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Knob Creek

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Oyster Bay Wines

oyster-bay-image-1Summer Feature: Oyster Bay wines from New Zealand!

As a family company, Oyster Bay’s vision and passion is to become one of the world’s truly great Super-Premium winemakers.

Proudly New Zealand owned, Oyster Bay takes its name from a nearby bay in Marlborough, on the tip of NZ’s majestic South Island. The winery’s reputation has been built from vines grown in Marlborough’s Wairau Valley, now recognized as one of the world’s great wine-growing regions.

oyster-bay-image-2Oyster Bay’s philosophy is to produce fine, distinctly regional wines that are elegant and assertive with glorious fruit flavors. With each varietal, the quality begins in the vineyard, where each vineyard block and parcel of wine treated individually. The fruit is crushed, gently pressed and the juice is cold settled.

Buffalo Wine & Spirits is now featuring one red and two whites from Oyster Bay. Pale straw green in color with brilliant clarity, Oyster Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is zesty and aromatic with lots of lively, penetrating fruit characters. A concentration of tropical and citrusy/grapefruit flavors with an abundant bouquet, it is a wine that is always crisp, elegant and refreshing.

oyster-bay-image-3In addition to sauvignon blanc, Oyster Bay also makes outstanding chardonnay from their Marlborough vineyards. Clonal influences, that is to say selecting the perfect “breed” or genetic strain of the chardonnay grape, in the vineyard have been very important, providing smaller berries and enhanced flavor intensity. A combination of barrel and tank fermentation and the stirring of lees (grape skins and other sediment) in oak barrels, achieves maximum softness and integration.

To retain all the natural assertiveness and flavor, no malolactic fermentation takes place, leaving the wine refreshing and crisp, with a concentrated aroma, and flavors of green apples, ripe citrus and peach, balanced with subtle oak. The finish is long, with a creamy texture.

oyster-bay-image-5Rounding out the Marlborough aspect of Oyster Bay’s portfolio is their delicious, pinot noir. With every passing vintage, Oyster Bay works with more established vines from a steadily growing number of small vineyard blocks, each site chosen specifically for its uniform soils of moderate fertility providing for slow ripening and enhanced flavor development.

Fruit flavor is always the primary focus of pinot noir, but of course there are many opportunities to influence it with traditional winemaking techniques to add subtlety and complexity. Oyster Bay uses both barrel and tank fermentation and matures the wine with a mix of new and older French oak. Oyster Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir is elegant cool climate Pinot Noir at its best; fragrant, soft and flavorful with aromas of ripe cherries, plums and gentle sweet fruit tannins to provide serious structure and length.

oyster-bay-image-4Oyster Bay’s winemaking philosophy, to produce elegant and assertive wines with glorious fruit flavors, can be traced through every single step of the winemaking process; from the painstaking way they choose their vines and vineyards, to the exact moments they choose to plant, pick and process the grapes. To boot, these wines are great values! Both the Oyster Bay Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are on sale for $9.99 and the Pinot Noir is on sale for $14.99. Perfect summer wines that will pair well with all of the season’s occasions!

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New arrival at both locations:2010 Desert Wind Ruah

Two estate vineyard sites–Desert Wind Vineyard and Sacagawea Vineyard–provide the fruit for Desert Wind wines. Both vineyards lie at the foot of the Saddle Mountains in the Wahluke Slope AVA, a sub-appellation of Eastern Washington’s Columbia Valley region known for its fierce summer conditions.

The climate here is extreme, and it is not uncommon for summer temperatures to reach 110°F. Winter days may be as cold as 14°F. With an annual rainfall of only 7-8 inches, the vines require irrigation during the hot summer months. The soil is rocky and shallow with excellent drainage.

Ruah is Desert Wind’s flagship, Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Rich aromas of smoked cedar, ripe blackberries, and currants follow through to the palate. Sweet plums plop onto the palate, and the structre of raspberry acidity, and green peppercorns make this a great foil for grilled steak. Drink now or cellar 3-5 years.

This vintage has not been rated, but previous vintages (2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009) all received 89 or 90 points from Wine Spectator.  Now on sale for $17.99 (reg. $21.99).

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New arrival at Downtown Wine & Spirits: Orval Trappist Ale!

orval-logoBrewed and bottle-conditioned at Notre Dame d’Orval monastery, one of only 10 Trappist monasteries in the world that brew beer, Orval was founded around 1070 AD in the pastoral Belgian countryside. Three different malts, two types of hops, Belgian candi sugar, complex fermentation with multiple yeasts, dry-hopping and bottle conditioning all contribute to great character and complexity. This vintage-dated and unique beer can be cellared up to five years.

orval-photoAccording to legend, Princess Matilda was passing through this region in about 1070 with her lady in waiting. She stopped at a clear spring and trailed her hand in the water – and her wedding ring, a gift of her recently-deceased husband, slipped off her finger and sank. Distraught, she knelt and prayed fervently for its return . . . and a trout swam to the surface with the ring in its mouth, returning it to her. She is said to have claimed “Truly, this is a golden valley!” (French: Or = gold; val = valley) She gave the land to the church, and the trout with the gold ring can be seen to this day in the Orval logo.



