This summer, choose wine again

By Jeff Josenhans | Drink Shrink

Some say there is a surge in the sales of rosé wine this year.

In a beer mecca like San Diego, this struck me as somewhat odd. But the more I thought about it, the more this just confirms that wine is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, but with a focus on quality and diversity and less so on big brand names.

Along with a new era of wines and winemakers, you are also seeing wine being used across the industry in multiple applications. I wanted to highlight some of that wine-related creativity in this column, in the hopes that readers won’t miss out this summer on some affordable and distinct experiences.

Beer and whiskey typically don’t have a whole lot to do with the wine world, but with the rise in popularity of sour-style beers, you are seeing an increased demand for local wine barrels to be used in aging them. Truly the beer wouldn’t be the same without the influence of wine here. If you are a beer drinker and a wine drinker, you must seek out some of these beers as they are commonplace now in San Diego.

wine-glass-ideas-600x600The market is also seeing an increase in spent wine casks used to age whiskey. The whiskey industry has always used sherry and barrels from other fortified wines to age its whiskies, but more and more they are venturing into still wine barrels. The partnership between Green Spot and Chateau Leoville Barton in Bordeaux is a perfect example of how wine is penetrating a market never tapped before. And this whiskey is a must try if you find it.

Also this year we officially become acquainted with orange wine as a consumer. The Grant Grill has offered orange wines by the bottle on the list for over a year, and now Herb & Wood is the first to offer orange wine by the glass.

What is orange wine exactly?

Simply put, it is white wine that has been allowed to soak with the grape skins after the juice has been pressed, infusing tannins, extra aromas and color to a wine that would have otherwise been white.

Orange wines to a Pinot Grigio drinker is what IPAs are to a lager drinker.

Top cocktail bars such as Polite Provisions, Sycamore Den, and Ironside are using wine in their cocktails to an extent not seen a few years back.

Both consumers and bartenders are learning that sherry offers a complete range of styles, flavors and sweetness levels. Port, Madeira, Eiswein, Sauternes, Tokaji, Pineau des Charentes, and quality vermouth are all wine products that are incredible to work with if you are curating a cocktail list.

Besides wine products, market wine-related products are becoming more available to the public. Verjus is a great product not only at home to replace vinegar, but can be used in cocktails as well, and is made by pressing unripe (therefore still sour) grapes and bottling them primarily for culinary use. Medlock James out of Napa Valley produces a very good example to use. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have a new, local company Domaine Santé bottling reduced Napa grape juice as a nectar to be used in cocktails, desserts, or simply over your waffle for breakfast. That will hit farmers markets this July.

Be on the look out for all of these unique libations.

—Level 2 CMS Sommelier and Master Mixologist Jeff Josenhans — who just recently added a Cicerone certification to his resume — has changed the dynamic in The Grant Grill Downtown from a classic institution to an exciting lounge and elegant restaurant. Follow his drink-related posts on Instagram @jeffjosenhans.

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