Our Top Picks For Dad … and they’re not all whiskey!

It couldn’t be easier. Come in store, tell us a bit about your dad and we’ll help you find the
bottle he’ll love this Father’s Day. Heck we’ll even wrap it for you. It’s that simple. Here are our top picks, a mix of hard-to-find, new-in-store, and just plain delicious.

For The Dad Who Takes Any Chance He Can To Talk About His Whiskey Collection
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Highland Park Valkyrie

The newest offering from Highland Park is the first in a three-bottle series showcasing “Viking Legends.” Don’t let this bottle’s lack of an age designation fool you. It has wonderful fruit and spice flavors and is remarkably smooth at 92 proof. It’s brand-spanking new and is already racking up the awards. Let your father know he’s as important to you as Odin!  $79.99 (750ml)

Glenfiddich Experimental Series #1: India Pale Ale Cask

This brand new whiskey is the first single malt scotch ever aged in IPA casks. It has a totally unique finish with a subtle fruit & hoppy character and is delicious. Very limited availability on this one, so scoop it up for your Dad’s collection before it goes away.  $69.99 (750ml)

For The Classic Dad Who Keeps It Real 
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The Singleton of Glendullan Classic 12yr

A beautiful scotch that won’t break the bank. It was unavailable in Little ‘Rhody for a spell, but now it’s back. It’s delicate and light with a soft finish. It’s a classic malt for a classic Dad.       $36.99 (750ml)

Gordon & Macphail Scapa 10yr

From independent bottlers Gordan & MacPhail this is a classic Orkney malt that will surprise with its unique, subtle peat character and light tropical notes. Not as aggressive as most island whiskies, the Scapa has just the right amount of peat & fruit for summer evenings under the stars. $69.99 (750ml)

For The Dad Who Doesn’t Like Whiskey (They Do Exist!)
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Bumbu Rum

Dad doesn’t like whiskey? We have you covered! One of the best new rums on the market is the Bumbu, out of Barbados. It’s a craft rum made with all-natural native spices and no artificial flavors or colors. It’s distilled in small batches and blended by hand. It has wonderful hints of spice and fruit. We like it best neat, or with a cube or two. $34.99 (750ml)

Grand Mayan Ultra Aged Tequila

Looking for something totally special this Father’s Day? How about a tequila that finishes like a brandy! The Grand Mayan Ultra Aged is simply one of the most unique and delicious spirits we’ve tasted in a long while. It has very little “bite” and appeals to tequila drinks as much as those who favor dark spirits. It’s a terrific gift.  $89.99 (750ml)

For The Dad Who Deserves A Little Extra Special Love This Year
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Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary

A special bottle for the collector’s shelf. This celebratory release commemorates “The Master Distiller’s Master Distiller” Jimmy Russell’s 60 years with wild Turkey. It’s a blend of bourbons ranging in age from 13-16 years old, and will be sought after for decades. A true treat for bourbon lovers. $114.99 (750ml)

Happy Father’s Day!
(Prices subject to change.)

Peyrassol Rosés: That’s A Great Price, But What Do They Taste Like?

pey_groupIn a word, amazing.

First, some context: Even if you’re not a history buff, the story of the Peyrassol domain is pretty astounding. The estate was founded in the 13th century by the Knights of the Templar on the site of their Commanderie. (Yes, those same Knights who were dedicated to protecting the crusaders en route to the Holy Land.) Winemaking has continued on that very same land, uninterrupted over the centuries, under the command of various powers and families, to this day. And with that amount of practice and experience under its belt, it’s no wonder that Peyrassol produces wines that are considered the benchmark against which all other Provencal rosés are measured.

Today, Peyrassol adheres to strict organic guidelines in the vineyard, eschewing synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides for natural methods. The wines are a beautiful expression of the region’s clay and limestone terroir, capturing the very essence of Provence: fresh, refined elegance.

