Category Archives: American Wine

Raymond “R Collection” Cabernet Sauvignon – Delicious & Complex Black Fruit

Everyday Glass is dedicated to finding the best wines money can buy for under $15 – wines that you should be proud to serve to guests or enjoy with a simple 30-minute dinner recipe. We try every wine that we sell to make sure you get only the best. This blog is a collection of our favorites.

Another cold Boston winter is settling in, and our hearts long for big red wines once again. Starting with the basics, we’re thinking a simple and lovable California Cabernet Sauvignon a good place to look.

Raymond R Collection Cabernet SauvignonRaymond Vineyards has been a pioneering producer in Napa Valley since the 70s. The “R Collection”  is a selection of California appellation wines (so not their top-tier Napa Valley stuff), but when you have an iconic producer behind entry-level wines they tend have pretty impressive substance and depth. This Cab is a great example.

2013 Raymond “R Collection” Cabernet Sauvignon – California ($11.99) is built around a core of fresh fruitiness – cherry, black plum, and blackberry – with delicious notes of herbs and spice that balance everything nicely. Paired with a rich, silky texture and soft, long finish, this has quickly become one of our staff favorites for serving a crowd.

Drink this wine because:
– It’s rich, red, and perfect for winter.
– It’s made by a great producer of California Cabernet.
– This friendly style of wine serves a crowd with varied tastes.

Drink up and enjoy your everyday glass!

Cheers,
Bauer Wines
bauerwines.com

A Night to Remember at Deuxave Restaurant

The library ladder that leads to a wall of wine at Deuxave

To continue on in our recent journey of Oregon wine, the Bauer team headed over to Deuxave Restaurant and Bar on Monday, October 1st to attend a winemaker dinner with Dave Adelsheim of Adelsheim Winery.

Glass cubes full of wine flank the front door

Before we get into the wine, the dinner and, of course, Dave.  I want to talk about Deuxave.  Those of you in the Boston area need to do yourself a favor and go have dinner in this restaurant.  Starting from the moment you walk in the door, you will be awed.  The décor is fresh, beautiful and modern.   It was in this dining room that I saw two features to covet and dream about putting into my own home.  It can only be described as a wine lovers paradise.  Starting with the glass block cubes holding wine to the library style ladder to climb to beautiful shelves of wine (both pictured above), I can picture my home office with them and I want them now.

Deuxave is a food and wine lover’s paradise.  Executive Chef and Owner Chris Coombs may be young but he commands the kitchen with panache.  Plenty of high-end restaurants can crow about their food and wine pairing abilities but few can match the talent of Coombs.  His courses were impeccably prepared but what really stood out was his ability to match Dave Adelsheim’s wines perfectly.  This was no ordinary wine dinner.  Each course was so well thought out and perfectly paired that you could almost imagine that this meal was planned from the moment the grapes were planted and each cow, duck and clam was groomed from birth for this night.

The Dinner Menu (try not to drool):

Adelsheim Winery was established in 1971.  Dave was among the first pioneering men to decide to plant vinifera in the cool climate of Oregon.  Dave, admittedly, “never grown grapes, never made wine, never sold wine, and never ran a business; the four skills you really need” to open a winery.  But what he did have was passion.  Thankfully, his passion turned to skill after he traveled to Burgundy, France.  In 1978, they turned out the first vintage, roughly 800 cases and never looked back.  Yes, it was hard to sell in the beginning.  No one had ever heard of growing grapes in Oregon and the Adelsheims put their wines in the back of their station wagon and hoped they could at least sell their product to the local restaurants.

After making headway in their own state Adelsheim knew it was time to step out and show his wines to the rest of the country.  Howie Rubin and the rest of the Bauer team are proud to say that Boston is the first city to embrace Oregon wines.  Being a pioneering city, it makes sense that these wines made their way to the national stage through Boston.  Bauer stocked Oregon wines and began to hand sell them until they took off.  Now our clientele come in and ask where they can find these wines on the shelf.

