Pour Your Heart Out

‘Tis the Season
for Pleasant Surprises

Winter beer, deep full reds and sparkling wines take center stage this month as we gather for holiday celebrations with friends and family. Our Beer & Wine managers offer their recommendations for what’s great in their shops in December:

  • Tikves Barovo  from the Republic of Macedonia (Central Market Poulsbo)
  • Un-oaked classic varietals from Washington (Central Market Shoreline)
  • Hibernation Ale by Great Divide Brewing (Central Market Mill Creek)
  • A full-bodied, bone-dry Lambrusco (Ballard Market)
  • Massayah Red Blend out of Lebanon (Town & Cou
    read more
Posted in Pour Your Heart Out | Leave a comment

We’re Very Thankful
for Valdo Prosecco

As the holidays approach and you start shopping for those epic meals, you’ll no doubt notice we’re starting to stock up on wines for the holidays.

We’ve selected dozens of wines that will pair perfectly with Thanksgiving meals – and for all those other festive meals that are created this time of year.  One wine style that most of us think of when considering a festive occasion – or any celebration – is sparkling wine. Whether it is Champagne or Cremant from France, or Moscato or Prosecco from Italy ,or just any sparkling wine from anywhere, we’ve got what you’re looking for.

What you’re looking for just might prosecco – a dry, sparkling Italian wine. You’re bound to see the Valdo Prosecco displays in our Markets. We’ve been a fan for years. In fact, this is the third year we’ve promoted this wine at the holidays. Last year, our distributor partner offered us a deal when this wine underwent a price increase. If we would take a container full of Valdo Prosecco, they’d offer us the same price as we had paid the previous year.

How much wine is in a container you may ask? Depending on the size of the bottle/box, most containers hold just less than 1,000 cases of wine. Believe it or not, most of our stores nearly or actually did run out before the holidays were over. So this year, we asked if the offer was still good and our generous vendor partner offered us the deal again, so we are offering this wine at the same retail price we’ve had for the last three years – $9.99!...
read more

Posted in Pour Your Heart Out | Leave a comment

Managers Give Thanks
for These Lovely Wines

This is the month we take special care to give thanks. Our Beer & Wine managers have plenty to appreciate – especially the gems they are choosing for November recommendations:

  • Gamays from the Southeast Wine Collective Urban Wineries in Portland (Ballard Market)
  • Barinas Robles Monastrell 2010 (Mill Creek)
  • Piaugier Sablet 2012 (Shoreline)
  • Crew Wine Company Matchbook Tempranillo 2011 (Poulsbo)
  • Ott ‘Am Berg’ Gruner Veltliner 2012 (Bainbridge Island)

Town & Country Market, Bainbridge Island

Ott ‘Am Berg’ Gruner Veltliner 2012 – $19.99

I am a huge fan of the understated (although that might be hard to believe!) – the little treasures that impress and amaze and take you just a little outside the box. Such as: A white wine from Austria during the cold holiday months.

Familiar as I am with Grüner Veltliner, I still find myself blownaway by how complex and clean the wines can be; world-class style and depth and truly amazing values. The 2012 Ott Am Berg Grüner Veltliner is spine-tinglingly good. It’s a beautiful , racy wine from a tremendously understated region in the world. These guys know how to make wine for the cold weather months, and I am completely on board.

The 2012 Ott Am Berg has wonderful aromas of high-toned orchard fruit and lemon peel, with a gentle nuttiness and just a hint of sweet smoke. But it’s the body of this wine that takes center stage – rich ripe apple, citrus oils, fresh garden herbs, and a wonderful lifted acidity that carries through a long mineral-backed finish. Both heavy and elegant, this wine was built for so many levels of enjoyment.

Whether you’re having a juicy pork loin with baked squash, roasted chicken and glazed veggies, or a rich fall stew with chanterelle mushrooms, this wine seems to go with everything. My personal favorite is apple sausage with browned potatoes and onions. A wine like this doesn’t last long, so come grab a bottle before it’s gone.

Manager Jeremy Brown

Poulsbo Central Market

Crew Wine Company Matchbook Tempranillo 2011 – $14.99

You might be wondering what’s up with that name? Why Matchbook?

It seems that as a kid in the early ‘60s, Crew Wines founder John Giguiere was a confirmed pyromaniac known for starting various things on fire, including his father’s wheat fields. He and his brother graduated to launching rockets, which often blew up at some stage of the journey resulting in more random fires, and required calls to the local fire department.

