Decatur Wine and Spirits The Vintage Voice

Volume 2, Issue 6 — June, 2007


In This Issue
Editor's Note


The Red Wines of Summer Time

Priming for a Tequila Sunrise

Featured Product


Drink Recipe: Margarita Martini

Upcoming Events
June 9: Lake Rabun Benefit Wine Tasting at Tiger Mountain Vineyards, Tiger

June 9: 4th Annual "Evening Under the Stars," Crane Creek Vineyards, Young Harris

June 10: Wine & Swine, Grant Park

June 10 & 24: Kick Off The Summer with Beach Music & BBQ, Wolf Mountain Vineyards, Daholonega

June 12: Southern Italian Wine Tasting, Flowery Branch

June 16: Atlanta Beer Meetup at Charlie Mopps Public House, Atlanta

June 16: Father's Day Nouveau Southern Cuisine Dinner at Beechwood Inn, Clayton

June 17: Father's Day

June 18: Beer Dinner at 5th Earl Market, Decatur

June 18: Wines & Cheeses at the Atlanta Wine School, Roswell

June 19: It's Time for Rosé, Epicurean Restaurant, Decatur

June 20: Spanish Wine Tasting at Woodfire Grill, Atlanta

June 21: Chocolate! Pure Indulgence, Dunwoody

June 21: Beer Tasting: Battle of the Rockies, at Muss and Turner's, Smyrna

June 23: Tuscan Dinner and Wine Tasting at Beechwood Inn, Clayton

June 25: World of Reds at the Atlanta Wine School, Roswell

June 25: Meet the Farmer’s Dinner, Smyrna

June 28: Beer Tasting: Fruit Beers, at Muss and Turner's, Smyrna

June 30: Early Summer Mediterranean Feast at Beechwood Inn, Clayton

July 4: Bacchus Society & Connoisseurs, Vinings

July 5: Beer Tasting: US v UK, at Muss and Turner's, Smyrna

Featured Product
imperiaCorazón de Agave Tequila
Corazón de Agave Tequila is produced in the "heart" of the blue agave growing area of Mexico, known as "The Highlands." The family that creates this Tequila has been growing blue agave for more than three generations.

Corazón is made by the traditional method, using 100% blue agave, distilled twice in pot stills. Corazón comes in a Blanco, Reposado and Añjeo.

The Beverage Tasting Institute of Chicago rated the Blanco the best Blanco Tequila in the U.S. The Repasdo is kept in white oak casks or vats called pipones for more than two months and up to one year and the Anjeo is aged in new Canadian oak barrels for 2 years to produce a truly balanced sipping tequila.

Corazon de Agave Tequila represents the very finest in Tequila and it is best enjoyed straight. Our price: $38.49 for a gift box of blanco with four shot glasses.

Wine Club Selections
Kilikanoon The Lacky Shiraz 2005
Kilikanoon produces some of the world’s finest full-flavored, dry reds. In fact, Robert Parker describes Kilikanoon as “one of the most brilliantly run wineries in Australia” due to the talents of winemaker Kevin Mitchell.

The Lacky is made exclusively for the U.S. and it is tailored to emphasize the ripe, classic, South Australian Shiraz grape. The Lacky is aged in old oak and bottled with no fining or filtration. Deep, rich, full-bodied, and elegant, it reveals plenty of berry fruit, pepper, chocolate, and new saddle leather characteristics. Drink this spicy, earthy effort over the next 2-3 years.

Country: Australia
Variety: Shiraz
Rating: 90 points Robert Parker
Price: $14.99

Kiona Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Kiona is an internationally known vineyard in the upper Yakima Valley of Washington State. Blended from select vineyards, this Washington State Cabernet is made of entirely free-run juice. The wine is taken through a complete malo-lactic fermentation process to further improve the complexity and richness. It is then aged in French and American Oak for approximately 18 months.

Deep colored with moderate to high bull well-integrated tannins, it will stand cellaring for additional years. However, the Bordeaux style blending with a bit of Merlot and Cabernet Franc will make an ideal wine now for any occasion.

State: Washington
Appelation: Yakima Valley
Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon
Rating: 89 points Wine Spectator
Price: $23.99

Veramonte Primus 2003
Chile's Veramonte is one of many gems created by Agustin Huneeus, who also founded Concha y Toro, and California's Franciscan Oakville Estate, Mount Veeder, Estancia and Quintessa.

The Primus is Veramonte’s limited production wine. It is designed to showcase the rare Carmenère variety; a grape that was once prevalent in Bordeaux, France, when Chile first began importing French vines. This 'super-premium' blend uses Carmenere as the base. As a result, the finished wine has a concentrated blackberry and cherry flavor mingled with the spicy oak. The nose is blueberries, spice and vanilla. The finish is long and satisfying, making it a great food wine at a terrific price.

