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.

Malbec - 3/9/16

Mar 9, 2016

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    ****= elite

Salentin Reserve Malbec, Mendoza '13 * $
(Simple and uninspiring.  Not much to say.)

Amancaya Gran Reserva, Mendoza '12 *1/2 $
(Catena-Rothschild project with some complexity.  OK)

Alta Vista Estate Malbec, Mendoza '13 ** $
(High altitude vineyards give it good character.)

Don Manuel Villafañe  Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza '12  ** $
(Lush texture, mild, tons of flavor...see what can be done.)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine, Spirits, Deli & Meats.
Visit them at www.redswinenspirits.com.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    **** = elite

Cambria has long been one of our favorite brands for good value in pinot noir and chardonnay.  They are re-shuffling the brand, moving the "Bench Break" line of wines into the entry level position, and elevating the "Julia" and  "Katherine" labels to the top tier.  In between will be a series of "Clone" bottlings of pinot noir and chardonnay.  They are also bottling a good syrah and an extremely good viognier.

Cambria "Bench Break" Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley '14  **1/2  $$
(A nice toasty citrus chard, good for Saturday night dinner.)

Cambria "Bench Break" Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley '13 ** $$
(Soft, rounded, subtly earthy, nice classy pinot noir.)    

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine, Spirits, Deli & Meats.
Visit them at www.redswinenspirits.com.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    **** = elite

Ferreira 10 Year Tawny Port  *** $$
(Everything you could ask for in a middle-aged tawny)

Ferreira Late Bottled Vintage Port 2011 **** $$ SUPER VALUE
(This LBV has it all!  Why spend 3 times more for vintage port?)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine, Spirits, Deli & Meats. Visit them at www.redswinenspirits.com.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    **** = elite

Ferreira Ruby Port *** $  VALUE
(Arguably the best entry-level ruby port out there.)

Ferreira Tawny Port *** $ VALUE
(Superb value in classic tawny port.)

Ferreira "Brown Label" Branco Port **1/2  $
(Almost a rosé port, very intriguing.)
    
Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine, Spirits, Deli & Meats.
Visit them at www.redswinenspirits.com.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    **** = elite

Big Cork Malbec '13  **1/2 $$
(Flavorful, dense malbec with great character)

Thanksgiving Farm Reserve Meritage '12  ** $$
(Elegant, sculpted blend with great flavor)

Port of Leonardtown "5th Anniversary Red" NV blend ** $
(A fun blend of random reds, comes together in a tasty wine)

Sugarloaf Mountain Winery Cabernet Franc '12 **1/2 $$
(A serious and successful cab franc from one of Maryland's best)

Boordy VineyardsMerlot '13  ** $$
(Lots of varietal character from our oldest winery)

Black Ankle Vineyards "Phylite" Red Blend '13 **1/2 $$$
(Unique one-off wine from the prestigious vineyard)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine, Spirits, Deli & Meats.
Visit them at www.redswinenspirits.com.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    **** = elite

Juan Gil Muscat, Jumilla '14  **  $
(A dry, fruity, light white with abundant spice)

Juan Gil "Silver Label" Red, Jumilla '12 **1/2 $ VALUE
(100% monastrell, aged in French oak, delicious)

Juan Gil "18" Red, Jumnilla '10 *** $$
(Full bodied red blend, with 18 months oak aging)

Klinker Brick Winery Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi '12 **1/2  $

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine, Spirits, Deli & Meats.
Visit them at www.redswinenspirits.com.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    **** = elite

Peter Lehman "Clancy's" Cab/Shiraz/Merlot, Barossa '11 ** $
(Big and blowsy Aussie red with a boatload of flavor)

House Swine Cellars Zinfandel, Paso Robles '11 **1/2 $
(Surprisingly good zin, lively and nuanced, look for the pig on the label)

Charles Smith Wines "Boom Boom" Syrah, Washington State '13  *1/2 $
(A big obvious red that has little varietal character, but works anyway)

Ancient Peaks Winery "Renegade", Paso Robles '12 ** $$
(Mostly syrah, with hidden nuances, deep tangy flavor)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine, Spirits, Deli & Meats.
Visit them at www.redswinenspirits.com.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60
Quality key:  * = decent    ** = very good    *** = superb    **** = elite

Bourgozone Cabernet Sauvignon, Bulgaria '11 *1/2 $
(From Bulgaria?  Yeah, and it tastes like cab sauv)

Doña Paula Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza Argentina '13 * $
(Good straight-ahead cab from the pampas)

Ch. St. Jean Bijou Chardonnay , California '13  ** $
(Very crisp, light, slightly oaky entry-level chard that over-delivers)

Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi '13 **1/2  $
(My favorite bargain red this year; great quality for the price)

Marietta Old Vine Red Lot #62, North Coast NV **1/2 $
(Latest offering in a series of big brawny reds with lots of character)

Crios Malbec, Mendoza '14  ** $
(Bright and lively with deep flavors, drinks way above its price point)

Yalumba Viognier, South Australia '14 **1/2 $
(Are you serious?  Very good viognier at bargain basement price)

House of Mandela Chenin Blanc, South Africa '13 ** $
(Yes, that Mandela; very classy chenin blanc that touches all the bases)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine, Spirits, Deli & Meats.
Visit them at www.redswinenspirits.com.

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