Diving into Liqueurs; Rando Wines
Toss out those cheaply flavored and artificially colored cordials. You know, the ones that are used so infrequently that the cap has crusted over with sugar, and now requires industrial tools to open. Replace them with some sweet and sassy liqueurs; great for sipping solo, spicing up your favorite cocktails, or even adding depth to pastries and desserts. Here are a few recommendations so tasty, the bottle will be gone before you know it.
Bertina Elderflower, Finland
Neither overripe nor syrupy, as are its big name-brand counterparts, Bertina highlights juicy lychee, fresh apricot, and (of course) delicate elderflower blossoms. We think this is liqueur shines in grapefruit and/or gin cocktails. Easiest recipe? Pour some bubbles, add a splash of Bertina, and a squeeze of lime. Done.
Rothman & Winter Orchard Peach, Austria
The Purkhart family really doubles down on the peaches! The liqueur combines juices from a variety of the Oststeiermark region's locally grown peaches (Roter Ellerstädter, Weinberg, and Haven) with a fragrant eau-de-vie produced from the same fruit. Add some to your wheat beer or club soda for a light, refreshing mixed drink. If spirits are more your game, R&W Orchard Peach really pops in whiskey cocktails. Bourbon n' peaches, YUM!
Mandarine Napoléon Orange, Belgium
The history buffs out there might be interested in this little tidbit of information: in the 19th century, a Belgian chemist discovered the recipe of Napoléon’s favorite drink in a diary and decided to create this liqueur based on the formula. Far more complex than the average triple-sec or orange brandy, Mandarine Napoléon builds upon a fine aged cognac with a cornucopia of botanicals, including green and black teas, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and angelica. We love sipping this neat or on the rocks, but for Cocktail lovers out there, we have one word for you: Margaritas!
We couldn't settle on a tight wine theme this week, because we weren't able to get these four random, yet utterly delectable, wines out of our heads. We decided to let our tastebuds take the lead this time.
Jean-Marc Burgaud Beaujolais Blanc 2018
Many of you will be quite familiar with the wines of Jean-Marc Burgaud. One of the leaders in Beaujolais, his various cuvees of Morgon are some of the region’s most sought-after and cellar-worthy bottlings, and we have introduced them to many a thirsty connoisseur. Jean Marc’s fabulous 2018 Beaujolais Blanc may not be worth saving for a decade, but it is simply delicious today and puts so many more expensive wines of the neighboring region of Pouilly-Fuisse to shame. From a single acre of young vines comes this fabulous Chardonnay, which is aged in stainless steel tanks and bottled young to preserve fresh fruitiness. Notes of apple, pear, stone fruits and ripe citrus are fresh and tart, preceding an intense and grippy finish that highlights the mineral side of Chardonnay. Serve this to someone who hates Chardonnay, just don't tell them what it is right away, and anticipate a change of heart.
Domaine Lafage Cotes du Roussillon Blanc 'Cuvee Centenaire' 2017
Year in and year out, this wine is an incredible value. Made of grapes from a vineyard planted to vines of Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris that are over 100 years old (80% of the blend), and grapes from a young vineyard of Roussanne (20%), this beauty is rich upfront (melon, stone fruits and tropical fruits, flowers) yet zesty and crisp on the finish (fresh pithy citrus and stones). It has many followers at Craft and Cru, and you might join this happy crew after a taste tomorrow.
Tiberio Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo 2018
This pink wine might be even darker than the Pinot Noir featured below; it will be fun to compare their hues tomorrow. Tiberio's Cerasuolo is quite simply one of Italy's finest pink wines. It comes in a dark bottle, which is a great sign. It means that Tiberio intends for this bottle to age, which is not an uncommon aspiration from a producer of fine Cerasuolo. It also means that Tiberio does not care a lick for the market's demand for pink wine in clear glass. We have very rarely been more excited to pour a pink wine. Ebullient, juicy, fresh and complex, this is a bold pink wine that will hold up to a variety of foods. We cannot recommend it highly enough for your next grilling session.
Tembo Pinot Noir 2018
"Tembo" is Swahili for "elephant". The label is from original artwork by Remrov, an autistic savant and self-taught pencil artist from Montreal who specializes in photorealistic drawings of everything he finds interesting, mainly animals. Remrov sells his artwork to benefit Chengeta Wildlife - a non-profit organization that fights against poaching of wildlife in Africa. Elephants, rhinos and other animals are killed for their tusks or for other reasons on a regular basis, and the main mission of Chengeta Wildlife is to empower local wildlife protection teams in Africa in the fight against poaching. They fund training for the protection of wildlife, with the ultimate aim to eliminate poaching. Aside from having super cool label art, Tembo is real Pinot Noir, and really delicious wine. The 2018 Tembo is sourced from one vineyard in California's Clarksburg AVA and it is a delicate and juicy expression of Pinot Noir. Notes of cranberry, tart red cherries and toasted spice are classic; it really over-delivers for sub-$20 California Pinot, a category rife with misleading manipulated juice. We were blown away by the value of this wine; it is pretty much unparalleled.