Recently, I had an interesting conversation over lunch as to why someone wasn’t too keen on spending more than $20 for a bottle of wine and it really boiled down to not knowing enough about what he was buying. It reminded me of another conversation I had where the woman told me she liked Gamay and Beaujolais – I had to break it to her that Gamay is the grape and Beaujolais the region. I take my wine knowledge for granted and rarely stop to realize how confusing the wine world can be. So in part one of two, I am going to break down the ten most significant red wine grapes in hopes it will provide an introduction into the labyrinth that the world of grapes can be.Read More
Why “Cheap” is a Four-Letter Word
Do you walk into the butcher and ask him for his cheapest piece of meat? Do you buy a dress from someone who uses cheap labor and materials?Read More
The only aging I want to talk about this week is the aging of red wine. Around 95% of the wine we drink are not worthy of aging. A wine must have four key components that are all balanced: tannins, sugar, acidity, and alcohol. If these four things are in balance then it is worth laying the bottle down.Read More
There is a frenetic energy in just about everyone and I am quick to attribute it to Mercury Retrograde, the eclipse, the full moon, or the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing which also coincides with my birthday. Which came first? The moon landing or me?Read More
When I came to City Club nearly a year ago my mission was to improve the wines that were served at Happy Hour and once that was accomplished, the next goal was to build a cellar City Club could be proud of. Both of these goals have been accomplished and we now boast a cellar that is beautiful not just in aesthetics but in content.Read More
The USA turns 243 this year and while most pair their BBQs with beer (and there is nothing wrong with that), I think having a Cabernet or even Champagne is a more civilized approach to this very American celebration. Whether you are grilling basic burgers and hotdogs, frying some chicken for a picnic, and finishing it up with a slice of pie, some great bottles of wine will make you look like the Boss of the BBQ.Read More
If you have seen the documentary Somm, then you may be aware of the great moment when Ian Cauble likened a wine’s aroma to a freshly opened can of tennis balls. Those of us in the wine world talk a ridiculous amount in language that doesn’t make sense to those around us. I once said of a wine, “It tastes like a cherry Jolly Rancher that has been dropped in the dirt. Not Colorado dirt, but Ohio dirt.” I have no idea what wine I was describing, but I imagine it was an earthy, fruit forward cherry bomb of some sort.Read More
A few weeks back I talked about some of the jewels in the cellar, being our list of Reserves, but I need to correct myself as all of our wines are jewels. There isn’t a single wine that hasn’t been tasted and approved by me. As much as I adore our wines heralding from Chateauneuf or Vega Sicilia, these wines are intimidating and not for everyday consumption. This week the wines featured are (1) affordable; (2) approachable; (3) and should be shared with friends and loved ones because even if the wine isn’t a $200 Burgundy but a $22 Pinot, the experience of drinking the wine will be remembered so much more than the wine itself.Read More
In 17th century France, Cabernet Sauvignon was born out of an affair between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s thick skin makes it hearty and durable against the elements. The tannins in Cabernet are rather plentiful which lends itself well to aging. It loves to be aged in oak, is full-bodied, and does better when paired with food than without. Grilled meats, tomato sauces, tagine, or a burger with bleu cheese is perfect with a Cab. It is one of the chief grapes in the famous Bordeaux blend: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. Fun fact! Cabernet notoriously smells of green peppers. Why? It smells of green bell peppers because of the presence of the aromatic compound, methoxypyrazine, also found in green peppers.Read More
Blind tasting time again! Last time we did this event it was wonderful to watch everyone’s competitive spirits shine through, pitting spouse against spouse, friend against friend. For this tasting, I have placemats coming in to help guide us through the tasting process. And, we’re going to up the ante a bit. Four wines. Two whites. Two reds. May the best palate win. Winner will receive a bottle of their choice (up to $50 in value).Read More
Is there another wine that makes you think of summer more than a Rosé? While there are other wines that receive honorable mention from this somm, Rosé is the perfect hot summer day wine. And, who knows, maybe we will eventually see summer this year.Read More
We've come a long way since I first started here last summer. At that time the cellar was scarcely filled and what it did have was wine that maybe I would cook with. As some of you may remember our Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserves came in last week and this is how far we've come ... we actually have Reserves! What makes a wine a Reserve other than it being stated on the label? First and foremost, it is wine that is of the utmost quality so the wine maker will put it aside or age it a bit longer before selling it. Most wineries…Read More
My number one instruction to my wine vendors is to bring me something that few others have. It goes without saying that I want the wine to be delicious and memorable, but I am also looking for significant character. Lesser known varietals such as Treixadura, Godello, and Criolla dot the landscape of our cellar. I want the cellar to be deep with diversity since our space is limited.
