Archive for January, 2013

Mindy’s Pick of the Year…and it’s only January

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

The Floating World Artisan Sake Imports has brought us some of the most beautiful, unique and rare treasures I have seen in a while.  The Mukai brewery dates back to 1754 and the current Toji (sake brewer) is the eldest daughter of the family, Kuniko. She is one of the first professional female sake brewers in Japan. Kuniko experiments with unusual rice and yeast combinations and uses a rare red rice in part of the fermentation.

All their sakes are made by hand in small batches by small, family owned companies using locally grown rice. Each one is lovely and captivating. It was love at first sight, smell and taste for me. For those who are not sake fans, this one may change your mind. The Mukai Shuzo Inemanki from Kyoto is incredible and so versatile. It really shows you what a sake can be. Of course, you can grab a bottle and go to your local BYOB sushi spot, but there is so much more. This sake has a light smokey nose and pairs beautifully with our meats here at the LUSH snack bar, try it with the duck prosciutto. It is slightly fruity and balanced by a stunning acidity that is a perfect compliment to cheese. If you want to go Tapas style, get a little tin of Spanish octopus and you won’t know what hit you. Then again, you can just sip it slowly as an aperitif, all on its own.

Staff Favorites 2012!

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Welcome to 2013 LUSHes! We hope you all had a great 2012 and put as many strange, beautiful, awe inspiring fermented beverages in your mouth as you could find in the last year. We know we were hard at work sipping and discerning what we LOVE and even what we don’t. Discovering how our tastes have evolved and finding comfort in the tried and true. So here is a list of our faves of 2012 (keeping in mind that all us LUSHies have wildly eccentric and sometimes just downright bizarre tastes.) Most of these items are still available at your local LUSH, and all of these items are stamped with the LUSH seal of approval.

Andrew Farrell:

Bressan Scioppettino 2006; From the Friulli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy comes this beautiful red, almost aniline wine.  Also called Ribolla Nera, left on the vine just a little longer than most grapes it develops a luscious acidity and richness that would complement any of your darker, richer meat stews on a cold winter’s night.  Looking for something to stock a cellar.  This wine goes through a complex ageing process, including some time in oak, before it even sees the store shelves making it all the better with some age.  Overall, a nice hearty grape juice.

Patrick Boomer:

2007 El Rocallis, Penedes, Spain- Incrozio Manzoni; To tell the truth I bought this wine because it was expensive and I have a taste for the good life. After drinking it I had to buy a second bottle because I couldn’t believe the depth of character it actually had. It wants to be so many things at once. A complex Northern Italian, an elegant Napa, a frivolous light Spanish; all things at once! The biggest problem with this wine is at which temperature to drink it as it changes and adapts.

This wine spends a short six months in French oak but an incredible forty two months in bottle! A clean and brilliant sunshine yellow has golden overtones, penetrating your nose with aromas of jasmine, verbena, lime and exotic fruits. Rich, smooth and generous on the palate, it leads with notes of honey, orange peel, peach stone with a hint of almonds. If possible let this gem open up for a half hour before it changes your life.

Cole Pezley:

Bourbon–the quintessential American spirit. Rooted in strong southern tradition and enjoyed by the aristocrat and frontiersman alike, it’s as unique and varied as the country from which it hails. Black Maple Hill Small Batch Bourbon is no exception; at 95 proof it packs a good punch but has a surprisingly mellow and sweet finish with subtle hints of oak and butterscotch. It can stand up well with an ice cube or two and won’t thin out with a little splash of water. At a modest (whatever price it is) I’d put this stuff up against many bourbons that cost twice as much or more. So let the world know that you’re here to enjoy yourself but also to kick a little ass and pick up a bottle of Black Maple Hill Small Batch Bourbon. Cheers!

Laurel Parks:

Home is where the heart is!! Or at least, home is where the Gin is!  From my hometown of Alameda, Ca, the St. George 3-Gin Sampler was by far my favorite of the year. Botanivore, Dry  Rye and Terroir; all three are perfect aromatic and botanical representations of the Oakland Hills/Bay Area.  Although the Sampler may have been sold only for Christmas stockings, our shops still have a selection of St. George Gin and several of their other spirits, including Absinthe, Bourbon and a Single Malt.  You will NOT be disappointed in anything by St. George Distillery!

Katie Schmalz:

2011 Umathum Rosa, Burgenland, Austria. Pepi Umathum describes his wines as “food for the soul” and calls them “liquid folk-tales.” The Umathum Rosa, a blend of Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt and St. Laurent, fits perfectly into that middle ground between Italian and French Roses. It matches France’s finesse and minerality and Italy’s best for depth and complexity of fruit and spice. All the while it retains the floral aromas that are so distinctly Austrian. There’s an elegance, a delicate brambly spice, a snappy freshness that makes this Rosa a joy to drink on its own, but still pairs with almost anything from grilled steak to salade nicoise.

So there’s a peek. More favorites from last year to come!