We have all read the novels where a British matriarch insists on the family dressing formally for dinner and beginning the evening with a round of sherry.  Before I ever tried sherry, I always pictured it as a very sophisticated tipple that only the most refined people can enjoy. Then, in my youth, I was introduced to cream sherry, a sweet syrupy concoction that seemed likely to induce a headache when followed by wine at dinner.

It has only been in recent years that (here in the US), the entire range of sherry, from bone dry to sweet, has emerged from the dusty drawing rooms of the china tea set crowd to shine as an aperitif, but also as a wine that can be paired with food and mixed into cocktails.  It is a very versatile wine that while making one feel quite sophisticated and international, can still be enjoyed just for itself.

There are several types of sherry one can choose. The lightest and driest style is “Fino” from Jerez or sometimes, Xerez in Spain.  On the open, it has a nutty flavor – is it almonds?  pecans? and perhaps a bit of salty creaminess?  Then one gets a better sense of how it is made – in humid cellars with a mild mushroom note.  Then as one continues to contemplate what this is doing to your palate – you get an amazing, yeasty breadlike flavor all over that makes you want to take that next sip and experience it all over again.

Sherry is quintessentially a winemaker’s wine.  It is made from the Palomino Fino grape in the town of Jerez de la Frontera in Spain.  The British, reluctant to pronounce “jerez” simply called it Sherry.  The Palomino grape can withstand drought well – a boon in the arid land of southern Spain – and “produces a reliable crop of slightly low acid, low sugar grapes whose wine may oxidize easily – in short, perfect raw material for sherry.” (  Because it oxidizes so easily, fino sherry is produced in humid, hot cellars that are an ideal breeding ground for a type of mold called “flor.”  The flor creates a crust over the wine that imparts a wonderful, cheesy flavor while also protecting it from oxygen by creating a largely impermeable barrier over the liquid (if this barrier of flor is intentionally broken to create a more oxidized style, it is called “oloroso;” if it is unintentionally broken and then further aged, it is called “amontillado”).

One of the coolest aspects of making sherry is the way it is aged and blended.  The youngest wines are used to top up the newest barrels of what is known as the solera.  It is system by which the wines can be “fractionally blended,” meaning that some wine is new, some is old and these are blended in parts over the course of several years to create a wine of great consistency and relatively high average age.  The closest analogy is an escalator.  The young wine goes into the barrels on the top level, but only makes up about 50% of that barrel.  After a year or two, 50% of this wine is moved to the next level for further aging while 50% of the second level wine is moved to the third level and so on. Usually, there are about 5 to 8 levels on the escalator and each level has a higher and higher average age.  Some part of the wine in the last level will still be the very original wine you started with – whether that is 30 years or 50 years old.  It is like an extended family tree, with all the character and ructions of each vintage smoothed out to create a unique flavor profile.

Unfortunately, it is wine to be drunk in small quantities or blended into cocktails (see below for two fabulous recipes!).  We have enjoyed sherry as an aperitif with marcona almonds, fried calamari and avocado & shrimp salad.  But anything salty like olives, any seafood such as oysters, clams, mushrooms caps stuffed with crabmeat or mussels in white wine sauce and most anything fried, like corn fritters would pair beautifully with Fino.

Sherry Cocktail Recipes To Try:

The Sherry App:
1 1/2 ounces Aperol
3/4 ounce fino Sherry
1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 ounce honey simple syrup

Directions: Combine in shaker with ice, shake and strain

The Rye Witch:
1 1/2 cups Kentucky rye whiskey
3 tablespoons Strega (herbal liqueur)
3 tablespoons Fino Sherry
2 tablespoons simple syrup
12 dashes orange bitters
12 orange twists


  • Combine first 5 ingredients in a large pitcher. Add ice; stir for 15-20 seconds. Strain the mixture into 6 chilled coupe glasses.
  • Pinch an orange twist over each drink, then rub around rims of glasses to release oils from peel; discard peel.
    Garnish each with a fresh twist.

The angel on the label of this wine says it all – it is heavenly.  In more ways than one.  Not only is it absolutely, mouth-wateringly delicious, it is grown and made close to the clouds.  Alto Adige, Italy or more primly in Austria, Sudtirol, is a land of soaring mountains and lush green valleys divided by the Adige and Isarco rivers.

