Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The deal of the month !

Let's take a drive 2 hours north of San Francisco in Mendocino County and make a stop in Anderson Valley.

Visiting Anderson Valley wineries is like no other experience compared to the famous Napa and Sonoma areas.... You will not find the crowds of tourists and the busy tasting rooms like in the other popular regions. The atmosphere is much more laid back in Anderson Valley.

The climate is influenced by the Pacific Ocean and it is one of the coolest in the state. The wind and fog keeps the acid level of the grapes high, which is particularly beneficial for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling. Anderson Valley gets a little more rain than other regions as well.

The Duckhorn Wine Company family includes numerous other wineries; among them is Goldeneye (golden duck with yellow eyes) that makes exclusively, prime Pinot Noir. This well-balanced, medium-weight wine offers bright acidity and a long, satisfying finish. The aroma is rich and full of dark cherries, nutmeg, caramelized apple, cinnamon, and clove. On the palate, it is full of plum, spice, cherry, strawberry, and vanilla oak layers.

This definitely is a serious Pinot that I especially enjoy with Mercy's exquisite tuna steak served with a peppercorn sauce on a bed of steamed vegetables.

Enjoy it at Mercy, while it is on at a special price of $ 25.00 a glass or $75.00 a bottle during the month of April and based upon availability (it normally retails for $120.00).

Vincent Havard
General Manager

Monday, March 22, 2010

Time to Wine is Here!

With so much contradictory information being passed around regarding how our economy is doing I felt it was time to do a bit of research as to how the wine industry is fairing through all of this.

It has been a long time coming. Wine has become a part of the fabric of American culture. In 2005, for the first time, wine passed beer as the alcoholic beverage of choice by adults in the US. Gallup Consumption Habits poll found that 39% of American drinkers consume wine most often, and 36% consume beer most often. The fastest growing segment of the population moving toward wine is between 21-30 year olds. I find this very interesting and we see this holding true in our own business. When Mercy first opened up 7 years ago the average age of our guests ran from 35-55 and today I would say it is between 25 and 50. Younger people are showing an interest in learning about wines from all over the world.

Another factor that will continue to impact the American wine industry in a major way is the little publicized Supreme Court ruling allowing wineries to ship directly to the consumer across state lines. Prior to this, wineries were only allowed to ship direct within their own state. As more of the US population become introduced to wine and these people discover “gems” that they like the trend for buying directly from the winery will increase. It is believed that this will become one of the biggest growth areas in the wine industry, selling direct. It will certainly never overtake the 3 tier distribution system. While that part of the market is consolidating the direct sales portion is opening up and seeing nice growth.

With the economy being what it is and the days of big corporate expense accounts being over people are looking for great wine values. This has moved people to look at emerging areas such as Walla Walla Washington which is producing tremendous wines for great value. Also looking offshore at areas like Spain, Argentina, Chile, South American which produce fabulous wines at a great price. All of this pushing the new wine consumer to explore and discover what they like.

We pride ourselves at Mercy at being able to find great wines that represent good value to our guests. Vincent and his team are tasting a dozen wines a day and very few make it to our list. We are glad you are part of this great journey of WINE! Most of the world has know of this journey for ages and nice that the journey of wine has become part of the mainstream of American culture.

Come to Mercy and let’s do some exploring!!

Glen Agritelley

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Education... crucial for our employees

As managers, we are constantly complemented by many of our guests for how knowledgeable our employees are about the wine we serve. Mercy was recently voted one of the top wine bars in the country. Aside from our atmosphere and wine list, we like to think that it is our service and knowledgeable staff that have contributed to this very high honor. Wine varies so much from year to year due to changes in climate, precipitation, and soil pH. It is very important to stay on top of all of these changes.

Vincent has done an exceptional job training and teaching the staff about the world of wine. When a server is hired at Mercy Wine Bar, they take part in an intense, four week training period, in which they taste almost every wine that we carry and it’s pairing with a food item. Most high end restaurants require a written test before a server is permitted to work on the floor; Mercy takes a different approach. We are so very confident with our four week training program; we will put a new hire out on the floor without a written test, allowing them to apply all that they have learned. So far, this approach has been extremely effective!

This month, we are taking our wine education a bit further. Mercy’s wine list contains descriptions that Vincent has put together. Instead of having Vincent come up with all of these, the management team has decided to challenge our staff to do the leg work for these descriptions. Every server has been assigned a selection of wines from all over the world to research and write their own descriptions for these wines. Our staff has many tools to help them reach this goal: internet search engines, information from our distributors, the always helpful, Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine and most importantly, access to smell and taste these wines. A further requirement: these descriptions should be personal and mandating that they use their own words and feelings to describe these wines. We believe this will give an additional opportunity to our staff to learn something new about wine and add a little flare to their already stellar knowledge.

We are very excited to see the results of this learning challenge! The new wine list will be printed and available for your viewing pleasure starting in April 2010. See you at Mercy!

Craig Brazeal
Bar Manager

Monday, March 8, 2010

Can you believe it is already March ?

It seems like it was only just last week that we were celebrating a new year and now we have already entered the third month of that new year.

Vincent and Craig have already started to plan their summer vacations, while I believe I will do some traveling.... right into my own backyard. I hope that the shivering cold that we have experienced is behind us now and we can move towards some great spring weather and outdoor events. Judging by the large number of happy guests on Mercy's patio as of late; some of you had similar thoughts in mind.

Mercy was been host to several large events already in this new year. There is always a great sense of enjoyment for all of us when we are host to a large event. These events all have their own special nuances and we enjoy rising to meet the challenges that come from serving numerous guests concurrently.

It is especially gratifying for the management team, as we really get to see a "teamwork" attitude from the staff as each department gears up and contributes to the success of an event. I take an additional measure of pleasure when each party comes to a conclusion as it began as a blank event sheet on my desk.

Three new proposals were sent out today for upcoming parties and I am anxious to do more ! If you are planning an event: a wedding reception, a rehearsal dinner,a book club meeting, network marketing group get together,a sales presentation, contact me !

I welcome the opportunity to show you what we can do.

Mercy !

Mike Castagne
Operations Manager

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Managing inventory challenges

After we were no longer able to obtain a specific Pinot Noir from Oregon; it became a challenge to find a comparable offering to take it's place among our inventory.

Enter Forefront 2008 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir by Pine Ridge.
Most of the fruit for this wine comes from the Dundee Hills area of Willamette Valley. Oak barrel aging was accomplished over a 10 month period using a combination of one and two-year-old French oak.

Wild strawberry, hints of clay, mushroom and rhubarb are the most prominent aromas in the nose of this young Pinot Noir. The middle of this wine is loaded with lean, dry fruit flavors, with the red fruit flavors of cherry, raspberry and cranberry dominating and leading the charge. A host of mineral notes, as well as sour cherry, graphite, earth and cola emerge on the impressively lengthy finish.

This wine is perfect to pair with our Blacken Salmon with Strawberry Glaze or our Blackened Ahi Tuna appetizer. The good fruit will help balance the spicy flavors.

You can enjoy Forefront Pint Noir at Mercy for $13 a glass or $40 by the bottle.

Vincent Havard
General Manager and Operating Partner