A 24’th Anniversary

Some would say, it would never happen, but it did; and actually, I think I all but proposed the first night, but that would throw the count off.  We did the entire nine yards and why not and it has been big and grandiose all of those years.  Over the years, there have been times when caution was tossed out the window and other times, we are sometimes a pair of Casper Milquetoasts.  We would like to be Nick and Nora, sometimes Sean and Mary Kate, or Walter and Hildy, a wishful Rhett and Scarlet and maybe even Felix and Oscar, but never the ill-fated and doomed Richard and Ilsa, but I guess The Wine Raconteur and The Bride is right up there, at least in my mind.  Over the years, she has kind of dragged me kicking and fighting into the Twentieth Century and I may eventually get to the Twenty-first Century.  I have learned to try some foods, that I may never have tried, some successfully and others not so successfully.  Which is alright, because when I met her, she was basically a pescatarian and only drank Chardonnay, now she is a carnivore and enjoys almost every wine, both red and white, with only a few exceptions.  I guess we are allowed to have some differences. 

We were going to celebrate the evening with another couple, but at the last minute they had to cancel, and then we cancelled the reservation that we were really looking for, but we will eventually get together with the other couple at the restaurant that we missed out.  We decided to go out, somewhere closer to home and we settled on Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse, a small chain that started in Ohio.  They do an excellent job and a very comfortable setting.  I think that Morton’s is masculine, and The Capital Grille has become more feminine (at least here, because it is in a shopping mall and it is very loud to my way of thinking for an expensive night out) and Hyde Park fits us both very easily.  My Bride wanted Oysters on the Half Shell, which I have never had, I have always had Oysters Rockefeller, so I tried one from her plate and I have decided that I can pass on Oysters on the Half Shell, no matter how pretty the presentation.  We both had Lobster Bisque, which is laced and has some poached lobster added just before serving along with their great bread basket and a slab of butter that is seasoned on one edge and the other edge has Himalayan Pink Salt. My Bride went for a lighter meal that evening and had a Chopped Steak with whipped potatoes and onion straws.  I had the Filet Mignon with potatoes and Bearnaise Sauce, and we also ordered a side of Sautéed Brussel Sprouts with bacon.  The restaurant sent us out their version of Smores, all house made, different but good.

We had to start with a white wine, since we were having oysters on the half shell and then Lobster Bisque and I knew that I wanted to start with a Chardonnay.  We went with the Cave de Lugny La Cote Blanche Chardonnay Macon-Villages 2016.  Cave de Lugny is a cooperative that began with one-hundred-sixteen wine growers and now they are over four-hundred growers.  The cooperative began in 1927 and was the second one established in the Maconnais. The appellation for Macon-Villages is the step up from the basic Macon appellation and Macon-Villages only applies to dry white wines made from Chardonnay grapes.  I would venture to opine that this wine is aged in Stainless Steel because it was crisp and fruit forward offering citrus fruits and finishing with a touch of hazelnuts and some limestone terroir.  My Bride was very happy and content, and after the soup she told me that she was already full, but we went on.  My Bride got very excited for her red wine as we had enjoyed it during one of the virtual wine tastings that we did through Snooth.  She was enjoying Murrieta’s Well Estate Vineyard “The Spur” Red Wine Blend Livermore Valley 2016.  Louis Mel started planting grapes in the 1860’s and they were not just any grapes, but cuttings from Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau Margaux.  In 1884 Louis Mel built and installed in a hillside a gravity flow winery.  In 1933 Louis Mel sold his winery to Ernest Wente and the winery has been part of the Wente Family Estate ever since.  Here is a blended wine that features fruit grown in two of their vineyards.  The Petite Sirah and part of the Cabernet Sauvignon were grown in their historic Louis Mel Vineyard.  The balance of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc came from their Sachau Vineyard.  All of the varietals were fermented individually in Stainless Steel, and then they were blended together and aged in French Oak for twenty-four months, of which half was new, a quarter of the barrels were used for the second time and the other quarter were aged in barrels used for the third time.  While the wine is forty-eight percent Cabernet Sauvignon and thirty-two percent of the other famed varietals from the Medoc, there was twenty percent Petite Sirah to give the wine a Livermore Valley zing.  Each time I have had this wine I have enjoyed Black Cherry and to my way of thinking that is high praise for a deep red wine.  I was looking for something a bit softer and I went with the Alexander Valley Vineyards Wetzel Family Estate Merlot 2017 from the Alexander Valley in Sonoma County.  In 1916 we had a bottle of their 1997 vintage and it was still excellent.  The vineyards were established by Harry and Maggie Wetzel in 1962 and they have vineyards on both sides of the Russian River and they grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Merlot and their first vintage was 1968.  The wine spent fourteen months aging in a mix of French and American Oak and it was an excellent bottle of wine, especially for the price and it delivery black cherry in abundance and as I have often stated I enjoy a bottle of Merlot, I always have and I always will.  It was a wonderful meal to celebrate our anniversary.   

