This week's list of new and returning products follows a few words about reconnecting with friends
Preamble by Steve Siciliano
On the very first day Michigan bars, restaurants, tasting rooms and pubs were allowed to reopen, Barb and I ventured out to Trail Point Brewing to shake off the effects of a nasty case of cabin fever brought on by the double whammy of wintry weather and the Covid shut down. We masked up in the brewery's parking lot, were promptly greeted at the door and were ushered to seats at one of the tasting room's socially distanced tables. While sipping our excellent brews, a mug of Oh MI Amber for me and a snifter of Henry Lee for Barb, we had a nice visit with owners and longtime friends Gary and Lucy Evans.
Barb had another old ale for her second beer while I opted for the MobFather, a tasty double New England IPA. While I waited for my mug to be refilled and brought to the table I put on my mask and walked out to the patio to have a look at the recently installed heated igloos. On the way I ran into and chatted with another member of the ownership team, our good buddy Jeff Knoblock.
The next evening we met with pals Pat and Marcie MacAuley for some laughs and a few cocktails at Eastern Kille Distillery. We hadn't seen our traveling and drinking sidekicks since establishments were closed to indoor seating last November.
On the way home we made the impromptu decision to stop at The Mitten for a beer and to place a takeout order for one of the brewery's excellent pizzas. All the socially distanced inside tables were occupied so after placing our food order we took our snifters of Certified Imperial Milk Stout to the outdoor seating area. While we sipped the warming brews we chatted with other patrons gathered around one of the roaring fires. It sure was nice getting out of the house and experiencing a degree of social normalcy again.
Featured Wines of the Week
Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth, Italy, $51.19/1000ml, $22.89/375ml- Antica Formula stands out thanks to its unique bouquet and its unmistakable notes of the best quality VANILLA from the tropical regions of Madagascar, Papua New Guinea and Tahiti. In fact, only the beans produced by the plant, and no other derivatives, are used in the recipe. Vanilla was known in Aztec times and has appetite-stimulating and digestive properties. The SAFFRON used in Antica Formula is of a very high quality and comes mainly from the plateau areas in Iran. It is found in whole stigmas without any impurities and averages 1.5-2 cm in length. This ingredient is known for its antioxidant properties and for being a precious and very expensive spice: in fact, the stigma of around 150,000 flowers must be picked by hand to obtain one kilogram of saffron. Ancient Persians used the spice as an aphrodisiac. The WORMWOOD used in Antica Formula comes exclusively from the Alps of Piedmont and the Aosta Valley. Under current regulations, Vermouth, in order to be considered as such, must contain absinthe as an ingredient, a situation which actually has an historical basis. Antonio Benedetto Carpano, the inventor of Vermouth, gave a great deal of importance to this raw material in his recipe, even using the German word “Wermuth” (which means wormwood) to identify his product. In this, he was possibly inspired by the works of the German writer Goethe, who had arrived in Italy in 1786 on the start of his travels, and whose writings he greatly admired. BURNT SUGAR is a natural compound that, in addition to the product’s botanical ingredients, draws the many flavours of Antica Formula together thanks to its characteristic aromaticity. burnt sugar is produced by heating sugar on its own, without any additives and under controlled conditions.Colour: light brown with an amber hue. – Nose: bouquet of vanilla with spicy, citrusy and dried fruit notes of almond, raisins and cloves. – Palate: well-rounded, rich vanilla taste that picks up the aromas from the nose. Combines well with the bitter orange, dates, cocoa beans and saffron flavours. – Alcohol content: 16.5% (Source)
Cocci Vermouth di Torino, Italy, $21.79/750ml, $13.99/375ml- The original recipe of Giulio Cocchi calls for the use of herbs such as Cinchona and rhubarb which lightly colour of brown the beautiful clear wine. In order to emphasize its amber tone, the addition of sugar browned on fire emphasizes its amber tone, giving together with colour also a special note to the taste: crunchy and cotton candy able to round all the bitter tastes without using vanilla.
A thrilling vermouth, rich in sensations: among the herbs and the aromatizing spices, Artemisia and citrus are the protagonists with their balanced bitter and citrusy notes which characterize Cocchi style.
A rich taste with vibrant notes of cocoa and bitter orange. From the infusion of some noble and balsamic woods, we have in the end light aromas of camphor and rosemary notes. Among the minor ingredients, herbs and woods with unique perfumes such as sandal, musk, myrrh and nutmeg.(Source)
Dolin, Rouge, Vermouth de Chambery, France, $15.59/750ml- Dolin's red vermouth has a very long history, punctuated with many prizes and awards. It's unchanged recipe is one of our treasures. This vermouth has a lustrous coppery color, gentle aromas of fruit compote, of prunes and walnuts with grassy notes, tempered by spicy aromas like Szechwan pepper... then aromas of almond, citrus, pear and cinnamon with gingerbread, tobacco, oregano and hyssop notes. This very rich bouquet is tempered by a subtle bitter base wine. (