The BSFW blog offers a periodic airing of our staff's observations and musings about things we find in our market and, frankly, can't live without. This is not a dispensing of erudite information from high on the mount; this is us sharing with you the aspects of the fine wine, craft brew and gourmet worlds that pique our interest.
This congenial approach is something we take seriously - so please feel free to comment! Afterall,it's our customers that inspire us to do what we love to do - and do it even better than before at every opportunity.
We received some great feedback from folks about what blog topics might be of interest when we conducted our marketing survey a few weeks ago. Certain topics received multiple requests - including how to uncork a wine bottle without breaking the cork! Seems simple? Maybe once you've practiced enough or had to open multiple bottles of wine per day. But if you're new to wine or struggle with the technique to get a cork out 'clean' there are a few tricks we're happy to share.
First, get yourself a decent wine key (as we like to call them)! What constitutes "decent" is a key with a solid grip (rubber works great) and - critically- one with not one, but two levers. If you don't have one with two levers you might as well throw in the towel now!
Why? The first, shorter lever allows you to extract the first 1/3 of the cork. Then the second, longer, lever can be used to extract the remaining 2/3 without damaging the cork. No bending = no breaking. Two levers allieviates said bending challenge.
Check it out:
Step 1 - Buy a decent cork screw
Note the two prongs, which give you flexibility in leveraging the first part of the cork and then the rest of it. (In this NEW! Ball Square Fine Wines wine key there is also a bottle opener design feature for increased versatility - on sale for $9.99!)
Step 2 - Insert worm into center of cork.
Step 3 - Place the first, shorter lever against the rim of the bottle for leverage. Hold it firmly against the rim using your forefinger, then pull the handle of the corkscrew up using your other hand to begin extraction.
Step 4 - Push handle back down so you can place second, longer lever against rim of the bottle.
Hold lever firmly against rim using forefinger as before, then pull the handle up to finish extraction.
Step 5 - Voila! Your cork is free and wholly intact. (Recommended: pour wine into glass and enjoy!)
Slainte! It's almost Thirsty Thursday and this week we've got a beer pick on special in anticipation of this Thursday night's Virtual Tasting.
It's easy to believe that Lagunitas Brown Shugga' was created accidentally in an attempt to save a potentially failed batch of Laguinitas Gnarlywine. Much like the ale it was trying to save, Brown Shugga' is a complex treat.
Lagunitas has a knack for making hops the lead character in their brews and this one is no exception. Resiny hops with a mild malt backbone make up the nose, while the mouthfeel is all Barleywine - slick and smooth with moderate carbonation. The finish offers a solid smacking of citrus hops and alcohol that coats the back of the tongue and roof of the mouth. The not so subtle secret ingredient is chewed up by the cultured yeast, which leads to a thinner body and higher alcohol percentage (9.99%).
This one will catch up to you! Take your time and enjoy.
This one is ON SALE until Thursday's at-home tasting starts (on Facebook) at 5:30pm.
Reg. $11.69 - VIRTUAL TASTING SALE PRICE $10.69
Valentine's Day is fast upon us, and it's a great time to enjoy some decadent treats. With our fine selcetion of cheeses, chocolates and other gourmet items, freshly stocked up, we've got you covered. Here's just a little teaser of what you'll find here at Ball Square Fine Wines.
On the wine front, many of you may be thinking Champagne, or other bottles of bubbly, as well you should be. Few things (apart from the right company) compliment a bottle of bubbles as well as a sweet soft cheese - and the fattier the better. Two of our perennial favorites, Saint Andre and Belletoile, are sure to please. Both from France, these triple cremes are soft as butter, creamy and sweet. If you prefer something earthier, try our Brie de Nangis. This is the real stuff, made from unpasteurized milk, its sweetness underpinned with a mushroomy pungency and a faint tanginess in the finish. And just for the occasion, we've brought back the Granddaddy of all triple cremes, Brillat-Savarin. With its unabashed richness and huge flavors, this cheese has a way of stopping people in their tracks. Spring some on your loved one and win some bonus right out of the gate.
Back in from Italy is our Perolari Robiola. A huge hit with customers and staff alike back at Christmas time, this mixed cow/sheep milk cheese offers a meaty, mushroomy flavor profile, great with an earthy, medium-bodied red, especially Elena Walch Schiava, one of our February Wines of the Month (aka on-sale for Wine Club Members all month long!).
If a bigger, bolder red wine is more your thing, meet our newest arrival, Cypress Grove's Truffle Tremor from California. A soft ripened goat cheese, it has a crumbly center, wrapped in a spreadable soft layer wrapped in a fluffy white rind. The kicker? It's flecked throughout with black truffle bits. This cheese is downright hedonistic. Like its popular brother Humboldt Fog, this cheese's greatest attribute is that it bears no comparison. It tastes like nothing you ever had.
We've also got a great selection of chocolates, most notably from local Somerville producers The Chocolate Tarte and Garuda, who will be in for a tasting event this Wednesday, Feb. 9. Come check them out. Early arrivals will be treated to a special batch of red velvet cupcakes. Yum.
Like I said, that's only a small part of what you'll find here. Stop and check out our full range. You're sure to find just the thing to put a smile on someone's face.