Sunday Tasting – December 12, 2010
STAFF PICKS! Vol. 1 : NEWBIES
This SUNDAYs with LUSH tasting is all about the LUSH Staff. The new kids to be exact. Taste their learning process. Geek out! No easy task for a lush, picking just ONE bottle that forever represents this very year. All of this very year in a bottle.Our staff favorite wines of the year are a moment captured by a sip, a sigh, a wisp of pure delight…these wines are what we crave, what excites us right now. In an ever evolving world of imbibing, this is the snapshot of the best hits of 2010.
All day, every day, the Lushes have been searching and exploring…challenging our palates to expand as we try new grapes, regions, producers, and styles. We have discovered what we adore, what we LOVE and what do not care for. And, we discovered that our tastes have evolved, twisted, turned, and ended up in new places, the same places, and places we never imagined we would go. As a staff, we have a very eclectic, bizarre, and sometimes frightening taste in all things fermented.
Set to task, dedicated to choosing our very most favoritest wines, we set a very strict set of criteria…we want outrageous quality for the cash, of course, but we also require craft winemaking, juice that speaks of where it comes from and that inexplicable, intangible, expression of something extraordinary.Our staff picks of the year are titillating, intellectual stimulating, and definitely remarkable…unforgettable, even. So, we are memorializing our favorites of the year in this year end rewind. Read the rest of this entry »
by Ms. Erin
This past Friday, Ms. Jane Lopes and I taught a rousing Scotch class to a private group of eight, partly populated by a Real Live Scotsman. To note that I was nervous, particularly given the audience, is a a gross understatement. Would I pronounce all those difficult words correctly? Would I remember the names of all the small parcels of land known as “The Islands,” when discussing the regions of Scotch production? [They are Jura, Arran, Mull, Orkney, and Skye, for what it’s worth.]
My fears turned out to be largely unfounded, with the group genial, and the Scottish guest happy to help with the quirks of pronunciation, and sharing stories about his childhood in the Outer Hebrides–where there are few Scotch distilleries–and summers cutting peat to be used for the family home’s source of fuel come winter. And, despite my initial apprehension, the result was a cozy little class peppered with many anecdotes, Jane’s encyclopedic spirits knowledge, my wisecracks, and a whole lot of new information floating around that jumble that is it my winter brain.
Now, we Lushies love to share new and exciting tidbits. Here are a few of my favorite facts and figures learned while prepping for and teaching the class:
* Scotch is always aged in used barrels. Happily, those Scots who brought their distilling techniques to the US are now benefiting from a beautiful cycle: since American bourbon can only be aged in new oak barrels, the Yankee distillers can recoup some costs by sending their once-used barrels over to Scotland, where they will contain another generation of whisky.
* I already knew this, but: in Scotland, it’s whisky. Not whiskey. Don’t even try it.
* Scotch took over Europe as the premier spirit of choice when the phylloxera louse destroyed grape production in the Cognac-producing parts of France.
* Once known as the “upper Highlands,” the Speyside region is only about 10 miles by 50 miles, yet contains the majority of Scotch distilleries in the nation. It’s named for Scotland’s longest river, the Spey, which is 200 miles long.
* A Scotch can be smoky but not peaty: there are many ways of drying malted barley, and peat is only one of them. That said, peat expresses a definitive sense of terroir, from both the water flowing through it, and the composition of the plant life decaying into peat [or, as Jane calls it, “unsquashed charcoal”].
* The more you know, the more you want to know. Time to go do some more research. Sip!
by Snack Master Kelly Cosgrove
Snack Blog 1:
Well, it’s been an exciting few weeks getting the snack side of LUSH open. From hours and hours of tasting cheeses (harder than it sounds!), meats, olives and anything you can think of, we’ve created a fun menu that I like to say is changing by the minute! We have broken down our menu in to a few different sections: snacks, fermented milk products (aka cheese), cured pig parts, pasta and sandwiches. One of our customers recently asked what the best item on the menu asked, and honestly, I don’t really know if I can answer that. Maybe it’s because everything’s so new, but I really and truly love it all! I mean, how can you not love duckfat popcorn? Or thin slices of Prosciutto di San Danielle or Jamon di Serrano? Or the fancy version of grilled ham and cheese using the delicious Colonel Newsom’s Preacher Ham? Oh my goodness, I had better be visiting my gym often or I will have no clothes that fit!
Be sure to stop by often, there will new additions as the seasons change and most likely a “snack of the day” offering which will be super fun and exciting!
Ms. Kelly Cosgrove, Employee of the Years, is your brand spanking new Director of Snacks. Yes, do get excited. Very excited. More details coming soon. Mouthwatering details. Snacks at LUSH, private event catering, and delicious party platters! Keep in the loop for additional information. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Alica, is your Give her a holler to get your own private party shindig rolling, email@example.com
Ms. Carrie is your Event Coordinator, Roscoe Village. She’ll be in touch! And, she will coordinate a kick ass event for you, customized LUSH style…firstname.lastname@example.org. And, is now your direct line for warm fuzzies and do-goodin’. She is the Director of Charitable Donations for non-profits and local charities.
Ms. Rachael Thompson is your media contact for all the official details, copy, and such, give her a holler. email@example.com.
