Our wine-buying team is passionate about finding new and exciting wines, so they travel the United States and abroad looking for start-ups, up-and-coming producers and multi-generational family wineries. Over the years, they’ve cultivated relationships with hundreds of wine producers small and large, many of whom don’t have big marketing budgets. What they do have are big hearts, which they pour into making their wines.
The relationships give us exclusive access to some truly exceptional wines. More important, they allow us to streamline the process of bringing the wine from producer to you, slashing costs and letting us showcase the best of the wine world on our shelves while offering incredible pricing.
These are Total Wine & More’s Winery Direct wines. You’ll see them identified in our stores by the yellow shelf tags, and online by the small Winery Direct icons in many product listings. We offer more than 8,000 wines in a typical Total Wine & More store — and more than 2,000 of them are Winery Direct, many exclusive to Total Wine & More.
The signs are out there. When you see the Winery Direct® logo, be assured that you’ll be getting a great wine at an incredible value.
The Winery Direct selections include gems like the wines of Sobon Estate, a family owned and operated winery with a reputation for producing a collection of delicious wines using low-yield viticulture and minimal-intervention winemaking techniques. The Sobons emphasize rich fruit flavors and low tannin in their wines, which reflect the unique California Shenandoah Valley environment, resulting in a richness and intensity rarely seen elsewhere.
Winemaker Paul Sobon pouring his wines at our Folsom, Calif. store grand opening
Winemaker Paul Sobon makes a firm commitment to the environment by crafting outstanding Zinfandel, grown sustainably at his carbon-neutral winery.
Next time you’re in store, we invite you to ask one of our friendly wine team members for a Winery Direct recommendation, or browse the brightly colored yellow tags that identify these special values. Each tag has detailed information on the flavor and style of the wine as well as the producer.
Seattle-based mixologist and blogger Natalie Migliarini has created another delicious cocktail for us, this time it’s a clever use of sweet and tart Limoncello with a kiss of aromatic rose water.
Don’t let that bottle of Limoncello shiver in the freezer, take it out to create a fun and refreshing Limoncello Turkish Delight Martini.
Here’s how to make it!
3 ounces of Bellini Limoncello
1 ounce of vodka (we love Veil vodka)
1/4 ounce of rose water (can also be found in most Middle Eastern markets)
1/2 cup of ice
Garnish: Rose flavored turkish delight candy
In a cocktail shaker add Bellini Limoncello, vodka, rose water, and ice
Shake until mixed and chilled
Strain mixture into serving glass
Garnish with rose flavored Turkish delight candy
Natalie Migliarini is a mixologist, cocktail stylist, photographer, and recipe developer based out of Seattle, Washington. Her passion is discovering new and creative ways to use booze through fabulous cocktails featuring seasonal ingredients. Check out her other delicious creations on her blog Beautiful Booze.
When a wine isn’t quite red, it’s rosé. This pink-tinged beverage is made using red grapes, but with a different process than used for creating red wines.
The most common technique for making dry (not sweet) rosé wines is limited maceration. The red grapes are pressed just until the juice has the desired color. Once that color has been attained, the winemaker stops pressing and separates the juice from the skins and pulp, transferring the juice to another tank for fermentation.
Other rosés are made with the saignée [pronounced sahn-yay] or “bleeding” process, in which the juice is obtained by piling the red grapes in a tank and letting the grapes’ weight do the crushing. The lightly colored juice is pulled out and fermented.
Lots of different red grapes can be used to create rosé: Grenache, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir. If it’s a red grape, it’s probably been used to make a rosé at some point.
The center of the rosé wine world is in France, in particular the South of France. There, along the sparkling Mediterranean, varieties like Grenache, Syrah and Carignan are blended to make delicious and strawberry-inflected dry rosés.
Other regions in France producing tasty rosé are Bordeaux (made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Cabernet Franc) and the Loire Valley (typically made with Cabernet Franc).
One of our favorite rosé producers is Michel Gassier, located in Costières de Nîmes, in the heart of Provence. Our team recently visited proprietors Michel and Tina Gassier, where they treated us to an incredible spread of paella washed down with copious amounts of their fresh and delicious rosé. Take a look at a past spotlight on Michel and Tina here.
