Sunday School
Sunday, February 26, 2017

Learn about and enjoy a different not-so-common wine, cheese, and beer every Sunday at incredibly low prices. School was never this delicious. Limit one each per guest at the Sunday School price, and please, no returns: if you try it, you buy it (and we think you’ll like it!)

WINE Mencía, “Pétalos del Bierzo,” Descendientes de J. Palacios, ’13
Bierzo, Spain

The luxe Priorat region is lavished with attention for their big, bold Spanish reds. But after achieving success there, intrepid winemaker Alvaro Palacios found himself dreaming of the steep hillsides and ancient vineyards of Mencía in the rural region of Bierzo on the other side of the country. Geographically, Bierzo recalls Burgundy’s Cote d’Or or Piedmont’s Langhe hills, with an unusual combination of diverse schist-based soils and old vines, ripe for an experienced producer to get to work. And get to work he did, partnering with his nephew Ricardo Perez (a winemaker of some repute himself, including stints at Château Margaux and Pétrus). Together, they created Descendientes de J. Palacios, named for Alvaro’s father and Ricardo’s grandfather, producing artful reds from a handful of old-vine parcels that are 60 to 100 years old. Today’s was their first, “Pétalos de Bierzo,” a supple wine that’s vinted for immediate appeal with a rich, velvety texture. Take that, Priorat.
$14 glass · $7 glass

CHEESE Camembert Fermier
Normandy, France · Cow-P

Let’s talk about Brie vs. Camembert. You could be forgiven for mistaking them: both venerable French fromages are generally made with the same kind of milk, the same molds, the same rennet, and even the same aging time and conditions. But there are a few cool differences that just might help you pick a favorite. For starters, Brie is produced in Ile-de-France, just outside of Paris, while Camembert comes from more rustic Normandy. The terriors are similar, but two other fascinating factors emphasize their distinctive properties: size and history. Big brother Brie has a reputation as a favorite among French royalty, while Camembert was invented in the 1790s as a cheese to be sold at country markets. To that end, it’s typically smaller – in this case, eight ounces a wheel compared to Brie’s average two to three lbs. – and produced by smaller farmers. The size also affects its flavor, since bloomy rind cheeses ripen from the outside in. As a result, Brie tends to stay subtler, thanks to its larger size, while Camembert has an earthier, more farmhouse-y flavor. Brie’s creamy sophistication is a smart counterpoint to Camembert’s distinctive rustic charm, and as the saying goes, we can’t eat just one.
$7½ · $4

BEER Einstök Wee Heavy
Akureyri, Iceland · 8.0%

Sixty miles south of the Arctic Circle, rain and glacial run-off are filtered through ancient lava fields, yielding water so pure, of course someone decided to brew beer with it. That someone was Baldur Karason of Iceland’s Einstök. A former food scientist tasked with quality control at Viking Brewery, he left to seek additional education in Scotland. Why Scotland? Actually, it’s likely that he felt right at home there: both islands are rich in Viking history, and he returned from Edinburgh ready to pursue his dream of being a brewmaster. The most obvious result of his international travels is this Icelandic Scotch Ale. Using locally farmed and smoked barley was a running start, but he took it one step further, spicing the ale with Icelandic angelica, an herb so valuable that the Vikings used it as currency. Richly malt-y and caramel-y up front, this beer lingers with savory smoke on the finish. We can’t imagine a better beer for a winter Sunday.
$8 / 12 oz · $4½ / 12 oz