The question posed annually at the Passover Seder – “Why is this night different from all other nights” – takes on a special meaning again this year. No doubt, this year’s Seder will be unusual, but the trying circumstances can also be an opportunity to relate to aspects of Passover in a different manner than in the past. Central to the Seder is the commandment to drink four cups of wine. Should it be just any wine? Or should this year’s four cups be filled with the finest?
Bayonne, NJ – This Passover, spend your holiday in Israel, Italy, or France — without ever having to leave your Seder table. NJ-based Royal Wine, the world’s largest purveyor of kosher wines and spirits, offers exceptional Passover selections from around the globe – including a label from NBA All-Star Amaré Stoudemire — in a wide range of tastes and prices.
Kosher wines have experienced a renaissance over the past two decades. Believe it or not, the best-selling imported Moscato in the U.S. happens to be kosher! Experience outstanding kosher options at any price point. New varieties from wineries around the world make kosher wines a great choice for everyone. Whether for the Passover Seder or at a simple dinner with friends, these top-quality wines are sure to satisfy on all occasions.
Stoudemire Origins 2018 and Stoudemire Clarity Rosé 2020 – After establishing a line of kosher wines produced in the Upper Galilee (imported and distributed by the Royal Wine Corp.), Amare expands his offerings to California in collaboration with Herzog Wine Cellars (USA). SRP: $24.99.
Herzog Lineage Rosé 2020– This casual rosé’s flavors include pomegranate, raspberry, and tart cherry (USA). SRP 19.99
Château Roubine Rosé 2020 (Côtes de Provence, France) – The rosé wines of this top-ranking classed growth Provence Château are now imported exclusively by Royal Wine Corp. and are kosher for Passover, as well. SRP: 19.99-59.99
Herzog Generation IX Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District Napa Valley 2018 – Herzog’s new flagship wine from the prized Stags Leap district, famous for putting California on the world wine map in 1976 (USA). SRP: $249.99
Bartenura Prosecco Rosé – Top quality pink sparkling wine from Italy, great for the Passover seder and all year round for small family gatherings and celebrations (Italy). SRP: 19.99
Château Meyney Saint-Estèphe 2018 – This famed Bordeaux Estate joins Royal’s family of high-end Bordeaux Châteaux producing kosher varieties (France). SPR: $79.99
Sforno – A new line of high value, affordable quality kosher wines produced by the celebrated Riglos winery, and retailing between $10-15 (Argentina).
Can’t get enough of these stellar releases? Here are some more offerings from around the world:
Kosher For Passover Vodka: LVOV Vodka distilled from beets; SRP: $20
What Makes Kosher Wine Kosher? – Ten Things to Know About Kosher Wine
“People may be surprised to learn that most kosher wines are certified for year-round use, as well as for Passover,” says Jay Buchsbaum, VP Marketing & Wine Education, Royal Wine Corp. Here are more facts to help you understand what makes wine kosher: 10 Things to Know about Kosher Wine; www.TheKFWE.com (Virtual Wine Fest, FEB 21) Passover 2021 begins sundown MARCH 27
About Royal Wine/Kedem
Founded in 1848, Royal Wine Corp. has been owned and operated in the United States by the Herzog family, whose winemaking roots go back eight generations to its origin in Czechoslovakia.
Today, Royal Wine’s portfolio of domestic and international wines range from traditional wine producing regions of France, Italy, and Spain, as well as Israel, New Zealand, Argentina and more.
The company owns and operates the Kedem Winery in upstate New York, as well as Herzog Wine Cellars in Oxnard, California, a state-of-the-art-facility featuring guided wine tours, a fully staffed modern tasting room, gift shop and catering facilities. Additionally, the winery houses the award-winning restaurant Tierra Sur, serving the finest, Mediterranean-inspired, contemporary Californian Cuisine. Follow Royal Wine Corp at: @royalwinecorp; https://www.facebook.com/RoyalWineCorp
The article I did on the wines I had in 2020 was a lot longer read than this will be, but since I do divide my time between reviewing both I wanted to share some of the spirits, and some of the cocktails, I enjoyed last year.
