Tag Archives: Pairings

Easter Wines

Walk into any of our stores right now and you’re hit with the abundant fragrance of our Easter Lilies.  Our Floral Departments are covering the stores with bright, beautiful, April flowers and, though there is still snow in the forecast, it reminds me that Spring is in full bloom. Easter is less than a week away and everyone is looking forward to sitting down with friends and family to enjoy the traditional Ham or Lamb. In my family we enjoy both, which makes my job a little difficult.  Do I bring a zippy light bodied Gewurztraminer for the ham? Or a fruit forward, robust, red for the Lamb?

Who am I kidding? I’ll bring both…

Here are my picks for whichever meat you choose!

Hamming it up –

I love the salty sweetness of ham; it’s the Kettlecorn of the meat world. Whether you like red or white I would stay on the fruity side when pairing this pink meat.

Alexander Valley Vineyards Gewurz Gewurztraminer California, 2010 $8.99 –

Poor Gewürztraminer, I believe this grape does not get requested as much as it should because of its tongue tying name. However, when it comes to pairing with Ham it is a must! The Gewurz has the customary lychee, pear and spice, but it’s not nearly as sweet as most others.  The fruity front palate and dry, refreshing finish makes this wine unique – and it’s so affordable!

Saint Roch Les Vignes Rosé Cotes De Provence, 2009 $14.99 –

Rose is another option if you like fruity but not too sweet.  This is a light, fruity, Provence with rose petal on the nose and strawberry and red raspberry on the palate. Refreshing and bright, it is the perfect palate cleanser.

Wild Horse Pinot Noir Central Coast California, 2008 $24.99 –

Fresh and fruity, this Pinot Noir is dense and big enough for your “red wine drinkers” but light enough to pair with ham. Black cherry, baking spices, and a hint of toasted oak round out the finish.

Jenny had a little Lamb –

When my folks prepare lamb they use fragrant and bold spices and seasonings like rosemary and garlic. When pairing lamb, I like to play up the rustic taste and texture of the meat.

Juliet Fiero Chardonnay Paso Robles California, 2009 $14.99 –

Only 224 cases of this little gem of a Chardonnay were produced. The Juliet Fiero is complex and medium bodied, with loads of ripe pear and apple.  The acidity is bracing to cut through the sometimes oily quality of lamb, but round enough with its touches of lemon curd and butterscotch, to pair well.

M. Chapoutier Les Vignes De Bila – Haut Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2008 $13.99 –

Lamb and Cotes du Rhone is a classic pair. Both have an earthy, rustic quality.  In the case of the Chapoutier, I like the notes of lilac, black cherry and plum that are elegant yet firm in structure. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan and was one of Wine Spectators Top 100 wines of 2009.

Falesco Merlot Umbria Italy 2009 $14.99 –

Saving the best for last, Nino’s has kept the Falesco Merlot on special down from its original pricing at $18.99 because it is such a great value.  Falesco has produced a concentrated and ripe Merlot, with black plum, blueberry, and blackberry, finishing with herbs and a touch of cinnamon. This is a knock out.

So, whether you’re trying out Chef Pete’s new Crusted Red Skin Potato Bake with Ham and Cheese or having a more traditional fare, these wines will make your Easter meal complete!

Enjoy!

– Jennifer Laurie

Valentine Wines & Pairings: Spiriti d’Amore

I have a confession. I am a Valentine’s Day nut!

During this “Hallmark holiday” you will see me adorned in pinks, purples and reds trying to spread my love of wine, beer, and spirits throughout the aisles of Nino’s. As many of you already know, I will use any excuse to drink bubbly wine, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Rosés from Mumm Napa, Louis Barthelemy, and Mawby are among my favorites. However, I am not going to bore you with another Bubble-headed article. Whether you’re looking to pair up surf and turf, Chinese take out, or just having a nightcap, here are my picks for a wonderful Valentine’s Day meal…

Shellfish

While I was chatting with the Seafood guys here, it became clear that folks like to cook up a lot of shellfish for the holiday. For crustaceans like lobster and crab legs I recommend a medium bodied white.

