Friday, April 24, 2009

Nothing Like A Blue Moon to Make You Want Some... Wine

The thing is, before I worked in wine, I was always a beer drinker. The first thing I ever drank (that didn't make me gag) was Tequiza ****I was only 14, but you are welcome to judge me. Then I moved on to stuff like Smirnoff Ice, and finally ended up with Miller Light (A Midwest classic, never-fail drink). As I went on to college I moved on to Heineken and New Castle... even a strong appreciation for some Guinness.
But the truth is growing into good beer is the same as growing into good wine. You start at the bottom and work your way up. I tell this customers all the time. Go ahead and pick by the label you find prettiest... it will help you find the right varietal for you. Many people start with a white zin because it's sweet and not intimidating. From there they will find a pinot grigio they love. That might lead them into Sauv Blanc which will move you on to Cab Sauv. Red and Whites, what I think is most important is willingness to get exited about new things.
Working for a specific winery even sometimes leaves me limited. Being in sales makes it hard for me to give money to my competition. But I did want to make this post about intro, Under $10 (USA) wines. Because they're good wines and will ultimately bring you on to other wines. SOOOO I will post my own list. Feel free to add on wines that you love, too.

Redwood Creek Pinot Noir (California)
Barefoot Merlot(California)
Mirassou Cab (California)

Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio (Italy --- may be higher than $10 in some states)
Barefoot Moscoto (California)
Sebeka Chard (South Africa)
Starborough Sauv Blanc (New Zealand)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Come find Elle in the beer tent!...?

What, not a wine tent? I am not serving wine at the Scottsdale Culinary Festival this year, I will be hanging out in the beer tent instead. I know, it's so unlikely, but I've been serving wine, mostly Barefoot, the past few event so I thought I might branch out for a day.

Chances are I'll be serving beer but I'll still be drinking wine... feel free to come visit!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Inspired by "Good Wine Under $20"

I decided to spend this Friday night in in an effort to save some money (stupid bad economy). After spending a solid two minutes trying to extract the cork from a bottle of Mirassou Pinot Grigio, I was so ready to drink it. I've had this wine before and it didn't necessarily sit well with my pallet. However, since I did receive a free bottle, I decided to give it a second chance. Now, I just started this 1,200 calorie a day diet (it's almost summer, gotta get my sh*t together) so I got a pretty quick buzz after my first half-glass. I hit 1,100 calories by 330pm, so I decided not to count my wine calories for today.
ANYWAYS, I am taking the wine for what it's worth. What I mean by that is: Mirassou is known for their amazing Pinot Noir. They're also know for introducing a less buttery, more citrus Chard (which I completely love as well). And when a label specializes in specific varietals, it's hard to not have excruciatingly high expectations from all their wines.
So my general preference in a Pinot Grigio is not a peachy taste, which is what I decided is deterring from the Mirassou. However, it is refreshing for an April Arizona day which is hard to come by. I have to appreciate anything that could be considered a summer wine as long as I live in a state where it is summer most months of the year.
I still CANNOT consider it a favorite, but if you do like peach tastes, you will enjoy it. And the pricing on it is pretty unbeatable. As for me, I will continue drinking the Ecco Domani (Italian) when I want a great Pinot Grigio, and Mirassou when I want a Pinot Noir.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A new love for...

Washington Wines. They were a big deal for the last couple of months since WA Wines have started an advertising campaign and I have EASILY bought into the hype.

HOUSE brand Red, White, Fish House (Chard), Steak House (Cab) I love them all
Waterbrook Sauv Blanc, Chard (what I am drinking at this very moment), Merlot-Cab, Reisling, and most importantly MELANGE
Sockeye Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Cab, and Melot

These are just the few brands I've already tried and I love them all. Any other WA Wine suggestions?

