Gear up for game day


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a variety of beers with dark beer, light beer, la

With football season in full swing, Sundays become much more than yards rushed and touchdowns made. Victory stands on the back of coolers and snack tables across the country, and Total Wine & More can help you make the perfect play when it comes to pairing brews and food.

Chips, Salsa, and Dip

In the realm of party snacks, there are few things more sacred than chips and salsa. Malt- forward and boasting a touch of sweetness, Amber and Red Ales complement this dynamic culinary duo, countering the heat of the salsa and the saltiness of the chips. We carry a wide assortment of highly rated Amber and Red Ales to satisfy any fans, no matter what jerseys they wear. Given a score of 92 from Draft magazine and awarded a World’s Best medal at the 2013 World Beer Awards, Oregon’s Full Sail Amber is a sweet, malty and medium-bodied Ale with a spicy, floral hop finish that represents everything we love about this beer style.



If, like many of us, you can’t help but gravitate to the platter of wings, we have just the beer for you. The bold flavors of Buffalo wings meet their match in the form of India Pale Ales (IPAs). Thanks to their bitterness and citrusy hop flavors, IPAs enhance the taste of Buffalo wings, while easing the heat of the wings’ sauce for more enjoyable snacking. In addition to giants like Sierra Nevada, Total Wine & More sells a remarkable collection of IPAs, from World Beer Cup Gold medalist Ballast Point Sculpin IPA to 97-point Firestone Walker Easy Jack.


Grilled Meats

No game-day party or tailgate is complete without some type of deliciously chargrilled meat. It’s happy coincidence that much of the NFL season takes place in the fall, a time of year when our shelves are stocked with limited-release Oktoberfest beers. These seasonal beers were born to pair well with German-style foods, which mean they’re perfect for brats, burgers and hot dogs off the grill. Paulaner Oktoberfest, a perennial favorite, offers up the light hoppy flavors and notes of sweet malt that have become synonymous with the style.


You can find Paulaner and countless other fantastic game-day beers at your local Total Wine & More.

Hennessy Pasión – Pineapple Mango Cocktail Recipe


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Pineapple and mango seem to be the hit flavors for summer cocktails. Or at least that’s what our customers are searching for! If you’re looking for Pineapple Mango Hennessy, we’re sorry to say there is no such flavored cognac currently produced by Hennessy.

But don’t get discouraged! You can still make this happen. All you need are the right ingredients and a “can-do!” attitude to help you power through the summer heat with this tropical cocktail recipe.


Hennessy Pasión

To make this cocktail, you will need:

  • 1 1/2oz Hennessy Black
  • 1 oz mango juice
  • 1/2 oz passion fruit juice
  • ½ oz pineapple juice
  • ¼ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 oz club soda
  • Pineapple wedge, for garnish


Add liquid ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a coupe or martini glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge. Enjoy!

Braai Basics: Throw Another Boerevors on the Braai!


There’s Southern cooking, and then there’s really, really Southern cooking – as in food from the Southern Hemisphere. This week, as we gear up for our annual exploration of wines from below the equator, we’re also thinking about the great cuisines that accompany them.

For South Africa, that’s braai. “Braai” in the Afrikaans language means “barbeque” or “grilled meats,” but it also encompasses the idea of a social gathering, like American backyard cookouts.

Key elements of the Braai are meat … and more meat.  Steaks and chops and other cuts go on the grill, along with boerevors – the traditional beef sausages originally made by colonial South African farmers (and their Dutch ancestors before them). No cole slaw and potato salad at the braai – there’s pap, a porridge made from cornmeal, and chakalaka, which sounds like a party all by itself.

Chakalaka is in fact a spicy vegetable affair served alongside the griiled meats. “I don’t even have a recipe from the braais at my home because the chakalaka always changed depending on the person making it,” says Total Wine & More’s own Siyanda M., a native of South Africa. “That’s pretty common, but the base ingredients are tomatoes, onions, carrots and beans.”

Here’s a recipe Siyanda says sounds like home (recipe via


  • Oil — 3 tablespoons
  • Onions, chopped — 2
  • Bell peppers — 2
  • Hot chile peppers, minced — 2 or 3
  • Garlic, minced — 2 or 3 cloves
  • Curry powder — 2 teaspoons
  • Tomatoes, chopped — 3
  • Baked beans in tomato sauce — 1 (15-ounce) can
  • Salt and pepper — to taste

Makes 4 to 6 servings


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium flame. Add the onions, bell peppers, chile peppers, garlic and curry powder. Saute, stirring frequently, until the onions and peppers are cooked down and wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the baked beans, salt and pepper and stir to heat through. Serve hot or cold.

