I was in Chicago last month watching the Cincinnati Reds play the Chicago Cubs. I got to sample a few tasty beers brewed right in the Windy City. Here are a few of my faves.
Goose Island 312
312 is classified as an American Pale Wheat Ale. You can definitely taste the wheat, along with citrus flavors. This is a creamy and refreshing medium-bodied beer. I’ve continued to buy 312 here at home, although it’s probably more of a summer beer (I’ve started to stock up on Sam Adams Oktoberfest for the Fall since it’s only available for a limited time).
Goose Island Green Line
Green Line is considered an American Pale Ale with a bright, hoppy aroma and citrus fruit flavor. It is light, crisp with a little spice and a slightly bitter finish. Green Line Pale Ale is the beer at the core of Goose Island’s environmental sustainability initiative, the Green Line Project. The beer is available on draft only in Chicago to help cut down on packaging waste and reduce the impact from refrigerating and transporting the beer.
Goose Island Matilda
Matilda is a Belgian Style Pale Ale. It has a spicy aroma and a slightly fruity – with a hint of honey – taste. The beer is a little dry; not overpowering, but smooth and very drinkable.
Metropolitan Brewing Krankshaft
Krankshaft is a Kolsch style beer. Kolsch is a clear German brew with a bright, straw-yellow hue, and just slight hoppiness. This was the lightest beer of the four and perfect for a hot day . This crisp, light-bodied beer has a lemony sweetness and light malt flavor. Metropolitan Brewing is the newest microbrewery in Chicago.
Looking for something to do this Saturday night in the greater Cincinnati Area? Why not come down to the Purple People Bridge on the Newport, KY side and come to the Wine Over Water wine tasting on the bridge with Hors D’oeuvres and live music. Wineries include: Stonebrook Winery, Horseshoe Bend Winery, Redman’s Farm Winery, Smith-Berry Winery, and Little KY River Winery. See ya down there!
Both of these California Merlots were chosen by my brother-in-law according to what he thought I would like. I always thought I was not a Merlot admirer, but perhaps I’ve just not had very good ones in the past. Both of these wines were very tasty and quite drinkable.
2010 Bogle Merlot – Full-bodied and smooth. A well-balanced wine with cherries on the nose, lots of bright fruit flavors and a hint of spicy black pepper. It has just the right acidity and long finish. The Bogle Merlot is aged 12 months in American oak barrels, which give it a complex taste. Even better that it’s under $12.
3 Blind Moose Merlot 2007 – Medium-bodied and bold, but very smooth and easy to drink. I tasted black cherry and plum with a touch of a chocolate-coffee flavor and a subtle oak. The 3 Blind Moose is fairly dry and not as fruity as the Bogle.
I love the fun bottle – three moose donning shades and chilling around an oak barrel. Find this one for under $10.
My other brother-in-law has sent me suggestions for several wines he’s tried over the last month or so. He’s had wine in Italy and China, so he knows what he’s talking about. I haven’t had a chance to taste them so he thinks I’m blowing him off. I promise to get to them and report back.
This is the first post in a series on grapes that are either a type that has been tried in a blended wine, but are difficult to obtain as a standalone example or lesser known varietals in general. Since most people have an idea of Chardonnay, Cab Sauv, Pinot Noir (thanks Sideways), and Riesling, I thought it might be interesting to profile a few of the other wines you might be able to find as an opportunity to expand your palate if you get a chance.
Pinot Meunier is the other red grape used in the production of Champagne. In fact, it accounts for roughly 40% of the total plantings of vines in that region. The two “noble” grapes of Chardonnay (found alone in Blanc de Blanc) and Pinot Noir (found alone in Blanc de Noir – usually. This can also have Meunier as Cresta has explained) have long overshadowed the humble Meunier. If you have tried all three type of Champagne and not found the same sharpness or acidity in either of the sole varietal versions, what you are noticing is the Meunier. American and Australian bubbly producers also grow Meunier to help produce an offering closer to the traditional Champagne.
The flavor when produced alone produces a jammy wines with moderate acidity and low tannin. It makes a very nice drink now wine that usually doesn’t need a large amount of time to open up. There are very few producers who make a still version of Meunier and even fewer who make a sparkling version. Chandon, Eyrie, Wilakenzi, and Bouchaine are a few of the wineries who produce a still version. Chandon is usually available in Kentucky and Ohio. The rest might need to be a special order from you local wine store or a direct order from the winery. The only sparkling version of Meunier I have had was at the 2012 Cincinnati Wine Festival. It was imported by Terry Theise can called Aubry Brut, sadly that is the extent of my notes on that selection.
Personally, I enjoy the sharpness of the Meunier on its own. It provides a balance lending towards acidity with enough tannic structure to make a nice wine that is easily paired with lighter foods. If you get the chance to try one of these, take it. Especially if you like Champagne or want to taste one part alone from the others to try and see if you can tell the make up the next time you try some bubbly.
Thanks to Alphonse at DEPS Fine Winne, Kevin at Party Source, David at Water Tower Fine Wines, and JP at Party Town for their help with this article. Please support your local wine shops and any of these four folks will be more than happy to help you find some unusal wines if you stop in and see them.
I finally tried the last wine that was sent to me from Aldi back in December. I was pretty skeptical as I’d never had a Chianti, but it was better than I thought it would be for $5.99.
I can’t place the aroma I experienced when I first popped the cork on the 2009 Gonfalone (Italy) Chianti. It was interesting, sort of a syrupy cherry. It didn’t taste like it smelled though. It had ripe fruit flavors and some spice. The label says it’s a full-bodied wine but I would say it’s more medium-bodied. It’s fairly dry on the tongue as well. I chilled it a while before drinking.
I went back to have another glass a couple of days later and it was “flat.” I’m assuming this was because it lacked acidity. It definitely did not taste as good as when it was first opened.
Not one of my faves but OK for the price.
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