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Red Wines to Chill With

It seems like there’s nothing better to drink during the summer is rosé all day but there comes a point that you can’t simply drink any more rosé. If not rosé, what else can one possibly drink? A crisp white wine like Sancerre is always an excellent (although maybe boring) option. May I suggest something bold, like a bottle of chilled red wine? Yes, red wine.

You might think this is a little crazy and extreme, keep in mind that not all red wines are meant to be served cold like big malbecs and oaky Napa cabernet. Definitely not. I’m talking about low-alcohol reds that are light in color and fruit driven. Something like a Lambrusco, Gamay, or a Blaufrankisch. These wines generally have more vibrant fruit and less tannins, the colder temperature shows off its juicy vibrancy and makes the wine more refreshing. Stay away from tannic reds however, as tannins becomes very harsh if chilled.

Here are some light reds that we carry at Bi-Rite that are excellent for a nice afternoon of BBQ party or a nice hot summer day. These wines pair particularly well with meats like lamb or charred seafood dishes.

Herve Villemade Cheverny Rouge Loire Valley, France 2016 $17.99 – Hervé tried traditional farming for a while before converting entirely to organic farming in 2000. The quality of his wines since the conversion is dramatically better! This red is really pretty with aromas of plum, strawberry, and earthy citrus.

Vins Contes Poivre et Sel VdP Loire, France 2016 $21.99 – Sommelier turned winemaker, Olivier Lemasson was a proponent of natural wines early in his career, being influenced by producers like Marcel Lapierre and Hervé Villemade. This bright and fresh cuvée is one of our favorites with aromas of white pepper and excellent fruitiness.

Birgit and Katrin Pfneizel “Blaufränker” Burgunland, Austria 2016 $14.99 – A delicious and fun liter-sized Blaufränkisch from the Pfneiszl sisters in Hungary. Blaufränker! really showcases their personalities – it’s vibrant, pretty, and aromatic. Tasting a little bit like Gamay and Cab Franc, this wine can be enjoyed with everything.


Trac

Bi-Rite Wine Club: May Release

Terres Dorées Beaujolais Blanc Burgundy, France 2015| $19.99

Terres Dorées is the domaine of Beaujolais icon Jean-Paul Brun, one of the most revered wine growers in the region. In the early 1990’s, Jean-Paul Brun planted several hectares of Chardonnay on limestone soil, which is perfect for the grape in warmer climates. As demand increased, he expanded his holdings and began contracting for grapes with other local vignerons with limestone soils. The climate allows Jean-Paul to produce a rich wine with lots of character, while the soils bring a fresh mineral component.

Fermented in stainless steel tanks that are laid on their side for more lees contact, this wine is rich with a terrific mineral finish. With a fresh and fruity bouquet when young, this wine becomes more honeyed as it matures, but is always lip-smacking and delicious. Pair it with roasted salmon.

 

Point Ormond Sauvignon Blanc Frankland River, Australia 2016 | $16.99

Point Ormond is everything that’s exciting about Australian wine today: delicious, high acid, lower alcohol, versatile, bursting with personality, sometimes quirky, and always affordable. In a nutshell: these tasty wines hugely over-deliver for their price. The wines are an exploration of vineyard sites around Australia, and this Sauvignon Blanc is from Frankland River in Southwest Australia, which is known for its cool climate, perfect for maintaining acidity in white wines. The Sauvignon Blanc is very balanced, with notes of tropical passionfruit and delicate floral, herbal nuances. Try it with a green-veggie focused salad, perfect for late spring.

 

La Capranera Falanghina IGP Paestum Campania, Italy 2016  | $16.99

La Capranera, which means “black goat” in Italian, is named for the indigenous breed of goats – cilentana nera – that graze in the national park near where the grapes for these wines are grown. Once on the verge of becoming extinct, the goats have had a resurgence in population, just as wines from Campania have recently enjoyed increased international visibility.

 

La Capranera’s young vines are sustainably farmed using organic viticulture methods and harvested by hand. This white is made from Falanghina, a varietal indigenous to the Campania region, and it may have been used in ancient times to make Rome’s famous Falernian wine. This versatile white is delicious with fresh cheeses, such as Mozzarella di Bufala, as well as with shellfish and seafood.

