This week's list of new and returning products follows a few words about Georgian wine
Preamble by Steve Siciliano
If you have more than a casual relationship with wine you're probably familiar with the major wine regions of the world and can rattle off the grape varietals that grow best in their respective climates. You probably know that pinot noir prefers the cooler temperatures of Burgundy, California's Russian River Valley and the Willamette Valley in Oregon; that Napa, Simi and Sonoma are renown for their Cabs and Chardonnays, that Malbec does exceptionally well in Argentina and that New Zealand produces excellent Sauvignon Blancs. But even the most avid wine aficionado may not be familiar with grape varieties such as Ojaleshi, Saperavi, Mtsvane and Rkatsiteli and might not know that wine has been produced in Georgia for thousands of years.
I'm not talking about the southern U.S. state that has been in the news so much lately but the country that is located in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. I'd like to think that I'm pretty educated when it comes to wine. I'd also like think that I'm fairly knowledgeable about world geography. I have to admit, however, that until recently I had never tried a Georgian wine and until a few days ago I would've had a hard time pinpointing the former Soviet republic on a map.
Georgia is located at the eastern shore of the Black Sea. It is bounded on the north and northeast by Russia, on the east and southeast by Azerbaijan and on the south by Armenia and Turkey. The terrain is largely mountainous and more than a third is covered by forest but there are large swaths in Georgia that have the right conditions for cultivating grapes. According to historians and archeologists wine has been produced there since 6000 BC.
Georgia's long history of wine making revolves around the use of large, egg shaped terracotta containers called qvevri. Georgian winemakers traditionally used these large clay vessels to ferment the pressed grape juice and age the finished wine. In the eastern part of the country where temperatures are moderated by the Black Sea, vintners buried the qvevri underground to age the finished product in a temperature controlled environment. While most small artisan vintners in Georgia still use this ancient wine making technique, only a small percentage of commercial, exported wines are made in this traditional method.
The Georgian wine made from Saperavi grapes that I drank for the first time last week was not produced in the traditional method. It was, none the less, an interesting wine--inky black with a unique herbal bouquet and a ton of ripe fruit. Barb was not a fan so it took me three days to polish off the bottle. It paired well with Indian cuisine, a spicy chicken stir fry and a grilled steak.
Featured Wines of the Week
Schuchmann Pirosmani, 2018, Georgia, $13.99/750ml - A juicy and fruit forward version of Saperavi with notes of fresh cherry, pomegranate and plum balanced with acidity and a tannin. A pleasant easy drinking version of Saperavi with good structure perfect for a wide range of foods. (Source)
Bajta Haloze Belo, 2017, Slovenia, $24.69/750ml - A unique orange wine from the Lower Styria region of Slovenia. Made of four different varieties all fermented separately and blended into a very expressive, slightly pinkish hued amber wine. Prominent notes of cantaloupe and marshmallow, with mild tannins, generous body and yeasty finish. Bottled unfiltered and unfined, pours quite hazy naturally. Fermented with native yeasts and farmed without irrigation. (Source)
Ivica Pilizota Plavina, 2016, Croatia, $18.49/750ml - Plavina is without a doubt Croatia’s most underrated coastal red grape! However, Plavina certainly has its own place and offers something truly unique. When compared to other coastal reds, Plavina is a bit fresher, softer, brighter, more restrained, and livelier, so much so that one would never guess that it comes from a warmer climate on the rocky soils located right in front of the pristine Adriatic Sea. Piližota’s Plavina is a truly Dalmatian wine: lively acidity, fresh red berries and fruit, lower alcohol that isn’t overpowering, a solid tannin structure, with a hint of chocolate and constant undertones of earthiness. (Source)
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Featured Spirits of the Week
Pernod Absinthe, France, $52.59/750ml - The great Pontarlier absinth and anise are distilled after maceration in wine alcohol. The best of the high quality distillate is then macerated again. It includes anise, grand wormwood, petit wormwood, hyssop, and melissa, which provides anise, musk and herbaceous tasting notes. Pernod Absinthe contains no artificial dyes or sugar with the ideal serve being the traditional ritual of ice water cascading over a sugar cube. It is also the perfect ingredient to elevate a cocktail for any occasion. (Source)
Copper & Kings Apple Brandy, Kentucky, $34.09/750ml - A unique New World style American Apple Brandy. Aromatic, complex, with balance, length and depth. We distill unfiltered, unsulfited apple wine (also known as “on the lees”) to maximize fruit intensity and complexity. Our apple wine is sourced from Michigan. (Source)
