Swirl Wine Bar & Market

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Celebrate Slow Wine and Slow Food, Terra Madre Day at Swirl!


Terra Madre Day, December 10th, marks the anniversary of the founding of the Slow Food movement in Italy in 1986 by a passionate guy named Carlo Petrini.  It's a day when  food communities and Slow Food chapters around the world celebrate eating locally and sustainable local food production in more than a 1,000 events: collective meals, community festivals, protests, workshops for children, excursions to producers and much more are held to promote local food traditions and demonstrate the Slow Food philosophy of good, clean and fair food to communities, media and decision makers. This year the Slow Food NOLA event will be hosted at Swirl where we are teaming up with our friends from Fat Falafel for an evening of Slow Wine and Slow Food!  

So just what exactly does that mean? Slow Food publishes a great Italian wine guide called "Slow Wine" in support of producers who not only make great wine but who are also passionate about their bond with the land and their choice of cultivation and cellar techniques - favoring those who implement ecologically sustainable wine growing and winemaking practices.  Slow Food panels of judges visited over 400 wineries and have compiled reviews of over 3000 wines. So our role in tonight's event will be to serve wines at the bar from producers highlighted in the book for their support of good, clean and fair.

Fat Falafel will be supporting another initiative of Slow Food by preparing a dish using a food that is part of the Ark of Taste program.   Slow Food's Ark of Taste is a catalog of over 200 delicious foods that you’ve maybe never heard of, because, for one reason or another, they’ve been cast aside by the industrial food system.  So besides all of the other great stuff they already serve on the truck, Gavin and Teresa of Fat Falafel will be preparing a special dish on the menu specifically for the event.  A portion of the proceeds from Fat Falafel's sales of that one delicious item and the bar sales from our 5 special Slow Wines, will be donated to Slow Food.

And just in case you want to know, Swirl represents many of the producers in the book and you can look for the Slow Food snail on the bottles to indicate which ones are considered worthy of the Slow Wine snail of approval!  Check out the list below and come to the shop on Tuesday where 5 of the following wineries will be represented on our special by the glass menu! The hard part is going to be picking 5 from this amazing list.

Italy's Slow Wine Producers currently available at Swirl:
Allegrini - Veneto
Occhipinti - Sicilia
Terlano - Alto Adige
Caggiano - Campania
Librandi - Calabria
Terre Nere - Sicilia
Foradori - Trentino
Velenosi - Marche
Donnafugata - Sicilia
Planeta - Sicilia
Gaja - Piemonte, Toscana
I Vigneri - Sicilia
Travaglini - Piemonte
Le Morette - Veneto
La Spinetta - Toscana
Boscarelli - Toscana
Bartolo Mascarello - Piemonte

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Oregon Pinot Show, A Tasting of Artisan Wines from 2008, 2009 and 2010

Holmes Hill Vineyard in Eola Amity with James Moises, 2012 Harvest

Vintage variation is a term you hear a lot when you talk with winemakers.  And depending on where they make wine you'll here the term more or less often. But in Oregon, where the premier growing region of the Willamette Valley sits between two mountain ranges and is less than 70 miles from the Pacific ocean, you hear it loud and often. The weather can literally change from minute to minute and from one mile to another; sunny on this vineyard, misty rain on the next.

Vintages tell a story about what happened to the vines from winter to harvest. How much rainfall or how much sun; how hot were the days and how cool were the nights?  Did mother nature throw in a hail storm or monsoon like winds that decreased the yields?  Did the winery pick their grapes early in fear of bad weather or bite their nails and wait it out?  All of these climatic influence and decisions leave an unmistakable footprint on the wine that makes it virtually impossible for a bottle from the same vineyard to taste the same year after year.  And as frustrating as that can be at times, it is also part of the magic that happens when you grow, harvest and bottle a living, continually evolving entity and close it up!  It goes through many stages, some good and some less so, which is what makes wine so intriguing!

In this seated tasting, led by producer and distributor of artisan wines from Oregon James Moises, we'll taste and compare wines from the 2008, 2009 and 2010 vintage and talk about how these factors influenced what is in your glass. We've selected a beautiful lineup of small production wines that range in price fro $37 to $65 per bottle and we'll pair them with cheeses selected and presented by Casey Foote of St. James/Swirl. The event is Thursday, December 5th, tickets are $33 per person and seating is extremely limited.  .  You can click here to reserve online:  The Oregon Pinot Show

2009 Lumos Wine Company Pinot Noir Temperance Hill,  688 cases produced
The Lumos Wine Company is the product of the efforts of its owner/winemaker, Dai Crisp, who was first introduced to viticulture in 1986 when he helped his parents plant a small, 10-acre vineyard on their farm in Wren, Oregon. In 1990 he became manager of Croft Vineyards where he began to develop his own unique style of grape growing. Then in 1999, Dai took on the 100-acre site at Temperance Hill Vineyard, where he is currently manager. While always interested in the process of wine-making, it wasn’t until Dai had proven to himself and others that he could grow an outstanding wine that he finally made the leap with his own label.

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 92 pts:  The 2009 Pinot Noir Temperance Hill Vineyard also displays some herbaceousness but less so than the 2009 Fine Block. Savory on the palate with relatively elevated acidity, this nicely proportioned wine is on track for some longevity. Give it 2-3 years of cellaring and drink it through 2023+. If it evolves as I think it will, it should merit an outstanding rating in the relatively near future. 
291 cases produced

2010 Eminent Domaine Willakia Pinot Noir, 600 cases produced
Eminent Domain, the legal term, hit Eminent Domaine owner Jeff Meader hard.  When the laws of eminent domain were used to take his property in downtown Portland, it "inspired" the birth of Eminent Domaine Winery. Located in McMinnville Oregon, Eminent Domaine makes single vineyard wines of limited production and interestingly use only a single clone of Pinot Noir.

The Willakia vineyard is located towards the northern end of the Eola-Amity Hills. During the growing season, ocean breezes push through the Van Duzer Corridor in the Coastal Range maintaining a consistently cool climate that is the hallmark of great Pinot Noir winegrowing regions.

Made from 100% Pommard clones, the 2010 Willakia has dark cherry and black raspberry fruit with dusty tannin showing through this richly styled balanced wine. Savory components showing of spice and tea like qualities tied with a solid core of bright fruit go on through the long finish.

2010 Alloro Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, 1200 cases produced

Alloro, Italian for laurel, is a small winery that crafts entirely Estate grown Pinot Noir.  From the southwest facing slope of Laurel Ridge in the Chehalem Mountains, the vineyard plantings start at 475 feet and rise to about 650 feet and have either a southwest or southeast aspect.  The soil is classified as Laurelwood Series, a silty soil made of ancient decomposed volcanic material with a top layer of ancient sediment.

Wine Spectator did an article on Oregon's 2010 vintage and the Alloro Riservata Pinot Noir is chosen as one of the top 20 wines out of 550 tasted for the article and the Chehalem Mountain Pinot scored 92 points.  The wines are made by their
Burgundy trained, UC Davis educated Winemaker, Tom Fitzpatrick who loves the challenge of capturing the expression of place at a unique moment in time - no matter what a particular vintage may throw at him.

2010 Wine Spectator, 92 points - Sleek and refined, with a nice point to the black cherry and mineral flavors, lingering with haunting delicacy on the finish. Drink now through 2018. - H.S.

2008 De Lancellotti Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountain, 500 cases produced
The De Lancellotti Family Vineyard's owners Paul and Kendall de Lancellotti bring to Oregon Pinot Noir a dedication to organic and sustainable grape growing practices that is rare to find and hard to achieve.

