Express Your Love with Wine this Valentine’s Day!

As we journey through life, we discover love has many faces. From first love to true love to enduring love, few things are as diverse as love itself, except for maybe wine. Wine too has many faces and stages of progression that help tell its story. So as the official holiday of love approaches, we cannot think of a better way to express the dynamic range of love than with a bottle of wine! The following are a just a few of our top wine choices to help communicate the many labels of love this Valentine’s Day:

First love is always the sweetest, somewhat shy yet always full of excitement. Convey this sweetness to your love with a bottle of Primo Amore Moscato from the warm vineyards of Puglia. It’s fruity and inviting and filled with pleasantly sweet peach and exotic fruit flavors. Enjoy Primo Amore with a jam tart or any light, flakey pastry and a fresh fruit salad.

Young love is adventurous, playful, and flirtatious, and this stage of your relationship should be celebrated with an appropriately named wine! Flirt offers a spritely blend of white grapes perfect for the occasion. Vibrant aromas of orange blossom, pineapple and honeysuckle invite you to sip the flavors of ripe red apples, key lime, and fresh kiwi awaiting you in the glass. You don’t want competition, so keep it simple with fresh fruit and light, soft cheeses.

Banfi’s Rosa Regale is the perfect selection to help you reveal the depth of your love. An Italian beauty from Piedmonte packaged in a bottle with a little sex appeal calls to you with a dark cranberry color and hints of raspberry, strawberry, and rose petals. Its crisp acidity and luscious palate pair perfectly with sushi.

Burgundy, the color of love, and France, the country of love, come together to make Nicholas Potel’s Burgundy the quintessential Valentine’s Day wine. Dark ruby in color with aromas of red cherry, fern, and white flowers and toasty notes of black fruit on the palate make this medium bodied, inexpensive Burgundy one of my top picks for pinot noir. For the culinarily gifted, pair this wine with poached eggs in red wine sauce and soft pungent cheese.

Any Valentine’s Day wine list would not be complete without a dessert wine. Belle Joli, an award winning local winery in the Black Hills produces several delicious dessert wines. Mon Cheri’, a Smith’s favorite, exhibits a fragrant fruit nose with an intense cherry flavor similar to a chocolate covered cherry. This delicious wine is wonderful on its own or alongside a decadent chocolate treat.

Not currently in a relationship? That’s okay! As long as you have man’s best friend at home, there is no need to be alone on Valentine’s Day. Pick up a bottle of Portrait of a Mutt red blend, pop a frozen or homemade pizza in the oven, and enjoy a funny movie for the perfect evening. Portrait of a Mutt is a blend of spicy carignane and jammy zinfandel and is a bit reminiscent of a warm berry pie.

Whether Cupid aims your love at your partner, family, friends, or your pet – give them (and yourself) a little love in a bottle for Valentine’s Day. At Smith’s Liquor Gallery we offer more than 2,000 selections of wine. Stop by today and let our courteous, knowledgeable staff help you select the perfect wine for your special occasion!

Festive Holiday Cocktails | Smith’s Liquor Gallery

The holidays are a wonderful time of year full of parties and gatherings and filled with friends, family and plenty of holiday cheer. Whether you will be attending a holiday party hosted by friends or family or you are planning a holiday party of your own, Smith’s Liquor Gallery can help you find everything you need make the event one to remember.

For any holiday party to be a success, it is important to have a well-rounded selection of beverages for your guests to enjoy. This does not mean that you need to purchase one of everything at the liquor store, but having basic selection of popular beer, wine, and spirit choices will go a long ways, you can learn more about essential holiday spirts here!

Once you have gathered a base of essential beverages for your holiday gathering, consider coming up with a signature holiday cocktail for your event to tie in the festive holiday. There are many classic festive holiday cocktails that can be prepared quickly and easily while adding a special touch to your party that guests will surely remember. A few popular festive holiday cocktails include:

Tom & Jerry’s: This popular warm winter cocktail originated in the Upper Midwest and is a seasonal favorite during the Christmas holiday. Made using a batter of egg mixed with spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and clove, the cocktail is finished off with a shot of warm brandy or rum and topped with warm milk. Save time by purchasing your pre-mixed Tom & Jerry batter ahead of time at Smith’s Liquor Gallery!

