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Thursday, January 17, 2013
My Half Full Glass - January 17th, 2013
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Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Bourbon
This was one of the bottles of whiskey I picked up for my whiskey bar during the first of our two holiday open houses late last year. I like the everyday Knob Creek as a solid sipper so when I saw this bottle of Single Barrel Reserve I figured I should give it a spin.
The initial aromas give up dried fruits, caramel, vanilla and hints of charcoal or smoke. In the mouth it is sweeter than I would have expected and an element of black pepper spice is pretty accessible. The wood notes are also pretty forward, especially after a few swirls.
At 120 proof this Bourbon doesn't mess around, the heat comes in strong and lingers, but not to a fault. This whiskey is a bit stronger than I really like and for that reason I don't think I would buy it as a sipper again. That said, when making a Sazerac or Old Fashioned cocktails the flavors of this Bourbon continue to shine and the heat is moderated to a level much more aligned with my palate. Of the four or five of us that nearly killed the bottle, as you can see in the picture, nobody had anything bad to say, although the heat and strength of it was noted by all.
Castello D'Albola Le Ellere Chianti Classico
To some people Chianti can often be pedestrian and boring. I've had my share of flamboyantly boring examples of it over the last few years, and because of that I don't often purchase a bottle unless I have a solid personal recommendation. Boring was not the case this time, and I'm happy to say I'm actually in a position to make a recommendation worth following the next time Chianti would be a good fit for a wine purchase. I received this bottle of Castello D'Albola Le Ellere Chianti Classico as a sample from the wine lovers at Zonin
Other than the fact that the cork disintegrated while trying to open it I can't say anything bad about this wine.
The nose was vibrant, pushing forth cherry, currant and tart red fruits. The wine smells clean and friendly. In the mouth the flavors of cherry and currant were predominant for me. Wood notes were subtle and a hint of vanilla was found after a bit of concentration. The finish is long and for an otherwise dry wine the dryness doesn't accelerate through the finish, mellowing a bit as it goes.
I enjoyed this wine before dinner and then experienced a good match for it with Margherita pizza. I could see the pairing potential of this wine to extend to other Italian classics and hope to try it again with a cheese & charcuterie plate where I also think it will work well. I would definitely buy this wine. The average retail price seems to be somewhere between $20 and $25.