Hugh Sisson

Host, Cellar Notes

As General Partner of Clipper City Brewing Company, L.P., Hugh J. Sisson is among Baltimore's premier authorities on craft brewing and a former manager of the state's first pub brewery, Sissons, located in Federal Hill.  A fifth generation Baltimorean, Hugh has been involved in all aspects of craft brewing.

In the mid-eighties, Hugh Sisson saw the potential for a small brewery in Baltimore, an historically "big beer" town. After researching the industry at its heart - in Germany, England, and the U.S. west coast - Hugh, with the help of Senator George W. Della, Jr., successfully lobbied the Maryland General Assembly to pass legislation required to open a brew pub in Maryland.

After the inception of craft brew in Baltimore, Hugh immersed himself in the development and market recognition of both Sisson's and its beers.  He is a member of the Master Brewers Association of America, the Institute for Fermentation and Brewing Studies, and sits on the Executive Committee for the Brewers Association of Maryland.  He has served as President of the Cross Street Irregulars Home Brew Club and along with Al Spoler, he has been co-hosting Cellar Notes since 1992.

Maryland Wines

Jul 27, 2016

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60

Quality key:  * = decent wine   ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine   **** = elite

Dodon Sauvignon Blanc, Maryland '14 **1/2

(Very nice SB, round, fruity with melon and grassy character)

Dodon "South Slope Red Blend", Maryland '13 **

(Very good effort for a tough vintage:  light red with lots of flavor)

Boordy Petit Verdot, South Mt. Vyd, NV  **

(Surprsingly middle weight red with bright, lighter notes, good depth)

Boordy Albariño, Sotuh Mt. '15 ***

(Superb full mouth feel, rich and floral, very complex, very well made)

Boordy Viognier, South Mt. '15 **1/2

(Very reminiscent of Condrieu, tart, mineral flavors, well balanced)

Old Westminster Cabernet Franc, Antietam Creek '14 ***

(Deep, concentrated, totally classy, tons of plum, with quinine tang)

Old Westminster Malbec, South Mt.  '14 ***

(Big juicy wine, very complex, flavors run from deep to bright, wonderful)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine and Spirits  

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60

Quality key:  * = decent wine   ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine   ****= elite  

San Gregorio "Ciampoleto" Rosso di Montalcino '11 **  $$

(A good buy for Tuscan red with Brunello style)

San Gregorio "Ugolforte" Brunello di Montalcino '10 ***  $$$$

(Superb Brunello, with dense complex flavors, silky texture, memorable)

Tenuta L'illuminata "Colbertina" Barbera d'Alba '10 ** $

(A rich fruity medium bodied red, excellent with pasta dishes)

 Tenuta L'illuminata "Tebavio" Barolo '10 ***1/2  $$$$

(As good as it gets:  intense, fabulous flavors, will age for years)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine and Spirits.

Barbecue Reds

Jul 13, 2016

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60

Quality key:  * = decent wine   ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine   **** = elite

(All these wines are distributed by Lanterna)

Brack Mountain Wine Company, "The Boatman" Red Blend '14 ** $ VALUE

(A stunning big red, brawny, spicy tremendous value)

Brack Mountain "A La Carte Red Wine" '14 **1/2  $ VALUE

(Zin based, blueberry pie aroma, serve with the biggest roasts)

Feudi di Guagnano Salice Salentino '14 **1/2  $  VALUE

(Almost like a drier, smaller Amarone, deep and rich, a steal)

Tenuta Novare Valpolicella Ripasso '12  **1/2  $$

(One of Al's faves, a super medium bodied summer red with class)

Quinta do Mondego, Red Blend Mondego, Dão ** $  VALUE

(A deep but restrained Portuguese red that will be great with the grill)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine and Spirits  

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60

Quality key:  * = decent wine   ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine   **** = elite

Siduri Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley '13 *** $$

(Silky, full of flavor, rich and deep, lots of personality)

Siduri  Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands '13  *** $$

(Lush, soft, solid pinot noir with great complexity)

Siduri Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley '14 **1/2  $$

(A touch leaner, more delicate, lovely nose, fine grained flavors)

Wild Ridge Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast '12  **1/2 $$$

(Very forward red fruit flavors, with biscuity yeast, good structure)

Champ de Reves Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley '12  *** $$

(Tons of flavor and complexity, silky texture, touches of oak)

Carneros Hills Winery "Chardenet", Durrell Vyd. '12 **1/2 $$$

(The epitome of California chardonnay, serve with lobster) 

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine and Spirits.    