Celebrate the braai properly! Grab a wine from South Africa to sip during the event.

With the chakalaka simmering on the stove, and the meats grilling up on the braai – that’s the word for the grill, as well as the gathering – let’s talk about what to pour. It’s customary for those participating in the braai to sip on wine, so we think it’s the perfect chance to try some exceptional values from South Africa. Our Discover the Southern Hemisphere event, with tastings going on all weekend (August 18-21), is featuring a few South African wines perfect to sip around the braai:

  • Neethlingshof The Caracal is a red Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Full-bodied with notes of dark fruits and oak, it’s perfect to accompany rich and charred red meats off the grill.
  • Spier Chenin Blanc is a classic, elegant white wine blancing tropical fruit and mineral flavors, ideal to sip with appetizers or grilled chicken.
  • Spier Rosé is a delightfully refreshing rosé of Pinot Noir, crisp and fruity, versatile enough to enjoy throughout the braai.

Discover the Southern Hemisphere at your local Total Wine & More through this Sunday, Aug. 21.


Wine of the Week: New Kicker Cane!


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New wines are arriving all the time at our stores. But if you’re a California cab lover, then we’ve got four new bottles you need to put on your radar.

Kicker Cane wines showcase the great Cabernet Sauvignons of California. Each is made in a different region – Rutherford, in the Napa Valley; Sonoma County; the Alexander Valley of Sonoma County; and a blend from Napa and Sonoma counties – and offers its own distinctive take on the variety.

Kicker Cane Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley
750ml, California
Bold blackberries, cherries and creme de cassis held together by balanced oak drive this wine. Alexander Valley terroir shines through with the depth and complexity it gives this cabernet.


Kicker Cane Cabernet Sauvignon Napa-Sonoma
750ml, California
Napa structure and power combined with Sonoma mouthfeel and texture define this complex cabernet. Notes of vanilla and spices from the oak act as the glue and bring this bold, intense wine together.

Kicker Cane Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford
750ml, California
A wine of place, this power house delivers classic notes of black fruit, coffee, creme de casis and a “Rutherford Dust” minerality. A fruit-driven wine that is all about complexity of fruit and Rutherford, Napa terroir.

Kicker Cane Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma
750ml, California
An excellent example of Sonoma Cabernet that is luscious and smooth with a lot of dark fruit. Powerful yet not over-extracted or clumsy, this shows that Sonoma Cabernets are more than just values, they stand on their own.

These wines are available now at your local Total Wine & More. Stop in and pick up a bottle or two for the weekend, or head to our website to shop how and when you want with free one-hour express pickup.

What’s on tap this weekend? How about wine!


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Having a crowd over this holiday weekend? Go big – with wines in super-sized packaging, so you can select a few wines you know your guests will love – and relax.

There’s never been any debate about the convenience and value of boxed wine. A 5-liter box holds the equivalent of almost seven standard 750-milliter bottles. Do the math, and you’ll typically find great savings from the larger packaging – plus you won’t have to be pulling a cork from a fresh bottle every five minutes while thirsty guests wait. The wine is super-easy to serve from the built-in tap. If you’re serving outdoors, there are no worries about glass breaking.


What’s new with boxes is that the quality is higher than it’s ever been. Young winemakers have been won over by boxes’ environmental benefits and wine-friendliness. Lighter and more compact to ship than glass bottles, wine in a box has a lighter carbon footprint than its traditional bottled counterpart. Plus, opened boxed wine can stay fresh in the fridge for weeks, with its bag-in-the-box keeping out light and air.

Dario De Conti, an Italian native who has been making wine in the Napa Valley for 10 years, recently created Big Sipper Red and Big Sipper White, two great California wines in 5-liter boxes (that’s more than two dozen servings per box) that will match happily with holiday cookout fare.

Pour Haus is another crowd-pleasing group of California wines, from the makers of Cupcake, with three classic varieties packaged in stylish 3-liter boxes. A smooth Chardonnay, a zesty Pinot Grigio and a hearty Cabernet Sauvignon cover all the bases for casual food and wine pairing.


Or try Le Petite Frog Picpoul, a distinctive French white wine in a 3-liter box, ideal for hot summer sipping. With floral aromas and zesty citrus flavors, Picpoul makes a lively, sophisticated drink before dinner, or a fine pairing with shellfish and white fishes and meats.

