What’s the Sexiest Wine in Roanoke?

Let the wine be your guide tonight

What’s everybody drinking with their sweethearts for Valentine’s Day?  A quick look at the TOP WINES at Wine Gourmet for the last week reveal:

#5  Italian Reds –  What says “Cara mia, ti amo molto (My darling, I love you deeply) better than a spicy Italian red and a big pan of lasagna?   After all, the most direct route to the heart, is through the stomach.  si o non?

#4  Champagne – Pricey but impressive, a true Champagne is a sensual delight that is the stuff of seduction.

#3  Sparkling wine – Champagne a bit too dear?, then opt for a frugal cousin.  We have sensational sparklers for as little as $8.99  🙂

#2  Napa Cabernets – Grilling a heart-shaped steak tonight?  Many have purchased the cadillac of Cabernets – Napa Cab!

#1  Red Bordeaux – We have five different labels of the spectatcular 2009 vintage.


So, there you are. Five different wine directions you may take with the object of your affection and ardor. But you don’t want to just plop the bottle down in the middle of the table and then tuck the napkin in your shirt.  You want to do this right.  So, in the interest of your love and edification, we boldly suggest the following:

  • Find the person you love.
  • Say his or her name.
  • Say je t’aime:
    • j in je is pronounced [zh] like the g in mirage
    • e is pronounced like the oo in good
    • t’aime is pronounced [tem] to rhyme with them.
  1. Optional: Follow with “my darling”:
    • To a woman = ma chérie, pronounced [ma shay ree].
    • To a man = mon chéri, pronounced [mo(n) shay ree]. The (n) is nasal.
    • You can also choose a different French term of endearment
  2. Optional: To respond to someone who says “I love you,” say Moi aussi, je t’aime (I love you too).
    • moi is pronounced “mwa.”
    • aussi is pronounced “oh see.”

What you need

  • A few minutes of practice
  • A romantic location
  • Your beloved
  • (optional) wine, candles, flowers, trimmed nails, bonbons, a drawn bath, soft music, an engagement ring perhaps …

[One last tip, for the guys:  Silly String is not appropriate and will not be received with an appreciation of your impish sense of humor.]


Published in: on February 14, 2011 at 7:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Join Wine of the Month Club? Reason #1

Wine Gourmet’s Wine Club is made of a hundreds of people just like you – looking for a value, craving a tasting adventure and seeking a little knowledge about the beverage we all love. Each week for the next six weeks, we’ll give you another great reason to join SW Virginia’s largest Wine Club and start enjoying your selections today.

Reason #1
Enjoy $2 discount on each bottle chosen as Wine Club selection. So Club members save $4/month on wine right off the top.

Free membership.

Click here to join online.
Call to join at 540.400.8466.
Visit us to join at 2219 Franklin Road, SW, Roanoke VA 24014.

Published in: on February 4, 2011 at 6:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Perfect Gift

Find Gift Baskets filled with high quality wines, thoughtfully selected foods such as Vermont aged cheddar, Rowena’s baby bundt cakes, The Peanut Shop peanuts, fresh-baked biscotti at Wine Gourmet.

See Kimberly present all the baskets on Channel 10’s Our Blue Ridge, December 2010.

The Perfect Gift

The entire basket is assembled right here in the shop.

Perfect gifts for many people in your life.


Watch Mechelle put together the most popular gift basket of the season – the 2-bottle basket.

To order please call us at 540.400.8466 or email info@winegourmet.biz

Click Here for all Baskets



Take Comfort – Comfort Cuisine has Dinner Ready for You

You are going to love it!  Pick up your freshly-prepared meal and a bottle of wine anytime.  Just visit Comfort Cuisine or call 540.427.1244, order your meal and pick it up at Wine Gourmet.

As for Comfort Cuisine, you’ll fall in love with their foods made with fresh, whole foods.  Everything Chef Jon makes is plain deliciousness.

Check out the video and get a sneak peek of how your meal will be prepared.

Wine Gourmet Tailgating Tips | WSLS 10

We are in the midst of football frenzy in SW Virginia.  With that, our manager, Mike Harper,  goes on the record as to what wines, beers, hot sauces and gadgets go with pigskin.

Wine Gourmet Tailgating Tips | WSLS 10.