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The creme de la creme of the Peyrassol rosé collection is the Chateau de Peyrassol. Made with grapes harvested from the domain’s oldest vines, the wine gets its darker color, character and concentration from a long maceration period. It is a more full-bodied rosé, with notes of citrus, peach and apricot. It’s lively yet delicate, and is a very special bottle.

peyc_command

By comparison, the Commanderie de Peyrassol is a bit more traditional: it’s lighter in body with more minerality. It starts with lovely fruit blossom aromas, has refreshing flavors of watermelon and peach and finishes on a silky, stony note. The domain considers it the workhorse of the estate.

pey_lou

The newest addition to the Peyrassol lineup is entry-level-priced #Lou. It’s a highly-drinkable rosé for those both just getting into pink wine, as well as those of us who drink it year-round. It has a crisp start, fills your mouth with wild strawberries and citrus flavors, then finishes with mineral notes.

All three wines are on sale at Bottles through June 15th, 2017, at pricing meant to encourage your exploration of this historical and excellent estate. We think you’ll enjoy them as much as we do.

— #Lou: $11.99 (or just $10 a bottle with a 12-btl case purchase)
— Commanderie de Peyrassol: $19.99 (or just $16.66 a bottle with a 12-btl case purchase)
— Chateau de Peyrassol: $24.99 (or just $20.83 a bottle with a 12-btl case purchase)
(additional case discounts and rewards points do not apply)

All prices subject to change.

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Don’s Favorite Cigar & Rum Pairing

don

Summer, warm weather, picnics and holiday parades – a perfect time to enjoy a fine cigar.  My selection is the Montecristo #2 handmade in the Dominican Republic.

monteMany consider the famous Montecristo cigar brand to be the finest cigar in the world.  Montecristo is among the youngest (the most recent addition was Cohiba) of the traditional Cuban cigars now made in the Dominican Republic.  It was founded in 1935.  Our offering is hand rolled using high quality long filler and binder tobaccos.  It is then finished with a USA Connecticut shade wrapper.  This refined smoke starts mild-to-medium and remains consistent throughout the entire cigar.  It’s one of our most popular cigars.

At 6 x 50, the #2 has the same roll as the familiar Toro shape, but it has a tapered head, hence the Torpedo designation.

A brief historical side note:  Before the advent of radio, it was common place for the rollers to be informed and entertained by a reader or lector. Legend has it that their favorite story at the cigar factory in Cuba was Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Montecristo, hence the name given to the cigar.

kirkI would pair the #2 with Kirk & Sweeney 12yr rum also from the Dominican Republic.  This is rich but somewhat drier than many other aged rums and it works well with the cigar’s hints of vanilla and spice. It’s a great pairing.

Montecristo #2 Torpedo (6 x 50) — $14.99

Kirk & Sweeney 12yr Rum — $34.99

Enjoy, and Happy Father’s Day!

-Don

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A Cocktail To Cure Hangovers?

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In researching South American cocktails to serve at the book signing we just co-hosted for local author Peter Andreas’s “thoroughly engrossing”** memoir
Rebel Mother: My Childhood Chasing The Revolution, we came across the Chilcano. Its base is pisco, the grape brandy that originated in either Peru or Chile, depending on where you happen to be, and is traditionally mixed with lime juice, ginger ale, and bitters.

Much like the history of pisco, the backstory on the Chicano cocktail itself is up for debate. One theory holds that it was named after the chilcano de pescado, a concentrated fish soup that Peruvians consume after a long night of celebrating to restore their energy: The fresh, kicky aftertaste left by the copious amounts of lemon and fragrant herbs used in the soup is said to “raise the dead.” And like its namesake, the Chilcano cocktail accents its base with loads of citrus (lime juice) and aromatics (in this case, ginger), flavors that are said to slough off the effects of too much partying.

Whether or not you choose to believe this convenient tale, know that the Chilcano is an incredibly popular drink in Peru to this day. So much so, the country devotes an entire week to celebrating the drink in its many forms.

We had fun serving our version of the Chilcano, which amps up the aromatics with the addition of fresh mint, and an extra splash of ginger via Domain de Canton liqueur. We also added a touch of simple syrup to even out pisco’s inherent flavors, which some pisco-newbies consider too earthy. Omit the syrup if you’re already among the converted.

It’s an incredibly easy drink to make, and is perfect for hot summer nights (and the painful mornings that follow).

The Chilcano de Bottles

2 oz pisco
¼ oz fresh lime juice
¼ oz Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
½ oz simple syrup, or to taste
4 oz ginger ale
At least 2 mint, plus more for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Pour into a glass, ice and all, and garnish with more mint. Enjoy!

