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Tips to Buying the Right Wine Gift

By gitka gitka 12 days ago 2 Views No comments

As the holidays roll around we often find ourselves asking the age old question year after year, “What wine should I give as a gift?” With the vast selection of wines to choose from, we often get flustered and worrying more about our choices than the intentions of our actions. There are a few tips to follow to help you choose the right gift.

One of the first things to do is to figure out how much you would like to spend. This is where people get intimidated. Many believe in the age old myth of “if it costs more, then it must be a good wine.” This is so far from the truth and you should realize that cost doesn’t always reflect quality. It is possible to find a great wine in any price range. Besides that, the whole purpose of buying someone wine is to show your appreciation and the wine is meant to be enjoyed.

The next step is to decide what type of wine you would like to buy for that special someone. This is probably the hardest part and unless you know what style of wine the recipient likes, then it can be very challenging. The styles of wines range from dry to sweet, red to white, new world to old world, etc.

One thing you should always keep in mind is to enjoy yourself when your shopping and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you go to the right store, then the salesperson should be knowledgeable and should recommend some really good choices. If you are buying wine before going to a friend’s house for dinner, then you should consider the type of foods being served. Also do a little research online or from major wine publications such as Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate and the Wine Enthusiast. These magazines are pretty helpful with rating systems and accurate descriptions of many of the wines that are popular and in you local stores.

Wrapping your gift puts a personal touch on your wine selection. There are many nice and affordable custom made bags for wine bottles. Bows and wrapping also shows the recipient that you put some time and effort into the gift. So hopefully this article will help you and always remember to enjoy yourself.

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The Best Wines for Fall

By gitka gitka 2 months ago 4 Views No comments

Summer is at an end and it’s time to say goodbye. As you go about your daily routine, you see the school supplies occupying the front shelves of your local stores. The sun seems to set a little earlier and you don’t have to turn your air conditioner on as often as before.

These are among many of the signs indicating a change in season. But don’t fret because fall is a great time, especially for wine and a time to get prepared for the upcoming holidays. There are plenty of great recommendations of wine available.

One of the major difficulties is to pair wine with autumn food. When you think of autumn, you think of orange fall leaves, pumpkins, wild mushrooms, apples and squashes. The idea is to compliment these foods with wines that may share or contrast particular flavors.

What better way to compliment a nice pork loin with a bacon apple sauce, then to pair it with a nice Chardonnay.

Rodney Strong Chardonnay Reserve 2008 has a nice full body with flavors of spiced apples, pear joined with a mineral lemon cream and toasty oak on the palate.

Another great choice if white wine isn’t your choice would be a nice blend. Red blends will go well with that chicken and wild mushroom recipe you found online. A nice red blend like Bodega NQN Coleccion 2006 is a nice blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. With spicy notes of black cherry and black currant aromas that lead to a complex, elegant savory wine will not only impress the guests but will add that “WOW” factor to your dish.

If the red blend is too hearty for your taste buds, then you might want to tone it down with a pleasant Pinot Noir. With succulent raspberry, plum, black cherry fruit aromas with a velvety light styled texture then this is your wine.

A nice Pinot Noir will go well with that Crock Pot Roast Beef or any other wild game. Not too overpowering, a Pinot Noir will compliment the flavors in the gravy and beef. Gloria Ferrer Carneros Pinot Noir 2007 has a complex, round, mouth filling delicious Pinot Noir.

To end the night on the right note, maybe nicely baked apple dumplings baked in nice flaky pastry dough with cinnamon and sugar paired with a nice Riesling. Maybe a nice piece of cake with cream cheese filling will tempt your senses and complimented by a nice fully vibrant Riesling.

Next Riesling 2008 is a nice match and easy on the pockets. Bright highlights with citrus blossom, apricot and hints of lime leaving a clean refreshing accompaniment to your beautifully crafted dessert are heavenly.

I hope you enjoyed the suggestions and enjoy your fall. Whether you’re watching the leaves turn colors or enjoying the cooler mild nights, always celebrate the season with a nice bottle of wine. As always enjoy.

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Labor Day Drink Ideas

By gitka gitka 3 months ago 47 Views No comments

End of summer is almost here and Labor Day is approaching fast. Here are some drink ideas that might help your last summer BBQ or Labor Day party. These drinks have simple ingredients and are pretty simple to make.

