Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay 2010

A good wine does not necessarily have to be an expensive wine. Kendall-Jackson has been America’s number one selling Chardonnay for 20 years now, which means they must be doing something right. And after having a couple glasses from a bottle of 2010 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, I must say they are definitely doing something very right. This wine has an incredibly sweet and smooth taste to it, and at a price of only $15 for a bottle, you can’t go wrong.

Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay 2010 is made from 100% Jackson Estates Grown grapes from vineyards along California’s cool coastal growing regions. The grapes that produce this Chardonnay are grown in vineyards in Monterey County, Santa Barbara County, and Sonoma County. The grapes that come from each of these acclaimed winemaking regions provide their own unique flavor to this Chardonnay. The grapes from Monterey County add citrus and lime flavors, while those grown in Santa Barbara County provide mango and pineapple flavors, and those from Sonoma County supply flavors of apple and pear. After being whole cluster pressed, the wine is fermented and aged in French and American oak barrels to impart richness and complexity.

This Chardonnay is bursting with tropical flavors such as pineapple, mango, and citrus. There are also subtle notes of pear and apple. These sweet fruit flavors are balanced by the oak it was aged in to produce a very smooth taste with hints of honey and vanilla. There is also a hint of toasted oak.

Overall, this is a very good white wine. Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay 2010 is a good choice for any occasion. This wine proves that a good bottle of wine doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. If you have ever had this or a similar wine, leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of it. And if you haven’t tried this wine, go out and buy a bottle, you won’t regret it.


Jack versus Jim

glass of whiskeyJack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee whiskey and Jim Beam White Label Kentucky bourbon are both classic American whiskeys and the two best selling American whiskeys. Jack Daniel’s is produced in Lynchburg, Tennessee while Jim Beam is made in Clermont, Kentucky. Both whiskeys have a long history and both have a reputation for setting the standard for what a good whiskey tastes like.

These two distilled spirits are manufactured in a similar way and both are made from corn, rye, barley malt, and spring water. They are also both aged in new, charred-oak barrels. The main difference in the way these two whiskeys are made is that Jack Daniel’s adds another step in between distilling and barreling, where the whiskey is filtered through ten feet of sugar maple charcoal to develop a mellow and smooth taste. Both whiskeys are 80 proof, which equals 40% alcohol by volume.

Jack Daniel’s has a smooth and sweet taste with very little bite behind it. It has a sweet vanilla and caramel taste that is balanced by the oak it was aged in. Its smooth taste is no doubt due to the charcoal mellowing process. The Jack Daniel’s has a slight sweet maple flavor to it.

Jim Beam has a mild bite that warms your throat as it goes down but still has a good flavor to it. It has a fruity character that almost tastes like apple. It has more of an oaky taste than Jack Daniel’s. The Jim Beam has a slight cinnamon spice finish to it.

Both of these whiskeys are classic drinks and good choices for entry level whiskeys. The Jim Beam is normally a little cheaper being about $19 per bottle while Jack Daniel’s is usually around $21 for a bottle. Overall, they are both very good whiskeys but I personally like Jack Daniel’s flavor a little more than Jim Beam. What’s your opinion? Leave a comment and tell me which one you like better. Cheers!

Home Brewing Made Easy

A few months ago I tried a home brewed beer for the first time and was amazed at how sweet and good it was, so I decided I would try making my own. About a month ago, I got a True Brew home brewing kit that included all of the equipment you need to brew 5 gallons of your own beer. The kit contains an informative handbook, a fermenting bucket, a bottling bucket with a spigot, a brush for cleaning bottles, an adhesive thermometer, a glass hydrometer, a 3-piece airlock for the top of the fermenter, a bottle capper tool, siphon equipment with a hose, and a container of B-Brite sanitizing cleanser.

I also got a starter kit to make an all malt brown ale. The ingredients in the brown ale kit include 1 large can of unhopped dark malt extract, 2 pounds of dark dried malt extract, 1 ounce of hop pellets, 1 pack of ale yeast, and 5 ounces of priming sugar. The ingredients to brew your own beer can be purchased in a prepackaged kit like this one or you can buy ingredients separately at a home brewing store, such as the Reno Homebrewer. If you buy your ingredients separately, you can mix and match and customize your recipe.

