Menu
888-588-4945
Cart 0 items: $0.00
Eric Genau
 
July 1, 2013 | Eric Genau

Following the 100th Tour de France with Wine

As we gear up for Independence Day, and the 100th Tour de France begins to roll, it is once again time to feature some of our favorite wines as we follow the greatest race on earth. Get excited for 2,200 miles over three weeks, and some of the greatest wine regions in and around France!

Cycling may be the most wine friendly sport in the world. Its three "Grand Tours" - the Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a España and the Tour de France - roll through some of the world's greatest wine regions every year. If you are an avid cyclist who likes to eat, drink and climb (not at the same time), you can saddle up a racing level Pinarello Dogma with our partner InGamba, where my good friend and former pro cyclist, Joao Correia will introduce you to some of Tuscany's greatest food, wine and rides (Bicycling Magazine calls it the "Best ride on earth"). Trust me, riding with Joao and visiting the likes of Castello di Ama will be one of the greatest experiences of your life. For the mere mortals among us, there are nearly endless options for enjoying cycling and wine around the world.

Wine and cycling are two things most identified with France. One of the greatest wine-producing nations on earth, Le Tour is also perhaps the most demanding athletic competition in the world, and the scenery is breathtaking. This year, we have already seen incredible scenery as the Tour visited Corsica for the first time. And there are few things more visually stunning than seeing a Peloton of color gliding through miles of vineyard roads.

Keeping with tradition, we will be following the Tour closely with a series of tastings to explore some of France's great wine-producing regions. Beginning in Corsica and on the Mediterranean coast at Nice and Marseilles, this year's ride will also pass through Provence, the Rhone Valley, Savoie, Languedoc-Rousillon, the Loire Valley and other wine regions. On Bastille Day, it will just miss the southern tip of Burgundy - a stage that the French riders always "reach into their suitcase of courage" to win.

With over 300 recognized appellations in France, the Tour is also a great opportunity to open some of our most oddball wines from France so you can get in touch with your inner wine-geek. Please check our tasting calendar and join us for some or all of these tastings. It’s going to be a fun few weeks!

Time Posted: Jul 1, 2013 at 8:05 AM Permalink to Following the 100th Tour de France with Wine Permalink
Eric Genau
 
June 29, 2012 | Eric Genau

Tasting Your Way Through the Tour de France

Happy July! It's time to gear up for Independence Day and the Tour de France...and it's one of the best times of the year to drink good wine. If you don't know already, I love wine and I love cycling. As always, the Tour's 2,200 mile, three week race, gives us an easy excuse to feature some of our favorite French wines. I've written before about how much I love this time of year:

I love this time of year.  The sun is out, flowers are in bloom, the new vintage of rosé is here for all to enjoy -- and the Tour de France rolls out on what also happens to be the birthday of our Country and my only son.  Pro Cycling is a pretty cool sport if you're a wine enthusiast.  Its three "Grand Tours" run through some of the world's greatest wine regions every year -- the Giro d'Italia (Italy), Vuelta a España (Spain) and the Tour de France.  Whether you ride or not, Le Tour is thrilling to watch.  The race itself is perhaps the most demanding athletic competition in the world, and the scenery is breathtaking.  There are few things more visually stunning than seeing a Peloton of color gliding through miles of vineyard roads.  It is inspiring in every respect, and it always makes me want to drink wine.

Peloton entering MaconKeeping with tradition, we will be following the Tour closely with a series of tastings to explore France's unique regions. As always, the race itself rolls through some of France's most well-known wine appellations. The early days will see the riders glide through Épernay in the heart of Champagne (although they will probably wait until the ride into Paris to actually drink Champagne on the saddle), and through the Vosges Mountains just west of Alsace. Stage 10 brings the Peloton back to Maçon, the southernmost city in Burgundy, just north of the hills of Beaujolais. Maçon will be a stage town for the fifth time, and has hosted important time-trials in the past. Look for some excitement here! If only because we're going to use this opportunity to open some awesome wine. And don't forget to plan your Bastille Day festivities around the Stage 13 ride out of the Rhone Valley and into the Languedoc-Roussillon -- this is one the French riders really push hard to win. 

For every appellation you've heard of in France, there are probably ten you didn't know existed (there are over 300 recognized appellations)! And so this is also a great opportunity to open some of our most oddball wines from France so you can get in touch with your inner wine-geek. This is going to be a fun few weeks! We kick it all off with some wines from Champagne and Alsace on June 29th between 5-7pm. Check out our Events Calendar as we update all of our Tour-themed tastings. 

