Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Don't believe the hype...

I get so irritated everytime I see a "Vote YES on Question 1" ad.
It's such propaganda.

And what's so interesting is that I'm seeing so many "Vote Yes" ads, and have seen no "Vote No" ads on television. I received one mailer about voting "no".

Why are they working so hard, if it's such an obvious answer to the question? I'll tell you why. Because they're lying. They're not being honest with the public and the people behind this bill think the public are fools.

Question 1 does not "simply allow supermarkets to sell wine". That's a very misleading statement.Question 1 would grant ANY retailer who sells any type of perishable product - which by Massachusetts law requires them to carry a grocer's license - the ability to sell all alcohol that is covered under a retail wine license. This would include White Hens, 7-11s, Christys, you get the picture. This would even include some gas stations that are "Mini-Marts". Do you know that there are some malted liquors that are considered "wine" by retail licenses? This is what they are not saying on their commercial ads.

Don't be fooled. Supermarkets in MA have been able to sell wine and beer for a while now - it was regulated on a "x" amount of licenses per chain. BJs, Costco, Sam's Club - they've all been selling these products for years with little or no impact to most retailers. Will supermarkets have an impact on some stores....sure. Or if a store is located directly next door to a major supermarket - yes, it will be detrimental to them. Most major competitors of liquor retailers are other retailers and this is a competition we've had to deal with for years. For some reason, liquor stores seem to be bundled in areas. It's rare to be the owner of a liquor store and be the "only gig" in town. We are our own worst competition. And as the advent of Amazon and other online "malls" didn't destroy the retail walk in business - this allowing of supermarkets to carry alcohol is no way connected to preventing a monopoly amongst retail stores. That is just one of the most foolish things I've heard.

Here's why you should vote "no" on Question 1. It doesn't matter whether we "catch up" with the rest of the country with regards to our laws on selling alcohol. Truly, does "keeping up with the Jones'" mean anything with regards to our children's lives? We can't prevent our children from underage drinking, or doing drugs. But we don't have to make it so readily accessible to them either. As it is, Massachusetts has been pushing for the driving age to be raised as a result of the high rate of teenage driving deaths we've seen over the past few years. Do we truly need to add alcohol to the mix? Do we want our kids to pull into the gas station that has wine available and have them "fill up" on all levels? Are the teenage kids that work at the supermarkets responsible enough to card their peers? We have enough peer pressure in schools today regarding the use of controlled substances, let alone adding the pressure for distribution of them. And the ABCC is understaffed as it is. They're having a hard enough time monitoring package stores, how are they going to be able to monitor the sales from all of these additional stores.There is a liquor store on virtually every corner in Massachusetts. And most stores are open 7 days a week. Tell me, what is the true advantage to having the White Hen or 7-11 selling wine?

Call me crazy. Call me old fashioned. Call me responsible. Leave the sales of alcohol -- which is still a controlled substance, might I add - to the retailers who have been proven responsible enough to control the sales and distribution of such product.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Summer Sizzle....and Cigars!

While Boston is a tourist town, summer on the Hill slows things down quite a bit.
Fewer wine parties, fewer tastings...fewer postings on our blog.

However, we have added something new to the store: Cigars!We've started off slowly, offering 4 different varieties in very reasonable price ranges.
The next time you're looking for a stogie to go with that scotch, come on in! We're hoping to add to our collection and offer finer cigars in addition to what we've presently got in store.

Random question:Have you tried any new wines this summer, in light of the heat? Did you find any new favorites?If so....what is it? Please share!

'Til next time.....

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Kali Hart Pinot Noir & Olivier Nyakas

Kali Hart Pinot Noir:
Kali Hart Pinot Noir is an inky-deep ruby in color with great clarity. The nose shows concentrated cherry, ripe strawberry, oak notes, cedar, and terroir. Fruit-forward and concentrated in style, the wine displays blueberry and strawberry jam flavors on the palate. The finish shows a good acid backbone with a balanced sweetness of French oak.