This is a rugged landscape that includes breathtaking vistas of little fairytale villages and dramatic snowy peaks that reach over 10,000 feet.  How do they grow vines in this amazing terrain that can also be cold and forbidding?  The answer is very carefully!  On small plots of land, lovingly tended by hundreds of farmers.  St. Michael-Eppan is a cooperative of 340 farmers who farm 380 hectares (939 acres) of land.  Large scale grape production would be impossible in this part of the southern Alps that are characterized by sometimes dizzying slopes.  In order to thrive, the vines are planted on south facing slopes to receive maximum sunlight and receive protection from the cold northerly winds howling down through the high mountains.  And because of the rugged terrain, the grapes must be hand-selected and harvested in small batches.

The Lahn Sauvignon Blanc from St. Michael-Eppan is the flagship wine of this wonderful producer.  Established in 1907 with 27 farmers originally, the winery has hewed to the highest standards of winemaking for over a century.  The limestone-gravel soils give the fruit lovely, floral aromas while aging on the lees and in oak barrels gives the wine a wonderful toasty, soft mouthfeel.  The natural character of the wine – apples, lemons, fresh cut hay – is preserved through careful handling resulting in a wine that is reminiscent of a very high quality Sancerre.  At only $16.99, given the amount of work that goes into the harvesting and winemaking, it is a huge bargain.

St. Michael Eppan John Sauvignon

My husband and I opened this wine after a very busy weekend over take out pizza.  To make it a bit more festive, after the pizza (potato & bacon and pepperoni & mushroom), we broke out a wonderful nutty aged Robusto Gouda, a nice, perfectly ripe Camembert and a borough-market Stilton with an arugula, blueberry and pine nut salad.  This wine stood up to all of it, despite being a cool-climate, relatively delicate white wine.  It was tangy enough to balance out the strong flavors of the pizza, yet fragrant and well structured enough to offset the richness of cheeses.  It was the perfect end to a hectic, exhausting weekend!



Opening a new bottle of wine is like going on a blind date. Is it worth the time and money? What is it really going to be like? I have an idea about what to expect from the profile – nice label, deep ruby color, French – but what do I really know about this bottle?

Well, put your worries aside, I am the matchmaker you have been searching for! This is the type of wine you have when you come home from a long day, you put on your slippers, grab a nice soft brie or Saint Andre cheese from the frig and collapse on the couch to savor the good things in life. No worries about that blind date going horribly wrong – this wine is totally mellow and easy. You might even ask afterwards, is this too good to be true?

chateau De Paraza Cuvee special

The Chateau de Paraza 2014 Cuvee Speciale is a wine with a long pedigree from one of the warmest parts of France, the Languedoc Wine Region or the more painterly name of Le Midi, where famous artists have flocked for generations. The Chateau de Paraza lands have been planted with grapes and olives since the Roman times. The Chateau itself hosted the civil engineer during the reign of Louis XIV who built the Canal du Midi which links the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean. While it may have run into problems over the last century, it was revived in 2005 as a family-run winery dedicated to high-quality wine that reflects the beauty of the local vineyards.

The wine itself is a brilliant, dark ruby color – with the wonderful spicy and fruity flavors of its blended grapes. 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre. It has a nose redolent of dark cherries spiced with nutmeg and clove. On the palate, you get a rounded sensation of wild blueberries and black cherries. The tannins are supple, leading to a fresh, fruity finish.

And to top it all off, it is a bargain!

Your wine expert, Seema

Let’s face it, we have three more long months of cold weather.  Yes, it’s cold out but there is plenty to celebrate this winter! To start with, the Patriot’s could be in the Superbowl (fingers crossed), secondly, the Winter Olympics start in February and lastly, cold weather equals more snuggle time with your loved ones.   Yup… our (wine) glass is definitely half-full and we hope yours is too!

To help you fill that cold winter glass we’re sharing some great winter wines that are not only affordable, they’re delicious.  Enjoy!