NEFT Vodka is made from pure Austrian spring water, is a San Francisco World Spirits Competition winner for BEST VODKA, and has been awarded many GOLD and DOUBLE GOLD medals from other competitions! Tasting: Aroma from two inches away and swirling: reminded me of a very fine sake, like a daiginjo where the sake rice has been milled down to 50%. With a gentle sweetness, as well as a creaminess, and some slightly buttery and even nutty notes. Flavor: Smooth, burn on the mid palate only and not immediate. Still reminding me of a fine cold sake but of course, this is definitely a smooth and creamy vodka. The mouthfeel makes me want to sip alone, not masked by ingredients in a cocktail or even with ice. If I hold on the palate, the way whisky master blender Richard Patterson instructs for tasting single malt scotch, the mouthfeel only becomes rounder and more balanced.
Gonzalez Byass Familia de Vino and The Dalmore: In three small wine tasting glasses we sampled the Alfonso, Apostoles and Matusalem sherries. Almost immediately we noted similar aromas and flavors found in The Dalmore definitely came from these three different sherry casks that they had aged in. Quite remarkable. Also of note, even though the three sherries grew sweeter on the nose as we tasted through them, that didn’t transfer to high sugar in the mouth… The Dalmore 12 yo was an entire bowl of fancy roasted and slightly salted nuts, vanilla bean and a hint of banana. The 15 yo, my favorite of the three, had a sweeter nose; rounder, more fruit, creamy, with a little toasted almond and pineapple. And the 18 yo, following a trend, had the sweetest nose, with lots of toasted oak and more spice. Simply outstanding.
Enjoyed a virtual tasting and happy hour via Zoom with the founder of Empress 1908 Gin, Peter Hunt, complete with a bottle of their gin, fancy bar tools, unique recipe cards and a list of ingredients I would need to make “seasonal focused cocktails…” I was already a fan of the gin, now even more so!
House of Suntory and their distilleries, blended and single malts, different oaks for aging, rare and some discontinued = amazing tasting and lesson! It was the Yamazaki 18 that stole Eddie’s heart, and wallet if we could ever find it! While I was completely content with the Hibiki Harmony blend that benefitted from five different types of oak barrels. Lots that we learned thanks to the Suntory Brand Ambassador Jonathan Armstrong and the Southern California Whiskey Club.
El Sativo, the 2020 Tequila of the Year at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, launched last summer. 100% Blue Agave – Single Estate – 100% USDA Organic – 100% NON-GMO – Certified OK Kosher… And this is what I thought: Notes of vanilla bean, heavy sweet cream and toasted popcorn kernel – with no burn whatsoever – on the nose. The taste was smooth yet peppery – so interesting – and flavors reminiscent of buttered popcorn, and that same cream, ending with a spicy finish. Really liked having it both smooth and spicy! Then tried it with a little bit of squeezed lemon and it was like a lo-cal Margarita. This is not a tequila to shoot!
Had a great time sampling Country Smooth whiskey with a bunch of Women Who Whiskey LA members as well as Country Smooth founder, Lori Carcich, and two members of her team, Kyle Cammon and Scott Touchton. The approximately $25 whiskey – find at Total Wine all over Cali – was both spicy and sweet and didn’t get washed down in the cocktails we made with it.
Gin Martini: 2-3 ounces of the highly aromatic and flavorful Monkey 47, 1/2 ounce of Lillet Blanc (a white Bordeaux wine with quinine and other botanicals), shaken or stirred, then drained into a chilled Martini glass, with orange peel on rim and as garnish.
Sazerac: Build in a shaker with ice: 2 ounces rye whiskey (husband prefers Bulleit), 3 dashes bitters, 1 teaspoon simple syrup, stir or shake. Grab an iced Coupe glass from your freezer (we keep a couple of Coupe and Martini glasses there), and pour about a tablespoon of Absinthe in to coat the empty glass. We like that flavor so I tend to make sure the entire inside of the Coupe is coated, then discard the Absinthe. Pour your cocktail into the coupe, garnish with one Luxardo cherry.