Olivier Nyakas:
Nyakas Cellars Olivier is a delightful Hungarian white wine made entirely from the native grape varietal Irsai Oliver of the Muscat family. This wine comes from the Budai wine region of Hungary, home of the Hungarian capital. Handcrafted for Monarchia by Nyakas Cellars.Nyakas Cellars Olivier is a brilliant crystal in color with a nose of muscat, citrus, floral and mineral notes. It is crisp and dry with light/medium body, offering flavors of lime, muscat and almond. Aged in stainless steel tanks, the wine is rich and aromatic, nicely balanced to enjoy over the next 4-6 years. On the finish, it is fresh, clean and crisp.Enjoy Nyakas Cellars Olivier with baked halibut, grilled chicken, fruit salads and mild cheeses.

Attention Realtors!
Looking for the perfect gift to give to your clients who just bought their dream home? Surprise them with a wine gift a wonderfully mixed half case....or a gift certificate to let them choose their own wines for their rack!

The options are endless, and we're more than happy to recommend something perfect for your gift.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Around the World with Wine....

Last night, I hosted a wine party up in Merrimack, NH for a group of wonderful women. This was a Wines from Around the World tasting, and so we sampled a variety of wines from different countries. There were lots of laughs, and hopefully the women walked away learning a little bit more about wine and a better understanding of what styles they may or may not prefer - than what they had walked in with. The following are the tasting notes.

1. Chateau Couronneau Bordeaux

Bordeaux is a style of wine - named for the region in France where it is developed. Bordeauxs are usually big wines – and the astingency, dryness, fruitiness and finishcan be dependent upon the region within Bordeaux they come from; St. Emillion wines for example are big and soft; this wine is from the Supriere region, on the northeast section of Bordeaux. As a result of being in a different area within the region, the wine results are different. This is not big and soft; it’s a bit thinner, and tighter than most Bordeauxs. This is an absolutely fantastic organic bordeaux from this region, created by Christophe Piat, (Food & Wines of France magazines 'Bordeaux wine-maker of the year in 2002'). (Organic meaning "no added sulfites".) It’s predominantly a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot; this wine is more of a Merlot blend so you’ll see it’ s softer on the finish. Wonderful with roast beef, steak, rib roast, roast pork loin, rack of lamb, or duck; braised veal with mashed potatoes.

2. Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz

This medium-bodied Shiraz offers bright fruit-forward flavors of coffee, plums and strawberry, followed by a dash of pepper and a touch of black licorice. It’s fruity, but still has a hint of oak – so it’s got some structure to it. Shiraz is one of your all purpose wines – great for barbecue – great with pizza – great w. pasta.

3. Sabato Malbec

Here is an Argentinan wine, whose charms are irresistible. Deep ruby colored, this wine approaches the "fruit bomb" category without going over the edge. A rich, full-bodied red wine from the Mendoza region of Argentina, this Malbec has flavors of plum and black currant with a hint of dark chocolate. A steak wine for sure, but also great for sharp cheese.

4. Graham Beck "Pinno" Unoaked Chardonnay

A very fine example of one of the increasingly more available "unoaked" Chardonnays which are revitalizing the market. It's something new… that's actually something old. Both New Zealand and Australia have been practicing this method, and now South Africa is catching on as well. Unwooded Chardonnays, as they're inelegantly described, never really went away, we just forgot about them. Now they've been re-discovered and are gaining in popularity. This wine shows brightness, pure apple blossom aromas, straightforward but low key fruit flavors and a clean, engaging texture. It's quite dry throughout and its medium long finish is quite satisfying. Unoaked Chardonnays growing in fanbase as many people prefer the crispness of the wine over the vanilla creaminess that traditional oak aging provides. Food pairing follows the same as a Sauvignon Blanc, but can stand up to heavier cream sauces and pasta dishes quite well.