Published in: on September 20, 2010 at 2:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

The New Neighbors Next Door

Mike & I witnessed the “ever-compelling” process of auctioning off the Ivy Market property that encircles Wine Gourmet.  Here is the video from this morning.

Published in: on June 30, 2010 at 8:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Winner, winner Pomegranate wine dinner!

This Tuesday (June 15) Wine Gourmet is very pleased to team for its second (in, hopefully, a long series) of wine dinners, with the delightful Pomegranate in Troutville.
“Troutville!”, you say, “Sure, Pomegranate’s a wonderful place but golly, I don’t want to consume a bunch of wine and then have to drive right away – that’s not safe!”

Point well taken.
That is why we have made arrangements to hire a luxury motor coach for the occasion that will convey you gracefully to and from Pomegranate at (drum roll please) . . .  no additional charge!
That’s right Bunky, freeZippo de bucko.   – It will cost you not a sausage.

Our coach awaiteth

Dinner is from 6-9pm with a social half-hour starting at 5:30. Our coach will leave from the parking lot situated directly in front of the empty husk of Ukrops at 5pm and will return us, full of belly and pleasant of demeanor at 9:30.  If you prefer to make your own way to and from Pomegranate, no worries, we’re just as delighted to have you.
The price is a mere $75. person (+ tax and gratuity) and reservations can be made by calling Pomegranate directly at 540.966.6052.  Before you reach for the phone, however, read on about our hosts and the menu for the evening.
You may want to have a towel handy to discreetly dab at your watering mouth.

Chef Bradley Harris, the designer of our feast

Originally from Phoenix AZ, Chef Bradley Harris attended the fabled CIA (Culinary Institute of America) in Hyde Park, NY.  In completion of his studies at the CIA, he worked for Clipper Cruise Lines where he had the opportunity to travel significantly in the Far East and in Eastern Russia. There he was exposed to disparate foods and flavors and he immersed himself in these exotic ingredients in order to bring them to his cruise passengers.

He continued to work for Clipper after his graduation and traveled throughout the Mediterranean, North Africa and South America.  As a natural consequence of his extensive travels, he became culinarily inspired. Brad says, “The more I traveled, the more I began to appreciate foreign cuisines, everything from a simple plate of rice and beans to a pristine fish.”

Chef Harris became an habitue of local markets wherever his ship was docked.  He bought many local ingredients and used them in his ever changing weekly menus. In two years and with two different companies he amassed a list of forty-two countries visited.  After that, Brad hung up his deck shoes and headed back to Arizona where he became Executive Sous Chef of the Hilton Tucson East and assisted with the design and launch of their new menu.

Chef Harris came to the Roanoke Valley a year ago to work for Local Roots Cafe as Sous Chef. Now Pomegranate is privileged to have Brad gracing its kitchen. He embraces the Pomegranate themes and concepts, adding his own creative flair and personality.  The result is a solid and harmonious addition to Pomegranate’s reputation for fresh, innovative cuisine.

Our evening's wine magician, Alejandro Rivera

Arizona was also the starting point for Alejandro Rivera’s culinary career. He did a four year apprenticeship at a restaurant there, moving through all the kitchen’s stations and giving himself a solid grounding in food preparation and presentation.  Alejandro moved then to California and worked with the Roy’s restaurant chain whose dishes are in the Hawaiin Fusion style. Alejandro says that they ran a very tightly disciplined organization and he picked up many food and management ideas from his time with them.

Alejandro next went to New Mexico and cast his lot with the folks who had founded the superb Coyote Cafe, often cited as the birthplace of Modern Southwestern Cuisine. They were on to a new endeavor rehabbing a landmark restaurant of Santa Fe, The Compound.  The Compound went on to receive accolades from such corners as Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and even the New York Times. Alejandro did some cooking at The Compound but also acted as the Wine Captain and Sommelier two days a week. When his time with Santa Fe was done, Alejandro said “hasta luego!” to saguaro and adobe and came to Roanoke.  Here he was in charge of the wine program at Frankie Rowlands, doing the full range of wine duties from buying to overseeing storage and inventory, to training staff and consulting with the kitchen on pairing, to being the face of wine for all their customers.  Frankie’s loss was Pomegranate’s gain as Alejandro has brought his considerable knowledge of grape and food to the pride of Troutville.