My Grand Negroni: When there’s only time for one, make it big! With 1.5 to 2 ounces gin (as opposed to only 1 ounce) to 1 ounce sweet vermouth and 1 ounce Campari, shaken over ice, poured into an iced Martini or Coupe glass and garnished with orange peel.
Gin and Tonic: Use Empress 1908 Gin that changes to a lighter purple/pink hue when you add tonic, and constructed the way we had G and Ts all over Spain: In a large round wine glass (aka a Pinot glass) 1/2 filled with ice, add 2 ounces gin, 4-6 ounces of tonic, garnish with lime or orange peel.
The go-to Martini: I’ve been making this one for my husband for years. Build in a martini shaker filled with ice: 2-3 ounces Ketel One Vodka, 1/2 ounce Domaine De Canton Ginger Liqueur (think candied ginger), shake like mad, pour into a chilled Martini or Coupe glass, use lemon peel on rim and garnish.
Whiskey Sour: In a martini shaker without any ice build 2 ounces your choice of whisky – I used Dewars 12 YO scotch whisky as I had taken a class on them years ago and loved all of the single malts that go into the blend. You can use single malt or Bourbon If that’s your preference. Then add 3/4 ounces of freshly squeezed lemon juice (not from a bottle), 1/2 ounce simple syrup, 3 generous dashes of Angostura bitters and 1 egg white. Shake for 7-10 seconds, then add a few ice cubes just to cool off your drink and shake again for an additional 7-10 seconds. Strain (super important as no one wants a glob of egg white in their glass) into a chilled coupe or serve on the rocks, add a Luxardo cherry for garnish.
My Blue Martini: In a martini shaker over ice build 2 parts Empress 1908 Gin, 1/4 to 1/2 creme de violette, shake like mad, pour into a chilled coupe or martini glass, garnish with orange peel and feel very refreshed!
The Queen Bee: With Empress 1908 Gin, lemon juice, honey syrup, apricot jam and grated cinnamon! I also tried my hand at the Cranberry 75, also with Empress 1908 Gin, lemon juice, cranberry juice, simple syrup and Prosecco on top! (Google Empress for the measurements.)
Amaro Spritz: You only need three ounces of soda, two ounces of Amaro and a little squeeze of lemon or orange! Build in a tall Collins glass, stir, add ice and enjoy as an aperitif before dinner like we did or as a digestif afterwards!
Gin Old Fashioned: Build in a shaker two ounces your choice of gin, 2 dashes bitters (which gives it some color), about 1/2 teaspoon of simple syrup based on your own preference (if you muddle a sugar cube that’s about one teaspoon) and garnish with orange peel. Shake or stir, pour into an iced coupe or rocks glass.
Whiskey Buck: over cracked ice in a copper mug add two ounces rye whisky, juice of 1/2 lemon, and then fill as far as you like with ginger beer and give it a stir. It has a LOT more flavor that the traditional Moscow Mule made with vodka, and that same kick from the ginger and tart from the lemon. Trust me, in times like this when the vodka may be running low, get into your rye whisky for a change!
From Restaurants, on patios and to-go
Margaritas from Dario’s, classic Mai Tai at Eighth and Rail, Martinis from Old Town Junction, Backwoods, The Social and Salt Creek Grille. Loved the new Espresso Martini at Newhall Press Room! At SY Kitchen in Santa Ynez William Perbellini made us his Smoked Old Fashioned and a Barrel Aged Negroni, both outstanding. And last but not least we sadly had our last cocktails from Newhall Refinery.
In Paso: We made a quick stop at Azeo Distillery but made the time to taste and grab some swag from our friend David Vondrasek, the distiller, who is also the winemaker for Artisan Uprising! We sampled through rum, tequila, vodka – all very good, and we also saw his giant still! Definitely visit with them the next time you are in Paso and tell them I sent you, you won’t regret it!
Hollywood: Went to the Japan House LA for a “fun evening of Japanese Craft Spirits”, specifically to learn about and taste distilled spirits Shochu and Awamori alone and in a wide range of amazing cocktails.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.
