Aug 24 2010

Collective Winepower

Part of what makes Just Grapes more than “the place with the Enomatic” (that’s the tasting machine on the left in the photo) is our friendly, wine-obsessed staff. We’re not clock punchers half asleep thinking about being somewhere else—we’re right where we want to be.

Surrounded by beautiful bottles and varietals from dozens of countries, we get to taste and learn about each one, getting paid for what many people pursue passionately as a hobby.

In addition, owner Don Sritong brings us together each month and tests us about specific growing regions (usually in the room on the bottom right in the photo.) We also write/present reports about the history of wine in certain countries, and we engage in blind tastings to identify, for example, why a Shiraz from Australia tastes different from a French Syrah, even though it’s the same grape.

It keeps us sharp, and we’re ready to answer any question a customer might have, from what to pair with dinner, to how to pronounce “Gewürztraminer.”

Eventually, we all discover certain bottles in the store that really speak to us, and become our personal favorites—ones that we recommend to you without hesitation. Below are a just a few wines that have earned the right to be called a “Staff Pick” at Just Grapes:

Pete’s Staff Pick:

2007 Mendel Malbec, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina [$21.59]

“When I traveled to Argentina I was amazed by the culinary and wine culture. Malbec is king down there and was perfect when trying many of the local beef dishes, offal, and goat. This was a wine I had with beef cheeks and pork belly and I can still taste the combination. I will never forget the experience or the wine.”

Moira’s Staff Pick:

NV Bisol “Jeio” Rose, Valdobbiadene, Prosecco, Veneto, Italy [$11.19]
“Looks like a rosé, smells like a rosé … it’s a rosé! You really can’t beat this sparkler to beat the heat and have some fun. So, crisp, cool and refreshing with notes of cranberry and white lilac. Let the bubbles tickle your throat as you enjoy a glass outside with family and good friends before the summer ends!”

Maggie’s Staff Pick:

2007 Domaine Parent, Pinot Noir, Bourgogne Rouge, Burgundy, France [$16.79]

“A really great deal for delicious red Burgundy! An earthy Pinot Noir that has ripe red fruits and a masculine backbone to it. It certainly over-delivers for the price point and will pair great with grilled salmon.”

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