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Nashville

2011 Domaine de Fontsainte Corbières

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I needed a wine at the last minute for a cookout. I wanted something a little bit different, so I went to West Nashville’s newest wine shop, Harvest Wine Market on Highway 100 (you can find them on Facebook here), and asked the helpful staff if they could recommend something appropriate. We discussed a couple of roses, but ultimately settled on a French red, the 2011 Domaine de Fontsainte Corbieres.

Domaine de Fontsainte is located in the Corbieres region’s Golden Crescent. The vineyard’s terroir features bright sunshine and south-south east facing, sloping terrain. The 2011 Rouge grew from soil of silica, clay, and limestone. It is 60% Carignan; 30% Grenache Noir; 10% Syrah, and 13% ABV. The wine is deep purple in color. It is young, with aromas of blueberries, dark fruits, and hints of hay and oak. Medium to full bodied, it has good acidity with smooth, well integrated tannins. It is fruit-forward with primary flavors of blueberries and raspberries, but it is dry and not jammy. It’s just a touch watery on the finish or it might get even higher marks. It went perfectly with burgers and dogs, and carries a very reasonable price. The winemaker indicates that it will be at its best from now until 2015. Swing over the Harvest and grab a bottle or two. , Appx. $17 per bottle.

Harvest Wine Market
6043 Highway 100
Nashville, TN 37205
(615) 750-3476
http://harvestwinemkt.com/

Domaine de Fontsainte
Route de Ferrals
11200 Boutenac
France
+33(0)4 68 27 07 63
http://www.fontsainte.com/

Nashville Wine Shops: A Focus on Red

Here is another in my series of posts about some of the best wine shops in Nashville. Today, I am writing about Grand Cru Fine Wine & Spirits, which has a wonderful selection of wines. It’s offerings are particularly strong if you know that you are in the market for a few good reds.

Grand Cru is an attractive shop with bright yellow walls and numerous racks of reds flanked by refrigerators with a small but respectable selection of whites. The racks open with an assortment of Italian and Spanish reds and a nice collection of Argentinian malbecs.  These are alongside pinot noirs from California, New Zealand, and Burgundy.  French offerings continue with Bordeaux and the Rhone. Domestic reds are primarily from California and Washington and include cabernets, merlots, syrahs, and zinfandels (including Lodi). There is also a selection of Chilean cabernets, merlots and Australian syrahs, and a small offering of local Tennessee wines.

Grand Cru also has a reserve room with its higher end selections. These include South American blends, Napa Valley cabernets and chardonnays, French and Italian reds, and assorted pinot noirs. In addition, Gand Cru offers some unique labels of standard spirits, complemented by some delicious looking eau de vie. Definitely worth a look.

Grand Cru Fine Wines & Spirits
3433 Murphy Road
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 627-9300

Village Wines — Your *Very* Fine Wine Destination in Nashville

Here is another in my series of posts about some of the best wine shops in Nashville. You can find my previous posts here, here, and here. This post is about Village Wines in Hillsboro Village. It’s the place to go if you are looking for a special or impressive bottle for an occasion or for your collection.

There is no other way to say it:  Village has some very impressive wines. From Old World to New World, including many wines from California and Oregon, the bulk of Village’s inventory falls into the high-end category. There is a strong selection of German whites, French whites and reds, and gewurtz and riesling from Alsace. Most of them are and investment, but well worth it. I was particularly pleased to see a 2005 Poggio Antico from Montalcino ($150 per bottle) as I walked around. There are, of course, some less expensive selections. I recently bought a case of $10 per bottle Meld at Village — an excellent value. That said, you’re usually going to Village if you are willing to pay a bit more for a high quality wine.

Village also has an impressive collection of spirits, including quality vermouths, Campari, St. Germain, Pedro Jimenez, and Plymouth Gin. If you’re looking to stock your bar, it is definitely worth the trip. Village is heavily involved in the community and helps design and construct home wine cellars, a service I may very well take advantage of once I save a few pennies.

