Monday, February 23, 2009

Pairing Wine and Cheese

One of my favorite things to do when I am not behind the bar, is to enjoy a flight of wines that have been well-paired with a cheese tray. As much as I adore and prefer reds, I love seeing what happens to whites when they are paired correctly! This set of pairings will contain a white, a red and a fortified wine. Although you might typically prefer one style of wine over another, I highly encourage you to stretch outside of your comfort zone and try these. You might discover a new love.

This first pairing is considered ages old. The wine is Chateau de Sancerre and the cheese is a goat gouda. Sancerre is the name for both a style and a region from the Loire Valley in France. Sancerre wines are always 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Chateau de Sancerre is a winery that sits in the heart of Sancerre and is owned by Chateau Lapostolle in Chile. The wine is perfectly refreshing with subtle floral and flint qualities, the body is structured with fantastic acidity, carrying soft fruit and grass notes. A goat gouda is perfect for people who are looking to experience goat cheese for the first time or who typically don't like it. This cheese is much softer with less acidity than one often sees in a goat cheese. It is semi hard with a creamy, slightly elastic texture. The pairing of Chateau de Sancerre and a goat gouda works well because both are fairly mild with similar acidity. It is the similar accidity styles that makes for a very happy, balanced marriage between the two.

The second pairing is Taurasi Gaetano with a 6 year-old yellow cheddar from Wisconsin. Taurasi is chiefly made with Aglianico (ah-LYAH-nee-koe), a black grape originating from Greece. It is produced in province of Avellion, a region of Campania, not far from Mount Vesuvius. This wine is big and rustic with lots of tannins, very little fruit and a dry finish.The cheese is fairly strong and sharp yet strikes the perfect balance with a creamy finish. I absolutely adore this pairing. When paired, Taurasi Gaetano and the cheddar morph into something better together than either was alone. The Taurasi goes from being a big tannic bully to a full bodied supple red. The cheddar is able to stand up to it perfectly, softening the wine yet remaining present to the palate.

The third and final pairing is one of my all-time favorites and possibly doubles as my favorite dessert as well. It is Domaine de Coyeux Muscat de Beaumes de Venise with Roquefort. Pairing blue cheese and dessert wine or port is not a new concept, but sometimes unknown. It is a pairing that is always fun to introduce to people who have never experienced it before. I have converted many blue cheese or fortified wine haters with this capricious pairing. The name Domaine de Coyeux Muscat de Beaumes de Venise is a mouthful. To break it down a bit, Domaine de Coyeux is the producer, Muscat is the grape and Beaumes de Venise is a sweet-wine appellation in the south of France. I love this dessert wine because it isn't cloying and filled with overwhelming sugar. It is, however, filled with abundantly floral and apricot fragrances carrying through with touches of sweet citrus on the palate. Roquefort or 'king of blue cheese", made from sheep's milk, is complex, creamy and pungent. But where the blue could become overwhelming, the wine settles it and rounds out the flavor. This pairing is fun because the cheese manages to retain what it is outside of the wine, while still bringing balance to its partner.

I personally extend an invitation to you; whether at the bar, in the lounge, or relaxing at a table, to try one of these pairing. At Mercy Wine Bar, we would be thrilled to put together one of these pairings or we could create one of the many other possible wine and cheese trays with our outstanding selections!

Jacqueline Thain

Monday, February 16, 2009

Two Time Emmy Award Winner

I am pleased to tell you that this week we are bringing in two time Emmy award winning Josh Goode.

A little bit of background on Josh, he has been performing and playing music for well over a decade. The UT graduate has been touring for years all over the world, including Greenland, Japan, Italy, Egypt and the Caribbean Islands. He has more recently dedicated his talents to producing local artists and writing for television and film. Among his many accomplishments, his efforts have earned him two Emmy's in a two year a time span.

Josh has been playing at Mercy for over a year now and for those of you who have not had the opportunity to catch him live, this weekend would be a perfect time to start. His set list is very eclectic, mixing in his own originals as well as covering other great artists as well. His style reflects his love for blues and jazz but with a contemporary twist and pop driven hooks. His influences include but not limited to, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Mayer, The Beatles, Jason Mraz and Led Zeppelin.

I hope to see you all this weekend and don't forget to reserve a table as this is sure to be a packed house.

Liz Williams

Monday, February 9, 2009

Discover Ollieux Romanis 2006 Alicante Bouchet

Mercy is the only United States venue to serve Ollieux Romanis 2006 Alicante Bouchet .

We have known about this wine for a very long time, but because it is so special, it is difficult to find. It is rare for us to be able to offer it. Once we knew it was available in the U.S., we immediately made arrangements to buy all 16 cases.

The reaction that we get from someone who is trying it for the first time is usually, 'Wow!,' It is very different, with a lot of unexpected flavors. It's more of a sipping wine because its flavors are so big and powerful. The wine fits perfectly with Mercy's goal of bringing rare and relatively undiscovered wines to Dallas.

Ollieux Romanis, a family-owned vineyard in the South of France, employs traditional methods to produce smooth and elegant wines. Their Alicante Bouchet grapes are grown on 85-year-old vines and create a bold wine with a distinctive olive-based flavor that is followed by hints of rosemary and thyme. The Alicante Bouchet grape is known as a productive fruit with an intense red flesh and juice, and is normally used as a blending grape. Ollieux Romanis is one of very few wineries offering Alicante Bouchet as a varietal.

Vincent Havard

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's not all doom and gloom

If you watch the news you’ll actually begin to believe that the world is about to come to an end. With all of the gloom and doom about the economy there are many rays of hope and here is a good one for all of us.

In a recent Dallas Business Journal article: the Texas Restaurant Association said the Lone Star State is expected to lead the country, in terms of sales growth in 2009. Texas restaurants will employ more than one million Texans next year. The NRA forecasts that restaurant industry in US sales will increase by 2.5 percent over 2008.

“Even in these tough economic times, it is clear that the Texas restaurant industry is the best place to do business in the nation,” said Richie Jackson, TRA executive vice president/CEO. “While our country is coping with the weakest economy in decades, Texas restaurateurs continue to buck the trends and post positive sales and job growth.”

When the restaurant industry is doing well that flows back to the guests patronizing those restaurants. It means they have confidence and are still spending money. The ripple affect is huge. That means the suppliers and distributors do well because restaurants are ordering food and that flows back to the growers.

There is no question we are in uncertain and questionable times but the best we can do is continue to do a great job at what we do and keep moving forward.

Turn your TV off and feel better about the world!

Glen Agritelley