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The Holiday Spirit is a Phantom: BOGLE PHANTOM 2015

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I’m not Jewish, but my husband is and, as is the case with holidays both secular and religious, it often falls upon the woman to create the traditions…which in my house means food.Potato-Latkes-300x257

So it has come to pass that I, the non-Jew, have become an expert at making latkes. I think that the crisp potato pancakes are the one thing that Hanukkah has over Christmas.

At our annual latke fry on Sunday, I grated both sweet and Yukon gold potatoes and served them with applesauce and sour cream, of course, but also with a hearty bowl of Portuguese kale soup and a romaine-free salad.

The soup is robust and smoky with chorizo and kielbasa, kidney beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and kale. But it cries out for a substantial red wine to elevate it from peasant food to festive holiday fare.

IMG_1318Bogle Phantom 2015 is just that wine.

 

Don’t be intimidated by the label that proclaims “mysterious and hauntingly seductive.” This is a very approachable blend  (44% Petite Sirah, 44% Zinfandel, 10% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon) that pairs well with comforting winter dishes like beef stew, pork loin and…my kale soup.

The girls and I opened it before dinner, let it breathe a bit and sampled it while pondering the New York Times crossword puzzle. Then we set the kitchen table and poured some for everyone.

It’s smooth but bodacious, yet it doesn’t overwhelm the tongue with tannins. This will become the winter house wine here on Bartlett Avenue.  Even my daughter (a millennial!) who tends to gravitate toward pinot noirs gave this wine high marks. It’s loaded with subtle flavors and it drinks like a high priced bottle. Good thing we had two.

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P.S. I made “Craft Beer Menorahs” for the “kids” and picked up some really interesting local brews to wish them all “Hoppy Holidays!”

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10 Holiday Gifts You’ll Love

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The holiday season is officially here!!  Are you in search of a great gift this holiday season?!  We’re guessing you’re saying “um, yes of course… please help.” Don’t worry, we’re here to help with these 10 great gift ideas. Not seeing a gift idea you love? Head into Mystic Wine Shoppe and let our team of experts help you pick out the right gift.

 

10 Holiday Gifts You’ll Love

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1.Jim Beam Red Sox limited Edition Single Barrel Bourbon Gift Basket: This is the perfect gift basket for the Red Sox fan in your life! Not a Jim Beam fan, come and create your own custom gift basket!

 

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2. Ken Forester Wines: Two great wines out of South Africa –

  • The Gypsy: The character is somewhat ‘wild’ a little brambly with hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, dark spices, with vanilla scents and a distinct, concentrated red-fruit focus. Great for laying down and keeping for at least ten years but already rewarding if allowed to breathe in a decanter.
  • The FMC: The pinnacle of what we consider to be the finest expression of the grapes of this varietal – an icon chenin, a challenge to the world!  Rich, layered with dried apricot, vanilla and honey.

 

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3. A Midwinter Nights Dram: A limited engagement with only 4 left!!  This is a delicious blend of straight rye whiskeys.

 

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4. Patron Tequila Mini Gift Pack: The perfect stocking stuffer!

 

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5. Caymus Vineyards Wines: Calling all cab lovers!!!

  • Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine serves up a bevy of berry aromas and flavors. Its layered and rounded palate make it a delectable choice with a thick and mouthwatering grilled ribeye.
  • Caymus Special Edition: A truly legendary wine, Caymus Special Selection is a wine that Cab lovers simply can’t get enough of. Introduced more than 30 years ago, Special Selection is a vivid expression of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley. Starting with the foundation of their Rutherford estate vineyard and then securing contracts for long-term farming control of vineyards across the valley, Caymus has been able to solidify the extraordinary character and over-the-top quality of this very special wine vintage after vintage.

 

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6. Willett Rye Whiskey: A special release!!! Even a quick nosing reveals that Rye nose of grassy, herbal goodness with a sweetness that follows it. The palate is well balanced with a herbal mintiness, intertwined with a sweetness that dances on your tongue until it exits with a spiciness. This is a great utility whiskey to drink neat, make an Old Fashioned, or hold up to a rock.

