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

Click Here for all Baskets




Of Beer & Ball with Greg Roberts

Award-winning Sports Talk Host, Greg Roberts and Wine Gourmet’s Beer Buyer, Aaron Layman talk Football & Beer at Wine Gourmet, Roanoke’s Keg Headquarters.

Visit Wine Gourmet for List of KEGS.


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.

Sangria. You’re welcome.

Sangria Tasting at Wine Gourmet, Thursday, Sept 10, 5-8 pm

Sangria is the perfect summer sipper.

Sangria is a host’s best friend.  Made properly, Sangria is tasty, food-friendly and a perfect quaffer for guests “not into wine.”

Sangria originated in Spain. The word Sangria comes from the Spanish word, sangre meaning blood. The drink gets its name from the red color of the wine used in a traditional sangria recipe. The drink is also made with white wine which is called sangria blanco.

Sangria is basically a mix of wine, juices, soda water and fruit. Any young red wine can be used in a traditional recipe.

Tried and True Tips for Making the Best Sangria:

1.         Good, quality ingredients are important in this drink. Wine is the dominant ingredient, so take care to use a good wine.

2.         It’s important to allow time for the wine to blend with the fruit.  A few hours or even overnight in the refrigerator will enhance the flavor.

3.         Add soda and ice just before serving.

4.         Use a Spanish Rioja to get the authentic flavor of red Sangria.  We have a few wines that are perfect- Protocolo Tinto $8.99 and Montebueno Rioja $9.99

Published in: on June 30, 2010 at 8:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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One Foodie Couple’s Journey Through Spain – Part II

Adam Z. Markham

In our last chapter we discussed conspicuous consumption and the eating of “all-things-pig”.  Well, why change when you’re on a roll?

After leaving the Mercado de San Miguel, we set out searching for what is literally the single oldest restaurant on planet Earth (at least according to the Guinness Book of World Records).  Casa Botin opened in 1725 and has been operated continuously since.  Think about that.  The place is 51 years older than the United States.

Casa Botin

Casa Botin

Our motivations were pure and well-founded, as Casa Botin´s specialty is suckling pig roasted whole in a wood-fired oven.  As luck would have it we were only about a block from the place.  When we arrived it appeared they were closed for the afternoon but two young guys coming out told me they still had some reservations left… for 11:30pm!  When we went in, the guy in front of me apparently got the very last reservation of the evening.  I begged the man at the desk.  I begged some more.  He absolutely and adamantly refused to give us a coveted slot.  I am not ashamed to admit that when we left the building I wept a little.

My adoring wife, sensing my pain, tried to go back in but they had locked the door.  She then found the door to the kitchen and barged in but was summarily dismissed by the head chef and manager… the nerve!  She then came back out and knocked on the front door until the Maitre De came and unlocked it again.  As he let her inside I stayed put and, honestly, I prayed in Spanish.  She emerged with a smile on her face and fists clenched over her head.  At this juncture I feel the need to point out the following:  it is a sign of true love when your wife literally gets down on her knees and begs, BEGS a man for a dinner reservation all so she and her husband can eat a baby pig.  We had dinner reservations for 11:50pm… WHOO-HOO!

Reservation secured, we headed back to our hotel, the Petit Palace Puerta del Sol to sleep off our experiences at the Mercado and to gird our loins for that which lay ahead.

Roast Suckling Pig!

That evening we arrived at Casa Botin early (at about 11:40 pm, mind you) in eager anticipation of our meal.  Let me tell you unequivocally people, it did not disappoint.  Our new little porcine friend arrived on our plates in steaming, succulent glory.  The meat was pale, juicy, mouth-wateringly tender and shockingly flavorful.  The skin… THE SKIN!  The skin was the color of honey and was perfectly crunchy.  It was divine.  Accompanied by nothing more than simply roasted baby potatoes and a bottle of 2005 Acon Crianza that was 100% Tempranillo, this was absolutely the dinner of a lifetime.

On our way home we made two pit stops.  First, we stopped into a bar for a nightcap.  The only reason I bring up this particular place is because of a rather unusual wall-hanging.  They had the mounted, coal-black, mummified head of an enormous boar behind the bar wearing a giant pair of sunglasses that concealed its eye sockets.  The eyes themselves had evidently been replaced by glowing light bulbs.  This is a country that spends a potentially inordinate amount of time contemplating pig.  These people are alright by me.

