Category Archives: Learn About Wine

5 Questions with Kate

kateMeet Kate Miceli, our newly minted wine assistant. Kate’s been with us for just over 6 months, and thanks to her extensive wine knowledge and uncanny ability to help customers find what they’re looking for, she was a no-brainer for this new role. As part of our ongoing efforts to help you drink better, she’ll be helping Nick manage our expanding wine collection, spending all of her time on the floor helping to understand your needs so that you leave with the perfect bottle.

Kate hails from Pleasantville, New York and is a graduate of Johnson & Wales, where she studied wine, culinary arts and nutrition. She’s an accomplished cook with professional experience, knows all about cheese, is a master oyster shucker, and loves to cook at home for her family and friends, and her pug.

Here’s more on Kate’s current wine thoughts:

What’s your favorite style of wine?
Dry white wine is my favorite style. Especially whites from Saint Joseph in the Northern Rhone Valley from the grapes marsanne and roussanne that are vibrant and golden in color, and have a lot of body and flavors of ripe nectarines, tropical fruits, and white flowers.  I find these wines to be perfect with a variety of foods.  Fried chicken, Thai curry, stuffed pork loin with pancetta, and roasted Cornish game hens are just a few things that I would love to drink with a good Northern Rhone wine.

What’s your go-to bottle of wine for dinner on a Tuesday night?
On a typical Tuesday night, I am probably cooking tacos for dinner. Spicy chicken or pork tacos! Ice-cold Pullus sauvignon blanc from Slovenia is delicious and makes for a great pairing. The wine has flavors of cape gooseberries and zesty limes!  It goes exceptionally well with avocado and fresh homemade Pico de Gallo too.

What bottle on our shelves do you most covet today?
One wine that brings me pure joy is Taurasi from the producer, Mastroberardino. This fantastic  ruby-red hued wine hails from Campania in Italy. This is what they drink in Naples!  It is comprised of 100% aglianico grapes and is multi-layered and very complex.  It is powerful, but quite elegant with flavors of bitter cherries, flint, fresh herbs, and cherry wood.  Drink with hearty meat roasts, truffles, fancied up pizza, and Bolognese.

In your opinion, what’s the most underrated wine style?
Wines from South Africa often get a bad rap.  My newest favorite vineyard from South Africa is Stellekaya. They make a fantastic Sangiovese called Hercules. The winemaker, Ntsiki Biyela, is the first female African American winemaker in South Africa.

What in the wine world are you most excited about today?
I’m excited about how natural wines are gaining popularity up here in New England.  They have been the real ‘it’ thing in Brooklyn and NYC for many years but now I see more and more of these fun ‘natural’ wines here in RI. To me, these wines are like drinking art. I also find it very exciting how many women are now a part of the wine world.  While it used to be a male dominated career, many strong women are changing that.

 

If you’re in need of a great wine recommendation, come by and find Kate – she’ll be glad to help you!

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Why Nick Put These Wines on Sale

casatripleThe stunning CasaSmith wines are on sale – a full $5 off – through April 30. Why’d Nick do such a thing?

  1. He wants you to drink better in 2017, and with these wines you can do just that.
  2. They’re a truly delicious old world/new world mashup, made with classic Tuscan, Piedmontese and Pugliese grape varieties grown on single vineyard estates in Washington State.
  3. You’ll get so much more than a $20 bottle of wine.
  4. They’re well crafted wines, meant to be enjoyed today.
  5. The wines are highly-rated (if you’re into that sort of thing).
  6. Just look at those labels.

Buyer Beware: Winemaker Charles Smith makes the CasaSmith wines in limited quantities, so try them early. If you like them as much as we do, be sure to pick up a few bottles before the vintage (and our sale) is gone.

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2015 CasaSmith Cervo Barbera: Silky, plush, dark cherry, dried sage, mineral driven and earthbound.