**That’s what The New York Times had to say about Peter’s book. And we agree. Which is why you should hop down to Books on the Square to purchase your signed copy today.

Cheers!
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The Top 5 New-In-Store Rosés

Last week we gave you a list of our no-fail rosés, those that have proven to be, vintage after vintage, reliably delicious.

Today we introduce you to a few of the newest additions to our rosé stable, those that Nick and Kate tasted for the first time just a month or so ago. They were the favorites among the many bottles that we opened a few weeks back at our annual all-staff rosé tasting, and we think you’ll love them.

mermRabble Rosé, Paso Robles, CA
A big, round, fruit-driven joy of a wine. It’s not sweet, but it’s ripe, and it’s made by Rabble, formerly known as Force of Nature, also known as one of our store’s most popular vintners. $14.99

assobioEsporao “Assobio,” Douro, Portugal
Refreshing with a delicate juiciness. It’s a crowd pleasing glass of red berries and minerals and a sister wine to the Assobio red, another of our store’s year-after-year most popular bottles.
$11.99

louPeyrassol “#Lou” Provence, France
From the classic Chateau Peyrassol comes this approachable, and lower-priced, bottle. It’s crisp with delicate notes of citrus, tart red fruits, and some peach. It will pair perfectly with summer Saturday afternoons. $14.99

bourgogneDomaine Gueguen, Burgundy, France
A rosé made just a few steps away from one of our favorite wine regions, Chablis. It’s dry with hints of thyme and rhubarb, peach and apricot. It’s 100% pinot noir and a steal at this price.
$18.99

tibourenClos Cibonne Tibouren, Provence, France
Elegant & bone dry, light but luxurious, lingering licks of bright fresh strawberry. This one will likely go down in the record books as our all-time favorite. It’s. That. Good. $27.99

All prices subject to change.

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Bottles’ Classics: Our Go-To Rosés

You know, we’ve been in this business for a long time now and we’ve seen a thing or two. And yet we’re still amazed by the phenomenon that rosé is. And with good reason: there are hundreds of bottles that are finely-crafted, extraordinarily food friendly and absolute true pleasures to drink. Yet there’s also a sea of rosés that miss the mark. We’ve found far too many that just wouldn’t deliver for your hard-earned dollars.

To help guide you to those that are reliably delicious year after year, we’ve selected those that we can confidently say are true classics: they’re well-made, trustworthy bottles (and a can!) that over-deliver superior enjoyment vintage after vintage. And here they are:

vinoCharles Smith “Vino,” Washington State
Deliciously tinged with tangerines and rose petals. “One sip and you can feel the summer sun on your face.” $13.99

 

bridgeBridge Lane, North Fork, New York
Guava, peach blossom, watermelon & strawberry. A North Fork of Long Island stunner.
$15.99

 

montaudChateau Montaud, Provence, France
So very light. So very strawberry. So very awesome. $12.99

 

under
Underwood, Oregon
It’s the clown-car of rosés: so much fun in one little vessel. It’s fruity, refreshing and dare we say a touch sweet. $7.99

 

goblesGobelsburg, Austria
Spritzy, pure, delicate and oh-so food friendly. In fact we’re not sure there’s a dish that wouldn’t pair well with this Austrian rosé.  $17.99

 

peyrassolChateau Peyrassol, Provence, France
The king of the classics. Round with flavors of peach and pear skin. It’s pure elegance in a bottle. $29.99

Stay tuned next week for more of our favorites, all new to Bottles this year.

All prices subject to change.

Bottles On The Bourbon Trail

Liam and Eric recently returned from a trip to Kentucky in search of private barrels of Bourbon that will be sold exclusively at Bottles. The barrels will be in store within a matter of months, so to tide you over, here are a few highlights from the guys’ trip:

Day One
Welcome to Kentucky! We arrived just in time for an early lunch at Mammy’s Kitchen in Bardstown (Liam had a hot brown, and Eric had the country ham plate with fried apples and green beans, and “coffee”) before heading off to the Willett Distillery.

The iconic Willett copper pot still is glorious. It was great to see how hands-on the distillery is in this highly technological age. Once made, all of Willett’s bourbon is transferred by hand into the barrels and weighed on a big manual scale (at the bottom of the photo) before being rolled into the rickhouse to age.

