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Tiramisu Tea and More – Your New Holiday Indulgence

No-guilt indulgences that actually taste like indulging

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The holidays are coming, bringing long winter evenings indoors and delicious, calorie-packed foodstuffs. We know what we’re supposed to do—eat salad first, use small plates, exercise restraint—but we have to admit we dream of something better. We dream of holiday indulgences that taste truly decadent, but don’t come with guilt.

And we’re not the only ones. 68% of Americans agree that the holidays are a time to indulge with good food. But over 40% of Americans also say they want to eat healthier this year than they have in the past.

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Luckily, Pinky Up knew this day would come (it’s called “every day” for us), and we’ve got the answer to this conundrum of holiday food trends.

 

Pinky Up’s holiday-ready dessert teas

Tea is a perfect low-cal dessert. Based on herbs, flowers, and spices, its flavors are naturally complex and delicate—but calorie-free, providing uncompromised taste with no guilt. Our dessert teas are scrumptious enough to stand on their own, but you can also incorporate them into popular tea-based recipes. Not only have drinks like the London Fog taken off in recent years, but tea is blossoming in other directions, appearing in cocktails, infused whipped creams, and even cookies.

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Pinky Up’s delighted to be part of the new trend. Our dessert teas bring playful, imaginative flavors to the holiday table, made from real stuff: real cocoa nibs, real fruit, real herbs, and natural flavoring.

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Chocolate Mint: Organic rooibos, organic apple, organic peppermint, organic cocoa nibs, organic orange peel, natural flavoring.

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Strawberry Shortcake: Black tea, brittle piece (sugar, hazelnut, invert, sugar), cinnamon, strawberry, natural flavoring.

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Tiramisu: Black tea, cocoa nibs, white chocolate pieces (sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, skimmed milk powder, whey powder, lactose, soy lecithin, natural vanilla), cinnamon, coffee beans, natural & artificial flavoring.

Pinky Up’s dessert flavors include Strawberry Shortcake, Tiramisu, Chocolate Mint, Confetti Cake, Creme Brulee, and Candied Apple. Find them all online.

Meet The New Collins

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You may know that True Brands recently acquired Collins, a Chicago-based line of mixers, syrups, and garnishes. Collins Brothers was founded in 1934, right as Prohibition ended, and it’s grown alongside the American cocktail tradition ever since. So why change now?

Well, consumers have changed. Healthy cocktails are on the rise, and millennials especially care about good nutrition as part of their daily lives. So we’ve updated Collins to get with the times, while still honoring its history of crafting American cocktail essentials. Read on to see how we’ve made Collins fresher and tastier than ever.

Listening tour: drinks you can depend on

To get the ball rolling, we asked regular people what they look for in a cocktail mixer. And they taught us a lot.

We learned that drinking at home is still social. “My friends come by unannounced, I want to have something to offer,” one interviewee said. Outdoor activities, like gardening or walking the dog, were also occasions for at-home drinking, but most of our panel talked about casual entertaining for friends.

We learned that cocktails are personal. The men interviewed feel that the people in their lives depend on them, and they’re attracted to dependability in their beverages. They like brands that show stability, longevity, and commitment—which, as a cocktail company with 80 years in the industry, was good news for us.

When it comes to ingredients, fewer and fresher is better

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As soon as you taste the reformulated Collins, you can tell you’re drinking something good. That’s because we’ve removed artificial flavoring, colors, and sweeteners from our mixers and syrups, letting the taste of from-scratch cocktails come through in every sip.

Collins garnishes have long been made with fresh vegetables and a pared-down ingredient list, a sensibility we’ve brought to the entire Collins line. Our new recipes include real sugar and fruit juices, no high fructose corn syrup, and natural flavors and coloring. We also worked with a professional bartender to build recipes that taste unique, complex, and well crafted.

Collins’ flavors are still on the sweet side, which most mainstream Americans prefer. People want quality, but they also want accessibility—they want drinks that taste good and aren’t hoity-toity about it. We’re proud to say that the reformulated Collins reflects these values.

Look good, feel good

collins 3Pictured: old old-fashioned.

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Pictured: new old-fashioned.

Collins’ branding has always been bold and simple. But we wanted our packaging to match the authentic flavors of our new recipes, so we took it old school. Collins’ rebranded packaging is inspired by a real vintage Collins bottle opener found in an antique shop in Washington state. We loved it: the sturdiness, the connection to Collins’ history, the classic American quality in its details.

Our new packaging sports classic typography modeled after the bottle opener’s engraved Collins logo. It’s elegant but approachable, making Collins stand out on shelves in a way that’s inviting to regular people.

