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Girl Scout Cookies Pair Just Fine With Domestic Wine

Girl Scout Cookies are a distinctly, happy, American phenomenon - one of those great traditions from everyone's youth you get excited about all over again each year. If your community is predisposed to the door-to-door Saleschild, first you order them. Then you wait. Sometimes a couple of months as the orders get processed. Then, finally, said child returns bearing gifts at your door. This happened to us last week. And it was a wondrous moment!

But as it was late on a Friday afternoon, we thought why not enhance said tradition with something other than a glass of milk, that also further celebrates their All American-ness?

Today we offer findings from our taste-enhancing research, to further your own on-going enjoyment of this sacred tradition and this Classic line-up of Girl Scout Cookies. Cheers!

thin mints® |  Cabernet Sauvignon.  This grape is predisposed to notes of eucalyptus and mint, particularly when made in Lodi, California+ the dark chocolate on these cookies is ever-more Cab-loving!  (Of course an old vine Zinfandel, Petite Sirah or Syrah won’t disappoint either.)

shortbreads|  Chardonnay.  This grape is a no-brainer for these buttery cookies! Try a classic California style like Chateau St. Jean, or experiment with some great Chards coming out of lesser-known states, like Ravines Wine Cellars (Finger Lakes, NY) or Westport Rivers Winery (Cape Cod, MA). Domestic sparklers made from the Chardonnay grape are also a great match! J Vineyards (California) or Gruet (New Mexico) have Brut (dry) selections that would be decadent with these cookies.

samoas|   Roussanne orViognier. These cookies have evolved since the '80s, now incorporating caramel and coconut, but we didn't hold it against the Girl Scouts of America; some change is good! Here try something a little bit more “exotic” like the Stolpman Family Roussanne or White Knight Viognier. Whoop!

peanut butter sandwiches|  dry Gewürztraminer or dry Riesling. In the right hands and even more so when vinified dry, these grapes are a terrific match for these delightfully cloying, lingering, slightly salty cookies. The wines will meet their match, delivering a touch of unctuousness met with a wonderful, mouthwatering pop of acidity to cut through the ‘fat’ of these cookies. Seek out memorable, dry Gewürztraminer from either Gundlach Bundschu  or Navarro Vineyards. Dry Riesling from Dr. Frank (New York) will do the trick, too.



Thanksgiving Wine Selection - made easy!


Thanksgiving Day is the ONLY holiday every single American celebrates.  It is a day observed ladling up traditions at every opportunity; even if you're not doing what historically you have done, admit it - you're thinking or reminiscing about those things! But when it comes to wine selection there tends to be less tradition in play. For some that is the best part of the holiday - the vinous world is your playground! For others, what to serve or what to bring can overwhelm. We get it.

As part of our "made easy" series, we are offering up a few suggestions for going home with a winner or two.

If we can help with your specific feast or preferences, whether a consultation or shopping or both, don't hesitate to Click 2 Inquire. We relish overturning every rock (no minerality pun intended) to find stellar wines perfect for this time of year. And our holiday special is in play NOW through December 31, 2014!

Winning Whites

Noble white varietals are thought the darlings of Thanksgiving. The best hail from cooler climates, offer mesmerizing aromatics which lure you in, are lower in alcohol, a tiny bit "fleshy," yet deliver a crisp, mouthwatering brightness.

- Et Fille "Deux Vert Vineyard" Viognier ~ Willamette Valley, OR

- Szoke "Mantra" Pinot Gris ~ Hungary

Weinguut Jurgen Leiner "Handwerk" Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) ~ Pfalz, Germany

Gundlach Bundschu DRY Gewurtztraminer ~ Sonoma, California

Rabble-Rousing Reds

We hang our hat on discovering earthy, lightER bodied reds - with backbone. Beware of selecting a wine that's too big, which will just weigh you down given all of the food before you.

- Ravines Pinot Noir ~ Fingerlakes, NY

- Dominique Piron Coteaux Bourguignons ~ Burgundy, France

- Elena Walch Schiava ~ Alto Adige, Italy

- Ameztoi "Stimatum" Txakolina ~ Getariako Txakolina, Spain

Remember, with such a big, intense meal with so many different parts and varied traditions, there are countless wines to choose from. When it come to Food & Wine Pairing, the endgame is BALANCE!



