Swirl Wine Bar & Market

Sunday, April 27, 2014

10 Reason to Visit Swirl During Jazz Fest 2014!

This is one crazy time in Faubourg St. John and the fact that the entrance to this grand party is right around the corner from us, it makes Swirl a popular place to stop before, after and during Jazz Fest 2014.  And while we don't hold our free tastings or happy hour over the weekend, we're giving you lots of reasons to come by and shop for party beverages, check out all of the local art and fun t-shirts, have a drink at the bar and bring your out of town guests in for a taste of the local culture.

10 Reasons to Visit Us During the Fest

Fat Falafel Food Truck, Tuesdays from 6-8pm
1. Check out one of New Orleans Own Famed Food Trucks - Trying to figure out how to feed all of those out of town guests?  Bring them over on Tuesday as our favorite food truck, the Fat Falafel, pulls up to Swirl from 6-8pm. They dish out delicious Mediterranean food ($5-$10) that you can bring into the shop and let us pair it with our favorite specials by the glass.  6-8pm

Vending Machine Wines made by some pretty awesome locals!
2. Wine by Local Producers - People are always looking for "local" wines and we feel these great labels produced by some of our favorite New Orleanians fit the bill and deliver a whole lot of quality.  We've got James Moises' 2008 Holmes Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and his 2013 Pinot Gris in stock from Oregon and the entire lineup of Vending Machine Wines from Napa including the brand new relase of Horror Show IV! Open a bottle in house, take a few home, or we can ship!

Get some vitamin c for your walk to the Fest!
3. Refreshing Mimosas to Kick off Your Day at the Fest - Join us on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week from 10:00-2:00 for our $5 mimosas - a Jazz Fest Swirl tradition. Relax  with us in the air conditioning for a bit or we'll serve 'em to go!

Shaun Aleman; 1 of 5 local artists we show

 4. Great Local Art on the Walls - Check out the really cool New Orleans themed work with local art from "in nola words" and Shaun Aleman, Lizano’s Glass Haus, Carnival Sculptures, Jeanne Catahula Vidrine and Julia Stefanski! Their original works start at just $20!!

Italian wines are our favs, but we have an adventurous international selection.
5.  Quality Selection of Wine and Beer - Besides stocking 300+ labels of interesting and adventurous wines from all over the world, we serve over 25 wines by glass.   How about picking up a nice cold rosé to sit on the bayou with in evening, or having a glass at the bar while you are waiting for the taxi cab line to ease up? The perfect end to a wonderful day at the fest!

Small selection but mighty good!
6.  Artisan Cheese, Chocolates and Breads - Fresh breads from Bellegarde Bakery, a nice selection of imported cheeses, olives, cured meats and local chocolates from Bittersweet confections await!  Cheeses are cut into perfect cheese plate sized chunks and breads are delivered fresh on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

7. Try a Wine Flite at the Bar -  Stop by on Wednesday for a special flite nite this week when we hold our first rose' tasting of the season!   Flites feature 4-2oz pours of really great juice and while reservations are not required we do limit the number of flites we pour so you may want to be sure to get a spot by prepaying here:  '13 Rose' Round 1! Selections for the flite are posted on our Facebook page on Wednesday. $15

A few of our 2013 selections from Provence
8. Rosé! Rosé! Rosé! -  Did I mention that we have one of the best rose' selections in the city?  The perfect wine to pair with New Orleans food, porch sitting, picnics in the park, canoeing on the bayou or sitting at the shop and watching the festers go by; we have lots of 2013 rose' from all over the world.  And this Wednesday we'll hold our first rose' flite nite of the season!

Great gifts or "festive" wear!
9. Citizen Nola Tees  - We're stocked up with those cleverly designed tees from our friends at Citizen NOLA so come over and check out the new designs coming in on Tuesday! They make great gifts and "festive" wear!

10.  More than 25 Wines by the Glass - Have a drink at the bar or sit outside with a cheese plate and watch the festers go by! I am putting a new list together this week with lots of adventurous, crowd pleasing glass pours!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Artisan Oregon Wine & Culinary Travel 2014

Alloro Vineyards, 2013 Tour
Join Swirl Wines and James Moises of Bizou Wines October 8th - 12th  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.

