Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Toughest Wine Pairing - Polish Food!

We got together with some friends on Sunday, all of whom have some Polish blood in their heritage. So we thought: Let's have a Polish food party. Sounds good on the surface, but guess who has to bring the wine? This is not going to be easy.
Here are some of the goodies that were on the menu: lunch meats like headcheese and krakow - we're talking fat, garlic and pepper here; pickled herring and oysters; two styles of Polish sausage (kielbasa); mushroom soup; pork stuffed cabbage rolls in a sweet and sour tomato broth (galumpkis); five different kinds of pierogi stuffed with either mushroom, potato and cheese, meat, sauerkraut, or potato.
Yikes! Forget the wine. Let's just drink vodka and beer! But no! I'm a wine guy. So I'm going to give this a try.
From my stash at home I brought a 2007 Les Aphillantes Cotes du Rhone Villages, a 2007 Chappellet Cabernet Franc and, from The Market, a 2007 Salva Tierra Cabernet Sauvignon. There were also a couple of whites, a Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, which were great as aperitifs, but did not work at all with the food. The Cotes du Rhone was too acidic and the Cabernet was too tannic. The Cabernet Franc, however, seemed to be just right. It was nicely balanced with good upfront fruit and no hard edges. It had a hint of pepper which went well with the pepper and garlic in many of the foods.
Yeah, the Cab Franc really worked. I'll have to remember that the next time we have a Polish food party - probably in 5-10 years.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

WOW! This wine is fantastic!

Now that's music to my ears! We're pouring a WOW wine by the glass this week at The Market! I thought it might have WOW characteristics when I first tried it, but, it's the customers who decide. So far, any customer who's tried the wine has pretty much said WOW, this is really great, or delicious, or awesome, or, insert favorite adjective here: ______!  Okay, enough teasing - what's the wine already?

2007 Keenan Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, Wine & Spirits 94 Points - 100 Best Buys of 2011!
In stock at The Market - $42

Stop by this weekend and have a taste!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Can you show me your sweet red wines?

Uh, no.  Sorry.
Except for some Ports and dessert wines, WE DO NOT CARRY SWEET RED WINES! Sorry. I'm a little emotional at the moment.
We constantly get asked for "sweet reds" here at The Market. It's probably because just about all of the Missouri wineries make at least one sweet red, and most of them have several selections. So folks around here have gotten used to having this option in wine. And the sweet reds have quite a following based on the number of inquiries we get.
So, without completely re-writing my blog on "Missouri Wines", I would like to respectfully state that sweet reds are not serious red wines, and we are a serious red (and white) wine shop.
I don't mean to offend sweet red wine drinkers. It's like me liking White Castle hamburgers. I realize there are much higher quality, "serious" burgers  out there. I just like White Castles.
You like what you like, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Nevertheless, we will never carry sweet red wines at The Market.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Two New Napa Cabernets Under $25

Like it or not, Napa Cabernet Sauvignon has the honor of being our most coveted domestic wine. This is reflected in its astronomic prices. Mondavi Reserve and Beringer Private Reserve Cabernets both retail for over $100 now and the cult wines are stratospheric. Harlan and Screaming Eagle, for example, sell for well over $1,000 per bottle. Yikes! We frequently look to other appellations like Washington State or California Central Coast to find good quality Cabernet at value prices. That doesn't mean we've given up on Napa values.
Here are two new Napa Cabernets we recently added to our Cabernet selection:
2009 Michael Mondavi Oberon Cabernet, $21 - 91WE (currently being poured by the glass in the Tasting Room)
2009 Edge Cabernet Sauvignon, $23 - 92WE
WE = Wine ratings by Wine Enthusiast magazine.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Homemade Pizza and Chianti!

My daughter in law, Dani, who is the pastry chef at Annie Gunn's, invited us over for dinner this Sunday. Pizza was the feature of the evening - homemade pizza. She made two pies, a veggie and chicken and pepperoni with fresh mozzarella. I wanted to like the veggie pizza more because it was so much healthier, but alas, the pepperoni won out. I brought a 2004 Felsina Fontalloro from my stash at home. This Tuscan gem was wonderful with the pizza, as I expected. We currently carry the 2007 vintage at the Market.
The wine was also great with the bits of dark chocolate we had for dessert.
So, when Dani's not making her famous pop tarts or flourless chocolate cake for Annie's, she's making a heck of a pizza at home.
I wonder if their could be pizza somewhere in Annie Gunn's future. I wonder?


Friday, February 10, 2012

My First Wine "Moment"'

Many years ago I cut my teeth on wines like Mateus Rose', Lambrusco and, I admit it, Boone's Farm. But then, as with most wine lovers, I had my "moment".
Judy and I were engaged at the time and celebrating something - probably some anniversary or birthday. We went to a French restaurant in downtown Chicago called La Cheminee (closed for many years now).  I asked the waiter for some wine recommendations, and decided on a half bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape.  I don't remember the vintage or the producer, but I vividly remember the "moment" of my first serious wine experience. We were both in awe of what we were tasting. Not only was the wine unlike anything we've ever had, it elevated our dining experience to an entirely new level. Ever since then, we enjoy and appreciate good red and white wines, especially with a great meal.
We still enjoy Chateauneuf du Pape, too. We have a bottle every Thanksgiving, and it is frequently our choice with lamb dishes.
We haven't had it with breakfast yet.
Hmmm - there's an idea.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Why don't you sell Missouri wines?

We get asked this question just about every week.
We consider ourselves to be a serious, fine wine shop, which means we only sell wines made from the Vitis vinifera grape species. What types of grapes are Vitis vinifera? Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo are some Vitis vinifera grapes. The world's greatest wines are made from these grapes. And unfortunately, they don't grow in Missouri.
Some common grapes used to make Missouri wine are, Seyval Blanc, Vignoles, Chardonel, Chambourcin and Norton. These are grapes of a different species or are hybrid grapes that have been crossed with Vitis vinifera so that the grapes can withstand Missouri's brutal summers and cold winters.
Hey, I mean no disrespect to Missouri wines. Judy and I frequently enjoy going to the wineries here on a nice day to listen to live music and sip on some local vino. But when someone comes into The Market looking for Missouri wines, we point them in the direction of the nearest grocery store.