Foolproof Thanksgiving Wines to WOW Your Guests

When we received the call to help with a private wine tasting to be held in November, naturally an Autumnal theme came to mind. But with Thanksgiving not so far off, the event also provided the perfect opportunity to introduce guests to some stellar wines they could keep in mind for their own festivities - and would be sure to WOW their own friends and family come Turkey Time.


In classic form, we started the event with a sparkling wine to set the tone for the evening and whet everyone's whistles.

Off to a festive start, thereafter the focus was on wines that:

>  Pair naturally with traditional fare &

>  Are predisposed to keeping you from feeling weighed down.

A big feast is best mitigated by lifting, lower-alcohol, less-robust wines which, in their own right, never compromise on flavor or nuance. Meanwhile, there's no need to have 101 different wines on offer. We reigned in the options and focused on wines that were sure to be hits, no matter the palate in the room:


WHITE.    We chose a DRY Riesling from the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Surprised? Most are, but Riesling can be vinified dry (like any wine!) for a stellar experience. The Riesling grape itself is actually low in sugar and high in acidity, and plays nicely in the salty/rich foods sandbox. These attributes predispose the varietal to Thanksgiving food-friendliness. Without use of oak during fermentation, the wine is 'leaner', preventing you from feeling so full, too.

Offering a DRY style also solves the Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay 'crisis' you may feel you face - it offers a clean, tart zip over a fleshier-textured wine satiating both preferences among guests. And everyone enjoys a pleasant surprise that the wine in their glass is actually... Riesling!

Ravines Wine Cellars' Dry Riesling adorned the tasting table during the event because it packs such power without giving up finesse - but we also chose this one over others the worldwide because it is produced domestically - and there's nothing more appropriate at Thanksgiving than to enjoy a stellar, American-made wine. (In preparing this post we discovered Eric Asimov quite agreed with our specific choice, too!)


RED.      The best domestic Pinot Noir arguably comes from the Willamette Valley, Oregon. The natural cornucopia of flavors that this red grape offers especially when grown in the Willamette Valley are bar-none optimal for a classic Thanksgiving meal: cranberry, red apple skin, dried leaves and a gentle kick of spice are tasting notes we shared during the event; no doubt these are aromas and flavors predisposed to a Thanksgiving spread!

Seeking out your local fine wine shop and soliciting a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir recommendation will certainly add The WOW Factor to your table. There are both known, artisanal favorites and hidden gems among more usual suspects depending on what's available in your market. Use the holiday as an excuse to try a new to you or lesser known producer.



With these foolproof tips we know we've set your table for success! But most important, we wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday!


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the leaves are falling and whites are calling!


White wines, in general, are an under-appreciated wine "category". They offer so much diversity and provide such a nice backdrop to so many a dish it's a wonder they aren't ALL we drink. Imagine our delight then when a recent client opted for a White Wine Only theme. Their trajectory was more practical given the scale of their event (200+ people): to keep the carpets clean. But nottaone guest "complained" reds weren't being served, and in fact, the lack of red "distraction" wholly encouraged everyone to just dive in and embrace what was before them. Each of the wines were held in esteem and impressed a certain 'ah-ha' moment for the depth of interest they imparted. Let's just say, guests kept coming back to see what was next in the lineup.

With the smell of autumn clearly in the air these days and especially with a warming sun still abounding, don't hesitate to saddle up to your fine wine shop's white wine cooler. Harvest fare is an excuse in and of itself to open that door!

Pumpkin Soup with a(n aged) Jura white? ROCKSTAR COMBO. A lush and lively White Burgundy would be a delight, too.

Need something to get the party started first? Westport Rivers RJR Brut (specifically) offers a cornucopia of autumnal flavors, plus an authentic toastiness and a killer mousse.

Especially as Thanksgiving beckons, don't underestimate the power of the Finger Lakes region of New York, or the Willamette Valley, Oregon, too. These regions produce killer white wines that are destined for greatness on your dining room table(and will give your carpets a break, even if your guests don't)!

