This week's list of new and returning products follows a reprint of a piece we ran back in February, 2011. Enjoy!
By Steve Siciliano
“Man I hate this weather.” My father had turned off the vacuum and was looking through the plate glass windows at the falling snow. It’s a statement he makes often during the months when he can’t drive up north to his cabin. There was a time when the winter didn’t bother him—when he could still drive two hours on slippery roads, when he could walk a half mile through knee-deep snow dragging supplies on a toboggan, when he could shovel a path to the door, when he could haul logs in from the woodpile and when he could sit for hours watching a tiny bobber on a frozen lake. But he has learned to accept the limitations of age. My father, Sam Siciliano, is eighty.
He went back to his work and I watched while he vacuumed up the scattering of grain around the grinders. During the springs, summers and falls he carefully sweeps up the grain and dumps it into paper bag. ‘The deer and turkey like it,” he told me once after asking him about it.
He had finished vacuuming and was wiping malt extract off the scales when I called out to him. “Hey pop. Barb and I are going to Lansing tomorrow. Why don’t you come with us?”
“What are you doing in Lansing?”
“We have to drop off some paperwork to the LCC,” I said. “We have to get their okay for the expansion.”
“Why do you want me to go?”
“It’ll get you out of the house,” I said. “It might do you good.”
"Why the hell would I want to go to Lansing?”
“Come on, pop. It’ll be fun. On the way home we’ll stop at some bars.”
That got his attention. “Okay,” he said. “Pick me up.”
Sam Siciliano likes to drink. He likes drinking beer and his home-made wine but he doesn’t like drinking alone. He likes people around him when he drinks and the more people there are the better he likes it. When folks visit him and my mother at their West side home or at the cabin in Irons he is always eager to get them a drink. If their beer is half full he’ll get them another and if their wine glass is half empty he’ll fill it up. That’s just the way my old man is.
There’s something a little mysterious about Sam's home-made wine. Every year we get the same grapes from California. I know he doesn’t add more sugar to the must but somehow his wine always seems to be more potent. Our family has learned to stay away from it but there have been many unsuspecting guests who were destroyed by that wine and whenever that destruction occurs Sam gets in trouble with my mother.
The following day we picked him up at noon. He was waiting on the front porch.
On the way to Lansing I got him talking about his brothers. My dad has five brothers that are still alive. Tony, the eldest brother, died about fifteen years ago. My dad claims that Tony was the toughest son-of-a-bitch in the neighborhood. I have heard the stories many times—about growing up on the Southeast side of Grand Rapids, about the street fights and bar fights, about stealing watermelons off the backs of produce trucks, how my grandmother would ignore complaining neighbors and then later beat the appropriate, mischievous son who elicited the complaint. But I never tire of hearing the stories, and while he talked I glanced over at Barb and saw her smiling.
When we arrived at the Michigan Liquor Control Commission we had to check in with security. Each of us had to present our drivers license. I watched my dad fumble through his thick wallet and wondered what the hell he was carrying. When we found the person we had to talk to she took the paperwork and looked at me.
“You came all this way for this? Why didn’t you just mail it?”
“I wanted to make sure you got it,” I replied. “Besides, it’s a nice day for a road trip. My dad hates the winter and we wanted to get him out. We’re going to hit some dive bars.”
Barb give me a hard glance and I realized that telling the folks at the liquor control that we were going bar hopping wasn't very bright.
The lady looked over at my dad who was sitting and paging through a magazine. “Well, I’m sure you’ll have a good time."
Stay tuned for the second of three installments, coming soon!