The wines we relished in were all distinctly Oregon.  The cocktail wine, 2011

John enjoying the Auxerrois at the bar

Auxerrois, was a very fresh white that is traditionally an Alsatian grape but has all but disappeared from the landscape.  We are so glad that a couple of producers in Oregon are growing it now, including Adelsheim.  It had an herbaceous nose of tarragon and fennel that led to flavors of green pear, citrus blossom and fresh herbs.  The perfect wine to start the night.

With our first course, the 2011 Pinot Gris was perfect with the littleneck clams.  Coombs is a genius with sauces and this was no exception.  The Chorizo oil pick up the papaya notes and the apple salad highlighted the apple flavor in the wine.  The touch of creaminess in the Pinot Gris was brought out by the cream in the sauce.  Not overdone but just right.  John and I slurped every bit of the sauce on the plate with our clam shells happily!

Mid course was an amazing duck confit that had the 2010 Estate Pinot Noir paired with it.  As silence fell over the table, I knew we had something great on our hands.  The candied fruit aromas and flavors were highlight by the Black Mission figs on the plate.  The acid of the Pinot Noir cut into the fattiness of the duck.  It was elegant, refined and the tannins were seamlessly integrated and silky.

Not to be outdone by the duck, the following main course was  the herb roasted beef tenderloin that was served with 2009 Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir.  As we all buried our noses into the glass, there was a collective, “whoa” as we took it all in.  More powerful than the estate Pinot, the intense and multi-layered Elizabeth’s Reserve offered us raspberry, brown spices and a little woodiness that was picked up by the herbs on the beef.  Each of us ate slowly, savoring each bite and taking a sip of wine.  This was an expression of Pinot Noir at its greatest.

Part of what made this dinner so great was the fact that Coombs and Adelsheim did not follow that path of traditional American restaurants and end our dinner with dessert.  Rather, we switched back to a white wine and delved into the cheese course.  A Vermont goat cheese with the various accoutrements was served with the 2009 Caitlin’s Reserve Chardonnay.  The wine was beautifully balanced with acidity to slice through the rich goat cheese.  Layers of lemon blossom, apple, honey and a touch of nuttiness polished us off completely.

After being spoiled for hours on end, all of us here at Bauer can only beg the question… When is the next one?  Please Chris and Deuxave…we need another fix!

Crisp, Bubbly American Summer

Boston may be a port city but in the everyday hustle and bustle…when do we get to enjoy the water?  Do we Bostonians ever get out on the water?  Most of us can answer that with a disappointed no.

When the days get longer and the temperature starts to to rose I begin to daydream of blue waters and crisp white sails.  I may not be able to hop on a sailboat and dead out to sea, but I certainly can continue the fantasy when I open up a bottle of Domaine Chandon Brut Classic’s Limited Edition of American Summer.

The look of the bottle IS the picture of summer: A trio of red, white and blue give the feel of looking at the mainsail of a sloop in Boston Harbor.  This refreshing sparkler that is crisp, lively and made in the Methode Traditionelle (Classic Champagne Method) that allows a second fermentation in the bottle.  In doing so, the wine gives aromas of green apple, cinnamon, lime and vanilla that lead to flavors of tropical fruit, pears and a hint on toast.

Chandon is comprised of the three classic Champagne grapes of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.  Grown in some of California’s finest appellations: Yountville, Carneros and Mount Veeder, Chandon’s sparkling wines are Pinot Noir heavy due to the structure and body the grape gives to the wine.  Chardonnay adds delicacy with the tropical fruit and pear notes and the Pinot Meunier offers nutty and earthy flavors.

Pinot Noir

Chardonnay

Pinot Meunier

Most people save their bubbly for special occasions, but with Domaine Chandon’s competitive price…there is no need.  Drink this one whenever the mood strikes!  Ceasar Salad, Fried Calamari, oyster, or sushi are the perfect compliments to Chandon’s Brut Classic.  But really any salty, creamy or nutty foods will go great with this summer quaffer.

Preemptive Minimalism with Donelan Family Wines

Preemptive minimalism:  to understand the process of wine making so deeply, you remove yourself from it.

