STLwinegirl on TV

September 30, 2009


Catch STLwinegirl on the Channel 5
KSDK MetroMix Primetime Special!

There will be a “Top Chef” style competition at this weekend’s
Taste of St. Louis festival. In true Top Chef fashion, there have
been some “elimation” challenges along the way,
working up to the final face-off this weekend. The final two chefs
hoping to gain a spot on the stage at the Taste will go head to head

on live television tomorrow evening.

There will be three judges tasting the food, including one chef
and… one STLwinegirl!
Yes, I have so fortunately been selected and asked to be
\one of the judges to appear on the special and give my

professional opinion on two of STL’s best chefs’ dishes.

Needless to say, I am ridiculously excited, a little nervous,

but 99% EXCITED!

I love this kind of stuff. I love to watch it. I love to be part of it.

So, Thursday October 1 at 7pm on KSDK Channel 5.
Steve Gontram, Harvest vs. Brian Hale, Chase Park Plaza

For my out-of-towners, check out
www.tastestl.com or www.ksdk.com

for possible streaming.
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In Celebration… 09.20.2009

September 29, 2009

So, last Sunday, my boyfriend pulled the trigger and bought a house! He has been looking and looking for months and months. And, to top it all off, he is building! WOW! A brand new house! Craziness!!!

So naturally, being who I am, what I am, I run off to the grocery store for wine, cheese, dinner and dessert! I roamed the new Schnucks in Des Peres for over an hour. I knew I wanted to do a little play on surf and turf, but had to choose the surf and the turf… not to mention, the sides, the cheese, the wine and the dessert! Then back to the apartment to set up. I knew we would need at least 5 different glasses for the evening and wanted to set the table with beautiful plates and candles.

Now, being who he is, I of course greeted him at the door with a snifter of Grand Marnier (his drink of choice!) for our first toast. Next, popped open the bubbly. I wanted a rosé, so I went with the Mirabelle from Schramsberg….

Mirabelle Brut Rosé
Schramsberg
California

“A specially crafted blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Schramsberg’s select cool-climate vineyards in Carneros, Anderson Valley, and the Sonoma and Marin coastal areas of Northern California. Pinot Noir provide brightness of berry fruit and body, while Chardonnay lends length and zest to the palate. Additional flavor depth and aromatic complexity results from the blending of base wine lots aged in barrels and tanks for one or more years. The finished Brut Rosé exhibits fresh, elegant and toasty aromas that lead into lively and delicious fruit flavors on the palate.”

Cheese plate consists of an Italian Tallegio and Spanish Mahon, fig compote and whole wheat crackers. A wonderful complement to our glasses of sparkling while I work on the main course!

Let’s start with the “SURF” ~ Bacon wrapped scallops. Something you should know… boyfriend loves bacon. Period. End of story. I knew I should incorporate it into his “celebration” dinner so it later found itself wrapped around nice, big sea scallops. I marinated the scallops in mango and citrus juice concoction and covered them with a lime seafood rub. No bacon yet.

***Cooking notes: Marinate for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. When ready, heat olive oil in frying pan until medium to high heat. Sear scallops on each side for only 2 minutes. You want to achieve color and crust but not cook through. Set aside until ready to cook to serve. At that time, wrapped pre-cooked bacon around scallop and secure with toothpick. Heat scallops in oven of 300 degrees for only about 3-4 minutes. Do not overcook or else they will become “rubbery.”***

White wine pairing for scallops was a beautiful Italian blend.

2008 Carpineto Dogajolo Bianco

Tuscany, Italy
40% Chardonnay
30% Grechetto
30% Sauvignon Blanc.

“Pleasantly fruity, elegantly aromatic, it shows good body and agreeable acidity. It has a fresh, harmonious taste.”

We really loved this wine. While this would be an obvious pick for a summer white for me, the food pairing here was incredible. The nose was full of apple and green fruit and the mouth was well balanced with the sweetness of fruit and richness of the earth.

