Nothing’s As Fine As Springtime Wine (and Booze)
Spring is in full bloom in New Orleans and nothing goes better with this season than light, refreshing, easy-going, delicious adult beverages. Check out our favorite springtime sippers for porch-sitting, outdoor picnics, taking to the beach and festival going. Shop these selections by coming by our store at 1029 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., or ordering DELIVERY through Drizly or by calling 504-662-1488.
Bubbles are great anytime of year, but especially with sunny spring days and weekend brunches. Try Savino Prosecco (just in!) – fruity, balanced and crisp for just $10.99. Monmousseau, Comte Lafayette and Coté Mas are all crowd-pleasing brut sparklers under $15. Prefer your bubbles pink? Try Coté Mas sparkling rosé, Juve y Camps Cava Rosé or Hugo sparkling rosé from Austria.
Now’s the perfect time for chilled white wine. Try the Menade Verdejo (just in!) – a delicious and bright Spanish white with a green Jolly Rancher thing going on for just $13.99. The Sauvion Vouvray is a dry Chenin Blanc from the Loire that’s great with New Orleans seafood and crawfish for just $14.99. The Tago Vinho Branco (just in!) is a fruity, easy-drinking Portuguese table wine that’s $10.99 or $9.99 if you buy two or more.
Rejoice, it’s rosé season! We’ve got a brand new downright delicious rosé from Willamette Valley, Oregon, Midnight Saignee by Anne Amie, that with smack you in the face with its aromatic intensity. The elegant Domaine Lafage rosé is back in stock, as well as the always popular 1L bottle of Coté Mas still rosé and plenty others you can find on Drizly.
Red wine certainly has its place during spring as well. While it’s perfectly fine to drink a heavier, full-bodied red in warmer weather – Pinots, Gamays, Grenache and Cinsault are light, easy-drinking and benefit from a slight chill. Try Nicolas Potel Pinot Noir from Burgundy or Elk Cove Pinot Noir from Oregon for lighter pinots with prominent red fruit; Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais for a super light and fruity Gamay; Principe de Viana Garnacha or Guillaume Gonnet Cotes du Rhone for affordable and light Grenache; and Chateau L’Argentier for a light, strawberry-laced delightful Cinsault from Southern France.
Gin & Vodka
Light and clean spirits sipped on the rocks or mixed with citrus, soda, and a liqueur, juice or shrub of choice fits the bill for spring cocktails. Try any of the craft St. George vodkas or gins; Stoli and Tito’s for tried and true vodka standbys, NOLA’s own Euphrosine gin for a small-batch craft option or Ford’s for a clean gin that’s great to mix in cocktails.
Flavor of the Week: Wayward Owl Clean Slate IPA
Hey gang! I’m here with another weekly flavor. This time it’s from the brand new local brewery, Wayward Owl. I found that coming to the South from the North, there wasn’t as much focus on IPA style beers. What about this region is so hesitant to enjoy a hoppy beer? Perhaps the weather. Up North, if it dips below zero, it’s nice to warm up with the hops and heft a high quality IPA can carry. But IPAs aren’t only for warming up.
Wayward Owl’s Clean Slate IPA has a lot of citrus and hoppy pine flavors. As Shane, Wayward Owl’s Director of Sales said, “It’s like tearing open a grapefruit under a Christmas tree.” The balance of citrus and hops creates an easy drinking, yet still very flavorful IPA. Coming in at 6.6% ABV, it also has a nice IBU rating of 70. “What’s an IBU?”, you ask? IBU stands for International Bittering (or Bitterness, depending who you ask) Unit. As you can guess, this unit is used to measure the bitterness of the beer. In more scientific terms, “it describes the quantity of alpha acids from hop resins that have been isomerised by boiling wort. The unit of measure is parts per million”, according to homebrewmanual.com. Not to confuse you, but one can also use more malt in the beer process to even out this bitterness, which most brewers do in general.
A “normal” American style IPA will generally have about 40 to 70 IBUs, while an Imperial IPA would have more like 60 all the way up to 120. Knowing this, we can now say that this beer drinks like an American style, but also an Imperial on the lower IBU scale.
If you’re interested in finding out what this tastes like or want to know more about beer, check out our free Wayward Owl tasting Friday, January 27, and ask all the questions you want.
What’s the deal with natural wines?
One question we continue to get from customers is “do you have any natural wines?” The answer is yes, but it requires some explanation.
