City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

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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Beer Town: “Atlanta Beer” a heady history of local brewing


Ron Smith and Mary O. Boyle at Five Seasons

Did you know that in 1885, Atlanta had 118 saloons in the city doing $2 million of business annually?

In their book, “Atlanta Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Hub of the South” (American Palate, $19.99), Ron Smith and Mary O. Boyle delve into a colorful past that begins in frontier times and extends to the stories of early taverns and saloons, religious zeal, prohibition and the roots of the current craft beer boom.

There are tales of places such as Whitehall Tavern, which existed before the city of Atlanta, and people such as Mayor Moses W. Formwalt, a member of the Free and Rowdy political party, who opened the first recorded Atlanta saloon.

Early pre-Prohibition breweries include the Fulton Brewery, which produced lager and ale for the Fulton Brewery Saloon; the Atlanta Steam Brewery, which may have been named for both the method of cooling and the style of beer it produced; and the Georgia Spring Brewery, famous for …

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Kulers Uncorked: Stonestreet Winery

  • Gil Kulers, CWE

    Gil Kulers, CWE

    2010 Stonestreet, Monument Ridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Calif.

    2010 Stonestreet, Monument Ridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Calif.


  • Two Thumbs Way Up
  • Abundant, rich aromas of blackberry, fresh ground coffee, dark chocolate and a hint of smoke and cedar. Bright, tart flavors of dark berries, dark chocolate, mincemeat pie and fine, well-integrated tannins.

Some time ago, I saw a report on the surge in popularity of craft beer and how large breweries have been slow to react to this segment of the market, which is experiencing double-digit annual growth. Of course, if you have the funds, you can buy your way of any hole. In 2011, for example, Anheuser-Busch bought Goose Island Brewery, a well-regarded craft brewery in Illinois.

The underlying questions of the piece were: Can Goose Island maintain its standards and is it truly a craft brewery when it’s owned by a beer-making behemoth?

Americans love the scrappy, little guy who sends the long-time champ reeling. Nobody roots for Goliath when David lets fly his …

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Beer Town: Craft beer gets a close-up in ‘Drinking Buddies’

“Kate and Luke work together at a craft brewery.” So begins the synopsis of “Drinking Buddies,” a new movie starring Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston that features scenes shot on location at Revolution Brewery in Chicago.


Magnolia Pictures – Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) are 'Drinking Buddies' and sleeping buddies.

Whatever you think of this hip romantic comedy directed by small-budget “mumblecore” main man Joe Swanberg, it feels like a major score for craft beer.

A Time magazine Money & Business story suggested that “Drinking Buddies” could “go down in cinematic history as the ‘Sideways’ of the Chicago craft beer scene.” And in interviews, Swanberg, who’s a home brewer and a beer geek, has talked about the connections between indie filmmaking and craft brewing.

Instead of out-and-out product placement, Swanberg begged area breweries for samples and swag to feature in the film. Besides beer from Revolution, …

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Kulers Uncorked: Anne Amie Dry Riesling

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2012 Anne Amie Estate Dry Riesling, Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon

2012 Anne Amie Estate Dry Riesling, Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon

  • $23
  • Two Thumbs Way Up
  • Aromas of jasmine, yellow peach, mint and apricot. Juicy, tart flavors of peach, apricot, tangerine and lime zest with a spicy, long finish that makes your mouth water.

As any wine geek worth his or her tastevin knows, riesling is one of the world’s most food-friendly wines and is the wine kingdom’s equivalent of a shapeshifter. Riesling comes in, but is not limited to, the following styles: bone dry, decadently sweet late-harvest, decadently sweet ice wine, beguilingly complex off-dry, sparkling … You get the picture.

And us wine geeks have forever been trying to charm the collective palates of the wine drinking public, enticing them to experience the beauty of riesling. (This is the third column I’ve written about riesling this year.)

I’m sensing, however, an attitude change in the wine industry’s push to get consumers on board. The riesling industrial complex is …

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Beer Town: Celebrating the Belgian connection


When I first started writing about beer, most of the “Great Beers of Belgium” celebrated in Michael Jackson’s groundbreaking 1991 book weren’t available in Atlanta. In fact, they weren’t common anywhere in the U.S.

Jackson was the late, great British writer who elevated beer to a status once reserved for fine wine and spirits. “Great Beers of Belgium” gave new life to brewing in Belgium and Jackson’s work inspired beer lovers on both sides of the Atlantic, people who not only explored and savored the breadth of Belgian styles, but began brewing new versions of the classics.

