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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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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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Kulers Uncorked: Aveleda Vinho Verde

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2011 Aveleda Vinho Verde, Portugal

2011 Aveleda Vinho Verde, Portugal

  • $12
  • Two Thumbs Up
  • Simple, refreshing aromas of lemon and lime and fresh floral note. Ever so slightly effervescent, it has crisp flavors of green apples, citrus fruit and lime zest with a note of subtle bitterness.

Willis Carrier is generally credited with the invention of modern air conditioning. His engineering breakthrough came a scant 111 years ago. Prior to that, you were on your own to stand up to the fierce face of summer.

Today, we confront summer’s evil twins, heat and humidity, with impunity.  We don’t slow down; we see no reason make any behavioral changes at all. For many of us, this includes our choice of wines.

Yes, I’m talking to you, big, alcoholic, overtly tannic, highly-extracted cabernet sauvignon drinkers out there. This is not a column this week. This is an intervention.

Before Carrier described the law of constant dew-point depression (the underlying concept of controlling heat and humidity), we …

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Three Taverns Craft Beers On Tap July 19

Three-Graphic

Brian Purcell, the founder and president of Three Taverns in Decatur, will finally be able to answer the question that people have been asking him for over a year now: “When can I get your beer?”

The new brewery isn’t quite ready to open to the public, yet. But on Friday, its flagship beers will be on tap at bars around Decatur and a few neighboring areas, as Three Taverns launches Single Intent, a Belgian-style single ale, and A Night In Brussels IPA, a Belgian-style American IPA.

The celebration will begin at 5 p.m. at the Brick Store Pub, dubbed by Purcell as the “official launch headquarters and home base.” And throughout the evening, the Three Taverns team will be traveling around to toast and celebrate with friends and neighbors.

Last week, Purcell was busy at the brewery, where the tasting room and bottling line were still under construction. But the brewhouse had been operating for weeks and there was beer in the fermenters, ready to be transferred to the …

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Kulers Uncorked:Date Night Sauvignon Blanc

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2012 Date Night Sauvignon Blanc, Napa County/Pope Valley, Calif.

2012 Date Night Sauvignon Blanc, Napa County/Pope Valley, Calif.

  • $30
  • Two Thumbs Way Up
  • Rich aromas of minerals, chalk and perfume-like melon fruit. Fairly complex flavors of honeydew, tangerine, white peach with a lingering note of white pepper.

The marketing engines of the wine industry love to promote the ideal that happy little winemakers make wine from around 10 a.m. until just about lunch time and spend the remainder of the day lounging on their redwood decks (or in their châteaux or villas or bodegas depending on their country of origin) looking over neat, green rows of vines.

Sorry to remove the varnish, but while the wine industry may have a kernel of love and passion deep within it, it’s about moving cases. Wines of any consequence are conceived, produced, packaged and priced to hit your dinner table in sufficient numbers to sustain the operation (and any number of intermediate businesses). If a wine can’t successfully navigate its way through …

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Beer Town: All-American hoppy beers are popular, but there’s a bitter debate

Pliny-LogoIt seems that the members of the American Homebrewers Association like their beers big and bitter.

For the fifth year in a row, they voted Russian River Brewing Co.’s Pliny the Elder the “Best Commercial Beer in America” in the annual poll conducted by Zymurgy magazine, the journal of the AHA. It’s also the fourth consecutive year that Bell’s Two Hearted Ale came in second.

The top five beers — 1. Russian River Pliny the Elder; 2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale; 3. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA; 4. Bell’s Hopslam Ale; 5. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA — are all in the American IPA or double IPA style category. And they all have loads of American hops, along with alcohol in the 7 percent to 10 percent by volume range.

But are these really the beers most Americans drink? Or are they just the favorites of beer geeks and hop freaks? As in most things, the answer depends on who you ask.

