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.

Antonio Cinotti/flickr

This week Hugh and Al give a nod to some wines from northern Italy.

momo/flickr

Hugh and Al on their new favorites from Sardinia and Sicily.

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It's time to break out the bubbly! Al and Hugh give their picks for what you should be sipping on as you ring in the new year.

The Gift of Wine

Dec 21, 2016
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Al and Hugh's picks for the best wines to give.

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Cellar Notes brings you a range of rioja wines.  

jenny downing

Part II of Cellar Notes' rundown on the best Italian wines.   

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60 Quality key:  * = decent wine   ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine   ****= elite November 30   Italian Whites I  (Lanterna Distributors) Illuminati Costulpo Trebbiano d'Abruzzo '15  *1/2  $(Dry, subtle, mild and fresh)Illuminati Pecorino Colli Aprunti '14  **  $(Wonderful elegant, floral wine with peachy notes)Tenute Guicciardini Strozzi Vernacia de San Gimignano '15  *  $(Idiosyncratic, perhaps not everyone's cup of tea)Lunae Pigato Terreferme '15  **1/2  $(Fabulous wine, floral, gingery, bright and assertive) Many

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

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

Helfrich Gewurtztraminer, Alsace '13  ** $

(At $15, this is a real VALUE, classic T'giving wine)

Chat. de la Chaize Brouilly (Beaujolais) Vielle Vignes '12  **1/2  $$

(A cru Beaujolais, mature and ready to enjoy)

Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages '15 ** $

(A classic producer smooth and easy drinking Beaujolais)

Cotes du Rhone

Nov 16, 2016

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

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

Alan Jaune Cotes du Rhone Villages "Les Travées" '13 **1/2 $

(From Cairanne, this is a silky refined CDRV with spicy fruit, great flavor)

Dom. Paul Autard Cotes du Rhone '14 ** $

(Polished, elegant, with berry and field herb flavors)

Famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone Villages '13 ** $

(Great price for a refined CDRV, lovely café wine. VALUE)

Dom. del la Jannasse Réserve Cotes du Rhone '13  **1/2 $

(A touch rustic, a little wild and rugged, great VALUE)

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

Giuseppe Lonardi Valpolicella Classico Superioire Ripasso '15 **1/2 $$

(Terrific, bright, tart, dried fruit flavors)

La Quercia Montepulciano d'Abruzzo ** $

(Well-rounded Italian red, with direct fruit flavors)

Edi Simcic Duet (red blend) Slovenia '13 *** $$   

(Fabulous Bordeaux blend from an unusual source)

Edi Simcic Chardonnay Riserva, Slovenia '13 ** $$

(A fleshy, fully mature chardonnay from Slovenia)

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

Italian Whites

Nov 2, 2016

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

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

Broglio Gavi "La Meircena" '15  **1/2  $$

(This wine could have been poured at an Italian feast, like in a painting)

Terradora DiPaolo Falanghina, Irpinia '13 **1/2 $ 

(Totally refreshing,, food-friendly, calls out for seafood, delicious, VALUE)

Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina del Sannio '14 *1/2  $

(From a  weaker vintage, but still a lean, flavorful wine)

Enoteria Arneis, Mendocino '13  **1/2 $

(California copy of Italian grape Arneis, very impressive and a VALUE)

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  

Michael David of Lodi

(Look for the wacky lables)

Michael David  Chardonnay, Lodi '15 *1/2 $

(Decent value in California chardonnay)

Michael David Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi '13 ** $$

(Big fruity cab, bold and well-mannered)

Michael David Petite Petit (Petite Syrah) Lodi '14

(Big, smooth, well rounded, lots of fun)

Michael David Earthquake Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi '13 ** 1/2  $$

(Concentrated, explosive, complex)

Michael David Earthquake Zinfandel, Lodi '13 **1/2  $$

(Powerful flavor-packed zin, loaded with fruit, powerful)

Michael David Lust Zinfandel, Lodi, '12 *** $$$

(Expensive, but worth it, rich and deep and very complex)

Michael David Inkblot Cabernet Franc, Lodi *** $$

(A whopping wine that will deeply empress)

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

Boordy Vineyards wins the 2016 Maryland Governor's Cup with its 2015 Albariño from its South Mountain vineyard.

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

Alexander Valley

Oct 13, 2016

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

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

Alexander Valley Vineyards Estate Chardonnay, '14  ** $

(A good buy in Russian River chard, lightly oaked.)

Alexander Valley Vineyards Redemption Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley '13 **1/2 $$

(Top wine of the three zins, a big mouth-filling complex wine.)

Alexander Valley Vineyards Temptation Zinfandel '12 **  $

(Medium bodied, juicy everyday zin. VALUE)

Alexander Valley Vineyards Sin Zin '13** $

(Dark, inky zin with rich dark fruit flavors in a well-structured wine.)

Alexander Valley Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir '14 ** $$

(Russian River fruit goes into a full-flavored pinot with silky texture.)

Alexander Valley Vineyards Estate Syrah '14 **1/2 $

(Lovely California syrah with aromatic nose, rich dark fruit flavors.)

Alexander Valley Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon '14  *** $$

(Possibly the best value in California Cab.)

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

Garnacha/Grenache

Oct 5, 2016

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

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

Espelt Old Vines Garnacha, D.O. Emporda '12 *** $

(Wild and eccentric and totally delicious SUPER VALUE!)

Domaine de Cristia Grenache, VDP Mediteranné '12 ** $

(Classic grenache character in a medium bodied format, very nice.)

Castillo de Fundejalon Garnacha Crianza, Campo do Borjo '09 * 1/2

(Nice, but too much tempranillo tampers with the flavor.)

Alto Cinco Garnacha, Cariñena '14 ** $

(VALUE in a big fruity quality every day wine.)

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

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.

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

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