Our Holiday Picks

Out of the thousands of wines and spirits our team tastes over the course of a year, here are the bottles that we think are worthy of serving and giving to our nearest and dearest – and to ourselves – this holiday season. We’re sure you’ll find something for everyone on your gift list, as well as a treat or two for yourself. Go ahead. You. Deserve. It.
Alex
Borsci San Marzano Liqueur
This is Jagermeister’s cool older-sister and is only a couple bucks more. The Borsci truly smells like Christmas to me – it’s all bittersweet cocoa, cloves, allspice and peppercorns. After working long holiday hours all I want to do is curl up with my dogs and sip this warming spirit! Isn’t there someone on your list who’d do the same?
$24.99, 750ml
St. Reginald Parish ‘The Marigny’ Pinot Gris, Oregon
Funky, off-the-beaten-path wines like this one have been blowing up for us recently. By ‘us’ I not only mean Bottles, but also my group of friends. Each bottle is a fun surprise, and this Willamette Pinot Gris is no exception. The French term ‘Marigny’ translates to ‘the neighborhood’ so it’s perfect for gifting to friends, family and whoever else decides to stop by for the holidays.
$29.99
Dan
Old Forester ‘Bottles Selection’ Single Barrel
This holiday season I will be gifting my bourbon-loving friends the Old Forester “Bottles Private Barrel.” This is a totally unique whiskey that was hand-picked by our team during their trip to Kentucky in early 2017. With notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak, it hits every flavor that I love in a classic bourbon. I can only hope I get to enjoy some of the bottles that I’m gifting away!
$44.99, 750ml
Turasan Red Blend, Selda, Turkey
For every holiday dinner, I like to bring my family a bottle of wine that they won’t be very familiar with – I think it makes the dinner more special. This year it will be the Turasan red blend from Turkey. It’s full of blackberry and thyme notes at the beginning, and refreshing fruit flavors follow at the finish. This wine will pair beautifully with your dinner, and will absolutely impress your family and friends.
$12.99
Glorie
Kings County Chocolate Whiskey
Kings County makes their Chocolate Whiskey by steeping artisan cacao husks sourced from Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory into their award-winning Moonshine Corn Whiskey. The mellow sweetness of the un-aged whiskey harmonizes beautifully with the rich, bitter chocolate giving way to a remarkably smooth finish. ‘Fancify’ your espresso martini or, you know, stick a straw in it and call it a day. It’s a great gift for the gourmand on your list!
$39.99, 375ml
Meinklang Juhfark “J13,” Hungary
Certified biodynamic, this wine makes the perfect gift for that friend who geeks out over “natural wine.” Somló, a tiny wine region in Hungary, is home to an extinct volcano that provides unique mineral-rich soil ideal for growing grapes. Juhfark is a rare grape variety exclusive to this region, which produces savory wines that are remarkably aromatic and unlike anything else. Meinklang’s expression undoubtedly lives up to that name.
$31.99
Josh
Prichard’s Rye
My personal quest in whiskey has been to find the best value for the dollar, especially when it’s my own dollar!  Prichard’s has become my house-pour-favorite for just that reason.  It’s not overly aggressive, and at just 86 proof it is incredibly pleasant to drink just on the rocks.  It’s also not so dauntingly expensive that I cringe if someone wants to mix it (gasp!) it in a Manhattan. The only downside is there just isn’t a ton of it to go around. Get ’em while we have ’em! It deserves a place on your home bar this holiday season!
$54.99, 750ml
Steininger Sparkling Rosé Sekt, Austria
This is one of the all-time great holiday wines. It’s an off-the-beaten-path soft sparkler that is just a touch sweet with beautiful structure. It’s an unreal accompaniment to roasts and also works great as a starter to get the evening rolling. Though it’s not outrageously priced for what it is, it is indeed worth every penny.
$34.99
Kate
Germain-Robin XO Brandy
This domestic brandy is a lovely treat to share with your guests during the holidays.  Definitely not your Grandpa Joe’s harsh brandy, this is a whole different animal with a round, warm finish of toasty oak and butterscotch toffee.  Enjoy this with pecan pie, Hamantaschen or your best stinky cheese platter! 
$59.99. 375ml (note: the bottle Kate is holding is the size we are offering at this price)
Mastrojanni Rosso di Montalcino, Italy
What a great gift for the Italian Wine Lover! It’s perfect for all Italian holiday fare, but shows especially well with lasagna and braciole. It has elegant tannins and fruity aromas of ripe Bing cherries and red currants robed in flavors of cedar, balsamic, fresh tobacco leaf, bitter orange peel, and hints of bay leaf. Yes please!
$33.99
 