A hallmark of Paul and Kendall's winemaking philosophy is their commitment to stewardship of the land. In 2004, they received Biodynamic certification for their 27 acre vineyard. Certification is a complex process involving a commitment to the land and to the cycles of nature, as well as to strictly regulated winemaking practices. The Bergstrom and the deLancellotti Family Vineyards operations were the first two vineyards in the Willamette Valley to be certified Biodynamic. In 2008 they received the highest level of Biodynamic farming, Demeter certification. Using France's great Burgundies as his benchmark, Paul deLancellotti aims to bring subtlety and elegance to his signature Pinot Noirs.

IWC & WS, 92 points: Full, bright red. Sexy bouquet of raspberry, cherry-cola and potpourri, with subtle woodsmoke and anise qualities in the background. A juicy, spicy midweight that offers sweet red and dark berry flavors and a zesty mineral spine. Darker fruits come up on the finish, which lingers with impressive juicy persistence. Very attractive right now but has the balance to reward another four to six years of bottle aging, at a minimum.

2008 Wahle Cellars Yamhill Carlton, 300 cases produced
This is a single vineyard owned by the Wahle family from one of the oldest and most highly regarded vineyards in the Willamette Valley.  Mark's family were some of the first growers in Oregon and in 1974 they chose to plant their vineyard on a 100 acre hilltop in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Mark, second generation, earned a degree from UC Davis in Enology & Viticulture in 1988 and is the reason our friend James Moises is now in the wine business!

From the historical 2008 vintage, this wine is made using the old vines in the his family's Yamhill Carlton Vineyard.  Showing its ageworthyness, even at 5 years old it still takes time to open up, but with patience reveals dark cherry and raspberry notes on the palate combined with impressive intensity, structure and a beautiful finish.  As with all of Mark's wines, the oak is well integrated and the tannins are nicely balanced.  I'm sure this one will be scooped up at the event!


2009 Moises Vieux Carre, 100 cases produced
Born and raised in New Orleans, Jesuit and LSU graduate, ER doctor and professor, Dr. James Moises is a busy man. Somehow between working in the ER and teaching, he is finding time to follow his other passion, making wine. And not just any wine, we’re talking very small production, serious Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley made with sustainable vineyard practices and minimalist intervention in winemaking.  James’ first vintage release was in 2006, producing an old vine Pinot with fruit from friend Mark Wahle’s original family plot that was planted in 1974, and a Holmes Hill Pinot from the recently planted 40 acre site. Total production was only 150 cases in 2006 and in 2007. With the release of the Vieux Carre, a blend of the old vine Yamhill Carlton and the Holmes Hill fruit, production increased to 300 cases. While Mark Wahle is the winemaker, James is there every step of the way, involved from planting to bottling and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He loves the creative process involved in “taking this cluster of fruit and producing something really special that will bring enjoyment to others.”


The Vieux Carre is a blend of grapes from old vine Wahle Family Yamhill Carlton Vineyard and the younger vines of the Holmes Hill Vineyard in Eola Amity.  Great plush, silky mouthfeel, delicious dark cherry fruits with balanced acidity and minerality it is a knock out! We will have magnums available in this wine during the tasting.


Monday, November 25, 2013

5 Pairing Tips for Turkey Day

 

Those of you who shop with us know that we just love food and wine pairing so helping to make your selections for holiday meals is a real treat. What should you drink with all of those sides and mounds of turkey? There are so many answers to that question that sometimes the best choice would be to open a bubbly, white, red and rose, put them on the table and let people chose for themselves because it’s all about personal preference!

Every year I give a few pairing tips and recommendations from our staff.   We've chosen traditional and some more adventurous options at different price points so there is something for palate and every wallet.  Each of the wines will have a tag with our silly turkey photo above to let you know who picked it and if you purchase any 4 of these wines for your celebration, we’ll give you a 10% discount.  Here's a sampling of our picks, but you'll find lots more when you come in to shop...

1.  For the wide array of flavors on the Thanksgiving table, sparkling wines are a no-brainer. Bright acidity, fruit and yeasty undertones make bubbly extremely food-friendly. Especially good are Brut Rosé and Blanc de Noir, which can take you from the lox or chevre hors d'oeuvre to the vinaigrette salad right through the turkey and potatoes and onto the pie. The Pinot Noir grapes in these wines provide body, some tannin for texture, red-fruit character, complexity and acid balance. And in general, the bubbles from natural carbonation from the yeast, combined with the wine's acidity, help cleanse the palate for the next course.

Our Picks: Budget Conscious (under $12) Matt: La Poema Cava; Beth: Montmartre Sparkling; 
Solid Values ($12-$29) Beth: Ca'Vittoria Rose' Prosecco; Erin: Gerard Bertrand Cremant di Limoux Rose'; Casey: Domain Spiropoulos Ode Panos Brut; Kerry: Graham Beck Sparkling Brut Rose';
Indulgent ($30 and up) Kimi:  Devaux Cuvée Rose Brut Champagne

White wines with lively fruit and acidity and little to no oak are also versatile. With its aromas and flavors of citrus, apple and pear and zippy acidity plus herbal notes, Sauvignon Blanc pairs with everything from butternut-squash soup to green salad to turkey with a dressing made of briny oysters and herbs. Even notoriously tough-to-pair Brussels sprouts will sing with Sauvignon Blanc. Alsatian and German whites like Rieslings, Gewurtztraminer, Pinot Gris with their tropical fruit, citrus, green-apple, pear and mineral notes combined with thirst quenching acidity, work with almost any Thanksgiving dish except the cranberry sauce.

Our Pick:  Budget Conscious (under $12) Erin: Herencia Altes Blanco; Kimi: Six Hats Chenin Blanc
Solid Values ($12-$29) Adam: 2012 Vina Robles White 4; Matt:  2011 Affinitas Furmint; Casey: 2011 Montintin Sancerre; Beth: 2011 Causse Marines Les Greilles; Kimi: 2010 Conreria d'Scala Dei Les Brugueres Priorat Blanco; Kerry: 2011 Albert Mann Gewurtztraminer
Indulgent ($30 and up)  Beth: 2011 Maison Roche de Bellene Saint-Aubin


Fruity reds and dry rosés are a favorite "go-to" pick for Thanksgiving. They bring soft, easy drinking affordability to the table that's perfect for the cornucopia of flavors and large group setting that Thanksgiving entails. With their bright fruit flavors, they can perk up the milder dishes and enough have structure to hold their own with the more robust courses made with sausage and herbs. As an alternative, a good Dolcetto or lighter style Barbera can offer similar characteristics and are real crowd pleasers.

Our Pick: Budget Conscious (under $12) Casey: 2012 J. Ramos Loios Red; Matt: 2011 Honoro Vera Garnacha 
Solid Values ($12-$29) Beth2011 Velenosi Lacrima di Morro d'Alba; Kimi: 2012 Methven Family Gamay;  Kerry: 2010 Bellanotte Conte Lucio Pinot Grigio Ramato; Erin: 2010 L'Argentier Cinsault
Indulgent ($30 and up)  Beth: 2007 Travaglini Gattinara;  

 Bigger reds with spicy, dark fruit and berries like Syrah and Zinfandel can bring out the best in cranberry sauces as long as the wine has soft tannins and ripe, forward fruit and the sauce is balanced -- moderately tart and not too sweet.

Our Picks:  Budget Conscious (under$12) Beth: 2012 Roure Setze Gallets
Solid Values ($12-$29) Kimi: 2009 Vina Robles Petit Syrah; Erin: 2011 Juan Gil Monastrell; 
Adam: 2011 Clos de Caveau Vacqueyras; Casey: 2009 Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre
Indulgent ($30 and up) Matt: 2006 Marques di Grinon Petit Verdot; Adam: 2011 Vending Machine Wine Double Shotgun

The most popular single wine to choose for Thanksgiving is Pinot Noir. This versatile varietal has tangy red fruit of strawberry and cherry, with nice acidity to balance and low levels of tannin. With elegance and a touch of earthiness to lend complexity, Pinot Noir will subtly support most things on the Thanksgiving table without overpowering them. Cranberry sauce and dessert are exceptions again, with the sauce too tart and the dessert too sweet. Something a little more adventurous, but with a similar profile could be an Etna Rosso or a Sicilian Cerasuolo.