Job Description: Selling Wine, Busting Shoplifters

I am walking through a store today and there is a gentleman lingering near the face creams. Strange, yes, but I work in the liquor department so I like to dismiss most people who wouldn't be a customer to me anyways. Moments later I see the same man holding some Olay face cream and then slipping it into his backpack. Um, shady, but this is West Mesa, so not very shocking. As I watch him slipping it into his bag
Elle:You should probably know there is a security camera right over you right now.
Shoplifter: What did you say to me!?
I continue toward the store manager encouraging him to keep an eye on the shoplifter when we are then approached by the shoplifter.
Shoplifter: This *expletive* is *expletive* accusing me of *expletive* stealing
Manager: Please keep it down, there are other people in the store.
The shoplifter continues yelling and pulls the face cream out of his bag... which I am pretty sure is an admission to guilt. He insists it was already in his bag when he came to the store and he intended to do an exchange with it.
Manager: Well it will be easy enough to tell, I will check the inventory on this item and I'm sure it will show that we aren't missing this item.
When the manager walks away the shoplifter exits the store, however in his rant another customer had called the police. After statements were given, yadayadayada, the shoplifter is now banned from the store forever.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"You're not the boss!"

The snow birds have left, the roads are safe again! Unfortunately, the same can't be said for my stores.
Story #1: The Middle-age Man and the Chocolate Chip Cookies
In the back room of an account I am doing some work and a man wanders in.
Middle-age Man: Do you work here?
Elle: No, sir, I'm a vendor. But can I get someone to help you with something?
Middle-age Man: No, I'll get them.
Elle: Actually you're not allowed back here, so if you wait just outside the door I will get someone who can help you.
Middle-age Man (now shouting): Well YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS! You can't tell me not to be here!
Elle: Well, I only have to be nice to you when you're on the sales floor, and you're an asshole!

Employee then arrives to help Middle-age Man. She asks him to please wait on the sales floor while she goes to fine him more chocolate chip cookie mix. When she comes back with it, Middle-age Man has disappeared. 25 minutes later, in the back room:

Elle: Sir, you still can't be back here.
Middle-age Man: Why do you feel the need to boss people around when your not the boss!?
Elle: Why are you incapable of reading a simple sign? You are a liability to this store.

Employee returns with the cookies, laughing at the man. Apparently Middle-age Man has middle child syndrom.

Actually, there's not much of a story until next week when my boss goes in to yell at one of my liquor managers who has CLEARLY lost his mind. The story is a repeat anyway... it's true on a daily basis.

For The Love of Wine!

With my new bank of wine, I have a few suggestions:
Waterbrook Melange (red wine from Washington state)
Dancing Bull Sauv Blanc (White from California, same winery as Rancho Zabaco)
House Red (Washington red blend)
and as always
Frei Bros. Pinot Noir, never fails, California Russian River Valley

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Happy Happy...

Birthday to Elle :) Thanks to the best sister on the PLANET, Cee, who got me my baby computer for faster internet/more blogging...

Still out there doing to wine thing

... I realize what a slacker I've been, really I do. But it's only been in my blogging because I've been working at least 6 days a week for the past few weeks. I've been doing the normal wine selling (MY BOSS: Wine is the 2nd biggest wine holiday of the year) but it's also that time of year in AZ when the weather is nice for about 2.5 months before it's excruciatingly hot out. That can only mean volunteer season. My favorite season of the work year which allows me to not to be stuck ONLY in grocery stores. I love love love doing tastings.
First was the Basha's Bon Vivant. All you can eat, all you can drink benefit for the Boys and Girls Club. I love drinking for a good cause. My recommendation from that night, Frei Brother Zin (I somehow wandered into the VIP section for access to this). I was also paid in wine for the night;4 cases :) No wine shopping for a few weeks.
Next was the Tempe Music Festival.. I worked the Barefoot sample tent - so much fun. We were right next to the Bing Bang dueling pianos so we had some background music. HOWEVER, my recommendation from this event: Shiny Toy Guns... listen to it with a champagne cocktail (Barefoot Bubbly Brut with a splash of Barefoot Moscoto, my drink of choice from the day).
But my favorite event is coming up in 2 weeks: Scottsdale Culinary Festival. More blogging later.