Château Sainte-Marie Entre-Deux-Mers Rouge Bordeaux, France 2014 | $19.99

In the green rolling hills of Entre-Deux-Mers, between the Garonne and the Dordogne Rivers in Bordeaux, Stéphane Dupuch has been working his 35-hectare family estate since 1997. When his father, Gilles, took the reins in 1982, the estate was a sideline business to an insurance brokerage.

 

Thanks to his duel vocations, Gilles never fell into the traps of rapid expansion and over-mechanization that beguiled many of their neighbors. While others wonder why the Dupuchs keep a dozen cattle grazing on AOC land instead of planting that land to vines, Château Sainte-Marie takes the path-less-traveled through their advocacy of denser vine plantings, lower yields, and sustainable farming. Although Gilles has recently retired, his legacy lives on through Stéphane, who has made his own commitment to the family terroirs by converting the estate to organic and biodynamic farming. This red is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with rich fruit and silky texture. It’s delicious and perfect with a nice piece of steak.

 

The Pinot Project Pinot Noir California 2016 | $14.99

The Pinot Project began in 2009 with a vision: a wine for the palate, the pocket, and the people. Renowned wine importer Michael Skurnik called on his experiences in the vineyards and cellars of Northern California to craft a silky, fruit-forward, and harmonious Pinot Noir. The Pinot Project Pinot Noir is handcrafted from high-quality Sonoma County, Monterey, and Central Coast vineyards. The diversity in soil and climate from these AVAs contributes to depth in character, balance, and pristine fruit. The grapes are harvested at optimal ripeness and then destemmed in order to express bright fruit flavors and maintain freshness. The wine is fermented in stainless steel, and 20% of the blend is aged for 5 months in French oak. We love this delicious casual wine, which goes with any occasion, from sipping while cooking dinner or at a backyard BBQ with friends.

 

Geyerhof “StockWerk” Zweigelt, Kremstal, Austria 2015| $16.99

Although Kremstal — an appellation in the Danube Valley situated around the old Austrian town of Krems — is best-known for its white wines, it enjoys a slightly warmer climate than in the nearby Wachau, where the valley is narrower. Thanks to these conditions, the Maier family from Geyerhof grows organic Zweigelt in deep, sandy soil on east-facing slopes for their StockWerk project. The name StockWerk, which means work (Werk) on the vine (Stock) in German, reflects the philosophy of the Maier family, a pioneer of organic viticulture in Kremstal. With its light peppery nose, aromas of sour cherry and violet, and a lively and refreshing mouthfeel, the StockWerk Zweigelt pairs beautifully with a wide range of foods. It is particularly tasty with sautéed pork chops with tomatoes, bell peppers, and paprika.


Trac

Bi-Rite Wine Club: April Release

Our April Wine Club allocations came out last week, and we’re excited to share more about the great springtime wines in our Discovery Club. From Provence to Piemonte, Lebanon to Washington, these wines are delectable by the glass, or paired with spring dishes. Find them in the store to try a bottle, and join the club to get in on the fun!

Discovery Club April 2017

Domaine du Bagnol Cassis Blanc Provence, France 2014 | $22.99

Domaine du Bagnol in Cassis, France sits beneath a limestone outcropping just 200 meters from the Mediterranean in Provence. Sea breezes and a trio of winds cool the vineyards, bringing nice acidity and notes of ocean spray to the wine. A blend of Marsanne, Clairette and Ugni Blanc, this dry wine is the perfect match for seafood dishes and fresh vegetables.

 

Luigi Ferrando Erbaluce di Caluso “La Torrazza” Alta Piemonte, Italy 2014 | $21.99

Luigi Ferrando has long been the leading producer of wines from the Canavese region in Piemonte, Italy, where his family’s winemaking tradition dates back to 1900. Luigi and his sons, Roberto and Andrea, make mind-blowing Nebbiolos, and they are the standard bearer of the local white grape, Erbaluce, which is only found in the alpine foothills of this corner of Piemonte. Bright acidity, elegant minerality, and complex structure make it the ultimate flexible white wine. We love it with seafood risotto.