Angeleno‘s annual Live & Dine LA event honors the city’s most distinguished chefs and restaurateurs that continue to shape and evolve L.A.’s culinary scene. Guests will be treated to exclusive culinary demonstrations prepared by award-winning chefs, which will be paired with delicious wines and artisanal cocktails. This evening of culinary indulgences and refreshing libations is sure to make for a memorable date night, with its luxury lounges and unique tasting experiences under the stars and the Fairmont’s iconic (and romantic) fig tree.
Count me in! The last time I covered an event at the Fairmont Miramar – on Wilshire Blvd. just a block from the beach – was a Union des Grands Crus (UGC) Bordeaux Tasting in one of the large convention rooms. This time, as promised, we were outdoors under their enormous fig tree. Being outdoors was fine with me, as long as it was away from the street that, if you’ve been reading the news, is littered with abandoned electric scooters, the latest “craze” that may be dismantled by the time this article runs.
But lets move on, sorry about that, my attention had definitely been happily taken over by all of the restaurants, wineries and spirit companies – no scooters needed. (Read on or skip to the photos here.)
The crowd of smart couples and singles meandered from one welcoming table to another. My favorites of the tables (I couldn’t do it all!) started with
Menhir Salento Winery represented by Gaetano Marangelli, where I tasted Italian wines from Puglia. Between the Pass-O white blend to the Primitivo – I was enchanted. I hope to go through a tasting of their complete line up soon!
From there I inhaled: the Crab Guacamole with shaved Truffle from The Nixon in Whittier, Garlic Crostini from HomeCooked, the incredible Burrata cheese from di Stefana, a refreshing Lillet-based (a white Bordeaux wine made with quinine and citrus) cocktail made simply with tonic, Chick Souvlaki from Cleo, Roasted Peppers from FIG, Provence’s Domaine de Cala Rose wine, Ocean Prime Watermelon Salad, looooved the Mongibello blood orange juice with Tito’s vodka, and Deviled Green Eggs and Ham from Boa Steakhouse stole the show until I had a Deviled Egg from Yardbird that was equally yum-worthy.
Moving to the other side of the fig tree my taste buds were further delighted with wheat-based Carbonadi Vodka from Italy, AN Catering Garlic Noodles, a carved tri-tip sandwich from Grand Food and Beverage, really tasty cocktails from Gratitude, and Viva Tequila 32 Reposado in my favorite cocktail of the day made with Grapefruit and lime juices, agave, orange bitters and Aperol!
Still not done I munched on a heavenly slice of Grilled Cheese with Summer Truffle from Salt in Marina Del Rey (well worth a short wait in line), killer Reposado cocktails from Gracias Madre in West Hollywood and more lovely Burrata from Mozza. Of final note guests really appreciated the two open lounge spaces that served delicious Brugal Rum from the Dominican Republic and chilly gin cocktails from Sipsmith.
Restaurants and Beverage Companies
FIG | Carbonadi Vodka | CLEO | Del Frisco’s | Domaine de Cala | Grand Food & Beverage | HomeCooked | Honest Tea | House of AN | KeVita | Lillet | Lionfish | The Nixon Chops & Whiskey | Ocean Prime | SALT | Souley Vegan | Strand Boards | Tumbi Indian Bar | Viviane | Yardbird
Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West’s “True Italian Taste” section including Di Stefano Cheese | Luigi al Teatro | Menhir | Mongibello | N. 10 | Mozza | Solo Qualita’ | Veneto Hills
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Hornburg Jaguar Land Rover Santa Monica, CBS 2, KCAL 9, Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West, and nonprofit partner City of Hope.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 15k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.
Announcing TEXSOM International Wine Awards 2021
Dallas, Texas —James Tidwell MS, owner and producer of TEXSOM International Wine Awards, announces entries are open for judging and awards consideration for the 2021 competition to be held April 25-27, 2021 at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas. A new addition to this year’s judging is the inclusion of spirits (whiskey, gin, vodka, etc.), pre-mixed cocktails, cocktail components, and bitters. The competition has an improved, more tailored entry experience for sake, cider, and mead producers, all beverages judged in previous years, allowing for greater differentiation.