 

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7. The Dalmore 18: Dalmore’s trademark style is luscious notes of orange, chocolate and spices, and the 18-Year-Old bottling is a terrific example. Aged in both bourbon and sherry casks, it has seductive notes of vanilla, dark chocolate and candied orange on the nose, followed by a full-bodied, spicy palate of cinnamon and stewed fruit. Recently reduced to just $174

 

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8. Opus One Wine: The essence of time is expressed in Opus One by the character of each vintage. Place, often defined as terroir, represents the geography, the climate and the essential human element which is captured in the wine’s balance between power and finesse, structure and texture.

 

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9. French Wines: Not sure which wine to choose, how about three delicious French wines… you can’t go wrong with any of these wines.

  • Terres Brulées Cornas Syrah: A deep ruby-black with purple hints. Blackcurrant, dark cherries and blackberries, with spices, licorice and cocoa on the nose. A very rich mouth-feel with flavors of black fruit, jam, vanilla, spice and mineral notes. This wine has firm tannins and a long lasting finish.
  • Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem: he Occultum Lapidem displays great dark garnet-red color in the glass. The nose is laden with aromas of black fruits, pepper, leather and graphite with hints of shrubs. On the palate, the fleshy quality of the wine is apparent straightaway from the attack. Rich and dense, the wine finishes with a balance of fruit and delicate tannins.
  • Prémices: A pure, elegant style, with an alluring raspberry puree note leading the way, while light blood orange, red currant and plum fruit flavors follow close behind. Nuances of incense, mulling spices and rooibos tea flitter throughout. The finish is silky and persistent.

 

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10. Santa Rita Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon: This full-bodied wine has beautiful complexity, with flowers, sandalwood and subtle currants, a dense centre palate and a long finish. Purity in cabernet sauvignon. Drinks great now or you can cellar it
for 10 years.

 

We hope to see you soon at Mystic Wine Shoppe! Let us know what you think about this years gift guide!

 

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Turkey Day Wine Guide

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Thanksgiving is around the corner (we can’t believe it either)!!! Don’t procrastinate this year… get ahead of the game and shop our delicious wines that pair perfectly with appetizers, turkey,  and dessert.  We’re making it easy for you with our Turkey Day Wine Guide!

Aperitifs:

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Riva Rosé is a delicious sparkling rosé from the Mediterranean. The wine displays delicate yet persistent bubbles. The nose exudes aromas of small red fruits such as strawberry and raspberry. The palate offers refreshing notes of grapefruit and spice. Perfect for aperitifs and to possibly drown out the noise of your relatives… haha, just kidding!

The Main Meal:

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Pinot Noir Wines are a perfect pairing for turkey!  Here are two that we love –

  • Elouan Pinot Noir Dark: Shimmering ruby red. Deep notes of plum, red cherries and blackcurrant jam with subtle touches of toasty vanilla and spice. Rich, ripe fruit flavors of plum, cherry, mixed berry jam, and blackberry. Smooth tannins round out the mouthfeel.

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Along with a good red, we also love a good white wine to pair with turkey. Here are two delicious white wines from Trimbach.

  • Trimbach Reisling: The nose shows restrained citrus and a slightly lifted, very slightly aromatic touch of conifer. The palate is taut and slender, presenting sober, clean citrus flavors. This stands upright and has a wonderful backbone of freshness.
  • Trimbach Gewurztraminer: A very shy nose just releases the most teasing hint of peach. The palate is utterly restrained: peach flavors are dry and brightened by lemon and have a wonderful lightness of touch. The finish is dry, clean and long.

Dessert/After-dinner Drink:

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You can’t forget about the post-feast wine!  A great dessert wine is in order

Haut Charmes Sauternes 2015: Haut Charmes is a very special Sauternes bottling, made from the younger vines of the region’s most legendary château. While we aren’t allowed to actually reveal the source, it’s safe to say its location in the Ciron Valley exposes the Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon fruit to conditions perfect for the development of botrytis. Charming, elegant and an exceptional value for what’s in the bottle.

Not in love with these wines?! Head on in and let us help you choose the perfect wine. Our educated staff is always happy to help!

Thanks,

The Mystic Wine Shoppe Team

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Grand Wine Tasting Event Recap

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What an event!!!  On Saturday, October 13th we held our second annual Grand Wine Tasting event at Mystic Wine Shoppe. We had customers from near and far, including dogs and babies, come sample over 20 delicious wines with us.  This year we held the event in our attached garage to allow plenty of space for sampling. It was a great turnout and we’re so thankful for all the support.