-Tyler Thomas ~Winemaker Donelan Family Wines

Despite the blustering winds, I made my way down to the Boston Harbor Hotel on Wednesday, January 18 for an evening of great wines and incredible food.  For this being my first year going to the Boston Wine Festival,  I am one lucky gal that I have been able to go to two events.   Escaping the elements,  I walked into the hotel bar and there they were-Sue, Becky and Kathleen-all with a glass of wine in front of them.  Jealous of their head start, I sat down, ordered a glass for myself and joined in the conversation.

Kathleen, Sue and Becky

After a few minutes of lively chatter, it was time to head upstairs.  Greeted at the entrance of the room, a gentleman offered up a glass of Donelan Family Wine’s  2009 Venus Blanc-a light, bright blend of 90% Roussanne and 10% Viognier.   Although the French rarely blend their Viognier because it overpowers other varietals, the cool climate and slow ripening of the Roussanne benefits from the richer Viognier grape when grown in California.  This delicate wine danced on my palate with a complexity that is rarely seen in such such a soft, floral (freesia and lilies)  wine.  Venus Blanc was the perfect aperitif for the dinner we were about to be served.

Specializing in quality, Donelan Family Wines produces small batches from each vineyard in Sonoma County.  So if you haven’t had the pleasure of tasting any of their wines, you are not alone because the most any of their vineyards produce is under 700 cases.  Although this boutique winery has had some unbridled praise, they aren’t about to expand just yet.  Quality first and foremost, Winemaker Tyler Thomas and Owner Joe Donelan have something on their hands that is making seasoned wine drinkers sit up and pay attention.  100 points Parker rated 2007 Richard’s Vineyards Syrah certainly made the wine critics take notice.

Joe Donelan and the ladies of Table 4

Joe got up to speak and we learned that not only is he talented in the wine field but utterly charming as well.  Joe spent 25 years in the paper business (yes..think Dunder Mifflin) but found his life’s passion in wine.  His love of Rhone and Burgundy varietals began with Pax Wine Cellars and the journey has taken him to his own boutique winery with a portfolio of outstanding wines that I can’t wait to have again.

After joking that he was proud that his winemaker shaved and got a haircut, Joe brought Tyler up to the podium where Tyler described each of the wines as we were served the courses.  There was a sense of pride that showed in this young talented winemaker as he ushered what is essentially a chemical process into a total wine experience for all of us.  And after tasting the wines, he should be proud of what he has accomplished.

Joe Donelan

So let’s get down to dinner.  Chef Daniel Bruce of Meritage once again hit a home run.  If you haven’t been to one of his wine dinners you are truly missing out on a gastronomical experience.  Chef tastes each wine that will be showcased and plans a menu that will highlight each wine at it’s best.  He doesn’t just say….”White wine.  We must have fish.”  He tastes the wines, thinks it through and crafts a dinner that puts your tastes buds in a state of ecstasy.

Chef describing his choices in courses

For the first course, we had pan seared Diver Scallops with celery root mash and Chardonnay Orange Butter.  Paired with Donelan’s 2009 “Nancie” Chardonnay, a Burgundian-style Chardonnay that was grippy and rich but still acidic.  The grapes struggled to ripen on the vine so they retained their acidity and the result was a Chardonnay that has melon, citrus and a solid core of minerality.  Bright fresh citrus is followed by hints of chamomile on the nose.  The Nancie is elegant, fresh and will be wonderful with any dish of lighter fare.

Diver Scallops

For the next course we were treated to a barrel sample of the  “Two Brothers” Pinot Noir and the 2009 Cuvee Moriah.  On our plates was a shredded duck, fennel and leek filled cannelloni that had a fresh herb sauce.  While Becky and I loved the smooth and silky young Pinot Noir, Kathleen and Sue leaned towards the Cuvee Moriah (75% Grenache 25% Syrah) because it was robust and similar to a great Chateauneuf du Pape.  Both wines pick up the richness of the duck and the spices of the fennel and leeks.  Silky or spicy this course was just plain delicious.

