Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Merlot and Sweet Potato Fries? Yes!!

Here's what we learned at The Wine Bar last week at "Who Would Have Thought?" wine class with nine fun and interesting wine/food pairings -

Vinho Verde is inexpensive and rocks! An awesome warm-weather wine and excellent start-off-the-night wine.

Chateau Ste. Michelle "Indian Wells" Merlot is a great value for under $17 and really does go with sweet potato fries!

It's OK to drink a red like Pinot Noir with salmon - and when there's cream cheese involved, it's even better.

Spanish Cava (sparkling wine) works with just about anything - but is fun, light, and refreshing with apples and powdered sugar.

Zinfandel maintains it's reputation as a BBQ wine.

Strawberry Shortcake is way better with Banfi Rosa Regale! The berry flavors of this light red sparkler works with the strawberries and adds great flavors to the shortcake and cream! As Rachel Ray would say, "Yum-O!"

Nine food/wine pairings is a lot and The Wine Bar provided plenty of food! No one left hungry!

Now we're working on the sequel "No Way!" More fun, fabulous pairings for a class this fall. Any suggestions?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Try It Before You Buy It! Wine Tasting Stations Let You

Would you buy a car without taking it for a test drive? Although a much smaller investment, several retailers in Kansas City now make it possible for you to "test drive" wine. Before you pick-out a couple nice bottles for your next dinner party you can experience those wines for yourself - whether as a 1 ounce sample or a full glass serving.

In the Kansas City area, the largest number of wines available to sample is at Lukas Liquor Superstore near 135th Street and State Line Road in KC, MO, via their several banks of Enomatic wine dispensing machines. They have quite the variety with often 56 red wines and 40 chilled white wines available. The cost of a 1 ounce sample runs between $.50 to $4.75 with most falling between $.75 to $1.25. Customers purchase a debit like card to make and dispense their choices with assistance from a Lukas wine consultant. Customers can select larger sample sizes as well.

Across town in the Northland, Vino Bello in Zona Rosa has the Napa Wine Station featuring 4 reds and 4 chilled whites available in 3 different pour amounts. Users purchase a Vino Card that's inserted into the machine prior to dispensing your selection. As a bonus, first time users receive an additional free $10 value onto balance of their new card. Check-out the link to this video to see how it's done - Vino Bello Napa Wine Station.

For more of the "Wine Bar" experience, you can sit down with one of the wines available by the glass at Cellar Rat Wine Merchants in the Crossroads District of Kansas City. There's always around 6-8 moderately priced wines available, with selections changing from time-to-time. Cellar Rat also carries a wide selection of artisan cheeses, gourmet cured meats, pate, olive oils and chocolates for you to enjoy with your glass of wine or to take home.

Now you have a chance to stop wondering what that interesting looking bottle of wine really tastes like and try it for yourself. Why run the risk of buying a wine you don't like - a couple bucks spent on samples can save you more bucks in the long run.

Lukas Liquor Superstore - 13657 Washington St. Kansas City, MO (816)942-8523

Vino Bello - 7322 NW 87th Terrace (in Zona Rosa) (816)753-9463

Cellar Rat - 1701 Baltimore Ave, Kansas City, MO (816)221-9463

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc Awesome Spring Wine

Despite the rainy, cool weather recently in KC, it's still time to start breaking-out some good white wines. And so we did this past weekend with a 3 litre Octavin box of the 2009 Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc.

This tasty treat from Marlborough, New Zealand was a very pleasant surprise from the opening grassy, citrus aromas jumping out of the first glass. Nicely balanced acidity - crisp up front with a slightly rounded finish made for a white that both Sauv Blanc and Chardonnay drinkers would enjoy. Not too much grapefruit on the nose or palate.

For around $20, this is an awesome value for a Sauv Blanc out of a region that's been fast becoming one of the premier producers of this varietal. The Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc would make for a nice white wine option at any Summertime gathering.