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Uncorked! April Wicked Wines

We figure there’s no time like springtime to select wines that may tend to hibernate otherwise without a little special attention, simply because they are lesser known. So this April we’re keeping things both familiar (staying closer to home with domestic wine picks) and more… interesting! Our red wine choices don’t exactly roll off the tongue, but with such powerful juice in the bottle, we know that’s about to change. Enjoy learning about these noteworthy April Wicked Wines on Wicked Local today! Are you familiar with any of these more off-the-beaten path picks?



Intriguing wine news... and a cool wine exploration event!

Not my favorite flavorWow! This has been one heck of a week in wine news. The juiciest news comes by way of Wine & Spirits Daily regarding Amazon giving up their piece of the wine pie. It's a longer read but I think it's worth checking out! Ever experienced a tin-foilesque aftertaste having paired red wine with fish? There is new information this week about why red wine and fish are not such a great pairing. Read more here.

Then, in case you missed this year's Boston Globe Plonkapalooza, check out this year's top wine picks!

For those of you looking to stretch your legs and travel the wine world a bit, consider joining Bon Vivant Wine Company (Randolph, MA) as they wine and dine with you at some of Long Island's best vineyards on November 21. Tickets are available here.

What do you think of Amazon's decision?



The Terminator, Finger Lakes and the passing of a great wine pub

Wine Report 09Those of us in the wine industry know August is a sleeper month. Sales always drop as folks head out of town for some rest before school starts again. This calm-before-the-storm is a relief to many of us because we're about to embark on Trade Tasting Season, which starts in just a couple of weeks - and is, quite frankly, insane. Further evidence of this quiet month is just how little truly newsworthy wine "news" is out there these days. No less, Decanter comes through for us once again this week! Here are three articles that rose to the top for me:

Wine from Finger Lakes wins top prize. (Do they really think any other region can compete?)

Find out what "The Terminator" is doing to get CA back on the consumer radar...

Sad news for wine professionals... Our beloved Wine Report is going off-line.

What's your reaction to these news tidbits?



Wine heist and other wine banter...

Thanks to: Summer is a sultry, nap-worthy, beach-loving time of year. So it's not often you go away for a long weekend and come home to find out about one of the biggest wine heists in recent New England news! Right here in Hopkinton, MA - better known as the starting line for the Boston Marathon - a bottle of 1945 Chateau Mouton Rothschild was swiped from a liquor store. I dunno, I guess I always thought such heists would have much more elaborate planning, much more intrigue, like that depicted in the Thomas Crown Affair. Then again, if we could just walk on out of a fine wines shop with a $20K bottle of wine, we'd probably be harder to find thereafter.... For the full report, check out this Globe article!

Back when I was a 9-5 office rat on a lovely summer Friday, sometimes I took a few extra minutes to get into the swing of my workday, or daydream at lunch. Here are a two wine blog columns worthy of such web-perusing this week:

Dr. Vino on Labels Worthy of...Banning?

Lenndevours: A trip to Seneca Lake to chat with an 80-year-old Matriarch...

Which other wine tidbits did you find particularly entertaining this week?



wine column hop'n!

Disney World - care of www.babble.comEven with the Super Bowl due this weekend and beer lovers all over the US (and beyond?) gearing up for the big day of consumption, wine columnists at some of the country's top rags stayed the course, touching on topics I personally have been following. And so this Friday I bring to you a look at wine from three of my favorite writers: New York's City Winery is open. Looking for the Disney World of Wine? It seems City Winery is trying to be just that. As enthusiastic and passionate as I am about the art of fermented grape juice, I'm not sure if I'm about it.  Must we be everything to everyone? Or is it just this approach that will allow CW to find success even in a down market? Eric Asimov, author of the New York Times' "The Pour", checks out the scene and brings up some very interesting points.  I'll be in town once the ice melts to check it out for myself, but in the meantime, I'm dying to hear what my Big Apple readers think of it! Are you "a fan" of the concept? Comment below!

Malbec, mmm Malbec! Argentine Malbec is certainly a section in the store with a ridiculous number of facings given our small space. But there is enough demand to warrant so many choices! This scenario (plus my personal affection for it?) encourages our reps to continue to bring by new Malbecs for us to try. What's interesting is how many simply 'eh', down right bad, or "fakey-fake" offerings we've tasted in the last 4-5 months. Of course, this just makes us feel even happier with the wines we do carry, but it also demoralizes me a bit. I'd hate to see Malbec winemaking go down the tubes just to meet the increasing demand. While we've been experiencing this challenge here in Greater Boston, you never know for sure if your experience is being felt elsewhere.... This week Gaiter & Bretcher at the Wall Street Journal took 100 Malbecs to the mattresses and reported their findings. Check out their 411! And then tell us, what are your own recent experiences?

