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Matt Cole
January 31, 2012 | Matt Cole

Expressive Syrah & Braised Short Ribs

Chateau Maris has an outstanding portfolio and we recently had the pleasure of tasting through the line up with Jacques Herivou, co-owner and US representative of Chateau Maris.  The wines are powerful, balanced and food friendly, and this is one of many pairings that could work well.  

Chateau Maris was founded over twenty years ago when Robert Eden migrated to southern France, with a vision to allow wines to be a reflection of the land where the grapes were grown. He believes that ‘wine is grown and not made’ and has taken this to the next level of integrity by becoming certified organic and biodynamic.  Eden fell in love with and potential of the Minervois and, in particular, the little-known village of La Livinière. The first in Languedoc to be granted permission to put the village name on the label, alongside AOC Minervois. Like much of Languedoc Roussillon; the Minervois has a history of making wine for some 1000 years, however it is only recently becoming known as a source of high quality wines.

For me, the stand-out wine was Chateau Maris Syrah La Touge Minervois Cru La Liviniere 2009, which definitely over-performs for its price point (only $15.29 with our mix-and-match discount).  It is 85% Syrah, finished with 15% Grenache, which provides a very deep red, almost purple hue.  La Touge's aromas are big, with layers of ripe black fruits and spicy.  On the palate, this wine is complex, yet smooth, with blackcurrants, elderberries paired with spicy bursts of pepper and herbs. 

La Touge is ideal for a big meal and eventhough we have had quite a mild winter, there is nothing better than warming up on a cold February night with a hearty food and wine pairing.  This braised beef short rib recipe is rustic, full of flavor, and pairs really well with the blackberry and spice in Maris' La Touge.  Enjoy this combination with whipped potatoes, buttered egg noodles, or a simple white risotto.

Braised Beef Short Ribs
Serves 6

8lbs. Bone in Beef Short Ribs
1 large Onion – rough chop
1 Leek – rough chop
4 Carrots – rough chop
1 ounce packet of fresh Thyme
1 Head of Garlic cut in half with skin on. 
1 Bottle of Dry Red Wine (try Terra Andina Carmenere, only $8.99 and full of flavor!)
1 Quart Beef Stock

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.

Begin by dredging the beef in flour and season liberally with salt and pepper. In batches, sear the beef, in a heavy bottomed Dutch Oven, without overcrowding, in neutral oil.  Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add Onions, cook until beginning to caramelize and then add Leeks, Carrots, and Garlic. Cook until all have softened.

Add Thyme, and the reserved Beef.

Add the wine and stock until just covering the beef. Bring to boil, cover, and place in oven for 4 hours.

Remove the beef from the liquid. Strain braising liquid through a fine sieve. Skim any fat from the top of the braising liquid.

Return the liquid to the pan, bring to boil and reduce until the sauce thickens, and then add the beef back to the liquid.  Check for seasoning & enjoy! 

Time Posted: Jan 31, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Traci Lee
January 19, 2012 | Traci Lee

Surprising Flavor from a Perfect Pairing

I'm very excited about my first wine and cheese pairing of 2012, because both components are complex and flavorful: suberb on their own and marry together in a super surprising (and delicious) way - which is the #1 goal when creating a perfect pairing! 

2010 Pighin Pinot Grigio Collio is a beautiful golden color and very aromatic with hints of hazelnut, white fruit and subtle spice.  The palate is delicate, but expressive with layers of flavor, literally each sip brings out something new - if you don't think of enjoying white wine with food, give this a try!  It is rich and earthy, medium to full-bodied and has a hint of peach, a ton of minerality and a textured mouth feel that is a very different from many Americanized, flat/light Pinot Gris you may have tasted and said "yuck".  Azienda Fratelli Pighin is a magnificently beautiful family-owned estate located in the prestigious D.O.C Collio zone of Grave-del-Friuli, in northeast Italy, and they remain a benchmark producer for Pinot Grigio. 

After enjoying a few sips of Pighin, I pick up a piece of very stinky Grayson, a gooey, golden, washed-rind cheese from Virginia.  Meadow Creek's Grayson looks like Tallegio and smells like feet, which is great, considering this cheese is produced by the Feete family.  This cheese smells dirty and straight from the barn, but tastes mild and amazing.  It is creamy, with a thick paste that coats your mouth and I immediate think of using it in mac + cheese.  The flavor is deep and hearty with onions and meaty beef on the palate, it could be a meal.  The taste tames the scent and although it does smells like feet, Grayson will knock your socks off.

Once I have covered all of my tastebuds with the cheese, I take a hearty sip of the wine.  It tastes like banana! In a good way.  Thankfully I'm tasting with a number of others, confirming the banana burst and full-bodied tropical fruit that I find within this wine and cheese combination.  The hazelnut flavor in the Pinot Grigio is also amplified when paired with the cheese and the meaty character of the cheese is humbled by the layers of fruit in the wine. 

While both the Pighin and the Grayson are outstanding on their own, this pairing truly brings out the best of each other, while creating a new flavor together.  That being said, a perfect pairing like this is able to work because 3 tasting principles are at work:  the weight -  each component is similar, medium to full bodied, with big aromatics, that greatly play into the what you experience while tasting.  The texture - the wine and cheese "feel" similar in your mouth, they coat your tongue with creamy, smooth layers.  Finally, the flavor - the wine is hearty and earthy, which is a great clue that the taste will be enhanced with food.  The cheese is tastes like a meal itself, and of course, meals are always better with wine - I can't wait for you to try this combination!  When you do, please post your thoughts here or share with our Facebook community!

Time Posted: Jan 19, 2012 at 5:00 AM