5. Macon Uchizy

The village of Uchizy in the heart of Burgundy (Loire Valley) produces very complex and sophisticated Chardonnay. This wine is made of 100% Chardonnay and is complex, dry and well structured with slightly spicy, ripe lemon flavours with a very zesty lingering finish. Pairs nicely with many styles of cheese – but do not pair with pears; the sweetness and softness of the pears takes away from the sweetness of the wine and leaves it tasting tart in comparison.

6. Giesen Sauvignon Blanc

Light straw color with a glint of gold, this wine is exceptionally aromatic. Ripe peaches come up first, followed by juicy lemon-lime and a whiff of the "green chile pepper" scent that's often found in Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Ripe and full, juicy fruit flavors are so intense that the wine almost seems sweet; but a snappy citric tang brings it into balance, clean and lingering. The wine's "in-your-face" flavors make it a challenging food match, but asparagus - here in a farfalle pasta dish with ham and a saffron-tinted cheese sauce - stands up to the herbaceous chile-pepper flavors in the wine.

7. Muscat Vin De Glaciere Eiswein

The way Eiswein is made is simply extraordinary, something completely unique in the world of wine. Grapes--most often Riesling grapes--are left on the vine until the first frost hits. In the press house, they are pressed ever so gently as winemakers try to squeeze whatever honeyed drops out of them they can, without crushing the ice crystals that have formed. The secret of Eiswein is that nature has frozen most of the water in the grapes, and the winemaker crushes the grapes gently so as to leave the water behind! As one of the world’s truly great dessert wines, the best examples are very rich and sweet, but shot through with the most searing acidity you've ever experienced; the balance will take your breath away… Randall Graham, the brilliant clown prince of California wine at the Bonny Doon winery. Ice Wine has to freeze on the vine, of course--but some years ago Randall started chucking grapes in the freezer, then crushing them in the classic German fashion

Friday, February 10, 2006

Wine Classes & Pepperwood Grove

So, I've been toying with an idea about expanding a portion of our business: Wine classes.

An informal way of educating groups of approximately 30 at a time - on the basics of understanding wine.
Not so much the complexities of the subject -but the basics.

To be able to order something other than White Zinfandel, or the "house red" or "house white" when at a restaurant.
To gain an understanding of one's palate.

Would you attend if you had the opportunity to?

Okay. So, I haven't given many tasting notes on reds to date.
And tonight is not any different!

2004 Pepperwood Grove Chardonnay.
In a word - delicious.

Fruit forward, but with a lingering finish that has what I would call a hint of oak. Not a dry, wine. Full bodied with a softness about it. Great stand alone, but try it with grilled salmon, mushroom risotto or barbequed pork chops. We had it tonight with chicken marinated with a bourbon sauce, cajun garlic rice - and sauteed kale & stringbeans w. onions. It was very nice.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

So many wines - so little time

Today we spent 2.5 hours at the Wine Expo. We don't stay much longer than that, because the trade hours are only for a short time. After the general public is allowed in, it gets hectic and crowded - and very difficult to "talk shop" (no offense!).

We focused on finding some good Malbecs, and Bordeauxs. We didn't get to try as many different styles as we had hoped, but we did manage to find some really interesting prospects to add to our eclectic selection. Besides, your palate can only handle tasting so many wines in a short period of time, so I think we did well.

Once I get my notes together, I'll post tasting information on a few wines that I found to be rather interesting.

If you attended - and found something in particular - please do share. We'd love to hear what you enjoyed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Boston Wine Expo 2006

This weekend is the largest wine expo in the country: The Boston Wine Expo.
And we will be there, sampling wines that we can add to our already eclectic, and ever changing inventory.

This is a wonderful opportunity for you - our customers - to sample wines from around the world, and in bulk. Bring a notebook, and a pen - and be sure to not swallow too much of what you sip. This one weekend is an amazing crash course in wine so that you can find what you do - and don't like about different wines. Taste the difference between Syrah and Shiraz...sample unoaked chardonnays...drink an unfiltered wine for fun.

Please - let us know what you like!
Our goal is to help you find the perfect bottle to enjoy.

And I will be posting tasting notes on some of my personal favorites!