the state

– of wine tasting responsibility. by vastate
Friday, 5 March 2010, 11:06
Filed under: -of drink, -of harrisonburg, -of upcoming, -of vino

as if you needed another reason to go to downtown wine & gourmet’s wine tasting tonight:

College wine tastings can prevent alcoholism among pupils, believe French advisers

the theory being that controlled wine tastings can prevent binge drinking.


so, for the good of our community, it is your duty to attend the wine tastings each week.


5-7p tonight!


– of uncorking the beaujolais. by vastate
Wednesday, 18 November 2009, 20:20
Filed under: -of drink, -of guest blogger., -of harrisonburg, -of jhumphrey, -of vino

remember this guy?

well, the dapper wine fellow has a message for you:

Join us on Thursday the 19th of November as we celebrate the release
of the 2009 Beaujolais Nouveau! Downtown Wine and Gourmet will be
hosting a FREE wine tasting of several producers’ nouveau wines
beginning at 5:00pm and going until 7:00pm. Then head over to
Clementine for a FREE Beaujolais Nouveau release party which will
begin at 8:00pm in the lounge! The event will include Beaujolais
Nouveau for sale by the glass and music from DJ Neals Barkley! So join
the global celebration and keep the tradition alive!

A few fascinating facts about Beaujolais Nouveau:

*Beaujolais [BOE-zjoh-lay] Nouveau is always released the third
Thursday of November, regardless of the start of the harvest.

*All the grapes in the Beaujolais region must be picked by hand. These
are the only vineyards, along with Champagne, where hand harvesting is

*Gamay is the only grape permitted for Beaujolais Nouveau. While
certain California wineries may label their wine “Gamay Beaujolais”
this is not the same grape variety as what is grown in France, and is
quite different in taste and growing habits.

*Beaujolais Nouveau owes its easy drink-ability to a wine-making
process called carbonic maceration – also called whole berry
fermentation. This technique preserves the fresh, fruity quality of
the wine, without extracting bitter tannins from the grape skins.

*Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be drunk young. In average vintages it
should be consumed by the following summertime after its release.
However, in excellent vintages the wine can live longer and can be
enjoyed until the next harvest rolls around.

Speaking of excellent vintages, Georges Dubeouf (one of the most
renowned producers in Beaujolais) is ecstatic about this year’s
Beaujolais harvest, predicting it one of the best Beaujolais vintages
in the last 50 years. He says, “The grape bunches are small with a
fine purplish black color, and are exceptionally rich in sugar. The
berries are thick, and the seeds are a gorgeous amber color, a sign of
perfect phenolic maturity. Their brightness, intensity, and above all,
their perfect health are something to behold. We have not seen
anything like this for a long time.”

Another bit of information which I think is important is the fact
that, unlike some previous releases, the 2009 Beaujolais that we
feature will be shipped by boat, not by air, to reduce the carbon
footprint of shipping the wine.

why would you dream of missing out?

high drink-ability, turntables, and a sense of global togetherness…

what a way to start the holiday season.

we’ll be there.

– of drinking in the fall. by vastate
Thursday, 29 October 2009, 17:25
Filed under: -of drink, -of guest blogger., -of harrisonburg, -of jhumphrey, -of vino

so.  jason from downtown wine & gourmet is a busy fellow.


it took some seriously annoying behavior on my part to get him to give me input on fall drinking.

but – lo and behold – i got an email full of alcoholic information yesterday.  he states:

o the threats, manipulation, and strong-armed tactics have finally pinned me against the wall of my iniquities.

fall drinks of choice would be:

coffee / breakfast stouts – stouts brewed with coffee are a splendid fall beverage because they are hearty, satiating, and the addition of coffee adds not only a fantastic component to the flavor profile, but also a little pick-me-up.  breakfast stouts utilize coffee as well as oatmeal as the primary grain. this leads to an even richer and more decadent beverage.  delicious!

pick: Founders Breakfast Stout & Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast (awesome website/label by the way)



cider – really, is there a fruit that carries more of a fall-time connotation than apples?