Willett isn’t yet available in RI – but perhaps soon!

Next stop: Maker’s Mark, where Eric did a thorough inspection of the private barrels in their new warehouse. Dug into the limestone hills, it was built to house their barrels of Maker’s 46, which require a 9-week cold aging process to finish. The private barrels that are aged there are finished with a different type of oak staves for 9 weeks. The wax dipping line was pretty cool to see, though the lady on the left wasn’t all that impressed with Eric.

Fun Fact: All of the trees outside of the distilleries are black. This is due to a whiskey fungus called Baudoinia. As barrels age in their warehouses, the liquid inside evaporates – the ‘angel’s share.’ This evaporate is full of ethanol, which Baudoinia feeds on. Since ethanol is denser than air, the angel’s share actually moves along the ground, and as soon as it hits anything moist (which there’s plenty of in the damp morning Kentucky dew) the fungus sticks and goes to work. Tree bark makes an especially good breeding ground. These lovely trees in bloom at Maker’s Mark show what we mean.

After a taxing day of bourbon tasting and dinner we were off to taste more whiskey! Here’s a shot from our barstool perch at Haymarket in downtown Louisville. That’s 300+ bottles of whiskey you see there, including the full cadre of Pappy and the antique collection, about 12 private barrel Four Roses, a bunch of stuff that isn’t made anymore and a lot more. We tried their own private barrel of Four Roses (picked by the Haymarket staff and Jim Rutledge the day before he retired). We needed a “calibration” on Four Roses before we headed over to pick out our own barrels. Also, their “well” bourbon is Heaven Hill 6-year – only available in KY. We might have had to bring some back with us.

Day Two brought us to the Heaven Hill distillery. One of many highlights from our trip was stumbling upon our very own private barrel of Elijah Craig, number 5017812, which we selected from a slew of samples last month. Our guide was astounded – hundreds of barrels move throughout the facility each day – the chance that we were here on the one day that our barrel was in line for bottling was one in thousands. It’s bourbon kismet! It’s also how we found out it’s 10 years old. Not quite 12 years, but not too bad for some pretty good juice. We grabbed a sharpie and signed it. Keep your eyes open – it will be in store before you know it.

We then watched as barrel number 7673766 was rolled onto the line to be filled with new make whiskey. Once filled, it was carted off to the rickhouse to age anywhere from 4 to 30 years. Heaven Hill numbers their barrels sequentially, so this tells you they’ve produced over 7 million barrels. They come in one door to be filled, and robots pack them onto a truck to be moved to the rickhouse. The second photo below is a huge pile of what comes out after the barrels are dumped. It’s bits of charcoal from the charred barrels in which the bourbon was aged that need to be filtered off before bottling. It was still damp from however many barrels were dumped that day, and smelled amazing.

Another astounding sight was that of the distillery warehouses themselves. The shot below is of just 4 of the 53 Heaven Hill rickhouses. The photo shows 7 stories of bourbon barrels, thousands of barrels in each – and these aren’t even the largest on the property. Over a million barrels are aging at Heaven Hill right now. These rickhouses caught on fire in 1996, sending rivers of flaming bourbon cascading down the hill, exploding barrels shooting overhead like fireworks. It’s very difficult to give a sense of scale, but these things are huge – gargantuan behemoths of bourbon rising over the horizon as you drive through the Kentucky countryside. Our heads came to about halfway up the bottom row of windows. The smell in the air was quite literally intoxicating.

Next stop was to Jim Beam to select a barrel of Knob Creek. We got to open 3 samples ourselves, popping the bung out with a giant hammer, and sampling them fresh and raw right from the barrel. The difference in flavor from barrel to barrel is always surprising. Two of our samples were aging right next to each other, but couldn’t have been more different. We chose barrel C06B22, which was aged in Warehouse K (which abbreviated in the photo looks like “whiskey,” doesn’t it). The code on the barrel tells where the bourbon was made and its age: C is for the city of Clermont where it was distilled, 06 is for 2006, B is the second month of the year, and 22 is the day of the month. February 22, 2006. Our barrel is 11 years and almost 2 months old! It’s older than our store!

