I found out I’m going to need mitral valve repair heart surgery this coming Friday, so I’m digging in the beer fridge for a few good ones before I have to head to Mayo Clinic for the surgery. I picked this one up in Seattle when I was there a few months ago, and brought it back on the plane with me. The bottle indicates it’s aged in Pinot Noir barrels with cherries added. It says its aged in the barrel 12-15 months and re-fermented in the bottle. There’s a lot more writing on the back, which I took a photo of and included here. The date on the bottle is 062212.
Location: Poured into a snifter glass from the corked and caged 375ml bottle at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 7% ABV, 260 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s a dark rusty brown color with reddish hues and a bit of sediment floating in it. There’s a ton of carbonation in it, which popped almost immediately after reaching the surface, like a soft drink. However, after a few minutes a thin creamy head formed and stayed for a while. There’s a funky aroma with a good dose of tart cherries.
Taste & Feel: The body is light and the mouth feel is effervescent. Cherry and Pinot Noir sweetness up front, followed by a much bigger sweetness accompanied by some funky sour and tartness. Finishes dry like wine with a complex mix of cherry, wine, and sour tartness. The tart cherry and Pinot Noir flavor last for a minute or so in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: This is a fairly tart beer with a good amount of cherry flavor. With the effervescence of a champaign, the sour, tart cherry, and wine dryness, I’d go with something light, like a summer salad with fruit. In particular, my wife makes a spinach salad with strawberries, poppy seeds, and oil, that I think this would go perfectly with.
Overall Impression: It’s got an interesting, complex mix that took me aback at first, but grew on me the longer I sipped it. I don’t think I was expecting so much flavor or sweetness from the wine, or the effervescence. However, these, along with the cherry and sour tartness mixed nicely together. Overall, it was a sweet, tart, dry, complex mix of flavors, which I enjoyed the chance to try.