Published on February 12th, 2015 | by Greg0
Valentine’s Day Spirits And Academy Awards Wine!
We passed Groundhog Day without much celebration this year- perhaps because of the bad news that was delivered. But in between the cold sleet and winter snowstorms, we’ve been preparing for other holidays. You can’t keep New York City down for long, and we’re ready for this romantic weekend, even if we have to walk on ice to enjoy it. It’s not long, either, until the big Oscar viewing parties, and we’re getting our liquor cabinets, cocktail menus, and wine lists ready.
Let’s start with the top of the shelf, and Santa Fe Spirits Colkegan Mesquite Smoked Single Malt Whiskey. American bourbons are justly famed, but whiskey is often associated with Ireland rather than New Mexico, and Scotch must actually come from Scotland to be granted the name. We’re happy to say that we’ve found one that will definitely impress, and not just because it channels a bit of the highlands with a uniquely American twist. It’s great on its own terms, 51% malted barely that’s spent a minimum of two years in charred new and used American oak barrels.
You’ll notice quite a bit of peat, and plenty of the smoke you might expect from the name, but there is a nice heat and spice the balances it out. Less sweet and vanilla, not too floral or fruity, with just a hint of an herbal undertone. It’s fairly balanced- not the sort that will burn for hours but with a solid finish. The color is a nice amber, and this handcrafted 92 proofer is sure to impress any aficionado of dark spirits with character- like your special someone. Santa Fe also makes gin, vodka, and an apple brandy, but we’ll stick with our single malt. $50 for 750 mL, $30 for 375 mL.
If a nice bottle of red is more your style, we suggest that you save space in the wine rack for the Francis Ford Coppola Director’s Cut 2012 Dry Creek Zinfandel. We have a tradition that started back when we were based in San Francisco, and found the ideal theme beverage for the Oscars: a wine with a filmmaker’s heritage. We’ve tasted many of their vintages and varietals, and are always impressed by the value proposition- not only are the labels fun, the name immediately recognizable, and the prices fair, but the wines themselves are usually pretty elegant. This year’s Zin was no exception, 90-point Robert Parker rated and earning a Platinum 94 points at the Critics Challenge Wine Competition.
We liked the addition of Petite Syrah, which adds some body. Aged in French and American oak, the official tasting notes mention velvety palate with a bouquet of blackberries, raspberries, clove and pepper followed by succulent flavors of cherries, mixed berries and mocha. We liked the traditional Sonoma zinfandel zippiness, concentrated flavor, and and slightly warm mouthfeel that made pairing with food pretty easy. At $27 a bottle, this delicious wine brings a bit of California to liven up your party, even if you don’t have a red carpet.