He eventually grew out of this fascination with the Matchbook (thankfully) and turned his talents to the wine industry. He formed R.H. Phillips Company in 1983, eventually selling it and forming Crew Wine Co. in 2005, headquartered in Zamora, Calif. The Tempranillo vines grown in the Matchbook Vineyard in California’s Dunnigan Hills AVA are from cuttings imported from the Pesquera region of Spain. While the Old World flavors of earth, leather and spice are evident, the Matchbook Tempranillo shows its California roots with expansive aromas of blackberry and vanilla. Matchbook Tempranillo is 77 percent Tempranillo, blended with small amounts of Graciano, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It is big, bold and intense. This wine is luscious and layered with a firm finish. Pair with grilled New York Steak or fillet with a nice charred edge.

Manager Alan Moore

read more

Posted in Pour Your Heart Out | Leave a comment

October Beer Promo
Rides Pumpkin Craze

Time flies when it comes to seasonal favorites in the beer world. Pumpkin beer, for instance. Now on promotion in our Beer & Wine shops, they’ll be spirited away before the end of the month.
Time just flies. At a recent meeting, we were asked to introduce ourselves and say how many years we had worked for Town & Country Markets. For me, it’s been nearly 22 years, which got me to pondering the state of the beverage business “back in the day.”
I’ll always remember the promotions. My first wine sale included taking over the lobby of the store – filling it full of bins from the Produce Market, and filling them with wine.  It was always a ton of work to prepare for a sale like that, and a lot of work to maintain, but it also was a ton of fun to see how positively it impacted our customers.
And who can forget the football-themed promotions? Back then, both Columbia Crest and Henry Weinhard’s showed their support for the Dawgs with labels sporting the UW Husky logo. We built huge lobby displays or what we call “end displays” and, for the most part, customers were pretty receptive to it, unless they were Cougar fans, of course.  I had more than a few upset WSU fans over the course of the years, but my explanation was always, “if a supplier, any supplier, could get behind putting a Cougar logo on their product, I would be more than happy to promote that.”  Of course I would say that with a bit of a grin, but it was the truth. It never happened.
Another promotion I always felt strongly about was pumpkin beer. At the time, 15 or so years ago, there weren’t very many pumpkin beers to be found beyond the regular standbys – Buffalo Bills, Sam Adams and a few others whose names have escaped me. The release of these beers coincided perfectly with the arrival of truckloads of actual pumpkins for our Markets. People were pretty receptive to the idea of pumpkin flavoring in a beer.
Fast forward to today and you have a cornucopia of pumpkin-flavored everything. Can you say Starbucks? It seems people cannot get enough of the pumpkin flavor. Do you remember a few years ago when pumpkin pie filler was actually being rationed at the holidays, the demand was so great? Come on people, let’s draw the line somewhere!...
read more

Posted in Pour Your Heart Out | Leave a comment

October Favorites
from our Managers

It’s downright scary how interesting things get in the beer, wine and spirit world in October! According to the Beer & Wine managers at our Markets, the season has plenty to offer, such as:

  • Fort George Brewing’s newest fresh-hop IPA (Mill Creek)
  • Petit Verdot from Hence Cellars of Walla Walla  (Shoreline)
  • Hop Valley Brewing’s Alphadelic IPA (Poulsbo)
  • The Boxer Shiraz by Mollydooker (Bainbridge Island)
  • Otto Soave Classico by Azienda Agricola Prá (Ballard Market)

Ballard Market

Azienda Agricola Prá – Otto Soave Classico, 2013 ($20.99)

Graziano Prá has – without a doubt – been producing one of the most sought-after Soaves out there. This winemaker, in the Veneto region of Italy, has been gradually converting to biodynamic practices since their inception in 1983. Graziano Pra, who runs the estate, continues to consistently release top-notch Soave from 100 percent Garganega grapes – one of Italy’s most widely planted white grapes.
Prá Soave has a pale golden hue with a slight floral nose with hints of honey and lemon curd. White fruits, mineral flavors and refreshing acidity are abundant on the palate. Pair with delicate white fish, goat cheese salad, or a creamy risotto or pasta.

Manager Lauren Allen

Town & Country Market, Bainbridge Island

Mollydooker – The Boxer Shiraz, 2013 ($26.99)

When the leaves begin to change color and the air nips at my English nose, I start to look for wines to warm me up and give me the comfort of these glorious sunny days we’ve gotten spoiled by of late! 

No singular red under $30 combines the richness, luxury and purity of fruit like the Boxer Shiraz from Mollydooker (which is Aussie slang for a left-handed person).  This Australian Shiraz from top appellations like Barossa and McLaren Vale offers a velvety, seamless palate of late summer blackberries, plum, violets and cola and has a slightly meaty, savory undertone classic of Shiraz (Syrah) from this part of the world.

