Selection and service. Savings. A broad choice so you can find exactly what you want, and helpful, friendly, knowledgeable staff. Of course, there's more. Read on.
WINE LABELS DEMYSTIFIED
There are three kinds of wine labels; varietal, proprietary, geographic. VARIETAL: The name of the grape is on the label. US law dictates at least 75% of what's on the label has to be in the bottle. Examples: Merlot, Cabernet, Chardonnay, Riesling, Shiraz. GEOGRAPHIC: The wine gets its name from the region, village or commune where the grapes grow. Bordeaux is a region of France. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are dominant grapes. Therefore, Bordeaux is mostly Cab and Merlot. Slight variation: German wines are labeled by region but generally described by sweetness. Kabinette is the driest, trockenbeerenauslese the sweetest. Most German wine available in this country is made from Riesling although it won't always say so on the label. PROPRIETARY: Whatever the wine maker wants to call it. Yes, made-up names. If it says 'blush' anything, chances are it's a Propietary label because 'blush' is not a grape. But don't assume that because it's a fake name, it's fake wine. Caymus Vineyards Conundrum comes to mind. Fantastic blend of wines from at least five different white grapes. Outstanding off-dry pre-dessert treat.
* Make sure that your wine & spirit shop's owner has long experience in the business.
* The staff should be willing to provide experience and knowledge to help the store's customers.
* The store should provide a broad choice of well known beer, wine and spirits as well as private label brands.
* Value in pricing and volume discounts are important factors for customers.
* Party planning, newsletters and the ability to order hard to find items are extra services that a wine and spirit shop should offer.
FINDING THE BEST WINE
Rule number one: The best wine in the world is the one you like. Your favorite. The one you buy over and over. The one that makes your soul sing and your spirit take flight.
Rule number two: To find the best wine (see rule number one) you must put wine in your mouth. Your friends and the friendly guy at the wine shop can tell you what he likes and dislikes but he can't tell you what you like. Or what you taste. It's a solo journey. We will hold your hand but you take the first step.
Rule number three: Go to every single tasting you can find. Move and groove like as if you're on your personal mission of pleasure. Because you are. Enjoy the ride.
Rule number four: Remember these words: sniff, sip, swirl, sip and swirl a second time, swish, swallow, savor. Now remember these words: enjoy the ride. Until you understand all those 's' terms, enjoy. The terms will come along. You might ask one of the friendly staff at your favorite wine shop. Or go on line with Keyword: Wine tasting. The knowledge is everywhere. Tasting is still in your mouth alone.
THE SPIRIT RANGE
A good liquor store will have a broad selection of all the advertised brands as well as private label brands. This store will also have bourbons, rums, scotches, vodkas, gins and liquors that are not found elsewhere. This means that the buyers have long experience in the business and the knowledge to seek out and stock the best, highly allocated spirits the world has to offer.
There are three types of WHISKEYS, BOURBONS OR STRAIGHT WHISKEY, which are full flavored of body and character.They must have at least 2 years of aging in oak barrels, not diluted with plain grain alcohol and can be bottled at any proof from 80 and up. 100 is called bottled in bond. BLENDED WHISKEYS - Both American and Canadian are straight whiskeys which have been cut with grain neutral spirits or spring water to reach 80. Proof is 50% of the alcohol content - therefore 100 whiskey is 50% alcohol. SCOTCH WHISKEY AND IRISH WHISKEY are both blended and single malt. Single malt means that the whiskey comes from a single distillery. The great blended SCOTCHES such as Johnnie Walker or Dewars contain as many as 20 or 30 malts from different distilleries. Scotch has a smoky peaty quality because of the peat used to fire the cooking mash. Whiskey is distilled from grains like corn, wheat, rye or barley. BRANDY is distilled from grapes or finished wine. Armagac and Cognac are the great brandies of France. All countries where grapes are grown produce brandy. Some of the best are from Greece, Italy, Germany, Spain and Mexico. LIQUEURS can be made from any fruit, nut, herb, vegetable or plant which can be distilled. Schnapps or liqueur are interchangeable. Liqueurs may be sweet, dry, mellow, creamy, intense, fruity or tangy. They may be served alone or in combination cocktails, at any social occasion. Your imagination is the only limit. Variety is the name of the game. PREMIUM VODKAS are made from a variety of grains and vegetables and range from spicy/peppery to smooth and clean. PREMIUM TEQUILAS are usually aged like high quality wines. A single-batch BOURBON does not taste like the stuff on the bottom shelf. Variety is the name of the game. Life's too short to leave out the adventure.
Beer is universal. With so many cultures developing their own indigenous brewing traditions, recipes and ingredients, it's no wonder that the world still offers an incredible and delightful variety of beers. At last count, there were more than 20,000 brands of beer sold around the world, brewed in more than 170 styles.
All malt beverages are rightly referred to as "beers," but there are two distinct types: ALES AND LAGERS. Until the 1800s, all beers were ales, that is they were brewed with yeasts that fermented at the top of the fermenting tank. Bottom-fermenting yeasts, discovered around 1830, and advances in refrigeration made it possible to brew "lagers" all year round.
Old world craft beers may have a pedigree that dates back hundreds of years. And next to it may be the latest and greatest artistic beer expression made last month. Fresh, crisp, deep-flavored, an outstanding prizewinner.
SERVICE AND SELECTION KNOWLEDGE AND VARIETY. RANGE AND CHOICE. GO WHERE YOU GET WHAT YOU WANT AND FIND THE NEXT GREAT ADVENTURE OF YOUR LIFE!
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