The following is a timeline with corresponding entry fees:
Wine: $95 + 4 bottles per online entry
Late Submission Period
Wine: $105 + 4 bottles per online entry
“Spirits have played an important role in the beverage industry and mixology, and now there are operating craft distillers in all 50 states and over 1,000 internationally,” says Donaji Lira, Events Manager for TEXSOM. “The addition of spirits to the Awards will help to increase exposure not only of craft distillers, but also classic distillers. Now is a good time to include this important category, given the changing nature of the hospitality industry and evolving roles in restaurants and retail.”
“Improvements to our submissions experience for mead, cider, and sake entrants, as well as the addition of spirits, add to our strategic value for returning Awards winners and new prospective entrants,” says Amie Hendrickson, Operations Manager for TEXSOM. “In spite of the significant challenges we face as an industry in 2021, our team is devoted to the exceptional standards of care our entrants, judges, volunteers, and participants have come to expect. We offer entrants a consistent place to showcase their offerings and welcome new and returning representative producers from all 50 US States and numerous countries.”
Maximilian Kast MS is based in North Carolina and serves as the Director of Education and Sales NC/SC at import company, Broadbent Selections. He states, “I have never seen such a high concentration of the best palates in the country at one place in my life. Wineries that receive awards from the competition can be assured that the best of the best deliberated tirelessly on those decisions.”
“Folks in Idaho last year were thrilled with the response to their entries at TEXSOM,” says Eric Degerman, president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. “A number of Idaho producers have stopped submitting new releases to some publications because they question if Idaho wines are evaluated under blind conditions, which is another reason why the showing of Idaho wines at your competition — featuring arguably the most prestigious panel of judges in the U.S. — is important to that emerging wine region.”
Alexandra Cherniavsky, an Advanced Sommelier and Wine Consultant from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania shares, “TEXSOM IWA gave me a larger world perspective and insight into who the important producers were in individual parts of the world and what grapes were important there.” Cherniavsky, a previous multi-year participant in the TEXSOM Sommelier Retreat and a 2020 TEXSOM IWA volunteer continues, “It gave me wines to recommend at every price point and a working knowledge of Texas wines, something I never would have been exposed to otherwise.”
In 2015 TEXSOM International Wine Awards combined the logistics team and infrastructure of an historical competition with the influence and power of the TEXSOM brand. The competition has grown more than 33% and seen diversification to 32 countries and 18 U.S. states represented, spanning suggested retail pricing from U.S. $2.99 to over U.S. $700, and vintages as old as 36 years. Previous results are available through the TEXSOM International Wine Awards website searchable database.
TEXSOM International Wine Awards contributes to the global conversation of beverage, amplifies classic and emerging regions, and builds exposure and interest for all invested in the experience. A unique range of benefits for Award winners includes:
The TEXSOM International Wine Awards team looks forward to working with the industry to identify and champion wines and beverages of quality and distinction from around the world. Distribution in Texas is NOT required to enter the competition, and TEXSOM IWA can assist international wineries in obtaining COLA Waivers. Wineries interested in submitting entries may visit the updated entrant submission page with easy-to-follow steps, fees and requirements here. Further inquiries may be made by email@example.com or calling 214-886-1665. An overview of the 2020 competition is available here.
Founded in 2005, TEXSOM promotes professional wine service standards, outlines paths for further wine education and certification, and raises public awareness about the professional standards and certifications for sommeliers. Today, the conference draws more than 1,000 attendees. In April 2014 the TEXSOM group purchased one of the largest, most respected, and longest-running competitions in the United States now known as the TEXSOM International Wine Awards.
Valentine’s Day is coming up and our options are limited, but who says staying in can’t be sexy? Drinks retailer The Bottle Club has rallied together five of their most popular cocktails to help you ignite romance this Valentine’s.
1) The Royal Sidecar
There is something romantic about the royal sidecar cocktail. It’s sweet and tangy taste will be sure to add a striking touch to your Valentines. Impress your date with this simple yet effective cocktail. Recipe below.
2) Nutella Martini
If your date has a sweet tooth, this is the perfect cocktail for your Valentine’s date night. It could even save you making a dessert (or perhaps not). You probably haven’t thought about putting your favourite nutty spread in a cocktail, but booze and Nutella is a match made in heaven. Recipe below.
