Swanky Wine Fridays

August 6, 2010

Swanky NYC Restaurant Replaces Their Wine List with an iPad


Well, this is just another reason why I love New York. This already-swanky spot ups its cool factor with iPad wine lists... Check it out. From Chip Chick:

Looking for a cool way to dine in NYC - especially during restaurant week? Well the South Gate restaurant is the first New York City restaurant to launch custom designed iPad wine tablets. The iPad is now being offered as a way for customers to navigate South Gate's extensive wine list of over 650 bottles. Their new iPad "wine tablet" provides customers with detailed information about the major wine regions and varietals, and it also automatically updates the wine list as labels sell out, so that the inventory is always accurate. South Gates' sommelier will use the iPad "to educate patrons on over 650 bottle wines available or invite guests to instantly access the information themselves from the iPad's fully customizable SmartCellar application with the touch of a finger." If you ask us, with the iPad doing all of this work now, who needs the sommelier? But anyway, yes folks, it's happened! Get ready to get wasted, courtesy of your iPad.

via Chip Chick

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June 18, 2010

Shall I Drink it or Wear it? Essence of IX - Swanky Eau de Vin

My curiosity is seriously piqued from this one. High end, uber swanky perfume that just happens to be made from distilled grape essence, with the earthy touch of French oak:

Essence of IX $320
A limited edition pure perfume. Brambly. Floral. Stirring. White sage, roses, black currant, California lavender, French oak & wild honey. Inspired by Colgin Cellars' winery, the exquisite terroir of their Napa Valley vineyards, and the famed IX Estate (

Essence of IX Ingredients - 100% certified organic grape alcohol (beverage-grade), A proprietary blend of ethically sourced essential oils*
*Certified Organic, Wildcrafted, Biodynamic, or Pesticide-free

via Strange Invisible Perfumes

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June 11, 2010

Swanky Table Wines are Good to the Last Drop

I don't know about you, but when I think of "table wine" I certainly do not think swanky. But the following two gems are just that.

If you've never checked it out, go to Wine Express and sign up for their Deal of the Day Newsletter. Every day you'll receive an offer for a discounted wine and 99 cent shipping. And periodically, they do a little housecleaning and offer some deeply discounted Last Drops:

colsolare.jpgCol Solare 2002 Red Mountain Estate, Columbia Valley
A "Dream Team" of winemakers come together to produce what has been called Washington State's best Cabernet-based wine. Marcus Notaro and Renzo Cotarella from Tenuta Antinori and Doug Gore of Ste, Michelle source grapes from a 30-acre estate vineyard in the Red Mountain appellation, planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. The 2002 scored 94 points from Robert Parker and is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Syrah. The wine is aged 26 months in a mix of French and American oak, 92% new. It shows depth and concentration with layers of dark chocolate, black pepper, black plum and vanilla. Supple tannins linger on a lengthy finish. Very Limited! $49 (originally $74.95)

branon.jpgChateau Branon 2001 Pessac-Leognan
The Origins of Garage Wine
What exactly is garage wine? The term refers to great wines made in very meager facilities and it's not the winemaking facility, but the commitment of the vintner that makes these wines so impressive. Jean-Luc Thunevin led the movement and by the 2000 vintage, there were at least 25 of these wines being made in Saint-Emilion. Now, they affect areas that were previously untouched, such as the Graves and the Médoc.

Purchased by the owners of Chateau Haut-Bergey, the Garcin family, they sought the help of Jean-Luc Thunevin to make their 2000 vintage a Garagiste style luxury cuvee. This estate, which was very famous in the 18th century, was abandoned and then partly left to the urbanization of the 20th century. The vineyard is located between Haut-Bailly and Malartic-Lagravière on gravelly soil and planted with 45% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. In 2001 Michel Rolland took over as winemaker and produced this extraordinarily rich, powerful wine. $81 (originally $159.95)

via Wine Express

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April 30, 2010

Fusion Infinity Break-Resistant Glasses - Pretty and Practical


Don't you hate it when you rinse out a glass and you tap it ever so slightly on the faucet or side of the sink? What ensues is typically a harrowing 1/2 hour of picking shards out of your in-sink-erator. I am not great with glassware. I have a hereditary tendency toward spazzy behavior and as a result, I have resisted the urge to purchase expensive barware that only gets attention while I'm drinking. Recipe for disaster. I've always wanted to invest in a set of tasting glasses that look as great as they taste. Finally, I think I've found the answer... now if I could only afford them:

Fusion Infinity Cabernet Bonus Pack (Set of 6 + 2 Free) $99.95
Taking elegance and strength to the next level. Fusion perfects the latest trend in upscale dining, taking the best qualities of the Fusion Classic line and enhancing them with a sleeker shape, a wider bowl, and a taller stem. Brilliant European crystal is fused with super-strong magnesium to form a break-resistant, lightweight, graceful wine glass. Science meets sophistication, and the result is shatterproof. Shaped to enhance the best qualities of your wine. Lead-free crystal; never clouds or dulls. Dishwasher safe.

