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Gates Circle Wines & Liquor
Buffalo, NY’s Leading Wine Destination
As Buffalo’s leading wine destination, we specialize in providing the very best products to suit any occasion and budget. We feature wines from all major growing region in the world and hundreds of grape varietals. We offer the largest assortment of New York State wines in the Buffalo area. In addition to most popular spirit brands and locally distilled options, we have an unbeatable collection of small batch whiskey, artisan gin, authentic tequila, and liqueurs in every category. Our staff are highly trained to assist you and make your shopping experience as memorable as possible. We can easily find the perfect item to complement your dinner party or relaxing evening.TestimonialsBest wine and liquor store around - the staff is very knowledgeable and friendly. Whenever we're there, the staff is always available to help us find the right wine - whether it's to match what we're cooking for dinner, to serve at a party, or to try something new.
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What are the three main types of Tequila?Tequila is split into two main categories, 100% Blue Agave, and Tequila Mixto. Mixto (Mixed) Tequila is a blend of at least 51% Blue Agave and some percentage of other distillates, typically made from cane sugar. The law permits the addition of other additives for color and flavor, most of which you probably wouldn’t want in your shot glass. 100% Blue Agave Tequila is further divided into the three specific varieties you’ve seen on our shelves. Blanco Tequila is unaged and occasionally left in stainless steel tanks to settle for as long as two months. This clear spirit preserves the pure flavor and sweetness of the Blue Agave plant. Reposado Tequila is aged in French or American oak barrels for a minimum of 2 months all the way up to 11 months. Unlike Blanco Tequila, Reposado Tequila takes on a golden hue and more complex flavoring from the barrel it is stored in. Anejo Tequila spends at least 1 year in small oak barrels, which you’ve correctly assumed leads to even more flavor and smoothness. This deeper, fuller flavor profile makes it an excellent choice for slow sipping after a long day.
Is it Whiskey or Whisky?Actually, they’re both correct. The United States and Ireland tend to favor the spelling “whiskey” whereas Scotland, Canada, and Japan prefer to go with “whisky.” It’s an honest mistake to mix the two up, though diehard Scotch drinkers might think otherwise.
What’s the difference between Green Label and Black Label Whiskey?Green label whiskeys are pulled from barrels stored on the lower floors of a warehouse where the cooler temperatures mature the spirit more slowly. This leads to a lighter, mellower flavor profile than what you’d expect from a bottle of full-bodied black label. In some cases, green label whiskey is bottled at a lower ABV (alcohol by volume) than its black label counterpart. Professional tasting plays a role in the selection process, too. If a barrel sample doesn’t meet the high standards of the flagship black label bottling, you better believe it’s getting a green sticker slapped on it.
Is all Sparkling Wine Champagne?Nope! Just like all bourbon is whiskey but not all whiskey is bourbon, real deal Champagne can only come from Champagne, France. Sparkling wine is made in a variety of ways. The Italians prefer the Charmat process, where the wine undergoes secondary fermentation (resulting in carbonation) in steel tanks. Popular, inexpensive brands prefer gas injection to get their bubbles. The traditional method invented in France is a strictly regulated, extensive process. You’ll still occasionally see labels claiming to be “American Champagne” but this is technically impossible. The laws in the United States and elsewhere have been changing to preserve the integrity of regional processes and reputation, but there are still a handful of long-lived brands allowed to market themselves as something they are not.
Some Wines give me a Headache, Is it from Sulfites?If you drink a couple bottles of red wine in a sitting, chances are the morning will bring with it a splitting headache. This could be for any number of reasons, and the science isn’t exactly clear. All wines contain sulfites, which occur naturally in the winemaking process. Though a small percentage of the population have a sulfite allergy, this usually resembles an asthma attack, not a headache. The alcohol contained in wine is the most obvious culprit, and the dehydrating effect it has on your body certainly doesn’t help. Your best bet is to proceed with caution, and maybe enjoy a little downtime between glasses.
Do you carry Gluten Fee Spirits?The safest way to avoid immediate death by Gluten allergy is to drink potato Vodka and we have options for you. However, you might also note that nearly all spirits that make it above the bottom shelf are safe for the Gluten-phobes. If a magnum costs $14 you can pretty much bet they’ve used barrel paste or unnatural additives that allow them to maximize their mass production at the cost of gluten weaseling its way in.
Do you support local?We most definitely support local. Aside from a serious collection of New York State wines from several recognized American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) and Finger Lakes Distilling spirits, we’re also closely monitoring the developing market of spirit distillations happening right here in Buffalo. By February of 2014 we will be one of a select few retailers to carry Lockhouse Vodka, the first locally distilled spirit to hit the commercial market since prohibition.
How long will my wine last after I’ve opened it?If you’ve ever left an inexpensive bottle of wine uncorked on the counter overnight and made the mistake of taking a swig the next morning, you’ve met our friend Oxidation. Oxidation hates wine and fun, doing everything in its power to make sure you enjoy your wine within a limited time frame before it gets turned to vinegar. Refrigeration slows this process but doesn’t stop it. Chilled wine will typically keep for a few days while it slowly loses complexity and character. You could keep it around for longer, but that’s up to personal taste.
