24 Mar 2010
*My contribution for Wine Blogging Wednesday #67, hosted by 1WineDude
She stood in the archway clutching her chest, heart pounding, short of breath. Her mind swirled dizzy with excitement, drunk with lust. As the exhilaration faded, guilt set in. The new experience was a thrill but her friend…her lover. She would never understand. How could she know? Would she detect the new scent, would she…ahhh her mind drifted to the intoxicating and rich aroma. Bright, like deep cherries and strawberries. As the scent lingered it turned to an erotic spice. It reminded her of her mom’s cherry cloves that she would sneak when noone was around. The aroma would float along with the breeze into her bedroom window and linger overnight.
Days passed as she tried to put aside the memory of her affair. She returned to the comfort of her long time companion. As they sat out by the pool in the heat of the sun, she was reminded of the comfort she’d known for so many years. Her partner was sweet, seductive and slightly coy. Her light skin shimmered against the water in the pool. She had grown to love the comfort, her fragrance of melon, and citrus perfume was all she’d known. Each night they would embrace but their passion had grown stale. She longed for a break from the routine.
He was exciting, strong and full of mystery and intrigue. If she closed her eyes she could still taste him on her tongue. His warmth as he entered her made her shudder. His skin was dark and his strength assured her. Her pulse quickened and her senses aroused as she thought of the next time. The next time, she reminder herself there wasn’t going to be a next time. She couldn’t leave her partner for the arms of another. In desperation, the darkness called to her. Hastily she retreated to their meeting place. There he stood in the shadows, confident and bold, waiting for her. Throwing aside her inhibitions and fears she rushed into his arms. Red.
Seeing Red for the First Time
As I thought about the challenge of this week’s Wine Blogging Wednesday, I went back and forth between ideas. The challenge: What red wine would you choose to introduce a white wine drinker to the dark side? I could go light, Gamay, Beaujolais, Pinot Noir. Or I could go big, Cabernet, Bordeaux, or Zinfandel. Obviously from the story above, I chose something bold, intriguing, with lots of aroma and flavor. The wines that came to my mind were dynamic and multilayered. Going cheap would run the risk of an off balance wine that could taint the white wine lovers experience. I picked a 2004 Croze Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa (previously reviewed) and a local blend from Latah Creek Winery called Vinosity (Cab, Syrah, Zinfandel). The Croze had a nose (nice rhyme) that was intoxicating – the flavor profile was so deep. The Vinosity brings strength and sweetness that is appealing to a wide audience.
23 Mar 2010
If you’re not drinking Merlot because of a silly little quote in a silly little movie, then you are missing out on a sexy, smooth wine that can be full of flavor and is an amazing value!
- A recent Nielson study shows that more American households purchase Merlot than any other wine variety (red or white).
- “I say it’s time for Merlot to raise its battered flag and reclaim its position as the broadly fruited, texturally satisfying, food-friendly red wine it can be.” Paul Gregutt
Check out the article on Cork’d featuring Merlot and the upcoming #WAMerlot event on March 25. What are you drinking for #WAMerlot?
22 Mar 2010
Does your wine shop provide a unique wine of the month club, special membership discount, quality guarantee, unique stock, and weekly tasting and educational events? No? You must be shopping somewhere other than Spokane’s Vino! A Wine Shop.
Running away from the bureaucratic world in the 80’s John Allen ventured into the wine business joining Lindaman’s Café as a wine steward and barista in 1988. The journey to Vino travelled through a failed wine shop (Grape & Grain / Award Winning Wine) and the Four Seasons Café prior to opening in 1995 at their current location 222 S. Washington. For 15 years, John and his staff have been providing quality wine, unique events and a special wine club to wine lovers in the Northwest.
If you’re looking for the deal and rock bottom prices, you may not always find it at Vino. If you’re looking for a wine shop full of knowledgeable people, quality wine, and good prices, then check out Vino! Customers return year after year because they can trust that each wine on the shelf has been tasted by the Vino staff. If the wine does not meet their tastes, they don’t stock it. Sounds like a tough job, tasting all that wine. Vino also brings in a broader range of wine than the typical store. Once a month Vino travels to Seattle to pick up unique wine and special orders. Chances are if you want it, they can get it.
The Wine of the Month Club
One of the unique programs Vino offers is their Wine of the Month club. Nearly 1000 people currently participate. The idea is simple; customers choose a price point (under $15, under $20 and under $30) and they choose red or white wine. Club members have a box in the back room where from 1-6 specially chosen wines are sorted and stored in an air-cooled room. Once a month a newsletter informs members of their new release, including tasting notes from the Vino staff. Wines can be picked up at their convenience. You can count on each of these wines being tasted and approved by the staff and representative of their varietal and region (nothing obscure or odd here).
The simple, straightforward nature of the program keeps people coming back month after month.
The Connoisseur Club
“So, John, can I get a discount on this wine?” With this comment, the Connoisseur Club is born. Similar to a Costco Club membership, members pay $50 per year and receive 15% on all wine they purchase. During Vino’s sale periods, Connoisseur members receive 25% off. Wine lovers, high end buyers, and general winos like me really benefit from this type of discount program. Costco Club prices with a trusted staff and taste guarantee!
Events and Classes
Some wine shops can be intimidating. Vino is a welcoming environment where wine types and styles are easy to find. The large selection of nearly 1000 wines all include the staff tasting notes. If you looking for wine events and learning opportunities, there is no shortage at Vino. John and staff host events nearly every Friday and Saturday including wine dinners, tasting classes, winemaker tastings, and more. Check out their events page on the web site, or their Facebook page to stay up to date.