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Sweetest Day 2019

Sweetest Day is a rather important celebratory day in this household, because twenty-four years ago when my Bride and I tied the knot, it was on Sweetest Day.  When I mentioned it on Social Media, it got anything from “love” to yawns and stares.  One person that I know through Social Media on a couple of platforms was so intrigued, that she had to look it up, probably wondering, if I hadn’t had too much wine and was creating my own holidays for revelry.  I had always heard that it was created by Frederick Sanders in Detroit, the founder of Sanders Candy Company and if you are from the Detroit area, that name alone will make you smile from all of the sweets and goodies that one can associate with them.  Alas, it was not a Detroit inspiration, but the first Sweetest Day was October 10, 1921 in Cleveland, Ohio which chronicled the events leading up to the date, by a committee of twelve confectioners led by C.C. Hartzell and they began it by distributing twenty-thousand boxes of candy to “newsboys, orphans, old folks and the poor.”  It may have also created the concept of “Pay it Forward,” because it was a day that people would leave extra money to pay for the person behind them a coffee or a lunch, and some people continue that theme.  Eventually it was celebrated as the third Saturday in October, so periodically it lands again on my anniversary date. If you still haven’t heard of it, it is because only ten states really celebrate it, as well as parts of two other states.  Some deride it and call it a “Hallmark Holiday” though they had nothing to do with it, but both Hallmark and American Greetings do manufacture cards for it now, and Cleveland and Detroit are the two major markets. 

At first, we were going to have dinner home, because we had a nice dinner planned on our actual anniversary with an another couple and for some odd reason my Bride thinks that I can get quite carried away with ordering wine when we are out; I have no idea where she gets these ideas.  As it turns out, the closer we got to dinner time, the less excited she was about cooking, so I had to think of some place we could get in.  There is a charming little bistro way off the beaten track that we often go for breakfast and Mimosas, because they remind us the French Quarter in New Orleans.  The restaurant is called French Toast and they are open seven days a week in this little strip center, not even on the corner of two major streets, and they are only open for dinner on Friday and Saturday, they close the other days after the lunch/brunch traffic fades away.  We have been told at times for brunch that there will be almost an hour wait for a table, so people have discovered them for breakfast and lunch.  Just to play it safe, we got there early and there were only about five tables taken.  My Bride ordered the Lake Superior White Fish with lemon brown butter, capers, parsley, tomatoes Concaise, roasted red skin potatoes and asparagus.  I had the Cajun Chicken Fettuccine with fresh pasta, roasted onions, poblano peppers and a Cajun Bechamel sauce with some good heat, beyond the temperature of the hot plate that it was served on.  The manager sent us a complimentary dessert that we shared, because it was our anniversary. 

We also developed a bit of a thirst, having to read the menus and the wine list.  My Bride surprised me and went with the Barton & Guestier Bordeaux Blanc 2016.  Barton & Guestier or in the old days, when the labels said B & G is the oldest wine house in Bordeaux.  They are a negocient with over two-hundred winegrower partnerships, as well as their signature Chateau Magnol in the Haut-Medoc.  The company began in 1725 when the Irishman Thomas Barton settled in Bordeaux and became a wine merchant.  In 1802, his grandson Hugh joined forces with Frenchman Daniel Guestier and a partnership was created that is still going on today.  The wine is a blend of eighty percent Sauvignon Blanc and twenty percent Semillon and the fruit comes from both Entre-deux-Mers and in the Bordeaux region.  The fruit is left on the lees for the initial maceration with half of the wine aged in oak and the other half in vats.   The wine was crisp with a nose of white and yellow fruits and a touch of vanilla, and a nice finish.  My Bride truly enjoyed it.  I went with a new product, to me as I hadn’t heard about it, from the Wagner Family of Wines, produced by Chuck Wagner of Caymus Vineyards.  The wine was Bonanza Winery Cabernet Sauvignon California NV.  In the old days this might have been found in a gallon jug, but the pedigree for it, goes beyond the simple concept.  It is not an inexpensive wine for a Cabernet Sauvignon, but it was very tasty and was better than a lot of basic wines that I have encountered.  I would probably not have it in my cellar, but if it is an option at a restaurant, it was enjoyable enough that I would order it again.  As we were paying our bill, we noticed that our secret little dinner restaurant is no longer a secret as it was almost filled as we left. 