Our Pick:  Budget Conscious (under $12) Beth: 2012 Sea Glass Central Coast Pinot Noir 
Solid Values ($12-$29) Matt: 2009 Dominio IV - Oregon;  Kimi: 2011 Banshee - Sonoma; 
Adam: 2010 Saintsbury - Carneros; Casey: 2011 Sean Minor 4 Bears - Central Coast 
Indulgent ($30 and up) Beth: 2008 Moises Dundee Pinot Noir - Oregon; Erin: 2007 Amalie Roberts Vintage Debut - Oregon; Casey: Anne & Herve Sigaut Chambolle-Musigny

So there you have it! But remember the most important thing is to drink wines that make you happy with people that make you smile, because that is what it's all about!

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving to All of You!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Happiness is Pagoda Cafe


Tucked under the trees on a corner spot off of Bayou Road, there's a cool little Pagoda that has become one of our favorite stops. And while might be the distinct architecture that draws your eye, it is the fresh food, great coffee and smiling faces that will pull you in and keep you coming back for more.

Proprietors Shana & Daniel
Swirl regulars Daniel Etheridge and Shana Sasson opened the newest neighborhood hot spot in this little gem of a building that was, you guessed it, a Chinese Laundry.  We go for their coffee every chance we get, leaving work in the car to get something that we could walk around the corner for.  There are very few coffee spots in the city that offer a truly quality cup of joe, in fact I can count them on one hand.  Because quality for me is measured by espresso.  If the espresso is done right, chances are the other coffees will follow suite as good drip coffee is somewhat easy to achieve as long as you have a clean machine and fresh beans from quality sources.

Espresso with the most delicious rum cake!
Italians are the masters of espresso.  The term "espresso" is derived from the Italian word for express since espresso is made for and served immediately to the customer.   And those clever Italians developed an alliteration for perfect espresso preparation called the 4"M's": the Macinazione is the correct grinding of a coffee blend, Miscela is the coffee blend, Macchina is the espresso machine, and Mano is the skilled hand of the barista.  When each factor of the four M's is precisely controlled, the espresso beverage that is produced is the ultimate coffee experience.  And I have to say that in coffee shops here in New Orleans, a few of the M's are usually missing from the equation.

Macchiato fantastico!
Not so here at Pagoda Cafe. They get "it" and the result is a great pour with no bitterness, the perfect crema with rich texture, flavor and aromatics.  The coffee menu here is simple, as it should be. No caramel brulee latte's or peppermint mocha's just espresso drinks and great drip coffee.  And this is why we get in the car and drive from the shop to Pagoda Cafe.


However, as those in the service industry know, a good product isn't always enough.  So add to that smiling, happy people who genuinely love what they are doing and are eager to share it with you.  Then throw in the fact they are sourcing as much as they can locally - breads are from Bellegarde, their seasonal veggies from Holly Grove and Grow Dat and coffee and teas from French Truck - and you've got the perfect mix for a great spot that you will want to frequent as often as you can.

Open faced chicken sandwich w/artichoke spread and fresh arugula.
We finally got to go for lunch yesterday and were so happy to have fresh, healthy and delicious food at great prices. You can choose from a few breakfast items, sandwiches, stews and a handful of dessert choices.  Besides the coffee drinks there are fresh brewed ice teas (the Earl Grey with Lavender was super!), Italian sodas, Mexican sparkling waters and bottled coca cola. They are open 7am - 4pm Tuesday through Saturday so be sure to check them out and show them some love!  And don't forget to tell them swirl sent you ;-)

1430 N. Dorgenois, New Orleans, Louisiana 70119
(504) 644-4178

Friday, November 15, 2013

Antonio's Italy, Wine & Culinary Travel July 2014


Antonio’s Italy 
July 5 – July 12, 2014

Join Swirl Wine Bar & Market in July 2014 as Antonio Molesini, Italian Wine Specialist and native of Tuscany, takes us on a very special wine and cultural tour of his homeland.  We’ll be living like locals, spending a week in a villa in Cortona and visiting Antonio’s favorite wineries, restaurants, hill towns and wine bars. With its centralized location, Cortona is the perfect base from which to explore both Umbria and Tuscany and experience their distinct wines, regional foods and cultural heritage.

Accommodations:  Our home for the next week is the beautifully restored Casa Berrittini, located just inside the ancient city walls of Cortona.  This 14th century house was the birthplace of one of Cortona’s most famous Renaissance artists, Pietro Berrittini, and has been lovingly renovated over several years by the owner in the traditional Tuscan style.  Casa Berrittini is wonderfully situated within the ancient city walls and offers incredible views, one of the largest private gardens in the town and four suites with a separate sitting area, queen size bed and bath.  Common areas include a large kitchen and living room areas as well as full use of the majestic gardens.
  
Cortona:  Antonio was born and raised in the medieval hill town of Cortona and his deep passion combined with immense historical knowledge of the region gives us a unique advantage.  You'll have his insider tips on where to shop, join him on private tours and eat in ristoranti owned by his friends and family. Tour frescoed churches from the 13th century; explore the original city walls; see an art exhibit in the 16th century fortress. You can also visit the local museums and libraries, tiptoe around ancient monasteries and tombs dating back to the second century B.C. Dine on the best Tuscan dishes as you look out on an historic palazzo or hike out to the beautiful countryside. As for shopping, you'll find local handicrafts, antiques, and of course regional wines and olive oils that will surpass anything you've ever tasted!  

Itinerary
Day One:  Saturday, July 5th - Welcome to Cortona!
We meet at the train station and bring you to the medieval city of Cortona.  Casa Pietro Berrittini is located with in the ancient city walls and gives us easy access to this beautiful historic hill town.  Today we’ll settle in at the villa, have lunch at a little enoteca and get oriented to Cortona with Antonio as our personal guide. We'll have dinner tonight in one of Cortona's top ristoranti located in a 13th century building overlooking the main piazza.  

Day Two:  Sunday, July 6th – Walk of the Etruscans
Tuscany is considered to be the cradle of Etruscan Civilization, which had its beginnings in the 9th century B.C. Ancient Etruria was centered on a confederation of twelve great Etruscan cities, including Volterra, Populonia, Chiusi, Arezzo and Cortona. Cortona’s importance is apparent with its archaeological sites and today we'll have an exclusive, private look at a dig site that dates back to the 7th century BC and a tour of Museum of Etruscan and Roman City of Cortona (MAEC) with Antonio as your personal guide.

Lunch today is in a one of a kind restaurant in Camucia,  but we can't too much because we will cook a special dinner for you tonight at the villa and focus on the food and wine of Umbria. With its border only 3 miles from Cortona, Umbria offers its own unique culture and culinary traditions for us to indulge in!

Day Three: Monday, July 7th  – The Wines of Cortona and Montepulciano 
We’ll spend today exploring the designated wine regions of Cortona and Montepulciano.  While the two regions border each other, you’ll learn how the unique micro climates and soil types of each area makes for very different grape varieties and wine production. We'll visit a winery within the Cortona DOC that is considered the benchmark producer for the region. After our private tour of the winery we'll enjoy a tasting of the complete range of their wines and have lunch on their terrace overlooking the Chiana Valley.

After lunch we’ll drive to the village of Montepulciano, without a doubt one of the most beautiful medieval towns of Tuscany.  Resting at 2000 feet above sea level, protected by still impressively intact walls, Montepulciano is known for its noble Renaissance town houses and for the elegant architecture of its churches. Montepulciano is also renowned for its enoteche (wine bars) and cantine (wine cellars) with most offering the chance to sample local products like pecorino cheese, salami, honey, olive oil, and, of course, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. We have special visit planned where we’ll compare and contrast the 3 methods of Sangiovese production in the region – Rosso di Montepulciano, Vino Nobile, and Vino Nobile Reserva.   Following our tasting you’ll be free to explore this amazing town before heading back to Cortona and dinner at one of town’s top 5 ristoranti!