Buy local! Shopping at the grocery store may provide convenience but typically the selection can lack creativity and finding a quality wine can be a gamble. Shopping at a local wine store or a local winery supports our community, keeps more money local and sustains economic growth. I challenge you to buy more wine from a local wine shop, like Vino or directly from the winery!
222 S. Washington (parking is limited)
Tuesday – Friday 10 am – 6 pm
Saturday 10 am – 5 pm
18 Mar 2010
Before there was a Starbucks, Seattle’s Best, or Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner, there was Lindaman’s Café in Spokane. For 26 years Lindaman’s has been providing homemade goodness for dine in or to go from their 12th and Grand location in the St. Johns district of the lower South Hill. The magic of Lindaman’s is the community. The food is home cooked. The desserts are divine. The bottom line is that the people care about you and your experience.
When Lindaman’s began, in 1984, there were only two espresso machines in Spokane. My, how times have changed. Merrilee Lindaman and her brother would go through 1000 pounds of coffee per week. Their concept, then and now, is unique; a collection of rotating and standard pre-made meals made with the highest quality ingredients are presented in a display case when you walk in. You choose your dinner, choose your drink and either eat it in their beautiful building, outside on the patio, or take it to go. During my visit the case included lasagna, quiche, breaded shrimp, baked macaroni and cheese, tortellini, and so much more. After 26 years, Merrilee still determines how to cook it and what to cook and enjoys getting involved and making the food, especially the desserts. Oh, the desserts – German Chocolate Cake, Carrot Cake, Pot de Crème, Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake, the list goes on and on. “I do everything I can do to give people a good experience,” says Merrilee.
Lindaman’s is truly a community gem. For 18 years the ad budget was supporting charities. 50-60% of her customers eat at Lindaman’s daily. Of her 24 employees, 11 of them have been with her for 12 years or more. Recently Lindaman’s has gotten involved in Social Media through Facebook (one of the reasons of our visit). While Merrilee is still finding her voice in the new world, she sees a huge opportunity to help connect her customers to Lindaman’s and the charities they support.
Lindaman’s serves only DOMA coffee. DOMA is a premier maker of coffee in the United States. The Inland Northwest is lucky to have them. Two of Spokane’s best coffee alchemists work at Lindaman’s. How many café’s can boast of having a skilled barista of 18 years (Kirk) and 12 years (Zack)? If you’re not impressed by the quality coffee, just ask for some latte art. You’ll see skills that unmatched in this city (and most other cities too).
Aside from your usual fair, you MUST TRY Café Corretto. The magical blend of liqueur and espresso is what they will serve in heaven for breakfast. Put your fears and preconceptions aside and order The European (Espresso, Sambuca, half n half) or the Lady Godiva (Espresso, white chocolate liqueur, half n half). These drinks will have you re-thinking your alcohol before noon rule (actually there is not enough alcohol in the drink to have any effect – it’s added for flavor).
Lindaman’s is a place I could take up residence in. Coffee in the morning, Café Corretto mid morning, great lunch with a glass of wine, desserts to die for, dinner with more wine in the evening and herb infused hard drinks and Pot de Crème for a night cap. While the wine bar is not extensive (10 or so by the glass and 20 or so by the bottle), the prices are fair and the selection is unique. Beyond the wine you will find some unique and special herb infused martini and mojito drinks.
On the Web at www.lindamans.com
Open Monday – Saturday 8AM – 9PM
1235 S. Grand Spokane, WA 99202
Lindaman’s is also available for catering your special event.
17 Mar 2010
For a mere four month’s DrinkNectar.com has been a labor of love for me. Birthed out of a desire to brand a future Spokane business the blog has morphed and grown into an extension of my passion for coffee and wine. While today may not match the longevity recently celebrated by a twitter friend and wine blogger @Lenndevours of the New York Cork Report (SIX YEARS!), it marks a small milestone for me – THIS IS THE 100TH POST OF DRINKNECTAR.COM.
I love celebrating milestones and I’m a stat geek (I look at stats and numbers for my day job). In celebration of my 100th post, I’m excited to share that DrinkNectar.com is featured in today’s edition of the Spokesman Review. Food editor Lorie Hutson caught wind of the #WAMerlot Event and contacted me for an interview. More than half of all Spokane area wineries are involved and 70+ wineries across the state are hosting events (about 20% of all wineries featuring a Merlot). Up to 1000 people from all around the U.S. are expected to post tweets on Twitter as well. The economic impact from the event could reach $100,000, not to mention the brand impressions for wineries and the positive effect on future Merlot sales. The marketing cost: $0
If you’re here as a result of this week’s newspaper article, please take some time to click around. There are categories on the right side, check out the Spokane Wine Events and Winery Visits for great local info.
Stats to celebrate my 100th post!
- DrinkNectar has been alive for 127 days
- The 100 posts have received 900 comments and 25,000 page views
- 100 wines have been reviewed – Corkd (also on Cellar Tracker)
- Facebook fans are climbing and currently at 1150
- Twitter followers are getting closer to 2000
- DrinkNectar.com is the #1 wine and coffee information source in Spokane!
Aside from the #WAMerlot event, the thing that drives me to posting 100 posts in 127 days are the relationships I’ve developed on Twitter, Facebook and in the local wineries, wine bars, and coffee shops. Oh yeah – I’m still branding for that future business in Spokane, so keep your eyes and ears open.