A Night at Canal’s – February 6th, 2013

Canal's - Mays Landing, NJMy thirst for wine knowledge is never quenched. There’s always a class, a tasting, a new winery to visit or an event going on. So tonight after work I steered my Japanese econo-chariot oceanward to get out of town & try something new.

It has been an evening of firsts for me:

  • First drive through Mays Landing proper (I didn’t know there was actually a “town” here … thought it was mostly diners and gas stations).
  • First time eating at Popeye’s (I thought it was miles better than KFC).
  • First time (since I had my learner’s permit, anyway) that I went the wrong way down a divided stretch of road (I NEVER want to hear a NJ resident complain about PA traffic signage ever again).

The decor is anything but boring here.It’s interesting how I’ve travelled around the edges of Mays Landing dozens of times on the way to the shore, and never realized how big the area is, or the amount of stuff that’s actually here.

AND, it was also my first visit to Canal’s renowned liquor mart on Black Horse Pike. This large service-driven outlet has an enormous selection of wine, beer and spirits, complete with a drive through lane. The owner has decorated the place with life-like mannequins which gives the place an unique, though freaky, fun house kind of vibe. My fellow wineaux Bob, previously from Passion Vines, recently came on board at Canal’s to enhance the wine presence here. He’s hosting Canal’s series of free wine classes on Wednesday nights.

Tonight, Spanish whites.

Tonight's lineup.Four selections were on the card, representing a good cross section of affordable Spanish whites. Since I’m typically biased towards reds, I didn’t think there was much I would get out of this. I have an open mind though, damn it, so here I am. And Bob proved me wrong.

First up was a 2009 Shaya Old Vine Verdejo (Canal’s $10.99). Verdejo is similar to Pinot Grigio. A dry, crisp Summer wine with hints of apple. No oak. It was nicely complemented by the flavorful sheep cheese that was provided to break up the palate between tastes.

Bob Miller, Canal's newest Rock Star.Next we sampled the 2011 La Cana Albarino (Canal’s $12.99). This was my favorite of the four. A more powerful wine than the Shaya. It had a nice, light yellow color and a long citrusy finish. A good choice to go with seafood dishes.

Third, we tried the 2011 Marques de Caceres White (Canal’s $8.99). This wine was a stark contrast to the Albarino. The pale, straw color paralleled the flat, earthy taste that I picked up.

The final selection had an interesting taste and was more difficult to categorize, a 2006 Sierra Cantabria Rioja Organza (Canal’s $16.99). A wide range of opinions from the class on this one, especially on the nose. From flowers & tobacco to boardwalk caramel popcorn. Medium bodied and spicy.

The culture of wine mystery is finally opening up thanks to services like these free classes that Canal’s offers. It’s important to remember that even though wine can be intimidating, trust your palate. Drink what you like, but keep an open mind.

Love to all of my readers.

Next week, Spanish Reds. Now we’re talking.


Canal’s Mays Landing
The Shore

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