Pour Your Heart Out



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!...
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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...
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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. ...
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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.    ...
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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. ...
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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....
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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.

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Managers’ June Faves
from Beer to Malbec

What’s on the minds of our Wine Managers for June? An Oregon beer, an Italian red, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, an Argentinian Malbec and a Washington-crafted Merlot, that’s what! See what Lauren in Ballard, Jeremy at Town & Country Market on Bainbridge, Alan at Central Market Poulsbo, Jon at Shoreline and Spencer at Mill Creek have to recommend!

Ballard Market

Double Mountain Brewery – Assorted Styles

From the burgeoning beer scene in Hood River, Ore., comes one of our favorite breweries, Double Mountain. Founded in 2007, this 20-barrel brewery was pieced

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Four Favorite Rosés
and a Bordeaux Blend
for Your Spring Joy

What’s on the minds of our Wine Managers for May? Four of their favorite Rosés – and a Bordeaux-style blend thrown in for good measure. See what Jeremy at Town & Country Market on Bainbridge, Alan at Central Market Poulsbo, Jon at Shoreline, Spencer at Mill Creek and Lauren in Ballard have for you this month in our Beer & Wine Shops.

Town & Country Market, Bainbridge Island

Domaine Fontsainte Gris de Gris Rosé 2013 – $14.99

I had the opportunity to meet Kermit Lynch, a legendary importer of limited-production French wines of outstanding quality a couple

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Our Wine Managers
Point to Their Favorites

See what our Wine Managers recommend this month – Alan in Poulsbo goes seasonal with a Northwest rosé; Jon at Shoreline chooses an elegant red by Vietti; Mill Creek’s Spencer is excited about a new Yakima-brewed IPA that’s creating a big buzz; Lauren in Ballard gives a shout out to a South African vintner; and Jeremy on Bainbridge exposes the Rhone Valley’s best-kept secret by Domaine De Durban.

Central Market Poulsbo

Julia’s Dazzle Pinot Grigio Rose, Horse Heaven Hills – $17.99

With the sunshine and warmer weather just around the corner, it might be time to t

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