Shredded Duck Cannelloni

Next on deck we had 2008 Cuvee Christine Syrah  and the 2009 Walker Vine Hill Syrah  with a Syrah and Parmesan cheese risotto that was topped with wild mushrooms (handpicked by Chef) and shaved Bresaola.  Both wines were terrific with the Risotto.  The 2008 Cuvee Christine is 100% Syrah from four different vineyards and could be called a true expression of the varietal: spicy, chewy and meaty.  The Christine also had savory elements such as cherry licorice, dark berries, anise and clove that made it rich with layers of flavor.  Next to the Cuvee Christine, we were treated to the Walk Vine Hill Syrah.  An intense wine that explodes with blueberry immediately and follows with cherry and herbs.  There was a lot of depth to the Walk Vine Hill that gave tension to the palate and enhanced the risotto.

Syrah and Parmesan Cheese Risotto

By this point, the other ladies at the table and I had “relaxed” enough to have some lively wine conversations.  As we discussed the Donelan’s wines, the char roasted Colorado lamb sirloin was placed in front of us and the 2007 “Richard’s Vineyard” Syrah was poured.  Awarded 100 points by Robert Parker, I knew it was going to be incredible.  The lamb melted in your mouth and the Richard’s Vineyard had lavender characteristics that highlighted blueberries, blackberries and a hint of chocolate.  Full-bodied, rich and wonderful. Tasting this wine was an eye-opening experience.

Lamb Sirloin with Richards's Vineyard Syrah

Although no wines were served with dessert (probably a good thing), Chef’s Espresso Pot au Creme with toasted Almond Biscotti was decadent.  Of course, he waited until we finished it off before telling us that the tiny little pot of dessert had about 800 calories to it….and that wasn’t counting the almond biscotti.  Thanks Chef.

Dessert

If a night like mine sounds like a good idea to you, Chef Bruce’s Wine Festival will be continuing on until the end of March and there are plenty of great dinners left.  Do yourself a favor and buy some tickets for one.  You won’t regret it.  www.bostonwinefestival.net is the easiest place to search what’s coming up and the place to buy your tickets.

Wine, Hangovers & Work…Thanks Boston Wine Festival!

With head in hand, I take my sip of coffee and swallow down the enormous portion of Advil I need to start my recovery.  It seemed like such a great idea yesterday and today I can only say…ouch. But we had a great night at the Boston Harbor Hotel for the Opening Reception of the 23rd annual Boston Wine Festival.  So the pain is worth it.

About 5:45 last night, Howie, John and I started shaking off the dust of an otherwise normal workday.  We put on our nice duds and set off for the Boston Harbor Hotel in great anticipation of delicious wines and Chef Bruce’s ridiculously good food.

For once, the traffic gods were on our side and we got to the BHH early.  In our world, that means a quick stop at the bar before heading to the reception.  Howie, John and I cozied up to the bar and ordered some spirits to “cleanse our palates.”  Yeah.  Right.  Like we really needed an excuse for a pre-game cocktail.  Naturally, we weren’t the first ones there.  Our friend Donna was one Manhattan in already and she was feeling festive!

After our pre-reception cocktails, we approached the Wharf Room right on the water and I knew we were in for a special treat.  In fact, I was so in awe of the beautiful setting that I totally forgot to take a picture.  So here is a stock picture I pulled off the internet to give you an idea of what it looked like inside.As we walked in we were greeted by both Chef Daniel Bruce and a lovely young women holding a tray of Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Brut.  Chef enthusiastically welcomed his friends from Bauer Wines and told us to get inside to taste his delicious food.

Chef Daniel Bruce & Howie

Stepping inside, we were wowed by the surroundings but it didn’t take us long to get on task.  Heading right over to Tom Vincent’s table we indulged in the 2008 Mica Cabernet from Napa Valley.  Silky with rich black fruits, Mica lingered perfectly.  We also tried Sean Thackery’s Pleiades Old Vines.  A blend of several varietals, it was earthy with rich, mouth filling flavors of bold cherries, raspberry liqueur and a hint of oaky vanilla.

Next we took a quick stop to see our good friend Jacob Jata to see what his table was offering.  There we were poured Ramey Chardonnay and Donelan Family Winery’s Venus, a delicate offering of 90% Rousanne and 10% Viognier.  If the Venus is any indication of the rest of the Donelan Family’s portfolio, I am guaranteed to have a great dinner with them on January 18 at the BHH (tickets still available!).

