Hugh Sisson | WYPR

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.

Viognier

Sep 21, 2016

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

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

Boordy Vineyards Viognier, South Mountain '15 *** $$

(Made in the style of Condrieu, high quality)

Spann Viognier, Alexander Valley '14 ** $

(Leaner than most California viognier, but has plenty of fruit.)

D'Arenberg "The Hermit Crab"  Viognier/Marsanne, McLaren Vale '13 **1/2 $

(A very astute blend of two Rhone varietals, quite polished.)

Domaine Haut de Mourier Viognier, Cuvée Stephane Bouix '15  ** $

(Wonderful floral nose, austere but flavorful, well made VALUE.)

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

Sipp-Mack of Alsace

Sep 14, 2016

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

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

Sipp-Mack Pinot Blanc "Tradition" '15 ** 1/2  $

(Unusual quality for a pinot blanc, sophisticated and pleasurable.)

Sipp-Mack Pinot Gris "Tradition" '14  ** 1/2  $$

(Structured with some flesh, pure fruit flavors, very food-friendly.)

Sipp-Mack  Gewurtztraminer "Tradition" '12 ** $$

(Lots of fruit and body, could use more acid, but lovely wine.)

Sipp-Mack Cramant d'Alsace (sparkling) NV  *** $$

(A worthy substitute for Champagne, very well made.)

Sipp-Mack Riesling "Tradition" '15 ** $$

(A soft and fleshy riesling, resembles Vouvray.)

Sipp-Mack Riesling "Vielle Vignes" '12  *** $$$

(Classic austere Alsatian riesling with complexity and subtle flavor.)

Sipp-Mack Riesling Grand Cru Rosaker '10 **** $$$

(One of the best white wines we've tasted in a long time.)

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

(These are the best of Maryland's wines, as judged by a panel of seasoned wine professionals.  The competition was held August 14 at Baltimore's prestigious Center Club.)

Governor's Cup winner:  Boordy Albariño, South Mountain 2015       

Wines of merit and interest:

Big Cork Vidal Ice (dessert wine)

Sugarloaf Mountain Chardonnay

Big Cork "Black Cap" (winner of the Jack Aellen Cup for best fruit wine)

Old Westminster Winery "Tapestry, Third Edition"

Linganore Winecellars Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon,

Turkey Point Lighthouse White

Catoctin Breeze Estate Cabernet Franc

Crow Vineyard Barbera Rosé

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

Odds and Ends

Aug 31, 2016

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

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

Domaine Bardin, Coteaux de Giennois, Loire, '15 **  $

(100% sauvignon blanc, lovely nose and taste, seafood friendly)

Domaine Vincent Bouzereau, Meursault '13 ***  $$$

(Loaded with finesse, refinement, great structure, touches of hazelnut)

Ch. Rocher, Corbin Montaigne St.-Emillion '12 ***  $$

(VALUE for the price/quality ratio for good Bordeaux)

Ch. Pebrun, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux '12  **  $

(Nice easy drinking Bordeaux for the price)

Domaine Jacky Piret, Côtes de Brouilly (Beaujolais) '13  *** $$

(This is classic "Cru Beaujolais", regal, easy to understand, delicious)

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

Petite Sirah

Aug 24, 2016

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

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

Concannon Vyds Petite Sirah, San Francisco Bay '14 **1/2 $  SUPER VALUE

(Deep intense, classic Pet with the trademark upper layer of citrus)

Chancewater Petite Sirah, Lake County, '11 **1/2   $

(Classic, tannic Pet, with layers of fruit, gorgeous nose, needs steak)

Foppiano Petite Sirah Lot 96, Sonoma '11   *1/2  $

(Perfectly sound wine, pretty nose, good fruit, not overly concentrated)

Vinum Cellars Petite Sirah, Clarksburg, Sonoma '13 **  $  VALUE

(Reminiscent of good zinfandel, soft tannins, long finish, very tasty)

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

Ladoucette Touraine Blanc (Loire) '13  **1/2 $

(Very well made sauvignon blanc, subtle mineral flavors, mild citrus)

Arrogant Frog, vin de pays, Languedoc '14  *1/2  $

(VALUE wine, lots of good solid SB flavors, very pleasant)

Tom Gore Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, California '15 ** $

(Well made, fuller bodied SB, with a touch of colombard added)

Ch. Ste. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc, Horse Heaven vyd, Washington '15 **  $

(Crisp, racy, vibrant style with clean clear flavors)

Infamous Grouse Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough New Zealand '15 **  $

(Powerful SB with notes of huckleberry)

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough NZ '15  **1/2  $

(A very well made SB with a lot of finesse to counteract aggressiveness)

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

Pinot Grigio

Aug 10, 2016

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

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

Attems Pinot Grigio, Venezia Giulia '14  *   $

(Notes of lime and green apple in a tart, simple format)

Terlato Pinot Grigio, Friuli '15 **  $

(Light on fruit, but has a good smooth texture, easy drinking dry white)

Nals Margriel Pinot Gris, Alto Adige '14 ** $  VALUE

(Firm and flavorful, some complexity, nice round texture)

Terra d'Oro Pinot Grigio, Santa Barbara '14 *1/2  $

(A good mouthful of wine, with a burst of sweet 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

Frédéric Mabileau "Chenin des Rouillères" Anjou Blanc '14  $$ **

(A dry,frim, racy chenin blanc that is a fine dinner wine)

Frédéric Mabileau "Les Rouillères" St. Nicolas de Bourgueil '14  $$  **

(A medium bodied red with bright red berry, floral notes, well balanced)

Frédéric Mabileau "Racines" Bourgeuil '13 $$  **1/2

(Hugh's favorite, complex, great structure, pure cab franc)

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

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.

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