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Friday, August 31, 2018

New Beer Friday, Winexpert LE Wine Kits Edition (August 31)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Each year Winexpert releases five super-premium kits from the world’s great wine regions that are not part of the company’s regular portfolio.

These kits are available only on a pre-order basis and are released during the first four months of the year. Each kit yields six gallons of wine which translates into thirty 750-ml bottles.

We are now taking orders for this year's Limited Edition offerings. Please note that we must receive pre-orders by Wednesday, November 28, 2018, either by phone (616-453-9674), email ( or in person at Siciliano's.

The following are descriptions of the individual varieties along with the respective pricing and release dates.


Black Cab is an intriguing blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Gamay Noir. Gamay is a light-bodied red wine revered for its floral aromas and earthiness, with tart red berry and lively acidity. Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied red loaded with black fruits, cherry, black pepper and hints of earth. This balanced blend marries the best of both varietals into an energetic medium-bodied beauty. Ripe and round with vibrant acidity and silky-smooth tannins, expect pronounced cherry and juicy red berry flavors rounded out with notes of cassis, spice, subtle earthy undertones and soft vanilla. Pair with grilled red meats, pizza, black peppercorn tuna, black bean stews or roasted pepper dishes.

    • Sweetness: Dry
    • Body: Medium
    • Oak: Medium
    • Alcohol: 12.5%

Don’t let the name fool you – though ‘Fume’ means ‘smoke’, don’t expect a smoky white wine. Coined in the 1960s to denote a new and different style of dry, oak-ed Sauvignon Blanc, the name is derived from Pouilly-Fume, a popular French appellation that specializes in a similar style wine. Made with lush New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, this mouth-filling wine delivers a rush of ripe tropical fruit on the palate, with complex layers of gooseberry and melon, bright acidity and hints of grassy mineral notes expertly harmonized with a gentle creamy vanilla oak. Pair with goat cheese, seafood platters and chicken or pasta dishes with creamy sauce and spring vegetables.

    • Sweetness: Dry
    • Body: Medium
    • Oak: Light
    • Alcohol: 13%

This wine is a charismatic blend of Carmenere, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Pais. Carmenere, the signature Chilean grape, delivers jammy raspberry and herbal spice. Cab Franc brings bold cherry, juicy berry and acidity, while Syrah lends intense black fruit flavors and tannin. Pais, widely planted in Chile for centuries but little-known elsewhere, rounds out the blend with rustic red fruit and crisp acidity. This juicy blend is full of expressive black and red berries, surrounded by cherry and tart plum notes in harmony with underlying oak, bright acidity and smooth polished tannins. Pair with rosemary lamb chops, beef skewers, Portobello mushroom burgers and aged cheddar.

    • Sweetness: Dry
    • Body: Medium to full
    • Oak: Medium
    • Alcohol: 13%

Symphony is one of California’s hidden gems bringing peach, apple and tropical fruit flavors, it is a natural and perfect complement to Gewürztraminer’s characteristic lychee notes. An aromatic blend with floral and juicy peach aromas, this o-dry wine deliciously combines lush tropical and stone fruit flavors. Crisp and bright with expressive fruit and subtle sweetness, this wine really sings when chilled. A beauty to sip on its own, or a perfect companion to spicy Asian dishes, zesty barbecue or baked ham.

    • Sweetness: Off-dry
    • Body: Light-medium
    • Oak: None
    • Alcohol: 12%

Widely regarded as one of Italy’s top wines, the Barbaresco style is undeniably delicious. Made with Nebbiolo, Piedmont’s most respected and most loved red wine grape, this wine exudes intense aromas of juicy cherry combined with toasty oak and spice. The sumptuous palate seduces with cherry and ripe red berries, licorice, baking spice, leather and earthy notes. It boasts balance and structure with firm velvety tannins, a full body and a beautiful long-lasting finish. Pair with grilled or braised meat, mushroom risotto, Ragu Bolognese and mature cheeses.

