Swirl Wine Bar & Market

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Premium Pinot Tasting Event

Premium Pinot

a selection of world class 
Pinot Noir presented by 
Mystic Vines

wednesday, february 27, 6:30 - 8:00pm @ swirl wine bar & market   
$20 per person, reservations required

2010 August Briggs Dijon Clones   
Napa Valley, 47 case production
2010 Hocus Pocus Pinot Noir        
Carneros, 250 case production
2011 Romililly  Pinot Noir             
Russian River Valley, 395 case production

 2010 Semper Wines Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast

2008 Semper Gold Ridge Vineyard
Sonoma Coast, 125 case production

2007 Tudor Wines Pinot Noir         
 Santa Lucia Highlands, 787 case production

2009 Vogelzang Pinot Noir   
 Santa Lucia, 132 case production

 2010 Rapture Ridge Reserve   
Willamette Valley, 700 case production

2009 Rapture Ridge Meredith Mitchell     
McMinnville, Oregon,  290 case production

 2009 Sinor-Lavallee Talley Rincon      
Arroyo Grande Valley, 48 case production

2010 Sinor-Lavallee San Luis Obispo
Central Coast, 141 case production

2009 Stephen Ross Bien Nacido
Santa Maria Valley, 151 case production

If you can not attend the event and are interested in purchasing any of the above wines, please call Beth @ 504.304.0635 for more information.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wine & Culinary Travel, Artisan Oregon 2013

Artisan Oregon,  Willamette Valley Winemaking Tour
October 9-13, 2013
Join Swirl Wines and James Moises of Bizou Wines for a unique, hands-on experience of small production, artisanal winemaking at its best!  We'll take you to the stunningly beautiful Pacific Northwest where the lush foothills of Oregon's Willamette Valley await.  Nestled between the Oregon Coast mountain range and the snow-capped Cascades, the many different terroirs and microclimates makes this one of the most distinctive places on earth for grape growing.

On this five day tour you will visit small, off the beaten path wineries and vineyards; meet, taste and dine with winemakers and witness one of the most exciting times of the year in wine country, the harvest!  You will get an exclusive, insiders look into what goes on behind the scenes as you'll have the opportunity to pick grapes, sort fruit and see many aspects of the grape harvest and early stages of production first hand.

                                 Sorry, This Trip is Full!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Indulge Me for a Moment Please...

Even though the majority of our inventory hits that sweet spot of $10-$25 a bottle, we've really been finding some excellent wines for our "Indulge" corner over the past few weeks.  Because like everything in the store, it takes time to find the right wines to fill our shelves and I think we've got some stellar selections right now.  And even though I don't buy based on scores, as I did research on some of the bottles for this post I found a few great reviews out there that I thought I'd share with you.  So indulge me for a moment please and look over the list or peruse the corner on your next visit; you never know when a special moment is going to call for a special bottle...Let me know if you see anything that interests you, but I'll warn you that none are under $40.  Of course there is very special case pricing available.  :)

2010  Radio-Coteau Pinot Noir la Neblina, WA Rating: 93
The 2010 Pinot Noir La Neblina is a gorgeous wine laced with expressive dark red cherries, flowers, licorice and sweet spices. It shows gorgeous depth and radiance in its fruit. Bright floral notes and an underpinning of vibrant minerality give the wine considerable lift and brightness. Freshly cut flowers, mint and sweet roses frame an energetic finish layered with distinctly saline notes. This is a fabulous showing. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2018.

2007  Marcarini Barolo Brunate, WA Rating: 94
The estate’s 2007 Barolo Brunate sweeps across the palate with endless layers of expansive fruit. The Brunate shows fabulous intensity and depth in an uncharacteristically rich, opulent style for Marcarini. Despite the wine’s richness there is plenty of Brunate character, particularly on the finish, where menthol, pine, resin, spices and a host of other balsamic notes speak with great eloquence. Marcarini harvested Brunate on September 24 and 25. The wine saw 15 days of fermentation, followed by another 42 days of contact with the skins. The wine then spent two years in large, neutral casks prior to being racked into steel to rest before being bottled. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2027. These are some of the finest Baroli I have ever tasted from Marcarini and proprietor Manuel Marchetti. The warmth of the vintage has given the wines an extra level of generosity in the fruit that acts as a wonderful counterpoint to the firm tannins that are generally present in this estate’s young Baroli.

2009  Domaine Gerard Charvin Chateauneuf du Pape, WA Rating: 95
The 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape (which tips the scales around 15% natural alcohol) is a great example of traditional Chateauneuf du Pape winemaking. A dense dark ruby color is followed by a sexy nose of raspberries, ground pepper, spice box, damp earth, kirsch and dark currants. Full-bodied, complex, elegant and already irresistible as the tannins have completely melted away, it can be drunk now and over the next 15+ years. Beautifully made, traditional wines emerge from Laurent Charvin’s estate in the northwestern sector of Chateauneuf du Pape, where the family owns 20+ acres of vines.