Jacob talking wine.

From there on out, it was a blur of good food, great wine and fun conversation.  Yes, John and I took a time out to enjoy some of Chef ‘s food.  We would have never made it if we hadn’t.  Not to mention, who would want to miss out of Chef’s creations?  That’s just crazy (Yes Howie…I am talking to you).

Seared Tuna, Calamari, Lobster, Hake Cake and Pork Tenderloin.

The highlights for myself were the Mica Cabernet and both of the Trimbach Wines: 2004 Reserve Personelle Pinot Gris and the 2005 Frederic Emile Riesling.  Howie loved the Elio Grasso 2006 Barolo, the Forman Vineyard’s Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and Sean Thackery’s Pleiades Old Vine.  John agreed with our choices but added in the La Jota 2007 Cabernet Franc and the 2009 Justin Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon.  We may have had our different favorites, but we all agreed that there were some stellar wines being poured for us.  I can’t lie…working in the wine business does help one get a bigger pour than the average person.  Perhaps that is why I felt so awful this morning.  Yup.  That’s exactly why John and I are walking a little slower, head hanging, and intolerant of any noise today.

More pictures of our night for you but first, I must warn you.  My camera’s battery died and I was forced to take pictures with my iPhone.  So, by no means, are these high quality pictures:

John & Chris

John taking a time-out from tasting

John posing with his wine

Donna, Howie and John

Summer in a Glass: Celebrating the FLX Riesling 2010 Release

Last week I had the pleasure of joining in on a nationwide tasting of 2010 Finger Lakes Rieslings.  Wine bloggers, wine tradespeople and other media outlets alike receive 6 samples from the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance last week and were asked to participate in the tasting via Twitter and Facebook.  Easy enough…I could taste the wines in the evening at my leisure and tweet what I thought of them.

Without the pressure of having a representative of the winery standing in front of me, I was allowed to truly evaluate these wines without any outside influence.  I liked that.  Sometimes when you attend tastings, the wine rep and overhearing other people’s thoughts taint your palate without you even knowing it.

The only information about the wines I wanted to know ahead of time  was the growing conditions during the season and thankfully it was easy to find:

“The 2010 Finger Lakes harvest was the warmest growing season in nearly 40 years and the wettest since 1973.  Combined with an early bud break in April and adequate rainfall throughout the summer and fall, the wines from the vintage are varied in style but with a general slant toward lower acid, intense fruit and wonderful ripeness.” -Finger Lakes Wine Alliance.

Overall, my impressions of all the wines were good and you will see my ratings of the wine in the order that I liked them.  Some were more pleasing to my palate than others but still…they were all tasty.

2010 Red Oak Vineyard Riesling:  A medium-dry offering from Lamoreaux Landing.  This wine had it all: a floral nose with bright notes, a creamy mouthfeel that made the wine taste round and balanced.  The taste had citrus  and exotic fruits with a long finish.  Overall, this was a great Riesling and the fact that Lamoreaux Landing’s grapes are farmed sustainably sent them to the head of the class.

2010 Atwater Estate Vineyards Dry Riesling:  Like biting into a Granny Smith apple.  Just enough minerality to round out the high acidity, Atwater’s offering reflected the slate soil and ripe grapes with just a touch of sweetness.  Vibrant with citrus notes proved this Riesling to be perfectly balanced.

2010 Billsboro Winery Dry Riesling:  Honestly, this one is a tie with the Atwater so I listed it alphabetically.  Billsboro’s wine had rich stone fruit with just a hint of a floral nose.  The taste had honeydew, pears and peaches with a good amount of slate and minerals.

2010 Thirsty Owl Wine Company Dry Riesling:  This wine was complex with high acidity that begged for food.  With green apples, pineapple and citrus fruits in the mouth, I enjoyed this wine with a sliver of Gruyere cheese.

2010 Seneca Shore Dry Riesling:  Wow.  The minerality in this wine made it stand out in the crowd.  Accompanied by lime and grapefruit flavors, Seneca Shore hit a home-run.  Well-structured and powerful: this was a great wine to sip.