Together Brad and Alejandro are offering us an exquisite dining experience not easily found in the Valley. The menu for our dinner offers an exciting range of flavors and textures and promises to be as much of delight to behold as it will be to consume.  Just take a look at the menu:

course one
Zucchini blossoms stuffed with paneer, garam marsala salt, fried kale, kale pesto and apple butter.
–  paired with:  Pindal Verdejo and Villa Sophie Lenz Sparkling Riesling

course two
Day boat scallops, mango puree, roasted cauliflower & cucumber salad, country ham, brown butter, and banyuls vinaigrette
–  paired with:  St. Andre Rose and C. Donatello Chardonnay

course three
Chinese tea egg, diakon kim chi, pickled scallions, sweet chili yolk
–  paired with:  Sake and Ginger-infused martini shooter

course four
Beef tartar, caramelized Vidalia onion, shiitakes, warm egg mousse, compressed avocado, brioche
–  paired with:  Chateau Boutillon Bordeaux (2003!) and Baqueano Cabernet / Malbec blend

course five
Corn farce stuffed ravioli, Surry VA bacon, peas, heirloom tomatoes, cotija cheese, baby swiss chard, white wine and sea salt
–  paired with:  Frederic Reverdy Cotes du Rhone Blanc and Domaine Violon Cotes du Rhone Rouge

course six
“Cadbury Cream Egg” – bitter chocolate, saboyon, candied leeks, chocolate soil
“Smores” – chocolate mousse, vanilla meringue, graham, cocoa nibs, marshmallow
–  paired with:  Chateau du Vieux Moulin Loupiac and Quinta de Monte Redondo Tawny Port

This will be a sublime dinner.  Six jaw dropping courses, each paired with two delicious adult beverages.

(cue the violins)  In the future, as you reveal to people that you were there, when that incredible meal was served, gourmands, world travelers, and even heads of state will hold their own life experience cheap in comparison.
(cymbal crash.  fade to black)

Call now.  Operators are standing by.

Published in: on June 11, 2010 at 10:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

One Foodie Couple’s Journey Through Spain – Part I

Adam Z. Markham

I recently read an opinion by the editor of Bon Appetit magazine that one of the primary reasons people travel is for food.  I know in our case it is.  When my wife, Kendall and I decided to honeymoon in Spain, food was definitely one of our motivating factors.

Ah, Spain.   A better decision we could not have made.  If you have not personally travelled to Spain, I cannot begin to encourage you strongly enough, especially if you are a foodie.  Over the next month or so I will publish several installments detailing some of the more spectacular aspects of our journey.  What better place to begin than in our first stop, Madrid, with an homage to my well-known predilection for all-things-pig!

Museo del Jamon!

Museo del Jamon!

The pork, MY GOD, the pork in Spain!  Most of the Spanish must eat pork three meals a day.  The sheer quality and quantity of pork product the two of us ate in the first 36 hours alone is unimaginable to mere mortals.  Suffice it to say, we went to the ¨Museo del Jamon¨.  Yes, you read that right folks… the Museum of Ham.  The Museo del Jamon is actually less a museum and more a food store/restaurant.  Kendall and I made a conscious decision to make it our first official meal in Spain.  We simply ordered up a sampler platter of Iberico hams and sausage products along with a bowl of olives, some beautiful Manchego cheese and a loaf of nice, crusty bread.  Perfect in its simplicity and accompanied by dos grande cervezas, this was, I swear, one of the greatest meals of our lives!

That first evening we went out for tapas.  A simple salad made of canned tuna and tomatoes was a delight (Spanish canned seafood products bear no resemblance to their American equivalents and are, in fact, often even better than fresh).  Our second course was a glazed pork chop accompanied by French Fries.

"The Best Pork Chop EVER"

The description may not sound so exciting but the dish itself led Kendall to exclaim “this may be the best pork I have ever put in my mouth!”  We had a pitcher of fantastic sangria with our meal.  Sangria in Spain seems to be a much simpler affair than it does in the States and makes me want to rethink my recipe no matter how good it might be.

Caviar & Vodka!