Featured Wines of the Week
Merkin Vinyard Chupacabra Rose, $12.49 Chupacabra Rosa is our pink Shape Shifter Kitchen sink Blend from the Buhl Memorial Vineyard, Willcox, in the Kansas Settlement of Cochise County, AZ. Usually rooted in French/Alsatian varieties with a focus on Grenache and Mourvédre. https://caduceus.org/product/2019-merkin-vineyards-chupacabra-rosa/
Heavyweight Knockout Red, $11.99
Red wine champions knockout the competition with a full-bodied start and lush, dark fruit and berry flavors that leave no room to run. The soft vanilla oak finish is smooth and satisfying, like every well balanced champion. https://www.petitecellars.com/products/13367687/heavyweight-knockout-red
Bonny Doon Vin Le Cigare Volant, $16.29 In cool years the Grenache is enormously pretty and fragrant. This wine was the first year of production for Cinsault and it was thinned multiple times both for enhanced concentration and evenness of ripening. The cooler climate gives the Cinsault a wonderful articulation of flavor, but what is most noteworthy is the fact that Bonny Doon was able to conferment the Consult with Syrah. Something magical happens when Syrah and Cinsault marry; the healthy tannin titer from the Syrah seems to give more structure to the Cinsault, helps to stabilize the color. The spicy, licorice component from the Syrah is a perfect foil to the Griotte cherry derived from the Cinsault. Blend: 56% Grenache, 30% Cinsaut, 13% Syrah, 1% Petite Sirah. https://www.wine.com/product/bonny-doon-le-cigare-volant-2020/793715
Buy three or more bottles of wine get 10 % off.
"It's our mission at Siciliano's to sell quality wine at affordable prices
Featured Spirits of the Week
Redwood Empire Emerald Giant, $44.19 Named after the fastest growing Redwood in the world, Emerald Giant is a fan favorite in the Rye world. We started with a mash-bill of 95% premium rye and aged it for over 3 years in new charred oak barrels. Spicy with an exceptionally smooth finish, it is a great choice in your classic whiskey cocktails. Unparalleled spice complexity with smooth rye notes. a hint of honey and orange peel becomes peppery with a lingering cinnamon finish. https://redwoodempirewhiskey.com/whiskey/emerald-giant-rye/
Long Road Nocino, $36.89 Our first venture into the world of liqueurs, Long Road Nocino incorporates hand-picked walnuts from nearby Byron Center, Michigan, along with a variety of herbs and spices, including nutmeg, clove, allspice, and cinnamon. Mixes perfectly in a Manhattan and adds depth and richness to a Negroni. Or, spice up your day and drop it into your morning coffee with a touch of cream. https://longroaddistillers.com/product/original-nocino/
New and Returning Products
Boulevard Cinnamon Bun, $3.59/16oz-Got a craving for cinnamon buns but no time to bake? Crack open this can be instantly transported to your favorite bakery as the heady aromas of cinnamon and vanilla softly fill the air. Each sip is reminiscent of the best-tasting part of the bun: the gooey center. Go ahead and spoil yourself with this sweet boozy treat, all the flavor, and aroma of a cinnamon bun, minus the sticky fingers!
Brewery Nyx Lager, $5.89/16oz-Gluten free
Dark Horse Mango Tree, $1.99/12oz-The original crooked tree with a mango twang
Destihl Peanut Butter Stout, $2.19/12oz
Lagunitas Disorderly Tea Mixed Up Berries, $2.09/12oz
Lagunitas Disorderly Tea Yuzo Lemon, $2.09/12oz
New Belgium Juice Force, $2.79/19.2 oz-Juice Force is a fruit forward, highly drinkable, 9.5% ABV blast. Buckle up, with this hazy IPA you'll be buzzing the tower in no time.
Odd Side Shamrock Bean Flicker, $2.19/12 oz-A minty take on the classic Bean Flicker. Has a forward note of coffee that is definitive of its original counterpart and a moderate peppermint finish kicking in slightly after the swallow.
Dock Bum's Beach, $1.99/12oz-An American style wheat showcasing the smooth creaminess of Pale Wheat Malt and the flavors and aromas of American grown Mt. Hood and Fuggles hops. Expect a slight graininess in the flavor and aroma, floral hop aromas and the subtle fruitiness of our house American ale yeast strain.
Peanut Butter Stout, $3.89/12oz
Pigeon Hill Philosoraptor, $2.19/12oz-IPA - American
Stone Brewing Variety IPA Pack, $17.99
Wolverine NZ Pils, $1.99/12oz
Wolverine Premium Lager, $1.99/12oz
Descriptions courtesy of Untappd