 

Division Wine Company “l’Avoiron” Gamay Rosé  Yakima, WA 2016 | $19.99

Kate Norris and Thomas Monroe founded Division Winemaking Company in 2010. Inspired by the wineries of France, where Kate and Thomas first learned winemaking, their urban winery creates a variety of Oregon and Washington Wines with minimal manipulation. The Gamay grapes for this rosé were sourced from Willard Hills in the cool Yakima Valley, and the wine is crisp and vibrant, with notes of strawberry, peach, and chalky lime. Pair it with grilled spring veggies with garlic aioli.

 

Agostino Pavia Grignolino d’Asti Piemonte, Italy 2015 | $16.99

Grignolino is a lesser-known red grape from Piemonte, home to Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto, that often gets overlooked. Made by Pino Pavia from Agostino Pavia, a 50-year-old, small, family-run estate, this gem is described by importer Oliver McCrum as “Misleadingly pale color, but a very distinctive and flavorful wine; wild strawberries, rhubarb, a touch of herbs, the perfect wine with salumi or pizza. I put it in the fridge for 20 minutes to bring out the fruit.”

 

Massaya “Le Colombier” Red Blend Bekaa Valley, Lebanon 2015  | $19.99

Massaya is the brainchild of two dynamic Lebanese brothers who brought together the potential of their terroir with the know-how of two French wine-making dynasties. Ramzi and Sami Ghosn partnered with the teams from Vieux Télégraphe and Cheval Blanc in 1998 to launch the winery. This red is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and Tempranillo: full-bodied, fresh, and approachable, with aromas full of warm spice and red fruits. It pairs well with lamb with Mediterranean spices and mint.

 

Disruption Wine Company Red Blend Columbia Valley, WA 2014 | $16.99

 

“More wine, less ego” is the motto at Disruption Wine Company, and each bottle is comprised of pedigree fruit sourced from small vineyards in Washington State. Since 2014, Disruption Wine Company has been committed to producing value-driven Washington wines, each of which are reflective of Andrew Latta’s honed skills in the region. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, deep and dark with vibrancy and freshness on the palate. Pair it with grilled steak with salsa verde.

Ready to join the Bi Rite Wine Club and get your monthly shipment of wines? Join here!


Trac

Whiskey – You Deserve It

Whiskey’s been rising to dizzying heights of popularity these days. Each year, we’re seeing more and more of our guests buying as much whiskey as we can stock our shelves with.

It’s not just here in San Francisco eithe; nationwide, demand has escalated so quickly that producers are struggling to keep up with the demand. Given the rise of pop culture like Mad Men, the resurgence of the high end artisanal distillery, and the plethora of mixologists across the country highlighting innovative whisky cocktails, it’s an exciting time to be (or become!) a whiskey lover! Today, every bar worth its salt in San Francisco will feature a handful of cocktails using whiskey as their base.

We’ve been wanted to dive headfirst into our favorite whiskeys for a while now, and this time of year, we all deserve a little whiskey boost. Our favorites at the market range from sweeter Bourbons to peaty Scotches to elegant Japanese whiskies, with so many incredibly options, we’re confident we can help you find the right whiskey to suit your style.

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Scotch

Edradour 10 yr – Edradour is from the Scots Gaelic phrase Eadar Dhà Dhobhar, meaning “between two rivers.” This is an old distillery, rumored to be the the smallest in Scotland, producing only eighteen casks per week (whilst this may sound like a lot, trust us, it really isn’t). They also claim to have the smallest stills and keeping with tradition, employ just three men.The vast majority of their Scotch are of limited release and rarer than a hot day in the Richmond District. This 10 year has aromas of sherry and marzipan with flavors of butterscotch and a sweet, grassy finish.

Irish

Green Spot Irish Whiskey – Originally produced specifically for Mitchell & Son of Dublin by Irish Distillers- it is finally available outside of Ireland! A wonderful single pot still whiskey that is aged 7 to 10 years in bourbon and sherry casks. Loaded with flavor and aromas of unripe banana, light honey, and grains.

Japanese

Hibiki Harmony – Hibiki Japanese Harmony is made with malt whiskies from the Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries, as well as grain whisky from the Chita distillery. The whiskies are drawn from 5 different types of cask, including American white oak casks, Sherry casks and Mizunara oak casks. The blend itself was crafted by the Suntory Whisky blending team, led by Master Blender Shingo Torii. An elegant expression, with wafts of honey, orange, a herbaceous touch or two and light oak.

