Below is a quick vlog about the need to be super diligent when polishing glassware for service in a restaurant. NEWA has a lot of service persons who take our training and knowledge courses, and this is something that is often overlooked - or maybe not even considered. But, this week I came across a small deficit in service standards that I thought should be considered by every server and manager, as well as home enthusiasts.
Essentially the standard of care for the polishing cloth should be to simply rinse in water, no detergent, and then air dry. Keep it as clean and scent free as possible. Hope you enjoy the vlog.
It has taken a bit, but the card decks on Brainscape for the WSET Level 1 Spirits course have been updated to the latest version of the textbook. Brainscape has been working on a massive overhaul and update of their platform, so this has contributed to the delay, but I finally received the go-ahead this week to start editing the decks that I have contributed to and/or authored. This includes all of the Certified WSET Spirits courses currently on offer from Brianscape.
WSET introduced new revisions to the Spirits (as well as other courses) this past summer with the commencement of the new academic year. With this update some material was added and refined. The folks at Brainscape asked its authors to refrain from making any changes to the course decks while they were progressing through up-dates the past couple of months. Most of these up-dates involve migration of the decks to new editor software, which allows for better control and access via mobile devices. All aimed at increasing the use and functionality by the authors, but also allowing for a better user experience on the front facing / student-consumer side. Most of this migration has been completed and we are now able to review and edit the classes, once again.
As a reminder, all student to NEWA receive a three-month Pro Membership to Brainscape with class enrollment. This is a huge help when it comes to your studies, as the Brainscape platform is designed to reinforce and recirculate material that is being studied, and allows the user to control the flow of information in order to maximize study time and knowledge.
Follow this link to enroll in the next WSET Level 1 Spirits online course with New England Wine Academy, starting in early January.
Click here to learn about Brainscape Flashcard app and how it works!
Need a little inspiration once in a while? Everyone needs a bit of therapy now and again. I know I do, and so might you...
Words fo Wisdom are unique, hand-typed notes from the desk of Brian Mitchell.
These notes are meant to be inspirational, thoughtful, reflective and kind of fun. Short and to the point, each month is a different take on how to view life and the world around us. These notes are offered in various options: from a single thought to a whole year of therapy. There are also Wine Therapy notes meant to teach us something about being a better taster, and Holiday and New Year themes meant to be reflective and forward thinking (occasionally at the same time).
We offer 3-, 6-, and 12-month subscriptions, perfect for when you forget how great life is, and just when you have forgotten about that gift to yourself - a little something shows up in the mail; perfect.
If you are booking for an individual (yourself or another), please use this link to give us the deets on where to send the notes.
If you are looking to book multiple cards for a group, work-team, holiday mailer or family members, please book above with the Group Therapy option, and we will contact you for your list of names and addresses as well as the balance due on an invoice.
To be candid the point here is to make a little money (although this is not a primary revenue source by any stretch).
But, I have found a lot of joy and fulfillment in creating these monthly notes. A lot of thought goes into crafting these monthly messages. I have a regular list of mailings that are sent on the first of each month, but I also carry these cards in my pocket through out my daily life and hand them to people I come across. My hope is that at the very least I can simply make you smile; beyond that if I can inspire or help you be more reflective, productive, thoughtful - then all the better.
And yes, I do type each card on my 1964 Royal Safari manual typewriter.
*-) B. Mitchell
I rarely buy wine books, anymore. I have many books that have filled my library over the years, and they have helped me immensely with studying and learning about the wine world. But, today there is ever-changing information, and there is also the internet. If I have a question then I know I can always search the answer out with a few clicks on my phone or laptop, and I will probably have the most direct and up-to-date information, instantly.
But, one of the few publications that I do buy with regularity is the yearly edition of Hugh Jonson's Pocket Guide to Wine. I have editions going back to the early 1990s, and I do reference these on a fairly routine basis. Mainly from a shopping and buying point of view. I might not really go by the specific wines that are recommended in the pages (not all wines are available in all markets) - although I sometimes do. But, at the very least I take inspiration from what is listed in the pages and will seek out similar products and producers.