3) Pink Heather Cocktail
For whisky drinkers, it can be difficult to find delicious and romantic cocktail recipes – well look no further than the pink heather cocktail. Whip this up for your whisky loving date and you’re sure to have a good night. Recipe below.
4) Pomegranate Whisky Sour
Drinking pink doesn’t need to be all about the rosé. A good one for those who don’t like wine this Valentine’s, you can mix it to create a delicious pink cocktail so you don’t miss out on a rose-tinted summer. Drink pink with whisky? Hell yeah!
5) Fruity Strawberry Daiquiri
This fruity cocktail can be made with fresh and/or frozen strawberries and is the ultimate refreshing drink to get the party started this Valentines. The sweetest of them all! You won’t go wrong with a Strawberry Daiquiri.
Tip: Add some ice cubes to make a larger drink or to mellow the strawberry flavour.
All credit to The Bottle Club: https://www.thebottleclub.com/
LOS ANGELES (PRWEB) – Guillotine Vodka Originale is one of the few spirits who managed to be rewarded with a gold medal at the prestigious Spirits Selection by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. This is the 3rd gold medal won by Guillotine Vodka Originale at Spirits Selection by Concours Mondial De Bruxelles, following wins in 2017 and 2018. The 21st Spirits Selection competition recently ended in Brussels, Belgium. This year, the judges complied with very strict safety rules to ensure the event could happen. Sixty professional judges tasted and rated up to 35 alcoholic beverages a day. A total of 1,400 spirits from 54 countries competed to win a medal.
Spirits Selection by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is THE international event rewarding only the most extraordinary spirits, such as Guillotine Vodka Originale, from all over the globe. Each year, whiskies, cognacs, brandies, rums, vodkas, gins, piscos, grappas, baijius, and tequilas, amongst other spirits, are assessed and classified by a panel of internationally renowned experts. World-renowned judges are rigorously chosen to blind taste the finest spirits.
Guillotine Vodka Originale is a classic, clear vodka made from the finest Champagne-region grapes. Light, smooth, and aromatic, this amazing vodka offers notes of citrus with hints of almond and toffee. The nose is sharp, punctuated by soft notes of fresh lemon. The spirit delicately coats the mid-palate, exposing a complex structure that flows into a clean and well-balanced finish. Customers should carefully taste and enjoy this fine spirit to find that the smooth and velvety palate delivers a light fruity hint of Zante currants.
Guillotine Vodka Originale‘s creation starts with a mix of the finest ingredients and traditional crafting methods. The vodkas’ distinctive je ne sais quoi starts with selected ingredients and experienced artisans, who utilize traditional grape picking and processing techniques that lend themselves to creating complex and powerful flavors. The unique taste and finish of Guillotine Vodka Originale is the result of mingling white and black grapes. Only the finest Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay marcs are chosen from vineyards in the Aÿ-Champagne wine region to create this extraordinary spirit. The grape marcs are fermented and slowly distilled in a 100-year-old distillery. This process follows the standards of traditional French expertise that preserve the subtleties of the fruit. Finally, the vodka is then transported to a warehouse in Ile-de-France where the vodka is bottled in locally sourced, custom-made glassware.
Guillotine Vodka Originale offers unparalleled quality, taste, and versatility. A favorite among fine spirits connoisseurs, this ultra-premium vodka has been rewarded multiple gold medals at various international spirits competitions. In 2019, Guillotine Vodka Originale was awarded the gold medal at the 2019 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit competition. It’s a testament to the brand’s commitment to quality that it has now received the honor of another gold medal from the Spirits Selection by Concours Mondial De Bruxelles.
About Guillotine Vodka
Guillotine is a revolutionary French vodka created exclusively from the Aÿ-Champagne region’s finest pinot and chardonnay grapes. Founded by Paul Berkmann in 2016, the brand’s mission is to introduce the world to the finest artisanal spirits, starting with ultra-premium vodkas that are unparalleled in quality, taste, and joie de vivre. Guillotine is 100% natural, vegan-friendly and gluten-free, containing no coloring or flavoring additives, no glycerol, and no citric acid. Visit http://www.guillotinevodka.com to learn more.