We loved the paella so much that we asked for the recipe, and Tina was kind enough to share it with us.
Tina emphasizes that home cooks should not be overwhelmed by the seemingly complicated recipe. “The special part of cooking the paella outdoors around a fire is that everyone gets involved,” Tina says. “There are always plenty of helping hands and like many favorite home-cooked meals, it’s a one-pot affair. No side dishes. While the paella is cooking, dishes of Picholine olives and almonds are passed about.”
Tina Gassier’s Paella
An authentic paella is often prepared over an open fire. When we do our paella, we grill it over hot coals from grape vines in a paellera (a special shallow pan that allows the rice to cook evenly) – but it can be done on a barbecue with great results.
Keep in mind before beginning:
The key to a paella is the rice – it should always be a short-grain rice. The Spanish version is called Bomba, but Italian Arborio rice is a good substitute.
Whenever using saffron threads, it’s best to first crush the threads, then soak them in a small amount of hot broth for 15 minutes.
Red peppers and peas are never cooked in the paella, but grilled red peppers and steamed peas can be added once it is cooked.
Ingredients for 8 people
18 large shrimp
8 chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks separated)
2 Spanish chorizo sausages (casings removed, cut into 1-inch slices)
3 dozen mussels (scrubbed and beards removed)
2 dozen small hard-shelled clams (scrubbed)
Broth from the prepared mussels, clams and shrimp
1 cup white wine
6 cups clam juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed Spanish saffron threads
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
8 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika
1 large Vidalia onion
1 green pepper
2 firm tomatoes
3 cups Spanish Bomba or other short-grained rice (e.g. Arborio)
Grilled red peppers, cut into strips, optional
Peas, cooked, optional
3 lemons, cut into wedges
The day before
Shell and devein the shrimp. Cover and refrigerate the shrimp and save the shells.
For the next few steps use the same skillet without cleaning it – each flavor adds to the next.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and sauté the chicken thighs and drumsticks, turning once, until golden brown (about eight minutes). Remove the chicken from the skillet.
Add the chorizo and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove the chorizo.
Add the shrimp shells and sauté the shells until they turn pink, this contributes lots of shrimp flavor. Discard shells.
Add half of the mussels in the skillet along with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Remove the mussels as they open and set aside.
Now add half of the clams and proceed the same way. Remove the clams as they open and set aside.
While the broth is still hot, soak the saffron threads in a small amount of the broth for 15 minutes and then add it to the rest of the broth. Let cool, then refrigerate.
Once the shellfish has cooled, reserve the meat from the mussels and clams, cover and refrigerate, and discard their shells.
The day of the paella
In the morning, bring all of the ingredients to room temperature.
Mince the garlic, parsley, thyme, paprika and a pinch of salt together in a food processor.
Slice the onion thinly, cube the green pepper and skin and finely chop the tomatoes.
Combine the broth, the clam juice and the white wine, add salt if necessary, and bring to a simmering heat.
Set up your outside grill. When the coals are good and hot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet or shallow casserole you can put directly on the grill and quickly sauté the shrimp for 1 minute. Remove the shrimp and keep close to hand.
Add 6 tablespoons of oil to the skillet. When hot, mix in the onion, green pepper and tomatoes as well as the garlic mixture and stir well and cook over the grill until the vegetables are slightly softened.
Stir in the rice and coat well with oil and vegetables. Add enough hot broth to just barely cover the rice. Stir the rice. Add the chicken, chorizo, the meat from the opened mussels and clams, stir well and add enough broth to cover. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until the rice is no longer soupy but sufficient liquid remains to continue cooking the rice. Add more broth if necessary.
Arrange the shrimp and the remaining uncooked mussels and clams “hinge up” over the rice. Cook uncovered for about 20 minutes – the rice should be almost but not quite done. You can now decorate with strips of grilled red peppers and peas, if you like. Remove the pan from the fire and cover with foil. Let sit 5-10 minutes until the rice is cooked to taste. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.