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  • Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva:  A limpid, full ruby red color. The nose is fine, wide, with excellent fruity notes on a sweet and spicy background. A vigorous body with excellent tannins well in balance with the freshness given by the acidulous nerve. Fine, elegant and complex.
    • Pairing perfect with roasted red meats rich in spices, game with rich sauces; interesting with aged cheese.
  • Bogle Phantom: Phantom, Bogle’s mysterious apparition of ripe berry and relentless spice, returns to haunt wine lovers. Full of concentration and intensity, this wine will tease, tantalize and linger long after the last sip is gone. Wild berries and black pepper are framed by the influence of oak aging with baking spices and a hint of toasty vanilla.
  • Rombauer Zinfandel: This classic California Zinfandel is dark purple-ruby, with a bright crimson hue. On the nose, concentrated aromas of blackberry and raspberry meld with clove and spice. Lush flavors of blackberry, cherry, licorice and vanilla flood the palate, followed by touches of pepper in the background. Plush and round tannins and great length make for a fresh and enticing finish.
  • The Prisoner: Features enticing aromas of Bing cherry, dark chocolate, clove, and roasted fig. Persistent flavors of ripe raspberry, boysenberry, pomegranate, and vanilla linger harmoniously, for a smooth and luscious finish.
  • LAB Red Wine: Very aromatic with notes of ripe black and red fruits. In the palate, juicy plums and dark berry fruit flavour with plenty of fresh yet fine tannins that take over at the finish, along with flavours of spice and liquorice.
  • Dry Creek Vineyard, Olde Vine Zinfandel: During harvest, their Old Vine Zinfandel lots always show a distinct aroma and flavor profile. Once bottled, the perfumed nuances and dried herbal components shine through. At first swirl, bay leaf and white pepper leap from the glass balanced by deep layers of plum and cocoa. The complexity of our Old Vine Zinfandel lies in the spicy notes that are unique to these historic properties. Refined and balanced, the wine integrates seamlessly on the palate offering a broad array of currants, black cherry, raspberry and toasty oak notes.
    • Blend: 78% Zinfandel, 19% Petite Sirah, 3% Carignane
  • Broquel Malbec: Intense purple red color with ruby hues. Aromas of fresh red and black fruits, floral notes, and earthy minerals, with an elegant touch of smoke. Rich and spicy on the palate providing a long and pleasant finish.
    • Ideal to serve with grilled red meats, stews, pasta with mushroom sauce and cheeses.
  • Decoy Merlot: This lovely expression of Sonoma County Merlot offers lush layers of black cherry, cassis, and cranberry, along with notes of cocoa and leather. On the palate, refined tannins underscore the wine’s velvety mouthfeel, while excellent acidity adds poise and length to the vibrant red berry flavors.
    • Blend: 92% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petite Sirah
  • Crios Malbec: Has a beautiful reddish/purple color as most good Malbecs do. The aromas are a mix of freshly crushed black cherries and toasty/smoky oak—just enough to frame the exuberant fruit. On the palate, the flavors of cherries and spice are obvious, and the jammy fruit quality just keeps coming on strong, with hints of spice and sandalwood lurking in the background.

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We hope you get a chance to stop into Mystic Wine Shoppe to enjoy these lovely winter wines.  Cheers to three more months of winter!  Don’t forget to join us for our weekly beer and wine tastings.

~ Your friends at Mystic Wine Shoppe

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! But it can also be stressful and leave you not knowing what to give to everyone on your list. To help reduce your stress, we’ve come up with a Holiday Gift Guide that should help you find the perfect gift for everyone.

Scotch & Whiskey:

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  1. Whistle Pig | The Boss Hog IV: This the IVth edition of The Boss Hog, The Black Prince, is a tribute to the great spirits of Europe. This is the first Rye Whiskey ever finished in Armagnac casks, straight from France. The result is extraordinary. A fine balance between American power and French sophistication. There’s nothing else like it. Learn More
  2. The Dalmore | 18 Years Old: Dalmore’s stunning 18-year-old Highland malt is as rich, fruity and spicy as you could ever want from a Dalmore. Kudos to Richard Paterson for creating another veritable chocolate orange of a whisky – a surefire hit, and great for the colder months. It is aged for 14 years in American oak, followed by three years in Matusalem sherry butts, before a final year in sherry butts. Learn More
  3. The Dalmore | Cigar Malt: Dalmore Cigar Malt was discontinued in mid-2009, causing uproar among all right-thinking, cigar-smoking whisky fans. This dram used to sit above the 12, and below the 15 in terms of both the price-point, and the age-profiles of the whisky that went into the blend, but the new version is a little different. Learn more
  4. Johnnie Walker Sampler Set: Includes 4 bottle sampler (200 ML each) of the best of Johnnie Walker. Including Johnnie Walker Black, Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve, Johnnie Walker Platinum and Johnnie Walker Blue.
  5. Johnnie Walker Blue | Small & Large:  Their rarest blend. This isn’t a whisky for beginners. It’s challenging and an acquired taste, but like the finest rewards in life is worth it. Blue Label is made from a few exceptional whiskies with powerful flavors. Each bottle is precious.
  6. The Macallan Rare Cask Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey: Crafted to showcase complexity and depth, Rare Cask is drawn from the broadest spectrum of casks, 16 different types, ever identified by the Master Whisky Maker.

