Tag Archives: back bay wine stores

And the Big Winners Are….

boston-wine-expo-77What does one do on a stormy Sunday in February?  Head over to the Boston wine-expo2012-4Wine Expo of course!  Yes, 3 of Bauer’s own braved the snow storm like many others and headed down to the Seaport World Trade Center this past Sunday. We spent the day sipping and spitting our way through France, Italy and the US.  Not to mention a lovely visit to the Grand Cru Lounge courtesy of our friend Carla Morey.

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After checking in Colin, Tom and I set off in search of wines that we haven’t had before.  We wanted to discover wines that could be brought into Bauer and be easy for us to sell.  Seemed like a simple task.  Well, maybe not so simple but fun at least.  We headed on over to the Chateauneuf du Pape table and our eyes lit up in delight as we saw a wonderful representation of the Southern Rhone region of France.  We tasted the likes of Le Vieux Donjon, Mas de Boislauzon, Domaine Lafond , Domaine Tour Saint-Michel and others.

Although we could have spent all day there, we remembered our mission.  We Soleraspied this small group of tables towards the middle of the room with an Italian flag on the sign above.  Jackpot!  We  headed straight over.  It was at this table manned by charming and kind Italian representatives where we tasted the showstoppers of the Expo.  There were three standouts at this table full of finely crafted wines.  First, the Solerea Cerasuolo Rosato from Montepulciano D’Abruzzo.  Rose season is heading our way and we love to find some new ones to add to the ranks.  This delightful rose had more weight than a rose from Provence making it ideal for any time of the year. Intense fruity aromas and flavors meld with delicate floral notes and banana nuances, beeswax and custard cream. It was well-structured with a long finish.

The second standout wine of the day was the Cantine Cipressi Macchiarossa Tintilia (Molise D.O.C).  Made from the indigenous Italian grape Tintilia that has photo 1strong depth, deep color with evident but soft tannins.  It was highly aromatic (think plums, sour cherry, licorice and black pepper).  Since none of us have ever had this varietal before we were very interested in it.  Turns out Tintilia wines are fairly rare because of its notoriously low-yielding vines.  After a quick swirl I stuck my nose in the glass. Spicy, with lots of fruit and lots of intensity. Various spices, blueberry, plum, cherry, raspberry, maybe a bit of herb, a little earth, all shifting and swirling around. This wine had a great depth of sweet fruit flavors, with some vanilla, accompanied by a moderate level of tannin, and just the right amount of acidity to even out the structure of the wine.  It was exciting because it seemed to offer something new every sip.

And now for the wine that stopped me in my tracks.  From Sicily came Tenuta di Casterllaro Nero Ossidiana made from a blend of 60% Corinto, 20% Nero d’Avola, and 20% other varietals located on deep sandy and volcanic soils (pumice and obsidian).  The fruit was fermented without stems and without imagestemperature control. Then it underwent malolactic fermentation in barrel followed by eight months of aging after which it was drawn into stainless steel vat for settling.  The wine exhibited light berries and wood box on the nose.  Inky black and medium-bodied with depth and flavors of red fruit, earth with a good amount of acidity.

After being wowed and awed with all the wines at the table we finally get the bad news.  These wines are NOT available in Massachusetts yet!  What?? No!  So why am I sitting here and writing about them for you?  Because they were that good.  Because now I want more of them. Because we are hoping that one of our distributors will head our cry to bring these spectacular wines in.

Yeah…you…you know I am looking at you.  Get these wines on your portfolio.  Please.

Freaky, Geeky and Weird?

Lately it seems all we hear about is orange wine.   The newest rage in wine has been referred to as a wine geek’s wine, a freaky wine and just plain weird.  Huh.  Considering this so-called novelty is really the traditional method of white wine making, I can hardly agree with these descriptions.  Is it that different than the more familiar methods? Yes, but not freaky.

Nowadays, you know that white wine is made through harvest, crush and the immediate move of the juice to the fermentation vessel.  The juice spends absolutely no time on the skins so as to not impart any tannins or astringency to the wine.  This is all in the pursuit of the perfect white wine.