If you really want to go crazy, come up with some sort of Tour de France Wine Game. Here's a creative one we sort of borrowed from (randomly) the Phoenix New Times:

•    Each time Phil Liggett says a rider is "reaching into his suitcase of courage", take a drink.
•    Each time Paul Sherwen says "The elastic has snapped!", open a new bottle, fill everyone's glass and take a drink.
•    Each time Liggett or Sherwen corrects the other on some incorrect fact or observation, take a drink.
•    Each time Bob Roll says "Tour-Day-France", feel ashamed to be an American and take a drink.
•    Each time Liggett or Sherwen remark on the riders taking a "nature break", go ahead and take one yourself.

Time Posted: Jun 29, 2012 at 7:57 AM Permalink to Tasting Your Way Through the Tour de France Permalink
Eric Genau
 
January 11, 2011 | Eric Genau

Revisiting Oregon Pinot Noir and Rethinking Champagne

When I wrote down my Wine Resolutions for the New Year back in December 2009, I was thinking of things that would help me to enjoy wine in 2010, and to help others continue on their wine journeys.  Looking back, if you followed at least one of the suggestions I noted - to Discover Oregon Wine -  it likely would have brought you great joy in 2010.  Little did I know then that we would see perhaps the greatest Pinot Noir vintage in U.S. history coming out of Oregon's Willamette Valley.  Simply put, 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir is my choice for the most exciting wine story of 2010.  And so, my first suggestion for 2011 is this:  If you have not yet tasted the Willamette Valley's 2008 Pinots, proceed immediately to your local wine merchant or online retailer and start buying these up (City Wine Merchant has a great selection)!  These wines will be completely gone from store shelves within the next 6 months (here's hoping the 2009 vintage follows-up well).

While my 2010 suggestions still apply this year and will help to heighten your wine enjoyment in 2011, it recently occurred to me that I completely missed the mark last year by not even mentioning Champagne!  I have long said that if I were trapped on a desert island and could only pick one thing to drink for the rest of my life, it would be Champagne (but I would miss the Pinot Noirs of Burgundy a lot).  Yes, good Champagne is unrivaled to accompany life's great celebrations, but it is so much more.  In 2011, make it a point to discover Grower Champagne (put down that bottle of Veuve Clicquot for a few months), and to drink Champagne with food. 

On New Year's Eve, my wife and I were reminded of Champagne's great food-pairing potential as we enjoyed a near perfect meal at Seabar, one of our favorite restaurants in Buffalo.  If you haven't experienced Chef Mike Andrzejewski's brilliance, you are missing out (check out Mike's NYC dinner at the James Beard House in February).  For Champagne, Vilmart & Cie Champagne 'Grand Cellier' (a blend of 30% Chardonnay and 70% Pinot Noir) was the choice of the night.  After enjoying a magical pairing with Washington State oysters, my entree of grilled shrimp and goat's cheese potato pierogi blew my mind.  The dish was a crazy fusion of flavors, made with a red wine sauce and sauteed onions, and I can think of no better match for this than the toasty Champagne.  Sound odd?  Try it.  Every component of the Champagne had a complement in the food, and vice versa.  It was a great example of how Champagne can be great with food, and it was a perfect way to end a great 2010. 

Thank you to everyone for supporting City Wine Merchant in 2010.  Cheers to a happy and productive 2011!

Time Posted: Jan 11, 2011 at 9:20 AM Permalink to Revisiting Oregon Pinot Noir and Rethinking Champagne Permalink Comments for Revisiting Oregon Pinot Noir and Rethinking Champagne Comments (2)
Eric Genau
 
July 8, 2010 | Eric Genau

A Ride Through Champagne

I love this time of year.  The sun is out, flowers are in bloom, the new vintage of rosé is here for all to enjoy -- and the Tour de France rolls out on what also happens to be the birthday of our Country and my only son.  Pro Cycling is a pretty cool sport if you're a wine enthusiast.  Its three "Grand Tours" run through some of the world's greatest wine regions every year -- the Giro d'Italia (Italy), Vuelta a España (Spain) and the Tour de France.  Whether you ride or not, Le Tour is thrilling to watch.  The race itself is perhaps the most demanding athletic competition in the world, and the scenery is breathtaking.  There are few things more visually stunning than seeing a Peloton of color gliding through miles of vineyard roads.  It is inspiring in every respect, and it always makes me want to drink wine. 

