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Wine Time: 2014 Mio de M.O Tempranillo

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The fourth most planted grape variety in the world of wine, Tempranillo, has been grown since the 1st century BC.  In Spain specifically, it has been well documented that Tempranillo has been used in winemaking since around 800 BC.  The vines there have survived not only the phylloxera epidemic of the 19th century but also yearly bouts of extreme cold and brutally hot summers, with some vines even reaching the age of over 150 years old.  The harsh conditions in Spain mean that only the most bullheaded of varietals, such as Tempranillo, would dare to thrive there. While Rioja may be the most famous region for Tempranillo, we'd like to introduce you to another area killing it with Tempranillo - Toro. 

The Spanish love to use multiple names for the same grape variety, and in the region of Toro the Tempranillo grape is known as "Tinto de Toro".  The hottest and most continental of Spain's wine regions, Toro is located in north west Spain and is known for making powerful examples of Tempranillo. Due to their relative obscurity the wines from Toro tend to be excellent value, and if you are someone who loves a big juicy new world wine or letting loose with a handsome stranger this might be just the region for you.

If you'd like to give Toro a try, we suggest checking out the 2014 Mio de M.O.  Aged for 14 months in French oak, the grape’s big personality explodes on the palate.  Silky, dark, and rich this bottle oozes juicy red fruit, cedar, tobacco smoke, vanilla mochaccino and cherry preserves. 100% Tinta de Toro, this smooth, brooding Spanish wine is the perfect pairing for a hot date or Neflix & chill.

Available now at both locations. $23 + tax.

Return of the Gose

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By Robyn Bursey

If you're a lover of sour beer, you might already be familiar with gose.  But in case you've just been nodding along with the sales person at your local booze-erie, here's the lowdown.

Gose (pronounced goze-uh) is a tart German style of beer that is regularly confused with "geuze" a more complex blend of aged Belgian sours.  Gose is made primarily with barley, wheat, coriander and salt and is brewed with top-fermenting yeast and the addition of lactobacillus, which makes it sour.  It also frequently sees the addition of various fruits, as the salt component does a great job of lifting and accentuating those flavours.  Gose is not traditionally a hop-forward beer and is generally more zesty and fresh than malty and sweet.  That paired with the slight tartness, and the addition of salt, creates a seriously refreshing style of beer.  It's also around 5% ABV and under... post work-out pint anyone?

Gose was born in the tiny German mining town of Goslar.  It's original salt content could be attributed to the aquifers that supplied the breweries then, and the lactobacillus to spontaneous fermentation.  The exact year of it's creation is not officially known, but it's possible that gose was first brewed somewhere between 1181 and 1470.  What is known for sure, is that sometime later the popularity of gose greatly declined in Goslar and simultaneously grew over 100 miles to the southeast in the town of Leipzig.  It's first real date of documentation was in Leipzig in 1738.   By 1900, Leipzig had become known as the gose capital of the world; and still is, in fact.  It had a few moments of hardship over the years due to World War II and the Cold War, disappearing in 1945, 1966, and again in 1988. After the reunification of Germany in 1989, Leipzig once again started producing gose.  It is this far-reaching history that allowed gose to be grandfather into the reinheitsgebot (The German Purity Law) wordings, and therefore still brewed today.

Nowadays gose is brewed in it's homeland of Germany, as well as in craft breweries all over Canada and the United States.  A couple VA Staff faves:  

Ritterguts Gose:  The Original Gose.  Brewed using the original recipe from 1824.  500mL bottles - $9.00 all in

The Bruery Goses are Red: A California-based brewery's take on the style, which includes the addition of grapes making it a stylish match of a funky, crisp and tart gose with the soft sweetness of a rosé wine.  750mL bottles - $20.50 all in