To us, it is more interesting to read about winemakers turning their backs on innovation (making technically perfect wines) in favor of experimentation.   Before the modern style of wine making came to be, wine was left to macerate with the skins to provide color, phenols, and tannins.  The color ranged from pink, yellow to a vivid orange.

The term orange wine is a bit of a misnomer, by the way.  It really should be referred to as skin-contact whites because the term doesn’t necessarily describe the color of the wine but more of a winemaking process/style.  The result is a white wine of a silkier, emollient texture with a more exotic flavor profile.  If you are looking for another white wine other the Gewürztraminer to accompany your spicy fare than this wine style is for you.  Think any umami foods like mushrooms, garlic, aged cheese and fish sauce.  Because these wines command attention, I wouldn’t say orange wines are meant for casual drinking.  Stick to the more familiar style of white wines for the “sitting on the back porch, having a glass” evenings.

For our part, Bauer has two different orange wines to offer you:

2011 Attems Cupra Ramato Pinot Grigio Ramato :   Cupra Ramato continues a

Attems Cupra Ramato

tradition of the Republic of Venice, since “ramato,” or coppery, was the term that referred to Pinot Grigio in contracts. A special vinification practice led to the use of this term: the must remains in contact with the skins for 36 hours and this practice gives the wine a very distinctive coppery hue. Attems Cupra Ramato boasts a rich, fruity bouquet, and opens full and weighty on the palate, with multi-faceted flavors.   It is perfect when paired with fatty fish, with delicate or vegetable-based antipasti, the ideal companion to summer dishes, and is delicious as well as an aperitif.  This wine is a great entry point into orange wine.

And

2007 La Stoppa Ageno:  This wine is made from a combination of three white

La Stoppa Ageno

grape varieties: Malvasia, Trebbiano, and the extremely local Emilia variety known as Ortrugo, with the majority of the wine being Malvasia grown on 36-year-old vines.  La Stoppa spends the next 30 days in contact with the skins. After this it is pressed off into a combination of steel tanks and neutral oak barrels where it ages on its lees (the sediment that settles to the bottom of the barrel) for 12 months before bottling without filtration of any kind.  A gorgeous medium amber-orange color in the glass, with a distinct haze of cloudiness, this wine has a phenomenal, almost otherworldly nose of exotic flowers, saffron, and orange creamsicle. On the palate it is weighty, with a texture that is almost tannic in quality, gripping the tongue with a velvet glove. From a flavor standpoint it is nearly indescribable — brown sugar, honeysuckle, saffron, cream soda, and unbelievably, the distinct flavor of coffee and cream on a finish that can be measured in minutes. Evolves gorgeously in the glass, and I highly recommend decanting for 1-2 hours prior to serving, especially if you can keep it cool while decanting.

Enjoy the La Stoppa with hard Italian cheeses, charcuterie, pork and oily fish like salmon or swordfish.

So there you have it.  Orange wines for everyone!

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.

Bauer Celebrates Local Distilleries!

Featuring Beloved Local Distilleries

I am sure you all know by now that Bauer LOVES local products.  Ever since distilleries began popping up in recent years, the Bauer team has encouraged, critiqued and sold local spirits.  Better yet, the people responsible for creating small batch, hand-crafted spirits in the Boston area are getting some great recognition for all of their hard work these days in competitions and write ups in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other publications.
To celebrate local success, Bauer has decided to highlight a couple of the summertime favorites in our new window display.   You will find Bully Boy, Privateer Rum and Ryan & Wood gracing the window and framing a sleeping Sofia these days.

Bully Boy, owned and operated by Will & Dave Willis, hand produces small batch premium spirits and is made right in the city of Boston.  Their White Rum is made from black strap molasses and is wonderfully light bodied with vanilla notes.  It is a white rum with depth and complexity that is not seen in the mass-produced rums of the world.  Along with the rum, we have Bully Boy’s White Whiskey.  A spirit that was hugely popular during Prohibition, Bully Boy has brought the tradition back with a certified organic, unaged whiskey that is clean, bold with smooth notes of coconut, vanilla, banana and salt water taffy.  A peppery spice finishes long.