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Goose Island’s 25th Anniversary Ale Arrives

Just in time for 4th of July picnics, Chicago-based Goose Island Beer Company has released its 25th Anniversary Ale. “When we started brewing back in 1988, craft beer options in Chicago were non-existent,” said John Hall, founder, Goose Island Beer Co. “Twenty-five years later, we like to think we had something to do with improving the Chicago — and Midwest — beer scene.”

For Goose Island’s 25th Anniversary, Goose Island Brewmaster Brett Porter, former Brewmaster Greg Hall, and Pub Brewmaster Nick Barron co-created an Extra Special Bitter, exhibiting rich malt and rustic hop flavors. ESBs are a style of English ales that originally inspired Hall to open Goose Island in 1988. “We wanted to celebrate our 25th anniversary by bringing back an unreleased beer called ‘Honker’s Deluxe’ that is pleasant to enjoy, and a testament to our brewing team’s goals,” said Brewmaster Porter.

Brewed with Maris otter malt, and dry hopped with East Kent Goldings, Goose Island’s Anniversary Ale comes in at 6.4 percent ABV and is available in six-pack bottles at Downtown Wine & Spirits.

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Get Your Scotch Questions Answered At The Source

I’ll be over in Scotland later this month, checking out distilleries and breweries, and getting my haggis neeps ‘n tatties fix for the year. I know there are a lot of Scotch fans in Buffalo, so while I’m there, I want to answer YOUR questions about the land, the people and the beverages!

I’m going to be covering a lot of ground, from the Laphroaig distillery on the western isle of Islay, down to Traquair House brewery in the Borders, out and about in Edinburgh, then up to the Highlands, checking out the distilleries at Edradour and Glenfiddich.

Please post questions to our Facebook site (feel free to ‘like’ us while you are there). e-mail me or use the “Ask Jason” form over there on the right side to send me your question. Look for my first posts on Facebook on Monday, May 13, with more in-depth reports in the weeks to follow. Slainte!

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Badger Hill Brewing: Staying True to the Brew, Mostly

The key to understanding Minnesotans: We’re a mashup of extremes.

The key to appreciating a true strong bitter: A balance that you’ll savor.

Our pronounced hop usage has been compensated with smooth malt perfectly.

Presenting our inaugural brew, with hints of its English roots and a whole lotta Minnesota depth to explore.

These days there’s no shortage of reasons to get excited about Minnesota beer — a new startup here, another tap room there. But local beer brass will tell you we’ve still got a ways to go before we catch up with more froth-forward markets in Colorado, Oregon or San Diego. Like, miles.

An exciting part of watching our burgeoning beer scene bloom will be seeing how newcomers fill style gaps, broadening the local palette. Enter Badger Hill Brewing Co.

“We want to be unique and not try and create a different version of something that’s already out there,” said co-owner Broc Krekelberg over the echo of humming fermenters in the Minnetonka brewery Badger Hill shares with Lucid Brewing. Continue reading

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Bell’s Hopslam Ale Arrives At Buffalo Wine & Spirits

It’s finally here — Bell’s most sought-after seasonal!

Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle and culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell’s Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell’s repertoire.

Selected specifically because of their aromatic qualities, these Pacific Northwest varieties contribute a pungent blend of grapefruit, stone fruit, and floral notes.

A generous malt bill and a solid dollop of honey provide just enough body to keep the balance in check, resulting in a remarkably drinkable rendition of the Double India Pale Ale style.

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Paradise In a Bottle, Kona Brewing Now Available In Buffalo!

Kona Brewing Company was started in the spring of 1994 by father and son team Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa. Originally from Oregon, the pair saw a need to create fresh, locally made brews with the same spirit and passion for quality that existed in the Pacific Northwest.

Because of their great love for the Big Island, the Kona Coast in particular, they wanted to build a business that would benefit the island and would not harm the pristine environment. The happy result of this dream is the brewery in Kailua-Kona.

Kona Brewing Company has been the leader in Hawaii’s microbrew category since 1996. It is the largest brewery in Hawaii, and it sells more microbrewed beer than any other craft brewery imported into the state. No company has brewed such a quantity of beer in Hawaii since Primo left in the late 1960s. Continue reading

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We Can Help With Your Thanksgiving Wine Pairing!

With the big feast fast approaching, we’re stocked and armed with suggestions to accompany your Thanksgiving celebration!

The traditional turkey and stuffing spread is difficult to pair wine with, and we have the answers! It’s not the turkey (that goes with anything) it’s the sweet, tart, and salty side dishes that tend to clash with dry wines. Slightly sweet wines, such as Riesling, compliment the widest variety of foods, and we have many available at both of our stores.

Believe it or not, Minnesota wines, especially those from La Crescent and Frontenac Gris grapes, pair perfectly with Thanksgiving dinner. This month’s Backroom Tasting at Downtown Wine & Spirits will feature whites and reds from three Minnesota wineries: Woodland Hill Winery, Crofut Family Winery and Fieldstone Vineyards. As always, this tasting will be at DWS, on Thursday, November 8 at 7pm. Continue reading

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