Melissa
The Real McCoy 12-Year-Old Madeira Cask Rum
This is a bourbon drinker’s rum! 90% of it spends 12 years aging in a bourbon barrel, while the remaining 10% sleeps nicely in a Madeira cask. It’s smooth and soft with a nose that hints to the Madeira, and finishes with a sweet bourbon vanilla mouthfeel. It’s a wonderful gift for the bourbon drinker in your life who has everything; it’s a terrific substitution for bourbon in a Manhattan!
$49.99, 750ml

2015 Occhipinti Il Frappato, Sicily
The 2015 is the second vintage of famed wine-maker Arianna Occipinti’s wines to see fermentation in concrete versus stainless steel; as a result, the wines are showing depth and a velvety finish that is not typical of Frappato. This one in particular is brilliant in color and finishes with finesse and delicate fruit. It’s a very special wine, worthy of a celebratory meal or an extra-special person on your gift list this year.
$39.99
  

Michael
Compass Box Flaming Heart, 2015 Edition
This edition of Compass Box’s Flaming Heart is the fourth in its line-up of unique, limited release blended Scotch whiskies – and is totally worth the splurge. It’s a mix of selections aged in French oak, bourbon, and sherry casks, which makes for a  wonderful peaty, fruity, spicy blend. A sip of this treat is full of the baking spices, dried fruits, and smokiness that any cozy Christmas night by the fire should include. It’s a great, great gift.
$89.99, 750ml
Chappellet Cabernet Franc, California
Need an impressive gift? Look no further. This Chappellet offering, grown on the distinctive Pritchard Hill in Napa Valley, is aged in French oak for a thoughtful finish to an American-grown Bordeaux-style blend. With cedar, spice, and plum on the palate, the wine is complex and satisfying all the way through its velvety, earthy finish. It may just be my gift to myself this year.
$89.99 
Neil
Town Branch Rye 
This is a great gift for a whiskey drinker looking to try something new. Fans of bourbon, Highland scotch, and even Irish whiskey find something new to love in rye. Light pepper spice and heat quickly soften to a rich, earthy vanilla flavor—a unique duality that made me want it with dessert, or maybe as a dessert replacement, instead.
$54.99, 750ml 
Conte Guicciardini ‘Gui’ Rosso di Toscana, Italy
This is my go-to dinner wine for the cold months, and it is an absolute standout for this season. Medium-dry, with flavors of soft cherries and sweet spice, this is ideal for hearty meats and vegetarian dishes alike. My family often plans things last-minute, myself included, but it looks like I know what I’m doing when I put a bottle (or two – look at that price!) of this on the table.
$14.99  (note: wine photo not available)
Tom
Balcones Texas Single Malt
Balcones Distilling is located not too far from where I was born in Texas, and it makes me happy to have a little piece of home here in New England. This overproof grain whiskey is truly unique: It’s a bit like Scotch on the nose, but with an identifiably American flavor profile. It’s a perfect gift for the serious, adventurous whiskey fan on your list.
$69.99, 750ml
COS “Nero di Lupo,” Sicily

“The Black Wolf” is 100% Nero D’Avola, fermented in cement with wild, indigenous yeast. It’s the exact kind of zesty, bright, herbaceous wine I want on my holiday table this (or any other) year, and makes a terrific gift for the choosy, hard-to-please wine-lover on your list: COS is arguably Italy’s top “cult” winery of the moment, and with good reason.
$34.99

Happy Holidays from all of us at Bottles!

prices subject to change

 

Great Wines – That Just Happen To Be Kosher!