We then went to Copper & Kings brandy distillery where (as we wrote about last month in our blog) the distillery pulses music via 5 major sub-woofers into their aging room. Unlike bourbon, brandy doesn’t like the temperature fluctuations that force the liquid in & out of the barrel staves – it’s too harsh for the delicate fruit flavors. In France, for instance, they will often rock the barrels by hand to agitate the liquid. At Copper & Kings, they use musical vibrations to jostle the booze in each barrel, allowing for more contact time with the wood. Sonic aging! You can see where they are aging brandy in ex-beer barrels as well. We were there on Al Green’s birthday, so it was Al’s tunes all day. That’s going to be some sexy brandy!

Next stop was at Four Roses, where we selected two private barrels. While there, we had the great opportunity to hang out with Al Young, Four Roses’ newly-minted Senior Brand Ambassador. He’s a great guy to know, and he even co-signed the barrels we chose for ya’ll back in little Rhody. We chose the OESQ recipe, one that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but there are barrels that are just starting to hit their mark. We had a chat with Brent Elliot (who recently took over as Master Distiller from legend Jim Rutledge) about the barrel, which he personally selected as a sample for this program. He was excited that we chose it, and mentioned that several “Qs” had caught his eye recently (you can read more about the different Four Roses recipes and the significance of ‘Q’ yeast on their website. Our barrel has a nice interplay of flavors and is not too hot on the finish. It helps that it comes from warehouse M, rack 8, 6 high, so pretty much right in the middle of the warehouse – the sweet spot.

We mentioned that we bought 2 barrels…so what about the second one? It’s a surprise! But you’ll find out soon enough. We can’t wait for you to try them.

On Day Three we mozied over to the old Stitzel-Weller distillery – where Julian Van Winkle (the first Pappy) began the modern bourbon craze all those years ago. Though the distillery is in the process of being modernized, they still have some of the original buildings. Imagining Pappy walking through that exact door was pretty cool. The iconic Old Fitzgerald smokestack was great to see in person.

We then went to the unbelievable Vendome Copper & Brass works, where almost 100% of the fermentation equipment for distilleries in the country (even that used by Rhody’s own Sons of Liberty) is made. The craftsmanship is amazing. Each still is a unique piece – and while they are 100% functional, they are complete works of art in and of themselves. The facility isn’t open to the public – we were so thrilled to have had a guided tour through it.

Later in the day we watched as artisans made barrels at the Brown-Forman Cooperage. The most important part of the bourbon aging process is the barrel, so to be able to see how they’re made was a rare treat. Brown-Forman makes their own barrels for Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, and Jack Daniels, among others. The barrels are charred with incredible heat for about 40 seconds. These barrels are right in the middle of their charring, and it was hot by the kiln. The char is what helps filter the bourbon and give it its distinctive golden caramel coloring. One of the most skilled jobs in the cooperage is that of fixing issues on defective barrels. This talented gentleman is replacing a split stave with a new one.

We ended our trip with a visit to Buffalo Trace where we saw their indescribably huge (seriously – we couldn’t get a great shot) fermenters. They have 12 of them. Each is 3 stories tall and holds 92,000 gallons. Each. They were full & bubbling. The sheer size of them made us truly wonder why it’s so hard to get their bourbon – where is it all going? Or is it all still aging?

The bottling line for Blanton’s Single Barrel is tucked away in a quiet corner of the distillery grounds. When the barrels are ready, they are individually vatted & proofed, hand bottled one-by-one, hand numbered, etc. It truly is a gem of a hand-made Bourbon. Wish we could get more of it at the store, but when you see the small number of bottles that each barrel yields, you can understand why it’s so hard to come by.

We couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the business side of our trip than a visit to ‘Bourbon Pompeii’. Not open to the public yet, this is the excavation of the ORIGINAL O.F.C. distillery from 1873, built by Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. The history is amazing. Those big square holes were 12 copper-lined big fermentation tanks, and there is some sort of cistern (no one knows what that was for yet). It was a step into history that few get to see.