Last but certainly not least, 2010 Standing Stone Vineyards Riesling:  This might be the only wine out of the six that I wasn’t completely psyched about.  Although it was still a decent wine, I felt it fell a little flat on the flavor.  I am willing to bet a little bottle aging would cure that.  There were hints of kiwi and citrus in the wine, but had a shorty and flinty finish.  Not disappointing but not to my particular liking I’m afraid.

Three Cheers to all the wonderful wines I was allowed to taste last week!  Thank you to all the Finger Lakes Wineries who participated and to the wonderful people over at the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance for letting me in on this special event!

An Ancient Beverage Brought Back to Life

What do Sophocles, Virgil, Dante, Sir Walter Scott, Yeats, James Frazer, a myriad of Norse writers, sacred texts, and fairy tales all have in common?  Mead.  Yes, mead.  All of these writers and texts reference mead as medicine, a drink for heroes, warriors and royalty alike, as a river that runs through paradise comprised of it  and is considered a source of wisdom.

The history of mead may go back as far as 8,000 years.  Research has shown that the oldest known meads were created on the Island of Crete (wine was not yet created even!).  The ancient philosophers saw mead as a way to gain the wisdom they needed for their writings. Mead was the drink of the Age of Gold.  In fact, the Greek’s word for drunk is translated to “honey-intoxicated.”   The ancient Greeks called mead, Ambrosia, or Nectar. It was believed to be the drink of the gods, and was thought to descend from the Heavens as dew, before being gathered in by the bees. Because of the believed ties to the gods, it is easy to see why the ancient Greeks believed mead to have magical and sacred properties. The Greeks believed that mead would prolong life, and bestow health, strength, virility, re-creative powers, wit and poetry. The bees themselves, we are told by Virgil’s Georgics are driven to the sky to honor the goddess Aphrodite. And, the prophetess’ at Delphi are suspected of drinking mead made from a honey from slightly toxic plants in order to induce their prophetic states, and visions of the future (courtesy of Sky River).

You may be reading this wondering why I am harping on the history of mead.  Quite simply, this is a drink that was almost obliterated from society.  It seems that over the last few decades, mead was relegated to consumption at Renaissance Fairs.  Forgotten about in everyday consumption, mead was only a reminder of an ancient past, mostly remember as a drink of Medieval ages.  Mead came dangerously close to being something that was only read about but no longer made.  So it pleases me to tell you that we have three new varieties of mead at Bauer for you to try.

Honeymaker mead, out of Portland, Maine, was founded in 2007 with an eye on innovation, the environment and a re-introduction to this ancient beverage.  Handcrafted in small batches, Honeymaker’s mead is known for its exceptional clarity and lightness.

Although Honeymaker has many different varieties, we chose our favorite three to share with you:

Howie’s favorite-Honeymaker Dry Hopped Mead ($17.99).  A medium-to-full bodied mead to be enjoyed all year round.  During the aging process, Honeymaker introduces fresh whole leaf Cascade hops and this yields a unique, floral, herbaceous flavor.  Bright tart, citrus fruit and a wildflower aroma is followed by a complex flavor of grapefruit, pine and sun-soaked grass.

John’s favorite- Honeymaker Lavender Mead ($17.99).  This one is medium-to-full bodied as well with a foundation of wildflower honey.  Honeymaker ferments this mead in the spirits of French botanical aperitifs.  It is aromatic and semi-sweet with the iconic scents of summer.  Locally grown English lavender imparts brilliant floral notes that is balanced out by a crisp minerality.  Lavender mead is creamy with a round finish that leaves citrus and pineapple on your palate.

Corinne’s favorite- Honeymaker Blueberry Mead ($21.99).  Rose-hued, this mead balances the delicate elements of honey from Maine’s most pristine farmlands with the tart notes of wild coastal blueberries.  It’s medium-bodied, crisp and refreshing-ideal for these late summer evenings or even a taste of harvest during the long winter months.  It is perfect with a slight chill.

A Day in the Finger Lakes with Wine….Perfect.