Our second day on the ground we went to Mercado de San Miguel, one of the largest and most notable food markets in Espana.  We stayed for over three hours and enjoyed exquisite Spanish sturgeon caviar (we had a small sample of the relatively inexpensive $70 per ounce kind since the Russian Beluga ranged up to $4,000 per pound!) with the finest, smoothest Russian vodka I have ever tasted.  We also sampled grilled octopus and potato skewers and then olives stuffed with pickled sardines and roasted red peppers.  We drank a Taittinger Rose Champagne with strawberries (yes, a French Champagne in Spain – fear not, we had plenty of Cava as well) followed up by fois gras topped with a Valencian orange marmalade.

Sea Urchin, Ostra Gigante and Cerveza

We are adventurous eaters in general and had decided to push ourselves to the limit so we then went to the fishmonger and ordered up fresh, raw sea urchin and ¨gigantic oysters¨ on the half-shell.  Sea urchin.  What can I say?  Honestly, it tasted exactly like the ocean smells (on a good day) and was indeed a bit challenging.  I am not entirely sure we are dying to repeat the experience but I would not trade it for anything.  The oysters, on the other hand, were not in the least bit challenging and were washed down with Spanish Estrella Damm cerveza.

We then moved on to the butcher counter and had a (GET THIS!) $50.00 per pound beef that had the texture of fine silk and was cured in a style similar to Spain´s famous hams.  It was an absolutely sublime experience that you would have to try to believe.  Think chipped beef if chipped beef was one if the greatest red meat products you have ever put in your mouth.  We then proceeded to the queso counter and had a “Minitorta de Oveja”, one of the best, creamiest, funkiest cheeses I have eaten in my life.

Minitorta de Oveja

After an experience like this, what to have for dessert?  How about  ENORMOUS prawns?  I’m talking bigger-than-hot-dog prawns.  The problem was we then realized that we would have to buy about a dozen of the things and honestly didn’t feel up to it after such a bout of conspicuous consumption.  I asked a very nice bartender I had met earlier if a smaller quantity was available.  When the fishmonger turned his head for a moment she surreptitiously grabbed a couple and shoved them at me.  Kendall and I snuck off into a corner to gulp them down but before we could the bartender came running back over with a couple of lemon slices for the squeezing.  Good shrimp.  I’m talking good shrimp.  Our new friend sat watching us happily as we consumed our illicit goodies.  When we were done we literally sucked the fat out of their heads for good measure!  What I would give to have such an experience available to us here in the Roanoke Valley. 

Surreptitious Shrimp

Next Chapter:  Suckling pig at the oldest restaurant on earth!


We Drank a Raspberry Beret

Adam Z. Markham

…but decidedly NOT the kind found in a second-hand store.

My wife and I recently had my sister April and brother-in-law Sean to dinner.  The dinner part was easy:  planked Moroccan spice-rubbed salmon (see photo of delighted cook as exhibit #1…) served with wild rice and garlic-sauteed greens.  Dinner always seems to be the easy part.  The difficult part for me seems to be dessert.

Exhibit #1

Planked Salmon!

We tossed around several ideas.  Homemade sorbet?  No, it was not seasonally appropriate. Chocolate mousse? Too much labor. Fruit and cheese platter? It seems sort of underwhelming after such an assertive dinner. Well, how about we just go buy some sort of dessert at Fresh Market? No, it kinda feels like a copout.


Villa Appalaccia

Wine.  What more could you ask for in a dessert? We tossed around the idea of port or possibly a sherry but it just didn’t feel unique enough for the occasion.  What we finally decided on was Raspberry Beret from Villa Appalaccia.  If you have never tried this delightful offering from one of Virginia’s premier wineries you are truly missing out. And, if you are convinced that sweet wines or non-grape based offerings are only for unsophisticated plebians then you are denying yourself a truly sublime experience.

Raspberry Beret is obviously a raspberry based wine. With 5% residual sugar it is definitely sweet but it has plenty of fruit and more importantly acidity to create a perfectly balanced dessert wine. With 12% ABV (alcohol by volume) it is also no slouch in the complexity department.

