Category Archives: The Wine Merchant

Possibly Better than Julia Child’s

IMG_1951 But then again, I wouldn’t know. I just know it was really great food with some really great people. Sunday night my father attempted (and succeeded at) Julia Child’s recipe on Coq au Vin. We didn’t have an old rooster as some of the old French recipes might call for, but it was still on point. I was a little late for dinner because of work, but don’t you know I made up for it by bringing the wine!

“Les Dames de Huguettes” Bourgogne – 2009 (Hautes Cotes de Nuits) Domaine Mongeard – Mugneret

This wine gets a little bit of shtick online, but I thought it was really nice. Red Burgundys Les Dame de Huguettesare really great and I certainly don’t drink them enough. Well, they are usually Pinot Noir, so I drink plenty of those, but not many from France. They are seen as too light, not having enough fruit, not having enough tannin or not having enough structure in general. Sometimes, if it quacks like a duck…. They aren’t trying to be anything else. I take Burgundys for what they are – elegant. I got this one at the Wine Merchant in Cary.

With this one in particular, the nose smelled like a dark red, full of dark fruits. There was no astringent smell at all, only freshness. The color was amazingly bright ruby red and on the palate bright fruit of cherry to match its color. The wine was soft, but with the exact flavor that I wanted with the meal (My dad had already told me he would be using an Oregon Pinot Noir in the Coq au vin). I knew I needed something to match. Though they are completely different styles of Pinot Noir, it worked because the sauce was light enough to hang on with the French Burgundy. The smells and tastes lingered together and didn’t overpower one another.

The Coq au vin came out beautifully, even though it had to be reheated! The chicken was tender, the onions Coq au Vinwere cooked perfectly and the mushrooms full of richness. And the sauce! Light carmel colored liquid gold – I love that the sauce wasn’t too rich or too overbearing like gravy can sometimes be. It dripped with lusciousness without causing that over-full feeling and soaked the rice under the chicken nicely. Add bread and butter and I couldn’t help but to eat as slowly as possible to savour every bite. It’s fun how some of these French recipes become an accomplishment, you have to try them out!

It’s at these times that we feel like we can really go travel anywhere. Sure, we weren’t in France, but we were acting French. French peasant food with array of fresh breads, cheese and salads, beautiful red Burgundy and a table of friends. At once, we are transported to a new culture and loving every minute of it.

A bien tôt! Salut!

Hautes Cotes de Nuits


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Ladies Night at The Wine Merchant in Cary

“Let me play the fool: With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come, And let my liver rather heat with wine, Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.”  -The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare

Every so often The Wine Merchant in Raleigh and in Cary does a Ladies Night.  This evening consists of women, wine, food and prizes.  This evening is sounding more and more like something a man would like to attend, but you CAN’T mwahaha! Furthermore, there weren’t 3 puny wines to taste, but 10, as well as a fabulous caterer AND Red Light Chocolates, yum!  I am quickly becoming a Red Light Chocolates groupie.  Here we start the synopsis of the tasting, names, prices, flavors and all. I’m even starting a new ranking system, very important stuff!

My friend Jim suggested that I come up with a good way to rank the different wines that I taste and he told me that his parents use a bug system. If wine is bad it gets a higher bug ranking; 3,4,5 bugs means the  wine is “buggy”.  If the wine is good, it may only get one bug or no bugs.  My roommate and I were trying to figure out our own way to judge wine and because we happen to taste a wine that smelled similar to feet, we thought feet may be a good scale.  I thought this foot thing over and decided it fit well, especially since wine used to be made by people squishing and smashing the grapes with their feet. We shall just assume that if a wine is terrible, more than one person helped with that batch making it extra feet-y.

The Wine-Up (hahaha) w/ The Wine Merchant Prices (A lot of wine, bear with me)

2007 Weingut Michlits, Pinot Noir Frizzante, Austria – Just as good as the first time. (0 Feet)

2009 Walnut Block ‘Collectables,’ Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand (TWM $11.99) – This wine was full of citrus flavor with volume and nice acidity. (2 Feet)

2008 Quattro Mani, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy – The name of this wine, meaning 4 hands speaks to the 4 celebrity Italian winemakers involved in its creation.  This wine doesn’t have the best smell ever, but it certainly tastes nice.  This wine is full of fruity flavors and is soft and simple. (3 Feet)

2008 Saint-Damien, Red Blend, Cotes du Rhone, France –  A nice dark red wine with flavors of pepper and spice.  (3 Feet)

2009 Morgan Winery, Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma, California (TWM $ 14.99) – In comparison to the first Sauv. Blanc, it was fruity with less citrus and more minerality.  The wine wasn’t as full in body, but had more acidity and crispness. (2 Feet)

2009 Morgan Winery, Cotes du Crow’s, Sonoma, California (TWM $ 19.99) – With sweet spice and currant this blend produces a medium-bodied wine with smooth tannins.  The nice dark cherry color gives a good idea to its taste adding blackberry and oak hints. (1 Foot)

2009 Guenoc, Petite Syrah, California (TWM $ 13.99) – This lovely Petite Sirah begins with notes of blackberry and blueberry on the nose and ends with a lively fruity flavor.  The taste of earthiness really creates a nice smooth finish. (1 Foot)

2009 Guenoc, Chardonnay, California (TWM $ 12.99) – I like to say that wines can taste round and by that I mean that instead of dry and stiff like some wines, the wine tastes full, heavy and complete.  This Chardonnay tasted round with sweet apple flavors. (2 Feet)

2007 Young’s Vineyard, Syrah, Shenandoah Valley, California (TWM $ 14.99) – This was my favorite wine of the bunch, unsure of whether it was actually good or if the 10 ounces of wine I had just previously consumed was swaying my thoughts! Good news, the roommate agrees with me and she had much less.  An interesting 100% Syrah with boatloads of flavor and complexity and a cool looking bottle. (0 Feet)

2008 Young’s Vineyard, Barbera, Shenandoah Valley, California (TWM $ 14.99) – An Italian grape that tasted more of plum and spice. (1 Foot)

As my scrawled writing became harder to read and everything started to taste earthy and oddly grape-like, we moved onto the chocolates to recuperate.  Red Light Chocolates passion fruit piece was so incredible that it took me back to my sultry night in Manaus, Brazil.  As the bartenders beat their hands and made caipirinhas in the middle of the Amazonas, I had a passion fruit cocktail full of sweet cold fruit. I love that flavors and smells can spark such vivid memories!

Have no fear Mark Day To Go catering was there to keep our stomachs full with tasty foods! Throughout the evening prizes were given away, friendships were made and wine was purchased.  For a completely free event, I’d say The Wine Merchant knocked it out of the park.  The three women from Red Light Chocolates, Mark Day To Go Catering and Thomas Creek Brewery were wonderful… brilliant to talk to with top of the line products.  Please visit these businesses and try these wines, they are truly worth it.

Where’s the next wine tasting?  Follow my tweets for updates! Twitter: Breeze386

Where can I buy these wines?

Show me the chocolate!

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