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Jan 23, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘The Wine and Cheese Place’

Guide to Drinking 2014: Cider Comes Back Hard

Monday, September 29th, 2014



While the craft beer boom continues to brew, it’s hard to ignore the presence of its up-and-coming cousin, craft cider. Sometimes barrel-aged, generally artisanal, and often naturally gluten-free, these fermented apple beverages are being produced not only by cider-focused establishments such as Crispin, California Cider Co., and Colorado Cider Co., but also by many craft breweries as a beer alternative.

Local breweries such as Urban Chestnut and Schlafly have made hard ciders readily available to the market, while others like Crown Valley Brewing regularly experiment with recipes for seasonal releases. Looking for a sweet way to enjoy the remainder of summer? Grab some cider, find some sunlight, sit back and swill.

2012 Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie
Unfiltered and unpasteurized, this French “cider under cork” smells of green apple, while the flavor profile packs a bittersweet punch of bleu cheese and honey. Its effervescence holds a subtle funk and natural sweetness that doesn’t linger on the palate.
Fields Foods, 1500 Lafayette Ave., St. Louis, 314.241.3276, fieldsfoods.com  

Apple Knocker Hard Knocks
Fermented in American oak barrels with Belgian yeasts by Illinois cider house Apple Knocker, Hard Knocks boasts the flavors of deliciously tart apples and citrus. If you’re in the mood for something sweeter, try its cousin, Sweet Knockers.
The Wine and Cheese Place, all locations, wineandcheeseplace.com

Urban Chestnut Bushelhead
Wine-like, full of apple aroma and flavor with big alcohol warmth, this local cider truly is apple juice for grown-ups. Try Bushelhead on draft at Bailey’s Range with the restaurant’s cinnamon ice cream, and you will taste perfection.
Bailey’s Range, 920 Olive St., St. Louis, 314.241.8121, baileysrange.com  

Schlafly Hard Apple Cider
Complete with a robust Granny Smith apple aroma, a crisp, almost effervescent mouth feel and a slightly dry palate, this refreshing hard cider on draft at Schlafly Bottleworks is perfectly balanced for even the pickiest of cider drinkers.
Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave., Maplewood, 314.241.2337, schlafly.com  

Ace Pineapple Cider
The California Cider Co.’s pineapple cider is deliciously sweet up front with a tart finish. The wonderful pineapple scent gives summer patio drinking a touch of the tropics. This seasonal has been flying off the shelves; if you see a bottle, nab it.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Drink This Weekend Edition: Wine made underwater comes to light

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Attention supporters of funky experiments and cool-looking bottles: An Italian wine just arrived in St. Louis that will pique your curiosity both for the uncanny process in which it was aged and the eye-catching results.

Abissi Bisson is an Italian sparkling wine and the brainchild of Piero Lugano, a wine merchant from Chiavari in the Italian Riviera. Lugano, who has since founded his own winery, had wanted to make a sparkling wine but lacked the space for aging it. His bright idea: Send it to the bottom of the sea.

“The temperature is perfect, there’s no light, the water prevents even the slightest bit of air from getting in, and the constant counterpressure keeps the bubbles bubbly. Moreover, the underwater current acts like a crib, gently rocking the bottles and keeping the lees moving through the wine,” Lugano told a reporter for the New York Times back in 2011 after the second edition of Abissi (which means “depths” in Italian) had been pulled from the seabed of a national marine preserve, located off the coast of Portofino. The wine had spent 13 months resting in stainless-steel cages in the company of sea life.

While this wine has received thumbs up for its crisp acidity and mineral character (typical characteristics of Ligurian wines), in the case of Abissi, life at sea literally leaves a mark. Seashells, algae and barnacles cover the bottles, making each bottle a unique souvenir.

The 2010 vintage of this sunken treasure just became available in St. Louis. The Wine & Cheese Place (Clayton location) snagged 36 bottles, but only half remain. Plunk down $87, and one of these gems can be yours.

— photo courtesy of Abissi Bisson

Drink This Weekend Edition: Wine Stories

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Sometimes, the back story of a wine is as tasty as the finished product. This week, we’re taking a look at two such tales and offering up a couple places to go to experience a few stories first-hand.

