Feast Magazine and St. Louis Originals
Happy Hour Wine Tasting with STLwinegirl

September 23, 2010

Each month STLwinegirl and Feast Magazine publisher Catherine Neville host a wine tasting at a different St. Louis Originals restaurant. The wines chosen are based on one or more of the wines that Angela Ortmann writes about in the publication’s On the Shelf column. Attending guests must RSVP to the event as space is limited.

September’s tasting took place at Araka Restaurant in Clayton. Our theme this month was about showcasing some rather “unknown” wine varietals. Guests were seated in a portion of the main dining room and given tasting notes. Angela led the group through the tasting and presented information on the varietals and wineries. Collectively, the group tasted the wines individually and discussed them while Chef Steven Caravelli sent out niblets to pair with each.

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2009 Terredora Falanghina, Italy
Olive Oil Hummus on a Pita Chip
Aromas of quince and pear. Fresh and clean with good structure
and acidity. Notes of floral on the finish.
Food Pairing Idea: Herbed Goat Cheese
Araka Pairing Dish: Prince Edward Island Mussels

2007 Vina Mayor Verdejo, Spain
Sockeye Salmon Tartare with Creme Fraiche, Red Onion and Dill
Tropical fruits and ripe peaches. Medium body with lingering acidity.
Stone fruit flavors.
Food Pairing Idea: Grilled Salmon
Araka Pairing Dish: Cauliflower Agnolotti

2006 Gerard Bertrand Corbieres, France
Mushroom “Cigar”
Blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre.
Smells of cherry and plum. Spicy and herbal.
Food Pairing Idea: Cassoulet
Araka Pairing Dish: Seared Duck Breast

2007 Juan Gil Jumilla, Spain
Flat Iron Skewers with Balsamic Steak Sauce
Monastrell grape. Dark fruit with hints of smoke and leather.
Wild berries and oak are prominent, medium tannins.
Food Pairing Idea: Osso Bucco
Araka Pairing Dish: Piedmontese Flat Iron
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While some of the guests were familiar with a few of the wines, it was interesting to see how many people thought they were not going to enjoy a specific wine and then ended up changing their minds. There were a lot of fantastic questions and interesting observations. Catherine and Angela are commited to providing an enjoyable, interactive and educational experience. We were happy to see so many guests stay to enjoy dinner afterwards as well. As you can see with the magazine columns, we are all big fans of Araka and Chef Caravelli!

*See what dish and wines Angela paired at Araka in her “Quite the Pair” column last week*

Below is a picture of STLwinegirl Angela Ortmann demonstrating “aerating” wine in your mouth. It’s a technique, mostly used for red wine, that is used to slowly bring air in the mouth along with the wine to create movement and give you an idea of what the wine will taste like as it continues to evolve in the glass or bottle.

Check out the October issue, on stands now, to see where our next tasting will take place and be sure to RSVP asap before we sell out!

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This summer has brought a new aspect to the STLwinegirl business. I am now a columnist for the recently-launched FEAST Magazine, a local publication that covers the culinary lifestyle.

I have a monthly print column “On the Shelf” where I recommend three new wine buys. Each wine is complete with tasting notes and food pairings. I have two counterparts to this column… beer and spirits. Mike Sweeney of STLhops.com writes the beer picks and Chad Michael George of Proof Academy talks about new spirits and provides cocktail recipes.

Along with the print, I write a weekly online-exclusive column called “Quite the Pair” where I dine around town tasting amazing dishes from local establishments and offering pairing suggestions from the restaurant’s own wine list.

My other project with the publication is co-hosting the magazine’s monthly wine tasting “happy hours” with publisher Catherine Neville. Each month we will visit a different St. Louis Originals restaurant and feature wines inspired by the restaurant and my monthly “On the Shelf” wine picks. This is a free event to the public but space is limited and reservations are required to attend.

I am very excited about this new opportunity and hope you will follow me as I make my way through the shelves, menus and wine lists of St. Louis!