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2015 CasaSmith Cinghiale Sangiovese: Layer upon layer of Italian cherries, fresh herbs, rolled tobacco and blackberry. Depth for days and a finish that is an eternity.

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2015 CasaSmith Porcospino Primitivo: Blackberry, boysenberry, pie crust and black tea. Ripe fruit, fresh oregano and fine tannins to boot.

Cheers!

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Rare, Collectible and Affordable Wine in The Cellar

thecellar-WEB-1One of our resolutions this year here at Bottles is to find new ways to help you drink better. And we’ve started by expanding our cellar of special wines: the bottles that are iconic and collectible, as well as those that are rare, highly-rated, and have achieved cult status.

Our new Cellar list, over 600 bottles strong and growing, is made up of wines hand selected by Nick, Josh and Eric. Not only are they the wines that you’ll want to buy today and drink in 15 years at your daughter’s college graduation, they’re also the affordable, ready-to-drink-now bottles produced by indie winemakers whose talented work has garnered them a dedicated following.

Some require a minimal monetary commitment, such as a $49 bottle of limited-allocation 2012 Elk Cove “Five Mountain” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir that you could drink this weekend. Other wines at a similar price point are terrific for those just starting to build their home collection.

Then there are those that are certainly an investment in time and money – the $1199.99 2010 Lafite Rothschild that will be great to drink in 2022 comes to mind.

But what all of our Cellar wines have in common is highly-competitive pricing. It’s our goal to get them on your table or in your cellar by offering them to you at better prices than you find most everywhere else. And by you we mean you the everyday wine lover who just wants to drink better, as well as the serious, informed wine collector who’s filling your 3,000+ bottle cellar.

We invite you to come in and browse our new list. Our team members are at the ready to help you select the perfect bottle for your special occasion, whether it be big (a 50th anniversary) or small (take-out with a cherished friend on Saturday night).

Visit our complete list here, and check back often for new additions. For the stories behind these and other bottles, email our Wine Director Nick Shugrue at (401) 372-2030 or nshugrue@bottlesfinewine.com.

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The Top 3 Wine & Chocolate Pairings

Drink wine with chocolate, we say. Not just because it’s Valentine’s Day. But because the two are great together – when you choose wisely – and they should be enjoyed in tandem whenever you’re in the mood. Not just on February 14th.

How to Pair: Though wine and chocolate are great on their own, it can be challenging to make them sing together. For a balanced pairing, select a wine that is sweeter than the chocolate (the percentage of chocolate will give you an idea of its sweetness: The higher the cacao, the lower the sugar/sweetness). When in doubt, pair milk chocolate (high sugar %) with lighter-bodied wines. Pair fuller-bodied, fruit-forward wines with darker chocolate (high cacao %).

And as always, toss all guidelines out the window if your palate tells you otherwise. The best pairing is the one you like.

To help you get your creative juices flowing, here are our top three chocolate and wine pairings:

chocolatecake_wineDark Chocolate Cake with Marenco “Pineto” Brachetto d’Acqui

A prime example that illustrates the beauty of choosing a wine that’s sweeter than the chocolate. This bright red sparkling wine from Piedmont is slightly sweet, with fine citrus blossom and stone fruit notes, all of which complement the cake’s dense, rich flavors and mouthfeel.

chocolatepieces_wineValrhona Chocolate with JL Chave “Mon Coeur” Cotes-du-Rhone

This is a fun one for all you serious dark chocolate lovers. It’s rooted in the trusted “What grows together goes together” wine pairing adage, as Valrhona chocolate is made just miles from where the wine in made, in France’s Rhone Valley. Use the chocolate in your favorite (not so sweet) homemade dessert, or simply let a minimum 70%-cacao square melt on your tongue while sipping this bone dry grenache/syrah blend.

chocstrawberries_wineChocolate Dipped Strawberries with Tintero Moscato d’Asti

Though this fizzy, slightly sweet wine can stand on its own as dessert, we love it when paired with fruit! The fresh, lively character of this white wine, again from Piedmont, is a natural partner to the light, tart strawberry fruit, and the creamy chocolate.