Merlot

Jun 29, 2016

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60

Quality key:  * = decent wine   ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine   **** = elite

Ch. Ste. Michelle Merlot "Indian Wells", Columbia Valley '12  *1/2 $

(Lean, flavorful, good ordinary everyday merlot)

Praxis Merlot, Alexander Valley '10  ** $

(Big bodied merlot, with bottle age, perfect with steak)

L'école No. 41 Merlot, Columbia Valley  **1/2  $$

(A very nice, elegant classy merlot that is quite Bordeaux-like)

William Hill Estate Merlot, Central Coast '13 **1/2 $ VALUE

(Best of the bunch, big, opulent, juicy, deep, satisfying)

 Dom, des Herrbauges, VDP Loire  '14 and '15  **1/2 $

(Little known Grolleau Gris goes into this gorgeous, beguiling wine)

Dom. des Herbauges Unoaked Chardonnay  VDP Loire Valley '14 ** $

(Bracing acidity, tart focused fruit, great balance, good as aperatif)

Prieure de la Fine Muscadet, Reserve, Vielles Vignes, Muscadet '15 ** $

(Quintessential French café wine, bone dry, crisp, complex fruit)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine and Spirits.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60

Quality key:  * = decent wine   ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine   **** = elite

Lago Adega do Salvador Vihno Verde "Portal da Calçada" '14  *1/2  $

(A bit bigger and bolder than most Vihno Verde)

Mirabeau Rosé Classique , Provence '15 ** $

(A big firm rosé, dry but filled with flavor, good for dinner)     

Domaine de Prince Costieres de Nimes Blanc '15 **1/2 $ VALUE

Price key:   $=less than $20    $$= $20-40    $$$=$40-60    $$$$=above $60

Quality key:   * = decent wine   ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine   **** =  elite

Charles and Charles Rosé, Columbia Valley '15 * 1/2 $

(Rhone blend with surprising deep flavor, herbal touches)

Planetta Rosé, Sicily '15 * 1/2 $

(50-50 nero d'avola and syrah, elegant, delicate, full of flavor)

Bertani Bertarose, Veneto '15 * 1/2 $

(A lovely pale pink rosé from a celebrated producer, dry and crisp)

Bieler Père et Fils, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence '15 ** $  VALUE

(A tremendous rosé from Provence, bone dry but great fruit)

Acrobat Rosé of Pinot Noir, Oregon '15 ** $

(Tons of flavor in a light bodied, dynamic rosé from Willamette Valley)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine and Spirits.  

Oregon Pinot Noir

Jun 1, 2016

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60

Quality key:  * = decent wine   ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine   ****= elite

Adelsheim Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley '13 * 1/2  $$

(Light, simple, toned down fruit, a bit tannic, entry level)

Bethel Heights Estate Pinot Noir, Eola Hills '13 **

(Good quality, subtle pinot, nice balance, needs breathing)

Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills '13 **1/2 $$

(Obvious class, feminine, pure fruit flavors, gentle tannins, lovely)

Stoller Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills '13 **1/2 $$

(Big masculine pinot, earthy aroma and flavors, deep fruit)                  

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine and Spirits.  

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60

Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    **** = elite  

Tenuta De Arceno, "Strada al Sasso" Chianti Classico '09 ** 1/2 $$

(Great Chianti character, considerable depth, floral and dark fruit notes)

Donna  Olimpia "Millepassi", Bolgheri Superioire  *** $$$

(Costly Bordeaux blend that delivers great complexity, flavor)

Donna Olimpia Bolgheri ** 1/2 $$

Pages