We couldn’t leave Kentucky without a trip to a race track! Before heading to the airport we made a pit stop at Keeneland for the Maker’s 46 Mile. Liam bet on horse 6, ‘Conquest Panthera’ & won $2! Eric bet on horse 4…

We saw a ton during our time in Louisville, more than we have room to share here. We had lovely visits with the Alltech Brewery & Distillery (makers of the popular Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale and Town Branch Bourbon), Woodford Reserve, Against the Grain Brewery, and other hot spots around town. We tried some amazing bourbons, met some very cool people, and found some very tasty whiskey to bring home and share with all of you. Keep your eyes peeled over the next few months for the arrival of our private barrels, and your own taste of the best Kentucky has to offer.

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A Recipe from north Restaurant, With Wine

You can’t get any more seasonal or versatile than this, a delicious recipe from Bottles’ friend Chef James Mark of north, and recently named Edible Rhody Local Hero. Make it for breakfast. Make it for lunch. Or make it for dinner. We don’t care which, just as long as you make it. And do be sure to try it with Eric’s wine pick, the Laurent Barth Alsacian gewurztraminer. Says Eric: “This pairing gets a big WOW from us! It’s one of our favorite white wines and is an intriguing companion to James’s complexly flavored dish. The wine is intensely fragrant with aromas of spring flowers and exotic fruits and has the perfect amount of fruitiness and zippy acidity to accentuate, but not overpower, the multi-layered flavors of the dish.”

The recipe and pairing were initially featured in Edible Rhody‘s beautiful Spring issue.

Edible_Rhody_northphoto credit: Edible Rhody

gewLIGHTLY CHARRED GREENS WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SPICY BREADCRUMBS

Chef/Owner James Mark, north, Providence, and Edible Rhody Local Hero, 2017: Chef/Restaurant

Says Chef James Mark: This recipe celebrates what we in the Northeast have at the farmers’ market in early- to mid-spring—overwintered kale, spinach, broccoli and chard—all of which are incredibly sweet, their sugars concentrated by chilly nights and warm days. Butternut squash, if stored correctly, has the time to develop a deep complexity and concentrated sweetness. This recipe makes good breakfast, lunch or dinner food. Throw a fried egg on it for breakfast, eat it chilled with cooked barley for lunch or add some pasta or serve it as is for a side for dinner. You’ll end up with extra butternut sauce, which is great on rice, mixed into scrambled eggs or as a pasta sauce.

1 small butternut squash, peeled and seeded
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 bulb (6–7 cloves) garlic, peeled
Neutral cooking oil, such as grapeseed
Dried chile flakes
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or to taste)
1–2 bunches dark leafy greens (whichever look good at the market, such as kale, Swiss chard, collards, broccoli tips, bok choy or a combination), washed and patted dry
½ teaspoon fresh oregano leaves (or more to taste)
¼ cup Spicy Breadcrumbs*
2 scallions, sliced very thinly
Lemon wedge

Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes and add to a sauce pot along with the onion and garlic.

Barely cover with water and boil until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Pour contents into a blender (or food processor) along with 1 tablespoon oil and blend until very smooth. Season with the chile, salt, black pepper and maple syrup to taste.

Next, strip the greens off their stems and cut the leaves roughly into 4-inch pieces. (Stems can be cooked with the leaves, or use them in a stew or pesto. Just cut them thinly across the grain so they are palatable.)

Heat a high-walled Dutch oven or enameled pan until very hot. Add the greens and allow to char undisturbed, about 2–3 minutes.

Season with oregano, chile, a pinch of salt and add 1–2 teaspoons oil. Toss, allowing the greens to wilt slightly, about 30 seconds. Add approximately a ½ cup of the butternut sauce. Toss again and transfer to a serving bowl.

Garnish generously with breadcrumbs, scallions, a squeeze of lemon and a few turns of black pepper. Feeds 4–6 people as a side dish or 2 as a main course.

* Spicy Breadcrumbs
4 cups Japanese panko
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
¼ teaspoon dried chile flakes
2–3 tablespoons neutral cooking oil, such as grapeseed

Add ingredients to a sauté pan and place over medium heat. Toss continually in the pan until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and fragrant. Season with salt and pepper. Drain on paper towels, cool and store in an airtight container. Note: This makes extra, but they last, and are great on pasta, too.

Bon Appetit!