American

Buffalo Trace Bi-Rite Single Barrel– Made from the finest corn, rye and barley malt, this whiskey ages in new oak barrels for years in the famed century old warehouses until it reaches peak maturity. The taste is rich and complex= with hints of vanilla, toffee, and candied fruit.

Noah’s Mill Bourbon – A small batch bourbon bottled in Bardstown, KY as part of the Willet family of bourbons. It’s aged 15 years and is a great value for a bourbon aged this long. Aromas of toffee, coffee, and caramel with flavors of vanilla and cream. This is a top notch, classic American bourbon.

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Because late-summer is synonymous with porch sitting and dusky sunset drinking, we asked our resident bartender, Kitty Galisia, to create a whiskey cocktail to help us celebrate, hard-earned whiskey in hand.  A seasoned bar veteran and mixologist, Kitty learned the art of mixology at the hands of local cocktail legends like Thad Vogler, Erik Adkins, and the team at NOPA (where Kitty tended bar for nearly a decade). Kitty’s cocktail philosophy is to make each drink its own, so that every sip takes you to a special time and place. Visit our recipes page to learn how to make yourself an Eastern Nectar, a honeyed concoction of Hibiki Harmony whisky, subtle Rooibos and citrus on the rocks.

 


Trac

Oktoberfest! Beer! Sausages! Prost!

Oktoberfest, which originated in Munich in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of the Crown Prince of Bavaria, has transformed over the years into a month long celebration of German food and drink. This year Bi-Rite will be joining in on the Oktoberfest festivities by putting some shine on our German inspired sausages and traditional beers.

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The Germans are serious about their beers, going so far as to passing a “Beer Purity Law” called Reinheitsgebot to regulate the ingredients that can be used in beer making to only water, hops, and barley. Of course, this law is 500 years old and clearly dated but it did lead to brewers in Germany creating some of the best tasting purist beer in the world. We will be offering a number of German beers, including Paulaner Oktoberfest, the original beer brewed for Oktoberfest in Munich. If you’re a fan of Kölsch, try Riessdorf, a cult producer from Cologne, the birthplace of the Kölsch-style beer. If you’re a fan of Berliner Weiss, currently one of the trendiest beers in the US currently, we love the Prof. Briem “1809”. It’s complex lactic tartness and fruitiness is the benchmark for this style.

In addition to the awesome assortment of sausages that our butchers regularly craft in house we have also added three new links to the mix: a frӓnkische, a currywurst, and a chicken bockwurst. The frӓnkische is a traditional Franconian pork sausage flavored with marjoram.  The currywurst is a tasty spin on a classic bratwurst with added zing from an aromatic blend of curry spices.  Finally the bockwurst takes an Oktoberfest favorite and substitutes the traditional veal and replaces it with chicken which makes a great canvas for its subtle spice mix.

Grab some beer, a pack or three of sausages, and a jar of mustard and join the Oktoberfest party! If cooking sausages intimidates you, we’ve got you covered! The path to sausage success is as simple as simmer, sear and eat!

Prost! 

– Trac Le (Alcohol Buyer) & Chili Montes (Meat & Seafood Buyer)


Trac

A Taste of Spain

Back in May, I went on a buying trip to Spain with a few San Francisco wine buyers and wine directors. We covered a lot of ground, from San Sebastien in the north, east to Rioja, down south to Madrid, and back to up Barcelona. This trip was eye opening and changed my entire perspective on Spanish wines and spirits. I wasn’t aware of how truly diverse the wine regions of Spain are, and how regional are their drinking cultures. Like most, I thought Spain was mainly big oaky wines like you find in Rioja or Priorat, and what are grown are more international varieties like Garnarcha (Grenache) – how wrong I was!

MarcIsartMalvarSpain is very diverse with a long and proud history of wine making, and the more obscure regions and styles are starting to make their way to the U.S. market. I met with Juan Antonio Ponce who is championing Bobal, a red varietal grown in Manchuela, a region just west of Valencia. Bobals are known to produce wines that are similar to Beaujolais, the of-the-moment region of France that sommeliers are falling in love with again. I also met with Marc Isart in Madrid, where he’s making amazing wines from a white varietal called Malvar. This grape is rarely planted anymore and is only made by just a handful of producers.