pick: Samuel Smith Organic Cider, Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouche Brut de Normandie (again with the great label)



mead – mead is a beverage using honey as the sugar which fuels the fermentation.  Its origins are lost in prehistory; “it can be regarded as the ancestor of all fermented drinks,” Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat has observed, “antedating the cultivation of the soil.”[5] Claude Lévi-Strauss makes a case for the invention of mead as a marker of the passage “from nature to culture.”[6]  It can be consumed right out of the bottle, but it is also delicious mulled.

pick: Lurgashall English Mead


red wine – the possibilities are endless…

pick: jason refused to even try to pick…go bother him at downtown wine & gourmet for more specific suggestions.

happy autumnal drinking, friends!

– of producers & wine. by vastate
Friday, 8 May 2009, 22:15
Filed under: - of restaurant review, -of eats, -of green, -of jhumphrey, -of localism, -of vino

as promised, here are lineups:

first, the local producers supplying staunton grocery with it’s fine ingredients.

second, the wines we were served along with our fare.  i apologize that it is just a list and that i did not correspond the wines with the dishes.  my mouth was too full for multi-tasking…

LOCAL PRODUCERS (jack brown’s take note.):

Anson Mills – Columbia, SC – 803-467-4122
Organically certified Heirloom Grains. Grits, cornmeal, Carolina Gold rice, graham and biscuit flour, milled fresh for the table daily.

Baker’s Farm – Shenandoah, VA
Heritage Pork

Bobby Perkins – Staunton, VA
Georgia Pecans

Bonny Venture – Mt Sidney, VA – (540) 363-4348
We specialize in naturally raised produce (our main focus being berries & salad greens), and quality Cashmere goats. We utilize sustainable agricultural practices for the health of our customers and the environment.

Caromont Farm – Esmont, VA – 434-831-1393
Situated in southern Albemarle County, VA, Caromont Farm exemplifies what farming is all about – sustainability, commitment, and connection to the land. On this rolling twenty-three acres in the Rockfish River Valley, Gail Hobbs-Page draws on the strength of her beloved North Carolina roots and the natural beauty of Esmont, Virginia to create her unique goats milk cheese.

caromontfarmcheese(check out the great profile of caromont farm in this season’s edition of edible blue ridge…)

Critzer Farm – Afton, VA – 540-456-7250

Elk Run Farm – Ft Defiance, VA – 540-363-5152
Fresh produce

Everona Dairy – Rapidan, VA – 540-854-4159
Artisinally made farmstead cheeses featuring award-winning aged, unpasteurized Sheep’s Milk Cheese.

Gatherings Rabbitry – Mt. Sidney, VA

Green Fence Farm – Greenville, VA – (202) 215-7868
Green Fence Farm is proud to offer pure bred Icelandic sheep, cashmere goats, German angora rabbits, vegetables and eggs. Prime clipped angora, blended and pure Icelandic sheep rovings for spinning, handspun yarns, knitting kits, and felted items.

Harvest Thyme Herbs – Mint Spring, VA – 540-324-0151
We’re Deirdre and Phil Armstrong of Harvest Thyme Herbs, a culinary herb and vegetable farm located on 6 acres south of Staunton in Mint Spring, Virginia. Here we grow culinary herbs and vegetables and handcraft a wide array of culinary herb products from what we grow.

Heartland Harvest – Mount Solon, VA – 540-885-7172
Wheatberries – With our “heart” in the “land” we are working to produce a “harvest” of the best quality food available. We are working hard to develop production models that eliminate chemicals, drugs, growth hormones, air and water pollution and adverse animal housing. We rotationally graze our livestock, moving them regularly to new pasture where they can roam and feed on fresh bio-diverse, nutrient dense vegetation.

Homestead Hill – Middlebrook, VA – 540-885-8523

Hungry Hill Farm – Shipman, VA – 434-263-5336
Honey & Mushrooms

Janet’s Garden – Greenville, VA – 540-337-0979
Heirloom Vegetables

JMD – Staunton, VA – 540-290-4015
JMD farm is located in the Shenandoah Valley, nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and the Appalachian Mountains to the west, closest to the small locale of New Hope. Our goal is to produce high quality, all natural products, including black angus beef, Suffolk sheep, free-range chicken/eggs and fresh produce.

