Globe spanning rosés, Jalisco’s finest, and a taste of the Czech Republic
by Tali Dalbaha
HEIRLOOM IN A BOTTLE
Not even a decade old, Tequila Avión, the brainchild of Ken Austin who hopscotched from Price Waterhouse to Gallo to Seagram to Marquis Jet before founding this venture in Jalisco, Mexico has racked up awards that generations old makers would envy, including Best Tasting Unaged White Spirit and Best Tasting Tequila at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, along with gold and silver medals at that same event’s 2011 panels. Being repeatedly displayed on HBO’s hit TV show, Entourage, didn’t hurt either.
Its Silver, Reposado, Añejo, and Espresso are all worthy, to be sure, but Avion’s Reserva 44 Extra Añejo Tequila is…art. Hand made in limited batches, aged 43 months in oak barrels, and presented in a fi re polished crystal bottle, only 744 cases were made their agave plant source hand selected and estate grown at 7,000 feet above sea level, then slow roasted in brick ovens for 72 hours. Hints of warm vanilla, ripe luscious fruits, and a touch of spice. Gorgeous, smooth, and a bargain (trust us) at $99.
IN PRAISE OF PILSNER
Make no mistake: I appreciate an Indian Pale Ale, Trappist porter, and West Coast grapefruit infused white beer as much as the next person, but for just a moment, I’d like to sing the glories of pilsner. A type of lager, and originating in the 19th century in what is now the Czech Republic, it’s almost always light in color (ranging from straw to slightly golden), is blessed with subtle floral and strong hop flavors, is sparklingly carbonated, balanced, and dry. A number of American corporate giants like Budweiser and Coors produce in the “pilsner style,” and they can be perfectly refreshing, but it’s nice to also select slightly more nuanced options.
A classic flavor profile is to be had in Bitburger, made in Germany and delicately tart and pleasantly bitter, it also presents a durable head with extra fine bubbles. Further flung world travelers might select a brand that actually seems spiritually unlikely: Beirut Beer, made in Lebanon. It is a pilsner, its owners say, “inspired by a city that is dynamic and courageous…confident, optimistic, and passionate.” It’s also delicious, with an almost grassy taste hoppy, dry, and fortifying.
ROSÉS AROUND THE WORLD
According to Wine Business Monthly, sales of rosé wine in the United States grew by more than 40% in 2018 the fastest growth rate for any wine category. Our sales at Buy Rite bear that out, but it’s easy to forget that this wonderful wine is made pretty much all over the world, from as far south as Uruguay and South Africa to the United Kingdom. Some global standouts:
Muga Rosado: This complex Spanish rosé is a blend of garnacha (aka grenache), viura, and tempranillo grapes grown in the gorgeous clay and alluvial soil of the upper Najerilla Valley. A lovely pale pink and presenting elegantly in the glass on the nose it’s full of fruit, intense and complex (apricot principally) on the palate a winning balance of acidity and freshness. Great with oily fish, poultry and pork, salads, pasta, and rice dishes. $15.99
Breezette Rosé: This should be on every bistro table on every hot summer day a blend of cinsaut and grenache from Côtes de Provence brimming with exotic citrus (pineapple and red grapefruit) along with just a bit of sea salt (Breezette is, in fact, just a breeze from the Mediterranean). A light golden color and with perfect minerality as delicious as it is versatile. $13.99
Dreaming Tree Rosé: A collaboration between musician Dave Matthews and award winning winemaker Sean McKenzie, Dreaming Tree is a California maker of surprising distinction. This dry and crisp light bodied effort, with flavors of watermelon, nectarine, and citrus, pairs perfectly with fish tacos, beet and goat cheese salads, or crackers and cheese (of course). $12.99