Our second stop was for churros and chocolate.  Churros are a sort of extruded doughnut batter that when deep-fried comes our looking like a five-inch long noodle about the diameter of your thumb.  It is served with hot chocolate.  Every single late night reveler in Madrid apparently ends the evening with a stop off for this treat.  Kendall and I had heard about it, but frankly we had a bit of trouble understanding the fervor for a simple cup of hot chocolate with a doughnut.  Make no bones about it, one of my favorite things on earth is chocolate but come on, how good could it really be?

Churros & Chocolate!

We doubt no more.  When you walk in there are no choices.  The only options are “uno, dos, tres”, etcetera.  What was it like?  Forget I ever used the words “hot chocolate”.  This stuff came out in a steaming mug and you could practically stand a spoon up in it.  It was thick, dark brown and viscous and was freakishly delicious.  The churros had a perfect crunch and tooth on the outside and were soft and pillowy on the inside.  Dipped into the chocolate, they were the stuff of legend.

It was then off to bed for yet another round of digestion.

In our next installment intrepid reader, we awake in preparation for our 200 mile drive north through Bilbao (complete with a visit to the Spanish Guggenheim!) on our way to the coastal town of Deba.


Back from Bermuda!- Wines and Good Times

We have returned. 

All hail Wine on the Rail!

Wine Gourmet’s inaugural wine excursion carried us from Roanoke to New York to Bermuda and back.  I, Beth (the best-girlfriend ever, BGFE), our esteemed Melinda and her husband Allen escorted 17 Wine Gourmet customers on a tropical (or semi-tropical at least) get-a-away. We hauled along with us just over a hundred bottles of wine and the ship also provided a bottle for each cruiser. By the numbers it was 21 cruisers, six and a half days and 126 bottles to consume.  We faced our consumption responsibility undaunted and drank with conviction but, in the end, gave away our last six or eight bottles as we had to face the fact that we had more wine than we could finish in our remaining time without their being medical issues.
C’est la vie vin.
We began our odyssey with a morning in New York City.  Sunday dawned unseasonably chilly and BGFE, who’d neglected to pack a jacket or sweater requested a stop to shop.  Navigating the NYC streets turned into a challenge as Oprah was in town (having just finished a week at Radio City Music Hall) and was clogging the streets with folks running to cure something or other.  Loads of participants in matching t-shirts streamed past police barricades on their way to a finish in Times Square. Numerous times we would approach a barrier only to be waved away and directed ever further from our intended destination.  As we were ahead of our schedule, we were not terribly concerned and felt we could wait out the commotion arranged by her nibs.
But back to the jacket quest.  We saw a likely shop with a small space in front and I executed a feat of parallel parking that left my fellow passengers slack-jawed with amazement.  Trailing clouds of glory, my fellow passengers and I entered the store.  Beth grabbed a “New York” sweatshirt and a jaunty hat of orange plaid.  Beth paid her tab and dressed immediately.
Feeling a bit peckish, we sought a suggestion for breakfast from the shop clerk and he pointed to the Carnegie Deli across the street.  Somehow, in the dazzle of my parking, we’d failed to notice a New York landmark within yards of the car. We hauled over, heaved in and had a breakfast that couldn’t be beat.  BGFE was especially charmed to find herself dining across from a signed photo of Andy Garcia. This is a person whom I pray she’ll never meet. ‘Cause, if she did, it’d surely be a case of “See you later suckers!” and Beth would be off, leaving me only a final view of the soles of her feet as she tears off down the sidewalk toward her one true love.
Exit BGFE, Enter WGFE,   . . . alright maybe 2nd or 3rd WGFE – even with that exit, she would have some serious competition.

Pastrami and Eggs - The Breakfast of Champions


Anyway, now sated and the streets relatively clear, we headed off toward the ship. From the car I phoned the person whom I’d been instructed to contact in order to arrange the off-loading of the wine.  The contact told me that he didn’t know who I was or what I was talking about.
So I explained.
He then re-explained that he didn’t know who I was or what I was talking about.  – With this a hot, panicky bile began to rise in my throat.
Fortunately, before I choked, we arrived at our passenger drop-off point and the passenger drop-off attendants took the nine cases of wine in stride and ushered us to a spot where we received direct attention from the folks of Holland America. We got on – and so did the wine. 

