Japanese Whisky: Why You're Missing Out

 

by Doruk Gurunlu

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Japanese whisky is relatively new, tracing its beginnings to 1870 and its commercial offering to 1924. Two of the most influential men in this enterprise were Shinjiro Torii and Masataka Taketsuru. Torii was a successful businessman who owned a beverage company that sold sake and other spirits, but his life's work was to make Japanese whisky for Japanese people. He built the first distillery outside Kyoto and hired Masataka Taketsuru who had worked in several distilleries and studied the art of distilling in Scotland. This experience was rare at that time and was key to the establishment of the Japanese operation known as Kotobukiya. The location of the distillery was important because the area was famous for its excellent water.  Although Masataka left Kotobukiya in 1934 to open his own distillery, Nikka, the partnership of these two men was critical to creating Japanese whisky which developed its own unique style, varying from lean and dry to fat and smoky. 

Scotland has always set the standard for whisky making and it was long thought that the Japanese product could not measure up. Before 2000, their market was almost entirely domestic. This changed in 2001 when Nikki's 10-year Yoichi single malt won "Best of the Best" at Whiskey Magazine's awards. Many gold medals followed and these days, when Japanese whiskies compete in blind tastings, they often best the Scottish brands.

One feature which is unique to Japan whisky production is that, unlike Scotland, distilleries in Japan don't trade single malt whiskies with each other. That causes producers to build different model of distillation such as, eclectic still shapes, to use peated and unpeated barley, experiment with different yeast strains, fermentation, cut points and cask options.

At Pescado, we have different styles of Japanese whiskies. If you like single malt whisky, you can try fruity, juicy Yamazaki or the floral and spicy Hakushu which provide a good gateway to Japanese whisky. If you prefer blended whisky, Hibiki would be a good option for you. Let us help you explore the exciting world of Japanese whisky and see what you've been missing!

 
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DORUK GURUNLU

Originally from Turkey, Doruk Gurunlu has lived in the United States since 2005 when he came to South Walton. Doruk has many passions – wine being one of them. He truly enjoys talking about wine with his friends and guests at Pescado in a way that makes the knowledge of wine accessible and relatable.

The Perfect Ending

 

by Doruk Gurunlu

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Dessert wines have, from the first recording of wine making, been the favored wines. These sweet wines relied on sugar as an important preservative in their production. Long ago, sugar was in short supply so it was considered a special treat when wine was made with the sweet substance. Today, dessert wines are sometimes just an afterthought because sugar is no longer exotic. Quality dessert wines are the most cost-intensive wines to make but certainly some of the most loved. The creation of these dessert wines is a complex yet rewarding process. We believe tasting great sweet wines can be a transporting experience. At Pescado, we pair our desserts with dessert wine flights. We ask you to pick your dessert and we offer three different dessert wines to complement the dish. We explain how those wines were made so that you can embrace the experience. For fruity, citrus desserts, we offer a flight of Sauternes, Tokaj and ice wine, which are from different countries. We recognize which grapes and style will pair well with your dessert. For chocolate desserts, we have a flight of Tawny port, Ruby port and Banyuls. These are very different styles of port, with Banyuls being my personal favorite. When it's chocolate, Banyuls rules. We can also offer wine pairing options for our cheese board. Please ask your server about pairing options so we can make your dining experience more memorable.

 
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DORUK GURUNLU

Originally from Turkey, Doruk Gurunlu has lived in the United States since 2005 when he came to South Walton. Doruk has many passions – wine being one of them. He truly enjoys talking about wine with his friends and guests at Pescado in a way that makes the knowledge of wine accessible and relatable.

The Unforgettable Wines of Barolo, Piedmont

 

by Doruk Gurunlu

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There is an old saying, “things get better with age” and this is definitely the case for wines and grapes from Barolo, Piedmont in Northern Italy. Tucked between the Alps and Apennines, bordering France and Switzerland, this is a haven for wine lovers with a taste for full-bodied wines with robust tannin and high acidity.