Kites Ham – Wolftown, VA – 540-948-4742
Genuine sugar cured country hams.

Lutz Farm – Mt. Crawford, VA – 540-477-3574

Meadow Creek Dairy – Galax, VA – 1-888-236-0622
Cow’s Milk Cheese – A family run farm in the mountains of southwest Virginia. At an elevation of 2800ft, the combination of pure water, clean air and deep soils produce an ideal environment for growing diverse, mineral-rich pastures.

Newtown Baking – Staunton, VA – 540-885-3799
Offering a variety of artisan breads, rolls, morning pastries and coffee.

Planet Earth Diversified – Standardsville, VA – 877-ARUGULA
We provide fresh greens, Baby Salad Mix™, herbs, tomatoes, gourmet cucumbers, microgreens, sprouts, nanogreens, wheatgrass, seasonal farm produce, eggs, essential oils and hydrosols to the most decerning chefs and gourmet customers. Local refrigerated delivery in Virginia cut and delivered the same day. Ecologically Grown™ based upon your requirements in our own proprietary design of ecological greenhouses and sustainable farming – growing for you and growing only the best!

Rachel Effinger – Stuarts Draft, VA – 540-255-3628
Garlic & Shallots

Singing Earth Farm – Fishersville, VA – 540-943-1051
Fresh vegetables; including peppers, tomatoes, salad greens, squash, broccoli, etc.

Snow Spring Farm – Middlebrook, VA – 540-885-6706
Produce and Fruit

Sunrise Farm – Stuarts Draft – 540-430-7437
Pastured Chickens

Tea Bazaar – Staunton, VA
The Tea Bazaar offers a rotating selection of teas from around the world.

Wheatland Farms – Swoope, VA – 540-337-7589
Grass Fed Beef


i’m personally curious about the fresh seafood.  it was fantastic.  i will check into that…

WINE SELECTIONS (picked for four-course tasting menu by staunton grocery wine guy, kyle boatright):

Domaine Villaregeau; Coteaux du Giennois 2007; Loire, France

Fritsch Gewertztraminer; 2006; Alsace, France

Les Heretiques Carignan; 2007; Minervois, France

Blenheim Chardonnay; 2006; Monticello, Virginia

Heider Gruher Veltliner; 2007; Kamuptal, Austria

Bodegas Volver ‘Paso a Paso’  Temperanillo; 2007; La Mancha, Spain

Chambers ‘Rosewood Vineyards’ Muscat; NV; Victoria, Australia

Delaforce Colheita Tawny Port; 1986; Douro, Portugal


– of seattle beer. by vastate
Thursday, 5 February 2009, 22:24
Filed under: -of eats, -of jhumphrey, -of vino

’cause we miss the place.


and because this is funny.


and rainier beer is bad.  moose piss.


– of bacchus by jpremmus
Wednesday, 12 November 2008, 12:14
Filed under: -of eats, -of jpremmus, -of vino

…drink this up: … a refreshing wine blog that I was introduced to via a friend’s recommendation (cheers Brent).

Whether it is in a wine shop or restaurant, the notion of buying wine can be intimidating.

Many of us have taken on the responsibility to purchase this seemingly simple beverage only to feel as though we have entered a retail universe that parallels the record store in High Fidelity.  All staff eyes are upon you, and regardless of what you place on the counter in the end, the employees will actually laugh in your face (possibly even point and laugh).

However, here is a critic who recognizes the notion of true taste.  He is not influenced by advertisers who pay for his magazine, and he is not inclined to give a 90 point rating to maintain their cash flow.  He encourages us to broaden our palate in order to achieve the goal of trusting our palate.

Wine is indeed like music – the more that you experience, the more standards that you can draw upon to measure something new and decide whether you like it or not – decide for yourself.  So head down to your local wine shop’s tasting (my favorite destination is Downtown Wine & Gourmet – which hosts a tasting from 5 to 7 every Friday – and even has a staff which seems to evade pretense!) and decide whether you like it or not.

Alas…Bacchus speaks…