Tag Archives: white 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!

Summer of Riesling and Dynamite Shrimp Kabobs

It’s the summer of Riesling according to Matt Reiser, the sommelier and beverage director at Upstairs on the Square, and I couldn’t be happier about it!  In celebration of this spectacular idea, we had a tasting on Thursday of international Rieslings with City Table in the Lenox Hotel.  It was the inaugural Chef’s Series event in Bauer and we were ready to eat great food and drink our way through the wines.  For those of you who haven’t heard of the Chef’s Series yet, Bauer is inviting Back Bay chefs into our store for special tasting events.  The chef brings in their specialty and we pair our wines for a tasting event that won’t soon be forgotten.

Sous Chef Sean MacAlpine prepared his Dynamite Shrimp Kabobs with pineapple BBQ sauce and salsa verde.    Just picture it… Jumbo shrimp on cane skewers brushed with Sean’s homemade BBQ sauce and grilled.  On the side, corn bread with hints of chili with a pineapple tomatillo salsa verde.  Are you drooling yet?  Sean’s dish was utterly delicious. The slight spiciness of the shrimp kabobs was offset by the the Rieslings perfectly.  Definitely a match made in heaven.

For our end we offered our faithful followers who trudged through the rain to attend, four Rieslings from around the world:  2010 Frisk Naturally Prickly Riesling from Victoria, Australia, 2010 Weingut Karl Erbes Riesling out of Mosel, Germany, 2008 Ravines Dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes in New York and lastly a 2009 Hugel Riesling from Alsace, France.

A great big thank you goes out to City Table’s General Manager Robert George and Sous Chef Sean MacAlpine for a wonderful event! They were both great to work with and they certainly charmed all who walked through the door.  We hope to be able to work with them in the near future again!

Check out some of our attendees!  Thank you to everyone who came out on a Thursday for helping us make this a successful and fun night.

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!

The search for that elusive, perfect Chardonnay.

I know that there are many out there who will think that I am crazy when I say this…but I am not a big fan of Chardonnay. In my defense, most of my experience with this varietal is the overly oaked, rich Chardonnay that California made so popular.   Too heavy and too buttery for my tastes but I know plenty of people who will drink nothing else.  Believe me,  I have tried different regions, different countries but to no avail.  This regal grape  that is so beloved confounds me.   The un-oaked Chards from France tickled my taste buds but I have rarely had one that made me stand up and WOW!   Australian Chardonnay has good structure with peach and nectarine nuances,  but still nothing that stood out.  South African, Italy-I’ve tried them all in an effort to find a white  grape that I love as much as Sauvignon Blanc.  I know that certain foods would pair better with Chardonnay and therefore my quest continues.

So it makes me beg the question, is there a good in-between for someone like me?

In my research, I have found a real world solution to my Chardonnay dilemma and a dreamer’s solution. One I have tasted and the other…well, few can get their hands on it.
In reality, there are a ton of great Chardonnays on the market but I found one that a finicky palate like mine can enjoy. Rodney Strong’s Chalk Hill Chardonnay has sophistication with a hint of butter cream and vanilla from oak but yet is crisply acidic. This wine is well balanced with tropical fruit, pear and mineral elegance. The best part is that you get all the flavor of a 90-point rated wine on Wine Enthusiast for only $20 a bottle.

Rodney Strong’s Chalk Hill Chardonnay’s easy availability is another reason this wine is so great. But there is something about a wine that no one can get.  A wine that is so exclusive that even when accepted to their mailing list, you still may have to wait 3 or more years before being invited to buy a bottle. No, these aren’t $200 bottles of wine, but a mere $65-70 a bottle. Aubert Wines in California is not about mass production. They average around 4000 cases a year and the Aubert label is not available in wine shops and very rarely in restaurants (one in California and one in NYC that I found). Although after some research I did manage to find an online wine store that sold their Chardonnay but at an inflated price of $150 and must have been obtained through questionable means.  Although Aubert Wines produces four different Chardonnays: Ritchie, Lauren, Rueling and Quarry, the Ritchie is the one that intrigues me to no end.  Tasting notes from both the winemaker and those lucky enough to have had it say that it is full-bodied but not excessive.  Ritchie’s complex flavors range from lush fruit to a steel minerality.  That sounds like it could be just what I have been looking for.

After all my research, I put myself on the mailing list and can only hope that in 3 years time I will be invited to buy a bottle or two.  Until then, I will gladly drink my Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay with a smile.

The Rhone Ranger rode into town

The Rhone Ranger himself came to Bauer Wine & Spirits on April 13 to promote his book Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology!  A man who has been referred to everything from the Willy Wonka of the wine world to a pure genius, Grahm’s book proved to be insightful and not just a bit mischievious.  An iconoclastic send-up of the wine industry and a celebration of unsung grape varieties, the book features, among other things, Grahm’s hilarious literary parodies–Joyce, Kafka, Pynchon, Salinger, and others–together with song lyrics, other snarky satires, poems, lectures, and more.

