Friday, December 19, 2008

Great gift giving ideas!

Christmas is quickly rushing upon us!
Still not sure what to get for the wine enthusiast in your life?

Let me make some suggestions as to a few "cherry" items we have in stock!

1986 Grange
1990 Mouton Rothschild
1992 Caymus Special Selection
2003 Silver Oak Napa
.....and a small but excellent selection of 1997 & 1999 Barolos.

This is just a small sampling -- we have ample to choose from and in a variety of prices!

Call for specific pricing!

Gift wrapping is well as beautifully handmade wine gift bags.

If you're in need of delivery, please call early!
Our schedule is filling up very quickly, even for the immediate downtown Boston area.

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving is upon us...

I can't tell you how many phone calls I've received this morning asking for recommendations on what to buy for the holiday dinner. And that -- is a great thing.

The best advice I can give you is to have fun with whatever your drinking; and the most important thing to keep in mind, is not buy a wine that will overpower what you are eating. Basically, that means if Turkey is on the menu (as it most generally is!), than you want to avoid big and heavy red wines, or exceptionally dry and/or heavy white ones.

If your holiday turkey menu features sweet side dishes such as glazed carrots or marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes, you could choose a white wine with similar sweetness, such as a chenin blanc or gewurztraminer. If your menu items are savory, you can lean toward a Johannisberg riesling, savignon blanc, or even a light, fruity chardonnay. If your bird boasts a spicy sausage stuffing, sip a Beaujolais (Nouveau is the rage for today) or lightly chilled pinot noir. (Though I personally do not care for my red wine chilled, at all.)

Think out of the box a bit... don't be afraid to play. A great pairing for Turkey is champagne. You can feel decadent and fancy while drinking a deliciously light and fruity one; Rose champagne is a perfect compliment -- and looks pretty in the glass, for those who are into aesthetics, right down down to the bubbles.

If you don't want to break the bank with the champagne, then I'd wholly suggest buying it's Italian cousin: Prosecco. Light, fruity and inexpensive - Prosecco will dress up any meal and it's very food friendly.

I mentioned a Johannisburg Riesling, but if you want to be a red wine drinker and stray from the traditional Pinot & Beaujolais - then I'd recommend a South African Merlot or Cabernet (avoid a Shiraz blend -- too spicy!). South African wine is bright, fruit forward and not so heavy that it would detract from the food you are eating.

If you're in town today -- please don't hesitate to stop in and ask for assistance with your holiday gift giving or meal pairing selections. Gene is there all day and night -- and will be more than happy to assist you. He's worked very hard to ensure that we have an outstanding inventory that is able to please even the most discriminating wine enthusiast.

From our family to yours....have a lovely holiday.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Looking to try something new?

Have you given South Africa a try yet?

Relatively still "new kids" on the wine block (at least in the minds of consumers) -- South Africa has quickly become the hottest trend in wine since Australia.

Pinotage is their signature grape -- and it's one of those varietals that to know it -- is to love it. I personally love a good Pinotage, however I do think it's something that there is no middle ground on; either you like Pinotage or you don't. It's one of the most interesting and different styles I've had and the best way I can describe it for you, is that if you have a good glass of it -- it will dance on your tongue.

But if you aren't feeling adventurous enough to take the chance, then feel free to stick to their traditional styles of wine. Inexpensive and delicious, South African wines are great for those who don't care for dry, or Old World style of wine. The varietals tend to be very bright, vibrant and fruit forward - without too much tannic aftertaste or acidity.

My personal favorites are from the Graham Beck vineyard, and the two I'll share with you are these: the Chenin Blanc is really nicely balanced with a ton of tropical fruits and crispness; and the Shiraz/Cabernet blend is absolutely delicious. The best part of that one is that it's casked in both steel and oak, so there's this great fruity taste with warm tones of chocolate and the spice you'd expect from a Shiraz.

So if you have the opportunity, give South Africa a swirl. You won't be disappointed.
Let us know what you think!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

We're on Facebook!

If you have a Facebook account, and would like to participate in our online discussion board - log in and search the groups for "Beacon Hill Wine & Spirits".

Join in on the fun!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Getting married? Buying a new home? Engaged?

We're offering an opportunity for you to register and post your champagne, wine and spirits selections for your friends and family to be able to see... and purchase for you!

What's the best thing about registering for your wine rack? Duplicates are always a pleasant surprise, and something you're counting on!

That special day is coming up...whether it's your wedding, your anniversary -- or the housewarming party for your new home. Often you register your wish list at stores that sell dishes and glassware -- why not register your wine rack as well?