“Just add vodka”

At the heart of these changes is the reason people buy Collins mixers in the first place: They make it easy to enjoy a good cocktail.

That’s why you’ll see “just add vodka” (or bourbon, or rum) on our redesigned packaging. We love that Collins puts great drinks in people’s hands with no frills, and we want consumers to get excited about how easy it can be. Our ingredients make it quick and cost-effective to enjoy quality cocktails at home, and at the end of the day, that’s what counts.

Explore Collins’ selection

Collins’ robust selection of mixers, syrups, and garnishes sets a new standard for home bar solutions. Find your flavor here and learn more about Collins here

Trend Alert: Black Is Back

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Black is back and trending for 2018. This year, look out for unusual suspects: paint trends, home appliances, and even wedding dresses are breaking with tradition and embracing the darkness.

What does that mean for you? As black makes its comeback, you may find yourself craving onyx hues. Matte and minimal, flashy and fashionable, or everyday indispensable, True Brands has your trend report on the many shades of black.

1) Make drinkware part of your decor

According to the Washington Post, black stainless steel appliances are growing in popularity. As their presence increases on Pinterest boards and in home decor publications, a painless way to try the trend is with coordinated black barware.

The Warren collection by Viski makes a stunning visual statement. These sleek black bar tools offer everything you need to make great-tasting cocktails, plus accessories for stylish serving.

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2) Combine with copper

If strict minimalism isn’t your scene, try combining black with another foolproof design trend: copper. These highball glasses from Viski’s Raye collection do the trick—the smoked glass vessels have been dipped in copper, putting a sophisticated twist on an already-elevated look.

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3) Accessorize

Black accessories can almost always be considered chic, but there was a special place for them at fashion weeks this year. Our bracelet flask and bowtie bottle opener necklace, both by Blush, do double duty: they keep you stylish, while bringing an extra dose of low-key fun to girls’ nights and gatherings.

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4) Go techie chic (and quirky)

This bottle opener mimics the shape of a fob and comes with a ring for keeping keys organized. While it’s every bit as fun and useful as its bowtie necklace cousin, this bottle opener appeals to a wryer, tech-savvier giftee.

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5) Put a retro spin on things

This Blush bottle stopper is two trends in one: not just elegant black, but the perennial favorite cat eye glasses. This distinct shape was made famous by Audrey Hepburn, and it’s come back in eyewear trends of the past few years. Shop with confidence—our homage to the cat eye looks flattering on any bottle shape.

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6) Cover your basics

We love learning about what’s new, but let’s not forget the classics. This sturdy water bottle makes a great gift for him: not only can it be used every day, but its matte black appeals to those with a more understated style.

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Spiegelau: Why is Spiegelau Sierra Nevada, Left Hand Brewing & Rogue Ales’ Go-To Beer Glass?

Can the shape of your glass really make that much difference to a beer’s flavor? For small-batch brewers like Sierra Nevada, Dogfish Head, and Bells Brewery, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

 

 

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These craft beer favorites worked with Spiegelau to develop specialized beer glasses that bring out the flavors of IPAs, stouts, and American wheat beers. Today, we’re diving deep to give you the information your customers want to know: How do these glasses work?

 

Anatomy of a Spiegelau Craft Beer Glass

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  • Laser cut rim: Provides crisp, clean delivery in every sip.
  • Mouth opening: Wide mouth delivers beer evenly across palate, hitting the different palate “zones” that detect different flavors. This enhances mouthfeel and offers a harmony of sweetness and acidity. The wide mouth also allows you to fully experience a beer’s unique aromatics.
  • Thin walls: Maintains proper beer temperature longer. We think of thick walls as insulating, but in reality, they can transfer more heat into beer than a thin wall. Thick walls can also cause beers to lose their fizz faster.
  • Crystalline construction: Lead-free crystal offers purity and clarity, and is sturdy enough to be used in a glass much thinner than the standard pint glass. This thinner construction allows for greater flexibility in glass shape.

In general, wide mouth openings in beer glasses are correlated with aeration—the wider the mouth, the faster the beer goes flat. But Spiegelau solves that problem by adjusting the shape of each glass to suit the style of beer it’s meant for.

 

IPA Glass

 

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Beer characteristics: Hoppy, citric, aromatic, a top-selling American craft beer

Standout features: Ridges assist with head retention by re-carbonating as you sip.

Developed with: Dogfish Head, Sierra Nevada

Experts say: “[I]t acts a sort of olfactory cannon that shoots the hop, concentrates it, and pushes it towards your nose. It doesn’t just let it linger on the top of the beer in the glass.”