Once aboard, Beth and I abandoned our wine related duties and set out to explore the ship.  We kept stumbling across fellow Roanokers along for the wine trip and were relieved to note that their faces showed more pleasure than disappointment.
Still moored to the pier, we began to feel uneasy as several hours passed with no luggage or wine appearing in our stateroom.  Finally, the luggage showed up but without the wine. I phoned my second contact, the ship’s Beverage Manager – a man with the unlikely moniker of Simon Jam.
Simon had a voice that was thick and slow and precise, like a butler who barely tolerates the antics of his employer. Simon oozed that he had my wine in his office and asked if I could come up to meet him there.  I felt a bit like it was the Principal requesting my presence and I began to examine my conscience for things I might have done, however inadvertent, that might have caused offense.
“Sure.” I said. “I can come right now.”
There was a sigh on the other end of the line.
“Why don’t you wait until 4 o’clock?” he responded distractedly.  He was obviously a man who didn’t care to suffer trifles.  “I have some questions to ask you.”
I half expected him to caution me to not leave town.

I collected my wine co-guide Melinda and we showed up at Simon’s office promptly at four. We were waved in as he looked up from behind his desk.  He was slight, tightly groomed and thin lipped.  He wore an officer’s uniform and, as I approached, he smiled weakly and offered his hand. I could tell that neither gesture came naturally to him. “Mr. Jam?” I said, trying to show him respect and pronouncing the name as my English interpretation would indicate.
“It’s ‘YAH-MM.’ he said, correcting my pronunciation with obvious pain. “I’m Dutch. Please call me Simon.”
This was not starting well. I introduced Melinda.
“I believe that this is yours.” said Simon, gesturing vaguely at the cases of our wine that were stacked in his office.
“Yes, they are.” I said.
“You are having a luncheon tomorrow? Yes?”
“Yes, we are.” I answered.
“Do you have a menu?” Simon asked. “Neither the chef nor I have seen a menu.”
“Yes, we do.” I told him, more than a little disconcerted as the menu had been e-mailed to me from Holland America via the travel agent.
“I have a copy in my stateroom.” Melinda offered.  “I can go down and get it.”
“Perhaps you’d better.” said Simon, humorlessly.
Melinda disappeared in search of the menu.
I waited quietly while Simon returned his attention to the pressing matters of his position.  The phone on his desk rang and Simon snapped up the receiver. He unenthusiastically thanked the party for returning his call and then began to berate them for not mentioning a wine tasting function (unrelated to ours) in the intercom announcements that had run a few moments before. He was incredulous that his wine tasting, which was among the most important events aboard, had completely missed mention. The call was brief and terse.  When he hung the phone up, he looked at me.
“That was the ship’s Program Director,” he said chafing at the stunning incompetence of it all, “and because she doesn’t mention the wine tasting only 70 of the 120 people who signed up will actually show up.”
“Oh.” I said thoughtfully, studying the tops of my shoes.
Suddenly and without warning, his face unclouded and he teetered on congenial.
“Maybe she’ll make another announcement.” he said without conviction. “Anyway.  You can leave your wine here and get it whenever it’s necessary.  The door is always unlocked.”
Melinda returned and handed him a copy of the menu we’d been e-mailed. He scanned it and shrugged. “OK” he said. “Are you happy with the scheduled time of your events?”
“Well,” I answered, “we had to cancel one event because the time was bad.  Can we reschedule that?
“Of course.” he said. “When would be convenient?”
– and so it went. I don’t know why Simon was, at first, so cool and taciturn but, in the end, he was gracious and helpful and we had our wine cared for and our event re-scheduled.

A good time being had by all.

Our events went swimmingly, if you’ll excuse a semi-nautical term.  We poured twelve different wines, most provided by one of our benefactors, Roanoke Valley Wine Company and the rest provided by Wine Gourmet.  The biggest hits? I think, by people’s reactions, the rich and powerful St. Innocent Momtazi Pinot Noir and the graceful and peppery Stadt Krems Gruner Veltliner.
We made our way to paradise, swam in impossibly clear water and chased tropical fish. We ate wonderfully and the consensus seemed to be that the Bermuda Fish Chowder alone was worth the trip. (I found a recipe which seems to accurately represent the dish we had.  It follows below.) Personally I suffered a hangover, sun-burned feet (one tasting was conducted with me in bare feet) and the loss, to the wind, of my favorite ball cap.  Like Luca Brazzi, my hat sleeps with the fishes.
I can safely say that, for many of us, the return home was a matter of reluctance.
Stay tuned for an announcement of Wine Gourmet’s next foray.
You’re all invited.   Honest.

Bermuda Fish Chowder

Be sure to serve this chowder with bread, otherwise your guests will be licking their bowls. Unseemly that.

