Tom’s Top Ten: Wine, Beer, Spirits and More

Couly-Dutheil Chinon – Cabernet Franc is my favorite grape varietal, my favorite area for Cab Franc production is Chinon, and my favorite go-to Chinon is this one. Year after year, there’s an amazing consistency of quality and flavor profile. With its bright acidity and intriguing earthiness, this is a versatile choice for pairing with lighter summer meals!

Rucolino Amaro – I’m an amaro fanatic, and this is one of my favorites! More approachable than many, yet more interesting than most. Try it over the rocks, with club soda, or half-and-half with rye or bourbon for an easy classic cocktail!

Jester King Kollaborationsbier – Austin’s best brewery does a mixed-fermentation version of another area classic: Live Oak Hefeweizen! Perfect for summer drinking, but complex enough to pair with a meal. No regular distribution, so buy while you can!

Caol Ila 12-year – A stunningly elegant malt that doesn’t let the peat smoke steamroll over everything else. Very well integrated, with a little sweetness up front that gives way to a nutty finish.

Broc Cellars Le Clairet – Truth in advertising: it kinda is “the perfect red” – fruit-forward but not over-extracted, tannic and bold but not overwhelming, and great with food but easy-drinking on its own. And at a price point that makes it an affordable luxury!

San Gabriele Kokoras – One of my favorite examples of Sangiovese – super-rustic and earthy, bone-dry, great with barbecue or ripe cheeses.

Rothaus Pilsner – Arguably the best Pilsner we carry, and one of the best beers, period. Dry, zesty, endlessly refreshing, and we even have it in a 5-liter mini-keg (for a limited time)!

Ercole Monferrato Bianco – A great everyday white, and a showcase for the versatility of the Cortese varietal: crisp, citrusy, with green apple and melon notes.

Bodet-Herold ‘Physis’ Cremant – A vivacious reminder that not all France’s great sparkling wine comes from Champagne. I could be biased because Alsace is my absolute favorite region for white wine, but one sip of this bright, floral, toasty, herbaceous sparkler might make you a convert, too!

Italicus Bergamot Liqueur – I love to tinker with my gin & tonics, and one of the best ways to add a little extra intrigue is to rinse your glass with a liqueur. I highly recommend an Italicus rinse (and a lime leaf garnish, if available) to add depth and a little extra pop!