Poinsettia (the cocktail, not the plant): This simple cocktail will add a touch of elegance to your holiday party! For a single serving mix ½ oz. orange liquor (Triple Sec or Cointreau) with 3 oz. of chilled cranberry juice in a champagne flute and top with chilled champagne just prior to serving. For an added holiday touch add 2-3 frozen whole cranberries for a functional garnish!

Wassail Punch: Wassail is aromatic cocktail full of spice and served warm during the cold winter holidays. Light citrus notes from the juice of lemons, oranges and apples steep with the aromatic flavors of cinnamon, allspice, and star anise in this classic winter drink. Although Wassail is traditionally steeped with Ale or Sherry, modern recipes such as the one we found from the Rittenhouse Inn substitute bourbon for the finishing touch on this cocktail.

All of these tasty winter cocktail can be prepared in advance and are great for preparing large batches for your holiday gathering and will save time playing bartender to your guests so you too may enjoy the time spent with good company!

Smith’s Liquor Gallery in Rapid City is proud to be your holiday party headquarters. We are pleased to offer one of Rapid City’s finest wine selections, premium spirits, and an eclectic craft-brew selection that is sure to satisfy your guests. In addition to beer, wine, and spirits, we also offer a great selection of South Dakota made artisanal meats and cheeses from Frohling Meats, Dimock Dairy, and Midwest Cheese.

If you are looking for something special for your next gathering or holiday party or just need help choosing a nice bottle of wine, stop by and visit the courteous and helpful staff at Smith’s Liquor Gallery.

Repeal Day | Smith’s Liquor Gallery

You may not see it listed on a calendar or hear about it being celebrated with gaudy costumes or confetti, but celebration or not in 1933 December 5th became an important day that changed history as the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified bringing an end to nearly 14 years of Prohibition in the United States.

What started on the heels of increasingly popular temperance movements, Prohibition was the effect of the ratification of the 18th Amendment which officially went in to action on January 17th, 1920. Temperance leaders and early proponents of prohibition believed that alcohol consumption was the root of many of society’s problems including crime, abuse, mental illness, and poverty, and that these problems could be easily eradicated with the prohibition of alcohol.

For more than 13 years, the 18th Amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors in the United States through the enforcement of the Volstead Act. As the law intended, it did not take long before a reduction in alcohol consumption, public drunkenness, and other crimes commonly attributed to alcohol consumption was noticed, however new forms of alcohol related crimes were quickly escalating.

Following the ban on alcohol came about a rise in illegal distilleries, organized crime, bootlegging, and prohibition-era saloons known as speakeasies. Eventually the initial reduction in petty crime that prohibition advocates had hoped for was quickly replaced by crimes of murder, corruption, and blatant disregard for the law. As these crimes continued to grow, it did not take long for Prohibition to quickly begin losing popularity among its followers. Anti-prohibition groups seized this opportunity to rally businesses, media outlets, and all of those opposing prohibition in an effort to gain support for the repeal of Dry Law.

In February of 1933, Congress proposed the Twenty-first Amendment which effectively repealed the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The Twenty-first Amendment was adopted on December 5th, 1933 following the ratification by 36 states and became the first (and only) amendment approved for sole purpose of repealing a previously approved amendment.

Across the globe holidays, historic events, and significant people of years past are often celebrated by raising a glass in a toast, isn’t about time that we take a moment to raise our drinks in honor of the drink itself? Today marks the 81st anniversary of the repeal of prohibition. If you find yourself out with friends or unwinding after a long day’s work with a cold beer, glass of wine, or favorite cocktail in hand, make a toast to Repeal Day and the rights granted to you by the 21st Amendment. Cheers!