Let’s face it. The star of the Hanukkah table isn’t typically the wine, but rather the amazing food served at the traditional Festival of Lights dinner. The brisket, the kugel, the salmon. The latkes, the apple donuts.

That said, there’s no reason – none, zilch – why wine should take a back seat to those festive foods. When chosen carefully, a good wine will make your Hanukkah celebration shine even brighter. Here’s our selection of the wines that will do just that. They’re all terrific, and they all just happen to be kosher.

Unorthodox Merlot/ Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
South Africa
$14.99 
This beautiful wine is a brilliant ruby red, and finishes with delightful, soft tannins. It has nice dried-fruit and herb aromas, and flavors of darker unripe cherries that make it a perfect pairing with your brisket.

Unorthodox Sauvignon Blanc
South Africa
$14.99
Forget the big, unbalanced grassy nose that has become so common in inferior Sauvignon Blancs, and instead delight in the bright tropical fruit flavors found in this bottle. We’re thinking salmon and latkes for sure.

La Citadelle De Diamant “Caesar” Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Shiraz Blend
Israel
$29.99
This one had us at Shalom. It’s big, with wonderful spice: think classic Bordeaux with a splash of Shiraz to shake things up. It has kugel and brisket and best-hostess-gift-ever written all over it.

Chag Sameach from your Bottles Family!

*prices subject to change

The Stunning Kelley Fox Wines

One of the first things that Bottles’ new Wine Director Melissa Principe did when she got to the store was ensure that we received an allocation of Kelley Fox wines. The Oregon Pinot Noirs have achieved a cult status over the past few years due to their high-quality and limited production; they’re among the most sought-after wines in the country.

“Anyone who avers that New World Pinot cannot match Burgundy for finesse and complexity has clearly never tried anything from this small, impressively consistent producer. Kelley Fox cut her winemaking teeth at Eyrie (and that influence shows very clearly in the wines she produces under her own name), followed by a 10-year stint (2005 to 2015) as winemaker at Scott Paul. She launched her own winery in 2007 and now produces around 2,000 cases a year of lithe, mineral-driven and strikingly pure Pinots from two of the Willamette Valley’s most highly regarded and meticulously farmed vineyards, Maresh and Momtazi. Native yeasts are used for all of the wines, and anywhere from a third to three-quarters whole clusters have been used since the beginning, but as of the 2015 vintage Fox will be using all whole bunches. She started out by using about one-third new oak for her first three vintages, used a bit for 2010 and 2011 and now uses none at all because she wants her wines ‘to be as pure and unadorned as possible, and oak can get in the way.’ As approachable as Fox’s wines are soon after release, they have the balance to age and, as a bonus, they deliver exceptional value for their quality.”

That’s what Josh Raynolds said in Vinous, and we couldn’t agree more.

Here are Melissa’s notes on the stunning wines of Kelley Fox:

2015 Ahurani Pinot Noir, Demeter Certified Biodynamic

This is a big wine! It has lots of acid and fresh cherry fruit, big iron and a good cherry nose, which is trademark Oregon. Only 607 cases produced.

$43.99

 

 

 

 

2015 Mirabai Pinot Noir

The Mirabai is made from 47-year-old vines and crushed with whole cluster fruit. It opens with a nose of sun-warmed strawberries and a little spice, and finishes with a strong tannin structure and acidity that welcomes fatty dishes. Think duck! Only 495 cases produced.

$43.99

 

 

 

2015 Momtazi Vineyard Pinot Noir, Demeter Certified Biodynamic

The grapes for this bottle were harvested from three specific sites on the famed Momtazi vineyard; they’re all from Burgundian clones, are hand harvested, and whole cluster pressed. It has aromas of fresh black cherries and ripe black berry fruit, and finishes with balanced minerality and fleshy acid. Only 410 cases produced.

$57.99

 

 

2015 Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir

The Maresh has a classic silk texture that can only be Oregon. The nose is full of violet and petite rose petals; ripe cherry and dark berry fruit glide on the finish. This wine is made to age. Only 192 cases produced.