Oh, and perhaps the greatest irony — it is next to a Domino’s Pizza. Don’t let that fool you. Look to Village for your collecting and special occasion needs.

Village Wines
2006 Belcourt Avenue, Suite B
Nashville, TN 37212-3774
Toll Free: (866) 717-2341

Table 3: Fine Yet Affordable Dining in Nashville

Once a week, my wife and I manage to go out for the evening — dinner, drinks, something like that. Couple time is at a premium with two-year-old twins. Last week, we decided to do dinner and a movie in Green Hills. Walking toward the theater, we noticed a valet outside of Table 3. We assumed that it had reopened after what my wife informed me had been a kitchen fire. She suggested we try it.

We were wrong; it had not reopened. As it turned out, we had walked into the pre-opening dry run by accident. We apologized and turned to leave, but were asked to stay if we would not mind eating dinner at the bar. Anyone who knows me will know that I do not mind eating dinner at the bar. (I should note here that the folks at Table 3 had no idea that I had this blog when they invited us to stay, nor did I mention it while we were there.)

This small act of generosity led to one of the more enjoyable meals that I have had since moving to Nashville, and certainly the best value. We opened with a St.Germain cocktail incorporating cranberry juice, which provided a nice flavor and improved the color presentation over, say, lemon juice. My wife had the Roasted Chicken and I had the Leg of Lamb. Both were well-prepared and flavorful, and paired with excellent sides of mashed and au gratin potatoes, respectively. It was a quality meal. It’s even more impressive when one sees the overall value Table 3 offers on its menu.

I was also impressed by Table 3’s wine list, both by the bottle and by the glass. It focuses on France, of course, and the DuPeuble 2009 Beaujolais was a wonderful light-bodied red that went perfectly with my wife’s chicken. I also enjoyed the Louis Changarnier 2009 Pinot Noir from the Languedoc. Even ordering by the glass, the bartender allowed us a small taste before committing to each wine, which was a nice touch.

My point? When Table 3 does reopen, give them a try. I can see myself becoming a regular, so maybe I will see you there.

Table 3 Restaurant
3821 Green Hills Village Drive
Nashville, Tennessee 37215
(615) 739-6900
Appx. $17.00 per entree.

MAFIAoZA’S: My First Quality NY Pizza In Nashville

Being new to Nashville from New England via DC, one of my biggest concerns moving here was that I would never have good pizza again. Nashville has your standard Pizza Hut and Papa John’s, and a couple of local chains like Michaelangelo’s that are good for impromptu delivery, but I mean high quality, thin crust, New York style pizza. I’m talking The Italian Store in Arlington, VA. I heard rumors of good places, but they were disappointing. That is, until I got a pie from MAFIAoZA’S.

When a family member recommended MAFIAoZA’s, I thought I was in for another disappointment. I saw the silly name trying to be hip and trendy, and then some unflattering online reviews. But after tasting the goods, I’m a believer. It’s possible that these reviewers went when the place was busy and the food quality suffered as a result. As I was leaving with my pizzas right after work, I noticed that the restaurant was already filling up, so maybe ordering early is key.

In any event, the pizza was great. It was not The Italian Store, and it would not be the best pizzeria in New York City, but it was by far the best pizza I have had so far in Nashville. The crust was think but not too crispy, the pizza was a bit oily, but not soggy, and the cheese blend was fantastic. The prices are reasonable for the quality, though the toppings might be just a bit pricey. I can’t vouch for the rest of the menu, but I  recommend the pizza.

MAFIAoZA’S
2400 12th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37204
(615)269-4646
Base Price for 18” Pie: $13.75

Crying for Argentina in Nashville? There’s a Place . . .