Fines Wines:

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  1. Double Back | Cabernet Sauvignon | Napa Valley: This wine is a blend of McQueen, Bob Healy and Lefore vineyard fruit, aged 22 months in 73% new French oak. Alluring aromas of macerated cherries, scorched earth, coffee, barrel spice and dark chocolate are followed by supple, focused, concentrated dark-fruit flavors. It brings some tannic heft that will benefit from time in the cellar.
  2. Caymus Special Selection | Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 | Napa Valley: Exhibits a delicious, up-front core of juicy dark berry, blackberry, black licorice and creamy, toasty, vanilla-scented oak. Appropriately tannic and structured, this is made in a style you can drink now or cellar for up to a decade. Drink now through 2026.

  3. Revolver Wine Company | The Stash Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 | Napa Valley: Very limited production – only 50 cases produced of this sought-after wine. Cedarwood, spice box and black currants seduce the nose followed by a pallet of powerful layers of rich fruit and dashes of vanilla. 18 months of 100% French oak aging. ‘The Stash’ will truly enjoy a bit of decanting when served at a young age.

  4. Silver Oak | Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 | Napa Valley: Notes of dill, herb and vanilla bean-scented oak lead to an elegant array of dark berry, herb, cedar, gravelly earth and underbrush flavors. The tannins cling a bit, but this is an enjoyable and approachable youngster, with a track record for aging. Drink now through 2028.
  5. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Artemis | Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 | Napa Valley: Opens with inviting aromas of dark cherry and berry fruit, cassis, sweet vanilla and a hint of olive. On the palate, the wine has a smooth entry with a rich mouthfeel and lingering aftertaste of black cherry and dusty cocoa. Blend: 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot

  6. Antica Cabernet Sauvignon | Cabernet Sauvignon 2013| Napa Valley: A beautifully elegant, stylish Cabernet Sauvignon from the Antinori outpost in Napa Valley, their 2013 has a dense ruby/purple color, a beautiful, sweet kiss of pure blackcurrant fruit, licorice and forest floor. Full-bodied, but with creamy texture, sweet, beautifully integrated acidity, tannin and alcohol, this is an impressively well-crafted wine that’s drinkable now, but should evolve nicely for another 15-20 years.

  7. Opus One | Red Blend 2014 | Napa Valley:  The 2014 Opus One exudes subtle aromas of fragrant florals, fresh garden herbs and forest floor that give way to a concentrated blend of red cherry, blackberry and black currant. Fine-grained tannins offer a velvety texture and complex structure that builds to a long, vibrantly fresh finish with a touch of mocha. Enjoyable now, the wine will delight for years to come.Blend: 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot, 2% Malbec
  8. The Mionetto Prosecco Brut DOC | Varied Sizes: Tasty prosecco with an intense fruity bouquet and a hint of golden apples. It is very dry, fresh, light in body and well-balanced.This wine is perfect alone as an aperitif or as a delightful complement to appetizers such as prosciutto or mild cheeses. Excellent as a base for Bellinis and other sparkling wine cocktails.

All scotches and wines can be found at Mystic Wine Shoppe.  Please stop in this holiday season and grab the perfect gift! We also have great gift baskets and charcuterie boards available for purchase, as well. Thank you!!!

This past weekend we held our first Grand Wine Tasting event. The event featured five of our wonderful wine reps who sampled 25 wines for over 2 hours! It was a huge success!  We saw a lot of new faces, with some guests coming as far as the south shore. Our entire team cannot thank everyone enough for joining us… we had a blast!

Check out our photos below and join us for our next wine tasting at Mystic Wine Shoppe this Saturday.  Can’t make it… we host a beer and wine tasting every weekend, so stop by sometime this fall and sample some great wines and brews with us.

Grand Wine Tasting | Saturday, October 14th

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Thanks again to everyone who joined us! We look forward to seeing you soon!

The Mystic Wine Shoppe Team

We’re always so thankful (and excited) when Hugh Hamilton personally comes to Mystic Wine Shoppe (from Australia) to host a wine tasting.  This weekend was no exception, and we had a great turn out for our Saturday tasting with Hugh. We encourage you to visit the Hugh Hamilton Wines website to learn more about their delicious wines, which can only be found at Mystic Wine Shoppe (out of the US)… How lucky are we?!

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Thanks for reading – Mystic Wine Shoppe


This past weekend famed winemaker Hugh Hamilton led a delicious wine tasting with his wife, Pam, at Mystic Wine Shoppe. The Hamilton family has been beyond kind with us; sharing their time, passion and wines with us and our customers over the years. We continue to be grateful for their friendship and look forward to working with them in the future. Hugh Hamilton Wines will ALWAYS have a spot at Mystic Wine Shoppe!

Check out our gallery of photos below.

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Remember – you can join us every Saturday for wine tastings and every Friday for beer tastings.