Tag Archives: sparkling wine

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 

Oh so delicious Sangria!

Sangria sometimes get a bad rap that is not always undeserving.  Like any cocktail, if it is made with pre-mixed ingredients, you will end up with a syrupy sweet concoction that just  doesn’t do this historical drink justice.  I always endorse the use of fresh, quality ingredients in any cocktail, but that’s because I spend too many years behind a bar making them both ways.  The drinks that always got a “Wow!” were the ones that made to order with fresh juices, fruit and  garnishes.

Sangria should be no different.  Yes, it had a humble beginning in Spain but it has grown world-wide to be a refreshing party drink.  For you Jane Austen fans out there, The Claret Cup Punch she wrote about is, in fact, a sangria.  Mrs. Bennet served it after her mischevious daughter Lydia ran off with Wickham to celebrate their marriage, despite the scandal it caused in Pride & Prejudice.  In addition, Mr. Weston served it at his Christmas party, you know, the one where Mr. Elton imbibed too much and revealed his true feelings for the heroine in Emma.  Nearly everyone of Miss Austen’s stories has a party scene in which sangria was served.  And as it should be, sangria is a drink meant to be shared with friends over a punch bowl at a summer party.

But I digress….

Although Sangria is traditionally a punch made from red wine, modern recipes have evolved that use white wine and roses as well.  Rioja has been the most popular base but increasingly we’ve seen on restaurant menus white, rose and sparkling.   So I have decided to share with you my personal recipes for crowd pleasing cocktails.  I know that some people like to add fizz to their sangria so feel free to add seltzer to any of these still wine recipes.

Red Sangria:

1 BIG punch bowl

1 bottle of red wine.  Doesn’t have to be expensive.  I suggest Grenache or Rioja

½ cup of Clement Creole Shrubb (Orange liqeuor…can substitute Grand Marnier or Cointreau)

½ cup of raspberry or citrus flavored rum-depends on how fruity you like it.

¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice

1/3 cup freshly pureed raspberries

Soak overnight in the wine: sliced orange, lime, lemon, raspberries, blueberries, apples and red grapes (halved).  Then mix the rest the ingredients in before serving.  Garnish with a slice of orange and a raspberry skewered.

White Sangria: 

**This recipe also goes great with a sparkling wine like a Cava Brut or Prosecco.

1 BIG punch bowl

1 bottle of white wine.  I like Vinho Verde for the crisp flavors it adds.

½ cup of pear brandy

½ cup of peach flavored rum

¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup    of freshly squeezed orange juice

1/3 cup freshly pureed peaches (for something more tropical use mangoes instead)

Soak overnight in the wine: sliced orange, lime, lemon, peach, apple, red and green grapes (halved).  Mix the rest of the ingredients in before serving.  Garnish with a slice of peach and a raspberry skewered.

Rose Sangria:

1 BIG punch bowl

1 bottle of rose.  Something dry and crisp like a rose from Provence.

½ cup of red berry flavored rum

½ cup of fruit liqueur.  I like Thatcher’s Blueberry or Yumberry

¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup    of freshly squeezed orange juice

1/3 Cup of freshly pureed strawberries

Soak overnight in the wine: sliced orange, lime, lemon, strawberries (halved), red and green grapes (halved).  Mix the rest of the ingredients in before serving.  Garnish with a slice of strawberry.  Add basil for a delicious kick!

I know these recipes may seem like a lot of work but trust me, the end result is worth the effort.  Get your friends slicing up the fruit and you have got yourself a pre-party!

Happy Sangria making everyone!

Nick’s adventures in stunning Oregon

There aren’t many places I’ve been to that are as beautiful as Oregon is, especially in late May when almost everything was in full bloom.  The weather was, as I was told by the locals, unusually nice for this part of the country with sunshine pretty much everyday.  The city of Portland is a nice mix of city and rural wilderness with great hikes just a few subway stops away from downtown.   After one of those hikes one day on a hot, sunny afternoon we decided to take advantage of one of Portland’s best brew pubs, Deschutes, where we enjoyed a sampling of what they had on draft that day.  The highlight was definitely their 21st anniversary Barrel Aged Black Butte Porter, with a couple years age on it, was drinking real nice with those delicious, sweet bourbon notes.