The 2010 Tour will be no exception, with stages through some of France's greatest wine regions.  Stages 4 and 5 roll through the very heart of Champagne, with stops in Reims and Épernay, the commercial centers of the world's greatest sparkling wine region, and home to classic Champagne houses such as Taittinger and Perrier-Jouet.  Stages 18 and 19 ride straight through Bordeaux's left bank, including St.-Julien and a stage-end in Pauillac, the mythical home of Château Mouton Rothschild and other giants of the wine world.  Because of this great 2,200 mile, three week race, July is a perfect time to feature some of our favorite French wines!

Throughout this year's Tour, we will be featuring some of our favorite wines from the various Stage regions.  To help maximize your Tour enjoyment this week, we are excited to feature one of our favorite Grower Champagne values: Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Selection Belles Annees.  Gimonnet is considered a benchmark for quality in Champagne, and this entry selection doesn't disappoint. This is 100% Chardonnay with nearly 75% from Grand Cru villages. The chalky soils in the Côte des Blancs create wines of incredible focus and minerality. Intensely floral and spicy on the nose, which displays tangerine and pear scents. Orchard fruits and lemon on the palate, with floral honey, and a sappy finish. If you haven't discovered Grower Champagne, this is a perfect place to start!  And it's even better while watching some of the world's greatest athletes ride through the fabled countryside where it is made.  Stage 5 through Champagne will air on Versus in the on July 8, the same day we will have this bottle open to taste!

Time Posted: Jul 8, 2010 at 8:04 AM Permalink to A Ride Through Champagne Permalink Comments for A Ride Through Champagne Comments (2)
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 Permalink to Wine Resolutions for the New Year Permalink Comments for Wine Resolutions for the New Year Comments (3)
Eric Genau
 
October 6, 2009 | Eric Genau

Fall Wine Dinner Recap: All About Harmony

I'm usually not lost for some words of my own, but after having a day to reflect on Tabree's Fall Wine Dinner, I think that Mike Depue said it all at the dinner's conclusion: It was all about harmony.  Michael Broadbent said, "drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life's most civilized pleasures."  Good wine with good food elevates both, and every time I have great wine and food pairings like this night, I am reminded how we often forget that wine is for so much more than drinking.  I was also reminded on this night how we live in a world of so many over-the-top wines and over-the-top food dishes with crazy proportions.  This night was a complete escape from that, focusing rather on simplicity and balance.

The evening began with beautiful passed hors d'oeuvres, along with a crisp, mineral-laden Cailbourdin Pouilly-Fume 'Les Cris' 2007.  The wine was focused and raw, with only a subtle note of citrus present.  It struck me that this was how Sauvignon Blanc should taste.

Tabree's Oyster Gratin and Calvados set the stage for one of the evening's true highlights - Henri Billiot Brut Reserve Champagne.  This was grower Champagne at its finest.  From 80% Pinot Noir (100% Grand Cru) and it showed.  I thought this tasted more like Pinot Noir than any Champagne I've ever had.  It was full-bodied with fresh-out-of-the-oven blueberry pie notes, and the pairing was a perfect blending of flavors and textures.  Extremely limited production, from a tiny 5 hectare parcel.

Skate Wing Schnitzle, haricot vert, and beurre rouge allowed us to showcase a young but refined 2005 Burgundy.  Rossignol-Trapet Gevrey-Chambertin 2005 was a classic representative of its appellation, unfolding in the glass to reveal a light, elegant wine of mineral, red fruit, and soft baking spice.  Both the wine and Tabree's dark, rich sauce were a couple of my personal favorites from the evening.

For the main entree, Braised Beef, wild mushroom, pearl onion, and demi-glace paired with Les Baux de Provence 'Mas de Gourgonnier' 2007.  While the rest of the evening showcased refined and elegant pairings, this veered toward rustic while still maintaining great balance and restraint.  This was the best wine value of the night, proving that you can get interesting, quality French wine for under $15.  This is such a cool wine (in a cool bottle), and it throws herbs, fruit and spice at you in waves.  After this course, there was little doubt that this was an authentic French food and wine experience.

For a final pairing, Apple Tart Tatin paired with Chateau Tuileries Sauternes 2005.  The dessert was delicious.  Again, simple but elegant.  And this time the food and wine had exactly the same theme - rich but light at the same time.  The Sauternes was classic, with layers of honey and citrus.  Sauternes can often be very heavy and viscous, but this was almost airy in the mouth.  It was a another great value, as this one sells in a 750ml bottle for a fraction of the price of many half-bottle Icewines. 

Thanks to Tabree for a job well done, and thanks to everyone who turned out for this great experience. 

Time Posted: Oct 6, 2009 at 4:52 PM Permalink to Fall Wine Dinner Recap: All About Harmony Permalink
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 Permalink to Do Something You Love Permalink Comments for Do Something You Love Comments (6)