Romate Brandy de Jerez, Spain, $13.69/750ml - A subtle, nutty, complex Spanish brandy offering up notes of coffee and sherried peels. Good body and value for money. (Source)
New and Returning Products
Austin Brothers Mango Pineapple Smoothie, $4.09/16oz - Based off of a New England style IPA, we go one step further on this beer and brew it with a balanced amount of mango and pineapple with a hint of vanilla to give it a creamy like character that plays into the juicy characters of the New England IPA. (Source)
Bells Hopslam, $3.29/12oz - IPA - Imperial / Double
Brew Detroit There's Nothing Cool About Mopeds, $3.59/16oz - Fret not, moped enthusiasts, we love a good scooter ride! This beer was named after our friend, bartender, and moped enthusiast, Mike V. Double dry-hopped with Citra and Strata, this NEIPA offers a wild ride through citrus, and tropical fruit aroma and flavor. Full bodied and hitting the mark of a NEIPA. (Source)
Brewery Vivant Pothole, $3.69/16oz - A pint of this will help you cope with all those friggin potholes. This is the old version -- the new beer is under Pothole Stout. (Source)
Cigar City Jai Low, $2.19/12oz - Tropical and bright with a full palate of flavor and a potency designed with moderation in mind, Jai Low IPA lowers the intensity of a typical India Pale Ale while maintaining the highest quality and hop flavor possible. (Source)
City Built Afro Punk, $5.49/16oz - Fruited lactose sour with Key Limes, key lime gummys, vanilla, and graham cracker. (Source)
City Built Believe in Dinosaurs, $5.49/16oz - Kveik DDH NE DIPA with Enigma, Cryo Citra, and Nelson Sauvin hops. Insanely juicy. Pungent hop aromas of white wine, dank, orange juice, and raspberries. Silky & pillowy mouthfeel that drinks lighter than the ABV suggests. (Source)
City Built Fifth Street Hooligans, $4.39/16oz - Double dry hopped with Citra, El Dorado, Sabro, Callista, and Befuddlement hops. (Source)
City Built Prague Underground, $2.89/16oz - Pilsner means “from Pilsen” in Czech. This Saaz hopped pilsner gives it a slight herbal spicy note followed with a floral aroma. 5.8% (Source)
Drafting Table Blackberry Tarty Slip, $2.99/16oz - This variant of Tarty Slip Berliner Weisse is brewed with blackberries. It is tart and dry in flavor and has a berry color. (Source)
Drafting Table Only Fools Russian, $5.19/16oz - Only Fools Russian is a blood warming Russian Imperial Stout that is roasty with notes of dark chocolate, dark fruit, and liquorice. (Source)
Greast Lakes Bierwolf, $3.59/16oz - Cold brew coffee, chocolate and orange peel creep into the heart of this German-style Dunkelweizen, transforming a once traditional brew into a hauntingly decadent hybrid. (Source)
Hala Kahiki Pineapple, $1.69/12oz - A beer so enticing you may think it's nectar from the gods. The name "Hala Kahiki"(hahlah-kah-hee-kee), originates from the Hawaiian words for pineapple. Feel the way it rolls off your tongue? Our sweet and refreshing beer will take you away ...have a sip ...grab a lei! (Source)
Rochester Mills Milkshake Blond, $2.79/16oz - A full flavored light in the darkness. Close your eyes and this Blonde Ale with milk sugars, vanilla and white chocolate then cold press brewed with White Pine’s locally roasted Coffee beans will fool you into thinking you’re drinking a darker beer. (Source)
Speciation Genetic Drift 2021 B1, $9.39/375ml - Foeder aged solera saison
Speciation Laurentian, 43.39/750ml - Lambic - Traditional
Speciation Stellar Engine, $3.49/16oz - Natural Hard Seltzer with Raspberry, Lemon, Vanilla & Butterfly Pea Flower Tea - Inspired by Blue Moon ice cream - Fermented with Nordic yeast.(Source)
Surly Pentagram, $4.89/16oz - Brett dark sour ale
Transient Henry, $4.39/16oz - Porter - American
Transient Poppin' Pastels Pineapple Keylime, $4.39/16oz - Sour wheat ale with pineapple, key lime, milk sugar and vanilla. (Source)
Transient Rye Lager, $3.29/16oz - Helles style lager with rye
Upland Tropical Vortex, $2.19/12oz - Tropical Vortex continues Upland’s tradition of brewing “out of season” in a rebellion against winter. Rather than submit to the doldrums of the season by drowning our sorrows in heavy, dark beers, we choose to look on the sunny side of life by brewing a beer that invokes the warmth and brightness of summer. Tropical Vortex is a bright, crisp, and refreshing IPA using Galaxy and Waimea hops grown in the
Southern Hemisphere. Inspired by the Brut IPAs originating on the West Coast, this beer is crystal clear, dry, and effervescent with a very mild bitterness and powerful flavors of passionfruit, peach, citrus and mango. The perfect beer for wishful drinking because, while it’s winter in the Midwest, it’s always summer somewhere. (Source)
Virtue Cherry Mitten, $16.99/500ml - Cider with cinnamon, bourbon, tart cherry
Virtue Maple Mitten, $16.99/500ml - Cider - Traditional
Waypost Sumac Sour, $7.79/500ml - Sour - Fruited Berliner Weisse
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