Labor Day Tequila Sunrise Drink Recipe

This drink has great color and reminds me of a nice sunrise. To make this recipe you need:

  • ½ limes
  • ½ oz of tequila
  • 1 teaspoon of grenadine
  • 1/3 teaspoon crème de cassis

Just fill your glass with ice and squeeze the lime on the ice. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Fill up the rest of the glass with soda water. Throw the remaining part of the lime in the drink and drink up.

Summer Sunset Drink

Great to serve in a martini glass and garnished with a pineapple wedge

  • 1 oz. Three Olives Pomegranate Vodka
  • 1 oz. Absolute Mango Vodka
  • ½ oz. Ciroc Coconut Rum
  • 1 oz. Pineapple Juice
  • 1 oz. Cranberry Juice

Shake in a shaker with ice and strain into a glass, Enjoy!!

Labor Day Mojito Drink Recipe


  • 1½ oz. Light Rum
  • 1oz. Lime Juice
  • 1 Tsp. Super Fine Sugar
  • 3-4 mint leaves
  • Club Soda

Combine lime juice, mint and sugar in a Collins or highball glass. Crush the mint leaves with your spoon. Fill the glass with ice and add the rest. Top with soda and stir.

Blue Lagoon Drink Recipe


A classic summer cocktail that looks delicious.

  • 1oz. Vodka
  • 1oz. Curacao
  • 4oz. lemonade
  • 1 cherry
  • 1 lemon slice

Pour Vodka and Curacao over ice in a highball glass, fill with lemonade and top with cherry and lemon slice.

Rose Sangria Drink Recipe

This cocktail is a remake on a Spanish favorite. Created by bartender Tina Madden, this drink has light flavors and is perfect for a farewell to summer Labor day party.

  • ½ oz. Simple Syrup (sugar dissolved in water can be substituted)
  • ½ oz. Rum
  • 6 oz. Rose Wine
  • Slices of fruit like pineapple, strawberries and oranges.

Add all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake once and pour into a tall glass.

These drinks are sure to make your end of Summer Labor Day bash one to remember. Simple to make and all the ingredients can be found in your local wine and liquor store.

Ready Made Cocktails

By gitka gitka 3 months ago 23 Views No comments

Some of the more popular mixed drinks that were only found in bars are now readily available and pre made in your local wine and spirit store. I remember many memories of standing by the blender trying to figure out what ingredients were used in many of the drinks I ordered in the bar. Unfortunately I usually ended up with something purple and green super strong with alcohol, a horrible mix which always got poured down the drain. Luckily for me and probably anyone else who tried to experiment in their kitchen with their favorite liqueurs, they have pre made, pour and serve drinks.

Many Varieties Available

Many of the mainstream varieties like Margarita, and Mojito are available. Many companies offer their version of this popular drink. Jose Cuervo make a few different ones like Golden Margarita which is one of my favorites because it is not overly sour and the balance between the tequila and the mix are great. Chi-Chi makes a popular Margarita as well. The new trend is the “Skinny Margarita” which is made for those calorie counters who worry about eating and drinking healthier. The Skinny Margarita was made popular by a TV show which hosted housewives who lived extravagant lives. The end result of the popularity of the show resulted in the creation of Skinny Girl Margarita. There are Mojito mixes as well which has just the right amount of lime and all you need is some ice or just chill the bottle and enjoy it during those hot days of summer.

For those who enjoy creamy drinks, there are also a variety of pre mixed cocktails like Pina Colada and Mudslides. TGIF mixes branded after the popular restaurant makes a wonderful chocolatey Mudslide that will tame any sweet craving. I know I use to always mess up the amount of alcohol I would add to Pina Colada that I was given the knickname “heavy hands” I am grateful for these ready made cocktails and find it really convenient when it comes to having a party. A few of these different types, some ice and I’m ready to go. Bacardi makes a Strawberry Daiquiri which is incredible. There are ready made cocktails like Rum Runner, Mai Tai, Tuscan lemonade, Mexican mudslide,Long island iced Teas’s, as well as Sweet Teas which are the trend this year.