American IPAs stand out because of their bold, hops-driven flavor. A common woe for the IPA drinker is head retention and loss of fizz. Spiegelau’s IPA glass addresses both with a series of ridges, which re-carbonates the beer as you sip and promotes better head.

Here’s a tip: Advise your customers not to fill a Spiegelau glass all the way. Glasses should be slightly less than full to give you room to appreciate the beer’s aroma.

 

Stout Glass

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Beer characteristics: Roasty, rich mouthfeel, bold flavors include coffee and chocolate

Standout features: Angle of the rim consolidates aroma to maximize enjoyment of a stout’s complex flavor profile.

Developed with: Left Hand Brewing Company, Rogue Ales

Experts say: “A revolution in glassware.”

Stouts have a lot going on. Their flavor profiles are deep and complex, spanning notes like cocoa, espresso, cherries, prunes, and even tar. Roasted barley gives them their signature dark hue and caramelized taste. And they feel thick, sometimes even chewy, as you swallow.

Spiegelau compliments stouts’ richness with a carefully angled rim, which focuses the beer’s aroma to heighten appreciation of its flavor. It’s a simple, but crucial design choice that puts the smallest distance possible between you and the stout.

 

American Wheat Beer Glass

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Beer characteristics: Subtle, refreshing, high carbonation, easy drinking

Standout features: Capacious bowl retains wheat beer aromas

Developed with: Bells Brewery

Experts say: “I was really surprised at the ability of this bowl shape to both capture and focus […] a reservoir of aroma.” “Taste it the way we intended it to.”

American wheat beers are a well-known gateway brew: they’re light and refreshing, which makes them accessible to a wide range of palates. But sometimes, the delicate aromas of wheat beer can be lost altogether.

Spiegelau’s American wheat beer glass has a wide bowl preserves the beer’s fragrances, while its smooth interior and angled lip delivers those fragrances straight to the nostrils.

 

The secret to a great beer glass: passion and science

Spiegelau’s craft beer glasses were made possible through a unique collaboration with brewers who are outstanding in their field. To learn more about the process, or to get an in-depth look at how an individual glass was designed, watch Spiegelau’s video series:

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Now that you’ve learned why Spiegelau glasses deliver an unparalleled drinking experience, we hope your customers will get more out of their beer purchases (and view you as a craft beer rock star). Whether they’re newcomers to the world of craft beers or old pros, everyone deserves to enjoy these beverages as they were meant to be tasted.

 

True Story: Angella W.

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This is True Stories, where you’ll meet the people that anchor True Fabrications! Check out our last profile here, and check back soon for more True Stories and Dogs of True!

Name: Angella W. (a.k.a. Alien Angella)

Job Title: Graphic Designer

Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA

Time at True: 3 years

Favorite place in Seattle to take visitors: The White Horse Trading Co. in Pike Place Market. It’s a dark and cozy British style pub that looks like an I Spy book. The ceiling and walls are covered in random objects like swords, keys and flowers. You might even get a chance to meet the owner’s Irish Wolfhound – the largest dog I’ve ever seen!

Favorite True product: The Beerzilla Bottle Openers and Moby Whale Bottle Opener. The red bear-devil is always stuck to my fridge and I keep Moby on top of a stack of vintage books. One of those books is titled The Whale. I thought it was funny.

Approximate number of True products in your house: 26 proprietary items not including wine bags!

Favorite drink: I’m a sucker for the sweet stuff. Manischewitz, sweet tea with vodka and lemonade, and anything with Bailey’s or chocolate liqueur. Basically I drink candy.

One unusual item on your desk: Work desk – lumpy, adorable animals made out of silicone putty. Home desk – a miniature cabinet of thimbles.

Favorite moment at True: At our 2014 holiday party, a bunch of my True friends made it snow for me! I jokingly said that I wish it would snow a few weeks before and, like Santa, they made it happen by hand cutting paper into a million “snowflakes”. McKenna even cut her finger by accident and bled on a few snowflakes – a true testament of friendship. They sat me down on a chair and gently dumped it over my head. It was magical.

Song stuck in your head right now: The one I just made up. It doesn’t have words.

What’s the last thing you took a picture of? My dog Curie on the beach!

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True Story: Jessica P.

Welcome to True Stories, where you’ll meet the people that anchor True Fabrications!

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Name: Jessica P.

Job Title: Sales Lead (West Coast Rep)

Birthplace: Tacoma, Wash.

Time at True: 2.5 years! WOW.

Favorite place in Seattle to take visitors: Palace Kitchen if they’re foodies, but Mt. Rainier is also a must (sunrise side, of course).

