Monday, November 30, 2009

These are unprecedented times we live in

This will be my last blog for 2009. Seems I am just getting use to writing 09 and have to get ready for 2010! Everyone agrees this year has just screamed past us at lightning speed. And what a year this has been. Not one for the faint of heart to be sure. These are unprecedented times we live in. No one has been untouched by the current economic climate. While some businesses have been hit harder than others I feel very fortunate that Mercy is weathering the storm. Your loyalty over the last 7 years demonstrates the viability of Mercy, even in these very tough times. It was my goal 7+ years ago to create a local place where people who enjoy wine or are looking to learn more and can go over and over again and have a variety of different experiences. I also wanted to demystify the entire aura around wine and make it a comfortable experience for everyone, no matter what their knowledge level.

There is a silver lining in these times, believe it or not! While the competition for the limited dining and entertainment dollar increases, those establishments that come out the other end of this storm intact, have to deliver greater value and have better service. Everyone betters from this. The guest has a more satisfying experience and gets greater value for their dollar and the establishments employees get the opportunity to step up and grow and do a better job.

You continue to honor us with your patronage and that is what spurs us on to continue to work hard to deliver great service and great value. I can honestly say that it gives me just as much pleasure to watch a guest discover and new wine and fall in love with it as it did the first year we opened. The Art of Wine is journey and requires day-to-day vigilance to maintaining the quality of the wines we serve and then delivering, daily, on the experience the guest has with that wine.

This year has been one of navigating through rough waters while staying true to our mission. Your continue patronage tells us we are doing the right things. I’d like to close this year out by saying “Thank You”. Thank you for believing in us and continuing to support us. I remain optimistic about 2010 and the prospects for improvement for the upcoming year.

From all of us at Mercy, we wish you a very happy holiday and a New Year full of health and renewed prosperity.

Glen Agritelley

Monday, November 23, 2009

The holidays are a good time for food and wine!

By way of an introduction, my name is Craig Brazeal, Bar Manager at Mercy. I have been with Mercy since July 2008 and rapidly worked my way up to Bar Manager in May of 2009. I have been in the service industry for 15 years and my focus has always been the world of spirits and mixology; from creating featured cocktails to extensive drink menus and even teaching mixology at a culinary school. Some say I’m kind of a spirits super freak! I took the job at Mercy for many reasons but most importantly, I needed know more about wine, and learn I have ! Everyday I find out something new and exciting about the world of wine.

One of the things that we take great pride in at Mercy is our ability to cater to our guests wants and needs in regards to food and wine pairing. Usually our guests pick the wine and we will recommend food to go with wine or vise versa. It is one of the many things we do that really add to the Mercy experience. As Thanksgiving is this week, I would like to offer some wine suggestions to serve with your Thanksgiving feast.

The big question - which wine or wines go with the variety of tastes, textures and aromas that uniquely present themselves on Thanksgiving Day ? Should you choose one wine to carry you through appetizers to desserts – a tough request, but certainly doable. Or should you choose several wines to accent different components of the meal and cater to a variety of guests’ palates? The choice is entirely up to you, but here are some options to get you started.

If you do not want to buy several different wines for each course, one fail safe wine for any holiday feast is Champagne or sparkling wine. These wines bring both elegance and great food pairing versatility from the appetizers to the turkey and dressing all the way down to the pecan pie. A good dry sparkling will not only cleanse the palate for you next bite but also add a little texture with your meal.

Remember the art of food and wine pairing is largely a matter of personal preference; however some safe bets for Thanksgiving wines are Syrah/Shiraz, Zinfandels and my personal favorite Thanksgiving wine, Pinot Noir. Be careful with these wines, if they have a too heavy of a body they can overpower your food. The great thing about these wines is they add a little extra spice to your turkey. Light-bodied, fruit forward with a little bit of spice and earthy undertones are a great selection.

Beaujolais is another great versatile wine that compliments every dish on the dinner table. Light-bodied with low tannins and bright fruit, Beaujolais can bring out the flavor of your entire repertoire of food.

For you white wine lovers there is also a great verity of wines you can choose for your feast. Over the last couple of years I have experimented with white wine with holiday meals and found that Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio go really well with herbs mainly garlic and onions. The bright citrus based flavors of these wines really compliment any spicy dish.

If you really want to shake things up a bit on the table poor a Viognier or an Alberino. They are not as popular but can maintain great food pairing power. Because of the lack of knowledge these wines have with the common wine drinkers allow you guest to try these wines without food first otherwise the strong floral undertones will shock anybodies palate if you do not expect it especially after spicy food. (I found this out the hard way!)

I’m getting stuffed just writing this but there is still more to go!

Dessert time! Alright your friends and family have come over early to watch the football games, as the door opens the first thing you smell is that pumpkin pie and pecan pie baking in the oven. Your mouth starts to water and you know you have to wait several more hours before you get a chance to take that first bite of Thanksgiving heaven. Now its time! I did this for the first time last year and it really works. Tawny Port not only brought out but added great sweetness and nuttiness to both pies.