We hope you enjoy our pairings – and encourage you to share your thoughts or ideas on others!

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Comfort Wine for Comfort Food, Part II

Fact: More comfort foods are eaten per capita in January than in any other month. Post-Fact: OK, we have nothing official to back that stat up, but it certainly feels right, doesn’t it?

Because it does so to us, here are more Comfort Wine and Comfort Food pairings that get our team through trying times and blustery weather. They’re the equivalent of the down-filled couch you lose yourself in, the cozy sweater worn fireside, and the hug from a life-long friend.
meinkklang

Meinklang Frizzante Rosé ($19.99), with Chicken & Waffles 
It’s about balance, people. You’ll find me at my happiest when eating piping hot fried chicken with waffles smothered in maple syrup and butter while simultaneously sipping ice-cold, light-as-air, pink bubbles. The fizz cuts through the dish’s richness and the entire composition can make any bad day do a 180. By the way, your chicken & waffles aren’t complete if you’re not drizzling them up with Cholula’s just before consuming. Just sayin’. – Alex

pujol

Pujol Izard Minervois Vieille Vignes ($15.99), with Shepard’s Pie 
The herbal notes you get in every Languedoc wine, combined with the bright lively fruit in this particular bottle, make the Pujol Izard extremely food friendly. It’s particularly great for medium bodied casserole-type dishes, and my favorite, Shepard’s pie.  – Nick

pegoes

Pegoes Red Blend ($6.99), with a Grilled Cheese Sandwich 
I use a ton of butter (and sometimes mayo) on the outside of the bread when making my grilled cheese. To balance all of that rich, creamy and salty goodness, I drink this jammy red, which is bursting with juicy, ripe fruit. And that it is under $7 a bottle is a comfort to my post-holiday wallet, too. -Katie

ciacci

Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Toscana Rosso ($14.99), with Chicken Parmesan 
Ciacci Piccolomini is in the town of Montalcino in Tuscany. The house is best known for their Pianrosso, which is one of the world’s most renowned brunellos. They can’t help but make great wine and this one, their most affordable option, is spectacular! It’s a blend, and has all the elegance of a brunello, but with a bit lighter and fruitier finish. It’s my go-to wine for my favorite comfort food: Chicken Parmesan. Be sure to load up the cheese! – Kate

borealis

Montinore Borealis White Blend ($14.99), with Sauerkraut with Roast Pork and Dumplings
A match made in my own perfect heaven!  Borealis is an organic wine made in Oregon from grapes more traditionally found in Alsace.  Brimming with both ripe fruit and savory flavors, this beautiful wine sings and dances around the rich sauerkraut, dumplings and pork.  This is where New World wine and Old World food collide!  Bam!  -Eric

Comfort Wines: Now, more than ever.

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Comfort Wine for Comfort Food

There are no two ways about it. 2016 was a doozy. Which is why we’re easing into the new year with the cozy-wool-blanket bottles we call Comfort Wines. They’re the uncomplicated, easy drinking wines we crave when we just want to tune out, sit back, and feed our souls.  Herewith, a few of our team’s favorite Comfort Wine and Comfort Food pairings that do just that.

curator
The Curator Red Blend ($10.99) with Mom’s Beef Stew
“Mom’s hearty beef stew is my favorite dish. The Curator, with its juicy fruit flavors, is my favorite everyday red. I put the two together and get a smile on my face. If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad. Unless you get the bay leaf in your mouth by accident.” – Mia

hugel

Hugel Pinot Blanc ‘Cuvee Les Amours’ ($17.99) with Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto
“Asparagus has always been a tricky vegetable to pair wine with, but the creaminess of this dish (coupled with mushrooms’ earthiness) really lets the individual components shine. Don’t forget to start your rice off with a splash of this outstanding Pinot Gris – it will help spotlight the wine when it comes time to eat!” – Liam