Favorite True product: HOST Filter, Colossal Ice Cube Tray (pictured), and the Hammered Moscow Mule Mugs!

Approximate number of True products in your house: Too many to count!

Favorite drink: Dirty Belvedere martini (bleu cheese olives please!) is usually my go to, but my BFF recently turned me on to bourbon (I love Eagle Rare) with a splash of soda and a dash of bitters with lime. Also wine. Red, red, wine. Okay, I like to drink.

One unusual item on your desk: My cowboy boot bottle holder (I spent a lot of time in Texas, what can I say?).

Favorite moment at True: Our Hawaiian vacation!

Song stuck in your head right now: “Trouble” by Ryan Adams, can’t get enough of his new album. Also been jamming to a lot of Real Estate’s “Atlas“!

What’s the last thing you took a picture of? Cuban sandwiches I made in honor of Paseo.

Best impulse buy you ever made: My pup, Molly (except for she was free).

Trending: Innovative Beverage Branding

Hipster ChablisAbove: Glow-in-the-dark bottles of “Hipster Chablis” from prestigious Domaine William Fevre.

Welcome back to the True blog! We’ve been busy, but we’re ready to return with weekly posts dedicated directly to you, our readers. Here, you’ll find hypercurrent information addressing everything you need to know in the industry: wine, beer, spirits and merchandise trends, gift guides, retail tips and tricks, the stories behind our products and people, and go-to beverage basics to rely on. Bookmark, and check back next week!


The beverage industry is rebranding.  Where the markers of the finest wines and liquors were once indecipherable French labeling, prestigious chateau designations and intricate design, today’s most enticing brands are bright, bold and modern.

Set 3 - Modern & artistic

Top left: Minneapolis’s Bauhaus Brew Labs Sky Five. Top right: Queseria La Antigua de Fuentesauco, inspired by vintage milk bottles. Bottom right: La Cale, France. Bottom left: Kabinet Brewery, Serbia.

The trend stems from both the producer and consumer sides. For producers, obstacles to joining the industry are ever fewer. New World wine regions are unlocking their potential, encouraging a plethora of new winemakers in regions from the Finger Lakes to South Africa and Walla Walla to New Zealand. Antiquated liquor laws are relaxing their grip on small-scale distillers. Beverages once considered second-tier, including beer and cider, have risen dramatically in quality and, accordingly, prestige. These advances have bred a healthy competition for consumers’ attention.

Set 1 - Young, fun & novel.

TL: Aluminum bottles support an outdoor adventure theme – Base Camp Brewing Co., Portland, Ore. TR: Niagara Oast House Brewers, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Center left: Calif.’s Stack Wines come packaged in four unbreakable take-anywhere vessels. Bottom: 450 North Brewing Co., Columbus, Ind. Below: Great Raft Brewing, Shreveport, La.

Reasonably Corrupt

And more consumers are taking notice. Much has been made of the rising numbers of younger drinkers, especially Millennials. This generation is more adventurous than previous ones in its beverage decisions – nearly 15% of its members will try a new drink at any given bar, as compared to only 8% of the general population – and though Millennials’ spending power per capita is currently the lowest, overall spending power is expected to overtake every other market segment based on the generation’s raw numbers.

Millennials’ consumption patterns challenge producers to provide a unique experience sans wine snobbery at a low price point. These patterns reflect a larger democratization of beverage: where once fine wine and spirits served as status symbols, the movement to make them accessible across new demographics has simplified complex vocabulary,  devalued pretense and made it okay for drinkers to like a beverage simply because it tastes good – no need to pick out all the subtle undertones and nuances.

Set 4 - Cross-boundary

TL: Rosso del Vigneto Nuovo bagged wine by Reverse Innovation. TR: Westbrook Brewing Co.‘s Gose, brewed in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. with coriander and sea salt. BR: Alcohol branding has crossed over into other specialty beverages, especially coffee. Here, Colo.’s Whiskey Barrel Coffee beans. BL: Paradise Gourmet Club coffee sampler in wood box.

As shelves fill with the bounties of a new guard of urban craft breweries and biodynamic micro-wineries, branding and packaging have become the most effective way to communicate accessibility and individuality. Bright colors, simplified labels and bold graphics are among the motifs of modern beverage packaging. Where vintage aesthetics are tied in, they are incorporated with a modern spin, and sometimes even ironically. Unconventional packaging shapes and functions are frequently used as building blocks of a unique brand identity. The overall outcome is a reconfiguration of the world of beverage as low-key, highly varied and enjoyable for everyone.

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Above: A bottle of traditional Polish Nalewka designed by Foxtrot Studio in Warsaw.

