Friday, August 31, 2012

Wine Critics - What Are They Saying?

Zesty, racy, sensual, sexy, voluptuous,  extravagant, exotic, sky-scraper like. These are some adjectives critics use to describe wines they are tasting and writing about.
Then you have the the descriptors for the nose and palate. Along with the fruit, you also find crushed rock, forest floor, graphite, damp earth, pencil shavings, mint, wet steel, raw meat, bacon fat, and on and on.
I get it. These guys are trying to make the wines they review sound exciting. It's much better than reading: "this wine red - me like".  I'm sure there's some competitiveness going on between the critics too. Who is the best, most flamboyant and most followed writer. I have my favorites in terms of style, but I can't say there is one critic I agree with 100% of the time. That would probably be weird.
Some times I just have to shake my head and laugh.
Tonight though, I'm having myself a glass of some "sexy" red wine.

Happy Labor Day!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Wine Market welcomes a new Bride!

We've had lots of "firsts" here at The Market.
Last Saturday, we had a wedding party stop by before going to the wedding and reception. That wasn't really a "first", but the bride getting professional photographs taken on top of our bar in the tasting room, was - for sure.
There were quite a few customers in the store at the time since we were having a big summer sale, so you can imagine the vibe we had going here.
Very cool.
Check out the pic below.


Friday, August 24, 2012

More Health Benefits From Red Wine?

Quote from a recent Wine Spectator article: "Researchers believe that resveratrol, a chemical compound found in red wine, may help reduce the risk of falls among the elderly. The study, conducted at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, found that older lab mice grew more coordinated when resveratrol was included in their diet and that nerve tissue resisted the effects of age".

It seems like every day there is "new research" about the benefits or the dangers of drinking wine. I find these studies hilarious. I know I'm weird. But I really want to see a mouse fall. What about walkers? Can't mice use walkers like people do? 

More from the article: "In order to test if resveratrol may help against age-related imbalance, graduate student Erika Allen fed young and old laboratory mice a diet containing doses of resveratrol for eight weeks. She also tested the rodents' stability using a steel mesh balance beam, noting each misstep and stumble".

I hope there's a video!

Let's talk wine - the heck with the health benefits!  Some exciting new wines arrived at The Market in the past week. Robert Craig, J. Bookwalter, Frank Family, Ramian Estates, Philip Togni, Maison Bleue and JAQK Cellars are just a few recent arrivals. While the summer months can be hot and boring, Fall brings a bunch of fantastic new wine from great producers. 
Stay tuned - more excitement on the way.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What is an "Oyster Wine"?

I know they're not for everyone, but, for me, there is nothing like fresh raw oysters.
I taste that fresh, clean, briny deliciousness, and I feel as though I become one with the ocean. And my wife, Judy, likes them even better than I do!
The right wine takes the experience to a whole new level.
For the past 18 years, Taylor Shellfish Farms in Shelton WA has been hosting The Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition. Last year, the judges were asked what they wanted from their oyster wines.
Here are some of their responses:
"Refreshing", "Brisk and clean", "No vanilla or butter", "Light and fresh", "Steely", "Crisp and flinty", "Minerally".
I'll go along with all that.
My favorite oyster place here in landlocked St. Louis is Demun Oyster Bar. They fly in a variety of west coast oysters daily, and the experience, while not quite the same as being on the coast, is pretty darn good.
Last time we went, we sampled 5 different oysters with a bottle of 2010 Patrick Piuze Terroir de Fye Chablis. The pairing was divine.
Some other good oyster wines would be Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio, unoaked Chardonnay, French Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Muscadet.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wine Ratings Continue To Infuriate!

The Wine Spectator's James Laube rated Napa's 2009 vintage for Cabernet Sauvignon 93 - 96 points.
In the 8/15 edition of "The Insider" Laube writes: "This is a tremendous vintage, and one of the best of the decade from the state's best Cabernet appellation". The appellation he's referring to here is Napa.
So, let's take a look at some ratings:
Bond, $285 - 93 Points
David Arthur, $95 - 92 Points
Etude, $100 - 92 Points
Opus One, $225 - 92 Points
Dunn, $90 - 91 Points
Phelps Insignia, $200 - 91 Points
These are some of the biggest names in winemaking. What ratings will the lesser known, more affordable producers receive?
What gives?
To be fair there were some higher rated wines like the 97 point Screaming Eagle for $750 and the 96 point Harlan for $750. But only a handful of people can even get these wines.
At least Wine Spectator is consistent - they've been frustrating us all year!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I'm Not Talking About Wine Today!