prima

Primaterra Primitivo ($11.99) with Polenta with Rabe Sausage 
“The rabe sausage is available at Anthony’s Sangwich shop on Admiral street,  across from Lasalle Bakery. It is the best. I pair it with the full-bodied Primaterra Primitivo. You can’t go wrong with this one.” – Don

pouilly

Louis Latour Pouilly-Fuisse  ($27.99) with Pa Ralph’s Ultimate Chicken Soup
“When the weather turns wet, icy and raw, I need a healthy dose of my father’s chicken soup to warm me up!  And with its great blend of roasted chicken, orzo, cheese and spices, I reach for a white Burgundy.  More specifically a great Pouilly-Fuisse like Latour’s. Its slight touch of oak doesn’t dominate the chardonnay, but instead adds a note of creaminess that is the perfect marriage for the world’s best chicken soup.” – Josh

Stay tuned next week for another batch of our favorite Comfort Wines.

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Top Hanukkah Wines for 2016

In selecting the wines we feature each Hanukkah, the first thing I consider is the same thing I think about when selecting any of the wines we sell at Bottles: taste. Does the wine taste good, will it fit my customers’ tastes. The second is how it will pair with a traditional Hanukkah menu. Will it enhance the flavor and textures of fried latkes and donuts, will it stand up to a rich brisket. Will it add to festivities and celebration at the table. Once a wine has hit those benchmarks, then and only then do I check to see if the wine is kosher.

Here are my picks for wines that will be great for Hanukkah this year.  It’s my hope that they’ll bring much joy and happiness to your Hanukkah table.

eric_instaNotte Italiana Prosecco, Italy – Perfect bubbly for the holidays and great with brunch, or just standing around the kitchen and talking. But this extra dry bubbly really shines when it’s paired with latke!  $17.99

Dalton Rosé, Israel – Who says that rosé is just for warmer weather?  This is a perfect party wine – dry and light and a good way to start a celebration or to pair with lighter first courses. $19.99 (on sale from $22.99!)

Chateau La Colonne, Lalande de Pomerol, France – A big, powerful wine from one of the best areas of Bordeaux.  This full rich wine calls for big hearty mid-winter celebratory meals and can be enjoyed by everyone at the table, connoisseur and novice alike.  $39.99

Happy Hanukkah!

-Eric

What to Drink While Watching “A Christmas Carol”

Whether you’re watching the 1951 Alastair Sim version of the Dickens classic, or taking in a live performance at Trinity Rep (which we highly endorse – it is just fantastic this year), we’ve got a pairing that will make your enjoyment of this holiday must-do that much better.

curt_xmas

Curt Columbus, Artistic Director of Trinity Rep (and a wine lover with a great palate) selected two sparklers to go with the show. Said Curt: “Two celebratory wines for the year’s most festive production! One’s sweet and one’s dry, but both are sparkling and just spectacular. The dazzling Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s Sofia Blanc de Blancs is dry and full of bright, fresh and juicy pear flavor; the sensational Centorri Moscato d’Asti has a crisp honeycomb-scented sweetness. Both are bubbly and echo the joyful spirit of the holidays at Trinity. Happy Holidays!”

Both the Sofia and Centorri are available to drink during the show. If you purchase either in store, Bottles will donate 20% of your purchase back to Trinity.

We’re proud and thrilled to be the Official Sommelier of Trinity Repertory Company. Happy Holidays from all of us at Bottles!

Top Holiday Wines for 2016

There’s a lot of eating that will be done over the next 30 days, what with the festive observances of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve and Day, and myriad other wonderful winter celebrations. And if you’re reading this blog, stakes are that you’ll be drinking wine with those feasts. Here are our picks for the bottles that pair beautifully with holiday menus of all tastes and styles.