Email, or call to make an appointment for recommendations if you are in need of assistance with your selections. We'll then post your names, your photos (if you wish) the date of your event -- and your selections on line for your guests to review. Registering your wine selections is a unique way to start stocking your wine rack or bar!

For more information, or if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call or email.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More cheese, please!

I don't know about you - but I love cheese.
Love, love, LOVE cheese.
As a matter of fact, next to peanut butter -- cheese is an addiction of mine.

That is partly the reason why when we open a second location -- we will have cheese incorporated as a staple. It will not only feed my obsession -- but it complements wine so perfectly.

We all have our favorites -- just as with wine; but also like wine, the more we sample the more we enjoy - the longer our list of "favorites" becomes. My "favorite" cheese is the Parrano Rubosto; a Dutch cheese that is a cousin to Gouda, but who tastes like an outstanding Parmigiano Reggiano.

White wines hardly ever clash with cheese, whether they are mild or strong - soft or firm. Dry whites pair well with soft textured cheeses, espedially those with mild flavors such as Brie. Whites with a crisp acidity go well with acidic goat cheeses. For an experiment, try pairing a softer Chardonnay from Sonoma with cheeses such as a triple cream Brie, Brunet, Valencay or Hoch Ybrig.

Red wines tend to match best with firm mellow cheeses. Although hard cow's milk cheeses do well with red wines as well. Try sampling a typical California style Cabernet Sauvignon with a variety of cheese such as a Dry Jack, Marisa, Manchego -- or my favorite, the Parrano.

Next time...what to pair with Ports and Sweet Wine.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Jack O'Lantern, Jack O'Lantern....

Looking for something fun for the adults to drink for Halloween?
While pumpkin flavored wines are more often than not found at small fruit vineyards outside of MA -- have no fear, there's pumpkin flavored beer!

Pumpkin ales are perfect for Halloween and the autumn season in general.
Pumpkinhead by Shipyard is a great brand to try.

If you want to try something creative - make your own cauldron of Witch's Brew!

Place your "cauldron" into something deep, such as a planters barrel that you can paint black -- add some dry ice underneath and serve up a potion that's sure to make everyone feel as if you've cast a spell upon them!

3 packages Lime Kool-Aid
1 bottle Vodka
1 bottle Fruit juice (any)
20-25 pieces Fruit, mixed
1 gal Sherbet (any flavor)

Mix all ingredients(in any order) in a large tub, which can hold several gallons. Stir so that the Sherbert is completely dissolved. With the exception of the kool-aid and sherbert, as much or little of the other ingredients may be used.

With all the flavored vodkas on the market today -- the possibilities for this Witches Brew are endless!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lots of love for Louis Jadot....

Although I can honestly say that I'm not personally a huge fan of Pinot Noir, this is a really decent one. I love just about anything from Louis Jadot anyway - just about everything is so easy to drink.

I had this with dinner last week, and I paired it with a filet that I had pan seared with a hoisin based sauce that wasn't too sweet so as to take away from the fruit of the wine. We enjoyed it.

Louis Jadot 2005 Bourgogne Pinot Noir has a red cherry fruit and a touch of earth on the nose and palate. It is nicely balanced with a hint of acidity and smooth tannins; It's not the most exciting or complex Burgundy, but it's really well balanced and good example of an solid red Burgundy at a very affordable price!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Have fun while watching the football game....

Listen, football doesn't have to be all about beer and pretzels.
Having a group over to watch the Patriots game?

Try offering your guests something different, even for only just the first quarter...

All-American Cocktail
(We like to call it "The Patriots Mixer".)
Serves 1

1 1/2 ounces Stoli Razberi
1 1/2 ounces Stoli Vanilla
2 ounces simple syrup
1/4 ounce grenadine
1/2 ounce Blue Curacao

In one shaker, blend Stoli Razberi, simple syrup, grenadine and ice.
In a second shaker, blend Stoli Vanilla, one third of the simple syrup and ice.
In third shaker, blend Blue Curacao, one third of the simple syrup and ice.

In a glass, place the red mixture, the white mixture and finally the blue mixture.
Garnish with a miniature Patirots swizzle stick. (Not required!)

(The vodkas listed are brand suggestions; feel free to use any brand of flavored vodka you enjoy - though we don't recommend downgrading the vodka brand, as it will impact the flavor of your drink.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Spooky...trendy....and fun!

So we went to the Gift Show to order Halloween decorations for our small window display:
(This isn't a great shot of it, but hey - it was only his cell phone that took the video!)

We always have a nice display for the holiday season, both winter and summer; but Gene has really been wanting to do a Halloween display. Everyone loves the displays we do - most especially the kids - and who doesn't love Halloween? So we went to the Gift Complex to order from the distributor who supplies our window display items. We had fun picking out the haunted pieces and creative lighting that will illuminate the front of the shop...

