Tag Archives: wine tasting

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.

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!

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.

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

Celebrate Argentina!

Every once in a while something unexpected crosses your lips in the world of wine.  You go to a tasting and you think you know what to expect: a typical wine from a region………..And then something remarkable happens:  You are completely surprised.  You find yourself immersed rather than just a warm body filling the room.  You become ignited with ideas, brain and taste buds stimulated.

I had such a day last Thursday when I attended the Wines of Argentina conference and tasting at the JFK Library.  As I rode the Red Line, I admit, I wondered why I was going.  I told myself that I know what Argentine wines such as Malbec and Torrontes tasted like.  I already liked them and I knew the region fairly well through my reading.  I also told myself that this wine fad was soon to fade and Malbecs would soon join the ranks of Australian Shiraz: over-planted, over-hyped, and after a couple of years, I wouldn’t’ be able to sell them.

As I stepped into the JFK Library, I saw Bauer’s good friend and ally Cathy Huyghe from Red, White Boston.  Always the wonderful hostess, Cathy introduced me to fellow blogger Meghan M from Travel Eat Love (traveleatlove.com-check it out, it’s one of my favorite blogs) and Katrin A from winedinewith.us (another amazing food and wine blog to check out).    We, and others, were allowed the special treat of meeting with Edgardo del Popolo, winemaker and viticulturist at Dona Paula, and Tomas Hughes, Agriculture Manager at Bodegas Nieto Senetiner.  In this insightful round of Q & A, we learned why the climate and altitude of Argentina makes for great wine and not just Malbec.   Most importantly for me, I learned that Argentina is doing everything it can to not be pigeon-holed by their most famous varietal.  Malbec may be their flagship wine but it is not their only one that is worthy of critical acclaim.  Torrentes, the only native grape to be grown and made into wine, is delicious, but winemakers like Edgardo predict that Cabernet Sauvignon is going the next big thing coming out of Argentina.  After their discussion about how consumers are moving away from “green” flavors like mint, leather, and eucalyptus in favor of fruit forwardness, I would have to agree.

I had the great pleasure of tasting 6 young Malbecs that afternoon and the one that stood out to me Tomas’ 2009 Nieto Senetiner Terroir Blend.  It was earthy but fruit forward.  Hints of vanilla and oak were there but not overpowering in the nose.  The flavors had vanilla, chocolate, dark red fruits and just a smidge of herbiness.

The three wines that were not Malbec should be mentioned because these are stars on the rise. Michel Torino Don David Torrontes, Altos Las Hormigas Colonia Las Liebres Bonarda and Susana Balbo Cabernet Sauvignon were three very distinct wines that, indeed, changed how I looked at Argentine wines.  The Torrontes had a Muscato feel in the mouth while aromas and flavors of orange peel, white flowers and nuts came through.  Bonarda, the native French (Carbonne) grape varietal, had delicious, sweet tannins with dried fruit aromas was juicy with just the right amount of earthiness.  Lastly, the Cabernet Sauvignon had 10% Malbec blended and it was meaty, smoky with ripe cherries, cassis, blackberry and licorice.  Outstanding.

Here’s what won me over to Argentine wines and in particular, their Malbec.  I tasted the 1977 Weinart Malbec and it showed me that Malbec may be great when they are young, but aged Malbec is spectacular.  The Weinart 1977 was the first bottling of Malbec for Roberto de la Mota and it showed the amazing aging potential of this varietal.  Silky smooth with root vegetable flavors, it had characteristics of aged Rhone wines.  The tannins were fully-integrated and when I popped a piece of Brie in my mouth before the second sip, I found wine Nirvana.

So thank you Wines of Argentina for showing me the beauty, grace and wonder of Argentine wines.  You are not just a wine fad destined for obscurity; you will prove to all that you are a powerhouse in the New World ready for to take your place among the great regions of wine.

Hola Rioja

As the weather threatened all day to put a damper on our Rioja celebration on October 1st, we could only sit back and wait.  I looked nervously outside every few minutes while I set-up all afternoon.  Dark skies looked ominous and the store was quiet. Uh-oh.  Tonight’s going to be a dud I thought to myself.

Would the rain or the threat of rain keep people in?

As it turns out, my answer was no.  The rain held off and the Back Bay showed up to help us celebrate our month long promotion of Rioja.  Known as the “little black dress” of wine, Rioja is one of the most food-friendly wines on the market.  Winemakers in the Rioja region of Spain only release their wines to the public when they feel that they are truly ready for consumption, so when you purchase a bottle you can open it with confidence that night.  They also age well, so buy the Gran Reserva to save for a special occasion and know that you can store the wine until you are ready to open it.

Food among some Spanish flair

 

Because we wanted to feature as many wines as possible we set up two tasting areas.  One right in the front of the store and was manned by Kristen Butke of European Cellars, Eric Solomon Selections.  Kristen poured for the eager crowd two high-end Riojas and two other Spanish wines.  She started everyone off with the 2010 Gessami Gramona (a muscat blend), then a 2006 Izadi Reserva Rioja, 2006 Orben Rioja and 2008 Black Slate Priorat for fun.

Tom helping Kirsten at front table

Muga and Juve

The Riojas

The second tasting area had both Marco Dreary of Winebow Boston and Coleen Noonan from Tapeo Restaurant.  Marco was pouring for the crowd a 2007 Juve Y Camps Gran Reserva Cava, 2009 Muga Bianco, 2009 Sierra Cantabria Tinto, 2007 Sierra Cantabria Crianza and the 2007 Muga Reserva.  Coleen’s adjacent table, for the tapas, was set up with a Spanish flair with flamenco dancer figurines and a shawl to decorate the table full of goodies.  And by goodies, I mean Chorizo y Apricot Skewers, Croquettas de Pollo (chicken croquettes) and Gorditas (prunes Stuffed with goat cheese).  The food went fast as no one could resist the delicious tapas that went perfectly with Marco’s wines.

Howie, Marco, and Coleen

Tapeo's yummy spread

All in all, it was a great night for us all!  Thank you everyone who came to kick off this great month dedicated to all things Rioja, from our staff to our guests to Marco and Kristen for pouring amazing wines.  I especially thank Tapeo Restaurant for spending a couple of hours with us and offering something delicious for Bauer’s faithful to try.

Vibrant Rioja and Laura P…you made it possible for us to host such a great event.  What a wonderful night for everyone! 

Cheers!

Ladies enjoying some Cava

Karen and her friend

Rioja and Tapas

Some of the crowd

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 

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.