The Sweet Complexity of French Wine
The French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) certification system for wine is perhaps the oldest and most respected in the world. It sets standards for boundaries, growing parameters and production techniques for sites fortunate enough to have obtained this coveted certification. Actually, it is not just for wine but also covers cheeses, honey, meats, lentils, butters and a few other agricultural products. Handled by the Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité (INAO), it is a living process which can change its requirements as improved techniques develop or newly discovered regions or wine varieties emerge.
Such is the case for Coteaux Bourguignons, one of France’s newest appellations. Officially decreed in November 2011, its wines are just now reaching our shores. Coteaux Bourguignons replaces another appellation, Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire (yes, it’s rather puzzling that a wine could be both “great” and “ordinary”). Its boundary, however, has been expanded to include not only Burgundy but also Beaujolais. The grapes allowed are Aligoté, Chardonnay, Melon, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris for the whites and Gamay, Pinot Noir and César for the reds and rosés. Oddly a Nouveau is allowed but only as a white wine.
At Plum Market we’ve seen the first of Coteaux Bourguignons to hit our shelves.
2011 Signé Vignerons Coteaux Bourguignons Vieilles Vignes.
It is from a cooperative of growers based in France’s Beaujolais region. From 100% Gamay grapes, it eschews the classic, vivid, red-fruit edge typical of Beaujolais to take on a sleeker, more tender expression of the grape. Indeed, it offers delicious elements of red cherries and cranberries with a little lemon zest and vanilla.
If you want a wine with a more stylish tone and with a degree of subtlety and complexity not often seen in traditional Beaujolais, this might be the one for you!
Guest Post from Rod Johnson, Wine Specialist at Plum Market Ann Arbor.
Find the Perfect Gift for Your Valentine
The go-to gifts for Valentine’s Day are chocolate, wine, and flowers. But what kind of chocolate? Which wine should you pick up? Flowers? What?! Don’t get caught waiting until the last minute and having to get chocolates from the corner pharmacy! Tell us a bit about your Valentine and we’ll tell you exactly what to pick up on February 14th. Find a Plum Market location near you.
Once you know your Valentine’s style, use our guide below to find the perfect Valentine’s Day package:
Sweet & Sophisticated
Go with the Vosges Volupte Pink Heart Bon Bons, a bottle of Moet & Chandon Rosé Brut Impérial, and a dozen pink roses.
Classy & Refined
Go with the classic See’s Candies Red Heart, a bottle of 2010 Allegrini & Renacer Enamore, and you won’t go wrong with a bouquet of traditional red roses.
Glamorous & Irresistible
Your Valentine will devour the Godiva Chocolatier Gold Ballotin with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Design your own bouquet by selecting an assortment of exotic blooms, picked just for her.
Find a Plum Market location near you.
Mad Picks: Holiday Wine Selections
With the holidays just around the corner, we wanted to let everyone know about some great wines we’ve got in stock that will make perfect gifts for anyone on your list!
Krug Grand Cuvee ‘Savoir-Faire’
Plum Price $129.97 List Price $200
95 Points Wine Spectator
This Grand Cuvee is a blend of 71 wines from 11 different years, the oldest being from 1988 and the youngest from 2001. The particularity of Krug Grand Cuvee ‘Savoir-Faire’ comes from the high proportion of reserve wines. The result is remarkable and shows the strength of Krug Grand Cuvee, going beyond the notion of vintage to offer the best pleasure experience every year.
“Such a glorious expression of Champagne, combining depth over vintages and complexity of sites to create a profound, multifaceted cuvée. Rich biscuit, ginger, coconut and citrus aromas are followed by gingerbread, baked apple and grilled nut flavors, all supported by a firm yet harmonious structure. Endless finish. Superb.” -Wine Spectator
1995 Ridge Monte Bello
1999 Ridge Monte Bello
Plum Price $179.97 List Price $250
Available for purchase in a wooden box with 3 bottles of each vintage or for individual purchase. First planted in the late 19th century, the Monte Bello property has long been one of the most storied viticultural sites in all of California’s vast wine country, and its signature offering, the Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello, is one of the most highly-regarded wines in the world. Nestled high up in the northern reaches of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and surrounded by these historic vineyards, our Monte Bello Tasting Room offers guests an un-paralleled opportunity to experience our exceptional single-vineyard wines.