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5 Questions With Alex

Meet Alex McIlwee – our brand-spanking new (female!) Beer Manager. (Not many ladies hold that title. Anywhere.) She’s been with Bottles for the past 2+ years and we’re so excited for her new role. Alex is a Scranton, PA native (yes, where The Office takes place and yes, where Joe Biden is from – she’s very proud of both those facts), but says she’ll probably never leave Rhode Island. When she’s not at the store she’s most likely doing something involving food: cooking food, eating food, pairing drinks with food, or reading about food. Any other shred of free time is spent with her pets whom she loves dearly, or exploring every nook and cranny of our beautiful state. Oh, and drinking beer. She does that a lot.

1. Fave beer in the store right now?
Two Roads Passionfruit Gose. It is wicked tart and dangerously chuggable in those tall boy pounders. Especially tasty with raw littlenecks.

2. What beer trend is about to explode?
I’m enjoying all of the sour beer releases, and I’ve noticed the rest of my generation is, too (I chalk this up to shoving handfuls of Sour Patch Kids and Warheads in our mouths as kids). On the opposite end of the spectrum, quality coffee in beers is poppin’ which is so freaking smart. Brewers combined two of the world’s biggest vices (caffeine and beer) and did it really well. I respect that!

3. The beer/food pairing you crave the most is…
Whole belly clams and fries with a New England style IPA is arguably the best pairing in the universe.

4. What are your plans for the Bottles beer program for the next 6 months?
Showcasing the big seasonal products and limited edition items is vital but I strive to provide as much local product as possible. Being able to sell a brand that I believe in while simultaneously knowing the hands and people that put work into it is such a simple concept yet so profound to me.

5. This summer we should be drinking…
Session IPAs. Great beers that have those admirable IPA qualities but with softer flavors and a lower ABV that pair beautifully with mowing the lawn, fishing, and sitting on the porch.

6. What’s your desert island brew?
Ahhhhh this is hard. Allagash Hoppy Table Beer or Jack’s Abby House Lager. Simple, no-frills, delicious.

7. What excites you most in today’s beer world?
Canning! A lot of local businesses are investing in canning systems (Revival, for instance) and a lot of bigger craft companies that swore they’d never can are canning (looking at you Dogfish Head!). Cans are crushable, portable, and better for the environment. It is a no-brainer.

8. The most underrated beer or style of beer is…
Definitely ciders. They get cast aside and bad reps for being fruit bombs or “chick beers” but they’re bursting with character and make killer cocktails.

9. Fave style of beer?
I love super sour and funky gose, but at the end of the day a good lager is all I really want.

OK, so that was more than 5 questions, but Alex is such a font of good beer info that we couldn’t help ourselves. Be sure to ask for her next time you’re in store and what to know what’s new, tasting good, and what to drink.

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Our Top 9 Spring Wines, Part II

We’re down to just a few weeks now until our local farmer’s markets will awash with brightly-colored and fresh spring produce: green peas, ramps and asparagus, magenta rhubarb, orange carrots and more. Prep for the arrival of those goodies now, friends, with our selection of spring wines that are equally as bright and fresh with flavor. Here are our remaining picks of the season’s best this year.

spring_veggiesDomaine de Martinolles ‘Le Berceau’ Blanquette de Limoux, Languedoc, France $14.99
‘Le Berceau’ translates to ‘cradle’ which in this case symbolizes the birthplace of sparkling wine. This bottle was made using the traditional Champenoise method, making this delicious, crisp and bone dry bubbly a spectacular value.

Contour Pinot Noir, Monterey, Napa & Sonoma, California $14.99
Loads of juicy strawberry and blackberry fruit with a whisper of spice on the finish – making it a perfect match with your first-of-the-season grill fare (salmon anyone?)!

Thierry Germain ‘Les Roches’ Saumur Champigny, Loire Valley, France $27.99
Hand-harvested cabernet franc from 25+ year old vines. Fruity, pleasantly funky, and completely biodynamic/organic, this bottle is pretty acidic and begs to be paired with a creamy spring pea risotto or a rich lamb dish.

Fatum Dry Spanish White Blend, La Mancha, Spain $11.99
Bursts of lime citrus flavor with ripe pear notes that gently wash over your palate. Look for hints of salt and brine to round out that tart finish. A staff favorite!

Enjoy Spring!

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