Rosés Finally Get
the Respect Deserved
A good dry Rosé is a perfect pairing for Salmon, especially...
Pour Your Heart Out
By now you have shaken off your Thanksgiving food coma, and are ready to face the holiday season’s parties, meals and more food comas.
Not to worry because we’ve done the work of choosing the best wines for the holidays. For the month of December, our wine markets feature red blends that pair perfectly with the richer, more robust foods that will be on the dinner table, especially rib roasts!
Gundlach Bundschu makes one of the wines we’re featuring. Just saying it is a mouthful.
This winery holds a special place in my heart. I’ve been fortunate enough to have visit...
One of the things that I love about this industry is that it’s always changing and offering up some new trends. Some of them fade but some endure – simply because they’re just downright awesome.
A lot of the things that trend are categories or varieties that have always been around. Take IPAs for example. The style was created hundreds of years ago and it’s been a staple beer style for many breweries. You could easily find dozens or more different example of IPAs on the shelves of most respectable beer stores for the last 20 years. But for the last five years or so, the buzz...
No, you didn’t read that wrong. Yes, the signs by the road and outside our stores are all about our promotion of canned beer throughout July. Let me explain …
For years, the beer industry has been dominated by Big Beer (Coors, Miller and Budweiser), with their mass-produced, and some would say, flavorless style of beer that is packaged in a can. While the Big Beers still dominate the U.S. market overall, craft beer has made some very deep inroads into customer perception and subsequently market share. In fact, in 2002, Oskar Blues Brewery of Colorado was the first craft brewery to...
When I first got into the beer and wine business, back in the late ‘90s, grunge music was being shown the door. Energy drinks had just started popping up. Dot-coms were on the very brink of the bubble bursting. And Rosé wines were trying to get some respect.
I’m not talking about the sweet pink wines – like White Zinfandels – people have long associated with these wines. I’m referring to true dry Rosés, which get their color from the grape skins, but not enough to qualify them as red wines. Many claim it is the oldest known type of wine.
While I think White Zinfandel...
For most of the American population living in the northerly reaches of the country, fall is when the grill is put away for its winter hibernation. Only when the rain starts to taper off and flowers start to bloom do we venture out to start grilling again. Well that time has come, so get out there and clean off the grill because there are some great grilling opportunities for you in our markets.
Throughout June our Beer & Wine Shops are featuring wines paired specifically for the smoky, grilled flavors associated with the barbecue. A lot of people’s first inclination is to ju...
The history of cocktails goes back hundreds of years and there are thousands – millions probably – tried-and-true recipes out there. The Moscow Mule is one such cocktail.
The story goes that in 1941, Jack Morgan, owner of Hollywood’s once famous – and now defunct – Cock ’n Bull restaurant and also the president of Cock ’n Bull Products, was trying to get people to try his ginger beer of the same name. Morgan joined forces with John G. Martin and Rudolph Kunett of Heublein Bros. Inc., the venerable American producer and distributor of alcoholic beverages and food throughout t...
Portuguese wines have been available for hundreds of years – known to us in the New World mostly as Port, the sweet dessert wine.
The Port story began in the early 1700s when England was at war with France. The British couldn’t get any of their beloved French wine, so they went with the next best thing, Portuguese wines. But the problem at the time was that the wines would spoil before they landed in England. So they decided to fortify them with spirits and the problem was solved. Fast forward 300 years and we find a modern revival in the interest of Portuguese wines.
Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, CA, is pulling out of the Washington market – an announcement that upset a lot of people in the beer community when it was made a couple of weeks ago.
While it wasn’t surprising to those in the know, there are a lot of people out there scratching their heads as they try to understand why. The answer is really very simple – in a nutshell, the brewery is at capacity and they need to be able to supply brewpubs first and the California market secondly – everyone else falls under those priorities. To make that possible, they decided to pull out of Washington until they could increase capacity.
With several hundred in-state breweries and more than 100 out-of-state breweries available to us, this shouldn’t be that big of a deal to Washingtonians. Why would one brewery leaving cause an outcry in beer geekdom? Actually, it comes as a relief to our Beer & Wine wine staff in that we now don’t have to deal with the Pliny situation – Pliny the Elder is an Imperial IPA from Russian River that put that brewery on the map. We could never get enough, which caused a lot of aggravation for those who wanted it. It was a classic example of supply not being able to keep up with demand.
Personally, I think Russian River Brewing’s decision to leave Washington is for the best. I’ve seen it happen way too many times to count – a brewery/winery/distillery tries to break into the market but overestimate their ability to sell to or supply the market. I would rather see a supplier admit that they cannot supply to you rather than committing and then failing to deliver.
But now we turn to a happier situation – Magic Hat Brewery in Vermont. Magic Hat is a craft brewery/brewpub that has been around since 1994. In Vermont, it’s considered a pretty big deal. When asked if they would please come to the Washington market, the answer was always “No.” For whatever reason – and my guess is that they just didn’t have the supply or capacity levels to be able to support another out-of-state market – they never ventured into the great Northwest....
Anyone who knows me well will tell you I’m not exactly a holiday junkie. I wouldn’t lump myself into the same category as Mr. Scrooge or The Grinch perhaps, but I’m not all that far away from it.
But … with that said, I have to admit that I can’t wait for this time of the year. Because of winter beers. Yes, it’s that glorious time of year when most of the craft brewers offer their seasonal selection in the form of a robust, typically dark and malty elixir. Some styles tend to be darker, stouter versions of their usual style, while others showcase beers brewed with adjuncts such as fruit, spices or even spruce tips. The presence of hops tends to be downplayed – although not always – and the alcohol level typically rises. I know I’m not alone on this subject, right now the blogosphere is buzzing with all of the seasonal releases available.
One beer to pay special attention to is the Deschutes Jubelale. Since its inception, Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Ore., has had an artist design the label. This year, Kaycee Anseth Townsend was chosen as the artist and her design, titled “Revelers and Troubadours,” pays homage to all of the labels of the past. She created the art using scraps of paper from labels from years past. This beer will be on our Biweekly Buys for $7.49 for 6 packs, starting Dec. 12.
Another favorite is the Fremont Brewing Abominable Ale. This year, much to the chagrin of many a beer geek, Fremont Brewing (on Woodland Park Avenue North in Seattle) has released its seasonal ale in four-packs of 12-oz aluminum cans. Aluminum cans are getting trendier for craft beers, and a lot of brewers think it benefits the beer in terms of cost, recyclability and protection from light and oxygen....
Sometimes in life, you have to choose between acting now or waiting. I know people – lots of them – who are holding off on buying a house in the hopes of scoring a real deal. They could feasibly buy today, but the possibility of something even better showing up in the future always exists. This struggle between instant gratification and the hope of patience being rewarded has recently struck us in Wine Department.
As a company, we are constantly being offered wines that are absolutely fabulous; case in point, the ’09 Saviah Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley. This wine has been on the market for almost a year. Upon release, it was drinking beautifully. It showed the depth and structure of fruit known from the vineyards where it was grown. When we were told that Saviah was going to drop the price for the end of the year, we jumped on the opportunity to run it for our Holiday Wine Sale.
Then the kicker appeared. Our supplier offered us an unheard of offer – they said we could buy in on the ’10 vintage, before it has been released to any other retailers, if we felt it was up to our quality standards. In fact, they were heading to Walla Walla to taste them side by side. When they got back, the vote was unanimous that the ’10 had more stuffing than the ’09. To prove their point, they shipped us both wines to try ourselves....