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Two Reds from my Club

The month of October was so fleeting and hectic for me, on so many levels that I almost forgot to pick up the club selections from the Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan.  They were quite busy in the shop, so I had little chance to discuss much with them.   It was one of those times, when I just picked up the selections and took off, which is so unlike me.

The first wine that I will mention is from Vignobles Laurent Mazeau-Bergstrom Chateau de Costis Bordeaux 2016.  The original estate was bought in 1928 by Charles Mallet, the great-grandfather of Laurent Mazeau.  In 1985, the grandson of Charles Mallet decided to retire and he left the estate to his four sons, and the four sons decided to administer their own heritage and that is how Vignobles Laurent Mazeau-Bergstrom originated.  The new estate began with forty-eight hectares and is now over one-hundred hectares, with three different elevations and a mix of several minerals and gravels to impart terroir.  The estate is located in the center of the Entre-deux-Mers sub region of Bordeaux, but that appellation is only for the white wines that are grown there, the reds are listed as Bordeaux.  This wine is a blend of forty percent Merlot, thirty-five percent Cabernet Franc and twenty-five percent Cabernet Sauvignon.  The tasting notes promise a wine with a deep, shiny red color, the nose has powerful fruit and a good amount of tannin for the finish, and it is described as a very well-balanced wine, which to me would say that it will be good with food or just by itself.   

The second bottle is Broadway Vineyards Merlot Carneros 2013. Broadway Vineyards feel that they embody the essence of the Sonoma lifestyle.  In 2002 Jim and Marilyn Hybiske found property just two miles from the Historic Square in downtown Sonoma.  Six of their friends joined them to develop a small vineyard focusing on Chardonnay, Merlot and Syrah.  Work began on the vineyard in 2004 and the first harvest was in 2006.  The results each year got better and better and the wine started being appreciated by others than the original investors and they started to take off.  Since the estate is small, there is only a finite amount of wine that can be produced.  The winemaker for Broadway Vineyards is Philippe Langner who began his career at Chateau Clarke, a Rothschild property in Bordeaux, France.  The three different varietals were chosen very carefully to be planted on the estate from day one to take advantage of the soil and the cool nights and warm days and the area was perfect for the three cool-climate varietals.  This wine was aged for twenty-two months in a mix of new and used French Oak and less than two-hundred-fifty cases were produced.  The tasting notes promise black cherry, blueberry, toast and vanilla flavors, getting more complex as the wine opens in the glass.  It looks like two easy drinking wines that will be a pleasure to serve to company or just the two of us.

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A New Italian Restaurant

I don’t know if you are like me, but I tend to read articles in the newspapers and in the slick paper magazines about new restaurants and trends.  I guess I am old fashioned, and by now you know that, but some of the trends just don’t get me excited.  I guess I still do it, because when I was gainfully employed I liked to keep abreast of the current restaurants as a clothier, as if I was a concierge, because there is a whole world beyond what one does for a living, and you have to have intelligent conversations with your customers.  I have noticed that new “critics” and “authorities” and “clerks” lecture about their own personal thoughts, instead of listening to the customer.  So, I was intrigued to read about a new Italian restaurant that a critic, who admitted that he wasn’t around in the early days, but he could take cheap shots at some of the local chains, while talking about a potential new chain of restaurants, which made me laugh.  I was curious, because when I finally found in the article where the restaurant was, I could not place it and I mentioned it to my Bride, and she couldn’t either.  I got out my phone and did a map search and discovered that this new restaurant replaced another Italian restaurant.  We called our son in town and made a date to try the food since it is between our two homes.