Thunderstorms?  No real threat.  Blistering heat?  Didn’t scare us. Hearty Central New Yorkers came in droves to the Finger Lakes Riesling Festival to sample, mingle and have a great time by Canadaigua Lake.  The industrial fans were no match for the sauna-like heat under the tents, but that didn’t stop any of us.  My girlies and I bravely stepped up to the challenge of trying to fight the crowd and getting our hands on some Riesling, all the while feeling a little like we were in an incubator.

An absolutely idyllic setting, the Riesling Festival was the perfect atmosphere for sampling the “king of grapes.”  One look out to Canadaigua Lake, you forgot about the crowds, the heat; it was just you and the wine. From late harvest dessert Riesling to crisp, dry Riesling, the Finger Lakes offered something for everyone.  After every sip I took, I looked out towards the water and smiled.  Not just because there was great scenery but also because there was exceptional wine tickling my palate.

Among the lineup were Three Brothers Winery and Estates, Anthony Road Wine Company, Standing Stone Vineyards, Swedish Hill Winery, Glenora Wine Cellars and Thousand Island Winery (which gets an honorable mention for its Gewurztraminer-rose petals with a little spice-perfect).  Noticeably missing from the Festival were Dr. Frank Konstantin and Hermann J. Weimer.  I was a bit disappointed but I know what those wines taste like and have them in Bauer.  I would have been happy to see them there nonetheless.

Among the memorable wines I had on Saturday afternoon, two stood out the most: Hosmer Winery Dry Riesling ($13) and Damiani Wine Cellars Dry Riesling ($24).    These two wines had everything I look for in this varietal- crisp, clean with bright acidity.  The Hosmer, in particular, had this Granny Smith green apple bite with some hints of pear and lime.  All I could say was wow.  Thanks to Tracey on Facebook who asked if we would have Hosmer at Bauer’s FLX Riesling tasting last week.  I may not have immediately sought out this winery if she hadn’t suggested it.  Hosmer is located on Cayuga Lake and has been winning awards for their Dry Riesling since 2001 and has been written about by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Boston Magazine and Wine Spectator.  This is a winery to keep your eye on because what they are producing is nothing short of spectacular.

Damiani Wine Cellars, on Seneca Lake, is owned by two native sons of the Finger Lakes.  They craft their wines in the old-world style and know that the terroir of Seneca Lake will give us only wines of exceptional quality.  The Dry Riesling was clean, perfectly crisp with green apple again but this one had starfruit in the background.  Not what I would expect from a NY Riesling but it worked.  It was juicy and round with just the right amount of acidity.  They were unfortunately stuck in a corner next to Hazlitt and probably didn’t get the amount of traffic they deserved.  If I was running the show, this is a winery that would have been put front and center.  “Nobody puts baby in a corner…”

Wine wasn’t the only offering at the Riesling fest.  There was also a tent for beer.  Craft beer made in New York State to be specific.  Once we had our fill of Riesling, my girlies and I decided we should make our way over to the beer tent for some samples.  That was a big mistake.  The beer tent was a quarter of the size of the wine tent and tried to hold just as many people.  I hear that Three Bros, Dundee, Saranac, Ommegang breweries were there, but we never made it past Brooklyn Brewery.  We decided after the one sample we got, it wasn’t worth trying to fight the crowds for more.  Everyone was shoulder -to-shoulder and worse, once people received their sample, they were allowed to continue standing in front of the taps so no one behind them could get in.  But, that’s just par for the course at a tasting so I couldn’t really be surprised or upset by it.

Overall, it was a great day with the girls, a great day for Riesling and a great day for the Finger Lakes.  Now if we can just find Hosmer and Damiani distribution in MA so I can enjoy their wines all the time….

Having lunch

Looking down at the water while eating my sandwich...beautiful

My girls

Harvest Time is coming. Do You Know What’s Happening at your Local Wineries?

As the harvest season approaches, I can’t help but wonder how much the wine-faithful of Boston know about the local vineyards that are gearing up for their busiest time of the year.  For those that are not in the know, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have some fantastic small production vineyards that should not be discounted.  Loved by locavores and critics, wineries  in  New England are worth the drive for both their offerings and the beautiful scenery.