What gives a bottle of Wine its flavor?There are many different components all working together to make your glass of red or white taste the way it does. Everything from grape varietal, residual sugar, alcohol content, oak barrel aging, and even where the wine was made can be a factor. And that’s not considering the decisions made by the winemaker during the winemaking process. You’ll often hear someone describe ripe fruit or peppery notes in red wine, but that doesn’t mean the winemaker has actually thrown in extra fruit or cracked black pepper over the barrel. Wine changes while it ages, picking up new flavors while losing others. Trying similar wines from different vintage years is a great way to experience the way a wine evolves over time.
What’s the deal with screw caps on wine bottles?Screw caps were developed in the late 1960s and put into commercial use in Australia in the late 1970s. In some markets, most notably Australia and New Zealand, they have overtaken cork to become the most common way of sealing wine bottles. Screw caps may be frowned upon by some people, but it’s not a bad idea to embrace change. They prevent a wine from oxidizing and eliminate the risk of cork taint. Screw caps, you may have gathered, are also much easier to open. Consumer support would suggest that people are starting to come around to the idea of throwing out their corkscrews, but those days are still a ways off. Many appellations (wine producing regions) ban the use of screw caps outright.
Will absinthe turn me into a deranged lunatic?That’s up to you! Drinking anything excessively is probably a bad idea, but absinthe in particular has never been shown to be more dangerous than any other spirit. The absinthe smear campaign began to gain footing in the 19th century, due in large part to the temperance movement. With absinthe being the drink of the day, it became the easy villain the teetotalers needed to push their agenda. Backed by several scientific studies of a questionable nature, it wasn’t long before the drink became associated with violent crime and the gradual erosion of common social decency. Thujone, a chemical compound present in wormwood, became the poster child for the dangerously psychoactive properties absinthe was alleged to have. In reality, thujone is present in absinthe in only trace amounts, and all major governments now regulate maximum concentrations to ensure no one partaking in the green spirit finds themselves descending into the madness dreamed up by prohibitioners. Absinthe has been enjoying newfound popularity, following the adoption of more reasonable food and beverage laws across the globe. Thankfully, this should allow us all to get back to painting beautiful works of art and writing novels that wistfully reflect on our shared humanity.
What’s the difference between Liquor and a Liqueur?Liquor is simply the common name for any distilled beverage. To become a liqueur, a base liquor (i.e. grain spirit, brandy, rum) is sweetened with the addition of fruits, flowers, plants, or pure juices to achieve a minimum sugar content of 2.5%. This infusion of sweetness and flavor is the primary factor that makes the two categories so distinct. Though you will often see flavored liquors, these flavors are added rather than infused, further separating them from liqueurs. Both categories can be of equal potency, with some liqueurs going as high as 110 proof. Therefore, alcohol percentage is not a distinguishing factor. Cordial is another name for a liqueur, so keep that in mind to reduce confusion!
I just bought some wine. How long will it last in my wine cellar?
If you can afford to maintain a wine cellar, you might already know the answer to this question. However, if by “wine cellar” you mean “scary basement” or, more preferably, a place that is generally cool and dark without temperature fluctuations, that depends on what’s in the bottle.The majority of wines, in fact, are meant to be consumed “young”, that is, within a year or two after they’ve been produced. Many other wines, regardless of their aging potential, are also slugged back in this early window. It’s difficult to identify which bottles can stand up to a year or ten in a dark corner of your basement/buried in your backyard without some familiarity with the compounds that contribute to the structure of the wine. Tannin, a substance found in the seeds, stems, and skins of grapes, is one such compound. A bitter, mouth-puckering agent, tannin is a key preservative for wine, instrumental in its long-term maturation process. As wine ages, tannin slowly falls out of solution, collecting as sediment in the bottle. In wines known for their aging potential, this reaction allows other characteristics to show through. That’s why a bottle you thought tasted like asphalt might suddenly become more flavorful, more complex, and perfectly balanced. Tasting wine and becoming acquainted with regions known for the great old vintages is a sure way to make sure you’re not wasting precious space on a bottle that won’t evolve into anything except vinegar. As a rule, red wines will always age better than white wines, but several whites can withstand a bit of cellaring themselves. Just like with most things, the best way to get better at identifying these bottles is with practice. In this instance, that means pull some corks and start experimenting!
My Scotch is chill filtered. Is it as cold as the Rockies?
We wouldn’t spend too much time waiting for your mountains to turn blue. Chill filtering is simply a method in the manufacture of whisky employed to remove fatty compounds and proteins from the spirit before botting. The distillate is chilled to right around freezing and passed through a filter where the undesired distilling byproducts are removed.
There’s been some controversy about the chill filtering process and its effect on the final product. Though designed to improve the clarity of the whisky, certain flavor components (such as peat particles) can be filtered out along with the rough stuff. As a result, many distillers have abandoned the practice.
Equally controversial, if not more so, has been the addition of E150a caramel coloring to the whisky produced by large brands to safeguard against potential inconsistencies in the color profile of the spirit. These topics remain a source of intense debate amongst Scotch enthusiasts. Fortunately, it’s never been easier to find a dram that perfectly suits your palate. Chill filtered and color corrected? Fine. Non-chill filtered and au naturel? Great. Straight E150a down the hatch? Too far.
The point is, no matter which side of the argument you fall on, you’ll never have to worry about an empty glass. Happy sipping.