Andrew Cabot and Nelse Clark of Privateer Rum have also continued Boston’s legacy of producing rum.  The original Andrew Cabot, a merchant and privateer who lived 1750 to 1791, rolled barrels of molasses off sailing ships down the pier to his Beverly rum distillery.  Six generations later his descendant, also Andrew Cabot, is distilling in Ispwich, MA.  Made with pure cane sugar rather than molasses, Cabot and Clark are making a Silver Reserve rum that is lightly floral, with notes of sweet basil, anise and just a hint of butterscotch.  This is a rum that needs nothing added to it to enjoy.  Privateer’s Amber Rum is what mass-produced spiced rums dream of being!  Instead of syrupy sweet, their Amber rum has flavors of orange citrus, sandalwood, leather, cinnamon and a silky finish.

Gloucester may have a long history of fisherman,  but Ryan & Wood distilleries is showing that Gloucester can produce world-class spirits as well.  Family-owned and operated, Ryan & Wood is the first North Shore distillery in existence since Prohibition.  Their Beauport Vodka is grain based and distilled with local, filtered water to keep the local character intact.  It certainly has made a difference.  The Beauport is clean, fresh and has an interesting grassy aroma.  A standout in a shelf of vodkas with no character.  Their Knockabout Gin is one of the most flavorful gins we have come across in a long time.  Juniper berries, corriander seed, angelica root, orris root, orange peel, licorice root, cinnamon, nutmeg, cassia and lemon peel all go into making this gin taste like you are drinking summer.  It is complex with layers and layers of flavor that really pop in a well-made Gin and Tonic (we suggest Fever Tree Tonic).  Lastly, Ryan & Wood’s Rye Whiskey is in the new window.  A smooth whiskey with cinnamon, clove and a little sweet corn flavors followed by hints of blueberry, pear and toast.  It’s lingering finish is like a honey drop with a rye snap.   It was featured in the Wall Street Journal back in December 2011…not bad considering it had only been available for about 8 months.

So there they are….our wonderful local distilleries in the window.  Sofia loves the new set up and can be found most of the day snoozing in between Privateer and Bully Boy!

Move Over Bland Ciders. There’s a New Kid in Town-Bantam Cider Wunderkind.

Two years ago two enterprising women in Boston had an idea. They wanted to pursue a dream that blended a love of the culinary arts and local agriculture with a business opportunity. Dana Masterpolo and Michelle da Silva noticed that there were many fine wines and craft beers out there but very few fine ciders, especially locally made. Mass produced, unmemorable ciders that were on the sweet side gave inspiration to Dana and Michelle to “create a nicely crafted product, packaged in a more sophisticated way.” Two years later, Bantam Modern American Cider Wunderkind hit Bauer’s shelves and has become a favorite of the staff. Of course, at Bauer, we love local companies! We love being part of the homegrown movement that has been sweeping the Boston area, especially when we are introduced to a product like Bantam Cider.

But a lot had to happen in those two years between inspiration and realization. Good thing it’s in the blood. Michelle grew up making wine with her grandparents, so she knew the perseverance that was needed to make this endeavor a successful reality. To prepare themselves, Dana and Michelle took an intensive course at Cornell University (taught by a top UK cider maker) and dove into the technical aspects of production, such as bio-chemistry.
These two ladies are not afraid to experiment either. It’s through trial and error and endless experimentation with local apples that Wunderkind came to be. Thankfully, New England is one of the largest growing regions in the US for apples, so Dana and Michelle have access to the freshest products and inarguably, some of the country’s best fruit.

Continually inspired by other cider makers, orchard owners and apple enthusiasts, Dana and Michelle have been encouraged by the brewing business. Let’s face it…there are a lot of men in the brewing business so it is refreshing to see a couple of enterprising women making their way. Having the support of great people like Andris Veidis at Blue Hills Brewery, Bill Russell and Harry Smith at Just Beer/Buzzards Bay can go a long way. Not to mention what great write ups in publications like Bevnet, Brewhound and DrinkCraftBeer can do for your sales.

Bantam’s flagship cider, Wunderkind, is named for one of America’s greatest adventurers, Amelia Earhart. Dana and Michelle channel Earhart’s courage and sense of adventure and never allow themselves to settle for something less than extraordinary. This is why we are enjoying Bantam’s Wunderkind today. The cider is crisp and clean and on the first sip you get a nice aroma and flavor of honey. Not overpowering but just a hint of honey that is followed by crisp apple flavor. This is one you can enjoy on a hot summer day (and we know we have a lot of those coming in the next few months).