$75.99

 

 

 

We hope you’re able to take advantage of these stunning wines this holiday season.

Cheers!

prices subject to change

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Why the Pros Buy Magnums for Holiday Entertaining


Planning a holiday party for more than just a few guests? Do what the pros do, and buy magnums. It’ll save you dough, and the larger size can add drama to your festivities.

A magnum of wine is 1.5 liters, which equates to two standard bottles’ worth of juice. And in most instances, one magnum costs less than if you purchased the two-bottles separately.

Magnums of Bottles’ house wine, Vino di Tavola, are particularly ideal for large gatherings: they’re well made, crowd-pleasers, very food-friendly and highly-drinkable. How do we know? They’re top-sellers here in store, and at our sister bar, The East End.

Both are made in Italy, in the small Piedmontese commune of Castellinaldo. Our Vino di Tavola Rosso is a blend of barbera and dolcetto, the Bianco is a mix of the arneis and favorita grapes.

And while pouring from larger-than-normal bottles can certainly add excitement to your festivities, there are a few folks who find the heavier bottles a bit unwieldy. For them, we suggest simply decanting the magnums into carafes ahead of time, for an easier at-table pour. 

This holiday season we’re offering special pricing on case purchases of our house wine magnums. Regularly $79, we’re offering the 6-magnum case for just $75, and will include a free engraved Bormioli glass carafe.* 

Now if you follow our party math, six magnums will be enough to serve wine all evening for a dinner party of 12. All for just $75. 

That’s something to toast to!

Happy Holidays – and Happy Entertaining!

*while supplies last. additional discounts do not apply. prices subject to change.  
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Top Thanksgiving Wines, Part II

Last week we shared the sparkling and white wines that we’ll be drinking come November 23, 2017. This week we present our picks for the rosé and reds that we think will that will complement your feast. Without further ado:

Charles Bieler Rosé, Provence
After we’ve taken a break from rosé during September and October, it’s nice to revisit a great one for Thanksgiving as a reminder that the pink phenomenon is good all year round. With light berry notes and a zippy acidity, this food-friendly wine will really make your entire feast sing!
$12.99

Primarius Pinot Noir, Oregon
This beauty from the Pacific Northwest has everything we look for in a Pinot Noir. Light in body, but with the depth of flavor and nuance that Oregon is famous for. This is one of our favorite ‘every day’ Pinots, but it really shines at the Thanksgiving table.
$16.99

Nicolas Chamarin “P’tit Grobis,” France
Don’t be fooled by this ‘Little Bear’ from Beaujolais! It’s an under-appreciated wine that carries great depth and weight, but with an extremely light body. It finishes with a wisp of baking spice, clove, and cola that’s an ideal partner for our traditional Thanksgiving spices. We’ll be bringing this one home to share, for sure.
$17.99

Billard Cotes-de-Beaune, France
An elegant wine for an elegant table, this little gem comes from a very small French producer who carefully tends just a few acres of Pinot Noir before pressing them by foot. Aged for 10 months in oak, this nicely-structured Pinot comes to life at the dinner table, and always helps the conversation flow.
$21.99

Wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving!

# # #

(prices subject to change)

Top Thanksgiving Wines, Part I

November is our favorite time of the year at Bottles, which is why our team spends a good bit of the year thinking about you, your Thanksgiving dinner, and the bottles that will make your dinner sing. Out of the thousands of wines we taste each year, our nine November selections must meet the following criteria:

a) they must taste good
b) they must be agile enough to complement the Thanksgiving dinner as enjoyed on the whole
c) they must represent a good value
d) they must taste good.

Did we mention they must taste good?

Here are the sparkling and white wines that we’ll be drinking this November 23. Stay tuned next week for our rosé and red wine choices.