Convenience

You can find these mixers just about anywhere. Even your local supermarkets have these mixers available and the best part is that they are very affordable. So next time you are having company or a BBQ or some get together, just buy these easy to make time saving mixers and your friends will appreciate it. It worked for me because I am now free from being called “Heavy Hands” and everyone loves my parties. You can find many of these wonderful mixed cocktail mixes at TheLiquorStore.com

Further reading: Jug Wines - The Little Things that Carry Their Weight

Jug Wines - The Little Things that Carry Their Weight

By gitka gitka 3 months ago 18 Views No comments

Jug wine is a term used for really large bottles of wine. Many people associate jug wines with inexpensive or cheap. These bargain priced wines aren’t really that bad in quality and are ideal for parties and events. One of the major companies that you will find selling jug wines is Carlos Rossi and Opici wines. In the late 1980’s, jug wines started labeling varietals to meet customer demand. These jug wines come in a variety of sizes like 3 liter, 4 liter, and also 5 liter box wines.

A jug is a type of container used to hold liquid with a handle and a spout used to pour or drink. Most jugs are made of clay, glass, and plastic. Native Americans made jugs by sealing the inside of woven baskets with a material called asphaltum. An empty jug was sometimes used in American folklore music as an instrument.

A variety of amusing jugs like the puzzle jug and the Toby jug were made to amuse and entertain bar patrons. One of the earliest examples is the Exeter puzzle jug which had many holes in the top of the jug and the goal was to drink the liquid inside without spilling any. The Exeter puzzle jug has a long history dating back to around 1300AD. These jugs were decorated with inscriptions like “fill me up with licker sweet for it is good when fun us do meet”.

Another type of jug is the Toby Jug, also known as a Fillpot. This pottery jug in the form of a seated person often a recognizable person of status like an English king was popular in the 18th and 19th century.

Further reading: Wine Refrigerators - A Practical Buyer's Guide

Learn more about our wines and spirits here.

Wine Refrigerators - A Practical Buyer's Guide

By gitka gitka 3 months ago 20 Views No comments

With so many people becoming wine connoisseurs and interested in all different types of wine, storage becomes an issue. Living in the city makes it quite difficult to find space to store our wine collections. After you racked up a few bottles it might be beneficial to invest in a wine refrigerator, unless of course you own acres of land and have the ability to put your wine in the cellar.

There are many things to consider when searching out a wine refrigerator. With today’s innovations, there are so many options to choose from. Many of today’s wine refrigerators offer air circulation and humidity controls with specially treated glass to maintain constant temperature. Wine refrigerators are so different from a regular refrigerator with tons more options that are impressive. Even the outside décor comes in many options like woods and or other decorative materials that will help match you wine refrigerator to any kitchen style.

Another thing to decide is how many bottles you would like to hold in your refrigerator. The rule is always bigger is better. You might not think you need the extra room but soon your collection will grow and that extra space will come in handy.

Wine refrigerators come in all different sizes, from table top to custom fully built modules. Companies like Eurocave offer great designs at reasonable pricing. There are even budget wine refrigerators at your local shopping mall.

Like many, you probably think you can get away with throwing a wine in the refrigerator to chill it so you don’t need to invest in a wine refrigerator. The problem with that is that your normal refrigerator is too cold to store wine in. If you chill your white wine too much, it will kill the aromas and flavors of the wine. You want to serve your wine at an appropriate temperature to get the most out of your investments.

Further Reading: Wine Lingo - Can You Speak It?

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Wine Lingo - Can You Speak It?

By gitka gitka 3 months ago 18 Views No comments

Many of the words used to describe how a wine is can be confusing at times, with terms like bouquets’ and lingering finishes; one might think they are going to a long wedding reception. Learning the “lingo” of wine is one of the first steps to take on your way to becoming a wine connoisseur. Increasing your vocabulary and knowledge can help you not only impress your friends and colleagues but also make sense of what your tasting. I have listed some of the words frequently used but you might encounter more that aren’t listed along your journey of wine tasting.

Acidity- This doesn’t mean the flesh burning liquid in the sci-fi movies but actually the acidity of the grape. Every fruit has a level of acidity and this can be important in a wine. A good balance of sugar, acidity, color, etc., can make for a great wine.

Astringency- This is how much a wine makes you get that puckering feeling sometimes associated with dryness. Astringency comes from how much tannins are present in the wine.

Appellation of Origin- This is a term used for the region where the grapes came from to make the wine. Some wineries may get their grapes from nearby regions and the appellation would let you know where they originated. Some appellations can be regions, states, countries or geographical areas. Some laws state a certain percentage of grapes must originate from a certain area in order to be labeled properly.