Not so long ago, I was handed a glass of 2009 Rouge L’Artolie by Bordeaux wine producer Château Suau. The wine stopped me in my tracks. Blackberries, plum and blueberries everywhere – on the palate, on the nose. It was elegant and lush, and I savored every single sip. L’Artolie is made from a parcel planted primarily with merlot grapes, some cabernet sauvignon and roughly 10-percent cabernet Franc. The hand-harvested grapes are de-stemmed, fermented in open 400-liter French oak barrels, and aged in the same barrels for 15 months. I didn’t know any of this before chatting with winemaker Monique Bonnet; all I knew was that the wine tasted exquisite. I soon came to find out that Bonnet, one of the few female winemakers in a male-dominated profession, has been making wine at her family-owned Château Suau for the last 20 years, having taken over the trade from her father. I also learned that L’Artolie is not made yearly. Rather, the condition of the grapes dictates whether they will live up to a wine of L’Artolie standards. In fact, 2005 marks the most previous vintage. The 2009 has arrived on the market; a 2010 will be released next year. Buy the $57 bottle at The Wine and Cheese Place (Clayton location only) and have your own little French love affair.

The Puzzle from Newton Vineyard in Napa Valley is a wine for those who appreciate challenges. It’s the job of Newton winemaker Chris Millard to hand-select the Bordeaux red varieties from 112 distinct parcels on the 120-acre estate and craft them into this opulent wine. The Puzzle bursts with intense black fruit – black cherry and plum – plus vanilla and oak from 20 months of aging. Then there’s that lingering espresso note during a don’t-let-it-end, long finish. The pieces of the 2008 vintage have come together nicely. Get it at The Wine Merchant, where it retails for $73 a bottle.

Thirsty for more wine stories? Tomorrow, Saturday, June 23, from 4 to 6 p.m., Mike Bee, the co-owner of Falcor Winery, will be on hand at Wines of Wildwood to discuss how his winery selects its fruit from some of the primo vineyards in Napa Valley and crafts it into fine wines. Among the five wines to be tasted at this free event are an award-winning Chardonnay from Durell Vineyard, a Bordeaux blend from Napa and an old clone vine Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley.

Stone Hill Winery in Hermann, Mo., has more than 160 years of winemaking history. How much do you know about one of Missouri’s top tourists attractions and Stone Hill’s award-winning wines? Find out at the winery’s monthly Grapes to Glass tour and tasting. Here’s your chance to visit the Norton vineyard, cellars, tank building and press house. You can sample some wine and cheese and even take home a free souvenir wine glass. The tour begins at 2:45 p.m., and lasts about 2 hours. The next event is on July 21. Convinced? Make a reservation (or just drink up some more info) here.

Cheap Date: Twilight Tuesdays

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Bad news for all the job seekers out there: Now that universities have loosed another crop of little overachievers onto the unemployment line, your resume has an even worse chance of inching its way up the already jammed inboxes of the human resource managers whose eyes you’ve so desperately been trying to catch. While underemployment breeds despair, it’s important to take solace in the fact that St. Louis is one of the most accommodating cities to loiter in – especially in terms of free amusements for the broke and weary. With the warm season upon us, now is the time to plan a date and take advantage of the plethora of admission-free outdoor concerts and shows. Case in point: Every Tuesday, for three more weeks, the History Museum plays host to Twilight Tuesdays, a stellar concert series held under the stars. Music kicks off at 6 p.m., but it’s best to grab a spot on the lawn at least 30 minutes prior. Grab a few lawn chairs and stock the following thrifty meal:


Insanely cheap, but still respectable, bottles of wine are held in surplus at The Wine and Cheese Place at 7435 Forsyth Blvd., just a stone’s throw from the History Museum. Try the 2011 Frontera Cabernet Merlot blend, a dark, unpretentious, medium-bodied red that tastes like it should cost $15 a bottle but retails for just $4. Now that the booze is covered, head northeast to the Gyro House at 6152 Delmar Blvd., where $16 will secure you a takeout order of two gorgeous gyros stuffed with thick, tender slices of lamb – these are easily the best in town. (Be sure to have management include plastic knives and forks as well as extra napkins for these monster-sized portions.)

{Floating Island at Brasserie by Niche}

As the music winds down, grab your date and head east up Lindell Boulevard to the sleepy side streets of the Central West End, where you’ll find Brasserie by Niche – a romantic, nineteenth century-style French hideaway. Cap off your evening by sharing one of Brasserie’s stellar desserts – i.e. profiteroles, chocolate mousse with hazelnut shortbread, floating island, cherry clafouti with brandy ice cream, for $8 each.