A small crowd started to amass at 4 pm waiting for Randall Grahm and they weren’t disappointed when they saw Randall run down the stairs in the rain with his “Contra” beret on.  Once he shook off the raindrops, he got right to work at our tasting table.  Among our noted guests, Rachel Bennet from French Oak TV came with her notepad ready and got things started with an interview with Randall.   A man who is serious about wine-making, Randall is anything but serious.  He has dedicated his life’s work to the production of wines with a sense of place.  But the one thing that stuck out to me was that Randall is not afraid to explore new terroirs.  Of course, he loves the Rhone terroir but gave compliments to the Alsace and Loire regions of France as well. Outside of France, Randall also found a great one in Canary Islands that impressed him.   Not a place that anyone would expect to find a great terroir, Randall emphasized that there is great terroir around the world that hasn’t been discovered yet.

While some of us shied away with our books in hand, no one wanting to be the first to ask him to sign, Cathy Huyghe from Red White Boston boldly marched up, took her taste of wine and asked him to sign her copy.  So thanks Cathy for getting the ball rolling!

Grahm brought along with him not just his cheeky sense of humor and charm, but he also brought his wine.  For two hours we swirled, slurped and allowed the flavors of Grahm’s 2009 Albarino, 2008 Muscat, 2009 Vin Gris de Cigare, 2007 Syrah “La Pousseur”, 2009 “Contra” Old Vine Field Blend, and 2006 Le Cigare Volant roll around on our tongues.

Once again, Randall Grahm has proven to us that, baby, we were born to Rhone.

Check out our pictures from the event on Facebook page!!

2 hours with European Cellars

Now that we all have made it through another St. Patrick’s Day in Boston it is time to put away the green beer and shamrock sunglasses. To celebrate the end of another fun-filled day of debauchery, we tasted Old World Wines from France and Spain courtesy of Eric Solomon Selections.

Every Saturday, Bauer Wine & Spirits holds a wine tasting starting at 4:30 pm and last week’s offering was nothing short of spectacular. Eric Solomon offered up six wines for our public to savor and they are now available on our website (www.bauerwines.com) and in-store to purchase as a sampler case. So if you missed the wine tasting, you can still enjoy these European Cellars vintages at home.

To warm up our palettes, we started with a 2010 Chateau Pesquie Terrasses Rose from the Cotes du Ventoux of France. I know, I know, when someone mentions rose most of us picture a bottle of white zinfandel but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  This delightful aperitif was fresh and well-balanced. Altered to please an American palette, the aromas of strawberry and watermelon balanced out the dry finish.  Pair this with a Bouillabaisse,  chicken Cacciatore, or most seafood dishes and you will find why we at Bauer are excited about this newcomer to our store.

From there we moved to a 2009 Vila Viniteca el Perro Verde from Rueda, Spain. Pale gold in color, I was delighted with the ripe citrus flavors, mango, fresh pineapple, and hints of ginger. The balance of tropical and citrus fruits with mineral and herbs tantalize the taste buds.  Goes great with simple pasta dishes such a fettuccine with butter and Parmesan cheese.

Staying in Spain, we next tasted a 2009 Gramona Gessami from Penedes. More complex than the previous white, this blend of Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurtztraminer had flavors of zesty lemon peel, mineral notes and nice finish.  This wine would be a great match to any Asian cuisine.

Delving into the reds, first came the 2009 La Cova dels Vins Ombra from Montsant, Spain. This lively red packs a punch with aromas of black raspberry, minerals, flowers, camphor and spicy oak. The flavors of red berry preserves, herbs and mocha are balanced well with delicate tannins, making it perfect to pair with beef teriyaki, baked ham or pork tenderloin.

Heather then poured the 2008 Chateau Saint-Roch Chimeres from the Cotes du Roussillon, France. A blend of black grenache, syrah, carigan and mourvedre that had rich flavors of dark plum, meat, savory herbs and mineral notes. This versatile, medium bodied red would match well with meaty dishes.

The last wine of the night was the 2009 Casa Castillo Monastrell from Jumilla, Spain. Right off the bat you could taste the dark, wild berry flavors, spicy strawberry with white pepper and rose. Light tannins gave this wine a nicely focused finish.  Go get yourself some spicy Indian food or barbecue to have with it!

A great, big thanks to Heather from MS Walker for coming in and talking to all of us about these wines. Now that my tastes buds are revved up it is time to buy myself a bottle and enjoy. What’s coming home with me? The 2009 La Cova dels Vins Ombra.