Bar Verona wishes to infuse the traditional with the unconventional.  The first thing I noticed is that they seated us in a booth, and they must have gone to the airlines to study how to fit one additional booth into a section, as the four of us could barely squeeze in on each side of the table.  We ordered an appetizer that was touted in the article that lead us to dine there.  We had the Tuna Crudo with charred Shishito pepper relish and house potato chips, with the concept that one would use the chips as a utensil to dine on the tuna.  Our son laughed and said it was the first time that he ever had Sushi with chips, and outside of me, the others enjoy Sushi.  My Bride had the local Whitefish with carrot puree, spiced cauliflower and lemon gremolata.  I ordered the braised short ribs with whipped potatoes, roasted lemon broccoli and breadcrumbs.  Granted, we did not have real Italian entrée offerings, but after the appetizer, the menu was open.  I have to admit that our dishes were done very well, and our Son and his Wife did order Italian dishes and they were happy with their selections as well. 

From their website
From their website

We selected a festive type wine in case our Daughter-in-Law wanted to join us with some wine as she thinks our wines are too dry.  We ordered a bottle of Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rosé NV.  Outside of Champagne, Cremant d’Alsace is the second largest region for sparkling wine in France and the manufacturers must abide by the rules, just as in Champagne.  The Alsace appellation law requires that only Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Auxerrois plus Chardonnay, which is not otherwise allowed in the region, but because of the acceptance and success in Champagne it is allowed in the Cremant, and by law the grape varietal must be indicated on the label.  This particular bottle was made entirely from Pinot Noir.  As with all Cremant appellations, the Methode Tradittionnelle is used to make the wines.  The wines must spend a minimum of nine months on their lees, to aid in creating a certain accepted level of complexity.  This allows the wine to impart some of the terroir and a better finish to the wine, and the traditional dosage concept is used, as this wine was a Brut, which had a small dosage to keep it dry.  It was a very easy drinking wine and easily paired with our dishes, and the bubbles and the color made the table more festive.  We will probably go back to this restaurant, not because of the exuberance of the youthful (I surmise) critic, but because of the location, and the food was well prepared, though I don’t think we will sit in a booth, unless they redesign the interior. 

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Let’s Put on a Show

I know I could have titled this “there’s no place like home” and yes, we went to the cinema.  It is not too often that we totally agree on seeing a film.  Sometimes we begrudgingly go with the other one, and sometimes I just have to suggest that she go with one of her family or friends.  I like to be entertained and I don’t want to be lectured at, or really see his history altered to fit someone’s idea of the truth, so there is always a hesitancy to see a “biography.”  While I wasn’t around in 1939, in spite of what some may think, I kind of grew up watching Judy Garland on television, in the old movies, television guest spots on the old variety shows and her live television specials.  She was always part of the background tapestry of growing up, and it wasn’t until I graduated and got my first house that I had a color television and I made it a point to watch the Wizard of Oz, just so that I could actually see the change from black and white to Technicolor when Dorothy opens the door of the house.  As a side note, I am not a film critic, we both enjoyed the film, and Renée Zellweger did an excellent job, dramatically and vocally as an actress. 

We are a couple of creatures of habit any more, when we go to the cinema, as we always go, normally, to the same complex, because all the seats recline, and in the winter, they actually have built in heaters.  The complex is in a moderate size shopping mall and we become mall workers, while we are there, to get a couple of miles logged in for our exercise and perchance to keep someone from shopping; as if I am a deterrent.  We also tend to go to the same restaurant and lo and behold, my Bride switched up and ordered something different, while I stayed the same.   She had a half of an oven-roasted turkey sandwich with warm Brie, shaved Granny Smith apple and baby greens with a house made honey-mustard dressing and of course she had it with a small Caesar salad.   I stayed true to form, though I admit that her sandwich was tasty, and had the Jambalaya Linguini with blackened chicken and shrimp, crawfish, Andouille sausage and Tasso ham in a creamy Cajun sauce.  Ingredients that we normally don’t have at home and too labor intensive for when we want a quick meal at home, hence that is why I usually order fun stuff out.

I have found over the years that chains and smaller establishments cannot by nature have large wine lists, and they try to pick out wines that will sell on a daily basis, whether by the bottle or by the glass and that is how a good merchant stays in business, through the ups and downs of the economy.  I always try to find the best of the moment, no matter the price, unless the selection is so bad that we have cocktails.  It wasn’t the situation here as we had Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2018 and Kim Crawford is probably New Zealand’s most famous wine making name internationally.  Marlborough is the leading area for wine in the country and there are more than five-hundred wineries there and Sauvignon Blanc is king there with seventy-nine percent of the production.   Kim Crawford began in 1996 and built a state-of-the-art facility in 2000.  In 2003 the brand was sold to Vincor of Canada, and in 2004 Vincor was acquired by Constellation Brands.  For a major produced wine, this wine still gives good value with the lush tropical fruits that are there in the nose and afterwards in the finish.  It worked well with the Turkey and Brie and it was refreshing with the Jambalaya and that is what we were looking for.  Until the next time, we try to be Mr. and Mrs. First Nighter.  

