Spanish wines have been on the forefront of the wine industry for the last two decades.
However, it wasn’t until the last 5 years that Spanish wines have truly flourished. Once only known for Rioja or Tempranillo, Spain has become so much more than that. With regions like Ribera del Duero, Priorat, and Rias Baixas and grape varieties like Albariño, Garnacha, and Mencia seen splattered on wine lists across the nation, Spanish wines are making a comeback in a big way.
Most wine enthusiasts know and recognize Rioja and its wines. They also know that Tempranillo is the preferred varietal in the region. But did you know that Tempranillo’s reach extends outside of Rioja and into regions like Ribera del Duero and Toro? More importantly, did you know these other regions existed? With around 79 D.O.s (Denominacion de Origen) and 2 D.O.C.s (Denominacion de Origen Controlada), Spain is almost in a category all to its own.
Due to Spain’s numerous of wine producing regions we will focus on a few select regions to expand our knowledge of one of the leading wine countries in the world.
Tequila seems to be quietly awaiting some attention as the interest in barrel aged spirits continues to grow. Mostly left behind in the market today Tequila exists for many as a youthful memory of an upset stomach. The category has also been lead for many years by a well-known brand which barley qualifies as Tequila and isn’t the traditionally crafted spirit that Mexico is so proud of.
In short, Tequila is amazing. It’s a must try. Tequila production is limited to a relatively small area in the western central highlands of Mexico in and around the city of Tequila. It is made exclusively from the agave plant (always be sure that the bottle you choose is labeled ‘100% agave) and shows the unique characteristics of the land where the plant was grown (the growing region is about twice as large as the production region). In few spirits is terroir as evident as it is in tequila.
Bourbon – a distinctive product of the United States (said Congress in 1964) – is an historic American product with a storied past going back hundreds of years, even though it has been a mere half century since Congress made it official. Until recently, in the liquor industry, American whiskies in general faced stiff competition from centuries old distilleries in a great whisky country across the Atlantic and less expensive, ‘smoother’ tasting whiskey from our neighbors in the north. Not to mention the prevailing thirst for vodka, gin and rum. In no more than the last five years American whiskey has been an American renaissance. Bourbon seems to have inspired this cultural rebirth and it is an exciting time to be an enthusiast.
If you are not an enthusiast yourself, it’s likely that you know someone who is. So, somebody in your life excited about Bourbon. Even if that somebody is you there is little doubt that a fine bottle is a superb gift, and is acceptable at any time for any reason. The only challenge is figuring out which one to add to your collection.
Gin is a spirit most commonly associated with juniper berries, indeed the name itself, ‘Gin’, is derived from the Dutch ‘jenever’, meaning juniper. The drink has been around for centuries if not millennia and likely began as a form of medicine. Today gin is growing out of its image as a dry, one dimensional, 80 proof alcohol made for either martinis or tonic. I must admit that I have always found that mold a bit boring.
The gin world is dominated by familiar brand names like Beefeater, Bombay and Tanqueray. These products shape the way gin is perceived and are, categorically, the same. As ‘London’ Gins we primarily see variations only in the sweetness of the product. London Gin, also called London Dry or simply Dry Gin, is a grain neutral spirit that has been re-distilled in the presence of natural herbs used for flavor (juniper always being the most prominent). The legal definition of gin requires the characteristic flavor of juniper berries. It is because the base spirit can be distilled from many forms of sugar (beets, cane, potatoes, grapes, etc.) that we find different flavors among Dry gins – and the above-mentioned brands are fine examples.
Our 2018 Thanksgiving Pairing Flyer has your answer. Handpicked by Tim, Nic, Aaron, and Tyler are a few Thanksgiving beverages that you are certain will garnish their table tops. From craft beer to great wines to the elixir of the gods, whiskey, there is definitely something you will enjoy.
This week, we will be hosting New Amsterdam Vodka on Friday, 7/27 from 3-6 p.m. If you need a change, or even if you don’t, come in and try something new at an affordable price that is currently on sale!
Colonial Spirits is the premier liquor store in the Greater Boston area. Visit the store on Rt 2A in Acton for the best selection of beer, liquor & wine in the area, or order online for shipping, delivery & in-store pickup. (Contact)