Fireplace magic. Since I've been on my winter warmers bender and definitely used the term "fireplace wine" at least once in recent history, I was happy to see Stephen Meuse take up the torch in January's Boston Globe "Plonk of the Month" column. Meuse usually rounds up a solid number of somewhat lesser known, reasonably priced wines, from around the world (yea!). You'll never see mass-marketed items, so it is a pleasure to check out his line-up every 4th Wednesday. And I appreciate that with "plonk" wines as his focus, he describes the wines in relation to their accessible price; it's true, we are "prepared to overlook the occasional quirk [to] be amply compensated by a level of character and interest heavily marketed brands just can't deliver". See what he recommends this month here. Are you familiar with any of these already?



earthy genious in a bottle of cab franc

I love Cabernet Franc. There, I've said it. I know many people who are disinclined to this often vegetal-tasting/smelling grape varietal, but I quite enjoy it. Perhaps you've had it and you haven't even realized it. It is a grape that often plays second or third fiddle in Bordeaux blends. If you're palate has taken you to the Loire Valley of France and you enjoyed a red wine from Chinon or Saumur-Champigny, you've enjoyed this varietal on its own. Likewise, you may also have tried a bottle from a California producer, where the grape is increasingly getting a chance to play the lead role. But if you're really lucky, you'll have tasted some from the Finger Lakes region of New York State. The Finger Lakes is an up-and-coming wine region here in the US. Cold as You-Know-What up in those parts, the Lakes do play a critical role in moderating the otherwise frosty climate. With proper vine grafting, Riesling has done tremendously well (as has Chardonnay). In fact Dr. Frank's Rieslings are thought to rival those of Germany's Saar region. Reds are starting to get some more attention, too. Cabernet Franc from this region has even caught the attention of world-reknowned wine writer, Jancis Robinson. And with good reason.

My mentor gifted me a bottle of Red Newt Cellars' 2004 Cabernet Franc several months ago. She knows my palate enjoys a good frolick with cab franc and she is in the less-inclined category I mentioned earlier. She is also from upstate New York and knew this would be a good opportunity for me to taste this up and coming New York state wine - wines that are nearly impossible to get hold of here in Massachusetts. I knew it was going to be a fun wine to drink so I bided my time waiting for an opportunity when the weather (temperate) and my dinner menu (something "earthy" involved, e.g. mushrooms, eggplant, rosemary, etc.) were in sync.

Only the comfort of Chicken Marsala, garlic/rosemary mashed potatoes and snow peas would ease our pain from having watched Tom Brady injure himself in the first quarter of last Sunday's game. The evening was gorgeous, too.  And so the stars had aligned to pop the cork of the Newt Cab Franc in my cellar.

What we found was a treat. Red Newt Cellars produced a lighter-styled Cab Franc, with gentle tannins and moderate acidity. The fruit was the most distinguishing characteristic, offering bright, ripe red fruits - cranberry and raspberries seemed most evident to me - followed by soft spice and earth. In a blind taste test I may have said it was a Pinot Noir - being both more accustomed to the bigger, bolder Cab Franc offerings I'm used to drinking from CA and lacking (in a refreshing way) the strong bell pepper notes so often evident in wines from the Loire.

True to form (having experience the wine for myself first), the next day I took my notes and went online to see what the winemaker or other "experts" had to say about the wine's characteristics. The winemaker certainly hoped I'd have the experience I did! For the 2005 vintage he writes, "cranberry and raspberry with overtones of smoke and spice make an elegant red that shows well young and ages beautifully. Cabernet Franc is one of the most promising red varieties ever introduced in the Finger Lakes. Structure is typically complex, complete but delicate. Color is moderate to dark and tannins soft." Complete but delicate were probably my happiest memories of the wine - I couldn't have said it better myself!

What's your experience with Cab Franc? Are you as inclined as I to pick up a bottle? Or, is this a new one on you - and one you might take for a test drive in future?