Drink Bantam by itself or because of its versatility, you can enjoy Wunderkind with an array of different foods at any point of the day. Think brunch with eggs, pancakes or crepes. Have it with your favorite cheese platter, Dana suggests a rich, creamy one such as Brie. It also goes great with salads, fish, oysters, pork and all spicy foods. Dana and Michelle love Indian or Thai with their Wunderkind!

You can find Bantam Cider Wunderkind on the shelves now at Bauer in 22 oz bottles! Pick up a few for your Memorial Day BBQ today!

Bantam Cider will also be at Bauer On Friday, June 18th from 6-8 pm handing out samples of Wunderkind.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Bauer and Cow & Crumb

This past Saturday Bauer was lucky enough to host Hilary Koloski from Cow & Crumb again for a tasting of her Valentine’s Day themed cookies and some of Bauer’s best dessert wines!

The savory snacks offered up to Bauer’s faithful were delicious.  Hilary’s three Valentine’s themed cookies: Sexual Chocolate (dark chocolate and dried cherries), My Honey is Nuts (honey & cream glaze, chock full of home made honey roasted peanuts baked into a honey cookie dough) , and Roses for your Date (Oats are ground with flour to give this date-filled cookie a delicious nutty undertone and chewy texture, rolled in sugar sifted with edible rose petals) were moist and mouthwatering good.  Hilary also brought with her a Cow & Crumb staple, C&C L’Orange (Cranberry, coconut, orange zest and white chocolate) which is a crowd favorite.

Hilary's Spread of yummies

For Bauer’s half of this decadent tasting, we supplied the dessert wines to pair with Hilary’s cookies.  We started you off with the Hugel Cuvee Les Amour Pinot Blanc that picked up the orange zest and white chocolate in the C&C L’Orange. Then we offered our La Spinetta Moscato D’Asti that seemed like it was made just for the My Honey is Nuts.  The honey and floral characteristics of the Moscato picked up the honey and roasted nuts in the cookie so perfectly.  With Hilary’s Roses for my Date, we paired up the Marenco Brachetto.  The nose of fresh strawberries and rose petals picked up the rose in the cookie.  Who knew that roses in a cookie could be so delicious?!?   Last, but not least, Hilary’s Sexual Chocolate was offered with a taste of the Domaine La Fage Ambre.  The rich, port like nose and flavors of La Fage’s 100% Grenache dessert wine was perfect with the rich dark chocolate.  So much so, that tasters and Bauer staff alike kept going back for more!

The wines.

Cow & Crumb is an online store (for now) that ships all over the country and offers an array of different choices.  Check them out at www.cowandcrumb.com for a full list of Hilary’s treats!  Great to give as gifts to both your loved ones and as a gift to yourself! If you haven’t had the chance to try the Gran-ooh-la-la than you need to do yourself a favor and order some.  Bar none, it is THE best granola I have ever tasted.  Howie and I have obsessed about it since we tried it back in December!

Gran-ooh-la-la!

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.

Reflections on a Great Year of Drinking…

As 2011 comes to a close in just a few short hours, I can’t help but sit back, sip some bubbly and reflect on what an incredible year it has been.  From the ups and downs of a rocky economy, seeing freedom become a reality through the Arab Spring, watching an already toxic political environment grow worse in the US, witnessing natural disasters around the world to a royal wedding and the end of the Iraq war, we have seen our fair share awe inspiring and anger inciting events.  But we made it through and that is cause for celebration.

For Bauer we have had some wonderful events that included top winemakers and incredible chefs coming into our store to pour wine and cook for us.  Being part of events like the Taste of the Back Bay and the Newbury Street Gala were hardly work and more like fun!

Some highlights that stick out in my mind:

Randall Grahm joining us for a tasting and signing of his book “Been Doon So Long”

Howie and Randall

Cathy and Julia from Red, White Boston with Howie

A visit from award winning wine maker Nik Weiss from St. Urbans Hof in Mosel, Germany

Gris listening to Nik

Chef’s Series Tasting took off with a bang!