What I do rely on and enjoy most, is the annual introduction and insights to the status of the wine world. The thoughts in this section each year really do bring added thoughts and perspectives to what is a vast and complicated industry, filled with many opinions and commentary. This book though, traditionally written by the man himself, gave a perspective that was not only based in a classic approach to the wine world, but also a longterm perspective. This is so important to me as the changes that have occurred and potentially might impact the current thoughts on production, consumer style, climate or any host of ideas and thoughts is so important to put on a continuum. Only someone with the stretch that Hugh Johnson has had can really pull that kind of commentary together in this way.
For the 2023 edition, though, we have the introduction written by Margaret Rand, who in her own right does not lack perspective or tenure in the wine community. An accomplished writer, she has taken the helm from Mr. Johnson, who is retired from the wine writing world, and carries on with great commentary. The thing that really pulls me to this particular book each year is that the writing is Euro-based. As an American longing for European wine style, I am often not able to really get thoughtful insights without buying expensive magazines, newsletters, or access to critic blogs. The pocket guide gives us an inexpensive option while also delivering great content on wine. Margaret Rand's introduction to the 2023 edition is focused on how wine styles are changing and why we cannot avoid it, but also why it is not necessarily a bad thing, sort of. Good read and useful thoughts.
So in my humble opinion, this is one of the best written and best value books to pick-up on an annual basis. It costs less than what many people will spend on a bottle of wine (especially if you get the Kindle version), but delivers a year's worth of bargains and pleasure.
Find this item on Amazon using this link:
The hardcover copy will be released on Oct 11, 2022 in the US market, but you can access the Kindle version immediately.
Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2023: Number 1 Best-selling Wine Guide
by Margaret Rand
Octopus Publishing Group Ltd
I have not been paid by or have any affiliation with the publishers of this book, but if you buy products using the retailer link above, we may earn a commission from those orders (pennies really - but every bit helps!).
WSET Education Put to Use in the Drinks Industry - Pro Talk with Jim Kreuger and Wine Retail
This week I sat down over coffee with and spoke with Jim Kreuger, a former New England Wine Academy WSET student. Jim completed his Level 3 Wine studies last year, and is employed in wine and spirits retail at a local shop called The Wise Old Dog in West Hartford, CT.
We discussed the benefits of the WSET program and how it has enhanced his ability to help shop customers as well as his project to build out the company newsletter. As you will see, Jim has relied on WSET studies to go deeper in the knowledge aspect of the products they sell a at the shop. Take a look and hear what we discussed.
This is part of a continuing series speaking with industry pros about the benefits of formal beverage education, and WSET in particular.
New England Wine Academy is very pleased to announce a continued expansion into New York City with our second in-person offering of the WSET Spirits Level 1. This class will be hosted by Elayne Duff, one of the drinks industry's top professionals and awesome mixologists.
This class is a two-day offering designed to give each student an immersion level experience with theoretical knowledge as well as practical tasting experience. You will also have the opportunity to sit the Level 1 exam on the same day (or take a few weeks later if you like), and pack the whole process into one experience.
Elayne's experience and knowledge of spirits and cocktails is known throughout the beverage community. She has a top-level track record of developing some of the best cocktail programs and representing major brands. Combining this background with the WSET curriculum allows us to provide one of the best student experiences possible.
This two-day class will be offered on Sundays - >>>
November 13 and November 20, 2022
from 1pm to approximately 4pm
and will be hosted at
Cre8tive NYC Studios
located at 134 W 29th St Floor 2, New York, NY 10001.
Please click here to process registration on the booking page.
For any questions on this course, please contact Brian Mitchell at New England Wine Academy
Cre8tive NYC Studios is not a contact point for this course, it is simply the venue for the class.