Terre di Marca Prosecco, Italy
Our favorite Prosecco for the second year running. It’s dry and full of expressive bubbles, it’s organic, and it comes in a cool looking bottle. What better way to toast to your guests’ health?
$13.99

Gérard Bertrand Crémant, France
A velvety soft and creamy French sparkler that’s less acidic and bracing than a true Champagne at twice the price, meaning you can sip on it through the entire Thanksgiving meal. This is the bottle (or two, or three) to have on hand for special company.
$19.99

Pere Mata Cava, Spain
The great thing about Cavas is that they’re bone-dry, elegant, and wallet-friendly. The Pere Mata in particular has terrific citrus and floral notes that will complement everything from that rich turkey and gravy to your after-dinner slice of pie.
$17.99

Dry Creek Chenin Blanc, California
Here’s the perfect choice for an all-purpose Thanksgiving white, satisfying both your aunt who loves Sauvignon Blanc and your cousin Marie who only drinks Chardonnay. It’s dry, crisp, and refreshing with a subtle baked apple and vanilla quality. Yes, please.
$12.99

Michel Caillot “Les Herbeux,” France
Ah, Mersault! From the heart of France, this rich and creamy, understated yet persistent, incredibly floral and expressive Chardonnay will knock your socks off. Mersault is the Chardonnay that even non-Chardonnay drinkers love. It’s. That. Good. Treat yourself!
$34.99

Happy Thanksgiving!

(prices subject to change)

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Meet Melissa – Bottles’ New Wine Director!

We’re so happy to introduce you to our new Wine Director, Melissa Principe. She’s a native Chicagoan who recently relocated to Rhode Island to give life on the East Coast a try. Prior to making the road trip to Providence with her co-pilot Piccolo (a two-year-old mini black lab), Melissa was in charge of the wine, beer and spirits programs for a popular speciality market chain of stores all throughout Illinois. She has scads of hospitality experience, having served as general manager and sommelier at various restaurants in Chicagoland, and was the Wine Director for the award-winning Tasting Room/Randolph Wine Cellars. Melissa has seven (seven!) older brothers, loves Sicilian and South American wines, is studying for her Masters of Wine, and is a killer bocce player. Though she’s incredibly busy adjusting to life in Rhode Island and getting to know the Bottles family of customers, Melissa took a few minutes to tell us a bit about herself.

Why wine. What sparked your interest in wine?
I grew up with it. My mother is Sicilian and my father is from Calabria. So there was always wine on the table. I’ve been down many other paths in my professional life, but wine is one of few things that’s kept my interest all along.

What are you most excited about in the wine world today?
I really like the fact that there are younger winemakers that are going back to the “old school” way of making wine. I’ve been lucky to travel a lot, and what I’m seeing is that there are more and more winemakers who are concerned about making sure that they’re taking care of their sense of place in terms of sustainability, organic practices, and biodynamics. I am obsessed with biodynamics, and a bit of a soil nerd. These things are so important to wine. Look back at the past two years. There hasn’t been one wine-making region that hasn’t been majorly affected by the super hot summers and changing weather patterns. It’s smacking you in the face! So there’s more consciousness around how we’re treating our land and our vineyards. This is good.

What’s underappreciated in the wine world today?
Port and other fortified wines. I don’t fully understand it, but turning women on to Port is a huge challenge! Maybe because there’s still the stereotype that Port is a stuffy Englishman’s drink to be sipped while smoking cigars. We all should totally be drinking more of it. Fortified wines in general get overlooked – and they shouldn’t. They are lovely.

How have you found success within the world of wine?
Through education and storytelling. I love to teach, and I’m a stickler for education. I have huge expectations for my staff. I’ll be there to help them reach those expectations every step of the way, so that we’re all able to serve our customers in the best possible way. I view our roles as storytellers – and that’s really important to me. Before a customer buys a bottle, we’re the last professional that has hands on it. That’s a pretty serious job to me. We better know all about that wine. We better know that winemaker’s story. Also, I like to be on the floor. I really like to talk about wine, to get people excited about wine. I like to engage guests – to ask lots of questions so I can fully understand what they’re looking for.