To start off with, you should clean and sanitize all of your equipment. After you clean and sanitize a large 6+ quart stainless steel pot, fill it with 1-1½ gallons of water and bring it to a boil. After the water starts boiling, stir in both types of malt extract and the hops until the malt extracts dissolve. Continue boiling the mixture for at least 30 minutes. Next, fill your fermenting vessel with 3 gallons of cold water and slowly mix in the hot malt/hop mixture. Fill with cold water until you have 5 gallons. You now have unfermented beer called wort. Let your wort cool to less than 90 degrees F. Once the wort has cooled you can add the yeast and put the lid with the airlock on top of the fermentation vessel. Now you can sit back and relax while the yeast gets to work. Fermentation will generally take about a week, and then you’ll be ready to bottle your beer.

To prepare for bottling, clean and sanitize your bottles and bottling equipment. Heat 1 cup of water and the priming sugar in a small saucepan, this sugar syrup will be used to carbonate the beer. Next, siphon the beer from the fermentation vessel into the bottling bucket with the spigot. As the beer is flowing into the bottling bucket, mix in the sugar syrup. Once all the beer is in the bottling bucket, attach one end of the hose to the spigot and the other end to the bottle filler and fill your bottles. Now you can cap the bottles. Finally, place the beer in a cool dark place for about 4 weeks to allow it to condition. After aging for 4 weeks, you’re ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Now that you know how, try brewing your own batch. If you have your own home brewing story, share it in the comments below. Cheers!008

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse = Good Beer and Good Food

For this post, I will talk about one of my favorite places to get some good beer and good food, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. There are two locations in the Reno/Sparks area, one in Sparks by the Legends shopping area off of Sparks Boulevard, and the other in south Reno off of South Virginia Street in the Summit Sierra shopping center. Both locations have the same food and drink menus so either one is a great choice.

Last Tuesday, I went to the Sparks location for dinner and a couple beers. I started off with an Irish-style ale called BJ’s Jeremiah Red. This beer won a silver medal in Strong Ales at the 1996 Great American Beer Festival, and numerous other gold, silver, and bronze medals at other various beer competitions. This refreshing ale has a complex malt flavor that undoubtedly comes from being brewed with a blend of five imported specialty malts. BJ’s Jeremiah Red has a sweet, almost fruity aroma and taste.

The next beer I tried was a Hopstorm IPA. I personally really like India Pale Ales and other hoppy beers, so I really enjoyed this one. While the Jeremiah Red focused more on the sweetness of the malts, the Hopstorm IPA was centered on the balanced bitterness and sweetness that comes from the six hop varieties used to brew it. The Hopstorm IPA has an intense hop aroma and taste, which I found quite tasty.

While both beers were fairly different from each other, they both paired nicely with the New Orleans Jambalaya I ordered for dinner. The jambalaya was a delicious combination of blackened chicken, shrimp, and andouille sausage, mixed with sautéed bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes served over rice pilaf and topped with green onions. It is a pretty spicy dish, which made the sweet beers add a nice balance to the meal.

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse is a nice and casual place for lunch, dinner, or some good drinks and beers. So if you’re looking for a good spot to have some great beer and food, you should try BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. If you have been there before, leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of it. And if you haven’t been there before, go out and try it.

Introduction to beer, wine, and other fine beverages

Hello all! My name is Vance Alm and I consider myself a bit of a beer, wine, and liquor connoisseur so I am going to be blogging about various beers, wines, and liquors. A few years ago I was fortunate enough to be able to go to Germany and experience the full range of these beverages in the homeland of beer. On this blog I will be giving some background information on the drinks I talk about along with discussing my thoughts and opinions about different drinks. I will also talk a little about some bars, restaurants, and other places to get a good drink.

My usual main drink of choice is beer because it is cold, refreshing, and good for almost any occasion. I appreciate all kinds of beer from dark porters to light pilsners and everything in between. For hot summer days, light pilsners are normally a good choice and for colder winter evenings, I usually prefer more full bodied ales. The main ingredients in any beer are hops, malted barley, yeast, and of course water.

Wine is often considered a more sophisticated drink but I think it is becoming more and more popular with younger people. Wine was often thought of as a drink more for wealthy individuals but I think wine is a beverage that anybody can enjoy. Wine comes in a multitude of different varieties, from a dry red zinfandel to a sweet white riesling. Different wines are made with different types of grapes.

Liquors encompass a huge variety of drinks, such as brandy, bourbon, and gin just to name a few. Liquors are often used to make cocktails but really good liquors are best served straight or on the rocks, such as a fine cognac or scotch whiskey. Different liquors are made with a wide variety of different ingredients; brandy and cognac are made with grapes, rum is made from sugarcane juice or molasses, and whiskey is made with various grains such as corn, rye, malted barley, or wheat.

I really enjoy all of these different drinks and appreciate each type of beverage for their own uniqueness. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and opinions and hope to hear back from readers so please feel free to leave comments. Cheers!