In May, beer writer Adrienne So penned a piece for Slate under the let’s-go-viral headline …

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Beer Town: A taste of North Carolina-brewed Dale’s Pale Ale

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Oskar Blues came to fame in 2002 as the brewery that kick-started the canned craft beer revolution when founder Dale Katechis launched his iconic Dale’s Pale Ale.

Right now, though, the Lyons, Colo.-based company is busy making sure that consumers around the Southeast know that the Dale’s they’re drinking is being brewed in North Carolina, along with many other beers in the Oskar Blues portfolio.

On New Year’s Eve 2012, Katechis, an Alabama native and Auburn grad, opened a new brewery in Brevard, N.C., south of Asheville. Since then, Dale’s has been flying off the canning line and making it to store shelves in an updated can that includes the words “Mountain Pale Ale” and “Brevard, North Carolina.”

Recently, Oskar Blues Brevard marketing director Anne-Fitten Glenn visited Atlanta with a crew of Southeastern sales reps on a mission to bring more beer to the Peach State.

Glenn, a longtime journalist who grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Georgia, has been …

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Wine Kulers: Bergweiler Riesling

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2010 Dr. Pauly Bergweiler, Spätlese, Riesling, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Germany

2010 Dr. Pauly Bergweiler, Spätlese, Riesling, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Germany

  • $35
  • Two Thumbs Way Up
  • Engaging aromas of ripe apricot, peach, hazelnut and floral notes. It has generous flavors of tart citrus fruit, lime zest, ripe pear, green apple, a steely acidity and long finish laced with mineral notes.

Back in April, I had the honor of emceeing Taste of Atlanta’s Best Sommelier Contest at Del Frisco’s Grille in Atlanta. The four finalists, Christopher Boyette (Restaurant Eugene), Patrick Guilfoil (Woodfire Grill), Ryan Reardon (Bella Italia) and Brian White (The Ritz Carlton Downtown), competed admirably and brought honor to their respective dining establishments.

And while I’d like to regale White with oodles of kudos for winning, that’s not exactly what I want to talk about this week. As part of the competition, the sommeliers were asked to make pairings for the menu created by Del Frisco’s chef, A.J. Buchanio. One of his courses was a tuna …

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Wine Kulers: Alcohol

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2008 Rodney Strong Vineyards, Rockaway, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Calif.

2008 Rodney Strong Vineyards, Rockaway, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Calif.

  • $75
  • Two Thumbs Way Up
  • Complex and ever-changing aromas of raspberries, dark cherries, smoke and black licorice. Intense flavors of dark chocolate, plum, black licorice, black cherry and an interesting toasted almond/graham cracker quality.

How much is too much alcohol? A volatile question in the wine world these days as it is now quite common to see wines in excess of 15 percent alcohol. Before I address this question and (spoiler alert) ultimately don’t answer, let’s consider the four things that CH3CH2OH brings to a wine.

A byproduct of yeast fermentation, ethyl alcohol brings weight or what’s known as body to a wine. There is no easier way to recognize the importance of body than tasting a non-alcoholic wine. Without the alcohol, these wines are more than just thin, they simply lack an innate wine quality that makes them feel somehow wrong in our mouths.

As a taste, …

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Beer Town: Spritzy Saison for Summer

Terrapin-Maggies-Peach

During an interview a while back, I was asked to name my favorite beer style. No surprise, I answered that it depends on many factors — my mood, the season, what I’m eating. But if someone put a gun to my head, I said, it would be saison.

As Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver has declared, “Saison is not just versatile, it’s downright promiscuous.”

The dynamic flavors and aromas range through bitter, bright, tart, fruity, earthy and funky. But saison’s strong, spritzy, champagnelike carbonation from refermentation in the bottle lifts all those complex layers to the realm of utter refreshment. And that’s why it beats out wimpy wheat beer as a sophisticated summer drink, especially alongside food, be it salad, cheese, salmon or steak.

Saison’s roots are in the French-speaking region of Southern Belgium, where traditional rustic farmhouse ales were produced in late winter and early spring to drink during the summer months.

For many years Saison Dupont was …

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