The Barolo Zone differs from other wine regions, even the neighboring Barbaresco Zone. Both use Nebbiolo red wine grapes, which take time to ripen because of cooler temperatures found in the Barolo Zone. Due to the overall climate, soil types, and altitude, the Nebbiolo produces a lightly-colored red wine which can be highly tannic in youth with scents of tar and roses. Traditionally, as they age, these wines take on a characteristic brick-orange hue at the rim of the glass and mature to reveal other aromas and flavors including violets, tar, wild herbs, cherries, raspberries, truffles, tobacco, and prunes. In recent years, advancements in farming and cultivating have made these wines available to drink sooner than reserve wines.

While visiting Pescado, you can find an array of Barolo wines perfect for your evening. Our in-house sommelier suggests you try, Damilano Barolo "Cerequio ". This wine has soft tannins and ripe fruits and pairs great with our Lamb Lollipops as an appetizer. For an entree, pairing the Massolino "Parafada" or Vietti "Lazzarito" with a Tomahawk ribeye, lamb shanks or NY strip will surely please meat and wine lovers alike.

Although most Barolo wines take time to mature, the wait is worth it as you can be assured of an unforgettable experience.

 
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DORUK GURUNLU

Originally from Turkey, Doruk Gurunlu has lived in the United States since 2005 when he came to South Walton. Doruk has many passions – wine being one of them. He truly enjoys talking about wine with his friends and guests at Pescado in a way that makes the knowledge of wine accessible and relatable.

Beer is the New Black

 

by Doruk Gurunlu

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Few beverages are as closely tied to history, culture, technology, sociology and evolving human taste and trends as beer.

Beer is an alcoholic beverage made from malted cereal grains such as barley that are flavored with hops, brewed, and finally fermented by the action of yeast. Although brewers can add almost anything to beer, there are four essential building blocks- malt, water, hops and yeast.

  • MALT aka” the soul of beer”: Wine grapes have sugar ready and waiting for the yeast to metabolize but in order to create alcohol in beer, grain needs an extra step to produce fermentable sugar. The grain is allowed to partly germinate by mimicking the plants growth cycle as it gets ready to produce a new shoot or plant. Enzymes begin breaking down carbohydrates stored inside the seed, making them available to be converted into sugar so fermentation can occur. Barley is considered the best grain for brewing but corn, wheat, rice, rye and oat are also used. After malting, the grains are kilned or roasted. This process can make the beer varying shades from very pale to a medium amber to an intense black hue. Also, roasting allows the addition of flavors such as cracker, biscuit, nut, grain, chocolate, coffee, toffee, caramel, raisin, and prune.

     

  • WATER: 85 to 95 % of beer is water thus creating the opportunity to bring flavors like chalk, flint, and sulfur to the brew. Historically, in classic European beer cities, breweries were built close to suitable supplies of good water. In the modern age, with the introduction of industrial water treatment technology, breweries can mimic the water compositions of classic brewing cities.

  • HOPS: There are hundreds of varieties of hops and just like grapes, each has different combination of oils and levels of bitter resins. Germany, England, Belgium, and Czech Republic are considered the classic regions for hops while in the United States, Washington state is the largest producer. Hops can add flavors and bitterness to balance the sweetness of malt and protect the beer from antimicrobial properties. 

  • YEAST: Yeast metabolizes sugar and creates alcohol. There are 4 types of yeast, wild yeast, sour yeast, ale yeast and lager yeast. The first two are rarely used, while ale yeast, aka baker’s yeast, and lager yeast are commonly used. Ale yeast works at warmer temperature and creates fruity, spicy compounds which produce a thick layer of yeast foam close to the top. Lager yeast prefers cool temperatures, sinks at the bottom and creates more subtle and clean flavors.  

At Pescado, we have refreshing local and international lagers, aromatic hefeweizen, mild and easygoing American amber and American ale. We also offer moderately hoppy pilsner or intensely hoppy American pale ale, dark and rich Irish or American stout.  Come see us and we will gladly pair those beers with our menu items. Cheers

 
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DORUK GURUNLU

Originally from Turkey, Doruk Gurunlu has lived in the United States since 2005 when he came to South Walton. Doruk has many passions – wine being one of them. He truly enjoys talking about wine with his friends and guests at Pescado in a way that makes the knowledge of wine accessible and relatable.