Monday, October 29, 2012

Things to do while you wait for the storm to finish....

Learn the basics behind wine and food pairing while you weather Hurricane Sandy!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Napa vs Bordeaux Wine Class this Monday!

Find out if you're a born Napa Valley wine lover or your heart belongs to the old dusty vines of Bordeaux!


Monday, Oct 1st:
Napa vs The World
6:30pm, $60/person ++
See how Napa Valley stands up to the other great wine producing regions of Burgundy, Bordeaux, Oregon, Italy and Spain. Taste 8 great wines.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fall Wine Classes…
T 203.353.3319
Monday, Sept 17th:
Back to School…Wine 101
6:30pm, $35/person ++
Learn the basics of wine; taste the 6 major varietals; learn vocabulary and how to navigate a wine list.

Monday, Oct 1st:
Napa vs The World
6:30pm, $60/person ++
See how Napa Valley stands up to the other great wine producing regions of Burgundy, Bordeaux, Oregon, Italy and Spain. Taste 8 great wines.

Monday, Oct 15th:
Champagne…bubbles and more bubbles! 6:30pm, $50/person ++
My favorite beverage...Champagne! This decadent sparkling has so many possibilities for pairings and is so much more than a wine to use for toasts! Come taste 6 Champagnes.

Monday, Oct 29th:
6:30pm, $45/person ++
Become a winemaker for the day! Try Sequoia Grove’s blending kit to create their stellar Cabernet from Napa Valley.

Monday, Nov 12th:
Organic and Sustainable…can you tell? 6:30pm, $50/person ++
Everyone always asks if you can tell a wine is made with Biodynamic principles or sustainable farming methods. Try 3 varietals compared with 3 varietals of the same region without the organic philosophy and taste for yourself.

Monday, November 26th:
Wine Spectator’s Picks
6:30pm, $55/person ++
See if you agree with the critics. Taste 6 wines rated over 90 pts by Wine Spectator and judge for yourself. Added bonus  - anything over 90 points equals a great holiday gift idea for your favorite wine lover!!

Purchase all 6 classes in advance,
get 15% off

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Napa has a new chef in the house....

By Jeff Schlessignger and Stephanie Webster

"Napa and Company in Stamford has a new, very talented chef overseeing its award-winning kitchen. Chef Leonardo Marino is slowly modifying the menu to showcase his commitment of using exceptional ingredients to highlight their natural flavors. Three weeks after assuming Napa’s Executive Chef position, CTbites sat with Chef Leo for this “Behind the Scenes,” review, discussed his passion for food and sampled several of his recently premiered dishes.

Chef Leo’s devotion to cooking started at an early age as he assisted his mother and aunt in the kitchen; they inspired him to pursue a culinary education. After attending the Culinary Institute of America, his philosophy of accentuating the natural flavors was further influenced in the kitchens of some of America’s greatest chefs. While working as the Lead Sous Chef for Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin, Ripert asked him to relocate to Washington DC to take the reins of Chef de Cuisine at Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert. Chef Leo returned to New York in 2009 and joined David Bouley at both Bouley and as the Chef of Bouley Upstairs. In 2010 he joined Jean George Vongerichten, first as the Executive Sous Chef at his flagship restaurant, Jean George, and subsequently as the Executive Sous Chef at The Mark Restaurant by Jean George. After working with all of these legendary chefs, Chef Leo commented, “My mother and my aunt are two of the best chefs,” but he quickly added, “…in addition to Eric and Jean George.”........

Click on the link above to read the full article.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Napa snags 8 Wins!

It's so rewarding after 5 years to receive such accolades. It's even more rewarding when it comes from our customers. Thank you to everyone for the support. We recognize you have many choices in Fairfield County and never take for granted that we are one of yours--whether once a day for a glass of wine to take the edge off, once a month for a business lunch or on your birthday with that special someone---we say, thank you.
Your greatest complement has always been your referral and by your votes you have given your referral with an undeniable support!




Tuesday, June 19, 2012

WINE CLASS 7/9/12 Red, White and YOU $35pp

Monday, July 9th:
Red, White and YOU $35pp
Mix red and white together and what do you get?? PINK! Well, these will tickle your pink fancy. Try the release of Rose and see for yourself why these wines are limited and sought after. Yum!
RSVP 203-353-3319
Try 8 great Rose that will be sure to make you smile this summer!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

WINNER BEST WINE LIST IN FAIRFIELD COUNTY! Thank you for your votes and support! We promise we will keep searching for great wines to share with you and for you to create great memories with friends!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Blind tasting contest 5/21!

Monday, May 21st: Blind Tasting: Pinot
from Around the World 
How good is your palate? Can you impress your friends and nail the varietal, the region and/or the vintage? Or maybe lucky? Come take the blind exam like a Master Sommelier and see if you can nail the 6 Pinot Noirs. The winner gets Dinner for 2!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bouchaine Wine Class this Monday!