Fusion 10-Year Limited Warranty
In the unlikely event your Wine Enthusiast Fusion Glass breaks, we'll replace it FREE, even up to 10 years after purchase!

via WineEnthusiast

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April 23, 2010

PureVineWines - Organic and Biodynamic Wine Club

There are certainly other organic wine clubs... in fact I probably mention one each year at about this time. But PureVineWines adds swank and swagger, where other clubs exhibit a decidedly more, how shall I put it--crunchy--bent? For $45 to $60 per month (depending on the selections) you get two artfully crafted boutique wines:

PUREVINEWINES deals almost exclusively with Biodynamic and Organic wines in the belief that they are an honest and true expression of the soil and climate from which they came. These wines deliver the purest sense of "terroir" from vine to glass, without the use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides and chemicals. Our Wine of the Month Club delivers two hand-crafted and selected wines to your door every month. Our selections are unique, rare and hard to find.

Featured Wines for the April Club:
Volker Eisele Cabernet
A blend of Cabernet, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc from the Chiles Valley district of Napa Valley. This property has been in the family for three generations and is an excellent example of good land stewardship., practicing organic viticulture for thirty five years. This full bodied, predominently cab blend is plush, velvelty, with dark cherry and tobacco notes and moderate tannins on the palate.

Lemelson Dry Riesling
Hailing from Carlton, Oregon this dry Riesling has plenty of acidity and minerality with a touch of sweetness but not enough to challenge the "dry". Plush meyer lemon on the top notesbut then it evolves into a melon bouquet on the palate. Citrus, fruit, floral and mineral: great characteristics in this classic style riesling.

via PureVineWines

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August 14, 2009

Swanky Salvaged Chandelier


For those who like to spend a little green to feel a little green... Pottery Barn debuted a chandelier in their Autumn catalog that is made from wrought iron and (purportedly) repurposed green glass wine bottles. Very striking, yet pretty simple design... I might have to recruit the clever Mr. CheapFunWines to attempt a DIY version using our mountains of empties. But I wonder if our CFL bulbs will ruin the look?

$399 via Pottery Barn catalog/internet only

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March 20, 2009

Swanky meets Rummage Sale - Wine Enthusiast Scratch 'n' Dent Cellars

031909_Scratch_Dent_23.jpgIf you are in the market for a wine fridge, now just might be the time to buy. If you're a bargain hunter and and don't mind a slightly imperfect model (we've all shopped at TJ Maxx, right?) then check out the Scratch 'n Dent sale at Wine Enthusiast. You can peruse the outlet options via the link below--prices range from $329 to $4495--then call the 800-number and mention the code for scratch 'n dent savings:

What are Scratch 'n' Dent Cellars?
Scratch 'n' Dent Wine Cellars are like-new units that may have some cosmetic flaws but are guaranteed to work perfectly and include the full manufacturer's warranty. Prior to purchase, we'll provide you with a concise description of the cellar's blemishes.
Call a Wine Storage Consultant today and find out about additional savings on Scratch 'n' Dent cellars. Mention code
E0309C. 800.377.3330

Via Wine Enthusiast

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October 31, 2008

Give Cheap Wine a Little Swank

qooqed-litron-wine-carrier-front.jpg With the holiday season fast approaching, 'tis the season of merry making and convivial gathering. Here are two stunning leather carriers from QOOQ to make even your cheapest wine picks look like something special.

The Litron pictured above earns the official swanky title because it comes in over the $20 range. But not by much... for about $32 you have a lovely gift that your hosts can actually use for years to come. They won't even notice the 2-buck Chuck inside.

ursulla-04.jpgAnd the Ursula bag you'll want for your own trips to the market, but it is so cheap you'll be buying one for all of your friends. It is constructed of the same fine leather as the Litron, but cut in concentric circles so that it collapses into a flat disc for storage. $12 -$15

via QOOQ Edition

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October 10, 2008

Skybar™ Wine System

skybar.jpgChristmas is just around the corner and if you're wondering what to give a wine lover who has everything--and if you have $1000 to play with--you might consider the Skybar Wine System.