I have travelled in Spain, and I have enjoyed the cuisine of Spain both at home and abroad - I love it. Diverse and regionally unique, perfect with the local wines, and creative in almost every aspect - Spain rocks when it comes to food. Like many European cuisines, though, Spanish food tends to incorporate a lot of meat or seafood in one way or another. Now, I don't particularly mind this and have enjoyed trips to the Museo del Jamón and have eaten my share of delicious Boquerones en vinagre, but I also live in a vegetarian household. My wife and three kids are full-blown, lifetime vegetarians, and I am about 90% veg. The one thing I miss in my culinary skills department is the ability to really cook meat - I just never do it. I can make you an awesome sandwich with cold-cuts, but ask me to properly temp a piece of fish or identify a cut of meat, and I may need a lifeline. So when I saw this article come across my desk this week, I wanted to share it. I love Spanish Tapas. and doing them vegetarian is much better for my world. When I was in Spain years ago, I bought a book called Tapas, and I use it regularly. Mainly for Gazpacho and a few other items we routinely have, especially in the summer months when we are often dining alfresco. That brings me back to the article linked above and published by the Foods & Wine of Spain Commission. I love croquetas and crispy potatoes, almonds and tangy olives. The choices are endless and delicious. And while we are always looking for ways to eat a bit healthier and limit the meat consumption - here you go. And even you prefer the traditional tapas with fish and meats, you will be equally happy with items mixed in on the table.
And since I am a wine guy and this is a wine school, I would be remiss if I did make mention of a wine to pair with your vegetarian Tapas. I would usually opt for a white or rose to pair, but I actually had a fantastic new red from Spain and one of the most famous producers - Familia Torres - just this morning. The Secret del Priorat, 2018. This is a blend of Garnacha, Cariñena, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, coming from the powerhouse DOQ Priorat in northeastern Spain. this was a very approachable and soft spoken red with good length on the finish, well-balanced fruit profile and fairly decent complexity. Youthful but not simple. This is a good wine - perhaps not the best name or label (sorry Familia Torres, but the name sucks), but the wine in the bottle is actually quite good. Torres owns some fantastic vineyards in Priorat and makes a number of selections of greater complexity and style, and this wines fits well as an option on the softer and earlier drinking side - perfect with Tapas.
It was great to be back in the Big Apple, today. The weather was warm in the mid-60’s. The sun was shining. And the streets were not really too full of people. I parked around 20th and 6th Ave, and went to a tasting on 18th. When I left, I drove up 6th Ave to 42nd street and then across to the West Side Highway to get back up north. All in all it was a very pleasant day with little traffic to deal with, and it was actually a pleasure to have to take my time up 6th Ave, and just take in the city a little.
There is this interesting feeling I get when traveling - again. Something a lot of people have not done much of the past two years. But I have had the opportunity to start to travel a bit over the past few of months. First, I went down to Florida to visit my dad at the beginning of March. Just a quick weekend where we got to spend a few minutes together and get caught up face to face. We talk every week, but I hadn’t seen him in about a year, and that was enough.
Next, I went to Barbados with my wife about 3 weeks ago. This was a long-delayed vacation for us – just the two of us. Our kids are either done with or in the middle of college, and we are essentially empty-nesters at this point. We were supposed to do several trips in 2020 (in fact, I had four work and pleasure trips lined up that year - all were cancelled!), and one of those was going to be our first real no-kids kind of trip in about 25 years. That was cancelled. Barbados was great. We visited a rum distillery, coconut farm, sailed, drove on the left-side of the road, drank daiquiris on the beach, ate local food, and snorkeled everywhere. Really a great adventure. See my other post for full details.
Last week we ventured up to Maine to see our son. He lives in Portland and rides his bike around the city a lot. We did as well. We like to bike Portland as there are great trails, lots of bike lanes, and most people are pretty bike savvy. Plus, there is great food, drinks, the water is everywhere, and to top it all off we had absolutely perfect weather. We met his new puppy, celebrated a birthday, hit the farmer’s market, drank Kombucha, and ate local cheeses – all fantastic stuff. Again, see my other post for full details.