Day Four: Tuesday, July 8th  – Exploring Umbria
Our base in Cortona makes the region of Umbria just a short distance and today we will be celebrating one of the region's culinary treasures with a local to guide the way.  After our morning foraging in the forest, we'll have a cooking lesson in his kitchen with this magical treasure and then eat what we cook accompanied by the local wines!

Afterwards we’ll visit a classical Umbrian hill town.  This is a magical, medieval city of ancient fortresses and medieval palaces known for its ceramics, woodworking, and metal crafts where we’ll spend a few hours exploring  before we head back to Cortona. Dinner tonight will be a real treat as Antonio's friend Paolo prepares a local favorite, beef steaks from the local Chianina cattle grilled in the famous style, Bistecca Fiorentina. His ristorante focuses on the rustic simplicity of Tuscan cuisine and most of the game as well as the wine come from his family farm.


Day 5:  Wednesday, July 9th  – Shopping!
Today you will have the option to go by train to Florence with Antonio on one of his infamous shopping trips, schedule museum tours or spend a leisurely day relaxing in Cortona.  Antonio loves to shop and he’ll take you to visit his favorite merchants at the Ponte Vecchio, the outdoor markets and main shopping thoroughfares in one of the most fashionable cities in the world.  Or if you would like, we can arrange for you to visit Florence’s incredible museums on your own and we will all meet at the train station in the afternoon to return to Cortona together.

For those who choose not to go to Florence, you can spend a relaxing day in the tranquility of Cortona, visiting the local merchants on the Via Nazionale shopping for gifts, touring churches and museums, or hanging out in an enoteca with a great glass of wine! 

We have a special treat for dinner tonight as we dine at the house of a Cortonese native.  Our hosts, Patrizia & Lucia will prepare for us a delicious traditional Tuscan meal served in their garden accompanied by the wines of two of Tuscany’s most famed regions, the Maremma and Montalcino. 

Day 6:  Thursday, July 10th -  The Wines of Chianti Classico
After an early breakfast this morning we’ll head west through the green rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside to visit a winery that has carried on the tradition of winemaking since 1150.  During our visit we’ll tour the historical, still working cellars, stroll in the late-Reinassance gardens of the Villa, and maybe have the chance to see the wild boar bred in the surrounding woods! We’ll have a wonderful lunch on the property accompanied by their range of wines.

In the afternoon we’ll spend a few hours wandering the streets of one of Chianti's classic towns to do some shopping and visit a famous butcher.  And if there is time, we’ll stop at a medieval castle for a guided tour and tasting of their wines.  Tonight we’ll dine in Cortona at a favorite of the locals for their delicious pastas.

Day Seven: Friday, July 11th -   Lago Trasimeno &  Vino Colli del Trasimeno
We’ll spend a peaceful, relaxing day today around Lago Trasimeno.  Rolling  green hills dotted with fields of sunflowers, olive groves and vineyards, Lake Trasimeno is  located right on the Umbria Tuscan border and is one of Italy’s largest lakes.  In the morning, we’ll visit a small, family owned winery with beautiful views of the lake for a tasting of their wines. Then take a boat out on the lake to one of the islands where we’ll have lunch in a waterfront ristorante and afterwards spend time hiking around the island or enjoying the lovely churches and museums.  

We’ll get back early enough for you spend some time in Cortona, visiting the local merchants on the Via Nazionale to do your last minute shopping before our farewell dinner at Antonio's family ristorante tucked away in a little piazzetta (little piazza) off the main Piazza Repubblica in the center of Cortona.  This multi coursed feast of local Cortonese specialties will be an excellent end to our culinary travels!

Day 8: Saturday, July 12th -  Arrividerci Cortona! 
We sadly say goodbye to Cortona this morning, take you to the train station in Camucia and help you get to you next destination.

Trip Price is $2750 per person, double occupancy only.  A $750 deposit by cash or check and a completed registration form are required to book your spot.  The balance of $2000 is due 90 days from trip start date.

Our trips book very quickly!  If you are interested in more information, please contact me at 504.304.0635

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Premium Reds Tasting Event



Premium Reds
a selection of world class full bodied red wines
from Washington and California
Presented by Mystic Vines




Join us on Thursday, November 21st @ Swirl Wine Bar & Market for a tasting of artisanal red wines retailing between $30 - $80 from Washington and California. This exclusive, walkabout tasting is limited to 25 participants.  $25, Reservations and prepayment required, 6:30-8pm, 504.304.0635

2010 Anderson's Conn Valley  Estate Reserve Cabernet - Napa 
The estate’s 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve is endowed with serious power and depth. Layers of blue and black fruit, smoke, tobacco and licorice are woven together beautifully. Vivid yet rich and resonant, the 2010 stands out for its exceptional purity and overall harmony. Here, too, the oak needs time to integrate, but tha shouldn’t be an issue, as readers should not plan on opening bottles anytime soon. A creamy, layered finish laced with expressive blue and black fruits rounds things out in style. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2032.  
WA 93-96 points
1400 cases

2010 Anderson's Conn Valley Right Bank - Napa
Freshly cut flowers, violets, leather and spices jump from the 2010 Proprietary Red Right Bank. There is an element of freshness and vibrancy in the 2010 that is highly appealing. Today, the 2010 is a bit compact, but I expect it will flesh out over time. Hints of leather, licorice, menthol and tar add complexity on the close. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2020. 
WA 94 points
700 cases

2010 Anderson's Conn Valley Eloge - Napa 
65 Cab, 25 CF, 5 Mer, 5 PV - Although naturally still very much a baby, the 2010 Eloge offers significant potential. Juicy dark cherries, flowers, spices and French oak all emerge from the glass. Today, the French oak is a bit dominant, but that should be less of an issue over time, as the balance of fruit, acidity and tannin is superb. Violets, menthol and sage are some of the nuances that add complexity to a huge, resonant finish. There is plenty of potential here. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2030. 
WA 92-94 points
450 cases

2009 Adelaida Viking Cabernet - Paso Robles 
Dark ruby.  Cassis, licorice, tobacco and loamy earth on the nose.  Plump and pliant in the mouth, with spice-accented flavors of dark fruits, bitter chocolate and black pepper.  Finish smooth and sweet, with lingering spiciness and gentle tannins. 
IWC 90 points
155 cases

2010 Januik Champoux Vineyard Cabernet - Columbia Valley 
A big step up, with a deep, layered and pure profile that oozes Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Champoux Vineyard (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) is loaded with classy aromas and flavors of black currant, crushed stone, coffee bean, lead pencil and spring flowers. These flow to a full-bodied, perfectly balanced wine that has a seamless, polished texture, no hard edges and ripe, sweet tannin that emerges through the finish. Elegant and slightly understated, it grows in stature with air. While it’s certainly superb now, it will be even better in a handful of years and have a total of 12-15 years of longevity. Drink now-2025. 
WA 93 points, WS 91 points
358 cases

2010 Januik  Cabernet Franc Weinbau Vineyard - Columbia Valley  
 A blend of 91% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon that’s from the warmer Wahluke Slope AVA, the 2010 Cabernet Franc Weinbau Vineyard is a beauty! Seamless, supple and polished, with a medium to full-bodied, layered mouthfeel, it offers up outstanding aromas and flavors of ripe red and black fruits, baking spices, potpourri and flowers. While showing a hedonistic slant, it nevertheless has beautiful purity, notable focus and enough ripe tannin to keep it drinking well for upwards of a decade from the vintage. Drink now-2020. 
WA 91 points, WS 92 points
288 cases
2010 Januik Petit Verdot Ciel du Cheval Vineyard - Columbia Valley 
'10 Petit Verdot - The 2010 Petit Verdot Ciel du Cheval Vineyard is remarkably civilized for the variety. A blend of 96% Petit Verdot and a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, it delivers lots of spice-coated red and blackberry fruit, cedar cabinet and dried flower-like qualities to go with a medium to full-bodied, supple and beautifully textured palate. While up-front and very drinkable, it has enough back-end tannin and concentration to evolve gracefully for upwards of a decade (or more). Drink now-2020+. 
WA 91 points
116 cases

