Monthly Archives: April 2013

Whole Foods Market North Miami – The Day After the Day Before

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The Day After the Day Before.  An opening sentence that may need a little explaining.  The Day After: Yesterday was our stores PREVIEW day with sold out tours from noon to 8 PM. My unofficial estimate is about 400 guests [including me!] got to enjoy not only the visuals but many sample products to taste and take home in their goodie bags.  The Day Before: because tomorrow is GRAND OPENING! All kinds of sampling events are planned including free breakfast being served between 8-9 AM and even more goodie bags to the first 500 shoppers.  We have been told not to be surprised if the truly dedicated start lining up as early as 4 AM 🙂

Wisconsin Cheese

The Specialty Teams first week in the store was a lot of work and fun as we all got to know each other and continued to realize what a great team we have.  The  daily tastings of products we will be carrying didn’t hurt either YUM!  Pictured here was the unveiling of a Wisconsin cheese sculpture designed for us with our Art Deco store as its theme. Also pictured here is my wheel cracking training for Parmigiano Reggiano.  Thank you Erin for the great pics! We’ll also be doing this at the store and via a live web feed on Saturday. BTW that’s an 80 lb wheel!

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The wines started to arrive a little over a week ago and continue to do so daily leading up to tomorrows BIG day.

922975_10200985217335786_1753826288_n (1)Of course my favorite day was on a recent Friday. Not because of the usual reasons one would think on this particularly favored day of the week but because that was the day the wine started to arrive.  As we unloaded the palettes and cases I was like a kid in a candy shop in awe of all the names I recognized and even more so over the ones I did not and would soon be discovering.

I have to say our wine set is beautiful. Over 900 wines; Old World [France, Italy, Germany…] divided by countries and New World  Chile and Argentina along with domestic [USA!] divided by varietals [Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Chardonnay …].  Also included in our set are; hundreds of beers, Port, Sauterne, Mead, Kosher wine, Saki, Kombucha, Eco-friendly and Biodynamic wines.

As mentioned earlier along with the excitement of having all these new wines to research and taste I was very happy to see many familiar wines I have written about here.  I did a little digging and found at least 20 such examples.  Below you’ll find links to these wines.

As I begin this new and exciting chapter with Whole Foods Market North Miami I found this to be the perfect opportunity to look back as I move forward.  A perfect segueway to ending The Day After the Day Before 🙂   ¡SALUD! 

The Prisoner Orin Swift blend.  Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Show Pinot Noir from Chile.   Joel Gott California Zinfandel.

Chateau Macard Bordeaux.    Four Vines Zinfandel.

Stags Leap  Artemis Blend.  Los Vascos Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.

Innovacion  Torrontes blend.  The Dreaming Tree – Crush California Red Blend.

St Francis Multiple varieties.  Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling.

Dr Loosen Riesling.    Folie a Deux Chardonnay.

Chateau Bonnet white Bordeaux.    Spain’s EVODIA Old Vine Garnacha.

Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon.    Hogue Cellars Genesis.

Lamadrid – Cabernet Sauvignon , Malbec Gran Reserva and Malbec Reserva.

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Bogle Vineyards – 2007 Petite Sirah

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Bogle Petite Sirah 2007

It’s been too long since I had a Petite Sirah and this one in particular had been waiting patiently in my cellar for about 6 months.  The price range for this BOGLE selection is $8.00-15.00 and can usually be found in grocery stores where wines are sold.  I remember picking this one in particular because of its vintage [2007]. My thinking was that the five to six years of aging would be beneficial to the wine and maybe more importantly the wine drinker. As would be expected all the others available at the store were 2009+ [more recent vintages]. It was a lone standout.

I was impressed to find that since 2008 Bogle Vineyards has worked to cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions on their properties and employ a Certified Green Program with multiple Sustainable Certificates already achieved and listed on their website.

As per information found on-line the grapes were sourced from Clarksburg California in Yolo County along the Sacramento River & Lodi  in the northern part of California’s Central Valley. Common descriptors for Petite Sirah are; black fruit, peppery, prunes, leather and inky due to the grapes dark color and the tannins it provides.  Additional information about the varietal Petite Sirah also known as Durif can be found on Wine-Searcher.

My notes:

Very earthy on the nose along with leather, cigar box, tobacco and dark fruit such as plum. On the palate a surprisingly delicate sweetness of dark fruit, vanilla,  and blueberry noted on the finish.  To me the dark fruit flavors expanded as the wine breathed making it completely different than when the bottle was first opened.  A good wine to decant but also one to be enjoyed straight out of the bottle. Although still bold at this stage I think the extra few years in the bottle helped the flavors relax and the wine soften.  Interestingly with some leftover [heresy! I know…] on day two I noted boysenberry, fig and an earthy pepper taste.

This is a wine I would drink any day of the week and one perfectly priced for exactly that. Pair with venison, lamb, pork, hearty stews or even pizza like we did 🙂   ¡SALUD!

Winemaker’s notes:

Thirty-one years after it was first produced by the Bogle family in 1978, Petite Sirah is today considered Bogle’s “heritage” varietal. Ripe summer blackberries and plums overwhelm both the nose and palate of this wine. Its trademark inky, jammy qualities are a barrage of black fruit and spice, adding layer upon layer of complexity. Notes of supple leather and toasty oak envelop the flavors through the finish, giving way to wisps of caramel and vanilla. The firm tannins make this a wine that can develop for years to come, but you won’t want to wait that long to enjoy it!