Holiday Spirits | Smith’s Liquor Gallery

With the holiday season rapidly approaching it is time to begin preparing for festive gatherings of family and friends. While it is very easy to feel overwhelmed with all of the preparation and planning during this busy time of year, do not let the seasonal stress take the ho, ho, ho out of your holidays!

This time of year is all about good food, great company, and definitely a little bit of “holiday cheer”, and we can surely help you out with the latter. Keep things simple this holiday season by choosing wine, beer, and spirits that are true crowd pleasers. Try to stock up on these holiday favorites early and consider buying in bulk if possible, not only will you save money, you will also be prepared for unexpected guests, host gifts, and BYOB events.

Here are few tips to help you select an assortment of holiday spirits that will keep you and your guests full of cheer this holiday season!

Wine

In order to accompany the diverse array of food offerings during the holiday season, it is always a good idea to have both red and white wine on hand. With so many varieties of each available, keep your selection simple and opt for a versatile varietal of each that will work well all season long.

Riesling is a very versatile, food friendly white wine. Known for its zippy acidity and crisp character, Riesling can be found in a variety of sweet and dry options from Germany to Washington.

Prosecco is another great choice to keep on hand during the holiday season. This sparking white is delicious on its own and can also be used as the base for many other holiday inspired drinks from mimosa’s to elegant Christmas cocktails.

When selecting a red wine for the holiday season, opt for a blended variety that can be enjoyed on its own or alongside a rich meal. Merlot based reds that are blended with cabernet, cabernet franc, or petite verdot offer a pleasing character and bold body that will compliment most foods without overpowering them.

Beer

When it comes to choosing beer, the options are quickly becoming as vast as wine in terms of varieties and selection. As with wine it is not necessary to offer your guests every variety from the shelf, a simple selection comprised of a lighter offering and a full-body selection will surely keep your guests satisfied.

Lagers and pilsners are a nice choice for a lighter body beer that is not overly filling. Crisp hoppy notes and a hint of sweetness from the malt make these options a great choice for pairing with a variety of lighter dishes.

For a more robust beer choice opt for an ale, stout, or porter. Stronger in flavor (and often ABV) and full of body, these selections are a great choice during holiday season and pair exceptionally well with a variety of aged cheeses, hearty meat dishes, and even desserts.

Spirits

After enjoying a satisfying meal with family and friends sometimes it is nice to finally sit down and relax with an after dinner drink. There are many wine based spirits available that serve well alongside a dessert or on their own as a digestif.

Fortified wines such as sherry and port are popular spirits during the holiday season. Ranging from sweet, light bodied varieties to more robust full-bodied selections, sherry and ports are a delicious way to end a meal.

Brandy is another popular grape-based holiday spirit. Brandy is produced by aging distilled wine in oak casks until it has matured. Regionally specific varieties of brandy such as Cognac (from the Cognac region of France) and Armagnac (from the Armagnac region of Gascony, France) provide a deeper range of flavor and body over traditional brandy, but all are sure to add a pleasant finish to your evening.

Remember, don’t let the stress and busy nature of the holiday season get in your way, just head to Smith’s Liquor Gallery and fill your sleigh with a selection of versatile wine, beer, and spirit choices for the holidays! From all of us at Smith’s, we wish you and your wonderful holiday season!

Valentine’s Day Wine

Love is in the air.  Wine and romance go together like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.  Whether it’s red, white, rose, or sparkling, choose wine to court your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day.

Smith’s Liquor Gallery has some love themed wines to choose from, or go with a classic – Champagne!

