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High Cotton Wine and Spirits Expands International Wine Selections

With soon-to-be 15 countries represented in its wine inventory, High Cotton Wine and Spirits Warehouse’s Aaron Herrington recently told HottyToddy.com’s Steve Vassallo about the new international wine selections.

Vassallo: You are now carrying a large selection of fine wines. Is this unusual to have such a broad selection?
Herrington: It is unusual, only because we’re in Mississippi. Many states have huge franchise stores that offer selections as large as 8,000 different wines, but Mississippi laws prevent individuals from having multiple liquor permits; that is why we decided to go so big. We only can have one store, so our aspiration is to have the biggest, brightest store and slowly work toward curating the best selection in the state.
Vassallo: The popularity of wines from South Africa seem to be on the rise. Care to elaborate?
Herrington: The wines of South Africa straddle Old World and New; the wines often smell of ripe, silky fruit, but showcase earthy flavors, blending elegance and power. If you enjoy white wines, start with a South African Sauvignon Blanc. They are an excellent illustration of the New World/Old World blend. Many Sauvignon Blancs from South Africa combine herbaceous notes and rich fruit. If you prefer red wines, try a nice Pinotage. Good examples of Pinotage combine blackberry and cherry flavors with roasted herbs and hints of smoke. Pinotage is a socialite when given the chance, and it’s medium to full-bodied nature make it easy to pair with almost any food you can think of.
Vassallo: Wines from Chile and Argentina bring an added dimension to your inventory. Why do you believe wine from these two countries are so popular?
Herrington: Chile and Argentina are neighbors that tend to develop wines with wonderfully juicy and ripe fruit flavors, but that is where many of the similarities end. Argentina produces more than 75 percent of the world’s Malbec wines, and they tend to produce wines with more New World methods, while Chile produces some great Bordeaux blends in styles more similar to Old World wines. Both countries offer wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon that are a nice change from your typical California Cab.
Vassallo: For those palates that prefer the drier wines, what are several recommendations you could extend?
Herrington: For those seeking drier juice, High Cotton Wine and Spirits has a number of items. A solid French Bordeaux blend is a great place to start. Blends with more Cabernet Sauvignon will have grippier tannins while those blends that favor Merlot tend to have softer tannins and more red fruit notes. An excellent grape for those seeking a drier experience is the Nebbiolo. This Italian grape is naturally high in tannins, full-bodied and has a high acidity. Typically Nebbiolos are labeled by regional names, such as Barbaresco, Barolo, etc. Ask for the Barbaresco by Marchesi di Barolo. It pairs wonderfully with red meats, stews and pasta dishes!
Vassallo: Another region of the world that is catching momentum is down under. What makes the wine originating in New Zealand and Australia so special?
Herrington: For a long time, Australia and New Zealand were one-trick ponies. Australia had its Shiraz, and New Zealand had its Sauvignon Blanc. None of that is true any longer. Both Australia and New Zealand have a lot of different varietals to offer, such as the elegant Cabernet Sauvignons of Western Australia and the tart Pinot Noirs of Marlborough. Australia enjoys a diverse climate across its different wine growing regions, and that gives oenophiles a lot of choices within the same varietal.
Vassallo: Are French and German wines in decline or are the other countries simply closing the lead that these two countries have enjoyed for decades?
Herrington: French and German wines are still some of the best wines in the world, but the gap has definitely closed. There are hundreds of new wines that hit the market every day, and with the advent of online ordering and delivery, it has become increasingly easy to expose one’s self to a variety of wines from all over the world. Of course, one cannot order alcohol online for delivery in Mississippi. A dry Riesling from Germany can break open a world of enjoyment to even the most barricaded red wine drinker, and a red Bourgogne (pinot noir) from France is a wonderful change for the typical California Pinot Noir drinker. Bourgogne’s with the Grand Cru classification can be some of the most expensive and exceptional wines crafted. They age well, and make great gifts.
Vassallo: With all the recent fires in California, has this situation adversely impacted supply at all?
Herrington: There will be some impact on future vintages due to the California fires, but currently the impact does not deal with the quality of the grapes, but in the transportation. The fires caused a lot of logistical difficulties, particularly for trucking out of California to the rest of the U.S. Mississippi is a centrally allocated and distributed state. So the longer it takes trucks to arrive, the longer it takes for MABC to load and inventory those products. This has led the state to be out of a number of items for longer than we typically experience.
High Cotton Wine and Spirits Warehouse offers a unique experience in the ability to select wines from so many different continents. Located at 2216 West Jackson (directly behind Rebel Rags), High Cotton’s wine inventory is one of the largest to be found anywhere!


Steve VassalloSteve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.
For questions or comments, email hottytoddynews@gmail.com

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