And that brings me back to NYC…
Today was the Skurnik Grand Portfolio tasting. An annual trade show for the wine and spirits industry in and around New York. I attend as we are customers of Skurnik in CT, as well as of many of the wineries who may often be repped by other agencies in the other states I work in. Skurnik’s portfolio is one of the best all-around lists as they are well connected and obviously the New York market brings a lot of clout. Today’s tasting was not quite to the level of the past, but it was great to be there, see old friends, and to just be at a Grand Tasting again – first one in about 2 ½ to 3 years for me; definitely the first time I have been in the city since Covid hit, over two years ago.
There was plenty of wine to taste, of course. And one of the things that really is important for me as a buyer and an educator in the wine business, is to make and retain the personal connections with folks in the industry. I do not get to travel the world every year, but I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting many, many winery people who then travel to places like NYC for an annual tasting, and this gives me the opportunity to reacquaint with them and check-in on the new vintages/wines, local news, events, etc. I also rely on these shows to make the connections that can be used for scheduling events and interview opportunities, as well as some travel time occasionally. There is more business done than simply tasting a lot of wine.
That said, I did of course taste.
Some of my highlights from today, are…
Randall Graham / Bonny Doon Vineyard – and why not? I have been buying and selling Bonny Doon wines for years, and I even did an event with Randall back about 10 years ago. He was in NYC today and even remembered coming out to do an event for me in Hartford. What struck me, was the absolute dedication to continued value and deliciousness. I am not sure why I am surprised though – that has always been his way.
Wines tasted include:
Bonny Doon Vineyard Picpoul 2021, Arroyo Secco - Central Coast
Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Blanc, 2020, Central Coast
Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare, 2021, Central Coast
Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Volant, 2020, Central Coast
Bonny Doon Vinayard Le Cigare Orange, 2021, Central Coast
I am not really sure where to start or which to highlight – they are all delicious. I loved the new Rose. The Picpoul is so tasty. The Cigare Blanc and Red are fantastic. The Orange is super cool and easy to drink. My suggestion is to just buy the wines – they are fantastic values made by a rock star winemaker who has been both an inspiration and dedicated tactician for many years, but also one of the more inspired climate activist and forward thinkers in the industry, Randall is great and so are his wines.
Little Peacock Imports – focusing on wines from Australia. I have had some of these wines in the past, but today was a lot of fun to taste a collection of wines that really just each showed personality and uniqueness, without being over-the-top serious – kind of like most Aussies that I have met. I am a fan of the Tiny Paradoxes wine – especially the McLaren Vale Shiraz. Juicy and just serious enough to warrant another glass. Also, I was inspired by the Best’s Great Western Riesling 2021. Just racy and refreshing and singularly laser focused on tart and refreshing acidity. Rarely do we see a wine like this in the US, and I love this style. The women at the table (Yasmin and Fana) were great to meet and taste with - here they are showing off the wines...
Sashi Moorman – almost too many labels to keep it all straight, but Sashi is an extremely talented winemaker who works in multiple states and with a number of people who are noted in their respected fields – especially Raj Parr. Some of the wine names he is responsible for include Sandhi, Domaine de la Cote, Piedrassasi, Evening Land Vineyards…
There were several options from each of the wineries above, and for me the new offering of the Sandhi Pinot Noir was probably the more interesting. I have had a challenge selling DDLC and Sandi Chardonnay in the past, but I think the Pinot Noir was outstanding. I prefer Evening Land’s elegance, but the Sandi was delicious. I also had a couple vintages of the Piedrassasi and it was far better than any bottles I have had in the past. Kind of a quirky wine, this is essentially a hands-off winemaking project that produces lovely, deeply flavored red. When its great – its great. I have had otherwise, though.
Turley – table hosted by Christina Turley - Larry Turley's oldest daughter and head of sales for the winery.