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Did you miss the event? Don’t worry, we hold weekly wine and beer tastings.  Plus, make sure you reserve your ticket for our Dec. 6th Bourbon Tasting.
Thanks again for everyone who joined us!

 

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Appassimento

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Raisins are nature’s candy. The dried, sugary essence of a grape, concentrated into one little morsel. It seems hard to imagine a wine made from such a thing, but there are actually many. The most famous ones are from Italy, specifically the majestic Amarone, a blend of grapes used to make the very light and delicious Valpolicella wines and Vin Santo, the sweet, luscious desert wine the Italians eat with little biscotti called “cantucci.”

There are other wines made from shriveled grapes – mostly those affected by “noble rot” or botrytis and some “icewine,” made after the water has frozen in the grape so that you when you cold-press the grapes, you just get the sugars and acids and none of the frozen liquid. Excellent examples of these techniques come from Bordeaux in the form of Sauternes or Barsac and Germany, with their Trockenbeerenauslese (dry-berry harvest), but also in the Finger Lakes and the Niagara area where the grapes hang until they freeze before harvesting. I have an on-going love affair with all raisinated, botrytized and frozen wines, but they are all “special occasion” wines, so not on the regular rotation of every day wines.

But this wine is something new, that maybe you could drink more regularly. It is a raisinated wine from the Montepulciano grape, famous for the light, bright, fruity wines of Abruzzo. Most Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wines are meant for drinking casually, a cheerful blend of plums and cherries, with high acidity and low tannins that also “cleanse” the palate when you have it with pasta in a rich sauce. But when you dry the grapes and then press that precious, concentrated liquid into juice that ferments slowly and carefully, you get a deeply colored, deeply flavored wine that will stand up to heavy sauces and red meats and spice! This is a wine that has the intensity of a California Cabernet with all the mouth-filling aromas of fruit and some herbs, but has the acid brightness of wild cherries and summer plum, like a much lighter wine. It is a wonderful, unusual combination that will have you taking just one more sip, just to see if it really does have all that complexity. And the texture will have keep you sipping once you are used to the unusual mix of flavors, it is smooth and viscous. At $14.99, it will give that Amarone you’ve been saving for a special occasion a definite run for its money.

We had it last night with roasted leg of lamb and a wonderful mint sauce – definitely a regular from now on!

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A to Z Oregon Riesling

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There are some wines that everyone loves. And there are wines that cater to the few. There are wines that grow on you and there are wines that just stand up and smack you in the face. So, which one is this?

The A to Z Oregon Riesling is a puzzle. I will come out and say it – I love it! It is lush and fragrant on the nose with a silky soft and smooth mouthfeel. It is full bodied and fruity, delicate and floral and mouthwatering with a hint of sweetness all at the same time. As a wine writer, I have been told over and over that when I am tasting a wine, it is not about whether I like it or not. It is about describing the attributes of that wine and making clear notes that so that customer can evaluate it on their own and so that I will be able to remember this particular wine – grape, soil / climate and year – when I retaste it. But sometimes, you just love a wine.

So why am I questioning whether others will love this wine as much as I do? To be honest, I am not sure why anyone would not like a riesling. It is called a “noble grape” in Alsace for a reason. It is one of the few white grapes that has a very distinct character and is age worthy regardless of where it might be grown. Chardonnay is the truly the wonder grape, yes. It grows almost anywhere, it takes on the characteristics of the climate and of wood aging very well. It is versatile and pairs with a wide range of foods. It is fairly neutral, so there is rarely a lingering aftertaste – you get the fruity or flinty character and if it is cleanly made, it tastes clean and crisp. And it blends with a variety of other grapes.

Riesling, by contrast, is not Chardonnay. It stands in bold contrast to the other white grapes. It is finicky about where it will grow. It does best in a cool climate with rocky, slate rich soils that absorb the sun’s rays and drain away the rain. It does well when it has long, molasses days that last until a 10pm sunset and cool nights that allows it’s rich acids to develop. It loves growing on steep slopes that require hand picking and careful selection and it is very susceptible to Botrytis. Botrytis, under favorable conditions, is called “nobel rot,” and is a gentle affliction that punctures the skin of the grape, allowing the water to evaporate from the grapes on the vine. This concentrates the flavors and leads to the “trockenbeerenauslese” (dry berry harvest) that is so prized in German Riesling.