And, I popped into the distributor who sells alot of the glasses, and other items that we will be offering in both locations soon. Now that was a lot of fun. Fun and funky handpainted glasses, beautiful classic styles....fantastic books about wine and cheese, great linens -- and so much more.

All of the products that will be sold in our second location - will be available in the Beacon Hill location as well. It will just take some creativity to display them due to the lack of space in Boston - but we'll figure it out.

Imagine, you'll be able to pop in - order a case of wine and some delicious artisan cheese to go with it if you choose. Maybe a couple of fun wine glasses to surprise your significant other...some great music -- the possibilities are endless...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

House Favorite - Perfect for Fall!

One of the things we really try to specialize in is providing decent wines in a variety of inexpensive price ranges. Sure, you can spend a fortune on wine - but if you don't have to break the bank when looking for something to have with dinner - why would you?

Dom Brunet Pinot Noir is an easy drinking, and not overly complex Pinot Noir. At $11.99 we can't keep it in stock! Is it the best Pinot on the market? No - but it's not meant to be. Is it probably one of the best Pinots you'd find at this price break -- absolutely.

From the French region of Languedoc, this is has potential to be a Pinot lovers inexpensive favorite. With cherry and raspberry spiced notes, this is a surprisingly good value that is food friendly. Pairs nicely with chicken dishes -- or try with a pan seared tuna.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Coming Soon...Beacon Hill Wine & Spirits - Part Two!

So, it's been a long time coming. We'd been trying diligently over the last two years to either buy an existing business or open a new one from the ground up, and each time - we've run into obstacles at the last minute that might prevent it from happening.

This last effort was in the town in which we live, where we were going to open a shop named "The Wine Shop of...(enter town name here.). But with the litigation that was tying up the only available liquor license, it seemed that was going to be a fruitless effort.

But a nearby community - and one with ample licenses available - a suitable location became available on the market for lease. And the community is such that we would not have to change the name - but open a second location of "Beacon Hill Wine & Spirits". It will be larger than our present location, offering the same outstanding customer service and eclectic selection - but in addition we will be offering artisan cheeses, barware/giftware, fine linens and aprons, appetizers, menu preparation -- and all things entertaining! Gift baskets will be made on premises - and delivery service will be available daily. We are at the final step of preparation before we can formally announce the location and specific details -- but we feel that it is close enough to be able to share in generic terms. If all goes to plan, we should be open for business in January.

So those of you who are clients of ours but don't live in the city -- well, have no fear. Beacon Hill Wine & Spirits may be coming to a suburb near you!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Gewurtztraminer & Shiraz....

A few weeks back we hosted another in home wine party, and we used what has become the most popular theme of "Wine from Around the World". Depending on the audience, and the type of party the host is looking for, determines the variety that we will present. The party from last night generally speaking, was not a wine savvy crowd at all - so we stayed away from bigger and bolder wines, and presented very easy drinking variations of the themes.

Of the 6 wines that we brought, these two were particularly interesting to me. We brought a New Zealand Gewurtztraminer -- usually a German wine, it was interesting to taste this variation. We also brought a very delicious South Australian Shiraz that is a steal for the price given the flavor.

Personally, I thought it tasted exactly like a Sauvignon Blanc from that region, but with a hint of spice at the end. It was actually more acidic than I had expected.

Of course the names are escaping me at the moment....I'll have to go back in my notes and add them in for this posting.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Long overdue...

So, I must admit it has been quite some time since I've posted any wine tasting notes. Alot has happened since my last posting. While we did not win the "A-list" competition, we did win "Best Neighborhood Wine Shop" from Boston Magazine; while we are such a small business we aren't able to afford large advertisements, and to have accomplished such an award by our customers support exclusively -- is something we're exceptionally proud of.

We've been actively pursuing a second location; if you've been to our store than you know we're only 400 sq. ft and packed with amazing inventory. We truly are hoping to spread our wings and open a second location, expanding to include open air artisan cheeses, gourmet chocolates, barware, etc...and most importantly, room on site to offer wine education classes! We were this close to purchasing a location close to home, and it fell through this past fall. So, we're on the move again, this time hoping to open a business from the ground up -- and though we're running into obstacles with obtaining a license in the town we want to open in, we've received tremendous amounts of support from the community and feel confident we will make it happen.

And I'm happy to say that I've progressed to the 21st century with regards to blogging and got myself a laptop; my availability to post wine notes will no longer be restricted to my desk. So if I'm drinking a fantastic wine that we think you should know about - it's as simple as turning on the laptop. And maybe - just maybe - more posting will bring more people to interacting with us in this virtual tasting room.

So, long overdue - but hopefully well worth the wait.