Going out to dinner in City of Roses was awesome too, we never had a bad meal at any of the restaurants that we ate at.  It seemed that all the places that we went to really focused on the farm to table concept and it really comes through in the flavors of the food.  Everything from the cheese plates to the cuts of meat to simple sandwiches were all really fresh and flavorful whether it was served from one of the many food trucks or on top of a linen covered table.

After a short day trip out to the coast to Cannon Beach and another hike along the coastline with views that can’t be described in words we made our way about an hour south to the Willamette Valley for a weekend in wine country.  The hospitable folks over at Argyle Winery were gracious enough to host us in their guest house, The Nuthouse, a cozy house within walking distance to many great restaurants in Dundee.  However if you go to Oregon Wine Country, go to the small town of Lafayette and go to Martha’s Tacos.  A life changing experience and where a lot of the vineyard and winery workers go after a long day in the fields.  We ordered a few menu items a shared every last bite, hands down one of the best meals I’ve had with the stand out being their wet burrito.

On our first full day in Dundee we started out with a full tour of Argyle.  They are renown for their sparkling wines but as they told me and from what I tasted, you can’t make good sparkling wine without making good still wines first.  And they sure make good wine.  Sourcing their fruit from four vineyard sites in Willamette they make top notch Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and small amount of Riesling as well as some dessert wine.  We happened to be there on the day that they were disgorging their 2001 Extended Triage Sparkling which was an absolute treat to taste something that is almost 10 years old and is just ready to be released.  After going to the barrel room and tasting some samples of the 2010 vintage right out of the barrel,  our tour had come to an end but the day of tasting had just started.  The rest of the afternoon we drove to Carlton and around Dundee visiting wineries such as Lemelson, Carton Wine Makers Studio, Lange, Tori Mor and finished up the day with a glass of wine on Anne Amie’s patio overlooking the entire Valley.  The only regret I have about this whole trip is that it was only a week long, I could’ve stayed for another couple weeks.

Bonding and the Wine Spectator Grand Tour

Sue, Howie and John

Sometimes it is just necessary to hang out with the co-workers outside of the office and last Thursday night that meant that a trip to the Marriot Copley Hotel for the Wine Spectator Grand Tour.  For someone like me, who is new to the Bauer team, I was able to get to know Sue, Howie and John on a different level than I had in the store.  I learned more about who they were as individuals (and no-I am not going to divulge any of their secrets to you!) and how they came to be the great people they are.   It was nice talking to them on a more personal level, rather than discussing store events, inventory and sales.  I definitely feel more bonded to them and, consequently, to Bauer as well.  Although we did discuss the store to some degree, we mainly sipped and slurped our way through the 216 wines that were offered, laughing and joking along the way.

Sue and I bee-lined for Chateau Margeaux and Mouton Rothschild first.  Legendary wines such as those needed my attention first as I have never had the chance to taste them before.  Once we linked up with Howie and John, the four of us tasted Barolos, big California reds, Super Tuscans, Bordeauxs and more.  Once our lips were stained red, we slid over to the white wines.  Sauvignon Blancs and Viogniers delighted me.  St. Urbans-Hof Weingut’s Spatlese earned a huge star…especially considering Nik Weiss was coming to Bauer the following day to have a tasting with us.  BUT the big star of the night as far as I was concerned was the 1995 Femme Champagne from the Deval-Leroy winery.  This was what Champagne was meant to taste like.  Great acidity, complex, citrus-y with hints of marzipan and a yeasty biscuit flavor.  This one stole the show from the big Bordeauxs.

At the end of this wonderful evening with my crew, I realized that most of you probably don’t know who I am because  I am usually found in the office chained to the computer.  If you visit our website site, I am the one who makes sure our products are current (and in process of a redesign that is more user friendly).  You may have seen me in the store though, usually walking back and forth between the office and the counter with papers in my hand.   I may have even rung up your purchases with smile.  So perhaps it is time for me to formally introduce myself to you all.  My name is Corinne and I

John and me-one of the few times you will see me on the other side of the camera.

am the Marketing Director.  Hi.  I came to Bauer about six weeks ago to take over their social media writing.  So anytime you read our blog, get an email, visit Facebook or receive a Tweet, it is coming from me.  It has certainly kept me busy and I love it.  Most of my friends tell me I have the greatest job in the world;  I can’t disagree.  I taste and write about wine, beer and spirits for an amazing company.