2011 Januik Columbia Valley Cabernet - Columbia Valley 
This rich, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon is brimming with cassis, raspberry, cocoa and warm vanilla notes in the nose. Its texture is amazingly supple and lingers across the palate, imparting a long, polished finish that was developed in part from aging in new French Oak barrels. 
NYR
2000 cases

2010 John Anthony Cabernet - Napa
Combines a tight, vibrant, juicy mix of dark berry, herb and olive with a dash of cedary mocha-scented oak and licorice, gliding along on the finish, with supple fine-grained tannins and good length. Drink now through 2024. 2,325 cases made. 
WS 92 points
2300 cases

2010 Sleight of Hand The Archimage, Columbia Valley  
More earthy and gamey, the 2010 The Archimage checks in a blend of 45% Cabernet Franc, 43% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot. Aged 20 months in 50% new French oak, it delivers a wild, Cabernet Franc-dominated profile with loads of chocolate covered red and black fruits, wild herbs, tobacco and damp earth all showing on the nose. Deep, rich and layered on the palate, with a medium to full-bodied, elegant texture, lip smacking levels of acidity and quality tannin on the finish, it will benefit from short-term cellaring and drink nicely for upwards of a decade. I’d like to see more mid-palate depth here, but there’s no denying the overall quality. Drink now-2020. 
WA 91 points
346 cases

2011 Sleight of Hand The Conjurer - Columbia Valley  
Starting off the reds, the entry level 2011 The Conjurer is a Bordeaux blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Franc that saw 14 months in a scant 26% new French oak. Perfumed, classy and with a traditional, herbal slant, it has loads of charm and a juicy, up-front and lightly concentrated feel. Showing plenty of currant bud, underbrush, smoked earth and mineral aromas and flavors, this medium body, fresh, focused and slightly lean 2011 opens up nicely with air and should be consumed over the coming 3-4 years. Drink now-2017. 
WA 88 points
469 cases




Monday, November 4, 2013

Super Secret Swirl Wine Deal - 95 Point Rioja!

Vineyards in Rioja Alavesa

95 points - Decanter Magazine calls this 2008 Reserva Rioja "outstanding". Menthol and cola on the nose with classic cedar and leather aromas. Ripe and spicy with concentrated fruit. Deep, rich, fruit-driven, serious juice! 

If you drive south from Txakoli, the vineyards of Rioja Alavesa hug the shadow of the mountains to the north and run to the River Ebro in the south. Tempranillo is the king here with the mountains creating a distinct micro-climate by offering some shelter from the Atlantic weather and wind.

For this reserva the grapes are hand selected, coming from vineyards in Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Alta. Soils are a mixture of chalk, sand and clay and the vines used for this have a medium age of 40 years old. The wine is aged in American and French oak barrels for 24 months and further bottle ageing for two years prior to release.

Only at swirl, $21

Monday, October 21, 2013

Robert Kacher Selections Tasting @ Swirl

Robert Kacher's reputation as a high quality French wine importer is tough to beat and for good reason. During the first two decades of Robert Kacher Selections, Bobby spent almost half of each year in France, criss-crossing from region to region in an effort to select and help develop the finest portfolio of French boutique estate wines of any importer in the US. Through this hands-on approach of working side by side with growers and producers, Bobby was able to ensure the quality and authenticity of every wine in his collection. Bobby’s dedication and passion for the wine business has resulted in numerous awards and accolades: Recently Robert Parker named him “one of the 20 most influential wine personalities of the past 20 years.”  The wines have been out of the market for awhile, but are back and we are excited to be showing 6 of our favorites on Wednesday, October 23rd from 6-8 with Craig Baker, director of sales for Robert Kacher Selections.  

Cordier Macon Vielles Vigne - 3rd generation Burgundy winemaker Christophe Cordier is known for making first class wines using only the region's best terroirs or sites.  This wine is typical of his style -bright, focused and balanced.  It's made from 65 year old vines and only 600 cases are produced of this wine with zesty lemon, ripe apple with just a slight tinge of oak and nice minerality.

Tariquet Classic - The grapes come from the Bas-Armagnac and Gascony region of southwest France, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Garonne River. Grown, produced and bottled by Domaine du Tariquet, who've been producing wine for over 100 years in the region.  Crisp pear and apple with floral notes this is a  super refreshing drink now wine!

Grand Cassagne Rose' - Costieres de Nimes is the most southerly appellation of the Rhone wine region in southeast France. The wines of the area are reputed to have been consumed by the Ancient Greeks and among the oldest known wines in the world. This delicious rose' is made from 40 year old vines of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre and is beautifully balanced, wonderfully fruity but dry, with bright and crisp strawberry and cherry fruit flavors. 

Santa Duc Cotes du Rhone VV- This was love at first sip for me, all tank fermented, no oak - nothing but pure deep black fruits with black olives and a peppery spice.  Yves Gras of Domaine Santa Duc is a highly reputed winemaker from Gigondas and this Vielles Vigne is a blend of fruit from neighboring villages of Vacqueyras (25%), Rasteau (25%), Seguret (25%) and Rouaix (25%). This wine is technically a Côtes du Rhône Villages, as it comes from the best designated villages in the appellation. The Vieilles Vignes is composed of 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre, with the average vine age being approximately 40 years of age.

Andre Brunel Grenache -  Chateauneuf-du-Pape winemaker of Les Cailloux, Andre Brunel, produces this wonderfully juicy Grenache blended with 10% Carignan.  A steal of a deal on this one, it has scents of fresh blackberries and red cherries, earth, meat, and leather. It’s savory, juicy, and ripe all at the same time and goes down so easy as it finishes with a spicy kick of black pepper. 

Santa Duc Gigondas - This is one powerful wine made by superstar Yves Gras at Santa Duc and comes from his home of Gigondas.  It's a classic blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah and 5% Cinsault from 8 different localities with notes of tar, garrigue, ripe plums and smoky bonfires. Big tannins, with savory fruit it's got lots of age-ability and plenty of intrigue.

Secret Swirl Wine Deal - Southern France


WA 93pts for $13.99, seriously? Combined with the fact that this amazing red comes from one of the oldest viticultural regions in France, farmed since Roman times, and it's made by one the most sought after winemakers of Europe, this is one special bottle!  Check out Robert Parker's review and see if it's something that interests you.  But as with all of our secret swirl deals, you have to come to the shop to find out what it is!

Robert Parker's Review: There are 3,000 cases of the naked, virginal, unoaked 2011 Vieilles Vignes made from 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache aged in concrete. The fact that wines such as this can be purchased is unbelievable. Largely an artisanal wine, it is brilliantly pure with a stunning nose of spring flowers, blackberries, cassis and earth. It is almost incomprehensible that something of this quality, complexity and richness can be purchased for $25 to $50, much less $10 to $12. The 3,000 cases should be gobbled up as quickly as they hit retailers’ shelves. I am honored to share my excitement about this amazing wine with readers.  93 points

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Photos from Artisan Oregon 2013

6 wineries, countless tasting rooms, 4 four course dinners with winemakers, the best B&B ever, our own French chef preparing breakfasts, working in the vineyards and drinking some of the best Pinot Noir in the world...we had a great trip!  Hope you'll join us sometime!