2009  Haut Bergey Bordeaux, WA Rating: 94
Deep color. Decidedly sweet nose is attractive with notes of cassis, black raspberry, leather, spice, green pepper, and smoke. Relatively large-scaled in the mouth. It’s chewy, chunky, concentrated, and tannic; a wine with superb structure and depth. This youthful wine will require some cellaring, but already shows the pedigree of serious success. Long, consistent, penetrating finish. Outstanding value and highly recommended.

2006  Allegrini Amarone Classico, WA Rating: 94
The 2006 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico is the finest young vintage I have ever tasted of this wine. The 2006 is a beautifully balanced Amarone with great intensity in its dark fruit and the accompanying structure to support many years of cellaring. Hints of smoke, tar, licorice and incense linger on the tightly wound finish. The freshness, clarity and vibrancy are first-class. This is an exquisite Amarone from Allegrini. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2026.

2009  K Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon Stoneridge Vineyard, WA Rating: 92
Like its Merlot counterpart, unblended, and matured in barrel for more than two years, Smith's 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Stoneridge, nonetheless, gives a very different account of itself, featuring juicy, downright tart-edged cassis and elderberry fruit that more than rides out the wine's underlying tannin. Wild plum and fennel as well as pronounced salinity and alkalinity make it impossible for me not to imagine myself near an ocean. The combination of bright, sappy fresh berry intensity and mouthwatering salinity makes for an irresistible urge to take the next sip even before the long finish has faded. Look for at least a decade of delicious fascination.

2010 Bouchard Pere & Fils Beaune White Clos St.-Landry, WS Rating: 91
Almost viscous in texture, this honeyed white sports peach, apple and lemon flavors. Both ripe and lively, this ends with accents of honey and mineral. Drink now through 2020. 150 cases imported.

2007  Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino, WA Rating: 95
The 2007 Brunello di Montalcino is a gorgeous wine that brings together the richness of the vintage and the house’s continuing move to a more traditional style. Sweet red berries, flowers, mint, spices and anise are woven together beautifully in this large-scaled, generous wine. The wine gains volume and depth in the glass as the flavors built to a huge crescendo. The 2007 was aged exclusively in cask. This is a great showing from Fuligni. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2027.

2010 Elk Cove, Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Clay Court, WS Rating: 93
Light and sleek, with raspberry, cherry and delicately meaty flavors, mingling effortlessly against a light veil of tannins as the finish lingers. Drink now through 2018. 352 cases made

 2008 Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto, IWC Rating: 91
Good full ruby. Deep, youthfully brooding plum and red cherry on the nose, with strong sweet spice notes of cinnamon and nutmeg building in the glass. Sappy black and red fruit flavors are complicated by pepper and sweet spices. Finishes long, with youthfully dusty tannins and tangy mineral notes. This has considerable potential, and is much more complex than the immediately charming Le Difese. Insiders know that Guidalberto, first made in vintage 2000, is often an excellent wine and a really smart buy, even if it's much less famous than Sassicaia. Depending on the vintage, about 20% of declassified Sassicaia finds its way into the Guidalberto.

2007  Collosorbo Brunello di Montalcino, WA Rating: 94
The 2007 Brunello di Montalcino bursts from the glass with freshly cut flowers, spices, rose petals and sweet red berries. The 2007 impresses for its poise and fabulous overall harmony, especially in the way expressive aromatics and fruit are woven together. I very much admire the wine’s feminine, gracious personality. This is a terrific showing from Collosorbo

Also many notables that don't have reviews like the Daniel Rion & Paul Garaudet wines from Burgundy, the Mara, Caldwell, White Rock and Vending Machine wines from California, Ca'Marcanda and Castiglioni del Bosco wines from Tuscany, Saint Cosme and Eric Texier wines from the Rhone, Gaja and Paolo Scavino from Piemonte, Terre Nere and Salvo Foti wines from the Etna, Tedeschi from the Veneto, Moises, Brittan, Lumos and J. Christopher wines from Oregon and many more...It is a fun section of the store to spend some time in if you never have.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Special Feature, Champagne Jean Velut Brut

Being huge bubbly fans ourselves, we don't ever need a holiday or special event to pop a bottle of Champagne.  However, I know many of you may be looking for a nice bottle to have for Valentine's Day and I'm here to tell you your search is over!  While we have a really great,carefully chosen stock of vintage, grower and big house champagnes, over the last few months the entire staff at Swirl has become quite enamored with the wines from Jean Velut.  So much so that we are featuring it in our special Valentine's Day Flite Nite!