Rob and Sean from City Table at our first Chef's Series Tasting

Vibrant Rioja, Tapeo and Bauer working together for a huge Rioja and Tapas Tasting

Partnering up with some other important people also helped make 2011 memorable.  Kathy from The Fish & Bone gave me an eye opening experience when she had a dog food and beer tasting in her store.

Working with Andrew Cabot and Nelse Clark for launching Privateer Rum in Boston made me see that rum is not just for making fruity cocktails.  If it is made right, you only need a glass.  Now they have launched their Amber Rum and started their barrel program with us as well.  I can only hope that 2012 is just as prosperous and exciting for them as 2011.

2011 had some low lights as well for us.  But thankfully, those low lights were turned into highlights.

Bauer Alum, Nick Demjen, left us in the beginning of the summer for a great sales position at Origin Beverage.  Good news for us…Bauer is in his sales area so we still get to see him once a week!

Nick's "private" going away party in the back of Bauer. Cake and Champagne courtesy of Sue!

Nick's public going away party where he received the gift of a lifetime. Look closely and you will see that jersey is signed by the Stanley Cup winning team!

As much as we miss Nick, our new Beer Manager, Tom, has been up to the task and bringing in great brews for everyone!  He has been a great addition to the Bauer staff.

We can’t close 2011 without mentioning Gris.  Our little grey man lived in Bauer for 12 great years protecting the store and giving joy to all that came into contact with him.  Our hearts broke when he died in August and it did make walking into work a little tough with no one at the door to greet us.

Checking out what wines he likes

Our sweet boy sleeping with a toy

But something good came out losing Gris.  A little homeless kitten named Sofia came to live at Bauer and she has taken to the store life very well.  She loves all and is loved by all.  Well, except maybe the dogs that is.  For something so small, she sure knows how to intimidate even the toughest of canines.

Passed out under the tree in the French wines.

Christmas morning at Tom's house with her presents

From all of us to all of you, we wish you a very Happy New Year!  May it be filled with joy and may only good things come out of the sorrows.

Now that we’ve all sufficiently recovered from our Thanksgiving holiday, its time to start focusing our attention on the festivities during the next few weeks. I’m sure there will be many Frank Costanza “SERENITY NOW!” moments along the way, but I look at it as a time to celebrate the holidays with friends and partially-dysfunctional family. And that’s what we’re here for, to supply the right ingredients to help you make it to the finish line.

Laurent-Perrier always helps

First of all, if you’re planning a small, or not-so-small, gathering at your house or office, we can come up with the right type, and quantity, of libation, and deliver it for you, at no charge. Its fun to have a variety of wines, fun seasonal beers, and perhaps a signature cocktail to ensure that your attendees will be holding their heads the next day thanking/cursing your good taste! We have many people on staff who can assist with the setup.

Secondly, gift-giving can quite frankly be a pain-in-the-ass (ask my wife), but once you walk through the door of Bauer Wines, that endless list can shrink very easily. Just do a little research and find out what your recipient likes to drink, because it’s the personal touch that hits the mark. We have all categories of all things spirits, artesenal beers, and wines at every price point. If you have a brain freeze and can’t come up with the right bottle, go for the increasingly-popular gift card. Let them decide what to choose.

Ask us about the "One for you. One for ME!" Gift card promotion

Thirdly (is that even a word?), we have some killer tastings coming up in the month of December, as we bring in some of our favorite purveyors to pour their wares. Here’s a list of whats coming up during the next few weeks. You can always sign up on our Facebook  page or follow us on Twitter to see whats happening in our hedonistic corner of the world.

And since it wouldn’t be a Bauer blog without the ramblings of young Sofia Bauer, here’s some photos to show you how she’s getting into the holiday spirit!

All I want for Christmas is a cute kitten...Oh...I got one!

Sofia loves hiding under the tree in the French wine.

She still loves her Clicquot

Lastly, and certainly not leastly, we’d like to thank all of you who support what we do, and how we do it. Its very gratifying to work with people that share the same passion about this business that we do. Have a great start to the holiday season, and try not to leave everything to the last minute.

 

Cheers,

Howie