November 2012
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Wine Spectator's 2012 Top 100

It is an honor to represent each and every one of our producers. We enjoy seeing them gain the recognition they deserve. This year eight made it to the 2012 Wine Spectator's Top 100. Congratulations!

#2 Chateau de St. Cosme 2010 Gigondas
#19 Booker 2010 Fracture
#21 Saxum 2009 James Berry Vineyard
#29 Switchback Ridge 2009 Merlot
#42 Charles & Charles 2011 Rose
#44 Mascarello 2007 Monprivato Barolo - coming soon
#57 Desc. de Palacios 2010 Petalos
#97 Claude Riffault 2011 Sancerre 'Les Boucauds'

Rene Rostaing's Masterful Vassal de Puech Noble

From Rare Wine Company: 

OVER THE PAST 41 YEARS, the wines of Rene Rostaing have come to be regarded as the heart and soul of Cote Rotie, combining power and richness with delicacy and perfume. But the real measure of Rene’s gifted winemaking may not be on the Cotes Brune and Blonde, but in the Languedoc. 

During our visit yesterday to his Domaine in the Northern Rhone, with a twinkle in his eye, Rene proudly presented us the second vintage of his only bottling made with everyday drinking in mind: the 2009 Vassal de Puech Noble. Based on our experience with his other wines from Puech Noble, we expected the combination of Rostaing's trademark elegance with the fleshy fruit of Southern France, but were stunned by the Vassal's sheer buvabilite—a word, Rene was proud to remind us, comes directly from the American creation drinkability.

As its name implies, the Vassal is an incredibly versatile wine whose talents far exceed its tarif.  Its crowd-pleasing nature makes it an easy weeknight choice to crack open for friends that want a 'full-bodied' red, while its depth of flavor and impressive length will make you want to help them finish the bottle.

We consider it the perfect Bistrot wine—one that screams for steak frites. And we are not alone: most of Rene's inaugural vintage of Vassal was sold to restaurants who pour it by the glass.

10 years of  Rostaing's normale Puech Noble bottlings are proof that the terroir of Langlade is capable of producing the finest and most Cote Rotie-like wines ever made in this part of France, and the Domaine has attracted critical acclaim from all corners: from Jancis Robinson and Andrew Jefford to Robert Parker. 
Situated so far North in the Languedoc it's just outside of the Rhone appellation controlee, and with limestone soils beloved by many a French grower, Puech Noble is also distinctly Rostaing and distinctly Syrah. The excellent 2009 vintage helped this relatively cool micro-climate express its full potential with perfumed, ripe fruits and elegant, silky tannins, not to mention impeccable balance. While imminently drinkable, this is a wine of elegance, breed, and class.

Cocktail Corner w/Christophe

Cocktail Corner #1

(Please send your comments, thoughts and ideas to Christophe via twitter @localwineco and use hash tag #cocktailcorner.)

Last week I spent some time talking with Graham Wasilition, creator and founder of Tenneyson Absinthe Royal. As usual we got to talking cocktails. One of the many unique things about Tenneyson, amidst the world of absinthe, is that Graham specifically made rhymes with his botanicals and flowers so that Tenneyson could parallel certain aromatics and qualities of gin. When you smell Tenneyson it is unmistakably absinthe but there is a deep savory aromatic that hits you and if you stop to think about it “un-gin” cocktails can go sky high. Graham mentioned, “The Un-Gin is such a good jumping off point for the category and it suits Tenneyson extremely well. Not taking away any of the quality and absinthe backbone but it gives a relatable place for barmen and women to start to conjure up ideas and bring new excitement to a pigeonholed category.”

What we wanted to start today was a monthly dialogue on cocktails and have this be as interactive as you would like. So many of you (readers) are such accomplished bartenders that a rolling dialogue about absinthe and cocktails this month should be fun.

Cocktails for thought here are some of our un-gin formulas (I prefer the term formulas over recipes. Because a recipe is something you follow, but your bar, my bar, your equipment and mine and your rail and my rail just aren’t the same, so please take liberties with these formulas).

And thank you Graham Wasilition for the lively dialogue, the great suggestions and the incredible Tenneyson Absinthe.

Gin Classics that do very well with a Tenneyson substitute:
Negroni, Tom Collins, Corpse Reviver #2, Gin and Tonic

Fall/Winter Seasonal Cocktail Suggestions:
Tenneyson Cider, White Grasshopper

The Tenneyson Negroni:
Just use classic recipe but replace some of gin with Tenneyson
0.75 oz Campari
0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
0.75 oz Tenneyson
0.5 oz Gin
Orange Peel Garnish

The Tenneyson Tom Collins (Tenney Fizz):
Replace Gin in classic recipe with Tenneyson
1 oz Tenneyson
0.5 oz simple syrup
1 oz Citrus (lemon, lemon/orange, grapefruit)
Top with Soda and Citrus wheel

Really Reviving Corpse Reviver #2:
Kind of flips the cocktail around…Play with ratio of Gin to Tenneyson from classic recipe…normally 1oz. gin vs. 1 dash absinthe
0.5 oz Gin
0.5 oz Tenneyson
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz Lillet Blanc
1 oz Lemon

Gin and Tonic
Do a Tenneyson Tonic and bring in some notes with Bitters
(Tonic is basically bubbly and bitter sugar water which is similar to classic absinthe prep)
1 oz Tenneyson
Quality Tonic Water
5 dashes of Bittermens Hoped Grapefruit Bitters

Thought Provoking Cider:
1 oz Tenneyson
3-4 oz Apple Cider
0.5 oz honey
5 dash of Bittermens Mole Bitters

Green Fairy Grasshopper:
1 oz Tenneyson
1 oz White Creme d Cacao
1 oz White Creme d Menthe
1 oz Heavy Cream
Mint Garnish

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