— Brasserie photo by Ashley Gieseking

Drink This Weekend Edition: Local brewers give their beer picks for Father’s Day

Friday, June 17th, 2011

060911_beerFather’s Day is this weekend, and if your family is like millions of others in the U.S., you’ll be spending Sunday sitting around the grill. In this month’s issue of Sauce, we gave you all the barbecue tips you’d ever need to master that perfect ‘cue. But while Dad is outside in this blasted heat working his magic at the grill, he’ll need a brewski to keep cool. To help you decide what suds to share with your father, we asked a trio of area brewers for their top picks – that is, of course, if they couldn’t choose their own.

“I would suggest going to The Wine and Cheese Place and getting anything from Charleville [Vineyard]. They have a great 22-ounce bomber selection, perfect for gifting. Dave [Scarmana] was brewing something called Box of Chocolate – high-gravity, lots of chocolate and very nice.”
- Evan Hiatt, co-owner and brewmaster, Six Row Brewing Co.

“If we were sticking with craft beers, I would say get down to Urban Chestnut and try what is on tap. You can have fun visiting one of St. Louis’ newest breweries and tasting the beers while you shop. Shopping for Father’s Day has never been as much fun! The Schnickelfritz there is a great Weissbier.”
- James “Otto” Ottolini, brewmaster, The Saint Louis Brewery

“One of my all time favorites is Orval. I am usually not a big fan of imported beers but this is a worthy exception. I like the fact that it is very refreshing but also has an extremely complex aroma and flavor. It also ages well and is a very good option for pairing with lots of different foods.”
- Florian Kuplent, co-owner and brewmaster, Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.

The Scoop: Goodbye Provisions, hello Wine and Cheese Place No. 4

Monday, May 16th, 2011

051611_winecheeseLast week, Provisions Gourmet Market closed its doors at 11615 Olive Street Road in Creve Coeur after operating for 10 years in the space. While longtime Provisions patrons may be saddened to say goodbye to the fresh soups, salads and sandwiches they enjoyed at the gourmet café, they won’t have to wait long before they can pick up wine, spirits, beer, cheeses, salamis and other gourmet delights nearby. Owner Amos Kedmey and his family, who also own all of The Wine and Cheese Place spots, have slated June 1 as the opening date for their fourth location of The Wine and Cheese Place, which will sit at 457 N. New Ballas Road in Creve Coeur. The other Wine and Cheese Places locations are in Clayton, Rock Hill and Ballwin.

The juice on another wine with St. Louis roots

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

042011_merlotScarpetta, Pushback, Calluna. These wine labels all entered the St. Louis market this year and have received plenty of local attention thanks to their ties to our fair city. Scarpetta and Pushback are both brainchildren of former St. Louisans, and the family of Gerard Craft, chef-owner of Niche restaurants, is among the investors in Calluna Vineyards, which makes wine from Bordeaux grape varietals. And now, the latest Napa wine with St. Louis roots arrives from Bolen Family Estates.

Bolen Family Estates is a project by STL native Eric Bolen (He’s a graduate of Chaminade High School and Saint Louis University, for locals who must know about educational pedigree). He moved to Napa in 2005 and founded Bolen Family Estates a year later. Bolen only puts out one wine – a Merlot – but the company goes to great lengths to make sure it’s of the highest quality. The grapes are sourced from Beckstoffer Orchard Vineyard, which has earned a reputation for growing grapes for some of the world’s best wines. Bolen’s winemaker is Tom Rinaldi, founding winemaker at Duckhorn Vineyards, who – after 37 harvests – is highly regarded for the magic he works in producing Merlots. Bolen’s Merlot is barrel-aged in French oak for 26 months, far longer than the typical 16- to 18-month period.

The 2007 vintage, which just arrived in St. Louis, is available at all The Wine and Cheese Place locations, where it is specially priced at $49.99 right now. Watch also for Bolen bottles at Grapevine Wines in Kirkwood and The Wine Merchant in Clayton. And you can get it by the glass upon request at Humphrey’s, the storied bar near SLU where Bolen worked during his college years.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Spirits and liqueurs from Windy City’s Koval arrives in The Lou

Friday, February 4th, 2011

020411_kovalSimilar to the food scene, what’s trendy in the world of spirits these days is small batch, organic and local. If you consider less than 300 miles from St. Louis to be local enough, then check out Koval, the Chicago-based boutique distillery founded in 2008, whose line of white whiskies and luscious liqueurs have just landed in town.