1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 leek (white and pale green parts only), chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups fish stock or bottled clam juice
5 cups water
2 1/4 lb mixed white fish fillets such as cod, grouper, tilefish, and snapper, skin and bones removed
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole allspice, tied in a cheesecloth bag
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
3 tablespoons cornstarch stirred together with 3 tablespoons water
12 small hard-shell clams such as littlenecks, scrubbed
1 lb medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 to 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup (or to taste) dark rum, such as Bermuda’s own Gosling’s Black Seal
2 tablespoons Sherry pepper sauce (This may be hard to find as it is a Bermudian condiment.)
Cook onion, bell pepper, leek, carrots, celery, chopped tomato, and garlic in butter in a 6-quart wide heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer briskly, uncovered, 20 minutes.
Stir in fish, tomato paste, bay leaf, cheesecloth bag of allspice, thyme, hot pepper sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 20 minutes (fish will break up), then re-stir the cornstarch mixture and stir into chowder. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 2 minutes.
Stir in clams, shrimp, Worcestershire sauce, and rum and gently simmer 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let chowder stand, covered, 1 hour.
Gently return to a simmer and stir in Sherry pepper sauce.

St Pat’s Celebration Fri 3/12 5-8 pm

Get That Leprechaun!

What’s better than a leprechaun running through Roanoke with a pot o’ gold? Check out our new video to see.

Published in: on March 11, 2010 at 1:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mike’s Pretty Good Meatloaf

A selection from the classic comfort foods section:

Meatloaf is a neat-loaf, treat-loaf, can't be beat-loaf.

I grew up being served meatloaf once a month or so.  While mom was a cook of modest abilities, she had a few signature dishes  for which my siblings and I swooned a bit.  Meatloaf was one.  Mom’s meatloaf was typical of the times (the sixties and seventies).  It was a rather bland affair the recipe for which she’d clipped from the Ladies Home Journal or some other glossy, June Cleaver-y periodical. It involved only hamburger meat, breadcrumbs, eggs, worcestershire and ketchup with a dry onion soup mix.  Still, we clamored for it and the hand of the sibling that might attempt to filch a little extra from his brother or sister’s plate would likely be drawn back empty and sporting a new mark on the back whose pattern would closely match the tines of the fork from the nearly-offended party.  Though mom always made two full meatloafs, only one would be served to our family of eight at dinner and the other would be held to slice up for meatloaf sandwiches for the next day’s school or work lunch.  That still works well.
– Leftover meatloaf makes great sandwiches.

The recipe below is one that I’ve developed after a little trial and error in getting the right combination and proportion of ingredients.  That being said, a meatloaf is a very flexible and versatile dish and feel free to add and omit ingredients as you see fit.

Mike’s Pretty Good Meatloaf
1.5 lbs.  Lean ground beef (ground chuck or sirloin works best)
2/3 lb. Ground pork
2/3 lb. Ground veal or lamb
1 Cup Onion, finely diced
1/2 Cup Carrot, finely diced
1/2 Cup Celery, finely diced
5 medium Cremini mushrooms, (3) whole & (2) medium chopped
(These are sometimes called baby portabella. White button mushrooms will also do fine.)
3 large Cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 Cup Seasoned bread crumbs (I prefer Italian seasoning)
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 Cup Ketchup
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chopped Fresh parsley
1 Tsp. Dry oregano or 1 Tbs. fresh
1 Tsp. Dry marjoram or 1 Tbs. fresh
1 Tsp. Kosher salt
1 Tsp. Freshly-ground black pepper
Seasoning mix
(This is not a necessary ingredient.  I happen to be fond of a seasoning mix called “Slap Ya Mama” and like it in the meatloaf but, if it’s omitted, the loaf will not suffer significantly.  If you have a favorite of your own, that will work in here just as well, I’m sure.)
Pre-heat oven to 375 deg.

One of the secrets of a good meatloaf is to not work the mixture very hard.
In each step you want to work it to the minimum degree possible, just enough to accomplish the task at hand.

If you have a seasoning mixture to use, put onions, carrots and celery into a bowl and use the seasoning mixture on them. If not, no biggee, just skip this step.

In a large mixing bowl, tear off pieces of the ground meats in small chunks and add them to the bowl, rotating between meats as you go. Once the meats are together in a chunk-y mass, add the onion, carrot, celery, the two medium chopped mushrooms, and the garlic. Mix the mass, integrating the vegetables into the meat.

