perfect gift for someone!

Here are the basics of our "Wines of the Month" club.

You should join, if you are not a member.

Why should you join?
  • Try new wines you wouldn't otherwise taste.
  • Learn about different winemaking regions and wineries.
  • Have fun (after all, it's grape juice - the best way to learn and enjoy wine is to try new things!).
  • Makes a great gift (maybe for yourself)!
  • The more people we have at each level, the more likely we can bring wines into Maine that are not currently available!

We have Three Tiers (price levels) for our Wines of the Month Club (you may sign up for one, two or all three tiers - OR, you may sign up for reds only, whites only or just one wine - whatever works for you!....and you may change your choice each month!!!)....These will be interesting, tasty, unusual wines that you won't find everywhere and they'll represent great values! Some months, we'll offer an optional bottle (maybe a dessert wine or a sparkling wine or a dry rose).

At each Tier (price level), we'll pick 2 wines for you - 1 white & 1 red.

  • Tier 1 - $9-15/bottle
  • Tier 2 - $16-24/bottle
  • Tier 3 - $25-45/bottle

Again, you can select from this list and choose what you want each month....or choose to take nothing in a month.

If you are from "away," we will hold these wines for when you return to Maine.

Maine has a quirky law - we must pay for wine the moment it arrives in the store - so, we ask that you give us a credit card number to bill for your "Wines of the Month." We don't bill it until Sunday evening of the 1st weekend in the month - and we never bill it until you have told us what you want.