Monday, August 11, 2014

Decibel Wines USA Release Party and the Beautiful McCrossen's Tavern

It's not everyday you hear a story about a person who picks up, moves to another country and starts training to follow their dreams, and yet that's the story of Daniel Brennan and his Decibel Wines. A New Jersey native who once managed an indie rock band, turned himself into a wine maker and moved to New Zealand. He returned home this trip to debut and tour some of his most recent wines and This Drunk Bitch was at the launch party hosted by McCrossen's Tavern.
McCrossen's Tavern, a family owned bar and reastaurant in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia. In fact it's Daniel Brennan's own family who are the proprietors of the warm and welcoming tavern on 20th just south of Spring Garden.
We showed up a bit early for the tasting, and were seated at a table in the dining area for the first part of the adventure. This was a first visit for both myself and Tara so we spent much time eagerly looking at the menu and checking out the fixtures. The dining area is a great space, I love the fireplace (though it's useless in the summer), the peeakaboo windows that allow you to see through to the bar and the warm wood floors.

This event was a special debut of two new wines for the Decibel label and included pairings for each of the 5 wines available . The new vintages were the 2014 Amplified a bold and sassy white that I quite enjoyed and a 2013 Pinot Noir that was surprisingly refreshing!

We decided early that we were going to need to try each of the pairings because neither myself nor Tara had
been to McCrossen's before. We started off soft with the whites and their pairs. The Sauvignon Blanc and Scallops got us started. The scallops were cooked to the perfect temperature and the tomatillo sauce had a spice to it that really brought the dish full circle, the ideal pairing for the vintage.

Next up was the 2014 Amplified and Shrimp Ceviche. On its own, the 2014 Amplified was great- bold and tart with just a little sweetness. Also, the ceviche was really delicious too- bright and acidic, and I loved the punch from the radish and the cool, smooth finish of the avocado mousse. However, we weren't really crazy about the pairing. I thought it brought out too much sweetness in the 2014 Amplified and made it feel very one-note, which this wine most certainly is not. I will say that I give McCrossen's an A for effort though, as that wine does seem it would be difficult for pairings.

Give those wines a swirl and a sip and we are onto the red pairings. 

Our third was the 2011 Pinot Noir paired with Duck breast. The duck was cooked really perfectly, served with an herb salad and lovely cherry jus that was pretty good on its own, but the 2011 Pinot Noir really made it sing. I can usually take or leave Pinot Noirs as I find them to be a little too light and sweet for my tastes, but this one was very unique and more complex than most Pinot Noirs I've had. The sweetness in the jus allowed a lot of the savory fruit notes in the Pinot Noir to shine through.

I really feel like we saved the best for last in this instance because our final pairing were both our favorite things! The Smoked Tomato Tartare and the 2011 Malbec. Oh sweet baby Jesus, the way that wine complimented that delicious tomato tartare is exactly what these pairings are for. Stand alone the dish was perfectly rounded, but then you take a sip and a swish of the Malbec and the flavor profile gains this complexity that was so beautiful. It's pairings like this that wine snobs dream of and McCrossen's and Decibel delivered. - Please note I'm not a wine snob, I'm a food snob and a whiskey snob and a drunk bitch. 

I absolutely loved the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc and I'm not the biggest fan of whites. I could just see myself sipping on this perfect chilled white wine on a summer night. Keep in mind these words are coming from someone who is not typically a fan of whites. I like my wines like I like my fellas- strong, spicy and with a big finish. *wink* However, I really enjoyed this vintage and I will be drinking it again, soon. The absolute hit for me was the 2011 Malbec, it was probably the most perfect red I've had in awhile. I drank way too much of it, as did Tara and This Drunk Photographer. We were giddy on wine and it was lovely. Mmmmm Decibel Malbec. - S

I am also going to agree that the real winner of the night was the 2011 Malbec. I'm a huge fan of bold, viscous wines and this delivered in a big way. I do like a number of white wines as well, and New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs tend to be one of my favorites (especially when paired with scallops!) so I was really in heaven with the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. The pairings were very enjoyable, starting light and refreshing and finishing bold and smoky. It appears that Sue and I have very similar tastes in wine, which I'm sure will make for several wine-drunk adventures in the future.  - T

After our tasting, we decided to hang out at the bar and let This Drunk Photographer do what she does. She nabbed some really beautiful photos that you can check out on our Flickr. We also took some time to chat with Daniel and his brother Jamie who are both very fine fellas. Charming, gracious and funny, we were so glad to make their acquaintance and thrilled to have found McCrossen's which we both plan to visit again soon for dinner and several drinks. Always several drinks! We also noticed that McCrossen's has a pretty attractive little Happy Hour Menu which includes items like $3 Duck Fat popcorn, $5 select wines and a $6 Classic Negroni.

Stay drunk, Bitches! 

*Disclosure - our tastings were compliments of Punch Media
but all opinions are our very own, honest, albeit drunk opinions. 


  1. I like going to wine tastings.. this one sounds like allot of fun!

  2. That sounds like it was a fun night with lots of tasting samples and pairings. My kind of night!

  3. I've never been to this place I must add it to my list as I don't get over to the Fairmont area all that much.

  4. Looks like an awesome place! i'm not a huge wine person but the food looks really good.