WINE TREND: WINE ON TAP IS HERE TO STAY
Just five years ago wine on tap was a novelty, only to be found at the geekiest wine bars for the hip already in the know crowd. The technology involved has since improved making it affordable and realistic for most bars to include a tap system for their wines. Major US cities have seen a huge increase in wine on tap for all kinds of beverage programs and at least one tap-only wine bar in New York City's east village. Thanks to the economic and environmental benefits of this system it is likely that this trend will continue to gain favor among mainstream wine drinkers.
CHAIRMAN'S TROPHY ULTIMATE SPIRITS CHALLENGE:
BLUE NECTAR REPOSADO TEQUILA 97 POINTS $45.
Blue Nectar is the project of a father and son team that has a serious passion for Tequila. With a keen understanding of current issues within the agave industry, Blue Nectar features 100% transparency about their sourcing and production from beginning to end. Also committed to furthering agave education, they are regular sponsors of seminars and tastings across the United States. Their reposado Tequila is absolutely stunning, both as a sipper and in cocktails, making it one of our top picks for an all-purpose agave spirit.
Tasting Note: Both earthy dried grass and sweet vanilla aromas swirl in the glass. A very soft mouthfeel carries candied citrus zest with small suggestions of baking spice and roasted tobacco leaf. A caramelly flavor is left to linger in the mouth.
SPIRIT TREND: AMERICA'S EXPERIMENTAL WHISKEYS
For decades the dependable sweetness and full round body of Bourbon has been synonymous with American Whiskey, though more and more distilleries are experimenting with different flavor profiles. Bottling at a higher proof is becoming increasingly common as imbibers find more flavor complexities carried through the elevated alcohol. Using a base of rye has also been gaining favor as taste preferences start to shift from sweet to spice-laden. White dog, or unaged, whiskeys are also making appearances as craft offerings. As with all experimental waves, it brings with it some misses and some very fortunate hits.
CHAIRMAN'S TROPHY ULTIMATE WINE CHALLENGE:
WESTERLY CHARDONNAY 2013 SANTA BARBARA COUNTY 94 POINTS $40.
Taking the top honor for the Chardonnay category of world white wines is this supremely balanced California Chardonnay. The experts behind Westerly are masters of combining classic and modern techniques in order to create wines that are clean and flavorful. Concrete eggs as well as new French oak and extended lees contact all contribute to the depth and richness of each sip. This wine stands as a benchmark example of the quality that California has to offer the wine world.
Tasting Note: Sunny California fruit character shines through in this wine. Winter citrus with yellow-orange persimmons infuse the perfume. The acidity is gentle and unobtrusive, while the fruit bounces off the tongue, with the more secondary taste of preserved lemons.
UBC PERSONALITY: “DR BOOKS” DAVE ROOCHVARG
Dave first got involved with UBC for the 2013 Ultimate Spirit Challenge and has worked every Challenge since. Undoubtedly a core member of the UBC family, he cites the people as his favorite aspect of the competition: “The managing partners and Leo have assembled a team that is unparalleled in the wine and spirits industry. It's truly thrilling working with my mentors. The core group of my back-of-house buddies is a changing roster of noted bartenders that have all taught me so much.” What keeps him coming back year after year is all the laughter: “Everyone has such a great sense of humor. I've never experienced so much laughter in a workplace.” When not at UBC, Dave is dedicated to buying and selling old & rare books and bartending at private events.
Ultimate Beverage Challenges 2016
Ultimate SPIRITS Challenge – Judging Begins March 7, 2016. Entry forms available January 5, 2016.
Deadline for receipt of forms, samples and payment is February 26, 2016. More info.
Ultimate WINE Challenge – Judging Begins May 16, 2016. Entry forms available January 5, 2016.
Deadline for receipt of forms, samples and payment is April 29, 2016. More info.
ULTIMATE SPIRITS CHALLENGE 2015: Full results.
ULTIMATE WINE CHALLENGE 2015: Full results.