Many wines are “natural” – meaning in layman’s terms that there is no scientific or technological intervention in the growing or winemaking process. Natural wines contain no artificial additives and are made from hand-picked grapes. It’s not a new practice – in fact it’s been done for thousands of years, even though their recent trendiness might suggest to some that it’s a modern development.
If you want to get an idea of a real-deal natural wine, check out Forlorn Hope from Lodi, California made from the Portugese varietal Alvarelhao. It’s possible to even mistake this wine for being corked or faulty because of its residual sediment and tartness. If you’re a fan of sour beer, this might be the wine for you. It’s bright, juicy and certainly structured.
Many other wines we carry are certified organic and biodynamic, using the same philosophy and practice of an otherwise known natural wine. Some people might shy away from the “organic” or “biodynamic” labels, but it has no bearing on a lack of quality. In fact, it’s safe to assume the quality of these wines is quite high.
Some of my favorite biodynamic producers we carry at Brady’s are Stoller from the Dundee Hills in Oregon; Rolly Gassmann from Alsace, France; and Tenuta Scuotto from Campania, Italy. The wines from these producers are all distinct, complex and down-right delicious.
Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for the Wine & Spirits Lover
1. Pick a wine growing country and learn all about its wines, their flavor profiles, etc.
The world is your oyster! Italy, France, Spain, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Greece, South Africa, Australia, Hungary, America…you get the idea. Focusing in on one region is a great way to get into wine and learn about different varietals and appellations before moving on to another.
2. Learn and taste the world’s different sparkling wine options.
Champagne is just the beginning. Try sparkling wines like Prosecco, Cava, Cremants from Burgundy, Alsace and Jura, and California sparkling to discover the world’s bountiful bubbly.
3. Master the art of mixology with the selection from our Liqueur section
Fernet, Chartreuse, Herbsaint, oh my! We’ve got everything you need to experiment with craft cocktail concoctions. Make 2017 the year you learn how to make a selection of expertly mixed drinks.
4. Discover the different flavor profiles of Chardonnay from around the world
Whether you like oaky butter bombs from California or steely, lean and mineral-driven Chablis – there’s bound to be a Chardonnay (or several) out there for you.
5. Try one new wine a week you’ve never had before.
Never had a dry riesling? How about Israeli wine? One of the many native Italian grapes like vermentino or aglianico? A pinot from Germany or Argentina? We got you. Keep trying new things to find out what you like, what you don’t, and work your way to wine mastery.
6. Start a wine club
In case you needed another excuse to drink wine, start a club. Make it as serious or as casual and fun as you want. Meet up weekly, monthly or even quarterly with friends or co-workers to try different regions, grapes and styles of wine. Keep track of the wines and tasting notes with a journal or your favorite wine app.
7. Throw a blind tasting party
Mix things up and put your wine tasting skills to the test with a blind tasting party. Put a variety of reds and whites in brown bags and see how well you and your guests can guess each wine. Another fun approach would be to pour a range of lower to higher end wines and have guests choose their favorites and then unveil what they are to see who really has expensive taste.
8. Experiment with wine & sparkling-based cocktails
Wine and sparkling wine make a great base for mixed drinks. White or red sangria, mimosas and bellinis are party and brunch favorites. Or go beyond and try an Aperol Spritz or rosé with an elderflower liqueur. Mix and match to your heart’s desire.
9. Make your food & wine matches
Food and wine pairing is not an exact science. There are some guidelines that are worth following, like pairing fatty and salty foods with a wine containing enough acidity to balance it. A lot of it is trial and error and trying different combinations until you have that harmonious ah-ha moment. Find your favorite pairings this year with some delicious experimentation.
10. Attend an Educational Tasting
There’s no better way to learn about wine than from the winemaker or an authority on the producer or region. That’s why we love having special seated tastings in an intimate setting on a regular basis. It’s a chance to ask the host all the questions you want to know about the wine, region, vinification, aging, flavors and more.
Asking For Help At A Wine Store
We know wine stores can be intimidating. We study wine for a living and can’t keep up with everything ourselves. Some people walk in and grab the first recognizable bottle they find. Other’s may walk around until they come upon a label that they’ve heard about, or have seen on a restaurant wine list. Some customers grab a cart, fill it up to the brim with a wide assortment of new wines they haven’t tried, and come back later to stock up on the ones that were hits (there will always be some misses).
We tried very hard to make Brady’s as casual and welcoming as we could. There are even video games for people to relax with and a giant infographic to help people who don’t want the help of a salesman. But for those of you who want some guidance, you will probably leave here with a new wine that you’ll find you really enjoy. And the easy part is that all you should have to say is, “I need some help picking out some wine.” After that, any good sales associate should know the right follow-up questions to ask.