Though you’ve only been at Bottles for a few weeks, do you have any plans for the wine program that you can share?
I like sustainability – I’m nuts about biodynamic wines. So you may see more of those. Along with Sicilian and South American wines. And fortified wines. Things like this and more, which will balance all that Josh (Bottles’ General Manager) has brought in. Our palates are very different – he’s all about France, which is so great for us – and I can’t pick just one region. We’re a great match – it’s a great balance between the two of us – and the shelves will be reflective of that.

What’s Your “Desert Island” Wine?
The wine that changed everything for me was the 1987 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Riserva White Label. Everything about it was amazing. Everyone who’s into wine has a bottle they chase – this is that bottle for me. I’ll also never forget the Barros ‘82 Colheita, which I hope to bringing into the store soon. And lastly, the Andre Clouet Brut Reserve Rosé. You want to bathe in it.

Why Providence?
I still love Chicago but I was ready for a change. In addition to a milder winter (!) I’m looking forward doing business in this smaller market. Rhode Island hasn’t been taken over by big business quite yet. Coming from a big city I saw the impact that letting the big guys take over had on selection and service. It’s so depressing to taste an amazing bottle of wine in rural Italy and know that it wouldn’t stand a chance in getting into a market dominated by chains. It’s stores like Bottles that give me hope in the face of the big guys.

What will you miss most about Chicago?
Sunday dinner with my brother and sister-in-law.

When you’re not working, what are you doing?
Hanging out with my dog Piccolo, cooking, or studying. I’m in the middle of my Master’s of Wine program.

What’s your favorite wine pairing?
Mayu and The Chicago Blend. Mayu is a Chilean producer and has a red blend of carmenere & syrah. The Chicago blend is a mix of caramel corn and cheese popcorn. It’s ridiculous. It’s totally goofy and it totally works.

If you could have a dinner party with any three people in the world, who would they be?
One, the wine writer Jancis Robinson. I love her writing, the way she thinks and talks about wine. She was the first female Master of Wine and was at the 1976 Judgement of Paris, and I’d love to pick her brain on a thousand different things. Another would be Ruth Bader Ginsburg: I’d want to know what her desert island wine is, among other things, of course. And the third would be my amazing niece Francesca with whom I’m incredibly close, because these are two women she should have the experience of sitting down and having dinner with.

Next time you’re in store, be sure to look for Melissa and say hello. And stay tuned for more from her in the weeks to come!

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Cocktails For A Crowd

When entertaining at home there’s perhaps no more stressful time than those first few minutes when guests have arrived, but you’ve yet to light the candles, put the roast in the oven, or get dressed. 

To lessen that crunch-time agita, consider setting out a simple but impressive drinks spread that your guests can easily help themselves to while you finish your prep. And with just a little bit of advance planning, you can offer bar-quality cocktails without having to play bartender when there’s so much else to do. 

What we like best about this first recipe, created by Kayleigh Speck, bar manager at The East End, is that you can make it three days in advance. This means you can have your Thanksgiving cocktails done and off your mind on the Tuesday before. 

One batch of this seasonally-spot-on and absolutely delicious recipe makes enough for a welcome cocktail for 8-10 people. It’s a snap to make, and can be easily stored and served in 33oz glass swing-top bottles. We sell this version at Bottles for just $5.99 (plus tax).

So whip up and bottle a batch or two on Tuesday and forget about it until Thursday, just before your guests arrive. All you’ll have to do then is set the bottles out on ice, alongside cocktail glasses and a bowl of orange peels for garnish, then get back to the business of the million last minute bits that will need your attention.
The Apple of My Eye, For A Crowd
8 oz bourbon
8 oz apple brandy
6 oz sweet vermouth
4 oz cointreau
3 oz water (for dilution)
8 – 10 dashes Angostura Bitters
Garnish: orange peel

Makes approximately 32 oz, enough for 8-10 guests

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. This batch can be pre-bottled up to 3 days in advance, sealed in latch top bottles, and refrigerated. Serve chilled, poured into cocktail glasses and garnished with an orange peel.

Equally as impressive – and just as easy – is the tried, true, traditional and totally cool punchbowl presentation. All that the recipe below, also created by Kayleigh, requires is that you 
pour all of the ingredients together in a punchbowl over a big block of ice just before you guests arrive. (And if you forget to prepare your large-format ice the night before, don’t fret: the punch is just as good over individual ice cubes in the punch mugs.)
FINE-Apple Punch, For A Crowd
Makes approximately 32 oz, enough for 8-10 guests
6 oz gin
2 oz cointreau
½ oz Allspice Dram***
6 oz lemon juice
8 oz pineapple juice
10 oz sparkling apple cider (non-alcohol)
Large format ice (formed in a bundt pan, or large cubes)
Garnish: cinnamon stick

 
Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl over large ice cubes or an ice-mold. To serve, ladle into punch glasses and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

***A note on Allspice Dram: this bitter and super sweet rum based liqueur is spiced (with allspice, natch), and is a key component in many of the tiki drinks that Kayleigh and her team make at The East End. It’s also terrific in an Old Fashioned, and several tequila-based cocktails. Given its unique flavor and versatility, It should be on any serious home bar.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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(prices subject to change)

Wine For “Steakhouse Night,” At Home

When we opened the current issue of Edible Rhody and saw New Rivers Chef Beau Vestal’s very delicious take on the traditional “steakhouse” dinner, our minds immediately went to the classic “steakhouse” pairing: a big ‘ole bottle of hearty red wine.

It’s an enduring, no-fail pairing that’s enjoyed nightly in steakhouses across the county. And given Chef Beau’s simple recipe for all the fixins, there’s no reason you can’t replicate it at home. Says Chef Beau:  “A quick herb rub and a short time on the grill makes hanger steak, one of the most flavorful cuts of beef, really sing. Serve the steaks with roasted spiced sweet potatoes and lightly creamed kale and any autumn night can be steakhouse night!

And for our wine pairing we turned to our brand new Wine Director Melissa Principe, whom you’ll be hearing a lot from in the coming weeks. We’re excited to have her with us and can’t wait for you to meet her.

Melissa paired the steak, sweet potato & creamed spinach with the 2016 La Posta Pizzella Malbec ($17.99): “I have had the pleasure of visiting this vineyard and meeting the Pizzella family. Argentina has a deep history of Italian immigrants and the La Posta project highlights those connections with these single vineyard wines. Chef Beau’s recipe reminded me of the amazing lunch we had at the vineyard that highlighted the natural pairing of beef and malbec. The Pizzella is full and lush, and hits you at first with a nose of dark berry fruit and cocoa, then unfolds with a beautiful pink peppercorn spice on the finish. The longer it’s open, the deeper the cocoa gets, and the richer the berry flavor. It’s a big wine for a big steak dinner!”


Chef Beau Vestal’s Grilled Hanger Steak and Sweet Potato “Steak Fries” with Pumpkin Seek Chimichurri and Lightly Creamed Kale

INGREDIENTS

Chimichurri:
½ cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
¼ cup fresh oregano, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (or pepitas), shelled and toasted
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Sweet Potatoes:
3 large sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), washed and cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground fennel seed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Steak:
¼ cup fresh rosemary leaves
¼ cup fresh sage leaves
4 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 (6 ounce) pieces hanger steak

METHOD

First make the chimichurri: Combine parsley, oregano, vinegar, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper in a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and add pumpkin seeds and olive oil. Stir to combine. Check seasoning and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, toss together the sweet potatoes, olive oil, allspice, fennel, salt and pepper. Arrange slices in single layer on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Rotate pan and flip sweet potatoes over to ensure even browning. Bake additional 10 minutes until potatoes are “fork-tender” and nicely browned.

For the steaks, add fresh herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper in a blender and purée until smooth. Rub all over steaks until steaks are well-coated. Let them sit while you heat up the grill (or use a grill pan over high heat).

Grill steaks over high heat about 3 to 4 minutes per side. (A meat thermometer should read 130ºF for medium-rare to medium.) Pull steaks off grill and place on plate tented with foil to keep warm until ready to serve. Drizzle steak with chimichurri and serve alongside sweet potatoes and the creamed kale. Serves 6.

Enjoy!

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Which Cider Is Right For You? A Scale To Measure Sweetness

Okay so it took until the middle of October but finally it feels like fall! Though I recommend drinking ciders year-round, now is the time when they really start to shine and we begin seeing new limited edition series, fun fall flavors, barrel aged ciders… I could go on and on.

The funny thing about ciders is that while most don’t contain added sugar, some do, and while most claim to be super dry, some aren’t. It can be tricky to decipher exactly what you’re getting into when trying a new cider, so I’ve broken down a couple to get you started. This list is a mix of old, new, classic, funky, sweet, dry, local, international and unusual! 

And for those who just want the answer to their very simple question, “is it dry or sweet?,” we’ve created a sweetness scale — using apples! 
Etienne Dupont – Organic Cidre Bouche Brut de Normandie $7.99 375ml

This bone dry cider from Normandy is unfiltered, unpasteurized, organic and funky! If you like your ciders to be Champagne-esque, this is for you!  
Eve’s Cidery – Beckhorn Hollow $19.99 750ml

Eve’s Cidery in Van Etten, New York, is growing the most gorgeous apples and thus making absolutely stunning ciders. This Beckhorn Hollow uses Golden Russets which provide a juicy, fruity start but build up into structured tannins and zippy acidity. It leaves that dry, lip-smacking feeling that makes you crave another sip.  
Shacksbury – Dry $13.99 4pk, $3.75 single

This unconventional cider blends Vermont and UK apples for a bittersweet concoction that combines two great cider worlds. This cider is particularly low in grams of sugar and is slow fermented and aged for at least 6 months. Check out their other flavors, too!  
Samuel Smith – Organic Cider  $5.99 500ml

A classic! Light bodied, crisp and clean and begging to be had with creamy soups or spicy entrees. This is a great introduction to classic cider and comes in the perfect size to share.  
 Champlain Orchards Cidery – Heirloom $12.99 750ml

Champlain has a variety of tasty ciders, but I believe their Heirloom is the best example of local, perfectly-balanced cider. Their orchard is family-owned, sustainable and runs entirely on energy from the sun – pretty cool! This particular bottle gives us a delicate, floral aroma with beautiful sharp acidity in the finish.  
Harpoon Brewery – Cider  $16.99 12pk, $9.49 6pk, $1.99 single

The underdog of the group here! Most don’t think cider when they think Harpoon, but the brewery is doing a great job in letting the apple shine in this little number. The only ingredient is apples! Also an extremely low sugar content for cider, this is a great choice if you’re buying for a party as it comes in a 12-pack format and is extremely crowd-friendly.  
Downeast Cider – Original Blend $8.99 4pk, $2.75 single

The sugar content starts to creep up a little on this guy, so if you’re looking for a touch more sweetness this is for you! Another crowd-pleaser, Downeast’s unfiltered cider is fruity and bubbly. Shake the can to dissolve some of the sediment – but then don’t forget to wait 10 seconds before opening or you’ll have a real mess on your hands!  
Woodchuck Cider – Fall Harvest Blend  $9.99 6pk, $1.75 single

Probably their most popular seasonal, this Woodchuck claims to be just like apple pie, so prepare for some warmer, softer fruitiness met with cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. This is a great blend to have around for Thanksgiving, as that sweet, sharp apple punch will cut through the rich dishes.  
Rekorderlig – Mango Raspberry Cider  $10.49 4pk, $2.99 single

This Swedish cider is basically a fruit tart in a can! Mango raspberry is the newest edition to their lineup and packs some sweetness for sure. This would be delicious with some hard, salty cheese and spicy meats! 
Eden – Heirloom Blend Ice Cider  $36.99 375ml

An extremely special bottle that would make for an amazing gift (to yourself!). It takes at least 8 pounds of apples to create enough juice for this one teensy little bottle, thus creating a juicy, concentrated, mouth-watering blend that is delicious after dinner. Great for upcoming holidays!  
Happy fall, and Cheers!
-Alex
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