A grand tasting showcasing the Wines and Spirits of The Henry Wine Group. Over 300 producers from around the world…the owners…people behind the scenes…
This is not the first time I’ve been to the grand Taste of the World event put on by the Henry Wine Group. I got wind of it a few years ago when my contributing editor and VP Michael Perlis attended. Soon we both were attending, and eventually, as I learned my way around we agreed: I would cover the spirits and Michael would cover the wines. As the wineries have a larger presence you may agree that Michael got the better gig, but as he has to write about it all, I’d say I got the best deal. LOL.
Fun Factoids: Within 30 minutes of tasting and spitting out…my lips got numb. Kind of a new phenomenon for me. With wine your teeth and tongue get more stained in tasting and spitting than in drinking alone. In both instances you don’t swallow. You usually don’t swirl some spirits (in one class I learned that swirling “makes an angry scotch angrier”) but you do smell, then taste, hold in your mouth to let it do its thing, expectorate it all, pour out any remainder in the tasting glass and then rinse your glass with water if changing spirits. (This is a good time to drink some water too.) Even with all that, I did not make it through all of the spirits in the tasting lineup. I purposely skipped any I had had before as well as many in the last couple of tables as palate fatigue (tongue now numb) had set in. So if you are a rum, tequila or Absinthe lover (I’m an Absinthe lover for anyone making the perfect Sazerac) you can stop reading now, and please accept my apologies!
What I Tasted (if you just want photo coverage go here for three grids)
Osco Oakland Spirits Company, Glasshouse brandy – think Vodka flavored like the botanicals found in Gin, and then some – I enjoyed the Spicy Chinese Mint, Marjoram, Trade Winds (yes, salty air and the sea were an inspiration) and Shiso (as in the savory Umami in Japanese foods).
Rough Rider Double Cask Rye Bourbon, Three Barrel Rye, Cask Strength Straight Bourbon and Cask Strength Rye.
Pine Barrens Barrel Aged Gin (barrels held single malt whisky prior to the gin) and American Single Malt Whiskey.
Del Professore Vermouth Blanco and Vermouth Rosso. Both had amazing flavors and made me think of the past, where people sipped Vermouth on its own, over ice, in a little glass. I think this is a trend we could see again – especially with these Vermouths. The distillery was founded in Italy in the late 1800s.
Sibona Grappa Riserva, Port Wood Finish.
POLI Dal 1898 Grappaioli, Cleopatra and Sarpa – all excellent Grappas.
Bache Gabrielsen VSOP and XO Cognac (The XO was to die for)
Spirit Works Distillery – the entire lineup – Vodka, Gin, Barrel Gin, Straight Wheat Whiskey, Straight Rye Whiskey and a surprise: Sloe Gin made from macerated Sloe berries (think of a small round berry, blackberry in color, and adding both color and sweetness to Gin. Read more here) which was great alone but would also lend itself well in a cocktail.
Tullibardine Single Malt Whisky: both The Murray and the 25 year old. There were three others I tasted that were all less than 10 years old, none with an age on the label, but tasty just the same so keep an eye peeled for those: 225 Sauterne Finish, 228 Burgundy Finish and Sovereign finished in ex-Bourbon barrels.
Meletti Liqueurs I’d had before but the family member that I had met years before had returned, so I dove in to taste a few of their newer liqueurs: 1870 Bitter Aperitivo, Anisette and Dry Anisetta. All excellent!
And that, as they say, is all she wrote.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.
I’ve tasted a lot of vodka over the years. Flavorless and colorless are two descriptors assigned to it most often in spirit education courses. But, when you taste vodka over a period of time you can detect certain nuances, things that make them differ, and in the case with Neft, stand above the pack.
For most tasters, beginners to experts, it’s the alcohol burn that sets them apart. Inexpensive vodka can be quite harsh – lots of burn – while other more sought after brands – have little to no burn, but also have some interesting qualities. Neft is one of those.
