Photo Evan Dawson: Pichon Lalande 1975 Pauillac

We wanted to open
something special with a friend on a recent visit, and we're fortunate
to have a local source for excellently stored aged Bordeaux. 

most fascinating aspect came in wondering whether a wine of this
profile will ever be made again. That's because 1975 was, as I
understand it, a vintage that produced hard and severe tannins, and the
top wines were oppressive in their youth. These days, even the top wines
around the world are carefully managed to offer an opportunity to drink
young. Yes, tannins can be burly in many reds, but 1975 seems to have
been a more austere and wild time in winemaking. Flying consultants
didn't dominate the industry.

Now, 35 years
later, the wine
that was a tannic wall has evolved into something texturally, well,
gripping. It was a glossy beauty in the mouth until the finish settled
and laid down a strong grip. But with age, that grip has become almost
seamless, serving as an anchor for the wine's showing in the mouth. 

was very cool stuff. Now we're back to our bargain hunting, but this
was a worthwhile dalliance with the best.

IMAG0347Tom Mansell: Cambridge Brewing Company Arquebus "Summer Barleywine"

Nestled among the biotech firms in Kendall Square in Cambridge, MA is a huge beer geek den known as Cambridge
Brewing Co.
  I went on a recommendation from our own Bryan Calandrelli, who unsurprisingly nailed this reco.  They serve about a half dozen house beers, with a long list of seasonals as well.

Many of the seasonals were outstanding including a floral heather ale and a spicy rye IPA. 

The one that impressed me most, though was the one I saved for dessert: their Arquebus "Summer Barleywine."

This is the most vinous beer I have ever had. It's right up there in complexity, and finish with Russian River's line of strong sour beers. Aged in French oak barrels for a year and served still, it explodes with white grape, pineapple upside down cake, and stone fruit — we're talking fruity esters out the wazoo.

A hint of toasty oak and balanced acidity on the palate give way to a long, cinnamon spice finish makes this unique beer a genuine pleasure in every last drop.

At 14% it's a bit alcoholic, but I ended up savoring it as I would a port or sherry.

If you're in Boston, you've gotta find this place and try this beer. Flights are just $2/sample (i.e., a steal).

David Flaherty: Rully,
La Chaume, Jacques Dury, 2006, Côte Chalonnaise

Ah, to drink white Burgundy everyday.  Ah, to finish each meal with
a fine Cognac. Ah, to be rich and wealthy.
Well, considering I'm neither rich nor wealthy (except in heart and
soul…on good days, at least), I will take my forays into the fine
wines of the world where I can. The beautiful thing is, if you look
just in the shadows of some of the great regions, you can find
I humbly present: Rully. A village in the Côte Chalonnaise located in Burgundy (just south of the great
vineyards of the Côte de Beaune),
Rully boasts Premier Cru status for 1/6 of its vineyards. Its terroir,
its history and its style of white wines are very close in profile to
the creme de la creme further north.
The Rully La Chaume is spectacular and will set you back under
$20. But it is a ticket to behind the mystique and altar of white
Burgundy. If you've ever wondered what the fuss was about but were
priced out, this is your chance. It's sort of like taking the trip to
the casinos of Monte Carlo at the price of a trip to Foxwoods.

On the nose, a mesmerizing blend of aromas tantalize you closer
while only hinting at the full spectrum to come on the palate. Notes of
nuttiness, lemons and buttery apples greet your mouth seductively as
a refreshing backbone of acid wipes your mouth clear.

But oh that
finish. It may not have the days-long finish of a Meursault or a
Puligny-Montrachet, but the Rully doesn't let up quickly. 

I sunk into
the couch like Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting. It's that good.