Our home away from home for the week will be a lovely bed and breakfast located in the heart of one of the Willamette Valley AVAs.  McMinnville is a beautiful town with treelined streets, restaurants, shops and of course, tasting rooms! Bon Appetit magazine, in its annual feature on Best Foodie Towns in America, rated McMinnville number two giving us many superb restaurants to choose from for both lunch and dinner.  And for breakfast?  We'll take over the entire Tuscan Estates B&B and have our very own French trained chef on site to cook us the most amazing gourmet meals. Our base in McMinnville also puts us in close proximity to Carlton, Yamhill and Eola Hills as well as the new winemaking facility at the Holmes Hill Vineyard site.  

So, have we gotten your attention yet?  Then keep reading and check out the daily itinerary!

Wednesday, October 8 
We will await your arrival at the Portland International Airport and whisk you off down Highway 99 through the heart of the Willamette Valley as we head towards the charming town of McMinnville.   We’ll get you off to a good start as we stop at a surprise winery and make a toast to a fantastic trip.  After checking into the B&B we'll turn you loose to explore the tasting rooms that line the streets.  Eyrie Vineyards, Panther Creek, R. Stuart, Willamette Valley Vineyards and more are all within walking distance and will give you many opportunities to taste a variety of wines from the McMinnville AVA.   Tonight we'll walk to dinner at a local restaurant for our first of four winemaker dinners.  Tonight's guest will be presenting his biodynamic wines to pair with the food.

Thursday, October 9
Following a lovely gourmet breakfast at the B&B we'll meet up with our winemaker from last night again at the old granary where he makes wine and have a lesson in natural and biodynamic winemaking.  Afterwards we’ll drive over to the Yamhill Carlton to a larger producer where you will see their state of the art facility that focuses on gentle winemaking through gravity flow. We’ll tour the winery and vineyards and taste through their lineup of wines.  Next we’re off to the charming community of Carlton where we’ll spend the day exploring, tasting and eating around the town.   After a quick lunch at one of our favorite cafes  we’ll turn you loose on Main Street where you’ll find great tasting rooms and shops to explore at your leisure.  Scott Paul, Ken Wright/Tyrus Evans, Omero Cellars,  WildAire, Carlton Vineyards and more are all within a few blocks.  Just when you think you’ve had your fill, we’ll meet up with one of our winemakers at the Carlton Studios, an eco-friendly, recycled-material-using and cooperative winemaking facility where a group of top-notch Oregon winemakers all share equipment to turn out award winning whites, roses, reds, sparklings and dessert wines. We’ll tour the facility and see what it takes for all of these personalities to exist under one roof!  Tonight will be an early dinner in a wonderful French restaurant in Carlton, accompanied by wines from one of our favorite producers in the Chehalem Mountains presented by the owner of the winery.

Friday, October 10
After our breakfast at the B&B we'll take a beautiful drive to the Chehalem Mountain AVA. With panoramic views of Bald Peak and the sweeping valley below, the producer we will visit is said to have one of the most beautiful views in the entire Willamette Valley. Following our tour and tasting there, we’ll stop at the Red Hills Market for to pick up our picnic lunch while we head into the Dundee Hills AVA to visit a small producer and have lunch on the property. And just to make sure you are getting your fill of Oregon wines, tonight’s dinner will be at the home of a winemaking team located in the Eola-Amity AVA.

Saturday, October 11
After breakfast at the B&B we’ll head over to the Holmes Hill Vineyard where James and his partner/winemaker Mark Wahle have built their new winery. You'll take a tour of the property with James and have the opportunity to spend some time in the vineyards picking grapes.  Weather permitting we'll set up a late lunch in the vineyard where James and winemaker Mark Wahle will treat us to their lovely wines. After lunch we'll head back to McMinnville and  you'll have a little time to yourself before a very special dinner at  a new wine hotspot opened by our friends at Nick’s Italian Cafe, where one of our favorite winemakers will join us for dinner and present his lineup of Chehalem Mountain wines.

Sunday, October 12
Following a hearty send-off breakfast with our French chef at the B&B we’ll pack up and head back to the Portland airport and sadly say good-bye to the beautiful Willamette Valley.

