Nov 02 2010

Happy Birthday… to Us!

Six years ago—November 2, 2004—Just Grapes opened its doors at 560 W. Washington, and thanks to you, we’re still selling bottles and expanding palates today!

Back in 2004, Just Grapes was the first wine shop in Chicago to offer Enomatic tasting machines (pictured on the left above.) Although the idea has definitely caught on elsewhere in 2010 (I was just at a hotel in San Diego that has 88 of them) the Enomatic remains emblematic of Just Grapes and its mission: To help you discover and taste the wines that you like.

Even though Just Grapes is a small store, it can leave a big impression on anyone who’s visited.  For example, last year I was on assignment writing about Royal Caribbean’s latest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas. I was onboard a few weeks before it launched, so there was a lot of last-minute construction happening all over the vessel.

I walked into one of the lounges, and there were two men installing and fine tuning an Enomatic. I mentioned to them that I worked at Just Grapes in Chicago, and we had the same machines. One of the men immediately raised his arms like the character in the Just Grapes logo and replied, “Oh yeah! The place with the little guy, right?”

A lot has changed in the world outside of Just Grapes since 2004, but our dedication to you, the customer, hasn’t changed. We want to show our appreciation tomorrow, November 3, as we devote our First Wednesday Tasting to our 6th anniversary. Join us from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (click here for tickets) as we pour more than 25 “festive” wines throughout the store.

In the meantime though, feel free to party like its 2004 all week by picking up some of these special vintage birthday bottles:

2004 Le Miccine Chianti Riserva, Tuscany, Italy [$29.59]
Le Miccine is a small Tuscan wine estate located near the geographic center of Tuscany’s Chianti Classico wine region, half-way between Florence and Siena, near the historic towns of Gaiole-in-Chianti and Radda-in-Chianti. It has been part of the Tuscan landscape since the early 1700s, when it served as a way-station for travelers requiring a change of teams on their journeys through the Tuscan hills. Now, 300 years later, Le Miccine is known for its fine wines and olive oil and its elegant and exclusive Tuscan vacation rental accommodations.

2004 Schweiger Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California [$40.79]
This is a rich, full-bodied Cabernet, deep in color. The nose of the wine is lively with essences of berries, plum, and toasty oak. The sweet, supple entry crescendos into a deeply intense middle; followed by a pleasant, velvety, lingering finish.

2004 Le Presi Sangiovese Brunello di Montalcino Tuscany, Italy [$55.99]

92 Pts – Robert Parker
The 2004 Brunello di Montalcino is a masculine, authoritative wine that flows with generous wild cherries, tar, smoke, earthiness and dried herbs. The tannins remain potent, but the wine appears to have more than enough stuffing to provide the required balance. Ideally the wine is best cellared for another year or two and/or opened well in advance. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2024. These wines from Le Presi are made in a rigorously traditional style. The wines have tons of fruit, but also reveal some wilder elements that are best tamed with a few hours of aeration.

2004 Chateau Gomerie, Merlot, Saint Emilion, Bordeaux, France [$55.99]
91 Pts – Robert Parker

The Becot family own this garagiste operation planted with 100% Merlot, and the impressively constituted La Gomerie is always one of the more flamboyant and exotic wines of St.-Emilion. In some ways, it is similar to the famed Pomerol, Le Pin. The dark ruby/purple-colored 2004 exhibits aromas of strawberry and black cherry confiture, notions of espresso roast, pain grille, and spice box, medium to full body, excellent purity, and a sexy personality. It is a fleshy, heady effort meant to be consumed during its first 10-14 years of life.

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