However, it isn’t all wine in Spain – their spirits culture is alive and thriving. Gin and Tonics are ubiquitous at bars, and there are even establishments dedicated to vermut (Spanish vermouth). I discovered the unique flavors of Spanish brandy, made from sherry wine to give it a nutty counterpart to the normally sweet spirit.

We’re so inspired by this thriving drinking culture, we invite you to make the most of the end of summer (and hopefully warmer SF days soon) with a taste of Spain! Stop in and chat with us – we’re happy to recommend a Spanish tipple for however you like to imbibe. And don’t forget to pair it with a tapas or two…

DSC_0533Wines:
Marc Isart “El Malvar de la olla” Madrid, Spain 2013 | $19.99

Malvar is indigenous to the Iberian Peninsula, and while not known for outstanding quality or distinctive character, Marc Isart is the lone exception. Organic farming and careful fermentation give this wine great charisma and freshness.

Ameztoi Txakolina “Rubentis” Rosato Galicia, Spain 2015 | $21.99
Everyone’s favorite geeky Rosé from Basque Country, this pink sibling of Amestoi’s flagship white is vibrant and a little spritzy. Made from a mixture of white and red grapes, the Rubentis is briny with hints of watermelon and strawberry. Absolutely thirst quenching!

Bodegas Ponce “P.F.” Bobal Manchuela, Spain 2013 | $22.99
P.F. stands for ‘Pie Franco’, roughly translating to ‘on its own feet’ and is a reference to the fact that the vines for this wine are ungrafted – a true rarity, since phylloxera destroyed most vines on old rootstock in Europe. This red is made from a native grape of the region, Bobal, and is aged in old French oak barrels.

Gin:
Xoriguer “Mahón” Gin 1L Menorca, Spain | $49.99
A cult gin from Mahon in Menorca, Xoriguer is one of the only gins in the world (alongside Plymouth) to have a geographical indication, Gin de Menorca. Gin has been made on Menorca since the time of the British occupation in the 18th century, and Xoriguer commands a devoted following of happy travelers. Unusually, Xoriguer is made in wood-fired potstills from distilled wine (eau-de-vie) rather than the more usual grain-based distillate, and is rested in American oak barrels before bottling.

DSC_0571Vermut:
Destilerías Acha Vermouth Blanco Atxa | $19.99
Founded in 1831, Destilerías Acha has been at the forefront of distillation in the Basque Country for years. Acha’s Vermouth Tintois made in accordance with an early 19th-century recipe passed down through the family. It is made from a blend of a neutral wine and alcohol macerated with a selection of traditional herbs, fruits and roots, including wormwood, gentian and cherry.

Brandy:
Navazos-Palazzi 50 Year Old Single Cask Montilla Brandy | $109.99
One of the more unique artisanal brandy producers in the world, Navazos-Palazzi only bottle their brandy from a single cask. This particular one is at least 50 years old  and aged in ex-Oloroso sherry cask. This bottle was bottled in 2013. Masculine and feminine at the same time, this is a sipping on a snapshot of a time long gone and one that will never come again.


Trac

Tequila & Mezcal: Your New Fun Friends

The popularity of tequilas and mezcals in San Francisco is amazing right now. With hot restaurants like Loló and La Urbana focusing their bar program on Mexico’s agave plants, it doesn’t seem to look like it’s slowing down anytime soon. For the novice though, mezcals and tequilas seem like the same spirit. This is true in that they are both made from the agave plant, but their production method and their varieties of agave are very different.

So, what are the differences between tequilas and mezcals? There are three major differences:

  1. Regionality: Tequila has to be made in the states of Jalisco, Nayarit, and Tampaulipas, with the majority of tequila production happening in Jalisco. Mezcal can be produced in most Mexican states, with Oaxaca being the main production center.
  2. Agave: Tequila can only be made with Agave Tequilana Weber, aka Blue Agave. Mezcal, however, can be made from over 30 different varieties, including Espadin and Blue Agave. Because of this, mezcals vary in flavor much more than tequilas do.
  3. Process: The agaves used in tequila are baked in steam ovens, or what is essentially an industrial pressure cooker. With mezcal, the agaves are roasted in an underground pit filled with wood and volcanic rocks, which gives mescal its distinct smoky flavor.