Reservation Information:
Total trip cost is $1700 per person, double occupancy only, and does not include airfare.  Cost include all scheduled meals and tastings as listed above and transportation to and from Portland Airport as well as transportation to all sites listed above. Basically we take care of everything.  The only thing you have to think about is which tasting rooms you want to visit during your free time!

A $500 deposit by cash or check and a completed registration form are required to book your spot.  The balance of $1200 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

To view photos from our previous trip:  Artisan Oregon 2013

Bizou Wines and Blue Dot Donuts Team Up For Unique Tasting Event!

Wine and donuts? Why not! Local winemaker James Moises of Bizou Wines has teamed up with the donut making experts at Blue Dot Donuts to create a tasting experience like no other — A savory donut and wine pairing. The unique tasting experience will be held on Wednesday, April 16 from 6-8pm at Swirl Wines (3143 Ponce de Leon St.) Guests will sample four savory donuts paired with four fine wines, including Moises Pinot Noir, for $25 per person. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Companion Pet Adoption, a small non-profit animal rescue group based around foster homes. Purchase tickets at 

Savory donuts include:
-Fresh Fig wrapped in Prosciutto created by of Blue Dot Donuts
Italian Sausage with Red Sauce and Mozzarrella created by Chef William Mauk of New Orleans Tomato Company
Chorizo Dulce and Manchego created by Chef Glen Hogh of Vega Tapas Café
Mocha Cappuccino with Mascarpone created by Jessica DeVay of Saint James Cheese Company
A reflection of his celebrated Lebanese heritage, Dr. James Moises has been producing a premium line of limited production pinot noir and pinot gris wines from Willamette Valley, Oregon since 2009.  The part-time ER doctor turned part-time winemaker is firmly committed to the practice of sustainable farming and strongly believes that minimal handling in the cellar produces wines of depth, grace and character. Moises’ wines are available exclusively in the New Orleans area (at top retail wine shops and restaurants.) Moises wines are made in a Burgundian style: elegant and supple with rich, ripe fruit flavors impeccably balanced by the careful use of oak.
Blue Dot Donuts, founded by three New Orleans policemen —Ronnie Laporte, Dennis Gibliant and Brandon Singleton — is a boutique bakery offering uniquely flavored gourmet donuts. The first location opened on Canal Blvd on April Fool’s Day in 2011 and a second shop, a franchise operated by Singleton, recently opened Uptown.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Eating, Drinking, Sleeping in Barolo

View from La Morra of the Boiolo vineyards of Barolo
Your two weary travelers arrived in Milano early this morning here in Italia, around midnight in New Orleans. While most of you were sleeping we got a quick cappuccino and went in search of the bright yellow Hertz desk to pick up our brand new 4 door Fiat 500. The two hour drive to La Morra was pretty uneventful until the polizotti decided to pull us over for no reason at all, just to check our documents and have some polite conversation. Giving us more of a jolt than the caffeine, it definitely helped to clear our jet lagged brains!

Village of La Morra in Barolo
As we drove closer to the Alps the landscape changed from low lying plains to endlessly rolling hills with tiny villages perched on the highest peaks. We made the steep climb into our own little hilltop town of La Morra where with only a few wrong turns, found our apartment. After a quick introduction from Emmanuela we went in search of a few places she recommended for a light lunch. We chose the tiny traditional cafe over the more Americanized one, ordered a few local wines and a plate of regional cheeses and meats. At first we were the only ones in this six table bar, but slowly the locals started drifting in for a espresso here or a panino there, but mainly for friendly conversation. Very little English was spoken which is intimidating and exciting at the same time as I struggle to understand their rapid fire speech and hand gestures. But with our limited Italian we managed to have a conversation with one of the men who worked at a local winery. His pride, love and knowledge about that particular sub region and its wines spoken through his passionate delivery needed no common language to understand.
I am so happy to be here! It's hard for me to explain my connection with Italy and its people because I don't really understand it myself. All I can say is that there's a sense of comfort that comes over me as soon as I get off the plane. Their passionate nature helps me focus on what is important, their slower way of living life on what is real. As my friend Vincenzo once said, "life, there is only one"...more to come.


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