See what wine’s on tap for the holiday! Find more great boxed wines at your local Total Wine & More store.

Two Ways to Impress on Father’s Day


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Does your dad or husband enjoy a little tipple of spirits, a fine bottle of wine with a good meal or even an after-dinner smoke? If so, we have two ways to impress him this Father’s Day: first, with a perfect gift from Total Wine & More, and then with your expertise.

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Give him : Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky. This silky, highly rated whiskey is aged in barrels once used to make port wine, which lend the spirit luscious ripe fruit and toffee notes.

Tell him: “Did you know Angel’s Envy was created by Lincoln Henderson, two years into retirement, after a lifetime of working for other distillers? He and his family created this, which he considered his greatest success. Talk about your golden years.”


Give him: Cult Cabernet Sauvignon, from California’s Napa Valley, offers impressive notes of dark chocolate and black berries wrapped in toasty oak flavors. This big red scored 90 points from Wine Enthusiast.

Tell him: “So Dad, Cult Cabernet is made by Rich SIlvestrin, a third-generation American winemaker. He makes Cult from Cabernet grown in his own vineyards, in St. Helena, and in those of a few nearby friends. It’s also a blend of wines from different recent vintages, and it was named ‘Editor’s Choice’ by a little magazine called Wine Enthusiast.”

Chateau Lilian Ladouys

Give him: Chateau Lilian Ladouys St.-Estèphe. It’s another big red wine, but old school, from Bordeaux. Wine Enthusiast called it “a wine that shows the power of Saint-Estèphe tannins in full force, (with) a blackberry character that adds richness and juiciness, which cuts through the dry core.”

Tell him: “Cheers, Dad. This wine is made from the classic St.-Estèphe blend, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with some Merlot. You can enjoy it tonight, or save it for another time, since these wines are known for aging well. Just like you.”


Give him: a few Ashton Churchill cigars. These classic 7½-inch smokes are medium-bodied with peppery, earthy notes, made from Domincan tobacco and a Connecticut wrapper. They received 87 points from Cigar Aficionado.

Tell him: “These cigars are produced in the Dominican Republic by the Arturo Fuente company, which made its first cigars in Tampa in 1912. They have quite a history, just like we do. Happy Father’s Day.”

Father and son drinking outdoors

See how easy? You can find more Father’s Day gift ideas – and a few more things to talk about – at your local Total Wine & More store.

Limoncello Sweet Tea Cocktail for National Iced Tea Day


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Today, June 10, is National Iced Tea Day! To celebrate, and since our Discover Italy events are going on in store and online, our friend Beautiful Booze helped us prepare an Italian spin on the traditional Sweet Tea recipe using a spirit native to Italy — Limoncello.

If you’re interested in making this cocktail, head to our website to find limited-time deals on select Limoncello bottles through June 19.


Limoncello Sweet Tea

  • 3 oz. Bellini Limoncello
  • 1 cup sweet tea (see recipe below)
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup ice
  • Lemon slice, for garnish

Combine Bellini Limoncello, sweet tea, lemon juice and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake until mixed and chilled. Pour mixture into serving glass and garnish with lemon slice. Enjoy!

Serves: 1


Sweet Tea

  • 1½ cup water
  • 2 teabags
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar


Boil water in a small sauce pan, then add teabags and sugar and cook until sugar is completely dissolved. Let the tea steep for 5 minutes, then discard the teabags. Cool.

Time for an Italian road trip


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We’re about to embark on a tour of Italy’s most beautiful and historic regions – by way of the wines produced there. At Total Wine & More, it’s time for Discover Italy, our two-week exploration of the country’s wines, with in-store tastings, classes and special deals on some remarkable Italian wines.

Italy’s wines come from all over the boot-shaped peninsula, which boasts a mix of terrains and climates providing ideal conditions for many types of vines. Combined with Italy’s reputation for wonderful cuisine – and the Italian tradition that considers wine part of a meal – it’s no wonder Italy is the source of so much good wine.

Il Pozzo

Its wine regions crowd the map from the Alpine peaks of the Alto Adige to Puglia, in the heel of the boot, plus the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Some of the greatest wines come from five regions:


This northwestern region translates as “foot of the mountains,” and its abundant hillsides offer optimal terrain for vines. Barolo and Barbaresco are classic Piedmont red wines made with Nebbiolo grapes; Gavi and Arneis are fresh and delicious white wines produced in the region.


In Italy’s northeast, the cool climate is ideal for producing dry white wines – especially fine Pinot Grigios.


