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Friday, January 29, 2010

Wine Fridays

So I've been yapping to you folks for a few weeks now, about food, and recipes, and occasionally some wines or beers. I have a wine shop, as most of you know. It's really a wine shop with a ridiculously amazing selection (if I do say so myself) collection of craft beers. I pride myself on the selection of wines under $20 and love that my shop almost always has the most up-to-date beers I can. I created a mix-n-match table in the shop, so you can come in and get a 6-pk of all different beers, allowing you to try the newest and "hoppiest."

How do I FIND all these things? It's a chore, I won't lie. I spend hours a week reading, researching, and scouring websites like Beer Advocate. But I owe a lot of my amazing inventory to one, special, incredibly wonderful day...Wine Fridays.

On Fridays, from around the hours of 12 and 4, my distributors and sales reps come into the shop for me to taste things. Sometimes wines, sometimes beers, sometimes both. It has become a ritual for me and the other people who happen to be at the theater on Fridays (you know who you are) and, well, we love it. Don't get me wrong--not everything tastes good. My oh my the stories I could tell you about ChocoWine. But most often, I find one or two things I love, and I order them. We sit with the sales rep, pour glass after glass, swirling, smelling, and of course, tasting. No spitting here--at the very most I'll pour out the remainder of the glass into a large vessel of "wasted wine."

Most of why I do this, aside from inventory purposes, is to know tasting notes so that I can sell my clients on things. A Cabernet is NOT a Cabernet always...wines do not all taste the same. I know we all think "Eh, I really only like Pinot Noir." But do you know how many different STYLES of Pinot Noir you can find? It's insane!

Today, I have no idea what most of my purveyors will bring me. I do know that I am tasting a few beers from Bell's Brewery, which excites me  (and my cohorts) to no end! My advice to you is to try, if you can, to have your own version of Wine Friday (probably not during the work day, unless your job allows such exciting events.) But taste things. Seek out a new "under $12 wine" at your favorite discount store and give it a whirl! At the worst, it won't be good, and you can use it to cook with. If you're lucky enough to have a beer store that sells singles, try a few new things, recommended by the owner/manager/kid working behind the counter who hopefully knows something. You will most likely be super excited for having found a new wine or beer to brag about in the office on Monday.

I will supply you with two recommendations today, maybe you can find these in your area:

Terra Andina Carmenere 

A Chilean red wine, at an unbelievable value. When I blind tasted this wine in the shop, my rep asked us to guess the wholesale price. We all guessed $25 (remember, wholesale price.) I was shocked when he told me how inexpensive it was. Chilean wines are most often a great value, but not always a great taste. This Carmenere is oaky, full-bodied, and delicious. Super drinkable, with food, or after a hard day at work!

Cucapa Obscura Reserve
$9 (6-pk)
This is a new craft beer from Mexico. This is one of the best dark Mexican beers I've had, and ranks laterally with Negra Modelo. There are three beers (so far) from this brewery: a Pale Ale, a Honey, and this. This is my favorite. It's created in a Californian micro-brew style, with Mexican influences. Give it a whirl! We drank it the other night with steak tacos, and mmmmmm!

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