Now, on to the “TURF” ~ Whiskey Lamb Chops. I debated between veal or lamb. I think in the end, it was the better choice for the scallop accompaniment. I soaked each side of the chop in a little honey and whiskey, then used a blend of spices and dried onions to season. Looking to play up the natural juices of the lamb while highlighting a touch of sweetness to emulate the scallop.

***Cooking notes: Marinate for anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. Like the scallop you are looking to get color and crust on the meat in a quick, very hot way (do not burn!) and then pull off the heat to let the meat “rest.” Set aside until ready to cook to serve. At that time, put chops in oven of 400 degrees for only about 5 minutes for medium rare.***

Wine pairing for the lamb was an old vine Zinfandel.

2007 Cline Cellars Ancient Vines Zinfandel

100% Zinfandel
California
From vines that are 80 to 100 years old.

“This wine shows wonderful dusty raspberry, blackberry, white pepper and spice, with coffee and chocolate characters. Ripe fruit and soft tannins make this a mouth-coating rich vintage. Aging in new and used wood has lent this wine a subtle vanilla quality that nicely complements the explosive fruit notes.”
I wanted big, fruity and earthy for the meat. On one hand, I love to have my white and red wines to be very different! On the other hand, I did not want it to overpower the lamb. Let me tell you… it did not. (Insert smiley face here.)

Now to balance the meal are the side dishes.

First up… the vegetable ~ brussel sprouts with sage brown butter. I a bought beautiful, fresh selection of eight. I very much recommendation going with fresh not frozen for this vegetable! Bring water to a boil and drop in halved sprouts. Leave them until the rise and turn a bright beautiful green color. In a saucepan, I browned whole butter. Once melted, added chopped fresh sage. Cook until brown and aromatic. Toss brussel sprouts and sage butter together in a bowl and set aside. If you are not immediately serving, you can pop these back in the oven for a few minutes before meal.

For my starch ~ roasted fingerling and purple potatoes. Slice raw potatoes and coat them with olive oil and roasting spices. I do this in a ziploc bag so I can control the process. Put in a roasting pan and in the oven on 400 until soft.

With wines…..
As you can see, we still have our snifters of Grand Marnier “just in case.”

I had a huge dessert plan, but after all of this… we ended up just munching on Mayan Dark Chocolate and finishing the Zinfandel. I know, I know, we broke the traditional dessert/wine pairing rule (Dessert wine should be sweeter than the dessert itself), but the earth and chocolate in both the wine and the dessert was just what we needed to end the evening.

HERE’S TO LOOKING FORWARD TO COOKING FABULOUS MEALS AND POURING FABULOUS WINES FOR OUR FABULOUS FRIENDS IN HIS NEW FABULOUS HOUSE!

Casa Lapostolle

Cabernet Sauvignon
85 % Cabernet Sauvignon
6% Carmenere
6% Petit Verdot
3% Cabernet Franc

Rapal Valley, Chile

Average price $13 to $19

“The 2005-2006 season was quite normal but late summer temperatures were cooler and resulted in a growing season that was drier and colder than the past seven years. There was no rainfall during harvest; but due to the cooler temperatures throughout, the primary challenge of the 2006 vintage was the extended hang-time in order for each variety to reach proper phenolic maturity. This extension of the season conserved the fruit and allowed for good concentration with soft, well-rounded tannins. Cold nights at the beginning of April preserved the natural fruit acidity and lively expression. On the other hand, we were lucky that conditions remained stable and a dry autumn allowed us to wait patiently to harvest ripe fruits at the level of maturity we were looking for.”
70 % of the blend was aged for 6 months in used French oak barrels.
30 % of the blend was aged in stainless steel tanks.

Tasting notes from producer:
COLOR: Pretty bright red with ruby violet hints.
NOSE: Red fruit and cassis well balanced with an elegant touch of oak.
MOUTH: Middle body and good tannic structure create a wine that is perfect to be enjoyed today or cellar for several years.