My choice in all of the options from this well sought after and well-regarded winery – was (again) Juvenile. The least expensive and by all accounts least complex wine just makes me want to drink another glass every time. The other wines tend to be a bit over the top. They are all great, don’t get me wrong – Petite Syrah is delicious – it’s just that I am getting older and l often like my wines a bit simpler. Honestly, just buy what you can if you can – these are hard to get wines from historic vineyards. The reputation is well deserved.
Robert Biale – a fan favorite – and I am the fan
Black Chicken Zinfandel. Not sure of the history and the story here? Look it up – Napa Valley history. Biale Black Chicken Zin has been a go to for me on wine lists for many years. Love it, and today proved why – the wine ROCKS! If you can find them, check out the Royal Punisher Petite Sirah or the R. W. Moore Vineyard Zinfandel – each worth exploring for.
And while we are talking about Zinfandel, you might as well check out the Martinelli wines – again, if you can find them. I love the Bella Vigna Pinot Noir and the Vigneto di Evo Russian River Valley Zinfandel. I carry on my lists and these wines are just fantastic. If you can hunt down some Giuseppe & Luisa Zinfandel 2020 – it will be worth the hunt. This is an historic, establishment type producer that every enthusiast should know.
The around the corner was Anthill Farms. I have always been a fan of these well-crafted Sonoma Coast wines. In particular, I am a fan of the Sonoma Coast 2020 Pinot Noir and the 2020 Peugh Vineyard Chardonnay. Did I mention these are from the Sonoma Coast? Just hits your palate on the spot you want it to and taste great on both counts.
And next to them was Failla. The Anderson Valley 2020 Pinot Noir – yup! That’s the one. Give me more please. Actually, anything is great, but give me the simple, blended Pinot Noir and I am happy.
That brings us to Ramey Wine Cellars
And today, it was Dave Ramey behind the table with his daughter pouring for us. I have said it before and I’ll say it again – Dave Ramey is the best winemaker in Cali – especially from an historic point of view. These wines prove again and hold the line to confirm he has been making consistent wines year in and year out for decades. The thing is though – these wines do not stay static in style. Dave has a winemaking philosophy, but that is just a starting point each year. The wines follow their path with his process, but ultimately come out as they were destined to be. Now don’t get me wrong, the wines all have a guidance of style that is familiar every vintage, but Dave has figured out how to consistently express terroir and vintage, all while using oak. The wines are stunningly delicious every year. My fav is the Claret. I go to this tasting each year to see and taste with two people: Dave Ramey and James Cahill.
Hi, my name is Charles Bieler, and I make wine everywhere.
Charles is great and I have known him for more than 20 years, now. This is the guy that had a pink Cadillac he used to drive around in (like from coast to coast) promoting Rosé when Rosé wasn’t really a thing (if you can imagine such a time in the US). He did this while wearing a pink tuxedo, and getting anyone who would listen, to listen, taste, and buy his Rosé. Charles also has an extensive collection of associates and wine projects that range from classically styled Provence Rosé, to kegged wines from everywhere, to Cotes du Rhone, to Finger Lakes wines, and least not - some great stuff from Washington. Always great tasting, and always well worth the money.
Just buy some Rosé already - summer is coming.
When Steve Doerner is behind the table, just say yes, please, and take whatever he puts in your glass – it’s all world-class. Steve has been winemaker here since 1992, and before that he was at Calera for 14 years – my Pinot Noir worlds collide!
Jefferson Cuvee Pinot Noir is always the way to go, but if you are lucky enough to find some of the single vineyard wines then just go for it. Oh, and that Rosé...
James Cahill of North Valley
I have known James for quite some time now, and he is just one of the nicest guys around. At this point I consider James to be a bit more than an occasional acquaintance, but a very good industry friend and someone who I am eager to catch up with once or twice a year. We are always happy to talk about kids, life, wine, whatever. He was winemaker at Soter and has recently taken over the North Valley label as his own project. I have been a big fan along the way and happy to taste any and all wines from Jame’s collection. I didn't take a picture of Jame's wine - we were talking so much - but if you click this link you can see a video of us discussing wine a while back.