Let’s face it, there is no where prettier on earth than New England in the fall and a visit to one of the wineries will show you just how beautiful it is.  Aside from the iconic scenery though, many people do wonder how it is possible to produce great wine in such a short growing season.   Comparable to the weather in the Loire Valley in France, the Southeastern facing coastline allows the warm Gulf Stream waters to keep these vineyards growing into the fall. And it’s all in the grapes; Southern New England wineries are producing mostly white wine, and sparkling and cool weather reds.  Only concentrating on vinifera varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris, New England wineries are becoming rising stars in the wine world.

Now with that in mind, here are a few of my favorites that are a short drive from Boston:

Alfalfa Farm Winery Located at 267 Rowley Bridge Road in Topsfield, MA

Alfalfa Farm Winery is a family owned and operated vineyard that produces hand-crafted wines and hosts tasting events.    Throughout the summer (until August 28), Alfalfa hosts weekend tastings on Sunday from 1-5 pm.  Tastings expand in September until December to include Saturdays as well.  Looking for something to do other than just taste the wine?  Alfalfa loves to have volunteers help with their harvest!  You get paid with a T-shirt, lunch and some wine.

Visit their website www.alfalfafarmwinery.com for information about volunteering and check out their local festivals coming up.

Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery located at 417 Hixbridge Rd in Westport, MA

Westport Rivers believe that “Massachusetts’ grown wine is a blank canvas, begging for exploration and creativity.”   Once you visit their farm you learn all about ancient and new techniques of winemaking and how Westport Rivers uses them both to produce flavorful, crisp, cleans wines that Massachusetts should be proud to call their own.  Open for tastings Monday through Saturday from 11-5 pm; you should also check into their special tasting events such as barrel tastings of their Pinot Noir or Chardonnay!  Not to mention they have an art gallery and give private tours/tastings…

Visit Westport’s website for more information about all of their events!  www.westportrivers.com

Sakonnet Vineyards located at 162 West Main Rd in Little Compton, RI

This is a legendary vineyard because our very own Howie Rubin celebrated his nuptials at Sakonnet.  Tours and tastings are not the only offerings in this beautiful setting.  They have a separate, on-site B & B and offer cooking classes! Their “Master Chefs Series” is a series of several one-day classes with top chefs from Rhode Island and the Boston area, emphasizing the educational experience of combining food and wine.  While you are there, you can have a romantic picnic among the vines.  Just picture yourself….sitting with a glass of wine among the beautiful countryside that is divided by row after row of grapevines.

To learn more about tastings, cooking classes for events at Sakonnet visit their website: www.sakonnetwine.com

If you want more information about Wineries both along the coast and throughout the state here are some websites to check out:

www.coastalwinetrail.com

http://masswinery.com

http://turtlecreekwine.com/

Wine & Cheese Trail is now available too!

http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/docs/wine_cheese_brochure.pdf

Hey, I’m More Than Just a Cute, Fuzzy Face

After 12 years I have picked up a lot of wine knowledge from my humans.  All day I listen to Howie, John and Nick discuss wines with customers and amongst themselves.  You could say I have picked up a thing or two and I want to start sharing that with all of you.

Recently, I have been joining Corinne in the office as she writes because she likes the company and I get lots of attention.  Watching her work,  I got to thinking about my take on this store and my contributions.  I’m more than night-time security with a cute face and my voice needs to be heard.   I made it clear to Corinne

Sitting with Corinne waiting for a pat

that it was time for me to start my own recommendations.  As the king in this place, she immediately obeyed.  I always get what I want. I hope it will work on you too.  Let me send out the Jedi mind trick now:  mmmmmm…..tuna.  You want to give me tuna.  Delicious tuna….NOW.

But I digress…

You can ask Howie or John about their personal favorites and they will tell you all about them. Want my opinion?  Look around the store and you will start to find little grey cat stickers on my favorites.  I figured that was the easiest way to make recommendations since I am sleeping all day before my nighttime security shift in the store.

My wines right now are the NV Perrier-Jouet Champagne, 2010 Frisk Prickly Riesling, 2004 Trimbach Pinot Gris (hey…that’s named after me!) Reserve Personelle, and 2009 G.D. Vajra Langhe Ross.  Come check them out and make sure you buy one before they are gone!

Cheers!

Gris