    • Sweetness: Dry
    • Body: Full
    • Oak: Medium-heavy
    • Alcohol: 14%

New and Returning Beer

  • Alaskan Cranberry Tart, $1.79/12oz - "This American tart-style ale exhibits cranberry fruitiness in harmony with malt, wheat, hops, and spruce tips" (source).
  • Arbor Violin Monster, $2.79/12oz - "Brewed with Midnight Wheat, warming spices, and a hint of brown sugar, the Violin Monster is black as night and packs a punch at 9.5%.  Unleash your inner beast, but beware…. it finishes with a bite" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Dawn of Vim, $5.29/16oz - "The return of one of our favorite beers from our "Planet Vim" series. This IPA wows with bold Mosaic and El Dorado hops" (source).
  • Ellison Citra Revolution, $3.69/16oz - "The second iteration of our Evolution IPA series, this Citra hopped beer blasts out of the glass with tropical fruit, tangerine, and passion fruit. Smooth bitterness is complemented by more fruit flavors and a pillowy mouthfeel. It won't disappoint" (source).
  • Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half, $4.49/12oz & $12.99/750ml - "What tames an old ale like Curmudgeon? The tender embrace of oak and sweet maple, that’s what. The result is Curmudgeon’s Better Half, a harmonious matrimony of our deceptively smooth old ale brewed with molasses and time spent aging in bourbon barrels that have previously held maple syrup. Because all counterparts should be sweet, rich and utterly delicious" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Oktoberfest, $2.39/16oz - "Light amber to copper in color with a nice toasted malt characteristic up front from the use of Vienna malt. This brew is balanced on the back end with just the right amount of hop bitterness" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Screaming Pumpkin, $2.39/16oz - "A spicy and refreshing Amber Ale brewed with roasted pumpkin in the mash, then spiced with ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cloves" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Copyright Cream Ale, $2.39/16oz - "When the best brewers in the world have problems, they call us. That could be because we have a world-class brewmaster perfecting his craft in a cutting-edge facility. And with beer this down-right delicious it’s a miracle we don’t pour it on our heads, use it as cologne and bathe in it" (source).
  • New Holland Sour Inc: Apple Rhubarb, $1.99/12oz - "Sour Inc: Apple Rhubarb Gose is kettle soured with in-house grown lactic culture. Apple and rhubarb are blended to bring the sweet and sour, then lightly salted to attain the light and crisp gose style" (source).
  • Revolution Double Dry Hopped Citra Hero, $2.99/12oz - "Citra-Hero is amping up the intensity with a new concept suit fueled by the dynamic Type-45 Citra hop. Reduced plant matter triggers more essential hop oils, further accelerating her citrusy impact. Two rounds of dry hops unleash a staggering 5 pounds of Citra, Simcoe, and Kohatu per barrel, triggering an explosive amount of melon, berry, and tropical fruit flavors" (source).
  • Wolverine Oktoberfest, $2.99/16oz - "This always anticipated release from Michigan’s only all-lager brewery is characterized by toasted bread crust notes, uncanningly clean flavors, and finished off with a mild toffee sweetness.  German Noble hops balance out this elegant, malty brew, leaving you refreshed and clamoring for your next sip as you enjoy the change from Michigan Summer to Michigan Fall" (source).
  • Arcadia Jaw Jacker, $1.99/12oz - "This spiced amber ale is our celebration of the arrival of Autumn. Brewed with cinnamon, all-spice, and nutmeg (a riff on Grandma Davies’ pumpkin pie recipe), and additions of Caramel and Crystal malt for balanced flavor, drinkability, and a brilliant orange-amber color, despite the absence of pumpkin in the recipe. A refreshingly spicy, season brew" (source).
  • Deschutes Fresh Haze IPA, $1.99/12oz & $2.99/19.2oz - "Introducing Fresh Haze IPA, our newest IPA is hazy with a chance of obsession. The flavor explodes in your mouth with notes of orange citrus sweetness and a soft malt body. Carrying both citrus and tropical fruit from Mandarina, Amarillo and Simcoe hops…OJ for days" (source).
  • Cigar City Guayabera, $2.19/12oz - "A 5.5 percent ABV pale ale brewed with Citra hops" (source).