Raspberry Beret

Lest it be wrongly assumed that we had skimped on the dessert portion of the menu we decided to buy a single beautiful bar of dark chocolate – something with a cocoa content of around 75-80% should do nicely, thank you very much. We just broke the chocolate bar open at the table and passed it around like a cheap jug-o-hooch at a fraternity party.  Let me tell you, Raspberry Beret is dark chocolate’s best friend.

You can usually find Raspberry Beret at Wine Gourmet along with lots of other dessert wine offerings.  It sells for $19.99 for a half bottle (375ml) and is guaranteed to provide plenty of wow factor at your next dinner gathering!



Clubbing It

Adam Z. Markham

Are you a wine “newby” seeking out ways to learn a bit more about wine and its many nuances?  Or perhaps you are an experienced wine connoisseur who is simply looking for some new and interesting varietals to add to your repertoire?  Or maybe you are a die-hard “hop-head” with a love for discovering new and exciting beers?  You, my friend, need to check out the Wine/Beer of the Month Clubs at Wine Gourmet!

Wine of the Month Club

The Wine of the Month Club at Wine Gourmet is an absolutely fantastic way to get your feet wet in the big wide world of wine.  It is also a great way for those more experienced in the ways of the grape to learn a few new tricks.  Here’s how it works.

Every month our experienced staff works with our distributor network to pick out a delightful pair of wines specially for you, one white and one red.  The combined cost of the two bottles will not exceed $30.00.  That price, incidentally, includes a discount of $2.00 of per bottle which you will continue to receive on any future purchases you may make [this discount is above and beyond the case (10%) and half-case (5%) discounts you normally receive at Wine Gourmet].  You also receive detailed tasting notes on both wines and an invitation to our annual Wine of the Month party (complete with nifty gift)!  You also will be comfortable with the knowledge that you are getting the opportunity to experience a couple of fantastic wines that have been hand selected for your enjoyment.

This month our Wine of the Month selections were voted “Best of Tasting” at our Wine of the Month party by the Wine of the Month members themselves.  The featured white is the Latitud 34 Torrontes from Bodegas Carelli.  A wonderful Argentine, it has a stunning bouquet and carries plenty of tangerine and peach on the palate.  My wife and I tried a bottle last week and now have several residing in our wine fridge!  Our red offering this month is Domaine Puig-Parahy from the Cotes du Roussillon region of France.  A cuvee of 33% Carignan, 33% Old-Vine Grenache and 33% Syrah, this wine is full of flavors of blackberry and stonefruit while having an underlying quality of herbaceousness.

Connoisseurs Club

Our Connoisseurs Club takes thing to the next level.  The fundamentals are the same but this club specializes in highly allocated, hard-to-find wines that you will find an absolute delight no matter what your level of wine knowledge and sophistication.  With the Connoisseurs Club the ceiling on cost is moved up to $60.00 for both bottles.  The discount per bottle is raised to $5.00, which again is good in perpetuity.

Our CC selections this month are a matching pair from Longboard Winery in Sonoma County.  Produced in very limited quantities, this is a truly phenomenal pair of wines.  The Longboard Chardonnay 2008 is fermented in 90% stainless and only 10% oak which results in a much better balanced wine than many of the Chardonnays coming out of California in recent history.  It is rich with citrus on the palate and only the slightest hint of oak.  Its counterpart is the Longboard Point Break Red Blend.  A blend of 58% Syrah, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec and a smattering of Carignan and Zinfandel, this wine is sure to please!  It is full of red fruit and cherry and has intense raspberry flavors.  With well-balanced tannins, this wine would be delicious match for Cuban-style beef or spiced-up hamburgers.

Beer of the Month Club

Beer lovers rejoice!  Our beer buyer and in-house guru on all-things-beer, Aaron Layman is definitely the man to befriend if you love beer.  Every month Aaron selects 2 stupendous 6-packs for your enjoyment.  The total cost each month will not exceed $25.00 and that includes a $1.00 per 6-pack discount on your selections.  And, like WOM and CC, your discount is also good on any future purchases of these beers and is above and beyond our regular case discount (10%).  We also throw an annual party for our Beer of the Month members!

In summary, no matter what your flight or fancy, Wine Gourmet has a club for you.  Please give us a call or come visit the store to sign up for one (or more) of our clubs.  With great discounts, well thought-out choices and our knowledgable staff by your side you can’t go wrong!