Friday, November 25, 2011

What I Drank On Thanksgiving!

Great family, friends and wine. What a day! I'm so proud of my son Mike and his wife Dani who prepared TWO turkeys at their new home. So here are the wines we drank. Now you know what lushes we really are:
From the Market:
2006 Mumm Napa Blanc de Blancs - $20
NV Aubry Brut Champagne - $42
2010 Long Shadows Poet's Leap Riesling - $22
2009 Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay - $18
2009 Eric Kent Chardonnay - $22
2010 Siduri Sierra Mar Pinot Noir - $49

From my cellar:
2006 Sheridan L'Orage
2003 Roger Sabon Chateauneuf du Pape (bad cork - oxidized)
2005 Charbonniere Chateauneuf du Pape
2004 Anderson's Conn Valley Cabernet


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tom's Top Wines - 2011!

Well, Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2011 has been announced, and frankly, I'm underwhelmed.
It did, however, have me reflect on the wines that most impressed me this year. So here's my top 10. All the wines are still available at The Market,  and they are not in any particular order. I hope you don't find this list as boring as I found Spectator's.

2009 Proyecto Grenache, $13 This is yummy versatile juice at a great price.
2009 Sean Minor Cabernet, $17  A 17 dollar Cab from Napa that drinks like $30+ Cabernet - Wow!
2009 Eric Kent Sarapo Chardonnay, $22  Like Rombauer only $10 cheaper.
2009 Herman Story On The Road Grenache, $43 - 93 Wine Advocate
2007 Big Basin Coastview Syrah, $49 - 93 Wine Advocate
2010 Siduri Sierra Mar Pinot Noir, $49 - 93-95 Wine Advocate  Best Pinot Noir I've had in a long time!
NV Pierre Peters Grand Cru Brut, $55 - 92 Wine Advocate  I rate this more like 94-95!
2004 Corte Pavone Brunello di Montalcino, $59 - 95 Wine Spectator
2008 Pahlmeyer Chardonnay, $67 - 95 Wine Advocate  Totally over the top and I loved it!
2009 Mollydooker The Velvet Glove Shiraz, $175 - 97+ Wine Advocate  A little slice of heaven in a glass of wine!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Wines

A typical Thanksgiving meal is fairly easy for wine matching. Pick your favorites: Bubblies, Whites, Rose's and Reds all will work. There are a few wines, though, that you probably should avoid. Big young domestic Cabernet and Syrah and big Nebbiolo based wines like Barolo and Barbaresco will likely overpower your turkey, no matter how you prepare it. And most Sauvignon Blancs with their strong citrus and grassy notes and high acidity will definitely clash with the savory, earthy flavors in the meal.
Some personal favorites:
White:  Riesling from Alsace or Mosel and Bubblies, especially Champagne
Red:  Pinot Noir, Beaujolais Cru and Southern Rhone, especially Chateauneuf du Pape

Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 11, 2011

BEWARE - of bad wine!

If a wine looks bad, smells bad and tastes bad, well, chances are it's bad.
There are many flaws that can make a wine "bad".  Here are two of the most common. Be sure to always look for these faults, especially in restaurants, where you are paying super premium prices for your glass or bottle of wine.
Corked wine: If a wine's closure is natural cork, then there is a chance it has "cork taint" - it just happens, even to the world's greatest wines. I will skip the scientific definition of this wine flaw - it's too complicated. Suffice it to say, if your wine smells like wet cardboard or a damp moldy basement, and no longer has any fruit profiles on the palate, it is most likely corked.
Oxidation: This flaw describes wine that has been exposed to air for too long. This can either be from a faulty cork, or from leaving a wine open for too long. The wine's color may have a brownish haze to it - both whites and reds. The wine will smell and taste like Madeira, Sherry of even vinegar. All of the fresh fruit will be gone from the taste of the wine. Watch out for this flaw at restaurants that pour wines by the glass.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

White Wines - Some of the other guys!

Many of the white wines that we drink are directly related to the foods we enjoy. Now, I love to sit back and sip an oaky buttery California Chardonnay, but I wouldn't think of having it with a meal.
We enjoy Asian, Indian, and Thai foods of the spicy variety, and sushi is a weekly must. We also love practically any kind of fish and seafood. Here are some grape varietals that are a little off the beaten path, but they are some of our favorites.
The Wines:
With Asian and other spicy foods: Gewurztraminer and Viognier. These grapes produce rich, ripe wines that are flowery and spicy. They match beautifully with spicy or exotic foods.
With fish and other seafood: Spanish Albarino and Italian Vermentino. These two grapes provide crisp flavors of citrus, apple and lime. The wines also show fresh minerality and bright acids making them perfect for shell fish or raw oysters.
Great. Now I'm craving raw oysters!


Saturday, November 5, 2011


I think everyone likes to be surprised by something that costs them much less than expected. Probably the best example is when you take your old car in for service, and all it needed was a $20 oil change - cause for celebration, right?
How many times have you tasted a wine that blew you away only to find out it costs $187 per bottle?  Oh well.
Here are some wines at The Market that will surprise you in another way: they taste way more expensive than the price on the bottle. We like these kinds of surprises.
The Wines:
2010 Shannon Ridge Chardonnay, $10 - Tastes like $18
2009 Proyecto Grenache, $13 - Tastes like $22
2008 Vino Robles Cabernet, $18 - Tastes like $25
2008 Sean Minor Cabernet, $17 - Tastes like $30
Mumm Napa and Argyle Brut, $20 - Tastes like $40 Champagnes


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My mistake - OH BOY!

It was Saturday night, and a fairly light crowd at the Market. I'll admit I started drinking a little with some of our great customers. So, I thought I would grab a bottle of a value priced Cava (Spanish bubbly) to celebrate the amazing world series victory by our beloved Cardinals. I ceremoniously pop the cork, pour several flutes, take a sniff and WHOA! WHAT THE HECK IS THIS STUFF??  Well, instead of the $12 Cava, I grabbed a $55 Pierre Peters Brut Champagne that was right next to the Cava in the cooler.
Pierre Peters is fantastic! The $55 might seem high, but, when you consider that this "grower" Champagne sells its grapes to Krug, who sells their Champagne for $200 and up, it starts to look like a real bargain.
Like the Cardinals, I guess it was "destiny" to drink a great Champagne to their equally great season.
And several lucky customers happened to be in the right place at the right time to celebrate with us.

Dear Cards, thanks for the historic run, the greatest World Series game EVER played and the 11th trophy!
Good luck, Tony!