A trio of wines from Valencia, Spain including a sparkling cava with close to 0 grams of residual sugar, and a red made with the indigenous grape Bobal

The Metropolitan Pavilion hosted the 5th edition of the USA Trade Tasting (USATT) this month, and the diverse group of beverage vendors, along with an energetic but well-controlled crowd of food and drink industry folk were a welcome sight after a year’s absence due to the pandemic. The USATT gives old and established, as well as upcoming and new labels in the alcohol, non-liquor, and wine industries a chance to showcase what they have to offer to media, distributors, representatives, and restaurateurs from all over New York City. It also gives international and out of state labels a chance to break into the very competitive New York market.

Some smooth and silky Korean soju infused with ginseng and other flavors

I am always excited to discover something new in the beverage world so I checked in, grabbed a glass, and started wandering the aisles. A vodka stand caught my eye. Why? Well, first of all, the vodka was named “Doers” which I thought was a pretty nifty name for a vodka. The label also had a Southwest look to it. There had to be a story behind the vodka. Turns out Doers is a Mexican-American, family-owned vodka-crafting business based in Texas. The name “Doers” represents the Mexican-American experience. It is one of family, hard work, and building a foundation towards a better future for the generations to come. Mexican-Americans keep things moving. They make things happen.

A bottle of Doers vodka

When it comes to Doers vodka, it really is all in the family -the distillery, the label design, and the proprietary recipe- nothing was outsourced. The vodka is made from corn and distilled 6 times. How does it taste? It’s silky and smooth, with a slight sweetness, and a clean finish. It is a vodka that is equally fit for sipping and for mixing. You can check Doers out at www.doersvodka.com.

A pair of Chardonnay from Bourgogne

Now for some wine. I was holding a wine glass after all. I’ve had many wines from the world’s leading wine producing regions -Italy, France, Spain, Australia, and the United States – to name a few. But I don’t know much about Slovenian wines. Slovenia has been making wine since the 5th and 4th centuries BCE. It has 3 chief wine producing territories and both international and indigenous varietals are cultivated here.

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A selection of Klet Brda sparkling, white, red, and orange wines

I approached the Klet Brda stand. It’s a wine cooperative comprised of 400 wine producing families. Klet Brda is the leading producer and exporter of Slovenian wines. They are sold in 26 countries worldwide. They had a number of whites and reds, as well as an orange (white wine that looks orange because of prolonged maceration or juice and grape skin contact), and one sparkling wine selection. The whites were crisp and full of citrus and orchard fruit freshness, and the reds were soft and balanced, with berry and dark stone fruit-driven profiles.

The Klet Brda Krasno sparkling rebula was particularly noteworthy. It’s made with 100% rebula (aka ribolla gialla) grapes, and carbonated in stainless steel vats using the charmat method. It had delicate orchard and citrus fruit aromas, a soft acidity, and refreshing notes of lemon, green apple, and pear. It’s a very reasonably priced sparkling wine using an indigenous Slovenian grape you don’t often see on your standard wine store shelf. You can learn more about Klet Brda winery at www.klet-brda.si.

What’s wine without some wine paraphernalia? Enter Coravin. I was looking to try more sparkling wines when I noticed a table with a pair of cremant. Cremant are French sparkling wines made using the traditional method of carbonation. This is the same method that is used to make champagne. Cremant however, cannot be called champagne because it’s made outside the region of Champagne in Northeastern France. Cremant can also be produced using grapes other than Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. Now that I’ve given you some background on cremant you might be surprised to learn that this stand wasn’t representing cremant. They were actually showcasing the wine stopper. It’s called Coravin and it keeps wine aerated, and sparkling wine effervescent, for almost a month. It does this by allowing you to pour wine from the bottle without removing the cork. The system is equipped with a needle that you introduce into the cork to release a stream of wine into a glass without compromising the integrity of the cork. A capsule that is included in the system replaces the lost oxygen in the bottle with argon gas to keep the wine fresh. I tried both cremant and I was surprised to learn, given the amount of effervescence in both bottles, that they had been opened for about 4 weeks. The dates were indicated on the bottles. In short, it works. You can find them at www.coravin.com.

A bottle of Emma citric & cool lime gin

Now on to gin. Meet Emma from Spain. It’s a pretty name for a gin, in an even prettier bottle decorated in a lovely floral motif, that reminded me of botanicals. Spot on marketing when you think about it, because gin contains a variety of botanicals, chief among which is juniper, along with coriander seeds, angelica or licorice root, and lemon, lime, or orange peel. This recipe can vary, but juniper usually makes up more than half of the herbs that are found in gin.

It had refreshing aromas of citrus fruit and fresh herbs, and lively notes of lemon, key lime, and crushed mint leaves. It’s perfect to sip on ice, and also makes a good base for a variety of summer-themed cocktails. You can take a look at some of their other flavored gin offerings at www.yosoyemma.com.

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