2004 Moet & Chandon ‘Dom Perignon’ Brut Champagne
Plum Price $124.97 List Price $160
95 Points Robert Parker Wine Advocate
“Lily-of-the-valley perfume and scents of lightly toasted brioche and almond rise from the glass of Moet’s 2004 Brut Dom Perignon, along with hints of the apricot, pear and grapefruit that then inform a luscious and creamy yet strikingly delicate as well as consummately refreshing palate. Sweet-saline savor of scallop – also already intimated in the nose – lends compulsive saliva-inducement to a ravishingly rarified and persistent finish, joined by alkaline, nutty, liquid-floral, and nori seaweed notes for a performance of head-scratching subtlety and intrigue” -Robert Parkers Wine Advocate
2010 Joseph Phelps “Insignia”, Napa Valley
Plum Price $149.97 List Price $180
95 Points Robert Parker Wine Advocate
“A gorgeously intense bouquet of lead pencil shavings, spring flowers, black currants, blackberries, and subtle smoke and foresty aromas jumps from the glass of this full-bodied, rich, concentrated wine with soft tannins, a multidimensional mouthfeel, and a long, rich finish displaying well-integrated acidity, tannin, alcohol and wood. This beauty is one of the top Insignias produced over recent years.” - Robert Parkers Wine Advocate
2011 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Plum Price $59.97 List Price $100
The wild raspberries, Asian spice, green tea and a mocha nose convey the classic Sonoma Coast Pinot characteristics. Your mouth will explode with flavors of ripe wild berries, cranberries, toasted marshmallow, graham cracker, toffee and white pepper. Rich tannins and acidity balance out the ripe, wild berry flavors with flavors of citrus peel and fresh herbs on the smooth finish.
2006 Roederer “Cristal” Brut Champagne
Plum Price $199.97 List Price $275.00
94 Points Wine Spectator
“Refined in texture and beautifully balanced, this well-meshed version is framed by mouthwatering acidity, enlivened by flavors of yellow apple, pear, black currant, lightly toasted almond, kumquat and zesty ground spice. Drink now through 2023.” -Wine Spectator
NOTE: Prices and availability subject to change. Prices valid in Michigan stores only. Email Evan Barrett to reserve your selections in the Bloomfield store!
Win a Chicago Getaway | Perfect for the Holidays
Tuesday November 05th 2013, 4:47 pm
Filed under: Apothecary
,Artisan Cheese & Deli
,Mad Picks | Wine, Beer, & Spirits
,Meat & Seafood
Enter in-store at Plum Market Ann Arbor, Bloomfield, or West Bloomfield.
Official Contest Rules
What’s on Tap
Now on Tap in the WineBar at Plum Market Old Town:
Imperial Red – Beer Camp #65, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Chico, California 8.1% ABV
10oz – 4 16oz – 6
This imperial red ale takes the intense hop profile found in traditional double ipa and turns up the malt. It has big aromatic hop notes of grapefruit, peach, and melon–balanced by a smooth and surprisingly robust malt body.
Dragon’s Milk, New Holland Brewing
Holland, MI 10.0%
10oz – 4 16oz – 6
A stout with roasty malt character intermingled with deep vanilla tones, all dancing in an oak bath.
Patrick Bottex “La Cueille” Bugey-Cerdon Rosé, Savoie (France)
9 glass 4.5 half glass 21.99 btl
Gorgeous sparkling rosé with a touch of sweetness. Made by the oldest method of sparkling winemaking, Méthode Ancestrale; wine is bottled before the sole fermentation is complete. 90% Gamay, 10% Poulsard
Mauro Molino Barolo 2009, Piedmont (Italy)
12 glass 6 half glass 34.97 btl
Madeline’s Unreal Deal- A Piedmontese Stunner! The nose will put a smile on your face, with both ripe and dried berries and a waft of violets. Welcoming and generous, yet an intriguing Nebbilolo.
Learn. Drink. Repeat.
Let’s talk about Imperial IPA, also referred to as Double IPA. The term Imperial comes from the strong stout brewed in England for the Russian Imperial Court of the late 1700s. Expect a robust, malty, alcoholic flavor with a hop profile that has potential to be very aggressive. Perfect for hopheads, or anyone who generally appreciates a big, strong glass of beer.
Check out the Beer Style of the Month display in Plum Market Ann Arbor in the corner of the beverage department:
Happy National Martini Day!
For a lover of Mixology, the Martini still has a few variations to make it ‘fun’ but what we are really talking about here is a combination of good gin and good vermouth, stirred with ice and strained into a chilled cocktail glass. There are a slew of drinks that have nothing to do with these ingredients, but share a common glass, as well as the suffix ‘tini’ – and they can be a lot of fun, but today, let’s talk about the Martini that has been giving stage actors something to hold for over a hundred years.
Gin is a clear spirit which derives its main flavoring from juniper berries, along with a shopping list of various botanicals, roots, and citrus. A young person, first embarking on the adventure of developing a palate for spirits, often has an unpleasant impression of gin that leaves a prolonged disregard for the category as a whole. This initial taste usually occurs when raiding the liquor cabinet of the absent parents of a friend – and usually ends poorly. Let’s try to forget about that experience, and give gin another chance with the cocktail that elevates the spirit.
Vermouth is an aromatized, fortified wine that has been flavored with spices, botanicals, and citrus. Originally a medicinal libation, vermouth acts as good stock when cooking – it balances the alcohol in a cocktail and rounds out the level of acidity. When we are talking Martini, we are talking dry, white vermouth from Italy or France. It is important to use fresh vermouth, to chill your opened bottles, and to replace them if they have been open for longer than you recall (or since last year’s holiday party).