This will be the third in my series of posts about some of the best wine shops in Nashville. In my first post, I highlighted four stores that provide the best overall selections. In the second, I wrote about West Meade Wine & Liquor Mart’s fine selection of California wines. This third installment highlights Grace’s Plaza Wine & Spiritsfor its impressive selection of Argentinean wines, particularly malbecs.

As I said in my last post, Grace’s separate posting is not meant to imply that it lacks variety. Grace’s offers a fine selection of Washington and California merlots and cabernets. It has chardonnays and pinot noirs from California, Washington, and Oregon, and California sauvignon blancs, zinfandels, and syrahs. Grace’s also has a modest selection of American Rieslings from Oregon, Washington, and, at least when I visited, the one Finger Lakes, NY wine that I have found in Nashville. Leaving the States, Grace has New Zealand sauvignon blancs and pinot noirs and Chilean sauvignon blancs and carmenere. Grace’s offers a strong selection of Australian wines, along with solid selections from Spain and France. Though Grace’s is a bit light on its German and Alsatian whites, it has an abundance of Italian wines to offer.

That said, Grace’s large selection of Argentinean wines, particularly malbecs, stands out. When I asked about the focus on Argentina, I was told that it is a hot region right now that is providing good value. Can’t argue there.  If you are looking for a red but are a bit tired of your standard cabernets and merlots, Grace’s is a good destination for something a little different from the Southern Hemisphere.

Grace’s also has a strong selection of spirits. It has a variety of your basic spirits, including strong tequila offerings, accompanied by items like sloe gin, Campari, Aperol, and smaller bottles of vermouth that are very important for a home bar.

Grace’s staff is always ready to lend a hand. I liked that, when I asked about something that they did not have, they did not hesitate to refer me to The Wine Chap, which I wrote about in my first post of this series. Both shops should be on your “go to” list.

4005 Hillsboro Road in Green Hills
Nashville, TN 37215
(615) 383-7660
Twitter: @graceswine

Nashville Wine Shops: Focus on California

In my first in a series of posts on some of the best wine shops in Nashville, I highlighted four stores that provide some of the best overall selection of wines from around the world. I noted that there would be additional posts discussing other shops that do particular things very well, or have a unique set of offerings. This is the second in that series of posts, and it highlights West Meade Wine & Liquor Mart, which offers an impressive selection of domestic wines from the West Coast – California in particular.

West Meade’s listing here is not meant to imply that it lacks any variety in its wine offerings. West Meade offers reds, whites, and roses from popular wine regions in France, Germany, Italy, Australia, and any number of other countries. That said, West Meade’s focus on domestic wines is clear from the layout of its retail space, with nearly all of its horizontal racks dedicated to wines from the West Coast. California selections abound.

West Meade’s racks start with California and Oregon pinot noir, and then move almost exclusively to California with a large quantity of syrah, zinfandel, and sauvignon blanc. West Meade then adds a bit of Washington State to its California selections of riesling, gewürztraminer, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon. Finally, West Meade presents a large selection of California chardonnay, particularly from Napa Valley. If you’re looking for an oaky California chardonnay, this is your stop. West Meade also offers several high-end wines from California and around the world in its reserve room.

If I had to state one criticism, it would be the absence of wines from the other 47 States, particularly powerhouses like New York and Virginia. I appreciate West Meade’s focus on domestic wines, I just wish its selection within that realm was a bit more varied. That said, you will not find a better selection of California wines in Nashville.

I’d be remiss if I left out West Meade’s excellent selection of spirits. West Meade has a broad selection of your standard spirits, complemented by more unique offerings including St. Germain, Aperol, Amir Lucano, slow gin, Ouzo, Tuaca, Campari, Fernet-Branca, Lillet, Dubonnet Rouge, and Pimms. Finally, right to the left of the entrance, West Meade shelves a variety of high gravity beers. West Meade is a great shop, and worth a visit to see for yourself.

5402 Harding Road
Nashville, TN 37205
(615) 352-3001
Twitter: @WMWLM