Truth be told, this wine tasting was a tribute to my boyfriend. He is an avid (yes, AVID) Grand Marnier drinker. Casa Lapostolle is a branch off of the Marnier Lapostolle family. The great granddaughter Alexandra and her husband Cyril started this particular winery in Chile in 1994. Chile has a climate and terrior similar to parts of France. Today, Casa Lapostolle owns 350 has in three different vineyards and produce a total of 200.000 cases spread over Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenère, and Syrah. Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère are among the most successful.

I decided upfront that tonight’s wine would only be tasted with cheese. While one would probably lean toward a Spanish influenced cheese, I wanted something big, creamy and stinky. Enter Époisses. I would go as far as to say that this is my favorite cheese of all time. Not only for flavor texture, etc… but it has an emotional connection for me. My best girls from San Francisco and I would eat this, guacamole and an expensive bottle of red wine while watching Sex and the City on any given random night… Yes, it’s true.

Upon opening, the alcohol was apparent. At 14.5%, you wouldn’t think you would be able to detect the alcohol straight up front, but you did. At this point, I made the decision to decant. I often get asked “when to decant?” ~ honestly, it’s a personal choice… age (young or old), alcohol content, time of consumption, etc all play roles. Just like all wine is different at any moment, all wine will react to decanting differently… No “hard and fast” rules. Some will argue otherwise, not me.

After about 30 minutes, the aromas of strawberry, currants and blackberries start to emerge. I can sense the oak as well. The taste is not what one would expect of a typical Cabernet Sauvignon. But remember, we aren’t in Napa anymore…

The underlying herbaceous makes me think of meats rubbed with fresh herbs or even mushroom pairings. It is also not a super heavy wine. I would say closer to medium bodied versus the fullness of a traditional Cab or Bordeaux.

Pairing-wise… I am happy. I like the cut into the pungency but thoroughly enjoy the enhancement of earthiness. While there are probably a plethora of dishes that would be my first choice pairings, I am not regretting the decision of simple cheese and wine tonight.

Chilean Cabernets are very different from your “expected” Cabs of California. Lighter in body, style and flavor… Chilean Cabs are a combination of Old World and New World ideals ~ bringing the earth and spice of the Old World while being fruit forward as a New World wine.

I do not recommend going into these wines with expectations. Allow yourself to experience something new. Let your mind make it’s own assumptions, comparisons and accusations. As a “new” addition to our world wine profile, it deserves our respect and time to create it’s own profile.

NEW ADDITION:
Maya Gold from Green and Black Chocolate Bar
Dark chocolate with orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, spices…
LOVE IT!

As most of you know, I don’t always go by the rule “dessert wine should be sweeter than the dessert” ~ I love big red wines with dark chocolate and rich desserts.

The spice, chocolate and red wine combination is amazing. A perfect mellow yet rich ending to my evening. One of which that needed kind uplifting and a comforting conclusion.
Highly recommended this chocolate bar (I mean, who doesn’t love a Mayan Mocha from Kaldi’s???) but also a thought on dark red wines paired with simple dark chocolate….

2007 Layer Cake Primitivo

100% Primitivo
Puglia, Italy

Average price range $12 to $15

“My old grandfather made and enjoyed wine for 80 years. He told me the soils in which the vines lived were a layer cake. He told me the soil in which the vines lived were a layer cake. He said, the wine, if properly made,was like a great layer cake… fruit, mocha, chocolate, and hints of spice — and rich, always rich.
‘Never pass up a good Layer Cake,’ he would say.
‘I have always loved those words.’
– A TRIBUTE TO JAYSON WOODBRIDGE’S GRANDFATHER, A. ORLANDO

“The fruit comes from head-trained old vines and is harvested in early September. This is truly remarkable plant material in very old vineyards; some dating to Roman times. The soils in Manduria are red iron-rich clays with large calcareous rocks, shells and coral from ancient sea beds. We’re talking ancient, gnarled baskets hugging the ground and rocks around them, ancient chariots buried underneath, lost civilization stuff.”

A balance of elegance and power; inky black fruit, spice and white pepper, jammy black cherries, plums, blackberry fruit, truffles, tar, and espresso. Warm and rich in the mouth with a creamy texture; the ripe fruit is well supported by the deep structure of the wine.”

As of recent DNA analysis, we have learned that Italian Primitivo and Zinfandel are identical grape varietals. The exciting part about this is that we have yet another grape to show off stylistically different. One of the enjoyments I get out of wine is the ever-changing, ever-expanding, ever-differentiating versions.
Layer Cake is a brand that is showing wines from many different locations… Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, Italian Primitivo, Malbec from Argentina and Shiraz from Southern Australia. This is a winemaker that refuses to settle on one region and chooses to make wines where he thinks they produce best.

For dinner tonight, I was in an Italian mood. Not a fan of the typical spaghetti with meat sauce or fettucine alfredo, I went for something more “rustic.” Whole wheat capelllini tossed in Tuneta olive oil and garlic, sauteed with prosciutto, mushrooms, and sage. Topped with a romano crusted grilled chicken. Because it’s my boyfriend’s favorite, we of course had to have cheese garlic bread (no worries, I have my own gourmet recipe for this!). On the side was a tossed green salad… one I like to call “a la Pasta House” 🙂 Yes, I have learned to make my own version…!

Per usual, I open the wine while I cook. The familiar aromas of a Zinfandel fill my glass. Dark black fruits of blackberry, blueberry, raspberry. Hints of mocha and spice, pepper too, maybe even a bit of cigar in there. (P.S. one of my favorite big red one aromas.) I appreciate the fullness of the wine without it being overpowering.

Pairing the food… In the most basic of terms, I am a sucker for cheese and red wine. So a meal that has a cheese, especially with salt and garlic, oh I am in heaven. The wine is not too strong for the chicken because the flavor profile of the dish is rather strong. Pasta always helps stand up to a ‘bigger’ wine. The creamy texture of the salad works nicely as well. And I love pepper and spice in a red wine. Love it.

While I have my favorite Zinfandels and have enjoyed a Primitivo or two in my day, I am very satisfied with this well-made, well-priced wine. If nothing else, it is worth picking up to compare it to a California Zinfandel… You will not be let down from nose to mouth.

Fireworks not anticipated, but enjoyment expected.

In Home Tasting 09.11.2009

September 12, 2009

So last night’s tasting was a little different than my previous events. The majority of the guests were couples I went to high school with and hadn’t seen in years! I knew right away we were in for a night of chat and fun!

Most of the guests had indicated that they didn’t know too much about wine and mostly just stuck to what they knew. The most popular “regular” wine was Riesling. Taking this information, I decided to try to use some familiar flavor profiles of the wines and really use my food pairings to enhance the wine choices that might be new to them.

We started with just going over my background, how I got into this whole biz and what they have been up to. Then the wine. First, we talked glassware. Shapes, sizes, brands, etc. Then I showed them my five step process to tasting wine and food. This led to some introductory questions and then on to the food!

Thai Basil Shrimp with Lemongrass Jasmine Rice
2008 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier from California

Sage Chicken with Spinach-Gouda Cream Sauce
2007 La Crema Chardonnay from Sonoma, California

***used this opportunity to experiment… we poured the wine into our regular glasses to swirl, smell and taste, then I had them pour the wine into a small plastic cocktail cup to emphasize the difference proper glassware does make (a little trick learned from Riedel!). I also opened up a traditional French Chardonnay, a Verget, to taste side by side to showcase how the same grape can be so stylisticly different in aroma and flavor.***

Slow Roasted Pork with Butternut Squash-Apple Polenta
2005 Hahn Family Estates Pinot Noir from Monterey, California

Duck Mole Enchiladas with Goat Cheese
2006 BIN 36 Syrah from Central Coast, California

Honey Almond Ricotta Cheesecake
Il Conte Moscato d’Asti from Piedmont, Italy

Discussion was flowing. So many fantastic questions. The group showed a lot of excitement, interest and eagerness to learn. We even had a couple guests that had never had red wine. And while, upon first taste, they were in no way converted, but the food pairing really opened up their palate and minds to future experimenting.

