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 talked about it for months...we told you it would happen. Then one day, a big new fridge showed up in the middle of the store, but still it remained dormant.
Well, all that is changing! The fridge is cold, the lights are on, and a terrific selection of new gourmet goodies will be making its way into the shop, slowly but surely.
Some of these items are already here. We now carry a variety of smoked salmon from Echo Falls. Oakwood smoked Scottish or Alaskan Coho are of course classic with bagels and cream cheese, but don't forget that they make a great appetizer simply laid out on a plate. For something a little zestier, try the 4 oz. chunk encrusted with black peppercorns. For the wine geeks, what could be a more versatile food than smoked salmon? Go classic and pair it with a rich white Burgundy, or new world Pinot Gris. Amp it up with one of our wide selection of roses. If you're so inclined, a Pinot Noir or earthy Spanish red will do the trick too. Remember, it may be fish, but it's oily and smoky, a perfect mate for the right red.
Also just in are Spanish Chorizo and Jamon Serrano, in pre-sliced 8oz. packages, as well as prosciutto and mozzarella "rotolini", with Prosciutto and Speck on the way soon. Our chorizo is dry and spicy, piquant and zippy. Jamon Serrano, if you're not familiar with it, is Spain's ancient counterpart to Italian prosciutto. This air cured ham is robust and earthy with a pleasing sweetness. Sliced paper-thin and ready to eat, either one makes a great antipasto (or quick dinner) with one of our Iggy's baguettes, firm hard cheese, olives, and marcona almonds...all of which we have, of course. Pair it with a grippy, rustic red or a pitcher of your own magic Sangria recipe and you're set. The rotolini go with anything. Seriously, they're just that delicious. Trust me.
And remember, this is only just the beginning. We'll be adding ready-to-cook marinated meats, a small selection of local organic produce, and of course a wider variety of cheeses to our arsenal in the coming weeks, so come check us out. I'm always glad to chat about this stuff, and I welcome your comments and suggestions.
See You Soon,
Joe Ferraro, gourmet food buyer
"On the road again... Just can't wait 'til I get on the road again..."
Exploring wine country first hand is certainly a luxury. It affords a truly unique opportunity to discover the vine less traveled (as we say), and uncover the "truth" behind what's in the bottle. As a tiny shop, it can be harder than you might think for us to get away. So when we do, the experience is perhaps that much more savory.
Last week I had the very special opportunity to attend Oregon Pinot Camp (OPC) 2011, an annual, but trade and invite-only conference out in the Willamette Valley. That's (said) Willamette, damn it! and about an hour south of Portland, Oregon, where (arguably) the country's finest Pinot Noir wines are made.
The goal of the conference? To bring together an exclusive group of pros from the restaurant and retail wine biz (250 or so of us from around the globe) to learn more about the area and why great Pinot Noir is made there. OPC organizers also (smartly) provide a great opportunity to explore "The Great American Whites", Oregon style, which may go more routinely overlooked, simply because Pinot Noir is the young region's claim to fame. I last visited the region (a personal trek) in 2005 and was THRILLED to receive the nod of my peers to go back and delve further into this great wine producing region.
My personal adventure began a bit further south of the Willamette - 5+ hours south, though still in Oregon - at Foris Vineyards. Foris invited me and 11 others from across the country to come in advance of Camp and explore what southern Oregon wine country has to offer. Dan and I have worked with Foris' wines in the past (and in particular their Muscat frizzante), so I was happy to meet the owners, Ted and his wife Terri, winemaker Bryan and his sidekick Steve and the rest of the gang. They are salt of the earth people, with tremendous vision; I was lucky to start my trip with them and whet my whistle and appetite for Rogue Valley wines. (You can find the Muscat Frizzante behind door number 12 in the cooler!)
The next morning we were up bright and early to travel to Camp. The three of us in my mini-party enjoyed a late "lunch" on Willamette Chardonnay and Crab, hosted at Argyle and further attended by folks like Chahalem, Ponzi, and Domaine Drouhin Oregon. What a way to begin! Soon enough we were checked in to our hotel and being shuttled (in yellow school buses) to the opening "games". All 50 participating OPC 2011 wineries - an elite bunch - offered two wines to introduce campers to their latest releases while we 'snacked' on incredibly fresh and satisfying local fare. (This general foodie/wine tasting theme happily presented itself throughout the trip.)
The next two days were a whirlwind of tasting, sharing, comparing and learning - each ending with a large-format tasting reception and dinner (dancing optional). I had dinner alongside Veronique Drouhin-Boss, tromped through soil pits at Penner Ash, discovered the "multiple personalities of Pinot Noir" with Joe Dobbes during a winemaker-led, blind tasting workshop that delved into questions of vintage variation and the range of styles that exist, learned more about biodynamics/organics, and farming for quality at Elk Cove and enjoyed a panel discussion about Oregon whites at Torii Mor. Camp was interactive bliss.
Long, love story short, my affair with Oregon wines will continue. And in the coming months in particular, it will continue with Anne Amie (best in show, best QPR - and the 2010 Mueller Thurgau you loved so much is back on the shelf!) specifically, but also as I seek out and enjoy the area's 2010 whites that are coming to market now. They are spectacular, consistently delicious, vibrant, edgy, expressive wines - from Riesling to Pinot Blanc to Pinot Gris (Chard still hasn't quite won me over wholeheartedly, though Chehalem is a strong exception). These whites will certainly tide me over this summer and early fall as the immature 2009 Pinot Noirs enter the market; these wines are not yet at their best and will continue to evolve into the ideal versions of themselves in the years to come. I encourage you to wait with me - and enjoy as many 2007s as you can find in the meantime. Like good Burgundy, these red wines will be worth the wait!
A big thanks to all of the OPC organizers and the many attendees, new friends, who made the experience so memorable.