Jean Velut is a grower Champagne from one of the lesser known villages sitting midway between the Cote des Bars and the Cote de Sezanne.  Montgueux is known as the “Montrachet of the Côte des Bars” for its fascinating and distinctive Chardonnays supported by area's uncharacteristic chalky, limestone soils. The growers around the region have long sold fruit to some of the marque houses such as Piper Heidsieck, but there are a few bottling their own wines from this unique terrior. 

Denis Velut’s grandfather Jean established this 7 hectare domaine as a récoltant/manipulant (grower) thirty years ago. He practices organic viticulture and does not use any insecticides or chemical fertilizers, instead opting to use organic compost. The wines are made entirely in stainless steel. 

His Non-Vintage Brut is made with 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir. It gets its structure from the steely austerity of the chalk infused chardonnay while the ripe Pinot provides a fruity lift. The chalky plateau on which the vineyards sit is unique to all of Champagne and imparts the Chardonnay dominant wine with that distinctive minerality.   Aromas of apple and pear with a touch of biscuity toastiness, this is super balanced with its bold and zesty palate.  Fairly opulent with fresh lemon, chalk and apples, it finishes with a refreshing burst of racy minerality.

You can try it on Valentine's Day during our special flite nite where you can try 4 bubblies for $15 anytime from 5:30 to 8pm.  Buy it at retail for $41 and share it with someone you care about or keep it all to yourself!  A dozen raw oysters and a bottle of Jean Velut?  Perfection!

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, Dec 12
(85% chardonnay and 15% pinot noir):  Light yellow.  Ripe orchard fruits and toasted nuts on the fragrant nose.  Fleshy but precise, offering lively pear and Meyer lemon flavors and a hint of marzipan.  Finishes smooth and long, with musky herb and honey notes. 90 points

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Wine of the Moment, 2010 Treasure Hunter Violet Whip

One of our reps wandered in about 2 weeks ago with a wine broker in tow and a bag full of wine.  It was early, I had just opened the shop with a fresh palate and clear head and was ready to see what they had to offer.  There were about 8 wines in the bag and as we moved down line, there was nothing I didn't like, but also nothing that made me pause and go back for a second taste until...

As soon as I put my nose in the glass I knew immediately that it didn't matter what it was or where it was from, but I had to have it.  Crazy aromas of ripe plums and blackberries, mocha, caramel and spice, I would have never guessed that it was Petit Verdot from California's famed Paso Robles region. Long a “secret weapon” in the Bordeaux winemaker’s arsenal, Petit Verdot is one of the five main varieties that are used in red blends in the Bordeaux style. Usually added in small amounts to add color, structural elements, and aromatic complexity, this grape variety is seldom seen on its own and rarely in California.

Rich and full on the palate, velvety texture, totally integrated oak and deep black fruit with a long finish;  I've never seen the label before, never tasted anything like it, ever, so needless to say I was intrigued. "So what's the story on this one?" I ask. Fittingly called "Treasure Hunter" it's basically from a virtual winery where a group of nine top sommeliers, winemakers and restaurateurs are taking advantage of lots of high end wines from noteworthy producers that, for one reason or another, need to be unloaded.  The group pours through hundreds of wines before they find something deemed worthy. Each wine is a small one-time offering and represents an extraordinary opportunity to drink amazing wines at a third of what they would usually sell for. Liquid rubies and drops of gold. Treasure Hunters we are - or so we are told. - from their website...

Super delicious, distinctive, and like nothing you've never had before!  They only made 180 cases of this and we've gone through almost five already!  We'll be getting more by the end of the week but you better get you some before it's gone!  Buy it by the glass at the bar or by the bottle on the shelves for $22 which is a steal for the quality of this wine.

2010 Treasure Hunter Petit Verdot Violet Whip Paso Robles
Tasting notes from their website:
Petit Verdot grape predates Cabernet Sauvignon. It ripens very late which means it has longer than almost any other grape to mature and gather intensity from the sun. In California it is rare and is the most expensive grape there is. We have been searching for three years for a perfect lot of Petit and we present it to you here. Only 180 cases made!

Darker than a pomegranate seed this wine shows so much intensity you may have to have someone tie you to a chair to truly appreciate the ravishing potency of this wine. The safe word here is “WHIP”. The nose on this wine explodes with violet, spice and molasses. On the palate it is an unfettered harlot showing voluptuous blackberry, black cherry and plum. This wines climax is long and oh so satisfying.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Driven by a passion for wine, food, travel and good company...