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Domaine de Grisy Bourgogne Rouge (Pinot Noir), Burgundy, France
What a great value for a red Burgundy, full of the traditional tart cherry, mushroom, and forest floor aromas and flavors. It’s a superb option for your holiday cocktail party, and is also incredibly winter-food friendly. $21.99

Gracciano, Rosso di Montepulciano, Italy
An elegant Rosso with cherry, raspberry and eucalyptus notes, balanced by earthy tannins. It wants to be on the table during your traditional Italian feasts. Mangia! Mangia! $16.99

The Fableist Merlot, Paso Robles, CA
A big, ripe merlot that’s ready to party. It’s silky with notes of black tea, blueberries and a saturated minerality, and has hints of sweet plums, warm cedar planks, and freshly ground spices. We’ll be opening bottles of this to enjoy while eating pizza, stringing popcorn and watching Die Hard. Do the same! $24.99

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Penya (Grenache, Carignan and Syrah blend), Cote Catalanes, France
You say you’re making a roast? Welcome to your new best friend. It’s a rustic country wine, loaded with herbal, spice and blackberry flavors that go terrifically well with roasts of all stripes, from pork to lamb, to vegetables. $13.99

Justin Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, CA
An overflowing glass-full of black cherry & currant, blackberry jam, violets and herbs. Serving a big steak with bordelaise or hearty beef stew? Need an impressive gift? Justin’s your guy. And, it’s on-sale! $24.99 (compare to $34.99)

Ampeleia ‘Unlitro,’ Costa Toscana, Italy
A newcomer to our shelves and one that we can’t stop drinking. It has notes of cherry, roses and juniper, and a bright, “alive” quality that makes it refreshing and extremely pleasant to drink, especially when paired with roast chicken. It’s uniqueness means it’s a great gift for the hard-to-please wine lover, too. $19.99 (1L)

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Domaine de Bel Air, Pouilly Fume, Loire Valley, France
Need an impressive gift for the boss, or a special wine for a crowd? This stunning French white is incredibly expressive with white peach and lilac aromas, and citrus/herbal flavors. It’s a rounder and very elegant expression of Sauvignon Blanc.  $22.99

Saint Peyre Viognier, Languedoc, France
We love this soft, full-bodied white for its floral, peachy and tropical notes, and for its versatility. It’s special enough for fancy holiday occasions, and low-priced enough to drink on a weeknight, say, while you’re wrapping gifts.  $12.99

Oyster Bay Chardonnay, Marlborough, New Zealand
A beauty from down-under that’s best enjoyed under a down blanket in front of a warm fire with a big bowl of popcorn. It’s lush with ripe apple fruit flavor, and rich with a creamy body. That hallmark Kiwi “crispness” can be found in the finish. $14.99

A toast to you and yours from all of us at Bottles!

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The Top White Wines For Thanksgiving

Our entire team gathered one Sunday night after closing to taste through the Thanksgiving wines that our Wine Director, Nick, selected this year. The consensus? They’re all winners. There wasn’t a loser among them (and we have a really opinionated staff. Really. Opinionated.) That said, there are marked differences among each bottle. We encourage you to grab a staff member for help in selecting the style that will match your palate.

Last week we shared our red wine picks. Herewith, the whites:

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Corvezzo Terre di Marca Prosecco, Italy
Delicious, organic sparkling wine, new to the store, which has just a whisper of the fruitiness
you want to enhance Thanksgiving flavors. Perfect for toasts, pairing, and cocktails. $13.99


Domaine Bernier Chardonnay, The Loire, France
A tasty, un-oaked chardonnay that’s loved even by those who don’t typically like chards. (Believe us.) It’s perfect for when you want an all-around great white with value. $11.99

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Godeval Godello, Galicia, Spain
A versatile dry Spanish white that will go with everything on the table and stands on its own as an aperitif. Great minerality! $17.99

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Mount Eden “Wolff” Chardonnay, California
A great barrel aged chardonnay that has a bit more structure for the oak-loving ‘Cali-Chard’ drinker at the table. $21.99

Cheers!

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