Chill, pour and preserve wine all from a single system. Whether you are a wine connoisseur or frequently entertain, Skybar is the new and elegant way to serve and store wine. Individually controlled chambers let you keep up to three different wines ready to serve, each at its ideal varietal-specific temperature. Nine wine presets allow you to select the correct temperature, taking the guesswork out of chilling. When you're ready for a glass, Skybar pours the wine for you. With a press of the button, wine is dispensed into your glass. Guests may choose the wine they want and when they want it.

Patented vacuum technology preserves open bottles at peak flavor for up to ten days. Keeps wine fresh and protected from oxidization.

Available only online, but Sur la Table will cover free ground shipping. Be sure to check out the Skybar Video after the jump.

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August 29, 2008

Super Swanky Bottle Design - Logan Wines

There is something you should know about me... Something deep... Something dark...
I sometimes make purchasing decisions based on packaging... shhh.

I can't help it. Before I made my food and wine obsessions my job, I lived another life, albeit brief, in advertising. Now, I try not to let my fascination with marketing affect my wine-buying decisions. The juice is far more important than vessel which contains it (until that vessel is my glass). But I found the following piece on theDieLine and I just had to share because it involves a producer that I've always wanted to try. The perfect marriage of artfully crafted package design and the lovingly crafted product contained therein:
From War Design: Logan Wines is a boutique winery based in Mudgee NSW (Australia). Since their launch 11 years ago, Logan wines have built a reputation for wines that occupy a top-end niche position in Australia and key overseas markets including Japan and the UK. The brand's core drinkers could be best described as investigative connoisseurs - those not afraid to try something else in the pursuit of excellence.

The Logan identity reflects the attention to detail, personal and highly crafted approach the Logan's take to everything they do. Taking the lead from Logan's bold and highly individual approach to winemaking, a concept based upon embroidery was chosen as an ideal metaphor to the care and effort placed into the wine. The concept required the embroidering of beautifully intricate compositions of fruits, berries, leaves and flowers to represent the textures and flavours of each varietal. These stunning representations were then rolled out across all touch points. Thanks must go to Delma - the lovely embroiderer that brought the concept to life, stitch by painstaking stitch. One very talented lady indeed!

log0408_labelchardonnay_lr_4.jpgYou can see the level of craft and care that has gone into producing these labels, and it's the attention to detail that elevates these designs from being simply being beautiful into something meaningful. Just like the wine itself apparently. Via TheDieLine

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August 8, 2008

La Grande Dame by Riva Collection

veuveriva.jpgI'd like to tell you that this was my anniverary present...and that we enjoyed it while drifting off the coast of Cap-Ferrat. Alas, I would be hallucinating. But it is nice to dream. For the Champagne lover with impeccable taste and very deep pockets, check out the Veuve Clicquot Riva Collection, courtesy of Acquire:

Veuve Clicquot and luxury yacht builder, Riva, are collaborating on a stunning collection of products called "La Grande Dame". The collection features two products -- The Cruiser Collection which is a made to measure piece and comes with 4 bottles of La Grande Dame, 2 magnums of La Grande Dame 88, 6 Riedel Champagne Flutes, 6 water tumblers, plates, table mats, and cutlery. The second item is their "Cruiser Bag" which is a limited edition piece (Only 300 made) and includes a bottle of La Grande Dame 88 and two champagne flutes.

Via Acquire

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August 1, 2008

To Market, To Market - Bread & Wine Bag

breadwinebag.jpgI love it and I hate it . . . where to begin?
I LOVE the idea of a bread and wine bag to take to the market. It is very laid-back-European and of course, appeals to my inner conservationist. I've often wondered how I could keep my wine bottle(s) from crushing delicate produce in my floppy, pocket-less canvas satchel. This leather version from Rebecca Minkoff is an adorable solution.

HOWEVER, I'm disinclined to pay $185 for a leather bag that will doubtless encounter all manner of leaks, spills, and sweaty refrigerated foods. How about a cheap, fun canvas or burlap version? Way more my speed. I don't think you need to spend a fortune to conserve. Oxymoron, anyone? These days being "green" is often synonymous with spending green.

That said, if you have the disposable income, by all means splurge. And then keep coming back to us for cheap, fun picks to fill the wine pocket.


