What's New in June

Slate: Never Buy a Bad Bottle Again

In this month's Slate Mike Steinberger presents his how to guide on avoiding buying a bad bottle of wine. What is his secret? Buy from a wine importer that you can trust.

Mr. Steinberger has noticed that it can be a daunting task to pick the good from the bad in an ever-increasing sea of wines with unfamiliar names from unfamiliar places. In his article "Never Buy a Bad Bottle Again" he outlines the role of the importer as someone who is the consumer's first line of defense against a bad bottle of wine by not only caring for the transportation and storage of wines from overseas but also through scouring these diverse wine regions for the best they have to offer. He specifies the importance of the importer when he writes about Spain and De Maison Selections:

Spain seems to be especially fertile ground for importers these days; a number of them are focusing on the Iberian Peninsula. But while there is much to like about Spain—it is enjoying a viticultural boom and offers more high-quality bargain wines these days than probably any other country—there is also reason for concern: A lot of Spanish wines are being made in an overripe, aggressively oaky style. From what I understand, these wines are popular with younger Spanish consumers, but here in the United States, retailers have reported a growing backlash against this style. While Australia and California are, for the moment, the primary victims of this silent boycott, Spain is probably not going to be spared. In fact, there is already talk that Spain is becoming the next Australia (talk encouraged by the fact that more than a few Spanish reds could easily be mistaken for Australian wines). That said, I found a few importers who are doing really innovative, compelling work in Spain. De Maison, based in North Carolina, offers some very interesting and delicious wines, particularly from northern Spain.

So follow Mike Steinberger's advice and look for that porron on the label next time you're in your local wine shop and trying to decide which new wine to try.

What's Hot

Looking for a taste of those "interesting and delicious wines" from Spain? Here are some hot, new wines that you can trust to quench your thirst this summer.

Do Ferreiro Rebisaca
Rias Baixas and Albariño go hand in hand. If you want Albariño, you know to look in Rias Baixas. But this seaside D.O. has more to offer than one of Spain's most popular white grapes; enter the Rebisaca from Do Ferreiro. This blend of Treixadura and Albariño shows bright melon fruit that mingles with hints of quince and offers a rich and substantial palate. Enjoy a bottle with some grilled seafood and fresh vegetables.

Avinyó Vi D'Agulla and Vi D'Agulla Rosé
Who ever said that light, crisp, and slightly effervescent wines had to come from the Basque Country? These two "prickly wines" ("vi d'agulla" in the local Catalan) are a couple of fun, fresh wines from Penedès. Cava's fun-loving cousins, these wines were made to be poured from a porron. So pop open a bottle and pass around the porron at your next backyard cookout.

Isastegi Sagardo Naturala
What is Sagardo? It's Basque for cider, but this is unlike any cider you've had before. Ripe notes of apple on the nose leads to an acidic, malted apple on the palate with a crisp and fresh finish. A natural cider just for the grown-ups, you won't find any sugary-sweet apple juice here. With its low alcohol and crisp finish, this Sagardo is the perfect accompaniment to those hot summer afternoons.

Also New...

2009 Cocktail Contest: Sherry

Our 2009 Cocktail Contest is underway. We want your original Sherry Cocktail recipes, please email them to us. The winner will receive a hand painted porron from this year's guest artist: Mike Jakob of the Elliot Street Deli & Pub in Atlanta, Georgia.

Here are the most recent recipe submissions.

Sherry Brooklyn
by Stephen S. of Boston Apothecary

1 oz Cask Strength Macallan
1 oz La Cigarrera Manzanilla
1/2 oz Amer Picon
1/2 oz Maraschino
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Sherry Charleston
by Stephen S. of Boston Apothecary

1/2 oz La Cigarrera Manzanilla
1/2 oz Cinzano Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Plymouth Sloe Gin
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Del Maguey "Chichicapa" Mezcal
1/2 oz Kirschwasser Cherry Eau de Vie
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Sherry Julep
by Courtney B. of TORO in Boston, MA

2 oz Gutierrez Colosia Sangre y Trabajadero Oloroso
splash of Cava Avinyó Brut
10 to 12 leaves of mint
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 dashes Fee Brother's Orange Bitters
Gently muddle mint leaves, simple syrup and bitters in a rocks glass. Fill glass with ice, add Gutierrez Colosia Sangre y Trabajadero Oloroso and a splash of Cava Avinyó Brut. Garnish with a sprig of mint.