Koval Distillery produces five un-aged whiskies: rye, wheat, oat, spelt and millet, each made using 100 percent single grain. Koval’s liqueurs, which all begin with a base of white whiskey, include ginger, chrysanthemum honey, coffee, jasmine and our favorite, rose hip, which mixes wonderfully with dry gin or Champagne. All products are certified organic and kosher.

Grab a bottle of Koval spirits or liqueurs at The Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton, Vineyards Wine and Spirits in Chesterfield Valley and Lukas Liquor in Ellisville. Then try them in one of the recipes below. Find more recipes on the Koval website, or get creative with a concoction of your own design.

Modern Fashioned

Courtesy of Terzo Piano, Chicago

1 bar spoon sugar
1 orange slice
3 brandied cherries
2 oz. Koval American Oat Whiskey
Soda water (optional)

• Muddle the sugar, orange slice and cherries until well mashed in a Boston shaker.
• Add whiskey and ice.
• Quick shake, then pour contents into an Old-Fashioned glass. Top with soda water if desired.

Rose Royale

Courtesy of In Fine Spirits’ Anne Carlson

5 oz. Sparkling wine
1 oz. Koval Rose Hip liqueur

• Pour the sparkling wine into a Champagne flute and top with liqueur.
• Gently stir with a bar spoon.

Drink This Weekend Edition: A month of artisan spirits tastings begins tonight at TWCP

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

062310_Wine&CheeseYou might have noticed the occasional appearance of Drink This Weekend Edition, a column on our blog featuring news and notes about adult beverages. With so much happening in the world of spirits, wine and beer, we’ve decided to turn Drink This into a regular intoxicant. Every Friday, we’ll share intel on A-list drink-related events, outstanding new-to-the-market products and must-try drink recipes to start the weekend off right.

To get in the spirit of things, we begin by sharing news of a month’s worth of spirits tastings that debuts tonight at The Wine and Cheese Place on Forsyth Boulevard in Clayton.

This evening’s tasting, which runs from 5 to 7 p.m., features Wisconsin distillery Death’s Door. Company founder Brian Ellison will even be on hand to give you the inside scoop on his company’s vodka, gin and white whisky.

We’re also excited to see North Shore from Chicago coming to TWCP on Sept. 17. The maker of gin, vodka, Absinthe Verte and aquavit recently released a barrel-aged cocktail called the CR2 that was built on the flavor profile – as opposed to the actual ingredients – of the Corpse Reviver No. 2. (Those would be gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, lemon juice and absinthe.) North Shore co-founder Sonja Kassebaum will be there to share secrets as you sip.

The September tastings schedule includes many other fine distillers including: Minnesota-based Haus Alpenz, tequila labels Corrido and Milagro, yo-ho-ho spiced rum maker Sailor Jerry, famous single malt scotch whisky distilleries Balvenie and Glenfiddich, plus newbie to old-world scotch Compass Box and Germain Robin, the California maker of hand-distilled brandies and grappa.

The tastings are free and don’t require a reservation. For details on dates and times, click here.

Fact or Fiction: Cheese is made of mold

Monday, August 9th, 2010

080910_bluecheeseWelcome to Fact or Fiction, a new online column in which we dive into the truth behind some well-accepted foodie wives’ tales – and reveal whether they’re fact or fiction.

Cheese is made of mold.

Fact and Fiction. For this one, we consulted Simon Lehrer, cheesemonger at The Wine Merchant, and a human encyclopedia of all things cheese.

His answer: Sort of. “The cheese is made from milk, but then mold can set up either on the outside (like on any of the white cheeses that you see such as Brie or Camembert, that blooming white rind is mold) or on the inside (when you see the little bits of blue in blue cheese, that’s mold as well). However, most cheeses don’t have mold, and of those that do, it’s less than 10% of the cheese.”

For more cheesy insight from Lehrer, check out what artisan cheeses he recommends for spicing up your sandwiches at home in The Art of the Sandwich: A better slice.

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