Wine is usually the topic of every blog I write. Heck, sometime I shamelessly try to sell wine through the blog.
But not today.
Today I want to reflect on a very special event that we had at The Market.
On Saturday, August 11th, our customers and friends, Lisa and Stace, had their wedding reception right here at The Market.
We've been open over a year and a half now, and this was a first.
Opening a new business brings loads of surprises both good and not so good, but I never expected this.
What an honor!
Everyone seemed to have a great time. Lisa and Stace looked totally happy and in love. And, although I never speak for my partners, Rich and Jeff, I will make an exception here, and say we were all very proud, and maybe a little bit humbled.

Thank you, Lisa and Stace, for sharing your special day with us here at The St. Louis Wine Market! All the best!


Lisa and Stace's Wedding Cake

Friday, August 10, 2012

Five Wines For The "Dog Days"

The "dog days" of summer are here.
Not the best of times for the wine business. Sometimes I think that the only ones thinking about wine right now are those of us in the industry.
It's all perfectly understandable.
It's HOT out there. People are squeezing in last minute vacations. Kids are getting ready for school.
College freshmen are preparing to move into their dorms.
And on and on.
But I'm going to try and get you all to think about wine - even if it's for just a little while.
My dog day wines are light, crisp, refreshing, "smile inducing" and reasonably priced.
And here are five of my favorites. All available at The Market:
2010 Talbott Kali Hart Chardonnay - $16
2010 Spoonbill Sauvignon Blanc - $17
2010 Scarpetta Pinot Grigio - $17
2011 Puech Haut Prestige Rose' - $20
Anything sparkling, from Moscatto to Champagne. But bearing in mind my own rules, which include "reasonably priced", I have to pick the following:
NV Schramsburg Mirabelle Brut Rose' - $24


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A memorable Bordeaux wine visit

I may never buy another bottle of good Bordeaux again. Pricing has just gotten insane.
That's too bad. Some of the best red wines I've ever had have been Bordeaux.
I also have many fond memories from our visit to Bordeaux several years ago.
One of the wineries we visited was Smith Haut Lafitte. SHL is located in the Left Bank region of Pessac Leognan, the same region that is home to famous First Growth, Haut Brion.
Bordeaux wines are always blends, and left bank wines are typically dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, but not always.
SHL is no slouch to making great wine, themselves. Their 2009 red received a 100 point rating from Robert Parker, and they are also known for making excellent, highly rated White Bordeaux.
During our tour, I was fascinated to learn that the terrible soil that the grapes grow in is directly responsible for the high quality of the wines. The vines sure looked like they were planted in all rock and gravel. Yet, this leads to very low, but intensely flavored grape yields.
We lunched and tasted wine in the cellar pictured below.
It was so cool.
I just hope that someday I can buy their wines again.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lambrusco Wine - The Serious Stuff!

In his July 30th column, New York Times wine critic, Eric Asimov, wrote: "I have been on a genuine Lambrusco kick for some years now, and I've been delighted to see delicious evidence of its rebirth here in New York".
So I guess in about 3-5 years, St. Louis should be getting on the Lambrusco bandwagon.
Sorry. That was mean.
Actually, we had a Lambrusco tasting here at The Wine Market several weeks ago and I think we surprised a lot of people.
The wines were not the cloyingly sweet bubblies that you may have experienced many years ago. These were serious, complex dry sparklers that were made to enjoy with food. Just as the Italians have been doing for decades, and New Yorkers for the last couple of years.
The producer selected as "the best" by Asimov also happens to be the one we featured for the tasting.
We still have a good selection in stock, and I think you might be surprised at the prices.
Cleto Chiarli Vecchia Modena - $16
Elegant and dry. Enjoy with salads, shellfish and spicy dishes.
Cleto Chiarli Enrico Cialdini - $17
Intense, full bodied and bursting with blackberry and and raspberry fruit. Pasta, roasted meat and barbecue all are great matches.
Cleto Chiarli Rose' - $18
Dry and delicate with distinct notes of fresh fruit. Perfect aperitif or with fresh fruit and ice cream.
Cleto Chiarli Amabile - $12
A touch of sweetness with intense red color, fresh fruit and natural acidity. This is your choice for pasta, pizza and barbecue.

Here's the link to the article if you want to read more: