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What day is this… man?

October 18, 2020 Leave a comment

“We may be living in Hell World,
but no one said the comedy was bad.”
– Michael Brooks

Hey Free Rangers,

A bit of chaos this week. The numbers were great, and too much business is a dubious thing about which to complain, but there was also a significant uptick in people ignoring our signage, and coming in 3 or 4 people at a time (often to  buy one bottle). As we’ve been keeping it to 4 people or less for social distancing, it doesn’t take much for a line to form, and for crowd control to become an issue. I am well aware that 99.9% of people who do this kind of thing are not any of you faithful regulars (and/or e-mail readers) that keep us going, but I rarely actually get a chance to properly bitch at the people causing the issues, while said chaos is underway, so thanks for letting me vent. Conversely, I don’t blame you, if you’ve already skipped ahead to the sale at the bottom.

It would definitely help if any of you who know ahead of time what you’re seeking would purchase online for pick-up: www.FreeRangeBrooklyn.com. And huge thanks to those of you who continue to go this route. We’ve gotten much more efficient with picking and packing time, though deliveries don’t always go out as quickly as we’d like- especially on weekends. Sorry about that, and thank you all for your continued support and patience. 8 months into this pandemic, there is still no cohesive national response or policy, and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, regardless of what the Orange Orangutan in the Oval (and all form of online idiot) has to say. We are all very much still in it together.

It always amazes me how much outside life alters the wine world. And while it’s easy to see and quantify how a popular film like Sideways can increase the perception and consumption of Pinot Noir (and brutally slander Merlot), completely unrelated events can also have outsized effect. While I don’t have numbers to back it up, I feel that Ponzi Vineyards took a perceptual hit when Madoff’s unconscionable shenanigans, widely shorthanded as a Ponzi scheme, put a new dark spotlight on the name, regardless of the quality and sustainability of the wines. The name of Charles Ponzi is synonymous with money draining scams, and has been since the ‘20s, but this caused new focus on the old term via this widely publicized newer thief. The Ponzis of Vineyard fame are not related to the infamous Charles. Sadly, Comedy Central has Drunk History episodes locked down, such that I couldn’t link the applicable scene. Real news.

Regardless of the reason, Ponzi’s Reserve Chardonnay has been consistently discounted in our market for such a period of time, that for multiple vintages we’ve been selling it for about fifteen bucks less than the vineyard charges on site (and on website). This is an absolutely exemplary American Chard that is the perfect antidote for people who think they hate Chardonnay, because they’ve only had Kendall-Jackson (which tastes like a buttered 2×4, smothered in a sauce of balsa wood and Werther’s Originals), and we’ve been ecstatic to be able to offer it at $30 per bottle.

Very recently, the same local distributor put closeout pricing on some of Ponzi’s rarest single vineyard wines, and I’m almost embarrassed to admit how little we paid for all remaining Ponzi Chard Aurora Vineyard 2014 in New York. Good Chard ages quite well, and 2014 was a particularly long lived vintage across the board for Willamette, OR. If you’d like to buy some of this same wine from the two most recent vintages, Ponzi has them on their website for $65 per bottle (and worth every penny). However, we have the absolutely delicious 2014 on the shelf at $44, and this week, we can offer it to you at $35/btl, or a 6-pack at $29/btl plus a FREE tote and FREE bonus bottle from my personal collection (which could be literally anything)!

(!) CLICK HERE to access the hidden sale page (!)

Ponzi Chard Aurora Vineyard 2014
sale: $35                                    retail: $44

6-pack Ponzi Chard Aurora Vineyard 2014 + FREE BOTTLE from my personal collection (+ free wine tote)!
sale: $174 ($29/btl)            retail: $264

*** This week only, as supplies last! ***
* No other discounts apply.

Cheers,

Jack
Proprietor
Free Range Wine & Spirits

Categories: Uncategorized

… And I feel fine.

October 4, 2020 Leave a comment

Hello Free Rangers,

Cops continue to meet protests against their unregulated lawless violence with more unregulated lawless violence, and chemical weapons banned by the Geneva Convention. The main structures of our government and democracy have been irrevocably deliberately eroded, and thousands of career non-partisan public servants have been pushed out, being replaced by unqualified partisan operatives, or by no one at all. Our President and Attorney General are openly speaking about how they mean to subvert the upcoming election, with or without the help of hostile foreign powers. Securities markets continue to flirt with record highs, while more and more Americans tumble into poverty. The global pandemic only seems to be still raging in a few places, but our country is one. The American judiciary is overrun with bible literalists who will be adjudicating to the benefit of faceless corporations, and a bastardized imagining of Jesus, as long as most of us shall live.

Yup, Free Rangers, it really is that bad out there. Western capitalist democracy is in real trouble, largely because of the unchecked capitalism, and the single-minded determination of the religious right. I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit scared, and am kind of kicking myself for not selling this joint early in the year, so I could vote early, and be far away for the inevitable dustup. But we’re still here on Atlantic Ave, slinging booze, gearing up, and hunkering down for gifting season, assuming that’s a thing that still happens this year. #2020 Regardless, I can confirm that the whiskey still works.

In wine, whiskey, or any other category of tasty intoxicant, there is no substitute for palate experience, especially comparative tasting. I have learned an amazing amount about the variations to be found in the glass, do to tiny variations of what takes place in barrel (true, not all wine & spirits involve barrel aging). One of my greatest revelations of the last decade was that the age of the whiskey barrel has less to do with the flavor of the finished bourbon, than the floor of the rickhouse. After our tasting with Heaven Hill to choose our second Elijah Craig Barrel, we noticed that all of our favorites were from the 5th and 6th floors, regardless of warehouses or age of the barrel; always the top two floors. The higher the floor, the closer to the ceiling, the greater the heat and pressure changes (daily and seasonally) of the barrel, and the quicker and/or more vigorous the aging of the spirit inside. Air flow within each warehouse is also a huge factor, which is why the barrels that end up being selected for Heaven Hill’s very darkest, richest, and most exclusive Bourbon (William Heavenhill), always come from the same locations in the same warehouses.

It’s often tempting to simply pick the oldest barrel offered, as the higher the age statement, the more we can charge, but we generally go for the best/most intriguing barrel (or two) of the bunch. And the last two times we tasted Elijah Craig barrel samples, the best/most interesting barrels were the 8 year(s). For the first time ever, we have two exceptional single barrels, of the same age, bottled in the same year, on the shelf simultaneously. The barrel that arrived earlier this year is an Elijah Craig 8 year Bourbon from the 5th floor of Warehouse N, while the barrel that just arrived is an Elijah Craig 8 year Bourbon from the 6th floor of Warehouse X.

I hesitate to give too many tasting notes, as coming up with one’s own is half the fun, but both Derek and I find the Warehouse N to be lighter and more yellow visually, and have more prevalent dry, woody, and yeasty characteristics, with a slightly softer finish. The Warehouse X bottling comes off as more fruit forward, with cherry notes up front, and a spicier, bolder finish, with a touch more bite. For the price of 2 bottles of the regular Elijah Craig small batch (one of the best values in world whiskey), you can grab a tasting pair of our two Elijah Craig 8yr Single Barrels.

(!) CLICK HERE to access the hidden sale page (!)

Elijah Craig Free Range 8yr Bourbon 2-pack
sale: $58                        retail: $72

*** This week only, as supplies last! ***
* No other discounts apply.

Cheers,

Jack
Proprietor
Free Range Wine & Spirits

Categories: Uncategorized