Country: Chile
Appelation: Casablanca
Variety: Equal blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere
Rating: 89 points Wine Spectator
Price: $15.99

Club Cigar
Gurkha Ancient Warrior
The Gurkha Ancient Warrior uses a varied blend to achieve a unique flavor that is slightly spicy but balanced well with a long and slightly creamy finish. The Brazillian wrapper gives it depth and spice, the Nicaraguan binder lends balanced strength, and the Dominican and Honduran fillers give the cigar a rich and creamy flavor. The combination of these tobaccos makes for a medium body that builds in flavor as the cigar is smoked. These flavors are supported by an extremely pleasant undertone of cedar. Ancient Warrior is another excellent cigar from Gurkha and is sure the please your palate.

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Brazillian
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Dom. Honduran
Strength: Medium
Rating: Churchill 88, April 2006
Price: $7.99


Editor’s Note
Good news! The Georgia Department of Revenue finally issued the long-anticipated new wine tasting regulations, and as a result, we will soon begin to host monthly wine tastings.

These wine-tasting events will begin in July. We are planning to host our first events at El Toro, our next door neighbor. However, we are open to suggestions and recommendations for additional locations. These recommendations can be submitted to

While white wines typically embody the summer “spirit,” among the themes explored in this latest issue of the Vintage Voice are the benefits of pairing red wines with the quintessential summer pastime—the backyard barbecue.

Whether you are serving smoked meats or simple burgers, these guidelines will help you select the perfect wine to compliment the meal.

In “Priming for a Tequila Sunrise,” our spirited consultant Robert Thomas offers another premier for selecting the right tequila—another quintessential summer beverage.

Don’t like tequila? Had a bad experience? Odds are that you have not tried the real thing and it is time to upgrade, Robert observes.

Along those lines, our featured product this month is the Corazón de Agave Tequila. Corazón de Agave is an ultra premium tequila made by traditional methods.

Subscribers will find the usual coupon for our June wine selections at the end of the newsletter.

Once again, we want to thank you for subscribing to the Vintage Voice and we look forward to seeing you soon at the store.

The Red Wines of Summer Time
Sauvignon Blancs, Reislings and Sancerres typically are the top contenders for the most popular summer wines. They are refreshing and serve as superb compliments to light summer meals due to their citrus acidity and mineral aroma complemented by a full orchard fruit flavor.

But while these summer white wines clearly are the ideal compliment for lighter summer meals, the truth is that many reds could serve as better summer pairings, especially for cookouts.

Grilling with Zin
Although salads, seafood and fish are great summer foods, there is little question that grilling red meat is still the number one summer activity for many backyard chefs.

For barbecue, there might be no better choice than a Zinfandel. The black pepper spice, acidity and ripe tannins will help carry the flavor and texture of the meat, whether using a barbeque sauce, steak sauce or mild salsa.

A Cabernet Sauvignon will pair equally well with fattier meats such as steaks or burgers. The fat in the steak and burgers will help mellow the wine's tannins much like a blue cheese or sharp cheddar.

Smoking with Syrah
Smoked meats typically pair best with a Shiraz/Syrah. These wines tend to have mellower tannis and an aggressive fruit flavor that is perfect for any red meat. But the Shiraz also has a smokier flavor profile that is especially well-suited for smoked meats.

In the same vein, both Merlots and Shirazes would better suited for spicier sauces in that the aggressive fruit profile helps support the spice without fanning the flames.

Stuck on White
Still thinking about the refreshing aspect of that chilled summer white wine? No worries. A number of whites will work equally well, especially with grilled chicken, fish or vegetables.

For barbecued chicken, the fruity profile of a dry or an off-dry Riesling will help accentuate the spices while providing a contrast to the sweet, smoky nuances of the dish.

A Chardonnay will pair well with grilled fish as well as corn on the cob while the herbal nature of a Sauvignon Blanc makes it a perfect compliment to almost all the vegetables and an even better marinade for fish.

A sweeter white wine such as a Gewürztraminer would also be a great choice for spicier dishes such Cajun chicken thanks to this wine’s sweeter profile.

No Right Answer
As always, these are merely suggestions or guidelines.

Red wines typically go well with any red meat and white wines generally pair better with lighter meats and sauces. But there are no hard rules.

So don’t be afraid to mix and match. After all, it is your pleasure that the pairing ultimately should enhance.

Priming for a Tequila Sunrise
Summer is just around the corner and visions of margarita pitchers start appearing in our heads as a way to beat the heat and enjoy the lazy days.
Not a tequila aficionado? Had a bad experience? More than likely, you simply drank a bad tequila. Time to upgrade to the real thing.