The Veneto is Italy’s largest wine-producing area, home of the zesty Pinot Grigios and bubbly Proseccos we love. The region’s bright Bardolino and Valpolicella wines are wonderful reds for warm weather.


This beautiful and central region is home to Sangiovese, the iconic Italian grape that produces the famed red wines Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, among others.

Southern Italy

The regions south of Rome have produced wine since the Greeks crossed the seas and planted vines 3,000 years ago. The warm south is a source for ripe and flavorful wines in both traditional and modern styles.


That’s just a hint of the wines produced across the Italian map. Looking to really get to know a region and its wines? Consider our Under the Tuscan Sun class, a deep dive into the wines of Italy’s most storied wine region, held in our area stores Thursday, June 9.

Or just stop by this weekend or next (6/9-6/12 and 6/16-6/19), when we’ll be pouring crisp whites, classic red styles and lovely aromatic sparkling wines, so you can Discover Italy one sip at a time.

It’s Tower Time


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Memorial Day has passed, and we’ve begun to don our summer attire to match the season. Now that we’re casual enough – and it’s hot enough – to wear white jeans whenever, we still make an important switch this time of year – to white spirits.

Vodka, tequila, rum and white whiskey are the classic spirits for summertime cocktails. They’re lighter and brighter, perfect companions to the refreshing mixers that taste right in hot weather, like tonic, sodas and fruit juices. As the season heats up, our customers have been enjoying vodka drinks, especially those made with Texas’ Tower Vodka.

Tower’s makers are from Pilot Point, not far south of the Oklahoma border. The label of this great new spirit depicts the water tower that looms over town.


The Texas-made vodka is produced in micro-batches and distilled six times, which gives it real purity and smoothness. Because it’s made from corn, Tower is gluten-free. Clean and crisp-tasting, it’s an ideal base for simple vodka cocktails.

Vodka this good doesn’t need to be gussied up with a lot of additional ingredients. But if vodka martinis don’t say “summer” to you, try mixing Tower into a tall drink, over ice with a big splash of tonic, cola, fruit soda or ginger beer. A squeeze of fresh lime and you’re ready to cool off. Or enjoy it mixed with cranberry or orange juice – and maybe a small dash of seltzer or club soda to give the drink a refreshing spritz.

Here’s one with bright color and juicy flavor, just right for a hot summer weekend:

Find Tower Vodka and more favorite summer spirits at your local Total Wine & More.

Summer forecast calls for Sauvignon Blanc


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With the new season here, let’s talk about what makes a good summer wine: Something chill-able, for sure. A wine that will go with the foods you crave in warm weather. And maybe a wine that isn’t too pricey, in case you have a lot of thirsty people coming over this weekend.

Sounds like Sauvignon Blanc! This white wine is made from a versatile grape that can be made into different styles of wine, depending on where it’s grown and how the wine is made. All are perfect for drinking right now, as what’s likely to be a long, hot Texas summer gets underway.

The unique aromas of Sauvignon Blanc are easy to peg in a blind tasting. The wine’s herbaceous and tropical-fruit scents are sometimes accented with musky notes, yet its flavors are consistently fresh and bright.

Serve these lively wines chilled, 50-55˚. They’re a natural pairing for summer salads. And before you reflexively grab a red wine to accompany grilled entrees, Sauvignon Blanc is great with fish, shellfish, pork and chicken cooked over the coals. It will even pair perfectly with this Lemon Spaghetti recipe from our friends at Ceja Vineyards.


Some of our favorite summer Sauvignon Blancs come from the Southern Hemisphere. In the 1970s, adventurous winemakers began planting the native French grape in New Zealand. They grew them on cool and sunny hillsides, then aged the wine in stainless steel. Generally high in refreshing acidity, these New World wines offered up dramatic flavors of citrus, elderflower, peach and tropical fruit.

Within a decade, delicious and inexpensive Sauvignon Blanc wines from Marlborough and other New Zealand regions had won fans around the world. Now, the fruit-forward, New Zealand-inspired style is produced everywhere from California and Washington to Chile to South Africa to Australia.

Of course, Sauvignon Blanc has long been used to make world-class wines in France. In Bordeaux, it makes refreshing, dry white wines, as well as richly flavored blends with Sémillon and Muscadelle. Some, aged in oak, are full-bodied, cellar-worthy wines. In the Loire Valley, Sauvignon Blanc boasts more citrus and mineral flavors from the region’s flinty limestone soils.

Find a Sauvignon Blanc to go with your summer during your next visit, or shop online and choose express one-hour pick-up in store.