Web Exclusives

Treaty Oak Distilling Makes All the Right Moves in Texas

Treaty Oak Distilling Makes All the Right Moves in Texas

In September, MicroLiquor honored Treaty Oak Distilling Co. of Austin, Texas, with several accolades. Read More ==>

Earthquake Harvest

Earthquake Harvest

The response to the 6.0 magnitude earthquake that hit the Napa Valley in the early hours of August 24 has been overwhelming. Read More ==>

Profile: Ryan Magarian

Profile: Ryan Magarian

Ryan Magarian has had a major impact on the national, and particularly Pacific Northwest, bartending scene for more than a decade. Read More ==>

Good, Cold Fun: Frozen Cocktails for Late Summer

Good, Cold Fun: Frozen Cocktails for Late Summer

Long the embarrassing stepchild of the artisan cocktail world, frozen cocktails are cool again. Read More ==>

How the West Was Sipped

How the West Was Sipped

While Santa Fe has a decades-old history as a hotbed of fine-dining innovation, several mixologists are working hard to bring the beverage end of their menus up to speed. Read More ==>

Still Crazy

Still Crazy

After All These Years, Vendome Copper Is Busier Than Ever Read More ==>

Vinitaly in a Day

Vinitaly in a Day

For last 46 years, the Italian wine industry has convened in Verona for that nation's largest wine tradeshow.
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So Very Sherry

So Very Sherry

A New Generation Gets to Know Andalucía's Treasure Read More ==>

English Whisky? Yes, English Whisky!

English Whisky? Yes, English Whisky!

Though we haven't heard about English whisky in more than a hundred years, it's not exactly a new idea. Read More ==>

Fanfare for Vecchie Viti

Fanfare for Vecchie Viti

On the occasion of his birth, the wine given to the Marquise Lamberto Frescobaldi by his father Leonardo was produced from an old-vine site at the family's Castello di Nipozzano estate in Chianti Rufina. Wines from the 25-acre vineyard had traditionally been reserved for family members, but with the recent emphasis on identifying cru-worthy sites in Chianti, in April, Frescobaldi unveiled the first release of Castello di Nipozzano 2011 Vecchie Viti Chianti Rufina Riserva DOCG with a medieval celebration at the estate timed to coincide with Vinitaly.

Lamberto Frescobaldi set the stage for the introduction of Vecchie Viti (old vines) with a tasting of two library wines from the estate. Rich with tarry balsamic and dark cherry aromas, the 1961 Castello di Nipozzano had a lively ruby core of cherry bark, cinnamon, chocolate and saddle. "At the time, Trebbiano was blended with the Sangiovese and the result is a wine that's aging better than I am," he said of the vintage he received in lieu of the underwhelming 1963. The 1974 Montesodi, a 100% Sangiovese that was the first vintage for the label, was garnet and delicate on the palate with fully-developed notes of earth, tart, red cherries, cinnamon and worn leather. "My father was something of a renegade with this wine," said Lamberto "even then he believed that the wines of Nipozzano were age-worthy." Read More ==>

The Sip, Season One: Texas Wines Tasted in Austin

The Sip, Season One: Texas Wines Tasted in Austin

On April 28, about two dozen Austin, Texas-area sommeliers, restaurateurs and journalists gathered for a blind tasting hosted by a handful of family-owned Texas wineries. The event, christened "The Sip, Season One", illuminated the current state of Texas wines-specifically, how many Texas wines are not only hitting their stride in quality, but also picking up speed in innovation.

Held at the newly expanded Red Room Wine Lounge in downtown Austin, the tasting was conducted in two flights (there were non-Texas wines included for comparison; the first set of wines were revealed in between, and the second set of wines at the conclusion). Although this particular collection of wineries was mostly clustered in central Texas, the wines themselves represented a broader view of the state's various growing regions, including the Hill Country and the High Plains.

Even more impressive was the breadth of varietals being grown and represented-some, like Syrah and Black Spanish, have been firmly established in the Texas terroir for decades, while others (many others, actually, like Viognier, Roussanne, Palomino, Aglianico and Tannat, for example) continue to be introduced successfully all the time. Not only are the state's individual vineyards showing a diversity of character, but winemakers and growers are showing a lot of progressive foresight in searching to find the right varietals to effectively plant to the land.
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With Scottish Independence in the Balance. . . Whither Scotch Whisky?

With Scottish Independence in the Balance. . . Whither Scotch Whisky?

On September 18, Scots will go to the polls to answer yes or no to one simple question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" What might this mean to Scotch whisky? Read More ==>

Los Angeles Bar Mavens Have Simple Solutions for the Non-(Alcohol)-Drinking Bar Patron

Los Angeles Bar Mavens Have Simple Solutions for the Non-(Alcohol)-Drinking Bar Patron

What’s your drink of preference after a long day at the office? Do you go out for a beer? A glass of wine? What would you say to a Citrus Spritzer mocktail? While they don’t make up the majority of bar customers, non-alcoholic drinkers regularly show up at bars asking for a little something beyond a Shirley Temple they can gulp down for themselves. Bartenders would be wise not to discount those who don’t drink alcohol; the teetotalers who nonetheless insist on an active social life, those adjusting to recent news of their gluten-intolerance, the good Samaritans who volunteer to be the designated driver. But what do these anomalous creatures of sobriety crave?

