The Role of Distributors:
When we go to a restaurant and order a great bottle of wine, we rarely think about all of the things that had to happen for it to get into our hands. We know that the restaurant Somm selected the wine, and likely stored it in a wine cellar; however, do we ever stop to think about how the Somm even knew about that specific bottle?
One of the key figures in the Three Tier System that gets wine to local restaurants, bars, and retail stores is the wine distributor.
Distributors serve as the intermediary between wineries, breweries and distillers, and the retailers that generally sell products to the public. They help make sure that products are available, that they are kept in good condition, and that they are sold only to adult consumers.
Opici Wine Group:
There are hundreds of wine and spirits distributors in the United States, ranging from large multi-billion dollar operations to small ones that import just a few wine labels.
One of the most celebrated is the Opici Wine Group, a fourth-generation, family-owned wholesaler that has roots as far back as 1913. Opici is a major distributor on the east coast of the United States, and imports wines, spirits, and beers from all over the world.
In October, Opici held an absolutely massive walk-around tasting at New York’s Guastavino’s event space located under the superstructure of the 59th Street Bridge.
The AdviceSisters were amazed by the huge selection of beverages from all around the world that were represented at the event. It was literally impossible to cover the entire thing,
Instead, we focused a selection of products represented by Opici, originating from all parts of the world. These products all make great gifts, and would all be a good addition to any home bar or wine cellar.
Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Berkshire Smoke & Peat Bourbon ($65): Aged in new American White oak and then finished in Islay scotch casks. Smoky on the nose, with a strong palate of spice and vanilla. The finish is like that of a peaty scotch.
Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Berkshire Cask Finished Bourbon ($37): This dark bourbon is made with a good amount of rye, and the spiciness shows. Aged in barley wine casks, the spirit has good vanilla and caramel notes that round out a very good product. This is a great bourbon for an old-fashioned.
Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Willett Pot Still Reserve ($60 ): Packaged in a bottle resembling a pot still, this is a fine craft bourbon from a distiller and rectifier producing a wide range of excellent products. The bourbon has a sweet and nutty nose, with a spicy palate featuring pepper along with citrus and caramel.
Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Rowans Creek Bourbon ($40): Rowan’s Creek is aged for 12 years. It is spicy and minty on the nose with a super smooth palate featuring good notes of vanilla, caramel and citrus.
Stilltheone Distillery Two, Stilltheone 287 Single Malt Whiskey ($48): You have to love a whiskey from suburban New York City, but one should remember that the Hudson Valley was the heart of Rye production during the Revolutionary War.
Stiltheone is distilled from Freshchester Brewing Company’s pale ale. The result is a fruity, hoppy product very reminiscent of the beer from which it was born.
Opici Market Street, Rebellion Rye ( $33): This spirit produced by a division of the Opici family of companies is a solid rye, with good spice from the nose through to the finish.
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Gruner Veltliner (2014: $13): When looking for a wine to pair with spicy foods, It is hard to beat a Gruner Veltliner. New York’s Hazlitt Vineyards has long produced the varietal.
This is a fruity wine, with notes of pineapple and sweet corn. However, these sweeter notes (in a dry white wine with good acidity) help balance spicier notes in food.
Indigo Wine Group, Barista Pinotage ($15): This unique South African wine has distinctive rich coffee and chocolate aromas and coffee and red cherry on the palate. The Pinotage varietal was developed in South Africa as a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut.
Thienot USA Canard-Duchene Charles VII Blanc de Blancs ($60): A beautiful champagne. Pale gold in color with an interesting licorice note on the nose. Creamy and silky with great balance, and nice clean yeasty notes.
Athenee Importers & Distributors, Oenops Alpa White ($24): A blend of Malagousia, Assyrtiko and Roditis, this wine is aged in cement. White flowers on the nose, with stone fruits on the palate.
Athenee Importers & Distributors, Tsillis Askitikos Red ($17): We’re calling this is Super Tuscan of Greece. The red wine is produced from French varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah) and aged in French and American oak barrels. We sampled red fruits on the nose with a palate featuring spicy notes.
Bronco Wine Company Bell Big Guy Red ($15): From one of the country’s largest wine producers, this California red table wine has a lot of red fruits on the nose, and opens to an easy drinking fruit forward blend with solid red fruits and a light structure.
Big Guy is the winery’s dog, and therefore Bronco donates a portion of its proceeds to Paws for Purple Hearts, an organization that helps veterans train service dogs for other veterans.
This is just a small sample of what is available from Opici Wine Group. For a full list of products represented by Opici, visit:http://www.opici.com/