This Monday, we are so excited to have Bob Fallon with us from Bouchaine for our wine class series:  A tour or Bouchaine close to Burgundy as you can find in Carneros. $40pp plus tax

Located in the heart of Carneros, this cool climate spot produces some of the best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir around. This is not a wine you'll see stacked on the shelves of your local store. A boutique winery close to my heart with pure passion and quality.We'll be tasting a few wines not available in CT.

Monday's line up: 
Three Chardonnay Comparison: 
2009 Bouchaine, Chen D Argent, Chardonnay
2009 Bouchaine, Estate, Chardonnay 
2009 Bouchaine, Bouche de Buerre, Chardonnay 

2008 Bouchaine Carneros Pinot Noir
2008 Bouchaine, Carneros, Estate Pinot Noir

Buochaine Bouche D'Or

paired with small plates by Chef Arik

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Every Tuesday in April...Celebrate the Vegetarian in your life...or become one!

Tuesday April 4
Price per person: $45/$70 paired with wine

First Course
Paired with Guenoc, Chardonnay, California 2010

Second Course
Paired with The Crusher "Wilson Vyrd" Viognier, Clarksburg, CA 2010

Third Course
Paired with Flora Springs, MerlotNapa Valley, CA    2009

Fourth Course
Paired with Bricco del Sole, Moscato d’Asti, Piedmont, Italy
6 Reasons to go vegetarian…even for the night!
Your body, the planet and the animals will thank you for it
Why go vegetarian?

Better yet, why not go vegetarian?

1 You'll live a lot longer. Vegetarians live about seven years longer.
2 You'll reduce your risk of cancer.
3 You'll add color to your plate.
4 You'll fit into your old jeans.
5 You'll give your body a spring cleaning.
6 You'll help reduce waste and air pollution.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

April Food & Wine Events!

Monday, April 16th: A tour or Bouchaine close to Burgundy as you can find in Carneros. Speaker: Bob Fallon of Bouchaine $40pp plus tax 
Located in the heart of Carneros, this cool climate spot produces some of the best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir around. This is not a wine you'll see stacked on the shelves of your local store. A boutique winery close to my heart with pure passion and quality.

Monday, April 30th: Spring Cleaning: help us clean our shelves!
$50pp plus tax..6:30 pm SHARP
 One of the popular annual events...this is a first come, first serve event limited to 30pp. This is a cocktail style tasting with up to 30 wines to try of wines that perhaps the next vintage is on its way or we have single bottles and we need to make room for new wines! A great opportunity to try a bunch of wines at once and understand the efforts of evaluating that many wines like a Sommelier! Light buffet to be paired with the wines. Don't arrive late! These wines and food go fast.

EVERY TUESDAY IN APRIL: We celebrate the Vegetarian in our life or tempt you to become one!
We'll be offering a 4 course menu with and without wine highlighting Chef Arik's talents in creating vegetarian cuisine. Please note this menu is not Vegan. Price will be determined the night of by the menu offerings.

 Sign up by calling 203-353-3319 the ol' fashioned way...

Friday, March 9, 2012


I'm going to try and be as subtle as possible...VOTE FOR NAPA! CLICK ON THE PICTURE ABLOVE!

An early birthday present would be if we win:
Best Service  /  Best Restaurant  / Best American Food  /  Best Wine List

Thank you in advance for your support!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What does it take to be a SOMM?

What does it take to be a sommelier? It's not a question that people ask as often as they do, say, what it takes to be a top model or chef, but more people may be posing it now than ever before. With the amount of possible wine classes, courses, certificates and schools available---does everyone think they can become a Sommelier?

The word sommelier (pronounced some-el-YAY) has many traits necessary to be qualified to use the term "Sommelier." Can they lift a 50 lb case of wine? Can they passionately discuss Soave or Gruner Veltliner? Can they sell a $22 bottle to a customer as easy as they can the $450? Write a well balanced wine program? Educate servers? Choose the right glassware? Are they passionate about wine or is it just reading off flash cards? Let's take a look at what it truly takes.

I've been at this for 17 years and still find something new to learn every day or a region I've lost focus on-- (say, Portugal.) I've taken over 12 courses and been teaching wine to the public and servers for 8 years. I've consulted for many restaurants and written their wine programs. Am I a Sommelier? In all honesty, I feel uncomfortable using the title because it is a title that is most definately earned. There are two certificates of credibility in our industry. The Master of Wine (journalists, winemakers) and the Master Sommelier (restaurant and retail) programs. Both of these programs not only take years to comlete, a lot of money but also severe time and dedication to the studying of facts. I've hung with many "Somms" (as they're known to each other) and they are a cult-like club of hard core wine-ophiles. They've earned the title and they don't let you forget it.