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Anoosh and Stoller

Our last evening in Louisville, Kentucky and we were going out for dinner, just because, because both my Bride and her Sister are both excellent in the culinary arts.  We were going to see Anoosh, who is a friend of theirs in Louisville.  We have gone to his restaurants over the years and by accident, even did a wine tasting and dinner at a restaurant that he had in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Our first introduction to him was for the private dinner for my Sister-in-Law’s Fortieth Birthday party and she was born in the legendary year of 1961 if you are into First Growth Medoc wines.  My Bride thought that we were going to his casual restaurant “Noosh Nosh” and we were in the same strip center, but we were going to his “Anoosh Bistro.”  This does help to explain why I will be joining a gymnasium shortly.  I also have to say that I went crazy as soon as we walked in and they had boxes of matches, my favorite token of visiting an eatery, but since the governments cracked down on smoking, all the restaurants stopped printing matchbooks and another industry went by the wayside.

We were treated like celebrities, because of the Louisville connection and had a great table, but Anoosh works the entire room and makes everyone feel at home.  He is very proud of his culinary skills and rightfully so.  My Bride had the Roaster Heirloom Beet salad with arugula and pickled Cippolini onions and a Balsamic vinaigrette.  I went with the Lobster Bisque with cream and chives and some Lobster meat and Sherry.  My Bride was a gem that evening, because I was really torn between two dishes, so she ordered one and I ordered the other, even though I am sure that she would have rather had a fish dish, what can I say, she is a real trouper.  She ordered the Chili-Lime Braised Short Ribs with fried potatoes, arugula, pickled shallots, toasted almonds and Red Chimichurri.  I know that some of you have figured out that I went with an order of the Duck Breast cooked medium with Farro Succotash, English Pea Puree, pickled beets and duck gastrique.   There were several “doggie boxes” afterwards, but I had to finish my plate, because somehow duck is never quite as good reheated. 

After having a tour of the brandy distillery, a cocktail before dinner, it was time to order some wine.  I knew that it was going to be a Pinot Noir, but there was a slight debate over what to order.  I was leaning towards a classic French Burgundy, but I was swayed to try a bottle from Oregon.  We ordered a bottle of Stoller Family Estate Pinot Noir Dundee Hills 2017.  Dundee Hills is an AVA in the Willamette Valley and they began planting Pinot Noir there in the mid 1960’s as there were a group of winemakers that felt that the region was better suited for Pinot Noir, than even California, and they recently were proven right in tastings.  The soil is volcanic and is easy draining which causes the roots to dig deep for hydration and the vines are stressed and they grow berries at the expense of grape leaves.  In 1943 the Stoller family started raising free range turkeys, and in 1993, one of the sons bought the farm to grow grapes.  In 1995 they started with ten acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and now they have two-hundred-twenty-five acres of which seventy percent is Pinot Noir, twenty-five percent is Chardonnay and the balance is a mixture of Aligoté Gamay Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier, Riesling, Tempranillo, Syrah and Viognier.  The first vintage was 2001 and since then they have several certifications and had built a new winery and tasting room, that is all self-sufficient.  2017 was considered a bumper-crop and this wine was pressed whole cluster and they used native yeast and almost a year in French Oak.  I have to say that this was the best Pinot Noir from Oregon that I have ever had, as the nose told me immediately that it was Pinot Noir with tastes of dark red fruits and dark cherries with plenty of terroir that totally makes me happy, as I am not partial to lazy Pinot Noir wines and I realize that it is a very finicky and troublesome grape to grow and to make wine with.  This wine easily competes with wines that I have had and enjoyed at twice the price, so it is a wine that I hope I can readily find in Michigan.  It was a wonderful weekend for us and the next day we were back on the road. 

