Aaron Lubliner-Walters

Brandborg’s 2013 Elkton Oregon Gewurztraminer: A Review

Gewurztraminer is often considered a European-happy grape variety, especially when grown on the terroir of eastern France. Specifically, Alsace. Across the pond, Oregon can boast of only half the number of vines of Gewurztraminer (a mere 3,200 compared to Alsace’s 7,000) but Oregon holds its own in flavor, character, and nuance. Brandborg’s 2013 Elkton Oregon Gewurztraminer is a classic. Aromatic and explosive, this wine is not shy. Really, 14.1% is monstrous for a white, something akin to one of Orin Swift’s Napa concoctions. But don’t be deterred, as the wine is balanced and soft on the palate. A sip teases with opulent aromas of lychee and orange peel, evolving into… Read more »

2013 Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz: A review by Kelson Goldfine

The Barossa Valley is home to some of the great wines of South Australia. The 2013 Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz from the dry hills of Barossa packs a punch in a big way. The region remains untouched by phylloxera, the minuscule root louse that once threatened to destroy most of the world’s vineyards. Therefore many of the vines in the valley are considered “old vine” and grow grapes with more concentrated, complex flavors than that of young vines. Unctuous and spicy, the 2013 Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz is a mighty wine, unlike most popstar, fruity, smoky bottles of Shiraz. The bouquet is intense. Full bodied and creamy, the wine bursts with flavors… Read more »

Abbazia Santa Anastasia – Nero d’Avola 2014

I have a tendency to overlook red wine for white — a dangerous habit in a world where red wines are perhaps more popular and equally, if not more, delicious. Wines with anthocyanins, the compound from grape skin that makes red wines red, continue to demand my attention. Nero d’Avola is no exception. The first time I uncorked the Abbazia Santa Anastasia Nero d’Avola — the most widely planted grape variety on the Italian island of Sicily — I wanted to bow to the bottle. The 2014 Abbazia Santa Anastasia Nero d’Avola is a wine I will return to often. Among several other Sicilian red wines, Nero d’Avola is often imported to the United… Read more »

Sipp Mack Riesling Tradition 2014

I first discovered wine with picnics on a family trip to Northern Italy. Sitting on stoney beaches along the Western armpit of the Italian peninsula, we drank light, effervescent Prosecco with sliced tomato, cheese, and bread. I thought that light, snack-style meals required so-called “simple” wines like Prosecco and Cava. Recently, however, on an outdoors adventure to North Carolina, my mother and I sat back one evening to enjoy a picnic (inside a Motel room, away from the spring cold) of sharp cheddar, brie, pear, and prosciutto. We curiously chose the Sipp Mack Riesling Tradition 2014 from the Alsace region in France to accompany our meal, not knowing what to… Read more »

An Island Gem: Artemis Karamolegos Santorini Assyrtiko

This bone-dry, white wine from the Greek island of Santorini is made from the Assyrtiko grape, first cultivated among the island’s volcanic soils. The wine is golden in color and has a nose full of raisins and creamy lemon. Medium bodied, it is exceptionally rich for it’s kind, brimming with notes of orange and raisin, guided by tangy lemon zest and brackish water. The acid in this wine makes it a good candidate for aging if you’re looking for something to add to your cellar. Otherwise, consume this wine young and use it to soften deep fried dishes and seafood, or pair it with Greek cuisine, or even the meatiest… Read more »

Ölvisholt Brugghús “Lava” Smoked Imperial Stout

Look, I’m not gonna lie. Things have been busy lately and finding time to crank out some product reviews has been a bit difficult. So instead of waiting for some time to land in my lap, here’s a post I did in the spring of 2013 on an amazing beer we just starting carrying here at Canton Crossing. Enjoy! If you look at a calendar you’ll notice that the first day of spring arrived a few days ago. If you step outside you’d swear it was still the dead of winter. These stubbornly frigid evenings beg for a beer to warm the soul, and I believe I’ve found one that gets the job… Read more »

Green Flash Road Warrior Imperial Rye IPA

I helped a little road warrior today. She was trying to ride her bike through the alleys behind our house but kept falling off every minute or so. I noticed that her handlebars were loose and kept flopping back and forth, obviously contributing to her periodic crashing. I asked her about the bike. She said it was her cousins and that they tried to fix it but couldn’t. Being that I’m a bit of a bicycle fanatic I was more than excited to offer a helping hand. I ran in the house, grabbed my trusty adjustable wrench, ran back out of the house (stubbed my toe in the process, but it was… Read more »

Poperings Hommel Ale

After a productive day of back-beaking yard work there is only one thing I really want to do: Throw some food on the grill, crack open a cold beer, kick back, relax, and admire the fruits of my labor. This past Sunday I did just that. The beer consumed after my landscaping tour de force was Poperings Hommel Ale, produced by Brouwerij Van Eecke in Belgium. Twas the perfect victory beer after conquering the overgrown foliage. After all that physical exertion I didn’t want anything too heavy, but at the same time, I didn’t want to drink something akin to bubbly yellow water either. The Poperings was just what the doctor ordered. Not too heavy, not too light…. Read more »

Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale

Do you like beer? Do you like Scotch? Then I have the perfect beer for you…  Stonecutter from New Zealand’s Renaissance Brewery is among the most interesting examples of the Scotch Ale style that I’ve yet to come across. I’ve had my fair share of Scotch ales. In fact, the first beer review I ever wrote was about a pair of Scotch ales (here).  But what sets the Stonecutter apart from the rest of ’em is its amazing balance between strength and elegance, along with a spot on characteristic of Islay Scotch whisky. Stonecutter pours a beautiful dark brown color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of caramel, sweet malt,… Read more »

Viña Sastre Tempranillo

An old customer of mine used to have a simple rule for buying wine. Never buy a bottle with a fancy label. His philosophy was that if a winery was going to spend a lot of money on the label then they must be trying to compensate for the less-than-perfect wine in the bottle. Although this concept can clearly be debated, I must admit that I have found quite a few gems with plain-jane looking labels in my day (and the opposite has unfortunately happened equally as often!) One wine that does in fact confirm my old customers’  belief system is the Viña Sastre Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain…. Read more »