A true sommelier should be able to describe exactly when wine became an important part of his or her life—a sign of a personal passion for the subject.  You would also expect candidates to have traveled to a few different wine regions, and to be able to describe some of their favorite wine grapes with passion—and accuracy. It sounds easy enough, but I've met many that call themselves Sommeliers who turned out to be more impressive on paper than in person. There are also sommeliers who know a lot about wine but don't like the labor that comes with the job. They tend to spend more time acquiring degrees than working the floor.  They can name all of the subregions of the Loire (there are quite a few) but didn't enjoy the physical part of the work.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Restaurant Wine 101

The world of restaurant wine offerings
In a recent Wall Street Journal column, wine columnist Lettie Teague chronicled instances of aggressive upselling in restaurants, including her own experiences. The story unleashed an email avalanche into her inbox from readers telling their own unhappy stories of feeling victimized when ordering wine. "Restaurants have the opportunity to do one of two things," advises Lettie. "They can use the wine list as a tool of intimidation and sell wine for temporary financial gain, or take advantage of an excellent opportunity to develop a relationship with guests on the basis of a single bottle. Do you want to rip them off or have them return?"

When we explain we have 50 wines by the glass, some gasp at how difficult that must be to create and preserve. But in reality, as a Sommelier, it is much harder to produce and design a small list that offers diversity in style, region, price and innovation. Wine preservation for a wine by the glass program is a key componant. There is nothing worse in my mind than when wines are not stored properly. How long should a wine be open? In my opinion, no more than 2 days. If I was home, 3 days because it is probably still fresh but if someone is paying "probably" can't enter into the equation. An important factor in keeping wine fresh is temperature control. At home, pop the wine in the fridge (red or white) - the chill slows down the aging. At Napa, our wine by the glass program is kept at 55 degrees for red and 60 for white. This helps us maintain  freshness. You can also use a vacuum pump which takes the oxygen out of the wine and therefore, keeps it from oxidizing. But I'm getting off the point...The point was wine by the glass offerings! In my opinion, there are three categories (maybe more) of wine drinkers that dine out.

The first, the customer that is simply looking for a beverage called "wine". Let's call them our entry level wine drinker. For that person, you really need to offer wines in the $6-8 range by the glass. They are not looking for a life changing experience nor to spend their paycheck just a glass of wine!

The next category is the person trying to learn about wines and willing to spend a bit. They know what style they like and they can be adventurous in a limited manner. For that customer, we try to make sure there's offerings in the $9-13 range. Just as important as price, is the offering. The server needs to interact and find out what they like...butter? tannin (dry)? earthy? fruity? crisp? heavy? light? With that information, they provide a few recommendations and tastes. This way the customer feels comfortable that they have been involved with the choice and have also been given a chance to learn. They realize there is a difference between the complexity of the $9 chard from Mendoza and the $13 chard from Burgundy. Wine is not much different from most things in get what you pay for.  My job is to ensure the wines we present are all of value both in their category of style and price.

The third category, is the mature drinker and often a wine collector. They probably have cellars at home. They might even subscribe to Wine Spectator. They find great meaning behind a glass of wine and can ponder its levels of aromas, flavors and complexity for 30 minutes. This person may not want a bottle of wine, they want to pair the "right" wine with each course. It is this drinker, to whom we offer the wines by the glass of $13 and above. Yes, by "above" we mean up to $40 a glass. They know what they're buying and they get excited to try something new and available in a glass format. They also trust us, which is very important. They understand that we make sure the wine is fresh and preserved or we will open a new bottle. We date all open wine bottles at the end of the night so we can be sure of it's integrity.

The Wall Street Journal article emphasizes the need to offer variety but also address the pressure factor. I never want to force that $7 drinker into a $30 glass and by the same token, I don't want that $30 drinker to not have an offering that satisfies their taste. This is how we get to 50 wines by the glass!

Last but not least, let's quickly define "glass" of wine. A big misconception by consumers is that all glasses are equal. There's an old restaurant formula you still hear - "there's 4 glasses in a bottle of wine." Do you see the missing detail? How big is the glass? Actually, how big is the pour? The same wine can be $8 at one restaurant and $10 at another because one pour is 5 ounces and the other is 7 ounces. Napa's wine by the glass program in a snapshot: a bottle of wine is 25 ounces, as I LOVE great glassware I chose a 23 oz. Stolzle logo'd German crystal all-purpose wine glass, so our pour at Napa is 7ounces. It is this pour that our pricing reflects. In other words, we get roughly 3.5 glasses to a bottle although, we always lose 2-3 ounces with tastings. This also means that the $30 glass of wine you're drinking is available for $90 a bottle.

I hope this was a fun and informative look behind creating a wine program!