Rieslings come in a variety of quality levels and sweetness levels. While I love the German language, having lived there for well over 2 years, I won’t go into the details. That is one of the nice things about buying Riesling from the Pacific Northwest. It is labeled simply and can be appreciated without any angst. This wine, I would call ‘soft’ because it has an wonderful balance of sour and sweet that is perfect if you are having scallops or lobster. It has enough body to stand up to spicy foods – think Indian or Thai. And it is complex and quite simply tasty enough to just drink on its own. I would recommend serving it very chilled with the bottle on ice. The tart, tangy richness will be enhanced by the cold temperature.

Cheers, Seema

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Hugh Hamilton Wine Tasting Recap

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What a great turnout we had this weekend for our wine tasting with the one and only Hugh Hamilton!  Hugh travels from Australia twice a year and always hosts a wine tasting with us at Mystic Wine Shoppe. We’re always grateful for his time and for the support of the community.  Hugh and his team just launched a new wine collection and it will soon be coming to Mystic Wine Shoppe.

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Thanks again, Hugh We loved having you and sampling all your delicious wines.

Stop in and grab a bottle of Hugh Hamilton Wines at Mystic Wine Shoppe.  Trust us, you won’t be disappointed!

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Black Ops

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Wine writers call wines like Black Ops by Hugh Hamilton a “rare red blend.” I would call it an “extremely rare red blend.” It is just luscious – deep, inky color paired with unmistakable notes of wild blueberries, dark blackberries, juicy red cherries and a slightly elusive savory/wild herb / ripe fruit note that soaks into every taste bud and makes your shoulders relax.

This wine is made of the unusual blend of Shiraz, Saperavi and Nero d’Avola. Shiraz, a mainstay of McLaren Vale, is the iconic grape of meaty, mighty and most especially tasty Australian wines. It is the same grape that is used in Rhône wines, notably Hermitage, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and Cornas, which is the only French wine made with 100% Syrah. The primary distinction between Shiraz and Syrah is stylistic. Most Australian Shiraz tends to have a riper, fruitier, more concentrated set of flavors, whereas the cooler climate Syrahs of the Rhône Valley in Southern France, then to be a bit more savory, a bit more structured and a bit more peppery. The trend these days in Australia is that Shiraz is planted in cooler microclimates and is producing a more restrained type of wine, closer in character to the Syrahs of France, while the French are dealing with warmer, longer summers and are producing much more alcoholic, powerful wines than in the past. But despite this climatic convergence, they are still very distinct.

To add to this distinction, Hugh Hamilton has lived up to his Black Sheep logo by introducing an extraordinary grape to Australia called Saperavi. It is an ancient grape variety from the Republic of Georgia. In my mind, it evokes romantic images of farmers thousands of years ago, plucking grapes by hand, stomping the grapes in celebratory fashion with their families, fermenting that must in clay amphorae and drinking it with joy at every hearty meal. It is a grape that deserves this image. It brings to this wine a sort of wild, gamey nature that the buttoned-down varieties of Western Europe lack. It is a teinturier grape, that rare grape whose flesh, not just the skin, has color. And it is known for its depth, acidity, and full body.

Another bold move was to blend in Nero d’Avola. Again, this is an ancient variety that has found its home in the southern parts of Sicily. Like its happy compatriots, it is a dark, full-bodied wine that exhibits bright cherry notes that when oak-aged, can become plummy and juicy.

Together, these three varieties make Black Ops a truly exceptional wine. It is fruity and fragrant while still being structured and powerful. The wine starts strong with aromas of black currants, plums and cherries and fills your mid-palate with wonderful roundness and the complexity of pepper, dark chocolate and a small hint of herbs that seems ingrained in Australian terroir. The mellow tannins are more textural than grippy, rolling over your tongue with very pleasing sensations. It finishes with a long, slow slide of lingering fruits and tobacco and perhaps a hint of smoke.

You’d be a fool to pass up this wine at $19.99 a bottle!!!!

Your wine expert, Seema