Lagniappe Wine Gallery in Fish Creek, WI

Offering over 100 boutique wines in a wonderful, open and airy Door County atmosphere at Top of the Hill Shops in Fish Creek, it’s Lagniappe Wine Gallery!

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Italian Wine Tasting Update

This Saturday, October 8th., we will have our Italian wine tasting from 12:00 to 5:00.  You may have heard about the big storm Door County had at the end of last week that blew down a lot of trees and power lines. Our shop didn’t have power on Friday and I was stranded at home with no power. Not knowing if we would be able to open on Saturday, we canceled the tasting; so we are doing it this Saturday. These are really good wines! Come and taste them.

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Wine Tasting – Italian Wines from Small Family Vineyards, Oct 1

Join us at Lagniappe Wine Gallery on Saturday, October 1, for a free wine tasting from 12:00 – 5:00 pm!

We will be tasting wines from small family vineyards where the owners actually pick each grape by hand, instead of by machine. These are the wines that they themselves make and drink everyday and take great pride in.

The wines we will be tasting range from a lightly sweet, delicate, frizzy Moscato d’Asti to a wonderful Super Tuscan.

Come join us for this free tasting and a little fun (lagniappe).

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Wine held great importance in the 17th. century.

Water was a dubious proposition at that time in history. Epidemics of cholera and dysentery were rampart in Europe and America until well past the middle of the 19th. century. Wine, whiskey, ale and port might get you inebriated, but they inoculated you to a degree from the ravages of cholera and dysentery.

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Pinot Noir – 101, a silky textured, earthy red wine

Pinot Noir is cherished for its silken texture and core of earthiness wrapped in juicy, fruity flavors. It is the lightest and least tannic of all the red wines.

Pinot noir grapes at Chehalem Ridgecrest Vineyard, Newberg, Oregon

The Pinot Noir grape is the most difficult of all the classic grapes to make into wine. It is so sensitive to where it is grown that flavor generalizations are difficult to make. The vines mutate easily in the vineyard and are highly sensitive to climate changes and variations in soil composition. The grape itself, is very unstable during the process of turning it into wine; making it a riskier, and more expensive, undertaking. This is all part of Pinot Noir’s allure; what makes it so fascinating, sought after, and expensive.

Needing a long, cool growing season, the most compelling Pinot Noirs come from climates that are cool, edging into moderate. The Burgundy region of France is the historic home of Pinot Noir. In fact, it is thought to have grown in France for over 2000 years. Pinot Noir is what all the great and revered red wines of Burgundy are all about.

The moderate climates, like most of California, produce a Pinot Noir that is less acidic, making it taste tart and more juicy. It is typically aged in oak, but the amount of oakiness is matched to the intensity of its fruit.

Food Pairing: A fantastic pairing is grilled salmon and Pinot Noir. The rich fattiness and light char of a grilled salmon could have no better partner than an earthy Pinot Noir with its relatively high acidity and low tannin. The low tannin amount doesn’t interfere with the flavors of the fish. The earthiness of Pinot Noir makes it a great pairing for earthy foods such as mushrooms,potatoes and leeks. And, of course, Beef Burgundy!

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Save your Corks! Good Bottles of Wine Deserve to be Remembered

Here’s a fun and innovative way to keep all your wonderful wine memories.

Wine Bottle Cork Cage

Instead of throwing your wine corks in a drawer or into the trash, make a keepsake of them with this unique decorative accessory. A metal cork cage looks great on a bar or counter top, and what fun it is to fill it up.

The wine bottle cork cage pictured has a hinged bottom and is 13″ tall so you could even put a real bottle in it as an extra special gift.

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Chardonnay is such a versatile wine that it is difficult to pin down. It grows  well almost anywhere that it is planted , so it is grown around the world, but depending on where it is grown, it takes on different tastes. On top of that, some Chardonnays are “unoaked” and some are “oaked”.  “Oaked” just means it is aged in an oak barrel and picks up the oak flavors. This all makes for a lot of different flavor profiles.

Most basic “unoaked” wines come from cooler climates and have a straight forward fruity aroma of apple, melon or tangerine. The “oaked” wines will smell predominately of new oak; caramel,butter or vanilla.

The Chardonnays from cooler climates have delicate and soft flavors with a bit of refreshing tartness.The fruit taste is crisp and refreshing; like biting into a Golden Delicious apple. The Burgundy region of France is the best known cool climate region for Chardonnay. All of the great French white Burgundies are Chardonnays. Chablis is a Chardonnay. Chardonnay is  also one of the few grapes used in producing Champagne.

California, having a moderate climate produces a Chardonnay with a juicy, fruity style with a creamy, nutty roundness. The fruit flavors of these wines are more tangerine, peach and melon.

Chardonnays from warm climates, like Australia, taste more ripe, luscious and exotic. Their fruit flavors are ripe pineapple, mangos and peaches.