This was a great example of why I do this for a living. It is unbelievably fun and rewarding to be able to share your knowledge and passion with people in a relaxed and exciting setting. To help take away to discomfort of asking about wine. To be able to share with them answers to questions they have been wondering about for years. To provide fabulous food and wine to a group of friends and family to enjoy. To help bring ease to the experience of choosing, ordering and drinking wine. To show the ways that wine and food can be used together to enhance the full experience of both. And while there is no way to go over everything in one evening, I truly feel that we covered a wide range of topics and information. This tasting went on until almost midnight (my lastest In Home Tasting to date), a testiment to the fun and amazing interaction that was taking place.

Thank you to all that came. I truly enjoyed your company and hope that I helped bring the world of food and wine into a new light for you. See you again at a future STLwinegirl event! 🙂


2005 Alamos Merlot
100% Merlot
Mendoza, Argentina

Average price range $10 to $12

“Our story of is one of how we have poured our lives, our passion, our spirit into transforming a scrub laden desert into some of the most beautiful and unique vineyards in the world.”

“Alamos Merlot is made from grapes grown on the eastern slopes of the low mountains of the great Andes. For more than 100 years the Catena family has been making wines in Mendoza, Aegentina. The cool climate and wide night day temperature differential that exist in the Catena family’s high altitude vineyards at above 4000 feet elevation are ideal for growing Merlot.”

“The 2005 Alamos Merlot presents a dark violet color with reddish tones. The nose is full of ripe plum and cherry aromas with light notes of chocolate and toast. The mouthfeel is soft and gentle with excellent texture, showing jammy red fruit flavors and finishing with supple tannins and vibrant acidity.”

I was excited to open a red wine from Argentina that was NOT a Malbec. Don’t get me wrong… I love my Malbec from Argentina, but it is fun to see what else is coming out of our latest and greatest…

Upon opening, I see the sediment on the cork. I am pleased because I prefer Merlot with a touch of age. The aromas of red rasperries and blueberries are my first impressions. Then a hint of blackberry, but not too dark… I pick up the slightest bit of oak. French oak, only accentuating the toast and chocolate the wine is displaying.

My plate tonight is actually of Mediterranean decent. Orzo with white beans, cranberries, spinach, feta… But the extra cheese I added on top made me want a bigger red that was smooth. Enter Alamos Merlot.

I have had this bottle for about a year or so. I know that I prefer a Merlot with age so I was sitting on it. Granted, I would probably LOVE it in about 2 years, I am still happy with my decision to open it tonight. It is smooth and lovely. Has the berry fruit and warmness that I was expecting. It stands up to my ‘grainy’ dish while complementing the cheeses I chose. I enjoy the hints of plum and cherry. I did not anticipate much tannin, to which I am correct and just feel the mouth of silky, smooth texture

And, another wonderful aspect, after finishing my meal, I am still interested in drinking my wine. Sometimes I will put it away for later analyzation and enjoyment but tonight is different. I want to continue….

Tonight is football night. The first night of football actually. “Official” football, not preseason… While most are home enjoying their brew of choice, I am here reveling in my very complacent, very delightful, very gratifying Merlot.

(After about 30 minutes of air, true earthiness starts to show… LOVE IT!)

And, once again, thank you ARGENTINA!

And here we are again…
your fantasy teams have been picked,
your team paraphernalia is out and about,
your jerseys are washed (hopefully) and ready for wear…
Now it’s time to think about that favorite Sunday football food! Yes, we all know that beer is the traditional matchup for your favorite greasy bites…
BUT what if you are in the mood for wine instead?

My tips for wine pairings with top football foods:

WINGS
Buffalo Style – Riesling or Gewurztraminer to cool it down
Traditional – Chardonnay to play on the butter

NACHOS
Spicy Chicken Nachos – the sweetness of a Viognier will help balance out the spice
Big Beefy or Steak Nachos – Zinfandel to stand up to the heartiness and pepper

POPCORN
I love a sparkling wine with the butter and crunch of popcorn (especially a Blanc de Blanc!)

