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Archive for December, 2012

Kulers Uncorked: Hypothesis Cab

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2010 Hypothesis Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Calif.

2010 Hypothesis Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Calif.

  • $35
  • Two Thumbs Up
  • Bright, fresh aromas of black cherries, cassis, violets, cedar and a light espresso note. It offers flavors of just-ripe dark berries, plums with a firm tannic structure and pleasant notes of dark chocolate.

There is a wine industry joke that goes something like…

What’s the difference between God and a winemaker?

God knows he’s NOT a winemaker.

The folks at Roots Run Deep Winery, which brings you the popular Educated Guess line of wines, might not get the humor. If we’re to believe their complexities-of-winemaking-revealed labels, showing all the technical gobbledygook that goes into making wine, you’d think they have their hands on the divine controls of fermentation.

The fact is, stuff ferments. At best, winemakers are shepherds, keeping grapes safe as they grow and not screwing up anything as yeasts turn the juice into wine. You want a god-like figure? Look to a brewer or …

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Beer Town: The year in beer 2012

It was another great year for craft beer, as many of the big stories and trends of 2011 were still hot topics in 2012. Even the President made a homebrew. With 2013 almost here, it’s time to look back on what had Atlanta beer lovers buzzing, and look forward to the New Year.

Sunday Sales — For many, the biggest story of 2011 was even bigger in 2012, as Sunday sales in the City of Atlanta kicked-off Jan. 1, and reporters and TV news crews descended on package stores and growler shops to document the day. One question remains: Have Sunday shoppers increased sales or just spread them through the week? It may take another year to figure that out.

Growlers Gone Crazy — Until 2011, growlers couldn’t be found anywhere in sweetwaterdanktankGeorgia. But now big and little brown jugs seem to be everywhere — grocery stores, gas stations, growler chains and even a Decatur candy store. Where growlers aren’t being sold may be the bigger story, though. Package stores that sell spirits were …

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Kulers Uncorked: Pierre Péters Champagne

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

Pierre Péters, Cuvée de Réserve, Grand Cru, Blanc de Blancs, Brut, Champagne, France

Pierre Péters, Cuvée de Réserve, Grand Cru, Blanc de Blancs, Brut, Champagne, France

  • $48
  • Two Thumbs Way Up
  • Engaging aromas of wet slate, minerals, gun flint, green apples and sweet citrus fruit. It has similar flavors with abundant notes of lemon, tangerine, candied ginger and a lingering finish that leaves a hint of buttered toast on the palate.

Champagne is a wonder of contrasts. It can be faintingly expensive, yet you drink it out of the bottle to ring in the New Year (or pour it on your head to celebrate a significant victory). Its sublime flavors and tartness make it an exquisite food wine, yet you almost always sip it before you sit down at the table.

Here’s a less obvious contradiction: The $40 and $50 bottles of Champagne you are buying right about now to pop open in a couple of weeks are really no better than the $15 to $25 sparkling wines from California. (AJC’s Atlanta Bargain Hunter lists three sparkling wines that are among the highest rated …

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Beer Town: The gift of beer

It’s been my holiday season refrain forever: Shopping for the beer lovers on your list is really simple — just buy them something rare or seasonal or find out what beer style they like most and make a mix pack of, say, world-class IPA or imperial stout or Belgian Trappist ale.

westvleterenxiiThis year, though, it’s looking bit more daunting. There’s a beer out there that’s so rare and so highly rated that news of it’s very limited release has already created both excited expectation and Grinch-like grumbling.

This month, Westvleteren XII, perhaps the most coveted beer in the world, will be released in the U.S. for the first time (and maybe the only time).

Currently, the Trappist quad is sold exclusively at the Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren in Belgium to support the monastic community there. Proceeds from U.S. sales will be sent back to the Abbey to help raise money for much-needed building renovations.

In Georgia, Westvleteren XII is being sold at Total Wine stores in …

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Kulers Uncorked: Heitz Grignolino

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2009 Heitz Wine Cellars Grignolino, Napa Valley, Calif.

2009 Heitz Wine Cellars Grignolino, Napa Valley, Calif.

  • $20
  • Two Thumbs Up
  • Aromas of bright blueberry, gun flint, pipe tobacco and an intense note of violets. Light-bodied, it has a tart, under-ripe raspberry and blueberry flavor with a playful touch of Campari on the finish.

Consider the plight of the Napa Valley winemaker: you live and work in a locale rightly described as a slice of heaven on earth; you make thousands of people happy with your bold, spicy cabernet sauvignons and rich, fragrant chardonnays; you work hard, have risked much, but are loved by many. But here’s the rub: for whatever reasons you want to make grignolino.

Grignolino (pronounced gree-nyoh-LEE-noh) is a throwback grape, indeed. This tart, light-bodied, fairly tannic wine once roamed the foothills in northwestern Italy in the 1800s. The phyloxera epidemic in the latter half of that century effectively wiped it—and most other grapevines—off the map. Grignolino never really made a …

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