Friday, December 30, 2011

Reflections on our first year....

What a year!
For me, what stands out most about 2011 is our great customers. It was so much fun to see customers from our past lives wander in, recognize us and become regulars. I am so thankful for all of the brand new customers who gave us a try, embraced what we are doing, and also turned into regulars. So many customers also became good friends - for that, I am the most grateful!
Okay, that's as mushy as I'm getting. Here's a month by month highlight reel from our first year in business:

January:  A grand opening week I will always remember - the place was jam packed!
February:  The Market Wine Club is started. Jeff does an amazing job introducing new and exciting wine selections for our members every month.
March: JJ Prum tasting with Katarina Prum
April:  Wine classes begin - Rich does an outstanding job and establishes a loyal group of regular attendees.
May:  Peay tasting with Andy Peay.
June:  Judy's (my wife) surprise birthday party. (I'm writing the blog, so I get to choose the June highlight, right?)
July:  Blind wine tasting of Siduri and Novy wines with owner/winemaker Adam Lee.
August:  Spoonbill release party with entertainment by Erin Bode.  This was a much needed fundraiser for one of our dear friends.
September:  Wildhorse Creek tasting/party.
October:  Scotch Tasting.
November:  Wines That Rock Release Party with music provided by The Sound Room.
December:  Holiday Champagne Tasting
                   Wine Wars:  Wine Guy Wade vs. Appellations Jayce (it was a draw)
                   Williams Selyem Tasting

Happy New Year Everyone!  
We look forward to an even more exciting and memorable 2012!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wine Highs and Lows from Christmas

What a great Christmas! I can't believe it's already over.
We had some awesome meals and some great juice. Here are the more memorable bottles, both good and not so good:
From the Market:
2007 Argyle Brut (still can't believe how good this domestic bubbly is)
NV Taittinger Cuvee Prestige (real Champagne at a great price!)
2008 Sean Minor Cabernet Sauvignon (always solid)
2009 Falesco Merlot (A 92 point $15 Italian Merlot we had with pizza - really good!)
2009 Vina Robles Chardonnay (a really nice quaffing Chardonnay at a good price)

Gift from a friend:
NV Bollinger Brut Rose' (WOW!)

From my stash:
2007 Jaffurs Verna's Vineyard Syrah (not the Bien Nacido, but still pretty darn good)
2004 Smith Haut Lafitte (still young, but the 4 hour decant did wonders)
2008 Saxum Broken Stones (Saxum Rocks!)
1999 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet (very average - disappointed)

Next up - New Year!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What Wine With Surf & Turf?

A customer asked me today what wines he should have with his traditional Christmas lobster and filet. He said this troubles him every year, and sometimes he will serve both a Chardonnay and Cabernet to compliment both the surf and the turf.
I always felt that you match the wine to the most dominant food flavor of the meal. That can be a a sauce or a gravy, or, in this case, the filet mignon over the lobster.
So, with filet mignon, I would go with a domestic Cabernet Sauvignon or blend that has a little age on it to soften the tannins. There's not much fat on a filet, so you don't want a big young Napa Cab that will overpower the meat. A Bordeaux, Brunello or Merlot will also work well. I've had this match many times with surf and turf and the red wine always supported both the lobster and filet beautifully.
Dang!  Now I want surf and turf!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Wine Mistake - Dang!

Our policy at the Market has always been: If a wine is not rated by a major wine critic, then one of us here  must taste the wine before we bring it in the store.
We strayed from this policy for a recent wine tasting and bought a value priced Cabernet without tasting it first. When I tried the wine, I thought it was corked. Jeff and Rich tried it too, and we couldn't decide whether it was really corked or just stinky. It didn't taste very good either. We opened more bottles of the wine. We decanted them. We left them open for hours to see if the smell would burn off. It didn't. It was just flawed, poorly made wine that we wouldn't have bought if we tasted it first. We took the wine off the shelf and returned it.
I'm just glad we bought the wine for a tasting instead of just putting it on the shelf untried. That would not have been good.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Current Obsession - Piedmont!

The red wines of Piedmont have been a real sweet spot for me lately - especially those made with the Nebbiolo grape. The styles range from pretty, flowery easy drinkers to big bold Barolos that require many years of cellar time to settle down the tannins. These are versatile food wines that will go well with most Italian, meat and game dishes. The Barbarescos and Barolos are excellent with mushroom sauces and other earthy preparations. Mushroom Risotto? Definitely! Here are a few favorites available at the Market:

2008 Guidobono Langhe Nebbiolo - $15
2008 Ca Du Rabaja Langhe Nebbiolo "Uno" - $23
2008 La Spinetta Ca Di Pian Barbera d"Asti - $29
2007 Sori Paitin Barbaresco - $42
1998 Manzoni Barolo - $72
2001 Manzoni Barolo - $80


Friday, December 9, 2011

Wines Introduced at the St. Louis Wine Market!

As I reflect on our first year in business, I take great pride in the number of new wine producers that we've introduced to our customers both in and outside of St. Louis. Some of these producers have become new personal favorites. I'm sure I've missed some, but here's a quick rundown:

Sean Minor: Great reds, especially their Cabernet. A couple of good whites, too - fantastic values.
Shane: Excellent Syrahs and one of my favorite Rose's of the year.
Big Basin: Incredible lineup of Syrah and Syrah blends with a not too shabby Pinot Noir to boot.
Gorman: Cabernet, Cabernet blends and Syrah - all awesome.
Herman Story: Amazing Syrah and killer "On The Road" Grenache
Jaffurs: One of the best Syrah makers on the planet, and some pretty good whites too.
Coho: Wonderful reds, and one of the best Merlots I've ever tasted.
Jones Family: This famous cult winery finally makes it to St. Louis retail
Evening Land: Elegant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
Eric Kent: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah - all marvelous.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Top 10 Napa Red Wines Under $50!

Napa Valley is often bashed for its high prices and inflexibility for lowering those prices in a persistently tough economy.  But, to be fair, there are Napa bargains to be found. Here are my top 10 Napa reds under $50, all currently available at the Market:

2008 Sean Minor Cabernet Sauvignon - $17
2007 Rubus Cabernet Sauvignon - $23
2007 Salva Tierra Cabernet Sauvignon - $25
2006 Nicholson Jones Mountain Cuvee - $28
2009 Chappellet Mountain Cuvee - $29
2008 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon - $36
2007 Soda Canyon Barrel Chaser Merlot/Cabernet Blend - $37
2006 Vine Cliff Cabernet Sauvignon - $43
2007 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon - $44
2008 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon - $45


Friday, December 2, 2011

The Wine War Winner Is...

Judy's lasagna was excellent - no surprise there.
The two wines were the 2007 Tolaini Al Passo and the 2008 La Spinetta Langhe Nebbiolo
This was a real tough contest because both wines were excellent and paired well with the food. We both agreed that we liked the Langhe just a little better than the Al Passo. But this was about which wine went best with the food, so, I have to give the nod to the Al Passo.
To me, nothing goes better with a red sauce than a Sangiovese based wine, in this case 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot. The Lange would have been ideal with pasta in an earthy mushroom based sauce.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wine Wars - With Lasagna

Homemade Lasagna tonight!
I'm bringing home two wines from The Market to see which goes best with the meal.
Other than both being Italian, the wines couldn't be more different.
Wine #1: 2007 Tolaini Al Passo - A Tuscan blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot
Wine #2: 2008 La Spinetta Langhe Nebbiolo - A Piedmont wine made of 100% Nebbiolo

Check out tomorrow's blog for the results.