Ommegang, New Belgium, New Glarus, Boulevard, Allagash, and Lost Abbey are well know for creating Belgian-style beers and both New Belgium and Boulevard employ Belgian brewers.

But nowadays, most American craft breweries are making some sort of Belgian-inspired beer, from wheat and pale ale to dubbel, triple and quad styles. And takes on Belgian sour beers are arguably the hottest trend, …

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Kulers Uncorked: J Pinot Gris

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2012 J Pinot Gris, California

2012 J Pinot Gris, California

  • Two Thumbs Way Up
  • $15
  • Enticing aromas of white flowers, lime zest, fresh linen and a subtle note of marzipan. Fairly rich but with equally racy acidity, it has flavors of ripe apricots, yellow plums, grilled pineapple, Rainier cherries and nectarines with a smoky, mineral, toasted almond note.

Back in the spring of 1997, I had the good fortune to work in the kitchen of Nöel Dontenville, the chef and owner of Restaurant Les Acacias. His cozy, elegant establishment, which he ran with his wife, Claire, overlooked the picturesque town of Niederbronn-les-Bain in France’s Alsace region. A contemporary of Paul Bocuse, Dontenville put me in touch with my inner Auguste Escoffier—the Elvis Presley of French cuisine.

From various styles of pâté de foie gras to coq au vin (Burgundy and Alsatian styles, of course) and everything in between, Dontenville patiently explained the techniques, ingredients and history of these famous dishes …

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Beer Town: TV or Not TV in Your Favorite Beer Bar?


TV or not TV? That’s the chronic question that becomes acute for me this time of year.

Among my obsessions, count good beer, convivial bars, Braves baseball and Florida State football. And those things all come together in late summer and early fall.

I have great memories of watching the ’90s World Series Braves at the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club. And I’ve always loved getting together at Manuel’s to cheer the Noles with a ragtag group of FSU grads, even when our team wasn’t doing so well.

But here’s the thing. Almost any other time, I prefer a pub with no TVs, especially if what’s on is an endlessly annoying loop of cable sports and news shows.

At some of the best beer bars in Atlanta, no TV is a statement of what’s important to the owners. At others, yes TV is part of a larger context that includes a sports-loving community.

When co-owner Dave Blanchard and his partners opened Brick Store Pub in Decatur 16 years ago, a pub without a TV was a rarity.

“We …

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Kulers Uncorked: Whispering Angel Rose

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2012 Caves d’Esclans, Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence, France

2012 Caves d’Esclans, Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence, France

  • $23
  • Two Thumbs Way Up
  • Subtle aromas of fresh flowers, citrus fruit with a distinct note of fennel. Tart with lots of mineral notes, it has complex flavors of watermelon, red grapefruit, orange zest, blood orange and delicate touch of mango. It displayed peppery, spice notes as it warmed.

Mateus, Lancers and Sutter Home. Three iconic wineries that have introduced more people to wine than perhaps any other trio of wine producers in human history.

The first two, Mateus and Lancers, started exporting their simple, slightly bubbly, subtly sweet, pink wines from Portugal to the U.S. and the rest of Europe shortly after World War II. Sales records were set year upon year until the 1980s.

That’s when Napa winemaking legend Bob Trinchero of Sutter Home picked up the slack with his white zinfandel, which was everything that Mateus and Lancers were except for the bubbles. All three maintain fairly …

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Beer Town: Writers talk trends in American brewing

L-R: DeBenedetti, Nachel, Holl, and Forder

L-R: DeBenedetti, Nachel, Holl, and Forder

It’s always a treat to travel to Boston to help judge the final round of the annual Samuel Adams Longshot American Homebrew contest. The winners will be announced soon and will have their beer brewed by the Boston Beer Company and distributed nationally.

Every year, it seems the quality of the homebrew gets better. This year, we tasted an outstanding beer that, the judges agreed, nailed its style category and was as good as any commercial example.

But besides getting a glimpse of the state of the art of homebrewing, Longshot gives me a chance to catch up with other beer writers from around the country who join Boston Beer founder Jim Koch in the tasting room.

The 2013 panel included: Christian DeBenedetti, author of “The Great American Ale Trail” and editor of Weekly Pint; Tony Forder, editor of Ale Street Journal; John Holl, editor of All About Beer; and Marty Nachel, author of “Beer For Dummies.”

After lunch, while we …

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