If you are using a mobile device that does not support flash or if you cannot see the album, click on the link below to view online:  Artisan Oregon 2013


Friday, October 18, 2013

Secret Swirl Wine Deal


Pssst.... A 2010 single vineyard Oregon Pinot at this price?!? We got a great deal on this wine and we’re passing it on, the price on line is $34, but we have a small amount of it at Swirl for $19.99!

There were only 250 cases made of this wine with big red cherry and strawberry fruit plus hints of cinnamon and toffee. The nose is rich and slightly toasted with a soft, silky mouthfeel and plenty of nuance. 

The fruit comes from 2 blocks of a small 42 acre parcel in the Dundee Hills of Oregon where this vineyard of red Jory soils occupy some of the most sought-after terrain in the region - nestled between Domaine Serene to the East and stunning Valley views to the west.  It spends 10 months aging in medium toast French oak, 20% of it new.

2010 is one of the coolest vintages in a long time, truly a Burgundy lovers dream delivering impressive concentration tenured with strong acidity. While cooler temperatures gave the wines acidity, the longer growing season well into October got sugar levels to where they needed to be right before harvest.

This is a must try for Oregon Pinot Noir fanatics but you have to come to the store to find out what it is :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

This Week At Swirl Wine Bar & Market


Happenings
Free Wednesday Night Launch Party for Squawking Parrot!
We'll be holding a very special free Wednesday night tasting this week hosted by our friends Monica and Neil of Vending Machine Wines!  Their latest love child, Squawking Parrot will be the star of the show tonight, but we'll also be pouring Horror Show, Loula's Revenge and Double Shotgun. And the night of the launch we'll be offering 15% discounts per bottle of any of the VMW offerings for those who attend the event and the best parrot costume gets a free bottle of Squawking Parrot plus another release of their choice!  If you've ever been to one of our VMW parties you know the wine will be flowing, the stereo cranking and there is lots of fun to be had!  6-8pm or til we run outta wine!!

Good Eggs Good Wine Launch Party Thursday, October 17th!!
We're throwing a Good Eggs, Good Wine Launch Party!  Come in to the shop between 5:30 and 7:30 to meet some of the Good Eggs folks and while you are at it you can sample some of the great food available like Esses Foods pastas and sauces, sausages from Crescent Pie & Sausage Company, Ryals Dairy cheeses with spreads from Pepperland Farms, quiche from P's and Q's and to top if all off, we'll have a free tasting with George Brown from Vino Wholesale pouring some of our new fav's from France and Spain! Good Eggs allows you to shop online in the comfort of your home and support local businesses and farmers while you do it!  Just place your order by midnight on Tuesday and select Swirl as pick up location. Also for all new Good Eggs customers picking up at swirl - type swirl into the promo code box and get $10 off your first order! Good eggs, good wine, good fun!

Robert Kakcher Selections with Craig Baker, Wednesday October 23, 6-8pm "Robert Kacher Selection has become as close to a guarantee of high quality as consumers are likely to find.” - Robert M. Parker Jr.
Robert Kacher's reputation as a high quality French wine importer is tough to beat and for good reason. During the first two decades of Robert Kacher Selections, Bobby spent almost half of each year in France, criss-crossing from region to region in an effort to select and help develop the finest portfolio of French boutique estate wines of any importer in the US. Through this hands-on approach of working side by side with growers and producers, Bobby was able to ensure the quality and authenticity of every wine in his collection. Bobby’s dedication and passion for the wine business has resulted in numerous awards and accolades: Recently Robert Parker named him “one of the 20 most influential wine personalities of the past 20 years.”  The wines have been out of the market for awhile, but are back and we are excited to be showing 5 of our favorites with Craig, director of sales for Robert Kacher Selections.

Artisan Oregon, Wine & Culinary Travel
Having just flown back late last night, I think it is safe to say that everyone had an amazing time on our Artisan Oregon tour!  We were on a pretty tight schedule so it was hard to do blog posts but I've put a lot of the photos on our facebook page and will try to catch up on swirlandsavor this week.  We will absolutely be scheduling another trip next year and I'll begin working on our Italy itinerary this week so stay tuned for more wine and culinary travel!

Check out our complete list of events below and we hope to see you sometime this week, cheers! 

Upcoming Event
Slow Food NOLA Chapter Meeting, Monday October 14, 7pm
Come see what Slow Food Nola is all about at the Hollygrove Market & Farm, 8301 Olive Street. The meeting is open to the public and will feature guest speakers from the Covey Rise Farm in Husser, LA.

Food Truck Tuesdays @ Swirl! October 15, 6-8pm 
The Fat Falafel food truck pulls up at our front door every Tuesday and you can bring your food inside and let Magic Matt and El Casey pair it with our favorite wines by the glass! Theresa and Gavin do an amazing job with fresh, Mediterranean style food and in fact were named by Zagat as one of the top 10 "must try" food trucks in the country!

Squawking Parrot Launch Party, October 16, 6-8pm!
Special free Wednesday tasting next week, October 16 with Moncia & Neil of Vending Machine wines!  We'll be tasting all of the current releases including the newly landed Squakking Parrot! 

Good Eggs, Good Wine Party, October 17 , 5:30-7:30
We're throwing a Good Eggs, Good Wine Launch Party!  Come in to the shop between 5:30 and 7:30 to meet some of the Good Eggs folks and while you are at it you can sample some of the great food available like Esses Foods pastas and sauces, sausages from Crescent Pie & Sausage company, Ryals Dairy cheeses with spreads from Pepperland Farms, quiche from P's and Q's and to top if all off, we'll have a free tasting with George Brown from Vino Wholesale pouring some of our new fav's from France and Spain! We'll give you coupon for a free glass of wine when you pick up your order and for all new Good Eggs customers picking up at swirl - type swirl into the promo code box and get $10 off your first order!

Friday Free for All, October 18, 6-8pm
Jared Breaux is joining us tonight with a great lineup of new wines this week while Jodie Drasutis is back as guest chef!  Come on over to drink some great wine and check out chef's menu!  

Saturday Happy Hour, October 19, 4-6pm
Join Kimi & Erin for our weekly happy hour where all of our 25+ wines by the glass are half off!

**Antonio's Italy, Wine & Culinary Travel, July 5-12th, 2014
Travel with us and a crazy Italian guy through Tuscany while we live like locals, spending a week in a villa in Cortona and visiting Antonio’s favorite wineries, restaurants, hill towns and wine bars. Stay tuned for more details or contact me for more information at 504.304.0635.  **I have already had many people inquiring about this trip before I even release the itinerary.  If you are seriously considering going with us and would like information, please send me an email at beth@swirlinthecity.com or reply to this email.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Squawking Parrots in the House This Week at Swirl!




Don't miss the Mid City launch party for Vending Machine Wines newest creation, Squawking Parrot! Old Vine Carignan meets Petit Sirah from our friends Monica and Neil and VMW - a Napa winery with a New Orleans soul! Join us this week for a special free Wednesday night tasting of 5 of their cool wines, 6-8pm.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ancora Wine Dinner with Anne Zakin, Marco De Grazia Selections


Fine Italian wines from small growers were virtually unknown in 1980 when importer Marco de Grazia first offered a handful of estates from Tuscany and Piedmont. Driven by fascination and passion with a vision of great possibilities, he progressed through the northern regions, then the central zones and finally into Italy’s rich and promising south. 

In 2004 Marco established a U.S. based company, little used until 2008 when Anne Zakin became the director. Thanks to Anne and our friends at Uncorked, the wines of the Marco de Grazie have a prominent presence in our shop and we are excited to have her host this dinner at Ancora.  Please join us in celebrating the wines of southern Italy tonight paired with chef Jeff Talbot's regionally inspired menu.