Sorry Mercy, but I have to put my two cents in! To me there is nothing better to end the night than a great brandy or aged scotch neat and a hand rolled cigar laughing with your friends and family.

I wish to all to of our guest and our entire staff and there families safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

Craig Brazeal
Bar Manager

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What to give ?

For several years now, I have purchased Gift Certificates in lieu of an actual item for those on my holiday gift list. I don't look at it as an impersonal gesture since I do vary the type of gift certificate that I select for everyone.

Gift certificates or gift cards are especially great for teenagers because they like so many different things such as the newest electronic gadgets, video games, so it is logical to give them a Gift Certificate to a national Superstore.

Another benefit is that you don't have to go to great lengths figuring out what merchandise to buy and whether the recipient will like it, whether it will fit or need to be returned or exchanged. My closet still has an assortment of clothing gifts that I need to donate to a local charity. Items given to me that were the wrong size or just not suited for me.

To keep it from being too impersonal, I always do include a hand written note to the recipient telling them why I selected this specific certificate for them. Most of the businesses that I have selected offer a nice gift card holder with ample space to allow a personalized note along with the certificate.

Receiving a dining gift certificate is always an excellent choice especially when the recipient enjoys eating out and sampling great wines in a warm and romantic environment.

Did I mention that Mercy has an ample selection of Gift Certificates ready for you holiday shopping ?

Mike Castagne
Operations Manager

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A big hit (and its not even on the wine list) !

2008 Paul Hobbs Winery El Felino Malbec Mendoza

Best known for his namesake wines from California, Paul Hobbs started his professional career at Mondavi as head Enologist of the Opus One team in 1981. He later moved to Simi and during that time he also became interested in Chile and Argentina. He got involved with Nicolas Catena and was eventually invited to lead Catena’s attempt to create a great Argentine Chardonnay.
He is now becoming one of the world’s reknowned flying winemakers — working as a consultant in Chile, Hungary and Argentina — in addition to making wines in Northern California and at Vina Cobos in Argentina.

His Vina Cobos wines have been getting more attention with each release — and looks like he has really produced some great wines in 2006 — if press and my first bottle of 06 Feline are any indication…this Malbec is pretty opulent, lush and velvety — and weighs in at 14.7% alcohol, but it isn’t overwhelming. It might walk up to the line of New World, but never totally crosses it — all pieces work quite well together, fruit, tannings, structure, oak all very nicely integrated. Nice structure with beautiful fruit — loads of cherry with raspberry, a little rhubarb, notes of charcoal — soft tannins with a lingering finish.

88 points Wine Spectator: "Solid, with medium-weight black licorice, crushed plum and spice notes that stay nicely focused on the finish.

"91% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Syrah. This powerful, firmly structured malbec is black/fuchsia in color and perfumed with wild raspberry and bittersweet cocoa. The palate unfolds in velvety layers of plum, currant .

Felino Malbec can be purshast at Mercy for $14 a glass or $40 by the bottle

Vincent Havard
General Manager and Operating Partner

Monday, November 2, 2009

Some Things To Think About

Just when we were getting use to the idea that summer was over, bam, the holiday season is here. I don’t know about you but this year has just screamed by. I was just getting use to writing 2008 and we seem to be jumping right to 2010.

With the holiday season here it is time to think about holiday parties. Whether you have a group of 6 people or 60+ Mercy is a perfect venue to entertain your friends, co-workers or clients.

Something to think about that may be very different from what you have done in the past is a wine tasting education class or a food and wine pairing class. This is a fun evening of learning and tasting and giving your friends and co-workers a different experience. In an environment where everyone is watching their spending this can be a great way to do something completely different from what you may have done in the past for a holiday party and keep your costs down AND at the same time give your friends a gift of enhancing their dining experiences for years to come. We are very proud to have several companies returning for the 4th and 5th year in a row to treat their employees to a Mercy experience.

We are also approaching our 7th anniversary in February and as has been the practice of Mercy since we first opened we have stayed with the tradition of changing the menu twice a year. We just launched our latest and I think, best menu so far. I am very proud of the selections and choices we have made available to our guests. If it has been a while since you have visited us, I’d encourage you to stop by and sample some of the new menu items. You will not be disappointed.

Speaking of anniversaries! Our sister company, Sebastian’s Closet is celebrating its 30th birthday!! Now that is longevity!! Stop by and say hi to Tim and crew and wish them a happy 30th!

Now, while we are on sister companies: TBarM Racquet Club is pleased to be bringing Pete Sampras to Dallas to play in a tennis shout out against Todd Martin, recently retired top 10 player in the world.

Pete will be playing at the Dr. Pepper Center in Frisco this Friday, Nov. 6 at 7pm. Pete’s Grand Slam World record of 13 titles was recently broken by Roger Federer. If you have not seen Pete play up close and personal this is your chance. Treat yourself to something completely different on a Friday night. Mercy is one of the sponsors of this event and we hope you can join us, tip a glass of vino and watch two of the best players of our time battle it out!

The happiest of holidays to everyone and it is our wish at Mercy that you have a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Glen Agritelley