A little high in octane, which can be a good thing, the wine always shows balance and great length due to the long hang time of the fruit that’s perfectly stressed throughout the growing season.  I’ve come to learn this is the secret to Mollydooker’s plush and rich style.  The proprietors Sparky and Sarah Marquis are expert farmers! Cheers!

Manager Jeremy Brown...
read more

Posted in Pour Your Heart Out | Leave a comment

Vietti’s Perbacco
Delivers Inspiration

You may have noticed that throughout the year, we occasionally feature regions or varietals in our Beer & Wine Shops that may be new or emerging. Because let’s face it, we humans get bored with the same old thing and occasionally want to be inspired by something new. 

But sometimes inspiration can come from something familiar. That’s how we feel about wines from Italy and why each year, we visit these wines to take a closer look. So don’t be surprised to see pyramids and displays throughout September featuring these diverse and appreciated wines. 

Italian wines consistently deliver some of the best quality for the price. In fact they still offer  a lot of inherent value – even with the increase in the euro compared to the dollar over the past decade.

Take for instance Vietti’s estate-bottled 2011 Nebbiolo Perbacco. The Piedmont region in northern Italy produces one of Italy’s most celebrated wines – Barolo. For a wine to qualify as Barolo, it must come from specific vineyards around the town of that name, must be vinified (which means to convert grapes into wine by way of fermentation), aged for a specific period of time and meet a minimum alcohol content, among other qualifiers. ...
read more

Posted in Pour Your Heart Out | Leave a comment

Beer & Wine Managers
Offer September Gems

What is there to consider in September aside from decreasing daylight and temperatures? Well, according to our Beer & Wine managers, there is plenty to consider, and sip. Such as:

  • In Ballard, an Italian rose will help you hold on to summer a while longer
  • In Mill Creek, the season’s first fresh-hop beer is here – and it’s delicious!
  • In Shoreline, a Seattle distillery showcases locally sourced ingredients
  • In Poulsbo, a Napa Valley winery surprises with its 2012 Pinot Noir
  • On Bainbridge,  cultures cozy up perfectly in a Bordeaux blend out of Italy

Town & Country Market, Bainbridge Island

Petreto Podere Sassaie 2011 – $19.99

I’m convinced that the world’s cross-cultural influences have led to some of the most amazing discoveries. Examples include champagne-quality sparkling wines produced in California’s Anderson Valley; a multi-national Riesling cuvée between wineries in Oregon and Germany’s Mosel; or simply Bordeaux blends made in Washington state that attempt to capture old-world balance with local terroir. 

No matter what, every winery seems to have a traditional source of inspiration for grape growing and wine making, and when that source is based in a country other than the winery’s own, the results can be extraordinary.  So when a sales rep approached me with a white Bordeaux blend crafted by a winery in Florence, I jumped at the idea, knowing that many of the top Italian wines, such as Barolos or Super Tuscans, drew their inspiration from Bordeaux wine-making methods.

The 2011 Petreto Podere Sassaie is one of the most beautiful expressions of a Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend that I have tried in years:  Wonderful aromas of savory dried pit fruit, nectarous white flowers, and nuances of sweet cured deli meats, oozing with flavors of fleshy white fruit, a mildly creamy citrus midpalate, and hints of smoky herbs on a long mineral driven finish. An absolutely stunning wine for $19.99.  With the change in season soon upon us, I highly recommend this wine for the wholesome late summer and early fall harvest foods we all enjoy.  Only 10 cases available, this is a wine you don’t want to miss. 

Manager Jeremy Brown

Central Market Poulsbo

Starmont Pinot Noir 2012 – $26.99

A couple of weeks ago, one of my suppliers called to say he had a representative from the Starmont winery with him and wanted to know if I had time to taste through her wines.  I told him that Friday was a very busy day and although I did not have time to taste, I would gladly meet her and look at what she had. When they arrived I realized I had plenty of time to taste, and boy I am glad I did, as one of her wines, Starmont Pinot Noir 2012 was something special.

One thing I think most wine drinkers would agree on is everyone likes a good Pinot Noir.  The challenge is, because it is a difficult variety to cultivate and transform into wine, good ones can be quite expensive.  If you shop for lower-priced Pinots, you run the risk of getting a wine (especially California) that has been blended with a small amount of Syrah to enhance color and richness. Often, the Syrah overpowers the Pinot and the result is something less than ideal.    ...
read more

Posted in Pour Your Heart Out | Leave a comment

Our Summer Favorites
from Montana to France
and from Beer to Malbec

What’s on the minds of our Beer & Wine Managers this month?
A Montana beer is a Ballard favorite; a French Sauvignon Blanc is a bottle of sunshine for T&C on Bainbridge; a Veneto-region Prosecco impresses in Poulsbo; two wines from Pierre Andre get the nod in Shoreline; and a Malbec out of southern France wins hearts in Mill Creek. Read why …  

Ballard Market

Montucky Cold Snacks. $5.99 in August

Meet Ballard’s new favorite beer.  This light, canned, refreshing lager is made from barley, hops, water and yeast – and contains none of that GMO corn found in our previous favorite 6-pack of tall boys.