As I sat at my desk this morning putting all of our upcoming events into the calendar, I couldn't help but scratch my head and wonder how we are going to pull all of this off. While it would be so easy to sit back and just be a fun wine bar and market, I can't help myself. Because in sharing our love of wine, food and travel through our events and trips, we connect with others who share our passion; chefs, winemakers, importers, wine wholesalers, restaurant owners, slow food folks, farmers, customers and more. New friendships are formed and others deepened with delicious food, interesting wines and wonderful company. After all, isn't that what this is all about?

So I hope you'll join us sometime soon for a wine and cheese pairing night, a dinner or two, a flite nite at the bar or just wander on in for a nice glass of wine and some lively conversation. Besides our regularly scheduled events that we do each and every week like Fat Falafel Tuesdays (6-8pm), Wednesday Nite Flites (6-8pm), Friday Free For Alls (6-8pm) and Saturday Happy Hour (all wines on our menu are 1/2 off, 4-6pm), here are some exciting things on the books and in the works!

The Famed Wines of Montalcino with Antonio Molesini and St. James' Cheese Casey Foote. A seated tasting of Rosso di Montalcino, Brunellos and Super Tuscans from one of Italy's most famous hill towns. And since no Italian event is complete with out a little food, Casey will pair delicicous Italian cheeses and meats with the wines. $30, Reservations and prepayment required. Thursday, February 21, 6:30pm @ Swirl.

Premium Pinot, a special Wednesday Nite Flite featuring 12 artisanal Pinot Noirs that retail from $40 to $100 a bottle from California and Oregon. We are teaming up with our friends from Mystic Vines for this exclusive event limited to 25 participants. $20, Reservations and prepayment required. Wednesday, February 27, 6:00pm

Three Muses Supper Club
with James Moises a small, intimate event featuring a special menu for the evening that we will pair with Oregon and Washington wines presented by our mutual friend James Moises. I sent a special email out on Friday with the menu, pairings and reservation details. We were sold out by Sunday, but keep an eye out for more events with Chef Dan. Tuesday, March 12 @ 7pm.

Italian Barrel Wine Dinner
with Antonio Molesini will feature 5 courses with wine pairings with our favorite Italian Wine Guy, Antonio Molesini. The dinner will be prepared by Chef/Proprietor Samantha L. Castagnetti a native of Verona in her true Italian style trattoria. Menu and pairings TBA, but mark the date! Tuesday March, 19th at 6:30pm. $70 inclusive, only 20 spots available!

The Oregon Wine Road Show with Bizou Wines featuring 30 Oregon wines from artisan producers, most of who don't sell their wines outside of Oregon. James Moises represents a slew of small producers who make incredible Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Tempranillo, Viognier, Syrah and of course Pinot Noir that few in New Orleans have ever tasted. This is a don't miss tasting for all you Pinot lovers or any who wants to taste some amazing wines and learn about what is happening in Oregon. This tasting will be an extension of our Wednesday Nite Flites on March 20th. More info TBA!

Artisan Winemaking Tour with James Moises of Bizou Wines for a unique, hands-on experience of small production, artisanal winemaking at its best!  We'll take you to the stunningly beautiful Pacific Northwest for a five day tour to visit small, off the beaten path wineries and vineyards; meet, taste and dine with winemakers and witness one of the most exciting times of the year in wine country, the harvest!  You will get an exclusive, insiders look into what goes on behind the scenes as you'll have the opportunity to pick grapes, sort fruit and see many aspects of the grape harvest and early stages of production first hand. October 9-13th, details and pricing coming very soon!

Also in the works for March... an unforgettable event with Marco De Grazia Imports President, Anne Zakin on March 14th at a fabulous NOLA restaurant...and in early April a Slow Wine and Food Event with Slow Food NOLA featuring Italian wine, pasta and the new Slow Wine book!

See anything interesting?  Call us!  504-304-0635

Monday, February 4, 2013

Supper Club at Three Muses

Three Muses Supper Club

March 12, 2013 @ 7pm

Sold Out

Chef Daniel Esses
Wines supplied by Swirl Wine Bar & Market
Presented by James Moises, Bizou Wines

$75 inclusive

Amuse Bouche
Curried spinach and goat cheese bruschetta
The Portlandia, Blood Orange Juice, Rosemary, Aviator Gin (Oregon)

1st Course
Swiss chard roll with quinoa, red lentil and sultana raisins in a mushroom broth
2011 Lumos Wines Pinot Gris Rudulfo Vineyard, Oregon

2nd Course
Tikka masala salmon on a cauliflower and carrot fritter
2008 Moises Vieux Carre Pinot Noir, Oregon

3rd Course
Curry leaf and coconut milk braised oxtail over saffron risotto
Served with sides of almond turmeric green beans &
      pickled cucumber and red onion salad
2006 Dominio Sketches of Spain Tempranillo, Oregon

Strawberry and mascapone Napolean with hazlenut tuilles
2009 Capitello Wines Dolcino


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