Because summer is synonymous with porch sitting and park picnic-ing, we asked our resident bartender, Kitty Galisia, to create two seasonal cocktails to celebrate these special spirits.  A seasoned bar veteran and mixologist, Kitty learned the art of mixology at the hands of local cocktail legends like Thad Vogler, Erik Adkins, and the team at NOPA (where Kitty tended bar for nearly a decade). Kitty’s cocktail philosophy is to make each drink its own, so that every sip takes you to a special time and place. Visit our recipes page to keep your summer weekend vibes rolling with these two agave-inspired cocktails, and picture yourself out with your friends,  sipping these fun, flirty drinks.

Bit of a bartender yourself? Check out our favorite tequilas and mezcals in the Markets:

MezcalVagoEnsamble*Mezcal Vago Ensamble en Barro Bi-Rite | $99.99*
Our first-ever exclusive mezcal made for us by Mezcal Vago in limited quantity! This is one-of-a-kind ensemblage (blend) made with three agave sub-varieties. They are roasted, fermented and distilled together in Olla de Barro (clay pots) to produce a wonderfully complex mezcal.

Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal | $74.99
One of the top villages in Oaxaca, Chichicapa shows beatutiful vegetal notes with flavors of green citrus rinds, pepper, and smoke.

Cimarón Reposado Tequila | $21.99
Single estate agave from one of Jalisco’s largest and renowned farmers means the best value in traditional tequila. Three to six months in white oak barrels takes the purity of blanco and splashes it with the nuance of age.

Tequila Ocho Blanco | $54.99
Tequila Ocho are vintage designated tequilas that come from a single estate with its own micro-climate, making these the most terroir-driven tequilas in the market. Pair this with Combier Triple Sec for a top shelf margarita.

 

 


Trac

The Prodigal Zin Returns!

Summer is here, which means it’s time to dust off the grill and get ready for some backyard bbqing (even with all this fog). Along with rosés, no other wine complements baby back ribs, hot dogs, or steaks better than Zinfandels. However, Zinfandels are not known to be food friendly, because many of them are huge and monstrously powerful wines. The blast of rich, sometimes pruney fruit can be overbearing, and the hammer blow of the alcohol can be unpleasant. Zinfandels now commonly reach past 15% alcohol, often conveying an impression of sweetness that, combined with a thick texture, tends to blot out food. Sometimes they are actually sweet.

So why would we recommend Zinfandels with food then? Well, it is a uniquely American wine and nothing is more American than backyard bbqs. We want to feature the producers who we believe are making a more restrained style of Zins, lighter in body and lower in alcohol. This is often called the claret style, and we are celebrating these producers who are bringing Zinfandels back into the spotlight.

While you’re grabbing provisions for your summer grilling, check out these Zins to warm up those foggy grilling nights:BrocZin

Broc Cellars “Vine Starr” Zinfandel  Sonoma County, CA 2014 | $29.99
Chris Brockway has redefined what’s possible with Sonoma Zin. The Vine Starr shows the fresh and elegant side of Zin, with flavors of raspberry, pink peppercorns, and thyme. A Zinfandel that’s more like a fresh summer market than opening a jar of jam.

DasheZinDashe Les Enfants Terrible “Heart Arrow Ranch” Zinfandel Mendocino, CA 2015 | $24.99

Mike and Anne Dashe use organically grown grapes for their les Enfants Terribles series. This Zin is from a single-vineyard in Mendocino and complements its inherent fruitiness with rocks and wild herbs. Excellent with grilled meats.NalleZin

Nalle Zinfandel Dry Creek, CA 2014 | $39.99
This wine is a step back in California time with dusty Dry Creek roads, candied violets, and potpourri on the nose, followed by cherry pie, molasses, and orange rind on the palate.


Trac

Say Yes to Riesling!

Americans love sweet things – from Frappuccino to Coca Cola, we can’t get enough of them. But when it comes to wine, we turn our noses up at it, always wanting something “dry.” And that’s too bad, because anyone who dismisses Riesling is missing out on what just might be the most versatile and complex white wine in the world. This grape can be made completely dry with racy acidity or with rich, full bodied nectar that can stand up to steak, which is why it’s an incredibly easy wine to pair with any cuisine, whether it’s Sichuan or delicate seafood.