QUESADILLAS
Mild Chicken – Sauvignon Blanc for a refreshing twist
Grilled Steak – For a smooth complement, try a Merlot
PIZZA
Cheese, Pepperoni, ANYTHING – go for that Italian Red, such as a Dolcetto
If you like loads of veggies on your pie, pick up an earthier red like a Chianti (Sangiovese)
SANDWICHES
Turkey – Try a Pinot Noir to add some depth
Roast Beef – Go big with a Cabernet Sauvignon
BLT – How about a Beaujolais?
CROCK POT ‘LIL’ SMOKIES
If you like your BBQ sauce with a touch of spice like I do, definitely pop the Syrah/Shiraz
DIPS
Dill (my boyfriend’s favorite!) – New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc would play nicely
French Onion – Tough one, Gruner Vetliner? This may be an experiment of mine 😉
Guacamole – Go light with Vinho Verde or play up creamy avocado with Oregon Pinot Gris
Salsa – Thinking to go sparkling again here, like a Cava
FRIED FOODS
Fried Chicken – Believe it or not… sparkling again! Think Coke & chips – bubbles & fried food!
Stuffed Mushrooms – Earthy Pinot Noir
Mozzarella Sticks – Go back to Italy, Nero d’Avola
CHILI
It was brought to my attention that I forgot the ALL IMPORTANT delicacy that is CHILI!
My recommendation here (assuming it is a nice spicy, meaty, cheesy, and full of onions and beans) would be an Malbec from Argentina… I mean, if you are gonna go big, GO BIG! 🙂
And LAST but NOT least….
Our St. Louis favorite (in case you missed my tip in St. Louis Magazine!)…
TOASTED RAVIOLI – I am partial to a Montepulciano for the sweet fruit and smooth body
What are your favorite football foods?
Do you have a favorite wine to pair?
Need a suggestion?

Good luck to all and because I am the STLwinegirl,
of course, GO RAMS! 😉


2006 Bin 36 Syrah
100% Syrah
Central Coast, California
Average price range $18 to $22
Conceived in Chicago, born in California.
DRINK WINE. LIVE WELL. HAVE FUN.
BIN 36 wants to share our love of wine and
believes the best way to learn about wine is to drink it.
“Plump and round with plum scented berries, hints of smoke, earthy minerals and leather.”
I knew this was the bottle I wanted to open tonight so I worked opposite than I usually do… wine first, base the food around that. Syrah is my “go-to” red wine for BBQ, so we decided to cook up some gourmet burgers with traditional sides. I seasoned the meat with garlic, worchestershire, whole grain mustard, salt, pepper, and smoke rub. Then I added some of the BBQ sauce (yes, a little tip there, add a little of your basting sauce into the meat before you cook it) and also threw in some chopped applewood bacon. As for my choice of cheese, I wanted something smokey, so smoke gouda it was. Straight off the wheel, no pre sliced, processed stuff! Our sides were baked beans seasoned with brown sugar, bacon and BBQ sauce and then a red potato and egg salad. (Can you tell it’s Labor Day yet???)
I opened the wine about 30 minutes before dinner was ready. One, I wanted a glass while I cooked 🙂 and two, I was interested to see how it would change over the evening. I do this a lot. I have been known to time out periods and taste the wine every 20-30 minutes and make notes of changes I pick up on…
The wine was exactly what I was hoping for. Bold yet smooth. Smokey and earthy with nice subtle dark fruit. I did get the plum essence, but more on the prune side for me. Just to emphasize the connection of your sense of smell and taste… I loved the exerience of being over a smokey grill while sipping on this wine. It helped bring out so many flavors in the wine. My mouth was actually watering while I was cooking, yet I hadn’t tasted any of the food yet!
Dinner is served!
The burgers are juicy and flavorful. The gouda is playing nicely with the smoke chips we used in the grill. The Syrah is heaven. The fruit of the wine and the hint of garlic in the meat balanced nicely. The heaviness of the beans stood up well with the wine. And the bacon in both dishes couldn’t have been better with the earthiness of the red wine. As for the potato salad, it ended up being more of an afterthought. Not that we think wine pairing when we eat potato salads, but it is nice when the two mesh. I wouldn’t say these were a match, but they also definitely did not offset one another.
I have always been a fan of Bin 36 wines, but the Syrah is by far my favorite. It encompasses everything that I look for in a California Syrah. Dark fruit, earth, spice, smoke. Even though we were playing with an “end of summer” BBQ, this wine made me feel ready for fall!
All in all, a nice Labor Day BBQ with a fantastic wine!
Announcing: The fourth class in the Food & Wine Pairing Series at Provisions