Balance- The balance of a wine are how all the elements are working together, Acidity, sweetness, tannins, alcohol, if harmonious together can create a good wine with great balance.

D.O.C.G/D.O.C- D.O.C. and D.O.C.G. are abbreviations for the regulations of wine. These terms state and let the consumer know that the wine was grown and produced within a certain region, with a certain varietal, certain methods, etc. Usually these classifications are from a committee of appointed wine producers and government regulations that protect the quality of the wine being produced.

Legs- Don’t worry, your wine is going to run away. Legs are when you swirl a wine around and see a delay of wine that creeps slowly down the glass.This is described as legs. The higher the alcohol, the thinner the legs and the opposite for lower alcohol levels when determining whether your wine has legs.

Mouthfeel- This term describes the sensations you get in your mouth sometimes described as thin or thick when you taste a wine.

Sommelier- This lovely word that flows off the tongue is a French word for an educated person who assists you in choosing your wine from the menu. This wine steward should be knowledgeable in food pairings with wine.

Varietal- This is the term for the type of grape. A Cabernet Sauvignon is a grape varietal. Most New World Wines are labeled with their grape varietal while some wines are labeled with terroir which is region.

Terroir- This word comes from the word for land “terre”. It is a French word that describes an area. Some wines are labeled with their terroir which are similar to characteristics. So if Bordeaux is dry and deep red then other wines with similar characteristics from a certain geological area can be labeled as Bordeaux. It describes how the wine is as compared to the grapes used in the wine.

Finish- The overall taste that remains in your mouth after you swallowed your glass of wine is considered the finish. Full bodied wines have long finishes and light bodied wines have short finishes. The finish is actually the tannins of the wine interacting with the proteins in your saliva. So the more tannins, the longer the finish and the less tannins, the shorter the finish and length of pleasant aftertaste is present in the wine.

Bouquet- This is a term used to describe the aroma or the smells of the wine that change

during the course of the wines aging.

Brut- This term is applied to many Champagnes and sparkling wines which is a term used to describe the dryness of the wine.

These are just a few terms you might run across when you go to wine tastings or if a friend is describing a wine to you. These terms will help you explain to others why a wine is good or bad. So try it for yourself and throw some of these words around in your next wine conversation and see how well you can impress your friends. To end this article with a corny saying, I will say “now you know” and “knowing is half the battle”. As always enjoy good friends, good food, and great wine. Enjoy!!!

Further reading: Wine Aging: For Taste, Quality, & Science

Learn more about our wines and spirits here.

Wine Aging: For Taste, Quality, & Science

By gitka gitka 3 months ago 16 Views No comments

When I first got into enjoying wine, I often wondered about starting my own collection of good bottles but wasn’t sure about how the aging of wine worked. Not all bottles can be stored away for years and many have a very short shelf life. There is a science behind aging and once you know the facts behind, you can start working on your collection.

The aging of wine can improve taste and quality. Although wine is perishable, the sugars, acids, compounds, and tannins can alter and make the wine more pleasurable. The ratio of all of these ingredients is important to determining what wines age well. Only 10% of the wine produced has the ability to age.

The majority of wine is meant to be consumed in a few years. I think the first step to aging wine would be to get a storage rack with proper conditions. Proper conditions can include a dark, damp and quiet space where you wine will not be exposed to vibrations. Never store red wine in the refrigerator because with little humidity, the corks will shrink and your wine will spoil. It is also important to store sideways or upside down to keep the cork moist. If the cork dries out it could spoil the wine.

The science and qualities needed to determine which wines age can be a little difficult. Most wines with lots of tannins have a great aging ability. Tannins are a type of astringent which binds with proteins. These polyphenolic compounds are found in plant leaves to add a bitter taste to the leaves to prevent animals from eating it. These tannins are actually quite beneficial to wine. They give the wine body. The puckering feeling in dry red wine is the tannins binding with the proteins in your saliva. These tannins break down as time passes and become sediment in the bottom of the bottle. During this process, the wine becomes smoother and the color becomes a more brick, rusty color.

Wines with a low PH also have a greater capability of aging. In white wine sugar acts like tannins and preserves the wine. The white wines with the longest aging ability seem to be the ones with high amounts of extract and acidity as well as less water. The less water in the grape prior to harvest, the more likely the grapes will have aging potential.

