Friday, July 24, 2009

The CoolVines Experience - Domaine Agape Wine Dinner

"Wine Mania (and some Beer too)" by Faith Bahadurian, Princeton Packet

I am getting more and more emails each week about wine dinners and tasting events in the Princeton area. These events are all the rage, and many of them seem to sell out quickly, even in this economy. I think it’s the “value added” aspect of them. Not only are you enjoying several courses of well-prepared food, but also specially paired wines to go with each course. Often the winemaker is there, too, which adds a lovely personalized aspect to the experience.

Such was the case at a recent wine dinner at Blue Point Grill I was invited to by Mark Censits who owns CoolVines (in Princeton and Westfield). Working with Michael Messenie of Savio Soares Selections (the distributor), they had brought in Isabelle Boxler-Sipp, of Domaine Agape in Alsace, France, where her husband Vincent is “vigneron” (grower).

From the sparkling Cremant d’Alsace through the Grand Cru Riesling, all five wines I sipped that evening were delicious, as was the wonderful dinner Blue Point Grill Chef Steve Murray put out (I especially liked the Icelandic Artic Char and the Chilean Sea Bass).

If you go to Alsace, Isabelle also owns a cooking school in Colmar named Cardamome (her favorite spice), where, she reports, the locals increasingly want to learn to make ethnic dishes, but the tourists, of course, want to learn traditional Alsatian dishes.

Click here to see the entire article.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wine Heaven?

"Wine Heaven?" by Faith Bahadurian, Princeton Packet

A recent wine club promotion in a national newspaper (yes, I still read paper!) had me tempted to sign right up, to get a case of "deep, rich reds" at bargain prices. But then I thought of how I already have too many bottles at home, languishing, while I give into my thing for gin and tonics, with the occasional margarita thrown in (not, God help me, in the same evening).

Besides, we have some great wine shops in our area, with two right in downtown Princeton, the Corkscrew and CoolVines. And it is nearly summer, a good time to stock up on rosés, which I've grown to appreciate as more good dry ones come on the market. (And hopefully the power drunk EU won't ruin rosé wine for us! The proposal discussed at the link here was fortunately set aside shortly after the article came out; obviously saner heads prevailed...this time.)

So I paid a quick visit to the CoolVines website, clicked on "rosés," and spied a pretty Cielo Prosecco Rosé, described as "A light, effervescent gem from Northeast Italy." Now that sounded festive, however it was out of stock (I'm waitlisted), But you can click on a little button under that that says "similar wines." That brings up another sparkling rosé, a Spanish Cava from Familia Oliveda (pictured here). I dropped by and picked that up and also came home with a still rosé, the French Touraine Pineau d'Aunis.

This is a GREAT website, by the way. You can click on red, white, or rosé, click on the type of body you want (i.e. light, medium, full, sweet, fortified), and then the style, modern or traditional (you know, the new world-old world thing), and the price range. The system delivers all sorts of intriguing results, and I see more wine consumption in my future...and some local shopping.