Agave tequilana, a.k.a. blue agave. Tequila is made from sap extracted from the hearts (the core beneath the leaves) of plants which are eight or more years old.

The Myth and Gist
Tequila is made from the roasted hearts of the blue agave plant, a spiky leaved desert plant that grows best in Mexico. In order to be called tequila, the liquor must contain at least 51% of the blue agave plant’s fermented juice.

If your bottle has a worm, tarantula or scorpion, it’s not tequila. It is mezcal.

There are hundreds of species of agave plants, but the blue agave plant is the only species used to produce real tequila.

Real tequila must also be made in the “Tequila” region of Mexico. Any liquor made outside of Tequila, Mexico, or made out of another species of the agave plant is instead called mezcal.

The Best and Rest
Since tequila must only contain 51% blue agave juice to be called tequila, the first thing to consider is the tequila’s overall purity if you truly want a decent drink.

Good tequilas will be made from 100% blue agave — no extra sweeteners, caramel coloring, or fillers like those found in the less expensive "jug" tequilas. As a result, these tequilas will also taste cleaner, fresher, and are less likely to cause a gagging reflex.

Types of Tequila

Oro ("gold"): Unaged tequila which is "abogado" (adulterated) with caramel, fructose, glycerin and/or wood flavoring to resemble aged tequila. Used for frozen margaritas.

Blanco ("white") or Plata ("silver"): Unaged tequila. Best used for shooting and mixing.

Repasado ("rested"): Aged for at least sixty days and as long as a year. Best used for mixing and sipping.

Añejo ("aged"): Aged a minimum of one year but less than three years in oak barrels. Best for sipping.

Oh Dear, it’s not all clear
Okay, you’ve gone to the tequila shelf and you are now staring at all the various brands of 100% blue agave tequila. Some are white, some are dark. Some are expensive, and others more value priced. So, what do you choose?

After quantity of blue agave, the next factor that determines the taste (and price) of tequila is age.

White, or “blanco”, tequila is unaged. Unlike some other spirits, this doesn’t mean that it will taste raw and harsh. Instead, blanco tequila is the one that embodies the greatest pure flavor of the agave plant. As a result, it will be crisp, sharp, peppery, and slightly sweet with an herbal quality.

White tequilas are great for shooting and mixing.

Reposado tequilas represent the next level of aging. These tequilas are aged for a minimum of sixty days and for as long as a year with most aged between two and nine months.

Aging the tequila subdues some of the peppery and herbal notes while preserving the basic flavor profile and introducing new flavors from the wood such as vanilla, spice, cedar and smoke. In general, the aging process will also make the tequila a little smoother and darker in color.

Resposado tequilas are great for sipping, shooting, and mixing.

If tequila is aged longer than a reposado, then it is called an añejo, or “old”, tequila. These tequilas are aged for at least a year with many aged up to three years or even longer. The extra time in the wood smoothes out the tequila even more and subdues much of the pepperiness and herbal nature of the spirit.

Almost all anejos are also aged in used bourbon barrels, adding a cherry fruitiness to the taste profile.

Aged tequilas are best sipped like single barrel bourbons and cognac.

Some of the brands of tequila available at our store. Ask our staff for assistance in finding the variety you're in the mood for.

But What About the Brand
There are many nice añejos, repasados and blancos with various, unique flavors depending upon the origin, type and aging process. Some are fruitier like the Corazón, while others are woodier and dry.

One example of tequila that preserves more of the agave flavor is the Don Julio brand. Another very smooth tequila is the ever-popular Patrón brand.

But if you want to try a rich, dark tequila, you might want to sample a Herradura.

Given that each brand is different, there is no right or wrong brand.

Back to Margaritaville
There is, of course, also a time and place for the jug, especially if you’re making frozen drinks or having a big party.

But if you take the opportunity to try some of the other tequilas, it might help you understand what all the fuss is about. If you already enjoy nice snifter of añejo, keep exploring… there are lots of great tequilas out there!

Recipe: Margarita Martini
A fun twist on the classic margarita, this drink combines the refreshing flavor of the margarita with the cachet of a martini. There are many possible variations in this simple recipe, so experiment to find your unique flavor.

1 1/2 oz blanco or respasado tequila
1/2 oz Cointreau or Grand Marnier
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
Simple syrup (sugar dissolved into water) to taste

Fill a cocktail shaker or a large glass with ice. Add all ingredients and shake. Strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime or candied lime.

You may wish to lightly salt the rim of your glass. To do so, before chilling the glass, dip the rim into a saucer filled with lime juice, then into another filled with salt. Some people suggest adding sugar to the salt, for a bizarre but intriguing twist.

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