For special orders, general information, events and all miscellaneous inquires, please email a store manager, Ms. Erin at University Village, firstname.lastname@example.org, Ms. Jane at Roscoe, email@example.com, or the GM at West Town, Ms. Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms. Alicia, Events – email@example.com
Ms. Carrie, Events – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Kelly, Snacks – email@example.com
Ms. Thompson, PR/Media – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Erin, Manager- email@example.com
Ms. Jane, Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Rachel, GM – email@example.com
University Village / 1257 S. Halsted / 312.738.1900
West Town / 1412 W. Chicago / 312.666.6900
Roscoe Village / 2232 W.Roscoe / 773.281.8888
2 weeks ago, the inbox floated up a message about this wine. A wine from Spain. A white wine from Spain. That was aged UNDER THE OCEAN. So, of course, as Lush will do, we bought some. For all the shops.
And then, we had to open it. During our official LUSH Snacks launch last night, tamer than you may imagine, we popped the cork. Before the beautiful details, a bit of back story… Read the rest of this entry »
I love contests. I am fairly competitive, and always love a good game and friendly challenges. And, if wine is involved, all the better. Thus, when Ms. Cara of Decant Chicago blog mentioned the Secret Wine contest, I just couldn’t resist. Exhilarating!
The simple rules involved registering as one of the first 85 bloggers, eagerly awaiting 3 bottles of blind wine, and then voting. At stake, a trip to France! Awesome. I am SO in. And game.
The wine arrived, re-bottled, re-corked, and labeled with ‘Secret Wine’ and a number. Instructions were to guess the appellation. Just the appellation. Not the grapes, or the year, or the producer. Seems simple, right? Not so much.
After completing some very brief research into the host company, Clare de Lune, a French wine PR company, I surmised that the wines are most likely from the regions the company represents in France. However, even with all that narrowing down and focus, it is still extremely difficult to pick just one. And, yes, I am also well aware that making assumptions when blind tasting is involved is risky business.
The contest is still running, but we have been encouraged to share, in detail, our tasting experience and reasoning process. Much tasting. Very fun. And surprising.
One vote only. Apparently, all guesses thus far are not quite correct. So, the waiting continues while the remaining bloggers catch up and vote. Until then…the wines are still secret.
by Ms. Kelly
Things I heart, take 7: 2007 Vinedos de Ithaca ‘Odysseus’ Pedro Ximinez
Sigh, this wine is so good. It’s so good that I’m tempted to take a bottle home with me and skip my plans for the gym! Hailing from the Gratallops in the Priorat region of Spain, this is one winery not to be overlooked. I am not alone in my love for this winery as it seems to be a constant favorite among the lushes. The young rockstar winemaker, Silivia Puig, is creating some fascinating wines that are truly unique – I mean, how many other dry Pedro Ximinez do you find around? This wine is just beautiful with a little hint of petrol on the nose, lots of minerals with some nice floral notes and citrus fruit while being soft and pretty on the palate. It is really well balanced with a little hint of oxidation coming through. BEWARE though, this wine is so delicious that when followed with a…hmm, lesser quality wine I suppose I would say…it really shows how extremely well balanced and beautiful the PX is and makes it a little sad to drink anything but that! As normal, my recommendation would be to stop by and pick up a bottle of this as soon as humanly possible, you never know when I’m going to win the lottery and buy all that’s left!!
TONIGHT, July 27th, 2010.
Kith and Kin will be hosting a 6-course dinner together with The Hum Spirits Company, Rare Tea Cellars and Ineeka Organic Green Tea.
Tea, botanical spirits and regional American cuisine come together in food and cocktails at Kith & Kin, where the restaurant’s poised to serve a spirited dinner on July 27. Executive Chef David Carrier is teaming up with Adam Seger of HUM Spirits, Rodrick Markus of Rare Tea Cellar, and Shashank Goel of Ineeka Organic Tea to create six courses of HUM- and tea-infused food with cocktails.
The evening will begin with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:15 p.m. First course is a “Southern Buffet” of pimiento cheese crock, egg salad, biscuits with smoked mullet and wasabi-smoked oysters served with HUM sweet tea, ice cold barley pop beer and Ineeka Organic Green Tea bier.
Second course is a summer soup of chilled jasmine-infused sweet peas poured around lamb carpaccio, mint and toasted Parmesan. Southern Belle is the accompanying beverage made from jasmine tea, HUM botanical spirit and Champagne.
Rod & Reel is the third course, consisting of tea-poached halibut, Pharoah’s Lemon tea hollandaise and tea-blanched asparagus. The plate is paired with Organic Fizz, a blend of Ineeka Green Tea bier, HUM, egg white and Rare Tea Cellar’s Pharoah’s Lemon tea.
Fourth course is Barbecue Kith & Kin Style. The jerk spice-inspired dish features spit-roasted wild boar sausage and stuffed goat with yucca puree, paired with Not Yo Mama’s Colada, made from HUM, pineapple, lime, raw coconut nectar, bitter lemon, ginger, thyme and Comet’s Tail cracked pepper.
The cheese course is dubbed Damn Good Cheese, featuring Asher blue cheese, HUM-infused chutney and grilled bread. The accompanying Fancy Adult Tea is a HUM-spiked Rare Tea Cellar Vintage 2008 Blood Orange Pu-ehr.
An adult Brown Cow float is for dessert, made with housemade tea ice cream, HUM and Ineeka Green Tea bier.
Cost is $65 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (773) 472-7070.