“At the end of the day, people want a damn good-tasting drink," says Justin Fix, Bar Manager of The Blind Barber, Culver City, CA’s premiere combination cocktail bar and barbershop. Whether it’s honest booze or a non-alcoholic mix, he pays special attention to make sure fresh and seasonal ingredients are king at his establishment. And he’s not alone.

Nicolas De Gols, the new General Manager of The BLVD restaurant at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel offers a similar philosophy. “You need to understand what they expect,” says De Gols, and he just happens to work in an establishment where the clientele expect the very best. For a non-alcoholic mojito, for example, De Gols is partial to replacing the rum with Fever-Tree Ginger Ale, a brand that markets itself as the choice brand to mix with other drinks.

Over at the Mohawk Bend in L.A. edgily hip Echo Park, Bar Manager Lauren Reyes takes a stance in favor of self-sustainability, forgoing brand mixes for in-house creations where all cocktails on the menu can be turned into mocktails. “There’s still room to be creative,” she says, offering drinks like house-made ginger beer and serving kombucha on tap.

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Texas’s Rising Star Spirits Shoot Over Fort Worth

Texas’s Rising Star Spirits Shoot Over Fort Worth

The old saying goes that good things are bigger in Texas, and this holds true with the growth of boutique spirits enterprises

Fort Worth, TX is one of those big little cities that stuns and surprises, especially now that the much-awaited Sundance Square development came to fruition last November. Although there have always been superb steakhouses, bold barbecues and stompin' saloons, its transformation to desirable destination is now fully realized.

When a city is ready for its urban chic closeup, it's inevitable that a food and wine festival will appear on the events calendar and rope people in from miles around. That said, the first annual Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival went beyond being a success, with sold out events, nearly flawless crowd control and great local enthusiasm for local chefs as well as distillers from Fort Worth and throughout the state.

"I think one of the things that made the festival such a success is that Texans are proud of their state, and therefore, will support products made here in Fort Worth and elsewhere," says Mike Micallef, co-founder of the Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival and president of the Reata Restaurant Group. "TX Distillery's whiskey, for example, is emblematic of that success, at our restaurants and other places around town. They've done a fantastic job with their marketing...and more importantly, they have a great product."

Micallef says that in the long term, the organizers' collective goal is to work toward having 50% of the attendees come from outside of Fort Worth. As a city's appeal is inexorably tied to its restaurants and bars, the themed events promote local chefs as well as ways each one fits into a visitor's or local's experience of the city. Although the featured spirits are from distilleries all over Texas, the foods and the proud, epi-curious attendees make the Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival a tailor made showcase for the products in on- and off-premise contexts.

"What gave us the idea was going out to the Buffalo Gap Food and Wine Festival, which is popular that tickets for their big Saturday night event sells out in 15 minutes," continues Micallef. "Given that event is staged in a town of people, 30 minutes outside of Abilene, it should work in Fort Worth. Also, when we first saw the plan for the Sundance Plaza, that gave us the impetus to say we needed to do one in Fort Worth."

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Roman Wine Bars

Roman Wine Bars

Insights into Trends and Innovations in an Ancient City

For an insular and largely domestically focused wine market such as Italy, Rome has long offered wine lovers a great and diverse wine market. One of the key reasons it has long been so dynamic is that its home region of Latium isn't a major national wine producing area-much like New York City and its environs. It is also home to a great number of visitors, foreign and domestic, which it strives-and continues-to impress.

Having lived in Rome for many years almost two decades ago, I get back a couple of times a year. The wine bar market has evolved enormously in that time frame. House and jug wines, mostly made in the restaurant owner's grandfather's backyard and served in carafes, were often the only wine of choice. Actual bottles were reserved for high-end, fine-dining destinations and Romans themselves weren't used to seeing or asking for wine lists. Most consumers outside the wine business mostly drank simple, local wines or big-ticket brands from Tuscany or Piedmonte for special occasions. Now even local trattorias and small wine bars usually offer a dozen or so wines, which may even include a handful of French classics on the more innovative lists.

Half bottles are also often available as are wines from great small producers, particularly of well-priced bottles such as Sicilian reds and Campanian whites. Many places are also featuring a handful of mid-range, good-food wines that are placed on the table by the bottle and paid for on consumption: You drink a half a bottle and you pay for it. Whatever is leftover goes back into the bottle and is served to the next round of guests.

It is an inventive way of dealing with wine-by-the-glass consumption that has yet to hit the American market. I saw it once at Salumi in Seattle, Mario Batali's dad's perpetually over-booked simple Italian place and knew it would be well accepted in this country. Read More ==>

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