Spring Time and the Drinking is Easy

Text by Heather Palermo & Cory Crawford • Photography by Jesse Martinez

It feels like we should start this article with an introduction. Hi. We are Heather and Cory. Nice to meet you! So, why should you read our all things booze article? What makes us experts? Well, nothing really, except for the fact that we like to travel, eat good food, and try out new beverages that we can bring back to Montana. Sure, some of the stuff we will write about you will have heard of or have had yourself, but we are hoping to bring a little bit of our adventures to you.

So, for our first article, we bring New Orleans to Montana, while also talking about a wine you can get anywhere around here. Sit back, relax, and let us tell you all about some great drinks for Spring.

The first time I (Heather) heard about La Vieille Ferme Rosé was at the Blue Rose when Tracy, the owner, offered me a glass of chicken wine. I did a double take – was she talking about wine to have with chicken, wine made from chickens, or something else? It turns out there are chickens on the label, hence the name chicken wine.

However silly the name may be, it is a very good rosé. Rosés have been gaining in popularity over the past couple of years – I mean I wouldn’t have been caught dead drinking a pink wine not too long ago – and they are great for warm spring days. It is great paired with, you guessed it, chicken, but also salads, fish and anything off the grill. It is a perfect crisp and fruity wine to have on hand for this spring and it’s not expensive! You can find it at Wines by Wednesday and Pizazz and many other places.

Ok, enough about wine, you really want to hear about New Orleans and how to make a delicious Sazerac. Cory . . .

Springtime holidays have got to be my favorites. Irish whiskey day (St. Patty’s), roasted lamb day (Easter), dislike of tequila reminder day (Cinco de Mayo), and of course, the let’s get crazy before Lent day/week/month (Mardi Gras, Shrovetide, or Carnival).

Whenever Lent begins to sneak up on us, I am transported back to that most famous of American Mardi Gras cities, New Orleans—amazing food, excellent music, and very interesting drinks. Few things can rival sitting at a bar on Frenchmen Street, sipping a Sazerac, and listening to a local band.

A Sazerac cocktail is made by muddling a sugar cube with three dashes of Peychaud’s bitters, adding two ounces of either rye whiskey (most popular) or cognac (the original), stirring with ice, and straining into a highball glass that’s been rinsed with Absinthe. The flavor is sublime, with a hint of anise.

So, while you’re out there enjoying freedom from the chains of winter, pick up some absinthe, rye, and bitters, then take a trip to New Orleans from the comfort of your own front porch.

~ Cory and Heather travel the world in search of adventure, delicious food, and amazing drinks. To pay for their adventures, Cory farms full time and Heather is the Director of Lifelong Learning at GFCMSU. They like to host dinner parties at their home in Great Falls, with their dog Maisy.

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A Wine Affair to Remember

Bringing the Favorite Varieties Home for the Brewing

Text by Gene Betz

I love wine! I love the aromas, I love the flavors, I love the texture. And I love the vast amount of them that are out there to be experienced. Every bottle is different. And, even though I’m definitely an 80/20 kind of person, if I could drink an expensive bottle of wine with every dinner, I would. But like most of you out there reading this, I have to live on a budget and I’d rather have decent wine with every dinner than an expensive wine twice a month.

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Rambling Vines, Take 7

Text by Gene Betz • Photography by Jim Wells

Geography, Climate, Soil or Yeast… or a Combination of all Four?

So, I says to my wife, I says, “Ralph? What do you think I should write about for the next Signature MT column?” And she says, “I don’t know…it’s YOUR column.” So there ya have it…no help at all. But I kind of get it. Wine speak can get pretty snooty and boring to most people. There’s only so much a person wants to know beyond, “is it good or not?” In spite of that, I’ve decided to talk about a rather deep wine subject; one that can make your eye balls roll into the back of their sockets. So, take this with a grain of terroir and don’t miss that last paragraph.

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Rambling Vines, Take 6

Trivial Facts About Wine

Text by Gene Betz • Photography by Jim Wells

Some useful…some not so much…You decide.

1. I’m always amazed at how particular many people are about what they drink and what they refuse to drink. For many years our serious wine enthusiasts refused to drink any of the great dry rose’s we offer. “I don’t drink pink wine” they’d say. White Zinfandel ruined the rose’ market for many years. Luckily for all of us, Branjoli managed to convince us that rose’s can be pretty darned good with the right meal/weather.

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Is Rosé the New Red?

When I got serious about drinking wine, that is, when I stopped consuming 4 ltr jugs of Mountain Castle Rhine and Carlo Rossi Paisano, I developed this attitude that all wine would be red if it could be. I clung to that thought for probably 10 or 12 years. It’s kind of a snobbish attitude toward white wines and it sometimes seems a natural progression for many wine drinkers.

Then, one day, I looked at my French wine section and said, “Where the hell are my French reds?” Turns out, I became so enthusiastic with whites and rosés that my French section nearly dwindled to nothing. I have to work hard to ensure there are enough reds to satisfy our customer base. With that in mind, it’s time to look toward the warmer weather that’s right around the corner (known as ‘break-up’ in Alaska).

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A Presidential Passion

What sort of wine trivia should one write about for the first quarter of the year?  Perhaps Valentine’s Day?  Or maybe Presidents Day?  Or perhaps we could combine those two subjects into a brief discussion of some President’s illicit love affair?  But, as many as there have been, how do you choose which one to write about?  So, I guess I’ll just concentrate on Thomas Jefferson’s deep passion for wines (rather than William Jefferson Clinton’s deep passion for “cigars”).  I believe Thomas Jefferson might be a subject I could broach without offending anyone.  (Well, as long as we leave his offspring out of it, right?)

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