Although there was ample opportunity to taste Italian and French wines, I didn’t really get a chance to go through many tabels. The tables were crowded and I have limited patience for lines. The two though that were really standouts for me were the Sancerre (Chavignol) based producer Pierre Martin, and then the great wines of Paolo Conterno from Barolo.
The Pierre Martin Sancerre – and keep in mind that Sancerre is like non-existent at certain price-points, right now – taste like really freaking good Sancerre. Three options: Sancerre, Sancerre Les Cules de Beaujeu, Sancerre Les Monts Damnes. Mineral and stone driven wines that were a pleasure. Basic Sancerre delivers great food and racy wet-stone laced acidity. The Les Montes Damnes – beautiful. Sancerre Rose and Rouge (Pinot Noir, btw) are each great selections, as well. Chavignol is the place to BE!
Paolo Conterno Vini – what a place to finish.
I got some coffee and left after this one. It was just a great point to call it a day and wrap the tasting. Mr Conterno was pouring today, and each of the wines were fantastic. I go back to the fact that I often really appreciate the simple wines at the beginning of the line, and here was no exception.
The 2021 Langhe Arneis A Val’ is one of the best I have had of this grape. Clean and juicy with just the right balance – it was very refreshing, while still being a little different.
And the Dolcetto d'Alba L'Alto is crazy good.
Then the Barbera duo was absolutely a dream to taste.
And then the Barolo lineup was fantastic. Two 2018 Barolo – Riva del Brie and Ginestra. Each solid with tannins, but approachable. 2013 Ginestra Riserva was special to taste. Paolo Conterno style is a guarded, older, and more classically founded winemaking style. But I think this actually translates to today's world very well. We have young Somms and children that need to taste wines like this. In order to place today's wines into context of what "authentic" and "classic" mean, you need to experience wines in that manner and of this caliber. Here is your opportunity, please take it.
As I said, I felt it an appropriate place to conclude and took my leave after these fantastic wines.
The Commitments: Saviors of Soul
Happy St Patrick's Day!
This si the day of the year where we all get our Irish on, whether we are truly Irish or not. It's just a lot of fun and basically an excuse to venture into the world of the emerald Isle and all the libations it has to offer. Plus we get to wear green clothes, say "Gobshite", eat corned-beef, and perhaps drink a little Guinness or some fantastic Irish Whiskey (see the post below if you need a suggestion).
One thing I always like to do is dive a bit deeper into the Irish experience. Even though my name is Mitchell, and is probably more English in origins, there are a few Celts in my family tree, which extends across Scotland and into Ireland. My Nana was a Maher, and I have a wife who is half-Irish and my kids all of two N's in their names - Quinn, Brennan, Aislinn - a lot of Irish there any way you look at it.
So, getting some deeper cultural connection is always helpful to remind of us of where we come from and what it took to get here. One way for me to do that is through movies, and a long time ago I became very fond of The Commitments, which combines both my interest in Irish culture with my love of great American music.
Directed by Alan Parker, this 1991 release details the quick rise and even quicker fall of a band based in the northern neighborhoods of Dublin in the late 1980s. The movie is detailed with back scenes that frame the real life experiences of the place and time, and what is took to not only survive, but not get perpetually stuck in the endless Irish-experience - something much of the band ultimately fails at. One scene in particular that is a favorite of mine, is when two of the main characters are walking through and along a long alleyway, and in the background are dozens of children just trashing the place. Throwing rocks through windows, setting trash on fire. Basically mayhem. But the characters walk through all of this on a long descending shot, talking about the promises of what this new band could be, seemingly oblivious to the destruction around them. It's a great shot, and other similar shots are interspersed throughout the movie with kids just playing in and making best use of the decayed industrial materials that seem to dot the landscape.