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Dallliance means amorous play, frolicking a little on the side.  This wine celebrates the many mysterious and hedonisitc pleasures of life.  The red is rich with lush layers to seduce your palette.  Made from a brooding blend of Zinfandel, Barbera, Syrah, Tempranillo, and Grenache, Dalliance Red is all about enjoying the intense pleasure of the moment. Regular price $21.99 Smith’s sale price $17.99

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Dalliance White blend is a flirty melange of ripe peach, citrus, melon and tropical fruits that is lushly textured, well-balanced and rich.  Made from a seductive blend of Viognier, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. $17.99

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Flirt white blend is a playful bottle of wine with aromas of orange blossom, pineapple and honeysuckle. Rich, ripe, and velvety with flavors of red apples, key lime pie, and fresh kiwis.  A mysterious blend of Moscato, Chardonnay, Symphony, Chenin Blanc, and Pinot Grigio. Regular price $12.99 Smith’s sale price $9.99

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Besitos means kisses in Spanish.  Besitos Moscato is an unusual Moscato from Spain that tickles your nose with its effervescene and softly romantic flavors and aromas of peach, nectarine, and apricot. $14.99

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Champagne is the quintessential wine of celebrations.  What better way to toast your love for one another than with a bottle of Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label.  No romantic label involved here, just classic Champagne with an intense pleasant fragrance of fruit and brioche notes, well-blanced and remarkably fruity.  Pair with Oysters for the ultimate aphrodisiac. On sale at Smith’s today!

All these and more are available at Smith’s Liquor Gallery, and while you’re at Smith’s, pick up some chocolate bars, chocolate cheese, colorful mints, a gift bag, and various other items to make the gift for your loved one special.

 

Pinot Noir Around the World

I am a self-proclaimed “Pinotphile” and have declared October as Pinot Fest month at Smith’s Liquor Gallery and the Independent Ale House.  

People always say they don’t drink pinot noir – it’s too light – or too hard to find a good one.  That’s just it; they haven’t found a good one.  Pinot is a finicky little thin skinned grape that can be difficult to grow and make wine from.  That’s part of the attraction.  

 I love pinot’s earthy quality it makes me think of being right there in the vineyard, combined with subtle fruit flavors layered with spicy notes.  Pinot is not in your face – it’s way too finesseful for anything so obvious.

These are a few if my favorite pinots.

Elk Cove Pinot Noir Willamette Valley  – always delicious and consistent in quality from year to year.  The 2011 vintage shows concentrated ripe fruit flavors, beautiful freshness, bright acidity, and a lower alcohol level that makes it a perfect food wine.

Boulder Bank Marlborough Pinot Noir New Zealand  I met the winemaker, Nick Goldschmidt, and he is a bit like his pinot – brightly engaging with fruit-led charm and earth & floral notes.  Ripe strawberry and cherry flavors are elegantly structured and delightful.  Finishes with a bit of spice.

Schug Carneros Pinot Noir Walter Schug and family have a history of making great pinot noir that began in Germany. This pinot is ruby in color, with spicy cherry aromas and a hint of thyme, rich, ripe bright red cherry flavors with spice and herbal notes; sweet oak; silky texture; good structure and balance with a long finish.

Smith’s Liquor and the Independent Ale House are offering plenty of opportunities to try different pinots.  

  • Every Friday and Tuesday from 5-7 pm throughout October at Smith’s we will be sampling a different pinot noir.
  • Wednesday the 16th from 4-5:30 and Saturday the 26th from 3-5 pm we will be sampling pinot noir at Smith’s.
  • Every Monday from 5-7 at Independent Ale House we will sample pinot noir and it’s always half price wine night on Mondays too!

Two special events in October include:  

  • Pinot Around the World on Saturday, October 19th from 4-6 at Independent Ale House.  Cost is $35 Sign-up at Smith’s. 
  • Dinner & a Movie on Wednesday, October 23 from 6-9 pm at Independent Ale House.  Cost is $40 for 2 people – get a pizza of your choice, a bottle of Don & Sons Pinot Noir and watch the movie, Sideways.

Between these fun events, and all of the great pinot noirs on sale at Smith’s Liquor Gallery, you’re sure to discover the hidden pinotphile in you.

 

 

Wine of Distinction

Good wine is easy to find; even in the under $20 price range you can find wine that is pleasant to drink, but when you find wine that stands out in the crowd, now that is something unique to savor, to share, or possibly to save.