Date: Tuesday, September 24
Time: 6:30 apertivi, seating @ 7pm
Where: Ancora, 4508 Freret Street, New Orleans
Reservations: Call Swirl 504.304.0635, credit card required
$80 all inclusive



Apertivi   
A Selection of House Made Anti Pasta
2011 Vini Iovine Gragnano Rosso Frizzante Terre del Gragnano, Campania
NV Cantina del Taburno Vino Spumante 'Folius', Campania 

2nd
Gnocchi and Lobster with Butter
2011 Terre Nere Etna Bianco Le Vigne Niche, Sicilia

3rd 
A Tasting of Local Rabbit with White Beans and Wild Mushrooms
2011 Centonze Frappato, Sicilia

4th 
Roasted Wild Boar with Local Braised Greens, and Louisiana Polenta 
2008 Pardi Sagrantino di Montefalco, Umbria

Dolce 
Chef's Selection
2008 Pardi Passito, Umbria 

Marco De Grazia at Swirl in 2010









Saturday, September 7, 2013

Mariza Wine Dinner with Angela Maculan


For three generations the Maculan family has been selecting and vinifying the best grapes in Breganze, a small village at the foot of the Alps in the Veneto region.   Fausto Maculan's innovative and dynamic winery combines ancient traditions and modern techniques using the latest winemaking technology.  Long-held family traditions are respected: from using specially selected vineyards and the careful selection of the bunches of grapes, to aging in new, small oak barrels and conserving the grapes on racks for the production of their Torcolato wine. The fusion of tradition and innovation results in a selection of fresh and fruity whites, well-structured reds and delicious dessert wines. 

Angela Maculan will be our host this evening, celebrating her family's unique wines paired with Chef Ian Schnoebelen's regionally inspired menu.




Date: Monday, September 23
Time: cash bar 6:30pm/dinner 7pm
Where: Mariza, 2900 Chartres Street, New Orleans
Reservations: (504) 598-5700, credit card required
$80 all inclusive



1st
Poached Shrimp
 kale, cucumber, sprouts and shoots, basil vinaigrette
Maculan Pino & Toi 2012

2nd
Bresaola
arugula, Parmigiano-Reggiano
Maculan Brentino 2011 

3rd
Duck Ragout Parpardelle
Maculan Palazotto 2010 

4th
Lamb Neck
 polenta cake, broccolini friatta
Maculan Fratta 2009

 5th
Peach Semifreddo,
almonds, saba
Maculan Dindarello 2011

Friday, September 6, 2013

Meet the French Winemaker of the Year at Swirl

An Exclusive Event with Maurice Barthelmé
Domaine Albert Mann



Join us on Thursday, September 12 at 6:30pm for an intimate seated tasting with Maurice Barthelmé, recently chosen as the winemaker of the year in 2012 by French wine mag heavy weight La Revue du Vin de France.  The esteemed Alsatian house of Domaine Albert Mann is an organic/biodynamic producer with an exceptional lineup of highly recognized wines, rated in the top tier of Alsace producers by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate.
 
Casey Foote of Saint James Cheese will also join us to present traditional cheeses from Alsace, northern France as well as other Germanic areas (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) to pair with the wines.

Don't miss this rare opportunity to meet and taste with one of the leading winemakers of France.  Seating is extremely limited for this event.  Prepayment of $25 is required for reservation; please call Swirl at 504-304-0635.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

5 Swirl Events You Don't Want to Miss!

This Week at Swirl Wine Bar and Market


Happenings
Happy Labor Day!
The shop is closed today, but I am still "laboring" as I sit and work on our extensive lineup of upcoming events.  We've got a whole slew of things coming up, including a special visit from Maurice Barthelme, French Winemaker of the Year, but to simplify things a bit I decided to focus on 5 key tastings in the next two weeks that you don't want to miss!

Also, many of you have been asking about details for our upcoming back to back wine dinners and I hope to have menus, pairings and reservation details coming this week.  But both are going to be amazing, so I'm not sure how you are going to pick which one to attend.  You may just have to come to both! :)

So check out my must do list, but don't forget about our Food Truck Tuesdays and Saturday Happy hours too!  To see a complete listing of events for September, please scroll down to "Upcoming Events"!

1. Wednesday Nite Flites to Espana, Wednesday 9/4, 6-8pm
Kimi and Walter are pouring an amazing, higly rated lineup from Spain this week, with the Black Slate Priorat as the star of the show.  The 2011 Pazo San Mauro Albarino (ST 90pts), 2010 Acustic Blanc (RP 90pts), the 2009 Vina Bujanda Crianza (90 pts.) 2010 Black Slate La Vileilla Alta (RP 94pts). No reservations required, $15 per flite!

2. Friday Free for All, Dynamic Duo of Italian Wine! Friday, 9/6, 6-8pm
Antonio Molesini of Republic National and Chris Noyes of Winebow Imports are pairing up for a killer tasting of Italian wines this Friday!  Republic is now the distributor for what is known as one of the most extensive Italian portfolios in the world and we'll be pouring 6 of their favorites.  Plus chef Walter promises a great Italian themed menu to pair with the wines.

3.New Orleans Wine Club Tasting & Pick Up, Monday 9/9, 5:30-7pm
Each month NOWC carefully chooses two exclusive wines for your exploration and enjoyment! These wines are hand-selected to fit the season, the right event or just for fun. Whatever they select each month is always exclusive to New Orleans Wine Club Members and not available anywhere else! These unique selections come with pairing ideas, wine descriptions and more. Check out their website for more info on membership & exclusive tastings: New Orleans Wine Club

4. Wednesday Nite Flites to Portugal w/Queork! Wednesday, 9/11, 6-8pm
Our friends Julie & Amanda from Queork will join us for a trunk show, featuring beautiful items made by hand from cork in Portugal!  They'll have dog collars, purses, ipad and phone cases and more for sale at the show.  And of course, we'll be pouring Portuguese wines during the event! More info soon, but check out their website in the meantime!

5. Domaine Albert Mann & St. James Cheese Pairing Event, 9/12, 6:30pm
Domaine Albert Mann, recently chosen as the 2012 French winemaker of the year by French wine mag heavy weight La Revue du Vin de France, will host this exclusive evening of wine and food pairing with Casey Foote of St. James Cheese.  More details soon, but this will be a small, intimate event with some of the most highly esteemed wines of the Alsace region.  Call if you'd like to be put on the list.  504.304.0635.

Upcoming Events
Food Truck Tuesdays @ Swirl! September 3, 6-8pm 
The Fat Falafel food truck pulls up at our front door every Tuesday and you can bring your food inside and let Magic Matt and El Casey pair it with our favorite wines by the glass! Theresa and Gavin do an amazing job with fresh, Mediterranean style food and in fact were named by Zagat as one of the top 10 "must try" food trucks in the country! 

Wednesday Nite Flites to Spain, September 4, 6-8pm
Kimi and Walter are pouring an amazing, higly rated lineup from Spain this week, with the Black Slate Priorat as the star of the show.  The 2011 Pazo San Mauro Albarino (ST 90pts), 2010 Acustic Blanc (RP 90pts), the 2009 Vina Bujanda Crianza (90 pts.) 2010 Black Slate La Vileilla Alta (RP 94pts). No reservations required, $15 per flite!

Friday Free for All, Dynamic Duo of Italian Wine! Friday, September 6, 6-8pm
Antonio Molesini of Republic National and Chris Noyes of Winebow Imports are pairing up for an amazing tasting of Italian wines this Friday!  Republic is now the distributor for what is known as one of the most extensive Italian portfolios in the world and we'll be pouring 6 of their favorites.  Plus chef Walter promises a great Italian themed menu to pair with the wines. Free, no reservations required!

Saturday Happy Hour, September 7, 4-6pm
Join our own dynamic duo of Erin & Kimi for our weekly happy hour where all of our 25+ wines by the glass are half off!

