Wow. In a scant few weeks, we say goodbye to another year and usher in a new decade in this century!
But before that all happens, we’ve got plenty of holiday get-togethers, parties and socializing ahead with family and friends. Whether we’re guests at parties or hosting ourselves, there’s one thing we can’t forget . . . the wine.
“Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life’s most civilized pleasures.” –Michael Broadbent
I don’t know about you, but when Jill and I are invited to a soirée, whether we’re bringing something for a potluck or a hostess gift, we always put a great deal of thought and effort into what we bring. Is the party a dress-up affair where guests mingle before being seated? We’ll bring a tray of homemade small bites that can be enjoyed while guests are standing up and mingling, like endive boats with pear and blue cheese. Is it a laid back party where football playoffs are being enjoyed? Maybe we’ll bring something fun like spicy bacon-wrapped breadsticks. If we can find out what the host/hostess is serving ahead of time, there’s a lot of fun to be had reading through a wealth of online recipes before making up our minds. We try to put the same amount of thought and effort into the wine – it should be special like that.
Buying that special bottle of wine can be intimidating for most of us. How can you possibly keep up with which year was best for “name that varietal” or vineyard? And when we can’t find exactly what we’re hoping for, it’s become all too easy to pluck a pretty label off a shelf at a store that starts with the first three letters of the alphabet. No more.
On my first visit to Seagrape Wine Co., located on Tamiami Trail just three blocks south of Trader Joes, I had a conversation with the owner, Thomas Morgan, and was blown away with the knowledge earned from his over 20+ year career in the wine industry. When I think of all the times I’d attempt to pick the “perfect wine” and then just gave up and grabbed a bottle off the shelf, I have to wonder why I hadn’t been coming here instead. (!!!) Think of all the stress headaches I could have avoided! With Thomas at my side, picking a great wine was easy peasy! Whew!
From the moment you walk through the door of Seagrape Wine Company, you will feel the “embrace” that only a boutique wine store can offer. No wandering around with that confused look on your face . . . no siree! You’ll be quick to discover that any questions you have about picking the right wine for a hostess gift or special dinner at home will be answered, and with great pleasure. It’s all about Thomas’ devotion to ensuring that once a wine leaves his store, when that bottle is opened and the wine poured, whoever takes that first taste rolls the wine across their tongue and says “Yes! That’s delicious!”
The store features boutique wines that are largely unmanipulated with chemical processes, something I never knew was being done to a lot of the wines you’ll find on the market. Thomas will be glad to show you examples of the chemicals that are often added to commercial wines to improve their shelf life or add flavors that the fresh grape didn’t yield in the actual harvest.
This was eye-opening to me . . . yet I shouldn’t exactly “be surprised.” If you purchase the same wine year after year and it always tastes the same, something has to be done to make it that way. No grape harvest gets the same exact amount of sun, rain and soil nutrients year after year. The vineyards don’t have the same yield every year . . . so why does the 2014 bottle taste exactly the 2017 bottle? Not possible!
If you’re buying a bottle of wine as a birthday or hostess gift, one conversation with Thomas will immeasurably help you find the wines that are stylistically and monetarily perfect for you. And, if it’s a special gift for someone, don’t you want to know more about the wine yourself? Of course, you do! Just like at a restaurant or wine tasting, some of the more entertaining dinner conversations surround the food and wine we enjoy, don’t you think?
Once you take away any insecurities and mystery about one of mankind’s greatest inventions, you can let the fun and adventure begin. Don’t worry that you don’t know what wine to bring to a meal featuring turkey or swordfish, or maybe a vegan dinner. Thomas will be the first to tell you that no one person can ever know everything about wine, but he’s happy to help you make the best decision for the meal or hostess gift you’re shopping for.
So relax. Ask questions. Buy some wine. And most importantly, Thomas asks that you call or go back and tell him what you liked or even didn’t like about any wine you purchase at Seagrape Wine Company. And if you’re happy with the experience like we were, you will become not only a repeat customer but that welcome guest who always brings the best wines to any table.
Maybe the best thing of all is that you’ll make a new great friend.
Winner-winner, here’s to a great wine with dinner!