Smith’s Liquor Gallery has added a temperature and humidity controlled Wine Cave, and we are in the process of filling it with just such wines – what we call – “Wines of Distinction.”  Yes, most of these wines are in the over $20 price range, but they all offer something unique – a sense of place – a tie to the terroir from which they originate.  Here are two I think would make great special occasion wines, gift wines, or wines to cellar.

For those not familiar with Amarone, it is one of Italy’s finest red wines.  Amarone is produced in the Veneto Region and is made from the ripest Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes that are choosen specifically from each bunch and laid out on reed mats to dry.  These overly ripe grapes are used to produce the smooth, velevety red wine with a hint of sweetness known as Amarone.

Bertani Amarone Della Valpolicella 2004 shows beautiful complexity and elegance that is articulated by tobacco, brown sugar, cassis and sweet tobacco flavors.  It has substance and length on the finish with a delicately smoky aftertaste.  Drink now or cellar through 2025.  Awarded 93 Points by Wine Enthuasiast and 91 points by Wine Advocate.  Available at Smith’s for a limited time for $51.99.images-1

 

 

 

Pine Ridge Napa Valley Cabernet 2010 – grapes for this wine were sourced from vineyards throughout Napa Valley, but primarily the Stags Leap District and Rutherford AVAs.  The bright ripe fruit and substantial mouthfeel that characterize this wine are a direct result of the meticulous care and attention to detail paid by the vineyard workers to the vines.  This wine is proof that good grapes make great wine!Bertani Amarone

A deep garnet in color, this wine presents an effusive nose that teems with aromas of fresh black cherry, warm blackberry and red plum, intertwined with hints of brambly spice, fresh ground clove, and vanilla bean.  The palate leads smoothly with rich red raspberry, cherry, and currant fruit flavors that meld lusciously into hints of creamy caramel, cocoa powder, ground espresso bean and subtle mint leaf beneath supple tannins on the lingering finish. The wine received 92 Points by Wine Spectator.  Drink now or cellar through 2023.  Available in Smith’s Wine Cave for only $44.99.

Come check out Smith Liquor Gallery’s new wine cave and our outstanding selection of wine in all price ranges.  Whether you buy wine to cellar or wine to enjoy in the moment, you’re sure to find one that is distinct at Smith’s Liquor Gallery.

 

 

World Malbec Day

April 17 is World Malbec Day!  Malbec is the flagship red grape of Argentina, especially in the Mendoza Region; however, Malbec could be considered a gift to Argentina from France.

Malbec is a popular blending grape in Bordeaux, where it is one of the permitted varietals in the regions outstanding red wine.  Malbec has been grown for centuries Southeast of Bordeaux, in the region of Cahors, where it is the primary grape and is referred to as “the black wine” due to its deep, dark color.

The Malbec grape produces wine that features dark flavors of blackberry, blueberry, and black raspberry, with hints of violets and toasty oak alongside of supple tannins.  Malbec pairs well with wild game, grilled meats, and robust spicy dishes.

Smith’s Liquor Gallery has over 20 Malbecs in stock, including one Cahors.  Stop by Smith’s on World Malbec Day to purchase one on sale:  Alamos Malbec regular price of $11.99 on sale for $9.99, Trapiche Oak Cask regular price of $9.99 on sale for $8.99 or Don Miguel Gascon Reserve Malbec regular price of $24.99 on sale for $22.99.

If you’ve never tried Malbec before – now is the time to introduce yourself to something new.  So many grape varieties out there – so little time!

 

 

California Wine

I wish they all could be California wines!  I recently returned from an 11 day trip to California Wine Country and am wine renewed and invigorated.  As much as I love the wine of France and Italy, there’s something to be said for homegrown.  Especially homegrown, small production wine made by real families for generations.