For me, the most important question when helping a customer is why are they shopping for wine? That one question can guide me about 70% of the way. Answers like “I just need a fun little red to drink with dinner tonight,” or “I’m having my in-laws over for the holidays,” or “I like Napa cabs but I want to try something new” all tell me something about the purchase and the purchaser. From that I may be able to understand what the customer wants to spend, how many bottles they’d like, whether they need ten bottles of the same wine or a mixed case of wine, what region the wine should be from, etc. Sometimes I’ll ask a few more pointed follow-up questions, usually “X or Y” in nature (do you like more red fruit or earthy quality, or do you want it lighter or heavier), to help me eliminate any lingering unknowns, and then voila! Together we’ve found the perfect wine for you.
Wine Health Benefits for the New Year
It’s that time of the year again when everyone has a food and alcohol hangover from the gluttony and indulgence that inevitably accompanies the holiday season. New Year’s Resolutions are made, and there’s a shift towards healthier living. That doesn’t mean that wine can’t be a part of it! In fact, moderate wine consumption, even on a daily basis, can have fantastic health benefits. Don’t take our word for it. Check out the facts from the experts themselves.
Food & Wine gives us eight ways wine can literally prolong your life and good health. And they’ve done the research with evidence to back it up.
Here, LifeHack gives us even more reasons why we should be drinking wine, specifically red, due to its resveratrol content which works to protect the body in different ways. Some wonder benefits include preventing acne breakouts, preventing multiple types of cancer and improving short-term memory.
One of the most common resolutions and goals in general for society every year is to get in shape and lose weight. Red wine can help with that! Medical Daily explains how ellargic acids that make up red wine grapes can slow the growth of fat cells and prevent the growth of new ones.
Still need more proof? Check out these amazing reasons to love red wine, you know, other than the obvious ones, from prevention.com.
Flavor of the Week: Shipyard Pumpkinhead
Hey there! I’m Josh, and I’m one of the newest staff members of Brady’s Wine Warehouse. I recently took charge of our beer department, and I’m studying under our GM, Richard, to be a better and more knowledgable wine expert. I also dabble in some low to mid range spirits. I think the phrase to describe me best is a “hobbyist drinker.”
I’m new to New Orleans, having just moved here this past October. I grew up in Portland, Maine, and spent the rest of my time until now in New York City as a waiter, bartender, and sometimes actor. My wife and I love to travel, and a big part of our traveling includes sampling local alcohol, wherever the tides bring us. We have visited breweries, distilleries and wineries in many states and countries over the past ten years together – from Maine to New York, Georgia, San Francisco, Chicago, all the way to Amsterdam, France, Italy, Ireland and Dominican Republic, just to name a few.
The culture of having a drink, meeting new people, and having a laugh all while tasting new and exciting flavors is what we love most. The experience itself. One of my favorite beers, from my hometown, is Shipyard Pumpkinhead. I generally don’t like pumpkin beers, and was skeptical when I first tried this brew about ten years ago. I have remained loyal to this brand even in the midst of a blind taste test conducted by some friends of mine and my wife. No other brand of pumpkin beer even registered as good. If you enjoy beer, and don’t mind a pumpkin spice latte once in a while, this beer has the best of both worlds. Also try it with a shot of spiced rum, or in a pint glass rimmed with sugar and cinnamon. Pumpkinhead is on our shelf for a limited time only! Stay tuned for my next recommendation, and come in to the shop for a story, a joke or maybe a sample!
Navigating A Wine Store
In decades past, wine stores were all divided regionally, then sometimes subdivided by subregion or price. These days, however, many wine stores are opting to segment their inventory by flavor characteristics to make things easier on the customer. Want a big bold red? Go to the big bold section. Know the dish you’re cooking calls for a light, crisp white? Well there’s an entire section devoted to that!
So why then did Brady’s choose to divide its inventory the traditional way – by region, then by subregion and price? For casual “grab a bottle and go” drinkers, there’s nothing wrong with more modern inventory layouts, but our focus was always on education. We want people to shop here to try new things, to learn, to become educated in the world of wine if they choose, and were concerned that by lumping wines by flavor profile, people wouldn’t be able to learn about regions with the same ease.
At Brady’s, it’s more important to us that if you want to start learning about French wines, we can take you to the French wall, and start section by section. You can drink your way through Burgundy if you’re adventurous. You can see what you can expect at different price points and even learn different tasting characteristics from the various appellations. If you just need help finding a crisp white, or a bold red, that’s what our knowledgeable staff is here for.