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May 23, 2008

WinePod - Super-Swanky At-Home Winery

You, or someone you love can soon be making your own super-swanky wine, at home, in your own personal super-swanky winery. Check out this uber-cool apparatus:

winepod1.jpgIf you have a trust fund and dear old dad likes wine, and I mean really likes wine, here is the perfect father's day gift. The Winepod lets dad become his own winemaker with his own personal fermentation chamber.
The chamber itself is 4-feet tall and needs less than 4 square feet of space. The device has sensors and uses wireless technology to connect to a software application on a PC called the WineCoach. WineCoach walks users through the fermentation process and when it detects problems it tells users how to fix them.
Winepod can produce one fermentation every 30 days with each one producing four cases of wine with 48 750ml bottles total. Users can order the grapes directly from the Winepod maker and they are shipped de-stemmed and frozen for freshness. Users wanting to use their own grapes can get them lab certified to ensure fermentation. The Winepod itself is a whopping $4,499, add the bottling kit, grapes, and accessories and it will cost you $5999, thrown in a 30L French oak wine barrel and you will need $6349. (by Shane McGlaun)

from i4u News

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April 25, 2008

Ceago Vinegarden - A Little Green Heaven on Earth

Since I'm still in Earth Day mode, I decided to incorporate one of my favorite biodynamic producers into this week's swanky post. When Jim Fetzer sold his eponymous winery in the early 1990's he decided to go green. He founded Ceago Vinegarden with the intent of making superior quality hand crafted, limited production wines that are pure expressions of their varietal make-up and terroir. The family's philosophy on farming and winemaking and history, for me, is the ideal. But really, I continue to buy because they continue to produce wines that are outstanding.

It was tough for me to choose a single wine to review here so I chose three. I give you my notes on all three, but also the technical specs from Ceago's website. You try to find them at your local wine shop, but if you have a tough time, you can also buy through Ceago's online store (depending, of course, on whether or not your state allows shipping).

2006SauvignonBlanc.jpg2006 "Kathleen's Vineyard" Sauvignon Blanc $20
The beautiful golden hue of this wine just hints at the deluge of bright aromas emanating from the glass. I get a nose full of ripe grapefruit, casaba melon and bosc pear. These scents ring true at first taste and mingle with juicy golden delicious apple and just a twinge of creamy pineapple. A whole fruit salad in one sip. And though it is incredibly layered and wonderfully fruity, it is also subtly herbaceous which gives it a super clean, crisp finish.
100% estate grown, "Kathleen's Vineyard" on our Biodynamic® farm in Lake County, California. The grapes were hand-harvested from September 12th-22nd, 2006 at 23.4° Brix. The grapes were grown and certified Biodynamic® by Demeter and Organic by Stellar. Our Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with most spring and summer foods including salads, vegetable dishes, light pasts and seafood. (from Ceago Vinegarden)

2006SyrahRose.jpg2007 "Del Lago" Syrah Rose $20
So, it is no secret (or at least it won't be for long since summer is almost here) that I am a big fan of roses. Sometimes you require a little something more substantial that a white, but really want the refreshment of a chilled wine. Enter the incredibly food flexible and palate friendly rose. And the Ceago syrah has just about everything that I love and then some. Bright summer berry fruits, without cloying sweetness, and a bit of structure and body and even a hint of the creaminess that you might get in a red syrah. It is dry and crisp and full flavored enough to enjoy on its own or to serve with just about anything.
Our Syrah Rose was 100 % estate grown and hand harvested from our Biodynamic® farm in Lake County, California from September 28th to October 7th, 2006 at 24.8° Brix. The grapes were grown and certified Biodynamic by Demeter and Organic by Stellar. Our Syrah Rose pairs well sliced meats, cheeses, spring salads, and spicy summer dishes. (from Ceago Vinegarden)

2002Merlot.jpg2002 "Camp Masut" Merlot $30
This is one of those wines that satisfies all of my senses. Super dark and inky with voluptuous viscosity and intoxicating scents of black cherry and damson plum with a subtle whiff of saddle leather. It is ripe, rich and chewy with cherry-chocolate undertones accentuated by a creamy vein of vanilla and shots of spice. Good golly, I have died and gone to heaven.
The grapes used in this wine were 100% estate grown "Camp Masut" Merlot. Camp Masut, located on the headwaters west of the Russian River in Redwood Valley, once was home to a tribe of Pomo Indians. The grapes were hand harvested on October 10th, 2002 at 25 Brix, and were grown and certified Biodynamic by Demeter. (from Ceago Vinegarden)

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