NOLA Wine Club Tasting & Selection Pick Up, September 9, 5:30-7pm
Each month NOWC carefully chooses two exclusive wines for your exploration and enjoyment! These wines are hand-selected to fit the season, the right event or just for fun. Whatever they select each month is always exclusive to New Orleans Wine Club Members and not available anywhere else! These unique selections come with pairing ideas, wine descriptions and more. Check out their website for more info on membership & exclusive tastings: New Orleans Wine Club

Wednesday Nite Flites to Portugal w/Queork! Wednesday, 9/11, 6-8pm
Our friends Julie & Amanda from Queork will join us for a trunk show, featuring beautiful items made by hand from cork in Portugal!  They'll have dog collars, purses, ipad and phone cases and more for sale at the show.  And of course, we'll be pouring Portuguese wines during the event! More info soon, but check out their website in the meantime!

Domaine Albert Mann & St. James Cheese Pairing Event, 9/12, 6:30pm
Domaine Albert Mann, recently chosen as the 2012 French winemaker of the year by French wine mag heavy weight La Revue du Vin de France, will host this exclusive evening of wine and food pairing with Casey Foote of St. James Cheese.  More details soon, but this will be a small, intimate event with some of the most highly esteemed wines of the Alsace region.  Call if you'd like to be put on the list.  504.304.0635.

Italia Nord & Sud - Back to Back Italian Wine Dinners, September 23 & 24!  Italia Nord @ Mariza, September 23 features wines of the Veneto winery Maculan with Angela Maculan presenting the wines paired with Chef Ian Schnoebelen's regional menu. Italia Sud @ Ancora, September 24 features wines from Southern Italy with Ann Zankin, President of Marc di Grazia Imports presenting the wines paired with Chef Jeff Talbot's regional menu! I'll keep you posted on the details!

In the works...
~Priorat, Eric Solomon Selections with Sommelier Liz Dowty, October 17, 6:30 Importer Eric Solomon is renowned for his Spanish wine selections, especially those from Priorat where his wife happens to be the winemaker for one of the top estates.  Tonight we will feature 5 stunning wines, red & white, from the region paired with regional cheeses presented by Casey Foote of St. James Cheese & Swirl fame :) $30, reservations are required, call 504.304.0635

~Antonio's Italy, Wine & Culinary Travel, July 5-12th, 2014
Travel with us and a crazy Italian guy through Tuscany while we live like locals, spending a week in a villa in Cortona and visiting Antonio’s favorite wineries, restaurants, hill towns and wine bars. Stay tuned for more details or contact me for more information at 504.304.0635.

Click on the link to become a fan on Facebook and get the latest on our favorite wines, recipes, travel adventures, food & wine pairings, featured event wines and more!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Orange Wine This Week at Swirl!

This Week at Swirl Wine Bar & Market


Happenings
Ramato, Traditional Friulian Wine
While Ramato wine in the US is a pretty recent phenomenon, it is actually an ancient tradition from the Republic of Venice where a special vinfication process was used to give Pinot Grigio a beautiful copper color.  Pinot Grigio grapes are purple with a greyish tinge (grigio = grey) and with a few hours to a few days of skin contact the wines take on a copper (rama in Italian) hue.

The effect of the skin contact is remarkable giving it an intensity in both aroma and flavor.  Rich and weighty, with a little tannic structure, more robust fruit but still with crisp acidity, they are in complete contrast from the light, delicate wines that Americans know of as Pinot Grigio.  In fact until the 1970's, when the Santa Margherita craze began in the US, Ramato was the traditional style of Pinot Grigio in the Friuli region.

Curious? This Wednesday Kimi & Walter will be pouring a flite of 3 Italian Ramato wines plus a little surprise wine from the US.  The tasting is $15 for a flite of 4 wines and there will be killer cheese/meat plates to pair with the wine!
No reservations required, just show up and taste some delicious orange wine with us!

Upcoming Events
Food Truck Tuesdays @ Swirl! August 27, 6-8pm 
The Fat Falafel food truck pulls up at our front door every Tuesday and you can bring your food inside and let Magic Matt and El Casey pair it with our favorite wines by the glass! Theresa and Gavin do an amazing job with fresh, Mediterranean style food and in fact were named by Zagat as one of the top 10 "must try" food trucks in the country! 

Ramato! Wednesday Nite Flites, August 28, 6-8pm
Kimi & Walter will be pouring a flite of 3 Italian Ramato wines or orange wines, plus a little surprise wine from the US.  The tasting is $15 for a flite of 4 wines and there will be killer cheese/meat plates to pair with the wine! No reservations required, just show up and taste some delicious orange wine with us!

Friday Free for All, August 30, 6-8pm
Jared Breaux is in the house with 4 free wines from Spain and Portugal.  Plus chef Walter will be dishing out his amazing small plates!  

Saturday Happy Hour, August 31, 4-6pm
Join Erin & Matt for our weekly happy hour where all of our 25 wines by the glass are half off!

Closed Labor Day Monday, September 2!

New Orleans Wine Club Tasting & Selection Pick Up, Monday 9/9
Each month NOWC carefully chooses two exclusive wines for your exploration and enjoyment! These wines are hand-selected to fit the season, the right event or just for fun. Whatever they select each month is always exclusive to New Orleans Wine Club Members and not available anywhere else! These unique selections come with pairing ideas, wine descriptions and more. Check out their website for more info on membership & exclusive tastings: New Orleans Wine Club

Italia Nord & Sud - Back to Back Italian Wine Dinners, September 23 & 24!  
Italia Nord @ Mariza, September 23 features wines of the Veneto winery Maculan with Angela Maculan presenting the wines paired with Chef Ian Schnoebelen's regional menu. Italia Sud @ Ancora, September 24 features wines from Southern Italy with Ann Zankin, President of Marc di Grazia Imports presenting the wines paired with Chef Jeff Talbot's regional menu! I'll keep you posted on the details!

In the works...
~September 11: Wednesday Nite Flites + Trunk Show with our friends from Queork!
~Priorat, Eric Solomon Selections with Sommelier Liz Dowty, October 17, 6:30 Importer Eric Solomon is renowned for his Spanish wine selections, especially those from Priorat where his wife happens to be the winemaker for one of the top estates.  Tonight we will feature 5 stunning wines, red & white, from the region paired with regional cheeses presented by Casey Foote of St. James Cheese & Swirl fame :) $30, reservations are required, call 504.304.0635

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Zucchine Marinate


During our annual trip to Campania this year, we had the privilege and pleasure of visiting Cantine Antonio Caggiano, one of the most highly regarded producers in the Taurasi region.  This ruggedly beautiful area sits just east of Mount Vesuvio, benefiting from the volcanic soils that produce the best Aglianico grapes in the world. 
Lunch with Antonio Caggiano, beside me at the head of the table

We spent a wonderful afternoon with Antonio, his son Pino and winery manager Angelo (click here for my post on our visit to Caggiano), touring the winery and having a relaxing 4 course lunch under the arbor in the Aglianico vineyards.  While all of the food was spectacular, these was a contorno (side dish) of marinated zucchini that was just really fresh and delicious, made with the tender baby zucchini from their garden.  We all loved it and I've been thinking about it ever since, so here is my attempt at recreating it!  That day it was served with the Caggiano Greco di Tufo which was a match made in heaven.  

Marinated Zucchini 
-2 medium or 6 baby zucchini thinly sliced on a mandolin
-kosher salt
-1 garlic clove crushed
-3 T. of lemon juice
-3 T. of high quality EVOO
-2 T. chopped fresh mint

Slice the zucchini as thin as possible, sprinkle with salt and let stand in a strainer for 20-30 minutes.  In the meantime make the marinade using the lemon, olive oil and garlic with a little salt and pepper to taste.  When the zucchini are ready, rinse and dry them, then put in a bowl with the marinade.  Refrigerate for 4 hours, giving the lemon enough time to soften the zucchini.  Remove the garlic, add the mint and adjust the seasoning.
Serves 3.

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