Each wine has its own aging potential. There is a point at which the wine is ready to drink. It is possible to over age and hold on to a bottle for too long.

Vintage sometimes plays a role in determining the aging ability of a wine. Climate and temperature plays an important role. There are vintage charts that explain which regions had a great year for wine. The factors in determining a good year could be rainfall, whether or not there was extreme heat or extreme cold. The harvesting time as well play an important role.

Once you know the style and are able to store it properly than you will be on your way to having a great collection.

Further reading: Wine Accessories: What You Need to Know

Learn more about our wines and spirits here.

Wine Accessories: What You Need to Know

By gitka gitka 3 months ago 15 Views No comments

Ok so you have a few bottles in your collection. Maybe you put a few bottles aside for that special occasion when company comes over. You find yourself in front of your local wine store looking at some of the accessories for wine but are confused at what does what. This article is for you to try to help explain some of the items you might want to add to your collection. Names like aerators, decanters, and other oddly shaped tools can be a little intimidating, especially if you have no clue what they do. Let’s start with why we might need them.

Aerators are very cool and I kind of look at them as helpers. They help the wine breath by displacing the wine and allowing oxygen to the mix. They make very significant changes that are very noticeable. If you ever see someone twirling their wine in their glass, it is because they are trying to aerate it to bring out the flavors and aromas.

Aerators are designed in a way similar to carburetors which mix oxygen and fuel. They have a wide tube that narrows at one end and they work faster than decanters.

Decanters are made of glass, ceramic or metals like gold, copper, silver, etc. and are used to aerate the wine as well. They do this because of the way they are shaped which allows for a big surface area in the vessel to which the wine can breathe. Most can hold about one bottle and besides aerating the wine they also have a nice look to them that add a certain aesthetic to parties and even your wine collection. Decanters are different from amphoras which were big jugs that wine was stored in. Usually with handles on both sides and often wine was poured from amphoras into decanters which were smaller and easier to handle. Another benefit of this method was that they were able to keep the sediment on the bottom of the wine from being poured into someone’s glass.

A wine vacuum sealer is a little gadget that can help when you don’t want to finish a bottle of wine. Many people usually put a cork in the bottle and leave it but the air inside will gradually reduce the quality of the wine. This could affect the wine if you don’t drink the wine for a couple of days. If you know you aren’t going to finish the bottle within the week then you could benefit from a vacuum sealer.

You should have some knowledge on corkscrews. They are pretty self explanatory. You might hear references to a device called the rabbit which is a cork screw that attaches to a table and has the shape of rabbit ears. Besides that you should always use the right glasses to help bring the taste out of your wine.

I never thought that there were so many details in the gadgets used with wine until I started trying some. They do make a difference and you should try some of these gadgets in your house. You can find reasonably priced items at your local wine store or even online at TheLiquorStore.com. So pick some up today and let me know what you think.

Further reading: Will Glass Wine Bottles be Replaced?

Will Glass Wine Bottles be Replaced?

By gitka gitka 4 months ago 13 Views No comments

Wine being stored in boxes and plastic is nothing new. Since the beginning of history, wine has been transported in everything from wooden barrels, clay amphoras, exotic animal skins and etc. In recent times, innovative improvements on non glass containers have made it possible to replace our beloved glass bottles. One of the newest inventions making a come up since it hit the market has been the pet bottles. Pet bottles have been used in the past with small 25cl bottles and the 1.5 bottle from the south of France. Some of the popularity behind these containers is associated with reducing our carbon footprint.

Some of the advantages in using these bottles are that they are lighter. A pet bottle weighs 54 grams as compared to the 400 gram glass bottle. These bottles are also easy to transport and are recyclable. More bottles can be stored during transport which helps the carbon footprint.

Some of the disadvantages associated include a shorter shelf life due to the allowance of oxygen inside the bottle. Plastic bottles have always been frowned upon as cheap. Another fear is that plastic bottles may contain phthalates which can be harmful to the body and might be absorbed in the body.

So it is hard to tell if these plastic bottles will replace glass especially with people and the image of plastic containing wine. Glass has always given wine that elegant feel and superb classiness. Would you buy a plastic bottle of wine bottle? Only time will tell if plastic wins the battle of the bottles.

Further reading: Why Are Wine Bottles are Shaped the Way They Are?

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