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This pretty much sums up my beloved Hawkeyes’ football season.

I’ll get back to wine blogging in 2012, promise.  Big things are in the works, just you wait.

Salute! – To a happy and prosperous New Year!

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[Above: Cornbread-stuffed Quail, Johnnycakes, Soft-poached eggs with Hollandaise at HUSK]

If you’re ever in Charleston, South Carolina and you’re looking for a bite to eat, head to the corner of King and Queen and take your pick from three highly-touted restaurants, two of which I can vouch for being terrific. [The other, 82 Queen, was raved about by others in our group].

They serve up classic southern fare at Poogan’s Porch, including the softest, most pillowy biscuits mankind has ever seen served with a delicious apple honey butter.  I had the Shrimp and Grits, they were absolutely spot-on.

Right next door to Poogan’s Porch is HUSK where Beard-award winning chef Sean Brock is doing some great things.  First:  The bar. It’s separate from the restaurant, in the alley between HUSK and Poogan’s Porch.  They serve up serious craft cocktails [a sip of their Monkey Gland was quite nice] and local brews.  Definitely worth a stop even if you’re not eating. Go up to the second floor and take a load off in the classy, red-leather decked, AC-blasted lounge area.

The restaurant itself is down-home but a little dressed up. The biscuits and gravy are a great starter, and my above pictured brunch was amazing.  And they serve house-made pork butter with their rolls.  It’s a little salty, but quite tasty.

After brunch, our wonderful waiter brought us each a small digestif of Txakoli (pronounced sha-co-LEE).  I can’t remember ever having it before, or even hearing of the grape.  Apparently it’s a specialty in the Spanish Basque country, and it’s exactly the kind of white wine I like – light, refreshing, citrusy, zippy, acidic.  It smelled like Cava and went down like Vinho Verde. I made a point to track some down when I got back.

On Monday, I stopped by Solo Vino on Cathedral Hill [easily the best shop in town if you’re looking to track down a Spanish wine].  Not only did they have 3 different Txakolis but 2 or 3 Txakoli Roses.

Make sure to hit up Solo Vino this week for their Spring Wine Sale – all bottles 20% off through Saturday.  I got the 2009 Amaztoi Txakolina [$15.99 on sale, $19.99 usually] and it’s a wonderful sip.  It’s a very pale shade of straw, slightly fizzy with a nose full of minerals and even a kind of wheat-like quality.  The sip has tingly acidity all over the place with some pears, more herbs and a dry, minerally finish.  It just screams summer wine – try it with seafood or, probably best, all by itself in the 90-degree heat.  Now if I could only track down some of that.

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Started two 1 gallon test batches of cider today.  Each is fermenting in the jugs I bought the juice in, sanitized while it was simmering, and fitted with an air-lock bubble stopper filled with sanitary solution.  I simmered each batch to kill off any ambient yeasts in the juice, but made sure not to let them boil to avoid the pectins setting.  Using two different sweeteners and two different yeasts.  I expect primary fermentation will last about two weeks.  Excited to see how these turn out.

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August has been pretty busy for G Sheaves.  A few mini-vacations, baseball games, concerts – enjoying summer before it’s gone.  So, I do apologize for the lack of posting, but I have been using my time well.  I’ve been developing some new forums and ideas to bring you more of the best wine in the Twin Cities.  I have a bunch of articles in the works – a return tasting at Trader Joe’s, an interview or two, and a profile on the wines of Iowa [no, they don’t make corn wine, I don’t think anyway].  I popped open one such bottle during a recent excursion on Lake Minnetonka with my good friend Dr. Feelgood [below].  Summerset Winery sits on a beautiful tract about 10 miles south of Des Moines.  You’ll hear more about them later.  Their Vidal Blanc is full of herbs and melons, encased in an off-dry medium body – perfect for a thankfully mild evening on the bay.  Pair with SJ’s calzones and ukulele music.

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The Grape that can with Logic absolute
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
The subtle Alchemist that in a Trice
Life’s leaden Metal into Gold transmute.

-Omar Khayyam

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So, you like wine, do you?  Well I do too.  So keep reading this blog and you’ll find recommendations on what wine to buy in the Twin Cities.  That’s all, nothing serious, just musings on wine and life.  And like both, this blog will get better with age.

Thanks for stumbling by, everyone.

G. Sheaves

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