La Cana Albariño 2009, Rias Baixas, Spain $15.99 –

Albariño is a Chameleon in the wine world. While at dinner with my family, my Mother-in-Law exclaimed it tasted like Chardonnay, my Mother said Riesling, and my Hubby said Sauvignon Blanc! I just said it tasted delicious with my Pop’s seafood linguini! Fruity pineapple, bright citrus, and a dry cleansing finish.

Jean Reverdy La Reine Blanche Sancerre 2009, Loire, France $24.99 –

Floral and elegant, Jean Reverdy Sancerre has a touch of minerality that lends to a complex midpalate. White flowers, ripe melon, and white peaches round out the flavors.

Domaine De L’Aurière Muscadet Survre et Maine 2009, Loire, France 10.99 –

The minerality in Muscadet makes it a perfect pairing for oysters. A bit rounder with more melon flavors than most Muscadets, this is a good introduction to the grape Melon de Bourgogne.

Meat

Whether you brave the cold for your beloved and grill some Delmonico’s, or pan sear some filet mignon, our butcher shop has the best prime cuts in town. Try out some Zip Sauce to really add a loving touch!

Garacha De Fuego 2009, Calatayud, Spain $8.99 –

Set the night on fire with this spicy Garnacha from Spain! Bold flavors of cooked plums and ripe black cherries make it the perfect complement to Lamb Chops or Filet Mignon.

Summers Andriana’s Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley, California $22.99 –

This Nino’s Favorite just received 90 points from Robert Parker who said the bouquet exhibits sweet black cherries, plums, earth and spice. I would have to agree. I found that even after aeration the tannins were firm, making this wine a good gift for the wine geek in your life, since they can lay it down for a few years.

Caliterra Tributo Carmenère 2008 Colchagua, Chile $16.99 –

Established in 1996, Caliterra started as a partnership between the Robert Mondavi Family and Vina Errazuriz. Their intent was to showcase the intense fruit and complexity that wines from this region could yield. This Carmenère is a terrific example of just that. It has hints of blueberry, white pepper, and spice box with a creamy mouth-feel and silky tannins.

Hooray Beer!

There are times when I find beer fits the bill better than wine. Right now we have a couple of Craft beers that are good as gifts, or for enjoying on a special evening.

Bell’s Hopslam $17.99 6pk –

Sweet and floral, this takes the term Hoppy to the next level. Brewed with 6 different Hop varieties, Hopslam is well balanced with honey, apricot and grapefruit flavors. Try this with beer battered cod, pork chops, or pan-seared scallops. Perfect for the Hophead in your life!

Atwater Cherry Stout $9.49 6pk –

Made with cherry concentrate from Michigan Montmorency Cherries, this rich and dark stout is a great complement for a steak or for dessert!

Dessert

Our Bakery is filled to the brim with heart shaped cookies, cakes and treats! Here are my picks for drinks to go with dessert or stand alone as a night topper!

Piece of Cake Liqueurs $19.99 – Support the economy by buying Michigan made Piece of Cake Spirits! These liqueurs come in Chocolate, Pineapple Upside-down, and Strawberry Shortcake. Though the Chocolate has been the most popular, my favorite is the Strawberry.

Sweet Bliss Red, White, and Rose, Washington $9.99 –

For those of you with a sweet tooth these new wines from Washington fit the bill! With fun labels that describe what the wines taste like; chocolate covered cherries for the red, caramel apple for the white and strawberries and crème for the rose, these wines are terrific as a sip-able dessert!

anCnoc 12 year Scotch $39.46 –

I am in love. Yes, with my husband, Rob, but also with this 12 year old scotch. This is a Highland (Speyside to be specific) Single Malt that’s nose is intoxicating with honeyed citrus. On the pallet there are notes of orange blossom, honey, and slight smoke making this a charming and drinkable scotch. A great gift!

I hope this article helps you find the perfect gift or accompaniment to a romantic dinner at home this Valentine’s Day!

Cheers!

– Jennifer Laurie