Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Champagne Wars!

It was a quiet Christmas holiday. My son Michael and his wife Dani came over with their two mini bulldogs, Brooklyn and Bronx. Bronx is the new baby. Only one accident occurred on the hardwood floor. It could have been much worse.
We all love our bubblies, so, we thought it would be fun to compare some domestic sparklers against Champagne.
Christmas Eve we did Brut. Christmas day was Brut Rose'.
The Bruts: 2007 Argyle vs. NV Aubry Premier Cru
The Rose': Mumm Napa Brut Rose' vs. Domaine Chandon Etoile Rose'.
The domestic wines were tasted first both days. The impressions were similar in both cases.
All the wines were excellent. The domestic wines presented more up front fruit than the French. The Champagnes displayed more "yeastiness" and minerality. Also, the Champagne bubbles were slightly smaller and more elegant and the finish on the Champagnes was longer and more satisfying. But I'm really "splitting" hairs here. Would I notice these differences if I had the wines, say, a week apart vs. "side by side"? Maybe. Maybe not.
Here's another thing: Argyle Brut - $24/Aubry - $45.  Mumm - $20/Chandon - $39.
My daughter Becky and her husband, Paul come in with the two babies for New Year, so the whole family will be together New Year's Day. I'm thinking this tasting scenario will be replayed, maybe with some different selections.
My take: I preferred the Champagnes over the domestic wines in both cases. Everyone didn't feel as strongly as I did about that. But are they worth the extra price? That's always the question.

Happy New Year everyone!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Best Wine Events of 2012!

Tonight we will be celebrating our final event of 2012.
It's really hard to believe that we are about to embark on our third year of business.
Tonight is "Customer Appreciation Night", where we want to express our gratitude to all of our amazing customers who supported us throughout the year.
We will be serving pizza and tasting over 10 wines
Hope you all can make it!
Now, lets reflect back on the best events of 2012. What a year!
How many of these did you attend?

January: Big party the week of 1/16 to celebrate our one year anniversary
February: Patrick Piuze visits The Market and pours his new Chablis
                  Sterkel's food and wine class is a huge success
March: Mark Ryan and Chris Gorman visit The Market and pour their excellent Washington State wines
April:  We celebrate "April Fest" the week of 4/23. Events every day
            Glenmorangie Scotch tasting is a huge hit
May:  Jeff Cohen visits The Market and pours his fantastic JC Cellars wine
          Shane Finley visits The Market and pours the new releases of Shane wines
June:  Incredible lineup of Italian wines from Empson is poured
          Peter Franus visits the Market and pours his white and red Napa wines
          Gary Lipp visits The Market and pours his new releases from Coho
July:  Huge tasting and fund raising event for Alzheimers Foundation
August:  Jerry Reiner visits The Market and pours his Guardian Cellars wines
               A Market first: The Market hosts the wedding reception of our friends Lisa and Stace
Sept:  Our first ever "Tent Tasting" to benefit Coat A Kid is a tremendous success
Oct:   The Charles Smith tasting makes everybody happy.
Nov:  Frank Family tasting to benefit Muscular Dystrophy
          Francesca Vajra visits The Market and pours some pretty incredible Vajra Italian wines
          Dick Vermeil visits The Market. Over 30 cases of his Napa wines are sold, and "The Coach" signs every single bottle
           Dave Eatwell pours his Spoonbill wines. Erin Bode provides the music and Annie Gunn's provides the food.
Dec:  Annual Champagne Tasting is tons of fun. 28 sparkling wines are poured and Annie Gunn's provides the food.
          Our first ever Irish Whiskey Tasting is very popular
          Customer Appreciation Day

Thank you to the best customers in the world!
On to 2013.



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tom's Favorite Wine of 2012!

Here we go. My favorite from a slew of great wines tasted this year:
2007 Jones Family Cabernet Sauvignon
For me, this wine had that special something that hit all the right buttons. Great quality, super mouthfeel, really complex, long finish and it made me smile. That's the key. When a wine makes me smile, well, that's pretty cool.
Like Rich's and Jeff's picks, we are sold out of this vintage, however, we do have the 2006 and 2009 vintages available.
The wine is not cheap, selling at $110.00 per bottle for the 2007. But sometimes, you just have to live a little
Robert Parker rated the wine 94+. It was much better than that for me, though.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sterkel's Wine of The Year!

And now for Rich Sterkel's pick:
2004 La Spinetta Barbaresco Starderi, $120 
This wine got a 95 point rating from The Wine Advocate, and like Jeff's pick, is sold out.
La Spinetta is one of our favorite Italian producers, however, so we always have several of their wines in stock, including their awesome Barolos and Barbarescos.
I got to taste this wine with Rich. It was spectacular - a very worthy selection. 
Here's The Wine Advocate's review:
The 2004 Barbaresco Starderi is a knock-out effort. A dark, brooding wine it reveals an array of dark cherries, spices, tar and smoke in a powerful, sinewy style. With each passing moment, it seemingly turns more and more classic in the glass, with only the super-ripe fruit serving as a reminder that this is a more contemporary wine. The balance and use of oak are both masterful. It is easily the finest wine Giorgio Rivetti has ever made, and is also the first wine in the estate's history that can truly challenge for a spot in the top echelon of the zone. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2019. 

Next: My pick.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Jeff's Favorite Wine of 2012!

The next 3 blogs will be about the three musketeers (that would be me, Jeff and Sterkel) favorite wines of 2012.
The rules are pretty simple. Each of us will pick a wine that was sold at The Market this year. And we need to have had more than just a quick taste. Maybe we bought a bottle to share with a friend. You get the idea.
So, I turned to Jeff today and asked "can you name one wine that was your favorite this year"?
And without the slightest hesitation he says "the Maison Bleue Grenache - best Grenache I've ever had".
Was I ever impressed. Just like that he names his favorite wine. I'm still fretting over which of my top two I'm going to have to eliminate.
Specifically, Jeff's pick is the 2010 Maison Bleue La Montagnette Grenache. Unfortunately, we are sold out of this wine, but have lots of other Maison Bleue at the shop to try. All the wines are first rate.
Next up - Sterkel's pick.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Favorite Value Red Wine - 2012!

Same rules apply to red as to white: Under $20, high quality, top seller, customers keep returning to buy it, and it must still be available now.
We've sold cases and cases of this wine. In fact, it was a big hit this year at my family's Thanksgiving meal.
2009 Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvingon is our value red pick of 2012!
A beautiful bright garnet, this Cabernet delights the nose with fresh black cherries, currant and coriander. Medium bodied, but rich on the palate. The fruit is prominent, but totally in balance with the soft sweet tannins which provide just the right amount of structure.
Enjoy this wine with any beef dish, pasta, pizza and rich cheeses like sharp cheddar.
The price: $19