Sorry this is so late. Heading out of 2009 with some interesting drink choices…


Evan Dawson: Mon Ami Winery 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon (Ohio)

I was surprised to find that a family member had recently visited some wineries in Ohio; I was utterly stunned to find that they returned with a bottle of Ohio cabernet sauvignon. Because if they say that God can't ripen cab sauv in Virginia, well, the big guy has no chance in Ohio, right?

Turns out that this is "American" wine, which means the grapes or juice came largely from somewhere else.

But it leads me to wonder: Why is an Ohio winery bottling a cabernet sauvignon at all? Do their customers truly demand some bulk-juice, mystery-origin cabernet? I can't imagine that this is true. But then, some winery owners have told me that customers expect a full lineup of recognizable varieties. Sigh.

It was reasonably drinkable, but not memorable. If you've drunk some real Ohio wine, let me know in the comments.

Wwd21Lenn Thompson: Highland Park 12-Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky  

Lots of (maybe even too many) great wines and beers have made their way into my glass over the past several days. It's the holidays after all.

So why did I pick this single malt, brought over on Xmas day by my step-sister-in-law's ex-husband?

Well first of all, how often does one get to include step-sister-in-laws's ex-husband (SSILEX) in a post? This was one such time and I wanted to take advantage of it. Second, and more importantly, it was downright delicious.

When it comes to whisky or whiskey (the spelling matters) I'm a bourbon guy. In fact, bourbon is one of the few spirits I drink with any sort of regularity, often at the end of a night of wine and/or beer. Scotch gets more love from experts and gurus though, so I was up for trying some of this.

Keep in mind that my SSILEX stopped by around 11 a.m. when I tell you that the five of us — me, SSILEX, father-in-law, brother in-law 1, and brother in-laws 2, finished the bottle by mid-afternoon. It was poured over a couple ice cubes and sipped as we caught up, talked about the holidays and got a little nostalgic too.

Smooth, complex and really interesting as the water melted and the flavors changed, I was impressed. When round two and then three was offered, I wasn't going to say no.

Am I ready to become a "Scotch guy"? No, but it left me wishing I had brought some Bourbon with me on this trip. Thanks for sharing it, Danny and happy hoildays.

Tom Mansell:Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Rosé 2006

I discovered this wine among a sea of hard liquor bottles and plastic beer cups at a family Christmas party this week. It's still got big acid, a fact broadcasted by the brownish-red tartrate bundle on the bottom of the bottle (see poor-quality cell-phone pic of tartrate smiley face in my cup). 

The previous owners had probably done some cold stabilization on their own (i.e., kept it in the fridge for 2 years).  Strawberry on the nose with an interesting aged/smoked gouda note. It was a welcome respite from Milwaukee's Best Light.