Published on February 9th, 2020 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
8 Recommended Brands To Add To Your Home Bar And/or Wine Cellar
Within the colder months of the calendar year, you are likely to find wine and spirits a recurring part of your social calendar. Whether you are hosting a gathering at home, celebrating a birthday, partaking in an XFL Saturday or attending some sort of holiday party, odds are that alcohol will be a part of that event’s equation. With craft spirits and specialized vineyards being more popular than ever these days, it is not always easy to keep up with the latest and greatest brands out there on the market.
As a frequent reader of industry trades, a prolific interviewer of brand ambassadors and a follower of key developments within the world of alcohol, I regularly take note of new products. Below are 8 recommended brands you ought to consider adding to your home bar and/or wine cellar.
A leader in the canned cocktails space, Cutwater is one of the few distillers in San Diego to distill authentic tequila. And last year, Cutwater Spirits recently launched its first-ever tequila, Rayador Tequila Blanco. There are currently 16 Cutwater canned cocktails to choose from, including drinks with whiskey, vodka, gin and rum. Notably, its Vodka Soda offering includes the award-winning Fugu Vodka, six times distilled and lightly-flavored with cucumber, grapefruit and lime soda water.
The Universal Spirit is a 151-proof vodka and serves as the main ingredient to each recipe in the newly-released The Good Reverend’s Guide to Infused Spirits. Offering a multitude of versatile uses, this high-ABV spirit is corn-based and can be used to create infusions such as tinctures and cordials, energy cleaning concoctions, and cocktails. Described as a “DIY-kit in a bottle,” the Universal Spirit allows its users to create their own concoctions at home, saving them both time and money.
Notably The Universal Spirit is a product of Art In The Age. The Philadelphia-based Art In the Age Tasting Room & Home Bar Supply is the workshop and testing ground for Quaker City Mercantile, and the only place to taste the company’s newest innovations. It serves as a designated satellite location for New Liberty Distilling, allowing the store to sell New Liberty’s products as well as new Art In The Age products bottled there. Alongside this curated lineup of unique local spirits, Art in the Age is a one-stop-shop for the home bartender, offering bar tools, mixers, bitters, and glassware, beyond offering educational workshops, tastings, and home mixology training.
JAJA Tequila has positioned itself as “the sustainable tequila by creatives, for creatives.” Founded by Maurice Tebele and Martin Hoffstein, the two childhood friends saw a need for a spirits brand that spoke to the next generation of conscious thinkers. So they set off to Jalisco, Mexico, discovering a local distillery where JAJA was born and is now distributed throughout America and with continued rapid expansion elsewhere in the world.
After working with Fancy.com, co-founder Martin Hoffstein built countless substantial brand partnerships as a consultant, including those for Gucci, Adidas and Saks to The Gap, Nike and Banana Republic. Tebele himself is synonymous with F**k Jerry media empire. Now the two are working with co-owners Alex Pall and Drew Taggart of The Chainsmokers, helping JAJA to change “the tequila narrative” and pave the way for a new lifestyle among tequila-drinkers.
D’USSÉ — pronounced “dew-say” — is a bold new expression of Cognac that dares the palate like never before. Born from the prestigious Chateau de Cognac, France, D’USSÉ blends over 200 years of tradition with the inspiration of passionate Cellar Master Michel Casavecchia, who has set out to create his own legacy. The end-result is a uniquely-powerful and authentic Cognac that starts off with distinguished intensity and then gives way to a pleasantly smooth, balanced finish. The D’USSÉ Cognac range consists of VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) and XO (Extra Old) qualities.
D’USSÉ XO could make for a stunning gift for Valentine’s Day, yet holidays aside, it is regarded among the world’s finest Cognacs. The eau-de-vie used in D’USSÉ XO Cognac is aged a minimum of 10 years in French oak casks, while its stunning bottle design is inspired by the liquid it contains. Wherever it rests, D’USSÉ XO is going to be simultaneously classic, modern and an overall statement.
The Miner Family Winery is a family-owned Napa Valley winery well-known for its flagship Bordeaux-style blend, The Oracle. Recent the winery announced the completion of its new wine tasting spaces. Brought to life with the help of Kristin Martin Design and contractor Andy Isdahl, the new space was designed with intimate tasting experiences in mind to create enjoyable, comfortable and memorable outings. Its second and third floor wine tasting spaces display family, vineyard and property photos plus encased Benedetto jazz guitars. In addition, the third floor tasting room lounge is named “the Benedetto Lounge,” in tribute to Benedetto Guitars, of which Dave Miner is part-owner.
Each wine at Miner is crafted in a style to encapsulate the distinctive elements and the indelible fingerprints of its respective vineyards. Of its Pinor Noir selections, I recommend checking out the “777” Rosella’s Vineyard. A rare single-clone, single-vineyard bottling, the Rosella’s Vineyard Pinot Noir “777” is both intense and appealing with floral, exotic spice aromas and a silky textured palate of dark berry fruit. The “777” Dijon clone is a specific variety within the Pinot Noir family originally from Burgundy’s Morey St. Denis region in France. It is indeed an exclusive to the Wine Club which the Miner Family Winery has plenty of information about on its website.
Inniskillin is a Canadian winery located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Inniskillin, which is mainly noted for its icewine production, has played an important pioneering role in the modern Canadian wine industry. Since 1994, Inniskillin has also operated a winery in Okanagan, British Columbia. Made from the premier Icewine grape in Ontario, this wine is known for its rich flavors and fruit filled aromas, notably ripe peach and lively citrus. Its well-balanced acidity leads into a long fruit-filled finish.
Its Inniskillin 2017 Cabernet Franc Icewine is especially of note. A luscious — and rare — red Icewine, this Cabernet Franc bursts with flavors of strawberry and cherry with hints of fresh cream. This sweet indulgence will delight the wine aficionado in your life. Meanwhile, its 2017 Vidal Icewine includes fruit-filled aromas, notably ripe peach and lively citrus.
The character-driven cabernet known as Double Diamond was crafted by Thomas Rivers Brown, the winemaker behind cult-status winery Schrader Cellars. Its Double Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is a full-bodied red with a bold fruit flavor and fine-grained tannins. This vintage offering opens with black and blue fruits, as balanced by a light oak spice that is mirrored on the nose. Its captivating fruit flavors pair easily with grilled steak or barbequed ribs.
Founded in 1973, Mount Veeder Winery is a hidden jewel high above the Napa Valley floor. For those who prefer a bold flavor, its Mount Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon features notes of berry, peppercorn and olive, which ought to fill the palate and also lead to a long, lingering finish. This wonderfully-rich wine is best enjoyed with good company and a seasoned roast.