  • Cigar City Oktoberfest, $1.99/12oz - "Our Festbier nods firmly toward the style’s history with it’s amber color, bready malt complexity and restrained hop flavor and bitterness. At the heart of this beer is a malt bill of six different German malt varieties, including a generous helping of Munich malt.  After adding Hallertauer Mittlefruh hops we ferment the beer with an authentic Bavarian lager yeast, resulting in a clean, dry and complex lager that’s at once intriguing and drinkable" (source).
  • Perrin Caribbean Nights, $4.29/16oz - "A tropical Milkshake IPA made with tangerine, mango, pineapple and lactose milk sugar utilizing Mosaic, Comet, Galaxy, Citra, Enigma, El Dorado, and Centennial hops" (source).
  • Southern Tier Cold Press Pumking, $4.39/12oz - "Many coffee beers are made using beans on the hot side- but not ours. A cold brew leaves behind the bitter acids and some fatty oils that can lead to a harsher, more vegetal taste transfer, and instead, highlights the roasted, comfortable coffee taste we all love. This, paired with the perfect pumpkin pie spice in our imperial Pumking ale creates the entire picture in just one sniff and sip" (source).
  • Big Lake Haze and Blue, $3.39/16oz - "A New England IPA brewed with loads of juicy Citra and Mosaic hops complimented with Fresh Local Blueberry. Brewed for those “Haze & Blue” Alumni" (source).
  • Nowhere In Particular Batch No. 26 Orange Vanilla Sour, $2.99/12oz - "We all know those Orange popsicle with the creamy filling. Well this beer is like that, but better because it has alcohol in it! Packed with enough oranges to cure scurvy, a little vanilla sweetness on the end, and just enough tartness to wake you up your tastebuds and let them know that its time to party. So party on, soak up the sun, and live life likes its an adventure because it is" (source).
  • Short's The Mighty Shorse, $2.59/12oz - "The Mighty Shorse is a dank and fruity Imperial IPA brewed with a blend of Azacca, Citra, El Dorado, and Motueka hops and peaches. Very hazy and dark copper in color with an off white and frothy head, The Mighty Shorse smells of floral citrus and fresh peach. Initial flavors of sweet peach are quickly matched by notes of dank citrus followed by a slightly bitter finish. This medium-bodied and refreshing Imperial IPA has a thick and juicy mouth feel" (source).
  • Lagunitas Mozango, $5.19/22oz - "The flesh is weak, but the spirit is willing. So, what's at the heart of it? Is it the patient and diligent servant or the committed messenger, through their many routes and vessels? The salient soldier, slinging suds on the front lines daily, or the very brewers themselves? The answer is... we can't tell you here. From seed to sprout to fruit, and back to seed, we're all tangled on the same vine. And while fruit is momentary, the roots hold on for another season. It's all just a matter of perspective..." (source).
  • Riegele Augustus, 3.29/11.2oz - "A stronger, 8% cloudy Bavarian wheat beer with a creamy, manila head, notes of grape and ripe banana, peach, and fig-like dark fruit" (source).
  • Port Brewing Hop-15, $7.59/19.2oz - "With more citrus character than a farmer’s market, Hop-15 is bursting with notes of tropical and stone fruits. Bolstered by a spicy hop finish, this Imperial IPA has always wowed the crowd and judges alike" (source).
  • Great Lakes Imperial Oatmeal Stout, $12.79/22oz - "" (source).
  • Southern Tier Barrel House Rum Barrel Aged Pumking, $11.89/500ml - "Imagine our inimitable Imperial Pumking Ale as the captain on the high seas, flying the Jolly Roger. The ‘King sails for ports unknown in this limited release. Rum Barrel Aged Pumking has been kept like secret treasure in the hollows of the brewery, patiently awaiting discovery" (source).
  • Ace Pumpkin, $2.19/12oz - "Flavored with cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Tastes like pumpkin pie" (source).
  • Dinkelacker Oktoberfest, $2.39/12oz - "A distinctive spicy, drinkable Märzen. Full salary and full-bodied in flavor, golden yellow in color. Original beer tastes just as before" (source).
  • Arclight Soursmith Strawberry, $21.79/750ml - "American Sour with Strawberries" (source).
  • Arclight Soursmith Mango, $21.79/750ml - "American Sour with Mango" (source).
  • Arclight Soursmith Kriek, $21.79/750ml - "American Wild Ale aged in wine barrels on cherries and fermented with wild yeast and bacteria harvested from local orchards in SW Michigan" (source).

Video of the Week | Arcadia Jaw-Jacker

Now available at Siciliano's.


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