September 22 ~ 6:30pm
FIRST day of Fall

Come celebrate the season change with great food and wonderful wines!

“AUTUMN ARRIVAL”

Butternut Squash and Roasted Vegetable Medley
Parmesan Chicken with Oyster Mushroom and Bordelaise Sauce
Maple Duck
Tarragon Flank Steak with Sage Brussel Sprouts
Fuji Apple and Cinnamon Streusel

Reserve now before it sells out!
http://www.provisionsmarket.com/

American Express, in partnership with NBC Universal, are celebrating inspiring small businesses. The winning entry gets $100,000 in grant and marketing toward their entrepreneurship. Nominees need at least 50 endorsements (aka votes) to be considered by the judges. They will be looking for innovation (especially during tough times), customer service, and community involvement.

I am fortunated to have been nominated. I would appreciate your time and endorsement so that I may be considered for this amazing opportunity…

http://shinealight.ivillage.com/sbo-profile/?ProfileID=4888

STLwinegirl: Turning Passion Into Business

“I met Angela Ortmann while living a carefree lifestyle in SF. We were working in the high-end restaurant/hotel industry. You wouldn’t have known it from the outside, but Angela was struggling with medical issues since age 16. Things got worse through the years, to where she could no longer work and had to relocate to St. Louis to have family support. She then gained employment at St. Louis’ top restaurants/hotels, but the combination of her illnesses and passion to do more with her food and wine knowledge prompted her to start her own business. Ortmann launched STLwinegirl in February 2009, a unique food/wine business that focuses on the enjoyment and education of both. Her mission is to make food/wine more accessible and approachable. She hosts classes/events for local businesses, restaurants, and organizations but the real innovation is in her “In Home Tastings.” She comes to a group of friends/family and provides a full food/wine experience. Cooking herself, she prepares a five course meal with perfectly paired wines. Along with glassware demonstrations, answering questions, teaching basics of wine tasting and giving tips on how to pair food/wine, she also brings everything: food, wine, glasses, plates, silverware, etc… having a house gathering is hard enough, therefore Angela tries to take on the work of the host. Clients’ experiences are of the utmost importance to her success. Devoted to making every tasting a CUSTOM event, Ortmann doesn’t keep an inventory so that she never fees obligated to use specific wines. Angela researches the like/dislikes of her guests and then introduce them to new things. She teaches the subjectivity of wine so everyone feels comfortable voicing their opinions. Everyone’s input counts. The schedule flexibility and the enjoyment she gets from her work helps her to earn a living while dealing with her personal medical needs. Because the economy is tough for “luxury” businesses, Angela keeps rates reasonable and provides new options to still have fun times with your friends/family without breaking the bank. Due to her personal experiences, Ortmann thought it was extremely important to give back to a community that has supported her efforts. She not only regularly donates her time and tastings to charity auctions and events, but she also serves as a member of the Junior Board of Directors for the Crider Center, a United Way organization that provides medical and supportive needs to the families of her county of residence and other surrounding counties. She recently helped raised over $1200 at just one auction event from her donations of food and wine gifts and tasting parties. With only online social media and word-of-mouth at her disposal, STLwinegirl is a business that has grown tremendously over only six months. She was featured as “One to Watch” in the local food and wine publicaition, Sauce Magazine (July 2009) and part of a wine article in the September 2009 St. Louis Magazine. Angela shows what passion and determination can do even in the face of struggle, while still maintaining a “give back” attitude.”
Nominated by: jmikelson