John Brown has been a wine and food columnist in West Virginia since the 1980’s. His regular columns appear in the Charleston (WV) Gazette-Mail under the title Vines & Vittles and in The State Journal - a statewide business weekly

Cool Sippers!

We have experienced a very warm spring here in West By Golly and so I’ve taken extra precautions to keep this delicate body hydrated. As you may know, I consider water a last resort option, preferring instead to slake my thirst with liquids that not only soothe a weary body, but heal the spirit too.

Of course, the most transcendent of all liquids is wine and so I have been sipping a fair portion lately, particularly those that are lighter and more refreshing in style. Here are a couple, you should find particularly pleasing.

2009 Crios Rose of Malbec – ($12) This Argentinean wine, produced from Malbec, is a fuller styled rose, yet it is a delicate mouthful of fresh strawberries with enticing acidity. While the wine is rich and lush, it also finishes dry and would make an exceptional accompaniment to grilled Italian sausages or barbecue chicken.

2009 Emiliana Natura Sauvignon Blanc ($11) From Chile, this organically grown sauvignon blanc is full of citrus aromas with lemon/lime and herbal flavors. It is a light to medium-bodied wine with good balancing acidity and would be an excellent match to pasta in a basil pesto sauce.
***One of Charleston’s most complete selection of wines (and spirits) can be found at The Liquor Company in the Patrick Street Plaza. I’ve mentioned this establishment before along with a few other places in town that not only offer a great selection of wine, but also expert advice.

Other notable shops that provide that added dimension are the Wine Shop at Capitol Market and the Kroger store at Ashton Place. The folks working at these establishments will go the extra mile to assist you in your search for the appropriate bottle to match your individual palate.

The Liquor Company has engaged Sam Uppala as consultant to the store and he has developed a varied program designed with the wine consumer in mind. Sam, by the way, is a certified wine educator and teaches classes on “The Art and Science of Wine” at the Clay Center. His next class will begin June 1st and you can find out more about it and sign up by calling 304-561-3517.

Tastings or “samplings” as they are referred to at The Liquor Company are conducted most Wednesday’s from 5 to 8 p.m. Cost is $5 and up to eight wines are made available for sipping. Upcoming samplings are scheduled for May 19, June 2 and June 16, but wines are available for tasting almost anytime during the day at the store’s “wine station” - which is a bar-like area in the rear of The Liquor Company.

In addition, The Liquor Company offers something called “The Grand Cru Loyalty Membership” that entitles members to special case discounts, free samplings and other goodies to enhance your wine shopping. Call the store at 304-346-6000 for details and pricing.
Some favorite food and wine pairings
Wine from the Big House

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