Below: Where brands reach for traditional or handmade aesthetics, they often do so in a modern way. TL: Quebec’s Chic Choc Spiced Rum modernizes a classic look. TR: Stockholm-born global company Our/Vodka makes its liquor local by building microdistilleries in various cities, sourcing ingredients from nearby and naming the final product after that city. BR: Tennessee’s Ole Smoky Charred Moonshine, packaged in long-trending Mason jars. BL: Auckland, New Zealand’s Stolen’s Coffee & Cigarettes Spiced Rum goes for a handmade look.

Set 2 - Authenticity

 


Product popularity reflects the same trends. Brightly colored and playful beverage accessories have been enjoying steady increases in popularity, as have vintage pieces with a modern spin. Click to shop top sellers.

Ombres Screw It Santa Beerzillas       Boppers   Prost

 

 

Photo credits: Punch Drink, The Dieline, Uncrate.

Bruce on the Loose

Bruce is on the Loose! Get creative and take a picture of this fun guy for a chance to win $50 in True credit and an exclusive gift. Submit photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the hashtag #bruceontheloose. The photo with the most likes wins! Contest ends March 31, 2014 at 11:59 pm PST.

Bruce on a Dino Bruce Hides at Work

You represent that you own all copyrights in the photographs and have been given permission by each individual depicted or represented in the photo and bind such individuals to these release terms. As a condition of submitting your photo(s), you unconditionally and irrevocably 1) assign all copyrights and other ownership rights in the photo to True Fabrications, Inc. (“True”); 2) waive all claims to compensation for use of the photo; and 3) waive any claims under copyright law, right of publicity or privacy, misappropriation or misuse of image, defamation, and another common law or statutory claims under the laws of any jurisdiction. You acknowledge that True may, in its sole discretion, use said photos for any purpose including videos, publications, advertisements, catalogs, news releases, web sites, and any promotional materials in any medium of communications and may be used for advertising, promotion, the use of trade, and/or other commercial purposes.

No Plans for Friday? Our Top Tips for Cooking with Wine.

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Valentine’s Day, love it or hate it, is almost here. Don’t worry singles, you only have four more days of watching the lovebirds canoodle until VDday 2015. Lovebirds, if you’re not going out for dinner, why not stay home and cook for two? Here are the TrueFab top three tips for cooking with our favorite ingredient, wine!

1. Cook with what you’re drinking. If you’re serving red wine, don’t cook with white – the acidic flavor of the white won’t complement the richness of the red. Even better: buy two bottles of the same wine, one for cooking, one for drinking (bonus: if you cook with less, that means more to drink).

2. DO NOT COOK WITH “COOKING WINE.” This is likely a cheap wine with food coloring and nice packaging. You’re better off sticking with a classic two-buck chuck.

3. You can’t drink it? Don’t cook with it. Poor wine can ruin an otherwise wonderful dish. This can be tricky though (see point 1) as you may find yourself running low in the bottle as you sample your ingredients (hence, the importance of two bottles).

Cooking not your style? Wine and takeout pair quite beautifully as well.

Cheers to a very Happy Valentine’s Day from The True Fabrications Team

Sparkling Wine or Champagne? A Celebratory Primer.

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Champagne, by any other name, is typically a blend of of vibrant, high-acid wines blended down to create a house style that shouldn’t vary from year to year. While that is comforting when you’re looking for the old stand-by, smaller grower/producers are creating some vintage releases that are unique, vibrant, and still won’t break the bank. Look for champagne that is labeled RM (Recoltant Manipulant) and don’t be afraid to spend a couple dollars more than you might have on one of the big name Champagnes. The larger houses and distributors offer special incentives to retailers to offer these wines at small-losses, just to establish themselves as the champagne of choice. The return when buying RM wines should be two-fold; the retailer and the grower are getting paid, and you’re getting a wine that is hand-crafted and unique. Look for the vintage “Special Club” releases for wines that are typically affordable and are drinking well above above their price.

When looking outside of Champagne, there are terrific wines and terrific values. Franciacorta, Prosecco, and Moscato are all great options from Italy. Spain has their Cava, but beware the lowest priced bottles as they tend to be headaches waiting to happen. The Loire Valley has some incredible Samur Mousseaux, which is a Chenin Blanc perfect for seafood. Domestic wines are producing some excellent contenders, and offering them at very (very!) reasonable prices. Oregon and New Mexico (yes, really) are making some of our favorites.

So as you celebrate the New Year, think about exploring the versatility of these wines on a more regular basis. The bright acidity will cut through fats, and the toasty notes will come through in the finish. With bubbles becoming increasingly affordable, you can try them all and celebrate your way through the year!