Finding the right Riesling for your taste can be tricky because Riesling labels can be hard to read, especially the German labels with ripeness level classifications like Kabinett (light and fresh) to Auslese (high in sugar, usually for dessert), which can take months to study.

We’re here to help! If you want a dry Riesling, look for the work trocken on German bottles or pick up an Alsatian or Austrian Riesling, as most are generally dry. Look for alcohol percentage on the bottle: if it’s 12.5% or higher, 99% of the time it will be a dry wine.  Don’t hesitate to ask folks on our wine team, who’re on a mission to make Riesling more widely quaffed.

Here are some of our favorites you can shop at the Markets:

Domaine Ostertag Riesling “Vignoble d’E” Alsace, France 2013
Made by revolutionary Alsatian producer, André Ostertag, this cuvée is made to express the essence of Riesling in Alsace instead of terroir. It’s delicate with notes of white flowers and peach, and delicious with shellfish and fish.

Tatomer Riesling Vandenberg Santa Barbara, CA 2014
Winemaker Graham Tatomer shows us that Rieslings can shine in California. Having studied at one of the best wineries in Austria, Tatomer’s Vandenberg Riesling has rich fruits with pure mineral notes.

Von Hövel “Hutte Oberemmel” Spatlese Riesling Saar, Germany 2014
A family-owned estate now operated by seventh-generation winemaker, Max von Kunow, has some of the best vineyards in the Saar region of Germany. This classic Spatlese has typical Saar notes of savory herbs like mint and tarragon with a long and juicy apricot finish. Try this with a Peking duck – stunning!


Trac

Live Vivaciously, Drink Herbaceously

GinHeaderIf you’ve been to any of the new hot spots in San Francisco, you’ll notice there’s a revival of sorts for gins and gin cocktails. Places like White Chapel and Aatxe are committed to gins as the centerpiece of their bar program, and we can’t get enough of it. We can understand gin’s rising popularity – today’s gins are better than ever, with a growing group of artisanal distillers putting their own spin on the classics. Each craft gin now has its own distinct flavor, with a fascinating story behind each gin as well. People are realizing that while there isn’t a great deal of variation in tastes between different types of vodka, with gin you get huge flavor distinctions and nuance.

With all the different types of gins being made now, we’re very spoiled with the fact that there are so many wonderful cocktails to accompany them. At Bi-Rite, we carry over five different brands of tonic water and syrups alone, that you can use to experiment with the diverse gins we’re featuring. Mix and match the tonics and gins to find out your favorites.

Check out these great new gins next time you come in – try out our pairing suggestions or concoct your own!

Rutte Dry Gin Celery Dordrechet, Netherlands | $32.99CoralGablesPhotowTagline

The celery gin was inspired by one of Rutte’s original recipes dating back to the 1800s for their highly regarded genever which uses celery as one of itsbotanicals. It’s great in a Bloody Mary.
Pro Tip: See Coral Gables Cocktail recipe

Far North Spirits ”Solveig” Hallock, Minnesota | $49.99
Far North is a farm-to-bottle spirit company. The Solvieg is made from AC Hazlet Winter Rye planted and harvest by the Swanson family, and every step of production is done by hand.
Pro Tip: Pair with Fentiman’s Tonic Water

Sipsmith London Dry London, England | $39.99
Produced in a workshop previously used by the late, great whiskey writer, Michael Jackson, this super small-batch gin is flavored with 10 botanicals carefully selected for a drier balance than a classic London Dry Gin.
Pro Tip: Pair with Bitter Milk No. 2 Tom Collins mix

Caledonia Spirits “Barr Hill” Reserve Tom Cat Barrel Aged Gin Hardwick, Vermont | $34.99 Aged in new, charred American white oak, Tom Cat is a completely unique gin with whiskey-like notes of oak, spice, juniper, and raw honey. This is a HarvestMoonPhotowTaglinemodern day adaption of 18th century England’s most revered spirit, Old Tom gin.
Pro Tip: Pair with Jack Rudy’s Tonic Syrup

Rutte “Old Simon” Genever Dordrecht, Netherlands | $44.99

Named after Simon Antonius Rutte, who founded the distillery where this genever is still made based upon his original recipe from 1872, which included 13 herbs and spices. This gin is popular with cola and a squeeze of lemon or lime in the Netherlands.
Pro Tip: See Harvest Moon Cocktail recipe