It is reassuring to take the easy way out when you choose a wine you are familiar with. Buying a bottle of wine is a gamble, one that I don't even like to take. A guy who was studying for his Level 1 Somm was very excited about a South African Pinotage. My experience told me not to buyRead More
A few tastings ago I covered white wines we should be drinking; it was by far one of my favorite tastings. Colorado ranks in the top five for wine buying. 54% of those wine buyers prefer red compared to 41% who like whites. White wine gets a bad rap; I have found as my palate matures and I’ve tasted about everything I could ever dream of tasting (‘94 Penfolds “Grange” still brings a tear to my eye), I find myself going back to whites to rediscover them. There are few things that compare to a white Burgundy with its reductive qualities or the zing of a Picpoul to accompany those Moules Marinières … these are wines worth buying and enjoying.Read More
My heart wanted to do a bourbon tasting to honor the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 4, complete with Mint Juleps and Hot Browns, but alas, we are in Colorado and not Kentucky. Cinco de Mayo seemed to be more appropriate and what’s more fitting than a tequila tasting?
Wines for the Spring Holidays to Give You Serious Wine Cred
Passover and Easter are upon us (Mother’s Day a few weeks away!) and that means it is time for family gatherings. I implore you to not bring the average bottle of Chardonnay to go with matzoh ball soup or a Cabernet to accompany the Easter ham. The wines listed here pair well with everything from Charoset to cheesy scalloped potatoes. I am a firm believer in eating well, but most importantly, drinking well, so please don’t settle for the Hazel’s $12.99 special. Consider treating your guests or hosts to a bottle that will blow them away.…Read More
I have been hesitating on an Italian tasting because Italian wines can be a frustrating love affair. I used to only drink Italians in my quest to get it all figured out. I haven’t had a dedicated bottle of Italian wine in over a year because I was literally driving myself mad attempting to perfect my knowledge. Between the numerous names for Sangiovese to the over 350 indiginous wine grape varieties in Italy alone, it can be considered the pinnacle of wine knowledge among sommeliers. This is our first Italian tasting, and it won’t be our last … this will be a very long and fun journey (and you’ll understand why it’ll make you nuts!). To get us started, I’ll pour a Barolo, Nebbiolo, and a Pinot Grigio that will be unlike that standard suburban book club wine.
It seems like an odd thing to talk about, why a bottle's shape is as important as the wine inside. The same holds true for stemware. A champagne flute does a glass of bubbly a huge disservice and a Nebbiolo served in a large glass mitigates the bitterness of the tannin or spicy flavors. In the next tasting we'll bring out some wines to consider and the bottles that contain them. Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Alsace bottles will be represented plus the respective stemware. I can assure you there is much to learn in this tasting and of course the wine will be marvelous!Read More
Last tasting we did a deep dive into Chardonnay (and shared a beautiful Chateauneuf-du-Pape blanc … ‘twas a good night!), the next tasting will embody some other wines that most people dismiss when thinking about whites. Up your wine game and come learn about the world of Viognier, Picpoul, Rioja Blanca, Tokaji, Sancerre, and more.Read More
City Club's much requested and highly anticipated Chardonnay tasting is finally happening! Born in Burgundy, France, this wine is now ubiquitous and has a tendency to get a bad reputation (even by this sommelier). Truth is, this grape embodies terroir perfectly and sampling Chardonnay side-by-side is a wonderful way to experience this wine. We will serve four Chardonnay wines from Carneros to Burgundy, and I promise, no Kendall Jackson will be served.Read More