Created by two dudes from Montana, Montucky Cold Snacks is a dual reference to the state and the act of drinking beer. ‘Montucky’ is a slang term for the state – think backwoods and very rural. ‘Cold Snacks’ is also slang – for beer, as in “Let’s go grab some cold snacks.” Who knew?

The brewers aim to celebrate their state through the packaging and by donating 8 percent of yearly profits to various organizations voted on by the consumers in each market – currently Montana, Oregon and Washington. They’ve already been able to give about $5,000 to  Montana bike park. But it’s a new brewery and they still haven’t made a profit so it hasn’t gotten off the ground in the philanthropy sense yet. Buy a couple of six-packs and help them break into the black.

Drink Montucky Cold Snacks on a boat, in the park, or throw in some grapefruit juice and make a Montucky Shandy, which is the favorite summer drink of Ballard Market’s Wine Wonder Woman, J’Nee.

Manager Lauren Allen

Town & Country Market, Bainbridge Island

Domaine Trotereau Quincy – $19.99

When a mid-range white wine from France consistently and quickly moves off the shelf week to week, you know you have something special.

Maybe it’s the sunshine or temperatures that seem to make us want a relaxing and fresh sipper. Or maybe the wine is just enjoying its moment in the sun because wine drinkers are looking for something a little different.

I suppose it doesn’t really matter because the 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc Domaine Trotereau Quincy is all that and more – a veritable bottle of sunny goodness.  Quincy was the second appellation to be recognized after Chateauneuf du Pape, giving it a famed historic significance beyond that of its more widely recognized neighboring appellations.  The winemaker, Pierre Ragon, is as famed in the Loire Valley as Loire wines are in the world.  Situated right next to Sancerre, Pierre’s estate wines (all produced exclusively from Sauvignon Blanc) are arguably better than his neighbor’s – which are sometimes twice as expensive. ...
read more

Posted in Pour Your Heart Out | Leave a comment

Managers’ Favorites
for Summer Sipping

What’s on the minds of our Wine Managers for July? A New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc built for summer; a slightly effervescent Vinho Verde from Portugal; a food-friendly dry Riesling from the Yakima Valley; a limited-release IPA; and an Italian red that’s so good, you wouldn’t mind being stuck on a desert island if you had a cellar full of that!

Town & Country Market, Bainbridge Island

Momo Sauvignon Blanc – 2012 -$13.99

It’s a rare treat when you find a deliciously affordable New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. It’s even more of a treasure when you find one that is organic, sustainably farmed and drinks like it should be twice the price.  Enter Momo.

This wine – pale with a light green hue – is produced by Seresin Estates in Marlborough, a picturesque region in the northeast of the South Island. The wine is built for summer, with all of the tropical aromas and elegant mixed citrus flavors we crave for light outdoor summer fare and grilled seafood.  And just like summer, it won’t last long. Come by and grab a bottle … or two … for your next outdoor picnic.  Cheers, from one island to another!

Manager Jeremy Brown

Central Market Poulsbo

Fvine Vinho Verde Non-Vintage – $9.99

Vinho Verde is a Portuguese wine that originated in the Minho region in the far north of the country.  Vinho Verde is not a grape variety.  The name literally means “green wine,” but translates as “young wine.” The Vinho Verdes are light and fresh and, although they do not quite qualify as semi-sparkling, they do have a definite effervescence.  Vinho Verdes are low in alcohol (8.5-11 percent) and high in acidity.  Vinho Verde can be made in red or white, but the white variety is the most common....
read more

Posted in Pour Your Heart Out | Leave a comment

If it’s June, it’s Time
to Get Out the Grill

March and April are “shoulder” months for most of the country – those interim months that precede the heat of the summer. But for us in the Pacific Northwest, June is the shoulder month. We can have some brilliant warm weather or it can be pouring down rain. Either way, most of us are itching to get out and enjoy the outdoors, or at least get out as far as the deck or patio. So we’re featuring wines all this month that go great with food cooked on the grill.

One of the wines we hope you’ll try is Gerard Bertrand Picpoul de Pinet. It’s the only white wine in the promotion.

read more
Posted in Pour Your Heart Out | Leave a comment