Watcha Gonna Do? Summers Almost Over!

Hello all you happy campers! We hope that your summer is going well and that you remembered to use your sunscreen…

We are looking forward to the fall season. The weather starts to cool, the wines get a little richer, the food a little heavier. All of this helps us sink into that comfortable, holiday warm spot that frankly, I have been missing. But…it’s still summer, still hot outside and we’ve got the goods to keep you cool!

Feel free to listen while you peruse this latest blog:

Wine Tasting

On August 20th from 1-4 pm we have the pleasure of hosting US Natural Wine from Austin. One of our newest distributors, they are coming correct with some great new wines for our shelves! For this tasting event US Natural Wine will be showcasing SOTO VINO from ATX and Tarpon Cellars from Napa, plus some of their deep cut bottles that they carry!

SOTO VINO are making waves in Austin, San Antonio and beyond…we are the first to carry them in Houston and are excited to showcase them. Classic varietals, lightly extracted for an easier drinking red wine style perfect for Texas! Vin De Soif de Texas!

Tarpon Cellars out of Napa make “Californian Wine with a Southern Mindset” They have the Cambaro Series which are expertly blended Napa wines. Plus they have one of the best Sauv Blancs I have tasted in a long time, some perfect Zin and a stunner of a Napa Cab!

Please swing by to taste the goodness! We will also have our CBD bar setup for those to sample the latest in functional beverages and will host a Dairymaids curated cheese tasting!

Natty Light

While we eschew the term "Natural Wine", mainly because it causes confusion. We are definitely aware of it's usefulness in describing the wines that we carry...for Bodega Bellaire, all of our offerings start with organically farmed produce or better. From there the wine could go through a number of winemaking processes and we try to stick to low intervention wines that are really a reflection of the grape, the land and the winemaker themselves...

Natural wine refers to a generalized movement among winemakers for production of wine using simple or traditional methods. Although there is no uniform definition of natural wine, it is usually produced without the use of pesticides or herbicides and with few or no additives. Typically, natural wine is produced on a small scale using traditional rather than industrial techniques and fermented with native yeast. In its purest form, natural wine is simply unadulterated fermented grape juice with no additives in the winemaking process. Other terms for the style include low-intervention wine, raw wine, and naked wine. Some sources claim that the movement started with winemakers in the Beaujolais region of France in the 1960s. Several winemakers, namely Marcel Lapierre, Jean Foillard, Charly Thevenet, and Guy Breton, sought a return to the way their grandparents made wine, before the incursion of pesticides and synthetic chemicals that had become so prevalent in agriculture after the end of World War II. They became affectionately known as The Gang of Four. They were heavily influenced by the teachings and thoughts of Jules Chauvet and Jacques Neauport, two oenologists who studied ways to make wines with fewer additives. For quite some time the town of Villié-Morgon became a place for like minded winemakers to congregate and become influenced by the Gang of Four. Gradually this movement spread to other regions of France, and since has spread across the world, gradually gaining in popularity and attracting newer younger winemakers in more and more regions of the world. We are seeing exciting, energetic wines from young winemakers in Texas (Soto Vino, Alta Marfa, Lightsome), from unexpected US locations (Colorado, Wisconsin, The Finger Lakes NY) and from the expected locations like the West Coast where it seems like a number of UC Davis oenology graduates have given us some killer winemakers (Les Lunes, Margins, Martha Stoumen). But also, this new generation is world wide…France, Italy and Spain to be sure. But we are seeing wines from Serbia, Hungary, Greece, you name it…With Climate Change happening at an accelerated rate, I have no doubt we are going to see wine being produced in unexpected locations. Wines made with youthful vibrancy and energy. Plus they usually come with a sense of humor to boot:

Sour Hops

One of my favorite styles of beer is the “Sour Beer” In recent years, Sour Beers have become much more popular to the point of mainstream acceptance. Point in case: I was shocked when my buddy came back from the bar at the Alabama Ice House carrying a couple of Martin House Salty Lady sours…Sour Beer in Lonestar country, a much needed reprieve from the norm. But Sour beer goes way back and interestingly enough shares some characteristics with Natural Wine…

Sour beer is beer which has an intentionally acidic, tart, or sour taste. Traditional sour beer styles include Belgian lambics, gueuze and Flanders red ale, and German gose and Berliner Weisse. Unlike modern brewing, which is done in a sanitary environment to guard against the intrusion of wild yeast, historically the starter used from one batch to another usually contained some wild yeast and bacteria. Sour beers are made by intentionally allowing wild yeast strains or bacteria into the brew, traditionally through the barrels or during the cooling of the wort in a coolship open to the outside air. The most common microbes used to intentionally sour beer are the bacteria Lactobacillus and Pediococcus, while the fungus Brettanomyces can also add some acidity. Another method for achieving a tart flavor is adding fruit, which directly contributes organic acids such as citric acid. Additionally, acid can be directly added to beer or added by the use of unusually large amounts of acidulated malt. Depending on the process employed, the uncertainty involved in using wild yeast may cause the beer to take months to ferment and potentially years to mature. However, modern methods allow sour beer to be created within a typical timeframe for ales, usually several days.

We recently upped our beer selection at the Bodega and have a number of Sour offerings. From a Gose by Bayerischer Bahnhof (OG classic deep cut EURO joint) to Crushies from Odd Side Brewing which is a modern take on a sour with Guava and Pineapple flavors. We even have a Gose that was aged in old Syrah barrels…super interesting stuff!

Moving forward

As we had mentioned in the past blogs, we changed up our concept to better reflect the neighborhood we serve. We have stripped back our inventory to focus on the beverage side of things exclusively. We still specialize in low intervention wines but now carry a solid selection of craft beer and have brought on more hemp based beverages and non alcoholic options. Out of the market/grocery components, we have kept all of the items necessary to create amazing charcuterie boards. From the boards and utensils themselves to Cheese and Meats from the Houston Dairymaids and of course all of the accoutrement.

Moving into the holiday season we will promote ourselves as Bellaire’s full service wine and beverage shop. Here are some of the ways we plan to expand our offerings:

Wine Club - Monthly Wine Club featuring hard to find bottles, seasonally appropriate bottles.

Bodega Delivery - we’ll bring it to you!

Wine Tastings - free monthly in store events.

Wine Education/tasting - whether in store, at your house or even in an office setting. We can host your wine tasting event with an upbeat, down to earth wine education session.

Beverage Catering - Having a party? We can help you curate the perfect beverage selection and deliver it for you!

Gift Baskets - give the gift of wine, delivered! We’ll help you put together the perfect basket and deliver it for you!

Gift cards - great for giving to your friend and family

Neighborhood Collaborations- be on the lookout as we collaborate with Bellaire’s finest dining establishments.

We are excited to serve Bellaire during the holiday season. The difference between us and the big guys is evident. A mom and pop wine shop with a modern selection of natural wine, craft beer and non alcoholic beverages.

In November, it will be our one year anniversary, and we plan to throw a big party/wine festival type event! The idea is that we shine a light on Bellaire and the unique offerings that exist here. We will host not only a good number of wine vendors to provide tastings but also have local restaurants & chefs sampling their wares as well. In addition, we want a heavy charity presence involved, this is important to us and just makes sense. I never thought I would own my own business and am grateful for the opportunity. We have the means to give back and are excited to be able to do so.

The Funnies

That's all folks!

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