As one of the main characters says, "they come together, form a brilliant band, and then tear each other apart due to the curse of the Irish and an unwillingness to believe..."
The main theme of the movie is centered around the use of American R & B - and specifically Soul music - as the theme and style of this band, with the argument that this is the true, working-man's music. It is the music of the factory. It is the music of sex. It is honest and there is no bullshit in Soul. It comes straight from the heart. "Soul takes you somewhere else and lifts you above the shite." This is the statement that the main character - Brother Rabbitte - really use to coalesce the band to get in line with the music style.
I found this movie back in the day (I even had it on VHS for a while) and have been a fan since the early 1990s, but it is a movie that is kind of hard to find and seems to have fallen out of the mainstream. The movie actually enjoyed a good amount of success back in 1991 and 1992, with the soundtrack album selling well and even a second album produced, and tickets sales doing well, globally. The success though was perhaps a bit more from outside the US than within - not sure why.
Perhaps it is due to the fact that it takes what is essentially an American, and to be honest a Black American, style and uses it for a story with an all white cast and setting. Today we would call this cultural appropriation - a term I am not sure I ever even heard of back then. But, I do think the movie does make an attempt to pay homage in a way to the roots of this music and does not fail to mention the many artists that created the sound and style - even to the point of the honesty and the everyday nature of the musical roots. It is a music style that comes from a certain experience and I think there are correlations that are attempted (at least to a certain level) in the movie to the Black American experience. Obviously Ireland is different from America, and the experiences are/were not the same, but I think Alan Parker tries to use the honest American music to convey the same sense of lift, life, hope and truth that the music give and is hopefully shared in both countries.
In one of the final scenes, "Brother Rabbitte" is told that he succeeded. Not in building a band that would go on to make records and play shows - that would be "predictable" - but instead, for the band members, he "raised their expectations of life and lifted their horizons", and for this he should be proud. Did he beat the Irish Curse? Who knows, but if you are looking for something to do tonight, other than going out and raising a pint, give The Commitments a try.
And don't forget, everyone say - Testicles!
One of my favorite whiskies to enjoy anytime (but especially on St Paddy's Day) is Green Spot by Mitchell & Sons of Dublin. This is a Single Pot Distilled Irish Whiskey, so the flavors are a bit more bold and round than your mass-market whiskies, which are often triple distilled in large columns to accommodate their commercial production sizes.
This is a sipping whiskey, typically made from a blend of 7 to 10 year old spirits. It is not so much intended as a shooter; I like to enjoy with a couple of ice-cubes in an Old Fashioned glass. The ice will slowly chill and mix, softening the alcohol, but also allowing the subtle wood and sherry-cask flavors and aromas to come forward.
Green Spot was originally produced exclusively for the Mitchell family. They were traders in Dublin in the early 1800s, and some of what they dealt with included the trade of whiskey and wine. Much of the wine being traded at the time was port and sherry, and almost all of that was traded exclusively in barrel. This meant there were a lot of barrels available to be filled and used for aging whiskey or for trade going outbound. By selecting certain barrels the practice of finishing the whiskey with a particular flavor meant that you could achieve a style. Since sherry barrels have a lot of flavor that will work well with pot stilled whiskey, these barrels have been favored for many years. The Green Spot, while aged in new and ex-Bourbon barrels, gets its power in part from being finished in ex-Sherry casks.
Four generations later, the company is still in the wine and spirits business, under the stewardship of Jonathan Mitchell and his son Robert. This is a complex and delicious Irish whiskey, but one that is still generally widely available - if you know the right store. I recommend that if you need a wee bit of whiskey tonight, maybe while watching the movie above, then this could be a great choice in your glass. As always, though, please keep your consumption to a reasonable and moderate level.
ABOUT THE Author
Brian Mitchell runs The New England Wine Academy, and is responsible for the content of this blog. With 30 years of drinks industry experience, Brian has learned a few things, but everyday he is learning more. This blog helps to bring that knowledge to you.