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.
This year in particular has been a fun one in the sparkler-sphere. I've had more than one reason to celebrate - and have to admit, many more seemed to emerge out of thin air as Dan and I continued to find sparkling wines that were unique AND affordable. Long story-of-2011-bubbly short, while I'd never turn down an opportunity to enjoy a few gorgeous Champagnes (that is, from the Mothership of Champagne, France itself) if you travel outside this elite sparkling region you can find some real (delicious!) values.
Now of course, when it comes to the traditional time of year to pop a few corks (namely New Year's Eve), we're super psyched to have several of these options available for you to choose from before you head over to your friend's to toast a happy, healthy and memorable 2012. Here are a few that have caught my fancy in particular (I hope you're ready for this, because these are some seriously killer wines!):
Finca Flichman Extra Brut ~ Malbec is the sure-fire winning grape of 2011. But we wine nerds can't forecast a reason to make a change in 2012! This trend has every right to carry on with gusto, particularly when we can also find it in an everyday celebratory (and affordable) package. Finca Flichman serves up a pretty bubbly, with terrific florals, snappy cherry and even a dash of blueberry and black raspberry fruits on the palate. This dry, redish sparkler (a blend of Chardonnay and Malbec) certainly intrigues and delights every sip of the way. And yes, for $9.99 it over delivers on quality!
Dom. Collin Cremant de Limoux ~ This is a sparkling wine (aka Cremant) with pedigree and pizazz from the Loire Valley of France. The pedigree part is that they man behind the magic has a Champagne project, but he thought it would be fun to dabble in the Loire as well. A blend of mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (two of the three grapes permitted in Champagne) with a little Loire-tastic Chenin Blanc thrown in for good measure, the winemaking behind the wine ensures a toasty, brioche-like flavor and texture to the wine. Tiny bubbles deliver clean fruit notes (apple, lemon pith and pear) a touch of bitter almond, plus a whopping of cleansing mineral notes bringing the dry finish all the way home. Take this bad boy home for only $13.99. A party-pleaser for sure!
Selim Spumante Brut NV ~ This is perhaps the rarest sparkler I've ever encountered. Hailing from Campania, Italy it is no Prosecco – rather it is a blend of three grapes, one white (Fiano) and two reds (Aglianico and Barbera). Such a blend delivers a white sparkler with an intriguing and delicious flavor profile and texture: its smooth mousse offers up pink roses and lemon curd aromas and then delivers lifted, delightfully nuanced flavors including citrus, raspberries and bing cherries. A touch of talc provides a welcome and balancing minerality. Selim is a complex yet approachably delicious crowd pleaser for any occasion. Grab a bottle and discover what I'm so excited about! $20.99
Oriel "365" Prosecco NV ~ If you want something that offers a little something more in the traditional Italian sparkler-sphere, Oriel has just the thing. Their idea is to bring you an affordable Prosecco vehicle that is affordable enough you can enjoy bubbles ALL YEAR LONG, as Prosecco should be. (And yes, to answer your question, Prosecco is an Italian sparkler made from grapes of the same name.) This not-so-simple, but oh-so-satisfying, lightly moussed wine with ample pear, lemon cream and yellow apple fruit takes a familiar experience up a notch. $17.99
Domaine Rolet Cremant du Jura Brut 2007 ~ For a non-Champagne sparkler, even with such great competition found this year in the marketplace, this wine might be the go-to Show Stopper for a pseudo Champagne. An offering from the off-the-beaten-track of Jura, France, this wine is a blend of Chardonnay, the indigenous Savagnin, and Pinot Noir. It has a luscious, rich texture yet fine bubbles and clean fruit. Specifically, quince and honeydew melon flavors offer a nice balance of tart/clean and savory/fleshy. A tangerine zip of acidity delights to no end. This bugger comes in just under $20 at $19.99. Happiness!
If you aren't on the bubbly bandwagon just yet, this is the weekend to jump on. Grab something fun and live it up! But please, have a safe, happy and healthy New Year!
Thanksgiving is a blast, and our food department was hit especially hard. This may seem at first like bad news, but actually the opposite is true. All that empty space means I had the chance to pack the place to bursting with a wide assortment of new, fresh items, just in time for the holidays. Please allow me to take this opportunity to go over some of them here. I'll try to be brief and succinct, but you'll have to forgive me if I get a bit carried away. I do love me some gourmet food, and I'm pretty excited about our newest offerings.
Both of our self serve refrigerators and our fresh cheese cabinet are packed full of goodies. Some of my favorites are the majestic Eppoisses from Burgundy, France. This triple creme cheese has a rind washed in brandy, giving it a hedonistic walnut and caramel note. A holiday classic available now through January or so. Price for this item tends to vary from year to year, but at $15.99 it's on the low end. Also just in are blue Stilton wedges from England, a Winter classic with walnuts and your favorite port; White Stilton discs with Cranberry, Apricot or mango are a family favorite; Tillamook cheddar with smoked black peppercorns for the spice lovers among you, and for the truly fearless, real German Limburger...yes Limburger, the stinky stuff.
But that's far, far from all we've got up our sleeve. We now offer a selection of cured meats, salami, even marinated steak tips, lamb in a Greek marinade, and customer favorite honey mustard turkey tips. Aidell's chicken sausages have been a big hit. They're pre-cooked, so simply heat and serve. Paired with a salad and your favorite wine, it's a quick and easy meal. Available in chicken and apple, garlic and gruyere, Italian style with mozzarella, or triyaki pineapple meatballs. All four flavors will be on deck for tasting at this week's wine tasting, so come hungry.
And if it's dinner your after, we've also got a line of hand made pastas by Cara Nonna, Don Pomodoro tomato sauces from Italy, marinated eggplant, mushrooms, and roasted red peppers, canned sardines, and a selection of fine olive oils and vinegars. In a pinch, we've even got Millie's instant soups in vegetable barley, minestrone, five bean, and vegetable rice. Bonnie's Jams from Cambridge continue to be a hit, and we've augmented them with Marcona almond butter, Greek honey, and Nutella! I call it our gourmet pb&j section.
Of course, nothing says holidays like sweets, and we have plenty. Chocolate bars from all around filled with all sorts of exotic things, things like lavender, pear, grilled almonds, hot masala, and even bacon. Of course, Somerville's own Taza chocolate is well represented. Cookies from Germany, Lazzaroni amaretti from Italy, and of course, our constant supply of fresh home made baklava courtesy of Chris' mom.
So stop by and have a look. We're always happy to chat with our customers, and if you don't see something you like, I'm always open to suggestions.
Come hungry, leave happy!