Among the many fantastic wineries I visited on my trip, two of my favorites were Peterson Winery and Summit Lake Winery.  At both of these places I was met by the actual owner/winemaker and given personal tours and tastings by them.  Not suprising since both of these wineries are small family run businesses.

Peterson Winery has been producing wine in Dry Creek Valley for over 20 years.  Owner Fred Peterson is an idividualist with an iconoclastic winemaking philosophy.  He calls his approach – Zero Manipulation - which translates to low tech – high touch.  Produced in small lots and sold in very few states outside of California – luckily for us South Dakota is one.

Smith’s Liquor Gallery currently carries La Stupenda Barbera, Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel (WS 90 points), Bradford Mountain ZinfandelDry Creek Valley Sangiovese, as well as Carignane (only 79 cases produced).  

Peterson Winery

Kathy and Michelle at Peterson Winery

Way atop Howell Mountain sits a beautiful old farmhouse complete with dogs, goats, pigs, and sheep – home to Summit Lake Vineyards and Winery.  Here I was met by the owner and winemaker’s daughter, Heather, in her family kitchen to taste their wine.  She started me with a Zinfandel/Cabernet rose’ called Blythe Susan that will make red wine lovers change their minds about rose’, and we finished the tasting with the Clair Riley’s Pirate Reserve Zinfandel Port.

Summit Lake Winery

The farm and animals of Summit Lake Winery

I loved everything about this visit – but it was the wine that really sold me.  Smith’s Liquor Gallery currently carries the Summit Lake Zinfandel and we will soon be carrying the Blythe Susan Rose’.  All of Summit Lake’s wine is limited production and is available in few states outside of California.  Without a doubt Smith’s will be carrying more of these limited release wines in the near future.

Stop by Smith’s Liquor Gallery to purchase and learn more about the wines of Peterson Winery,  Summit Lake Winery, and several other family owned and operated wineries I visited on my trip.

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Reds – The New Wine Trend

“The best kind of wine is that which is most pleasant to him who drinks it.” At least according to the Roman author and naturalist, Pliny the Elder, and what seems to be most pleasant in the world of wine today is sweet reds!

I’ve really had a sweet tooth lately.  Maybe it’s the cold weather; maybe it’s just that I really do have a sweet tooth.  Whatever the reason, the trend for sweet wine is the hot thing right now.  Here are three of my favorites that combine sweet notes with a touch of effervescence.  All three of these are big hits with customers at Smith’s Liquor Gallery too.

Rosa Regale

Yummy, this tasty little red sparkling wine from Southern Piedmont in Italy is made from Brachetto grapes.  The color is a beautiful light ruby; it smells like roses, and tastes like elegant berries with some almond and nutmeg sprinkled in.

Drink this beauty by itself, as an apertif, with fresh strawberries (they’re in season now), fruit salad, or chocolate.  All this for only $21.99 at Smith’s Liquor Gallery!

Stella Rosa

I must have a thing for Italian wines because my next choice, Stella Rosa, is another gem from Piedmont, and it has a touch of sparkle too. Did you know Piedmont is the sparkling wine capital of Italy?

Stella Rosa smells and tastes like pomegranates, crisp red pears, and a touch of apple-rhubarb pie.  All that’s missing is vanilla ice cream!  But you don’t have to save this one for dessert because it pairs really well with fresh fruit, cheese and light lunch fare.  Sounds like a picnic to me!  Featured at Smith’s for just $15.99.

Baci Dolci Sweet Kisses

Okay, so I really am on an Italian wine kick.  From the Veneto Region of Italy and made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Marzemino (native to Italy) grapes, Sweet Kisses is a touch spritzy with a lively ruby red color, fresh strawberry and black cherry aromas, and a hint of roses.  Sweet Kisses tastes a bit like cherry pie. I say enjoy it with pizza or pasta, or it’s good all by itself.  Only $10.99 at Smith’s.

Wine should be fun, food friendly, and approachable.  Wine like life shouldn’t always be taken seriously.  Sweeten up your life with one of these fun wine choices.