Now add the egg, ketchup, dijon, and worcestershire, along with the parsley, oregano, marjoram, salt and pepper. Work this gently into the meat mixture until you have a meaty, vegetable-studded mass in the bowl. Add half the breadcrumbs, working it in gently.  You’re after a semi-dry, moldable mass here.  If the mixture continues to be “wet”, add bread crumbs until you achieve your goal.

You can mold the meatloaf by hand but I prefer the brick-like regularity that I get by using a loaf pan (a 10-inch loaf pan works fine).  Assuming a loaf pan, put about 1/3 the mixture into the pan and gently press it into the corners, making a layer of even depth.  Take the remaining three mushrooms and put them, cap-side down and lined up like soldiers, into the middle of the pan.  Gently fill-in around the mushrooms, eventually burying them and and cover with the remaining meat mixture.  When you slice the meatloaf for serving, the inverted whole mushrooms make a very attractive shape in the middle of the slices.

I like to cook the meatloaf over a drip-pan to catch the fat, if that arrangement doesn’t suit you, or you’d prefer it a bit juicier, you can cook it on a piece of parchment paper placed in a sheet pan. (A “cookie” sheet won’t do very well here as the fat drippings are likely to run off the edge of the sheet.  You need a pan with a lip all the way around to contain the drippings.)

Run a knife or thin plastic spatula around the sides of the pan while the mixture is in it, separating the mixture from the walls. The mixture will have enough “cling” that it won’t fall out as you invert it on to your cooking surface, whether it’s a screen over a drip pan or parchment in a sheet pan, but you will still want to act decisively.  Quickly invert the loaf pan onto the chosen surface and then gently lift at the corners until you feel the loaf pull free from the bottom and settle onto the cooking surface.

Cook for about an hour and twenty minutes or until a thermometer reads 160 deg.

Glaze (if preferred): I’m on-again, off-again on how I feel about an “icing” on my meat-cake.  If you like it, here’s a formula –

1/3 Cup Ketchup
1 Tbs. Sugar
1 Tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tsp. Worcestershire
1 Tsp. Ground cumin

Whisk these ingredients in a bowl, blending thoroughly. Remove your meatloaf about fifteen minutes early (or at about 140 deg., if you’re using a thermometer) and switch the oven to “broil”.  Quickly spread the topping blend over the top of your meatloaf, as if you’re icing a cake. Once topped, put the loaf back in the oven and cook for fifteen more minutes.

Because we’re talkin’ comfort food here, serve this with potatoes, or rice or macaroni & cheese.  For a green, I love green beans, though broccoli or asparagus would also do well here.  Mom often served her meatloaf with lima beans, which I could not abide and often skipped dessert rather than put the foul things in my mouth.  I’m older now and recognize that they probably have their place but still,    . . . I’d rather listen to someone take banjo lessons than actually eat lima’s.

As for wine, any decent red could work well with this: cab, merlot, shiraz, tempranillo, dolcetto – all good choices – but I prefer a nice chianti.  An oaky chardonnay is also an excellent choice.  I had this with a Stuhlmuller chard from Alexander Valley and it was a terrific match-up.

Allow the warmth of the wine to fill you while you daydream of tomorrow’s sandwiches.
Published in: on December 6, 2009 at 8:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Beach Wine 2009

Kimberly and her Beach Wines 2009

Kimberly & Beach Wines 2009

OK, so most of you have come and gone from the Beach.  I get that!  I, on the other hand, did not get to go this summer.   In fact, I have been so busy or so distracted (or both!)  that I haven’t been to the beach since 2006!

So, a serendipitious set of circumstances occured recently and I find myself preparing for a few sun-soaked days at the Outer Banks.  As I always do when given a chance to relax and kick back with friends and family, I daydream about the menu.   Visions of shrimp, scallops, oysters, mussels, and fish dance through my head.

And what to drink with each of them?  Oh boy, that’s my favorite part!  As you can see from the picture I have quite the selection:  a dry rose, a Portuguese Vinho Verde, a Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc, a California Pinot Noir (or two!), a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, an amazing blend of yummy white wine grapes in a package aptly named Borealis, and others.

I’m sure you will agree that food is such an integral part of the overall enjoyment of a vacation.  For the next few days, I’ll post my latest gastronomic experiences and I want you to join in and post your favorite wine/seafood experience.

Sails Away, fellow Winelovers!

– Kimberly, Lead Wine Sampler of Wine Gourmet

Published in: on September 16, 2009 at 7:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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