Tasting Notes with Jim Beauregard: 2 refreshing Rieslings, Sam Adams' new barrel selections
So here are two local Rieslings for your consideration:
Jewel Towne Riesling, South Hampton, N.H.,11% abv, Harvest Market and many other locations.: Some years ago, I asked Peter Oldak, Jewell Towne's owner, about the climate influences on his vineyard. He said, “Well, there's this little body of water called the Atlantic Ocean … .”
Yes, the Gulf Stream reaches this far north before heading across to Europe to provide some modulating influence throughout the year, making the growing of white grapes viable. The south-facing slopes at the vineyard also allow the vines to collect the maximum amount of sun available through a shorter growing season. The Jewell Towne is pale gold in the glass with a rich white fruit nose, green apple, some pear and hints of honey in the background. The palate is dry for all intents and purposes, with good balance of components, and the flavor profile is reflected here as well. There are just the slightest vegetal hints along the finish, giving some additional flavor complexity. God balanced finish.
Labelle Riesling, Amherst, N.H. If you drive along Rt. 101, you can see that the vines are in the ground and doing their thing — very exciting. I'm looking forward to the first bottling of Labelle's own home-grown grapes. Now, the nose here leans more toward white apple and a broad range of white fruit. The wine's color is in the pale gold range in this case, too. The palate is just off-dry (meaning just the slightest hint of sweetness), a well-balanced palate with good acidity, well-integrated alcohol and a finish that preserves the white fruit to the end.
Both of these wines would fall into the Kabinett/Spätlese range of the German wine hierarchy, making them good table wines that would pair with a variety of foods, including chicken, light fish dishes and non-spicy Asian cuisine.
And for you beer aficionados, here are the latest releases from the Sam Adams Barrel Selection:
Barrel Selection means aged in oak barrels, so we should be looking for some oak-related flavors (see below), The beer is aged in Hungarian oak for as long as a year.
Sam Adams New World, Barrel Room Collection, $9.99, 10% abv. Billed as a “Belgian Golden Tripel.” Belgian yeast and Saaz hops. Huge white head, lasting, yellow-gold cloudy beer underneath, low malt nose, high on the hops, citrus comes through for aroma. Dry palate with medium-plus bitterness from the hops, medium carbonation, medium alcohol that's well-integrated into the blend, medium heading toward lighter body. medium texture, lots of hops flavors with lemon, green apple hints, melon, vanilla. Medium length finish. Sam recommends pairing with duck or seafood paella. Pizza, swordfish steak and foods with light cream sauces come to mind too.
Sam Adams Thirteenth Hour, $9.99, 9% abv. “Belgian Style Stout” on this label. Thirteen ingredients (not all identified), and seven different malts. Huge dark tan head, dark brown beer, opaque, medium malt nose, low hops, with aromas of coffee and chocolate, off-dry palate, medium bitterness, medium acidity and carbonation, well-integrated alcohol, silky texture, medium-plus body, good flavor intensity, complex, with caramel, chocolate, roast, toast, burned flavors (good things, not bad ones, speaking to the oak barrels), charred wood. Medium-plus length finish. Very good quality. For this one, Sam suggests blackened tuna or Cajun chicken.
Contact local beer and wine writer Jim Beauregard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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