It's OK, you can admit it: You're not a beer drinker.
Really, it's fine. We promise.
While some enjoy the barley pop, others are keen to the art of fine wines and liquors.
For those of you who might have more sophisticated tastes, UTW doesn't want to leave you in the dark this fall. We set down the brewskis long enough to learn a little about some of autumn's finest (and not so fine) liquors and wines. Many of these offerings are brand new, so give some a try if you dare. Halloween may be in the rearview mirror, but some of these gave us quite a scare. Fortunately, there were enough good choices to make us feel warm and fuzzy on the inside as we move closer to winter.
We'll start things off with the good stuff -- Jacques Cardin Cognac. Cognac is a variety of brandy, produced in the wine-growing region surrounding the town from which it gets its name in France. Generally considered a more expensive brandy -- prices for a 750mL bottle can be as high as a few thousand dollars -- this brand can be found for less than $30, and at that price, it's a steal. While seemingly a little lighter in color than normal cognacs, this offering had a pleasant taste wedged between a strong aroma and aftertaste. If you're interested in trying a cognac, but don't want to break the bank, we'd recommend this as a starting point.
Next up is a new member of the Absolut family, the Spike Lee (yes, Spike Lee) collaboration Absolut Brooklyn. Packaged in a bottle with a design that inspires all things Brooklyn, this vodka has a wonderful ginger apple aroma and a pleasant but not overpowering taste. It would be best served as a mixer for other cocktails. If the promise of a different, yet good-tasting vodka isn't enough for you to give this one a try, Absolut is donating $50,000 from the sales of this vodka to the New York City branch of Habitat for Humanity.
The final liquor on our list this year is Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum. It suffices to say we'd rather recommend calling a captain. While it has a very pleasant scent, the taste is downright awful and you don't notice the "spice" part of the "spiced rum" until you reach the aftertaste. This one needs some work.
As we shift to the wine list, we begin with a local winery that continues to impress. Girouard Vines' newly released Tulsa Deco Spotlight Merlot is the fifth wine released in the Tulsa Deco series, and the second one released this year (the Atlas Life Chardonnay was released in June). If the Spotlight Merlot is any indication, Girouard Vines will soon be moving on to bigger and better things.
This merlot excels in all areas -- it looks good, it smells good and it tastes good -- and is a very easy-drinking red wine. Kudos to Chris Girouard and his team for proving that you don't need to be based in Napa Valley to produce great wines.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum -- in both type and quality -- is the Robert Oatley 2008 Sauvignon Blanc. While this white wine looks fine, one whiff of its scent is enough to wake the dead. Taste-wise, this wine seems to suffer from fruit-overload, which is hard to do with a beverage that is made using fermented grapes. It possesses a sour taste and aftertaste that is simply not pleasing. Look elsewhere for a solid sauvignon blanc.
We gave Mr. Oatley another chance to impress with the Robert Oatley 2009 Rosé of Sangiovese, Mudgee, Australia. The color of a rosé can range anywhere from a pale orange to a near-purple -- it usually settles somewhere around a pink hue, which is what you'll find with this wine. While this offering didn't necessarily stand out, it certainly was an improvement from the sauvignon blanc. This one is worth a try, although we found it to be a fairly generic blush with a slightly watered-down taste.
Next on the list is a white wine from Wolfgang Vineyards in Austria -- Concerto Gruner-Veltliner (or Gru-Vee). Gruner-Veltliner wines are by far Austria's most popular wines and are considered very versatile for their ability to be paired with even the most difficult of foods. While this wine has a slightly unpleasant odor, it tastes much better than it smells. This is an award-winning wine, so if you're looking for something different to try, this might be a good choice.
Finally, we have the Tempra Tantrum 2009 Tempranillo/Cabernet, a modern Spanish red wine. We here at UTW were very impressed with this strong red wine that possessed solid all-around characteristics -- it was a vast improvement over some of the other wines on this list. This is both a good dinner and after-dinner wine, and with a suggested retail price of only $10, we highly recommend this one.
There's something out there for everyone, whether it's beer, liquor or wine, so read up, do your homework and enjoy some of the best libations you can find in Tulsa.
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