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Archive for October, 2013

Kulers Uncorked: Madeira

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

Broadbent, Rainwater, Madeira

Broadbent, Rainwater, Madeira

  • $19
  • Two Thumbs Way Up
  • Exotic aromas of rose water, blood orange, dried orange zest, light brown sugar and toasted walnuts. Flavors of tart citrus fruit, apricot, grilled peach and caramel with a surprising jalapeño-like spiciness on the finish.

When Alice returned from her tour of Wonderland, I’m certain that—upon reaching drinking age, of course—she poured herself a glass of Madeira. There is probably no style of wine that defies convention (or anything approaching normalcy) than this export from the Portuguese island it is named after.

It’s sweet. It’s dry. It’s tart. It’s old. It’s new. The process by which it’s made is confounding and, unlike any other wine, it really never goes bad after opening. The world of Madeira exists on the other side of the rabbit hole.

Perhaps appropriate for Halloween, this is the sort wine that scares the bejeebers out of most wine drinkers. But it wasn’t always that way. When England ruled the …

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Beer Town: Lowryeder and Tree Hugger Gold at GABF  


Sweetwater and Terrapin, Georgia’s two largest and most visible craft breweries brought back gold medals from the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver with a pair of fairly new beers.

At awards ceremony on Oct. 12, Atlanta’s Sweetwater won the top honor in the Rye Beer category for Lowreyeder. Originally called Rye’d Ale and brewed as part of Crank Tank series to benefit Camp Twin Lakes, Lowreyeder joined Sweetwater’s year-round lineup in August 2012.

Made with 25% rye malt and brewed with Columbus, Mt. Hood and Centennial hops, then dry-hopped with Centennial and Mt. Hood, its truly a rye IPA with a spicy, hoppy presence that’s very approachable and pairs well with food. In fact, at the recent Atlanta Cheese Festival, it made a pretty close to perfect match with Cabot Clothbound Cheddar.

Athens’ Terrapin won gold in the German-style Altbier beer category for Tree Hugger. Originally brewed for the Decatur Green Fest in support of the Dogwood Alliance, the rather rare …

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Kulers Uncorked: A Proper Claret

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2012 Bonny Doon Vineyard, A Proper Claret, California

2012 Bonny Doon Vineyard, A Proper Claret, California

  • $16
  • Two Thumbs Up
  • Pleasant aromas of red cherry with abundant notes of violets, cinnamon, clove and mocha. Flavors of tart, fresh, red berry fruit with an earthy touch of cola nut and leather.

The Panda-Cam at the National Zoo has gone black. The New York Football Giants start the season 0-6. The McRib sandwich is available for a limited time only.

All temporary aberrations for sure. But then it came—a sure sign the world has spun off its axis. A man dressed in brown handed me a non-descript, cardboard box just big enough to hold one bottle of wine. I closed my front door and the room was quiet except for the slitting of packing tape. As I freed the bottle from its gray packing material, I felt a chill. My eyes couldn’t—or refused—to focus. A bird chirped.

Randall Grahm—champion of Rhône Valley varieties, winemaker for the underdog grape, friend to the screwtop—has made a cabernet sauvignon wine.

Some four …

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Beer Town: Jekyll Brewing bringing Southern style to Alpharetta


Mike Lundmark and Josh Rachel.

Named for Jekyll Island, believed to be the site of the first brewery in the Deep South, circa 1738, Jekyll Brewing lays claim to being the first packaging brewery in Alpharetta.

Hidden away in a nondescript building on Marconi Drive, near Big Creek Greenway and a slew of high-tech companies, the brewery opened to the public for tours and tastings in August.

It was funded in part by Kickstarter donations. Founder Mike Lundmark and co-owner/brewer Josh Rachel launched the campaign in early 2013 to raise money to pay for the electrical and plumbing work.

“We’ve run out of money about 73 times, so far,” Lundmark said during a recent tour. “But somehow, we keep getting more. With Kickstarter, we raised $37,000 in 28 days.”

Compared to some of the new breweries that have opened around Atlanta, recently, Jekyll is a modest operation. The 10 barrel brewhouse is packed into a tight warehouse space, and is absent  electronic bells and, whistles, except …

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Kulers Uncorked: Yonah Mountain Genesis

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

Yonah Mountain Vineyards Genesis 4, Georgia

Yonah Mountain Vineyards Genesis 4, Georgia

  • $36
  • Two Thumbs Way Up
  • Pleasant, perfume-like aromas of violets, raspberry, blackberry, mocha and a hint of smoke. Bright flavors of dark cherry, toffee, blackberry cobbler, coffee and a lingering note of black licorice.

The last time I wrote about Yonah Mountain wines, I recounted how I (and a room full of people, including some pretty talented, experienced tasters) picked Yonah’s flagship wine, Genesis, over two acclaimed California wineries, which included Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley Calif.

The unexpected victory for Yonah, as far as I can tell, has not influenced the ever-popular Jordan Cab. And while Yonah did make a little hay in the press and in their own promotional pieces, most of you I know are saying: Yoh-Who?

Why is that?

Thomas Jefferson, famous for his attempts to grow European-style wines on his Virginia plantation, advocated for limited government. Our third president might have …

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