When my sample arrived I was immediately surprised at the tin container it came in. Did some reading and learned that the tin cylinder leaves less of a carbon imprint, it’s not breakable and will stay cold longer. The sample also came with instructions for tasting. As I’ve said I’ve tasted plenty, but in the essence of a true vodka lover I followed their suggestions: how long to chill it, the type of glass to use, to try alone and not in a cocktail, how to nose the vodka, etc. This is the result:
As instructed we didn’t freeze, only chilled in freezer for an hour before sampling. Tasted neat and in a small glass:
Observation in glass: clear and clean, like a finely filtered water. No minerals or impurities.
Aroma from two inches away and swirling: reminded me of a a very fine sake, like a daiginjo where the sake rice has been milled down to 50%. With a gentle sweetness, as well as a creaminess, and some slightly buttery and even nutty notes.
Flavor: Smooth, burn on the mid palate only and not immediate. Still reminding me of a fine cold sake but of course, this is definitely a smooth and creamy vodka. The mouthfeel makes me want to sip alone, not masked by ingredients in a cocktail or even with ice. If I hold on the palate, the way whisky master blender Richard Patterson instructs for tasting single malt scotch, the mouthfeel only becomes rounder and more balanced.
Conclusion: This is not your mother’s vodka. This is a whole new generation, and a new level, of sippingvodka. 99 Eve points.
NEFT IS MADE FROM THE PUREST INGREDIENTS
NEFT is made from only four non-GMO European ryes and the purest water from the Austrian Alps. No additives. No sweeteners.
Our four grains of ancient rye species (Amato, Askari, Rasant and Pollino) are used in our proprietary blend. When brought together, the result is an award-winning taste with unprecedented smoothness.
It takes fifty years for the water we use to make its way from its source to our secured aquifer. During this time, gravity slowly draws the most important ingredient of our vodka through slate and granite. As it slowly seeps through crystalline rock, it’s purified for decades creating the purest water in the world.
NEFT USES SMALL-BATCH DISTILLING
NEFT IS AWARD WINNING
Double Gold, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2019 & 2018
Best Vodka, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2018
98-point rating, The Tasting Panel
92-point rating & Gold Medal, Beverage Testing Institute
Gold Medal, The Fifty Best
Gold Medal, Best Tasting Spirits
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits
NEW YORK, /PRNewswire/ — Renowned Italian wine pioneer Gancia is pleased to announce its foray into still wines with the launch of Gancia Chianti D.O.C.G. and Gancia Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie D.O.C. These two easy-to-drink varietals are crafted as an expression of Italian lifestyle, celebration, and the dolce vita. They join Gancia’s extensive portfolio of award-winning sparkling wines and liqueurs.
“After 170 years of winemaking excellence, we are delighted to announce we are getting into the still wines business, launching our first Pinot Grigio and Chianti under the storied Gancia label,” said Scott Oliver, CEO of Roust Americas. “These two wines are Italian classics and crafted with both quality and value in mind. We believe our launch comes at a time when consumers are more inclined than ever to seek out comforting high quality wines that deliver exceptional value for money.”
Gancia Chianti D.O.C.G. is a fruit forward blend of primarily Sangiovese grapes that is rich and velvety, making this a refined and enjoyable wine that pairs beautifully with red-sauced pastas and grilled meats. The refreshing Gancia Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie D.O.C. offers a fresh citrus fruit aroma and balanced floral taste and is ideal as an aperitif with light hors d’oeuvres or with a seafood lunch or dinner.
Both Gancia still wines will be available for purchase starting in New York in 2020 and then throughout North America starting Q1 2021.
Founded in 1850 by Carlo Gancia, the creator of the first Italian sparkling wine, Gancia is an international leader in the category of sparkling wines, prosecco, and vermouth, with over 40 million bottles produced annually. Gancia is distributed in more than 65 countries. The Gancia sparkling wine portfolio ranges from sweet to dry and from Charmat method to prestige vintages of Classic Method. http://gancia.com
About Roust Americas:
Roust Americas is a subsidiary of Roust Group, the world’s second largest vodka producer by volume. Roust Americas is responsible for the management, distribution and marketing of world-class brands like Russian Standard® Vodka, Zubrowka® Vodkas, Green Mark® Vodka, Gancia® wines and liqueurs, and De Luze® cognac.