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Traci Lee
January 4, 2011 | Traci Lee

Indulgent Prosecco pairing

Happy New Year! I put a lot of thought into the first cheese and wine pairing of the year by considering what I wanted from the duo before making my selection – an indulgent crowd-pleasing pair, which could be enjoyable any time of day.

After the wonderful task of tasting a few combinations, the first pairing of 2011 is Bisol Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene Brut Desiderio Jeio and La Tur. Both Italian favorites, this sparking wine, from the Veneto region, offers a fresh lemon tang that pairs deliciously with the 3-milk cheese. Produced in Piedmont, La Tur is a combination of cow, goat and sheep milk which is shaped into cupcake sized rounds and aged a few weeks to develop a cloud-like, bloomy rind that encloses the buttery, creamy middle. If you love ice cream, you will love this cheese!

The Prosecco has the perfect amount of fizz to compliment the rich creaminess of the cheese, without cutting too deeply through its decadent flavor. A perfect party-starter, this pair would be just as successful at brunch as it would an evening celebration. Serve along side a crusty baguette and mission figs. Cheers!

Time Posted: Jan 4, 2011 at 9:33 AM
Eric Genau
December 31, 2009 | Eric Genau

Wine Resolutions for the New Year

As I look back on an amazing first 5 months and a great 2009, I have a real sense of excitement for 2010.  City Wine Merchant is still a new business, and there are so many things I'd like to do in the new year!  It is our goal to make wine fun for our customers, and to continue to impact the way our customers buy and enjoy wine.  I promise that will continue, and we will do our part to bring exciting wines to you at great prices.  It has been incredible to meet so many great people over the past few months, and I look forward to seeing all of you in 2010!

Here are a few other suggestions for the new year to help us all continue our wine journey and hopefully discover something new in 2010:

1.  Drink Local!  Discover or continue to enjoy the fantastic wines produced in the Niagara Escarpment (USA).  I will be the first to admit that local wines were barely on my radar screen when I opened CWM.  Sure, I've had a great Finger Lakes Riesling here and there, but little did I know that a wine renaissance was happening right in our backyard.  The Niagara Escarpment is home to numerous innovative winemakers, producing top quality wines (red and white) at great prices.  Don't believe us?  Take home Arrowhead Spring's full lineup of Red Meritage, Chardonnay, Semi-Dry Riesling, Port-style dessert wine, and Icewine -- and I challenge you to find a weak-link in the group!

2.  Discover Oregon and Washington.  These two states are producing some of the most exciting wines in the country, plain and simple.  If you haven't fully explored Oregon's Pinot Noir and Washington's Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux-style blends, then you are truly missing out on something historic.  These wines are some of the best in the world, and they may change the way you think about these varietals.  While some of you may ultimately prefer generally bigger and more-modern-styled wines from California, you may just find that Washington Cabernet and Oregon Pinot Noir are more to your liking.  Some of our favorite producers from Oregon are Patricia Green, Penner-Ash, Bergstrom, Panther Creek, and A to Z.  From Washington, try something from L'Ecole 41, Pepperbridge, Charles Smith, and Januik. 

3.  Drink wine with food.  We at City Wine Merchant believe that wine is meant to compliment a great meal (and vice-versa).  While wine continues to enjoy unprecedented growth in the United States, it has been our experience that many people still overlook the benefit of pairing wine with food.  That's a shame.  There is a saying that "drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life's most civilized pleasures."  Make it a point to experience that in 2010 by putting a little thought into how you can heighten your enjoyment of wine by pairing it with food.  You just may find that it also heightens your enjoyment of food!  Organize or attend wine dinner, or perhaps try picking a wine first and then try to find a good recipe to match it with!  A suggestion or two?  Try seafood with Vermentino from Sardinia, Italy or Lamb with Malbec from Cahors, France. 

4.  Put that bottle away.  While it is impossible to drink aged-wine every day or every week, there is something magical about a wine that has the benefit of time in a bottle.  Flavors and aromas come together and layers are revealed.  In a world where high alcohol content and big fruit-bombs are a-plenty, we often enjoy wines that hit us over the head like a hammer with flavor.  But we also, more often than not, drink wines too young.  When reading about wines, pay attention to suggested drinking windows, and put a bottle or two down in the cellar to see how it changes and evolves over a couple years or more.  Don't have the patience for that?  Good wine shops always stock past-vintages of wines that are cellar-worthy.  Instead of buying that highly-rated 2007 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, ask your wine merchant for something with a little age on it (2003-2006 were all excellent vintages - try Beaurenard CDP 2004 or Ferrand's 2006 CDP).  You may find a better experience and a better value.  Some of our other suggestions for great values and wines that are becoming ready to drink: 2004 Bordeaux and Burgundy, and 2001 and 2003 vintages from Tuscany and Piedmont, Italy. 

5.  Open that bottle!  Didn't I just say that we should put more bottles away to enjoy them down the road?  Yes, but even more important is to not forget that wine is meant to be enjoyed and shared.  Don't let great bottles sit for years or decades because you can't seem to find the right occasion to open them.  Have a 1986 Lafite still sitting around?  Invite a few great friends over, put some steaks on the grill and pop that cork!  Sometimes organizing a fun night around a special wine is the perfect reason to open that bottle.  Better yet, encourage everyone to do the same, and have everyone say a few words about why that wine is special to them.  This is exactly what Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher of the Wall Street Journal had in mind when they started touting an "Open That Bottle Night" on the last Saturday in February every year.  I have been celebrating OTBN for a few years, and some of the most memorable wines I've ever had were opened on this night.  Why the arbitrary date?  That's the point.  The wine you open doesn't have to be the most expensive or the highest rated.  Rather, pick that bottle that was special enough, for whatever reason, to make you hold onto while trying to find that perfect night to finally pop the cork.  Now you've found that night!

Time Posted: Dec 31, 2009 at 9:00 AM
Eric Genau
July 26, 2009 | Eric Genau

Do Something You Love

There are a lot of things I love in life.  Among them, and in no particular order, are my wife, my dog, and wine.  Thanks to my parents and an early start, it seems as though wine has been a part of just about every significant memory in my life.  Family dinners at home, traveling, parties, birthdays...and my wedding (rumor has it that we went through a few bottles of Champagne).  I became a dad for the first time on July 4th, and I'm already thinking of a fun bottle to put away for his 21st birthday.  Or maybe the 18th?  If I'm anything like my parents, my kid will be tasting wine early and often. 

Wine creates beautiful experiences and enhances others – a long, winding journey up a Tuscan mountain in search of a vineyard restaurant on a warm, early fall day that ended with the most perfectly layered and drinkable bottle of Chianti Classico (now that's a romantic lunch); a Prosecco cocktail and a Pinot Noir on the first night of our honeymoon; the bottle that we forgot we had that rounded out a perfect meal at home (remember that Malbec from Cahors that went perfectly with that lamb)?

I have been given a lot of advice in my life, but perhaps none more important than "do something you love."  And so I am.  I look forward to sharing it with people I know and people I will know.  Together we will create more great life experiences.

Time Posted: Jul 26, 2009 at 9:58 PM