Season Opener Line-UpMay 2, 2019
With April showers under our belt and leaning in to May, this is always an exciting time to see what’s new and interesting in the line-up of beverage offerings this year.
Want to know the hottest tequila you should be sipping on Cinco de Mayo?
What crazy concoction will the craft brewing Canadians think of next, eh?
Looking for delish alternatives to last year’s Sauvignon Blanc and Malbec options?
You will find out the answers to these questions, and more, as Advanced Sommelier Jenny Benzie highlights a handful of selections that will be sure to add some interesting conversation to your next social gathering.
UNO, DOS, TRES TEQUILA
The evolution of tequila has left behind the dreaded worm and unnecessary additives, making it a cleaner, leaner, healthier spirit to imbibe. The visionary behind 123 Organic Tequila, Master Distiller David Ravandi, took this one step further in making sustainability a hallmark of his brand. Each hand numbered bottle is crafted from recycled glass and labeled with recycled paper, which is printed with natural soy ink. The bottle is filled by hand with 100% organic Blue Agave tequila that has been distilled in small batches with no fillers.
123 ORGANIC UNO BLANCO TEQUILA was specifically made with wine enthusiasts in mind. It offers delicate floral aromas and complex mineral flavors that make it great for sipping on its own or mixing for your favorite tequila based cocktail. This silver style offering sees no oak and is unaged, being bottled straight after distillation. It’s clean, crisp, and will make those who swear off tequila want to try it again.
Recommended Pairing: Tequila takes over the Bloody Mary this weekend as a Sunday Funday staple.
BEER AS AN ART FORM
The craft brew scene in Canada these days is nothing like what was once portrayed in the classic movie Strange Brew. The Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery in Ontario is leading the Craft Beer Revolution, which defies the monoculture of most macro-brews and is not timid about creating artistry of hops. Founder Peter Chiodo started as most craft brewers do in a basement somewhere, typically as a broke college student. His passion for local, fresh craft beer grew as did his talents and respect of what he was making by hand.
THE FLYING MONKEYS LIVE TRANSMISSION MILKSHAKE IPA is a must-try for those who seek utmost creativeness in their beer drinking endeavors. The name of the beer style is most apropos. This beer is made with Pale 2 Row Wheat Malt Flaked Oats malt, which gives it a malty like flavor, along with an addition of coconut white tea and dried orange peel that makes it taste similar to a Dreamsicle. This is a funfest of flavors found in a whimsically decorated 16-ounce can, conveniently sold in 4 packs.
Recommended Pairing: The same salty, fried foods you would pair with a non-alcoholic milkshake!
A HOP TO IT WHITE WINE
White wines from Spain are a great alternative when looking for a selection in the Anything But Chardonnay category. Rueda is a region located on the banks of the Duero river in the Castilla y Leon province, northeast of Madrid. This area is allowed by law to only make white wine, therefore being their specialty and really good at it. The grape used here is the indigenous Verdejo, an uncommon light white that is not typically found outside of Spain. Move over Sauvignon Blanc, here comes something else!
MENADE VERDEJO RUEDA is the pinnacle of what a wine from this grape variety and region should taste like. The three siblings of Familia Sanz come from a long line of grapegrowers and winemakers of the area, yet they have crafted something above and beyond what most producers make here. They have converted their property to Certified Organic farming, realize the necessity of using old vines (some up to 100 years old), and allow natural yeast fermentations to create complex and satisfying wines. This wine is as pure as Verdejo can get, with aromas of white fruit, moderate acidity and minerality on the palate, with a stellar finish.
Recommended Pairing: Sit and sip this on a freshly mowed lawn while enjoying the fresh air and a bit of sunshine.
PORTUGAL REDS ARE MORE THAN JUST PORT
Typically when someone mentions Portuguese red wine, you would automatically think only of the world-reknowned fortified wine Port. The deeply colord and intensely flavored grapes used to make Port, however, are just as tasty when made on their own in a traditional wine style. Touriga Nacional is one such grape that is actually grown and made into wine in several regions of Portugal. The large Alentejo region, located in the southern part of the country east of Lisbon and above the Algarve region, is one such area where this wine is produced.
FITAPRETA TOURIGA VAI NUA “UNOAKED” is a wine that aptly reflects the character of the region from which it hails, along with the structure of this local grape variety. Winemaker António Maçanita traveled the world learning how to make wine before heading back to his homeland to plant his winemaking roots, per se. Vai Nua translates to ‘goes naked’ in which there is no oak used to make this wine sourced from sustainably grown wines. The wine does see partial carbonic maceration, leaving it with a fresh, slight delightful spritz that makes this wine perfect for those who still like to drink red wine in the summer. Malbec lovers take note of this as an alternative selection.
Recommended Pairing: It’s time to get the grill out and practice your perfect steak sear marks with this wine.
While season has just begun and summer is on the horizon, be on the look out for more sipping all-stars throughout the summer. Rosés are sure to be in full-swing next month!