A taste of Willamette Valley

Perhaps I’m backwards.  When it comes to planning a dinner at home or a meal at a restaurant I always choose my wine first and my meal to match second.  In my wine soaked world, that makes sense.  I stand in front of my 48 bottle wine rack or stare at the wine menu and ask myself “What do I want to drink tonight?”  Yes, dinner is still important but my wine choice takes precedence.   Don’t get me wrong, a meal where the wine takes center-stage does not mean that the food is an afterthought.  It is just as important but when I am in a restaurant I often hear other tables ask to hang onto the wine menu until they make their dinner choices.  I wonder silently if I am doing it all wrong.  I am the girl who takes her first sip of a wine and based on that flavor profile, I make my dinner selection.

Where does this idea of wine and food pairing come from and is it really all that important?

Countless sites on the Web pay homage to food and wine pairing and they always start with specific food and then talk about general wine varietals to go with them.  Not a single one I looked at started with specific wines and matched them with food.  Even within a specific grape varietal there is a vast difference in taste and aroma.  I’m not just talking about country and region, but two vineyards next to one another can be so different.  Is it snobbery to chose my wine first and plan my meal accordingly?  Do waiters and guests consider it “showing off?”  Probably but I am not playing at pretension, I just take my wine choice seriously.

 The whole idea between wine and food pairing comes from the French.  For centuries, the French drank their local wines with their local foods so they are choosy about which wines goes well with their specific recipe.  But in today’s wine market, there is little reason to be that selective about your choices.  There are literally thousands of great wines out there that will go well with your dinner.

But let’s get real.  Opening a bottle of wine for each course when it is only the two of you just doesn’t make sense.  Either there will be a lot of left over wine or two happily passed out people on the couch after dinner.  Problem solved: half bottles.  There is just two glasses in a half bottle, so having a multiple course meal with different wines is possible.

Last night, once again, I pondered: what am I in the mood for?  I chose a 2007 Argyle Wines Brut sparkling wine and paired it with a smoked salmon on brioche as my appetizer.  I was really in the mood for a sparkling wine and I can’t think of any better that is on the market right now than the Argyle Winery Brut.  The creamy texture and ripe citrus flavor melded beautifully with the smoked salmon and the acidity cut through the buttery brioche.

For the main course I opened up a half bottle of Argyle’s 2007 Reserve Pinot Noir.   Even though it is technically spring, the nights are still chilly and a silky Pinot Noir was just what I needed for dinner.  I let the wine breathe for a little bit while I put the finishing touches on my mushroom risotto.  As I chopped up the fresh herbs to mix in, I couldn’t wait for that first taste of my selected wine.  I made myself and my finacee a mushroom risotto from a recipe courtesy of my co-worker and wine guru, John.

John’s Mushroom Risotto:

6 oz of shitake mushrooms

6oz of cremini Mushrooms

6 cups of chicken stock

½ cup of dry white wine

½ of a white onion or shallots

1 package of aborio rice

Chopped parsley, Thyme and chives

Butter

½ cup of Parmesan Reggiano cheese

Begin by mincing a small volume of onion, mushrooms and the other herbs.

Sauté the mixture in abundant olive oil or unsalted butter, and when it has browned remove it with a slotted spoon to a plate, leaving the drippings in the pot.

Stir in the rice and sauté it too until it becomes translucent (~7-10 minutes), stirring constantly to keep it from sticking.

Return the sautéed seasonings to the pot and stir in a half of a cup of room temperature dry white wine.

Once the wine has evaporated completely, add a ladle of simmering broth; stir in the next before all the liquid is absorbed, because if the grains get too dry they will flake.

Continue cooking, stirring and adding broth as the rice absorbs it, until the rice barely reaches the al dente stage.

At this point stir in a tablespoon of butter and the grated cheese (if the recipe calls for it), cover the risotto, and turn off the flame. Let it sit, covered, for two to three minutes, and serve.

Enjoy!