Olives or lemon peel are the traditional Martini garnish. The green olive is really where we should focus our attention; it provides salty, bitter sourness and a bit of vegetal fat. Stuffed olives, filled with blue cheese, anchovies, pickled peppers are natural choices. You are adding a level of flavor that plays off of the cocktail and offers interesting taste variation on your palate as you consume the ice cold gin. If you don’t care for olive, a thin surf-board shaped slice of lemon peel will offer a freshness that is sure to please the palate.
Glassware is somewhat important – you need a V-shaped glass to hold the olives elegantly, and the glass shouldn’t be so large that you are consuming six ounces of gin per drink. You can also enjoy your Martini on the rocks, in a smallish well-weighted glass filled with fresh ice.
Martinis are meant to be enjoyed slowly, while chatting or conversing. Mixing perfect Martinis for your friends is still an intimate and appreciated skill that you should practice. Mixing – not shaking. Fill a cocktail glass with ice and a splash of water and let chill. In a mixing glass, measure out 4 parts gin and 1 part vermouth. Add plenty of fresh ice and stir for thirty to forty-five seconds. You are chilling the ingredients and diluting the cocktail. You can’t really over-chill the drink, but you can over-dilute it so pay attention during the time that the spirits are in contact with the ice. Empty the chilled cocktail glass of its ice-bath and strain the freshly mixed cocktail into the perfectly chilled glass. Skewer three olives and drop it into the glass.
Our Favorite Recipe
2 oz Martin Miller’s Gin
½ oz Noilly Prat Original Dry
Pimento stuffed Green Olives
Chill a cocktail glass. In a mixing glass, combine gin and vermouth. Add ice, and stir for 30-45 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with skewered olives.
Looking to try a new red? Stop by Plum Market in Bloomfield Twp. and pick up one of our favorite Spanish reds. We currently have Bodegas Alejandro Fernandez Tinto Pesquera Crianza 2008 | Plum Price: $24.97. Pesquera comes from the Ribera del Duero region of Spain and is comprised of 100% Tempranillo from both benchland and high elevation vineyards.
It’s aged in a combination of both French and American oak and has notes of raspberry, strawberry, soy, and baking spices with a gentle touch of vanilla. It’s medium to full-bodied with moderate tannins and potential to age for another 10 years or so. Try it with a roasted leg of lamb with a pomegranate molasses rub.
Spring [Beer] is Finally Here!
It may not feel like it now, but it’s Spring, and warm weather is just around the corner! What does that mean for beer drinkers? It means everyone’s favorite, fruity summer ale is back! Our shelves are stocked with Bell’s Oberon. Enjoy this seasonal wheat beer with one of our many exotic selections of citrus fruit or some succulent, red raspberries for a perfect warm weather snack.
Spring beers have something to offer for everyone. So what else is our beer team drinking this season? They’ve come up with a couple of their favorite craft selections for you…
Experience one of Grand Rapid’s finest brews, Founders All Day IPA. It’s sharp hop profile, light body, and pleasantly crisp, bitter finish is perfect for an afternoon ball game or BBQ. Like Oberon and All Day IPA? How about Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’? This unique California beer flaunts a silky body, strong hoppiness and a complex wheat flavor that is sure to help you relax after some springtime gardening or mowing the lawn on a sunny afternoon.
April is Michigan Wine Month! Don’t miss the Michigan Wine Showcase; in the meantime here’s a handful of Michigan wines that are dependably excellent, vintage after vintage! Their wineries and winemakers have set a standard that makes us proud.
L. Mawby Blanc de Blancs, Leelanau Peninsula
Sleek, dry sparkling wines from northern Michigan’s master of bubbles, Larry Mawby. Try using it instead of a French Blanc de Blancs Champagne, and look to be happily surprised!
Bel Lago Auxerrois, Leelanau Peninsula
(Pronounced “oh-zair-rah”) A sophisticated Chardonnay alternative, made from a lesser known European white varietal. Complex and dry.
Left Foot Charley Pinot Blanc, Old Mission Peninsula
Left Foot Charley takes the modest Pinot Blanc grape to an artistic level! Bryan Ulbrich is the irrepressible owner-winemaker – pick up any of of his bottlings and look to be fulfilled. And check out his whimsical website!
Chateau Fontaine Pinot Gris, Leelanau Peninsula
Silky smooth dry white wine – it’ll make you stop buying Italian Pinot Grigio! Chateau Fontaine’s wines have gotten terrific critical acclaim within the past couple of years. Owners Dan and Lucie Matthies are the nicest people, you can’t help but celebrate their success.
Chateau Grand Traverse Gamay Noir, Old Mission Peninsula
Softly dry, lighter-bodied and easy drinking, an excellent Pinot Noir alternative! Gamay is the red grape in France’s Beaujolais region.
Black Star Farms “Leorie Vineyard”, Old Mission Peninsula
A Merlot-Cabernet Franc blend, one of the most impressive red wines that Michigan makes. Rich, full-flavored and age-worthy. From a very special vineyard site on Old Mission, an amphitheater that protects the vines from the northern elements.
-Contributed by Madeline Triffon #madpicks