Staff Picks



Dunham Cellars Lewis Estate Riesling 2015, Columbia Valley – One of the Walla Walla Valley’s most popular wineries might be best known for suave red, but their work with Riesling from historic Lewis Vineyard in the Yakima Valley has been stellar for years. The aromas on this wine have equally strong components of citrus, petrol and honey, and the palate delivers everything the nose promises, plus a bright element of jasmine and honeysuckle. Fantastic weight supports the concentrated flavors. This earned a gold medal at the 2018 Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition. While this wine truly shines when paired with spicy dishes, this is a great pick for Thanksgiving with everything from fresh salads to roasted turkey to apple pie!

Smoke Tree Pinot Noir 2016, Sonoma Coast – This Pinot Noir is sourced from cool climate vineyards across Sonoma County. It offers aromas of dark cherry, plum and a touch of all spice. In the spirit of giving back, Smoke Tree will be donating $2 per bottle sold to City Harvest, an organization dedicated to feeding New York’s hungry. The partnership runs during October and November at participating restaurants and retailers across metro New York. Another great pick for Thanksgiving, it pairs with stuffed mushrooms, brie and cranberry.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream Liqueur – Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream is a sumptuous marriage of Kentucky bourbon and cream. Strong scents of vanilla are present for a moment, before giving way to a smooth and delightful bourbon smell. The taste is exactly as you would expect with flavors of vanilla, caramel, and rich cream showing through. It can be enjoyed chilled, on the rocks, in a cup of coffee or in a Buffalo Float, and it won a Gold medal at the 2016 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition. This makes a truly delicious float – just add one part to two parts root beer, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Modern Times Black House, Oatmeal Coffee Stout – Modern Times is one of the only breweries in the world to roast their own coffee. As a result, this is an abundantly flavorful beer that’s incredibly complex and aromatic, yet easy drinking in its own right. Brewed with 75% Ethiopian and 25% Sumatran coffee varietals, this oatmeal coffee stout has loads of roast character and a chocolate-covered espresso bean finish.


Saint Antonius Kreuznacher Kronenberg 2017 Spatlese $12.99

Yes, this is a slightly sweet wine. Since that is the inevitable question regarding Riesling, let’s now move forward to more interesting aspects of this lovely Spatlese. Watch as you pour the wine, it almost looks effervescent! Round, ripe peach and mild pear notes greet you at first taste and soon balance out with a light acidity that allows the fruit notes to linger. Don’t be limited to the overly advised pairing with spicy dishes. I often drink it as an aperitif or pair it with a hearty pork dish. Zesty and refreshing, Saint Antonius is an easy introduction to German wine.

Cap Royal Bordeaux Supérieur 2015 $14.99

I often describe to new Bordeaux drinkers the aromatics of “barnyard” in the glass before them, and, to me, this wine epitomizes that experience. Pour a small amount in a large glass, swirl it around and inhale. Wet straw, earth and another term that Monte Belmonte likes to use (ask him!) introduce you to ripe red fruits and subtle toast notes. Try to plan ahead and decant. The additional aeration brings out vanilla and a personal favorite, cedar. Enjoyable as a glass of red at the end of the day, Cap Royal’s silky tannins and mild oak help it shine with food. At 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, this young wine is accessible now and shows that 2015 continues to shine at every price point.

The People’s Pint Farmer Brown $12.99 16oz 4-pack

Long before there were Valley breweries in every town pushing out Mango Chutney Milkshake IPA’s (don’t worry, it’s coming), there was The People’s Pint in Greenfield.  Since 1997, “The Pint” has produced one of my favorite craft beers, “Farmer Brown”. A nutty, malty, slightly bready Brown Ale that hearkens back to communal agricultural living and large midday meals. At 5.4% you can (gasp) have more than one and (double gasp) pair it with food. Ploughman’s Platter anyone? As the temperature starts to drop, this gorgeous chestnut colored ale suits all the Valley has to offer, food and friend alike.

Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 year $79.99

I must confess two things: 1) Speyside and Highland contribute to a majority of my scotch collection and 2) as a New England Yankee born n’ bred, I believe in continuing our long history of dark rum consumption. To be clear, if the classic Islay “peated fireplace in a glass” is your daily drinker, this is not the scotch for you. 100% malted barley is distilled and aged for 14 years in American ex-bourbon barrels and then finished in West Indian rum barrels for an undisclosed amount of time. Non chill filtered and NO caramel added. Lots of vanilla and dried fruit on the delivery with creamy, brown sugar mid palate and a dab of peppery all-spice on the finish. Think Jamaican rum cake in a dram.


Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier $13.99 

Honeydew melon, peach, hint of lime. Nicely balanced with plenty of fruit flavors and right amount of acidity. I enjoy this with cheese appetizers or with fish entrée.

Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico $14.99  

A good step up from your usual “pizza wine.” It has those nice earthy flavors and tannin of a good Chianti with more dark, almost dusty, fruit flavors that I enjoy from Italian reds.

Celestin Blondeau Sancerre Cuvee des Moulins Bales $26.99  

All the flavors and crispness you expect from a French Sauvignon Blanc. (You will never confuse this with those grapefruit flavors of New Zealand S.B.) I love this wine with scallops and with goat cheese!

Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio $18.99  

Peach, pear, honey flavors abound, but don’t think sweet. The acidity is in good balance. It’s a nice match for shrimp and pasta dish. Also, good for just sipping on the porch.

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