An “oaky” Chardonnay will pair well with corn in all its different forms, from popcorn to polenta.  It also pairs well, because of the rich, buttery flavor, with lobster and crab, creamy chowders and bisques ( like lobster bisque). Smoked cheeses are another very good pairing. The “unoaked” Chardonnays go well with lighter fare such as shrimp cocktail.

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We will be having a wine tasting, Saturday afternoon on Memorial Day Weekend. Come join us in tasting 3 very different Sauvignon Blancs, all from 1 New Zealand vineyard. If you’ve heard the French term terroir, these 3 wines will illustrate the concept. Terroir (tehr – WAHR) is French for “soil,” but in the wine world it means so much more; type of soil, altitude, position relative to the sun, angle of incline and water drainage.

ranga ranga is the classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. It’s very “zingy” with the taste of citrus fruits, lemon grass, hints of wild herbs and a touch of minerality. This wine pairs nicely with shrimp, scallops, fish, rich cheeses and spicy Asian foods.

Arona has become my favorite Sauvignon Blanc. It features bold aromas of gooseberries and pineapple with ruby red grapefruit. Arona, which means “colorful” has a unique richness about it with a surprisingly long finish. Have this with crab cakes and you are almpst in heaven. 

3 Brooms is this vineyard’s reserve wine from their finest low yeilding grapes. It has the taste of ripe passion fruit, gooseberry and the zest of sweet limes, with a touch of minerality in a wine of depth and elegance.  3 Brooms pairs well with chicken, fish and seafood.

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Sauvignon Blanc – 101, a powerful medium-bodied white

Sauvignon Blanc is a medium-bodied white wine that packs a powerful punch and is versatile enough to be a great wine choice for many of our everyday meals.

Sauvignon is from the French word “sauvage” meaning wild, and blanc is the word for white. Sauvignon Blanc lives up to its name with wild, exuberant flavors. We have a Sauvignon Blanc in the store named “ranga ranga” that feels like a firecracker zinging all over your mouth.

Cooler climates, such as New Zealand and the Loire Valley of France, produce a wine with a bracingly fresh and clean palette of “green” flavors: herbs, limes, Granny Smith apples and green vegetables. The New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are terrific and usually have a hint of mango or passion fruit in the background. Sancerre (Sahn-SAIR) and Pouilly-Fume (Poo-EE-Foo-MAY) are Sauvignon Blancs from France’s Loire Valley, and are more tangy and tart because the growing area is further north.

More moderate climates, like California and the Bordeaux region of France, make a fuller-bodied style that are less herbaceous and more succulent with citrus fruit, peaches and melons in their flavors while still maintaining their vibrant acidity which gives them such an affinity for food. Bordeaux usually blends the Semillon (Sem-ee-YOHN) grape with the Sauvignon Blanc giving it a creamy scent and juicy texture.

Sauvignon Blancs pair wonderfully with a wide variety of foods; fish, sea food, crab cakes, Mexican dishes, vegetarian meals, any kind of salad you can think of, and sushi. Once, in Atlanta on a buying trip for my shop, I found a restaurant with a great New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and mouthwatering crab cakes.  (This is making me hungry.) I couldn’t get enough of this combination… so I ordered it three days in a row. It was just so good.

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Riesling 101 – a good place to begin exploring the world of wines

Rieslings (REES-lings) are the most wonderfully diverse wines in the world.

When we are having a Lagniappe wine tasting, my customers seem to enjoy Rieslings the most. These wines are intensely flavorful, clean and crisp, and can be anywhere from dry to extremely sweet. Light and low in alcohol, Rieslings are a good choice to start your exploration into the world of wines. But, they are not the “starter” wine that some have said of them. People are beginning to realize what awesome wines Rieslings can be.

Riesling Grapes photo by Greg Hirson

The Riesling grape grows best in the cooler climates such as Germany, northern Austria, Alsace, France, upstate New York and Washington. Rieslings from a warmer climate such as California are usually softer and slightly fuller.

Their orchard fruit flavors from apple to pear to peach and their vibrant acidity make them very versatile to pair with foods. The Alsace Rieslings are mostly dry with complex, fuller flavors than German Rieslings. German Rieslings are usually very elegant.

If you are picking out a German Riesling, here are some descriptive words that will help you determine their style:

Kabinett (kah-bih-NEHT):  most elegant, usually dry, a light-bodied wine and the most food friendly. The grapes are picked during a normal harvest.

Spatlese (SHPAYT-lay-zuh): literally, late harvest. They have a greater intensity and strength, but don’t taste overly sweet because of their high acidity.

Auslese (OWS-lay-zuh): select harvest made from very ripe grapes harvested in select bunches; another step up in richness and intensity.

Food pairing…

Rieslings are the most versatile white wine to pair with food because their flavors are clean and pure while being high in acid. The Germans drink them with just about everything; from sausages to wiener schnitzel to pork roast. An off-dry Riesling goes well with Mexican salsa. Rieslings are great with Asian foods, vegetable dishes and salads.

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