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Copper & Kings

While in Louisville, we went to a distillery.  Now, before you think that I am going to start writing about Bourbon, and I may have once or twice, Copper & Kings produces American Brandy, manufactured in Bourbon barrels and the barrels listen to Rock ‘n Roll for the two years that they are resting.  Brandy is derived from the Dutch word brandewijn which means burnt wine and that is because the wine is distilled by heat, and at Copper & Kings the “juice” is distilled twice.  The first reference for brandy was on Staten Island in 1640, and eight years before Rye whiskey was recorded and about 180 years before distillation of brandy was recorded in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  Brandy became a big industry in California thanks to the Spanish Missions that were founded there.  Brandy distillation was being regulated and taxed in Kentucky in 1781, the Commonwealth was founded in 1792, and the first commercial winery in Kentucky was founded in 1798.   I just get a kick out of the fact that they were regulating and taxing before the state was founded, politicians have found ways to get into someone else’s wallet since time immortal.  In the late 1800’s there were about four-hundred brandy distilleries in Kentucky and another hundred that produced both brandy and whiskey.  For the record brandy is made from fruit and whisky is made from grain.

Copper & Kings is located in the Butchertown neighborhood of Louisville and the property has been recycled, and the distillery is big on recycling and sustainability.  Wood has been recycled from torn down structures, offices and shop areas are recycled shipping containers, they have solar panels on the rooftops and have mounted another six-hundred or so, on the rooftops of the neighboring businesses.  They have planted a Monarch garden to entice the Monarch butterflies to make a stop over on their classic migrations.  They are also started to grow their own herbs for flavoring some of the other products that they make like gin and absinthe.   They have even found a way to recycle water that is used for chilling or heating the necessary pots for making the brandies.  They belong to different cooperatives and exchanges to acquire different barrels that have been used for producing bourbon, beers, sherries and other beverages.  American Brandy, made from distilled grapes must be aged in oak for a minimum of two years, and this ruling does not apply to fruit brandies like apple, peach etc. The alembic copper pot-stills were manufactured and set in place by another Butchertown business, the Vendome Copper and Brassworks, and the three stills have been named for women that are mentioned in Bob Dylan songs; Isis, Magdalena and Sara.  The grape brandies use three different varietals known for their aromas; French Colombard, Muscat of Alexandria and Chenin Blanc and the fruit comes from the Central Valley and Central Coast of California, and they also produce, but it was not offered at the time, an annual Kentucky vintage brandy using the Vidal Blanc grape.  For you mathematicians out there, it takes five tons of grapes to produce one barrel of brandy.  As a side note they did mention that all the apples that they use are from Michigan.  We also took a tour of the basement maturation cellar and they use the principle of Sonic Aging (maturation) and it is not vibration, but pulsation.  They have five major sub-woofers to pulse especially the bass notes of music, since the alcohol molecule is less dense than water, the pulsating beats keep the brandy in a constant “distillate wave” within the barrels.  While we were in the cellar, they actually put the speakers up to their normal level and we were in the midst of the barrels and you could actually feel the liquids vibrating and waving. 

The final part of the tour ended up in the tasting room, where we were given a complimentary sipping glass, and there was also glasses of water available to help with the tasting.  Each guest was allowed three tastes and since we are talking about products in the 90-120 proof, that seemed logical and sensible.  We, all started with the classic “American Brandy” which is the house label using white oak barrels and 90 proof.  It is a good thing that he warned everyone to slowly taste the brandy and there were a few in the group that did not heed his warning and they had quite a mouthful, and I am not sure if they could taste anything afterwards.  My Bride and I decided to share each other’s other two tastings to get a better report.  “A Song for You” is their anniversary limited release, which carries the signature DNA of the original brandy and it is done in a “Solera” system like when they make Sherry and I really thought this was smooth, and it was an even 100 proof.  The next one that I tried was “Cadillac Walk” a French Colombard brandy finished in Tequila barrels and at 130 proof, and while I thought it sounded intriguing, I was not that thrilled with the finished product.  My Bride tried the “Distillaré Intense Chocolat that was finished by reverse osmosis to get the 90 proof and finished with chocolate nibs and honey, and neither of us were really excited by it.  Her last choice was “Way Up West” and it was American Brandy finished in Pacific Northwest Single Malt Whiskey barrels at 128 proof and it was very smoky, like a Scotch and since she prefers Scotch when we have cocktails, she was all over this bottle.  We actually had to go back with our tour guide to another part of the tour, and she actually bottled this brandy and she has just the perfect recipient of this bottle as a gift, which will be announced at a later time.  All in all, the tour at Copper & Kings was informative, fun and we did buy lots of stuff, including an interesting cook book, some house bottled cherries and their own Bitters.

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