Celebrating Malbec World Day; Argentina’s LAMADRID 2006 Malbec Gran Reserva

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Malbec World Day officially April 17th came early to our house this year. May have had something to do with the celebratory mood here after being hired by Whole Foods Market as a Specialty Buyer.

Celebrating? My first reaction would be to pull out my favorite Malbec; Lamadrid. No not the Reserve for regular special occasions. The big guns! The 2006 GRAN Reserva.

In 2012 I wrote about the Lamadrid Reserva 2008 Malbec which you can also find below.   I was unemployed and it was just me and Miss Jane Doe our American Bulldog celebrating Malbec while in North Carolina. This year I am newly employed in a field I more than enjoy and am surrounded by friends and loved ones. Jane is here too 🙂  What a difference a year can make.

This Gran Reserva rated 94 points by Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate in their May 31st, 2010 issue. Wine Spectator while rating it at 90 points had the following to say on this 2006 vintage:

Lush and exotic, with melted fig, anise, blueberry compote and plum sauce aromas and flavors pumping over graphite and licorice notes. Long and juicy on the rich, fruit-filled finish. Not shy at all, but pulls it off. 

From the LAMADRID web-site [translated from spanish]:

This wine is concentrated, highly structured, with a deep ruby ​​red color. The nose is spicy with findings of  cloves and cinnamon, and the presence of mature fruit. The palate is velvety and intense with tannins perceived to be balanced with the acidity.

The 2006 Lamadrid Gran Reserva Malbec is 100% Malbec from a single vineyard: Agrelo.  Was aged for 16 months in french oak and bottled September 2007. I’ve seen different counts listed on-line but as per the winemaker info; production came in at 8,328 bottles or 694 cases. Make that 693 or 692 because me and a friend  easily bought 1-2 cases over the last year or two. The going price then prior to discounts was about $35.00 per  but I have seen it now as high as $73.00. I am cherishing my last 2 bottles.

I noted a dark purple color turned bright red garnet at its edges and lingering legs on the glass. Both signs of alcohol level but luckily not evident on nose or palate.  I would describe this wine as dark fruit forward well-balanced with wood.  Detected on the nose; casis, oak, blackberry, prune and plum. On the palate the addition of leather, licorice and spiciness. It paired beautifully with a fresh garlic and mushroom pizza.

As I might have mentioned before 🙂 Lamadrid is one of my favorite wineries and their product is one I hope to carry at the new North Miami Whole Foods Market.  Their story truly made me bond with not only their wines but wine in general.    I can honestly say that the inspiration I received helped lead me to where I am today.

HAPPY MALBEC WORLD  DAY 2013!!  

Additional information is listed below.

¡SALUD! 

 

 

Argentina’s LAMADRID 2008 Malbec Reserva 

In honour of Malbec World Day I am partially reposting part of an earlier blog post [see below]. This is one of my favorite Malbec’s and “the one” that made me a fan. I thought what a better way to celebrate April 17th! Unfortunately I am celebrating alone unless you count Miss Jane Doe our American Bulldog who is keeping me company on this special wine day. Luckily she was able to convince me that it was worth opening for a party of one. Good girl Jane.

My notes:

The color; a deep beautiful purple burgundy with lingering legs. On the nose I detected sweet dark fruit [plum, cherry], oak, vanilla, leather. On the palate I tasted; cloves, tobacco, black pepper, the same fruits noted above along with vanilla, casis and a herbaceousness/earthiness factor as it opened. The tannins solid and a nice long finish.

This wine [different vintages] is available in stores and on-line although admittedly harder to come by as it is discovered and particular vintages disappear forever. If you should come across it I recommend you partake. At $16-$19.00 it is a steal. This wine could easily be priced at twice as much but lets keep that to ourselves. SALUD!

LAMADRID Estate Wines

I consider this vineyard to be one of my best discoveries of 2011. Their 2008 production is highly regarded, often hard to find at this point. The good news is that the 2009’s now appearing on store shelves have been rated just as high. Guillermo García Lamadrid and Hector Durigutti, master winemaker and general manager are truly masters at what they do. Durigutti considered to be today’s wine maker with the midas touch in Argentina. He also has own name-sake line of Durigutti wines, although hard to find in the states I recently found some in Aventura FL and in Tryon NC of all places.

Guillermo García Lamadrid originally caught my attention in wine class because he originated from Cuba [my people!] and became a successful winemaker when he migrated to Argentina via Puerto Rico. I am sure there is a very interesting story there. I have been lucky enough to have tasted quite of few of their wines; Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon [$14.00], RESERVE Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bonarda, Cab. Franc [$18.00] and the GRAN RESERVE Malbec  [$35.00].

Welcome to the Whole Foods Family!

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WF_NMIACareful What You Wish For – Continued….

I had a dream!  I actually did have a dream and it did include the greeting: Welcome to the Whole Foods Family. I of course did not want to take it too seriously or put much weight on my vision but soon afterwards,  soon being three phone interviews and a panel interview which included my 30/60/90 day plan for the department, the phone rang.  The welcoming voice on the other end did not offer what had on that morning become my new mantra, but,  it did include a job offer which I accepted!

Ladies and gentlemen, drum-roll playing in the background,  I would like to introduce you to……..North Miami’s Whole Foods Market  Specialty Buyer for Beer and Wine.  Yes it’s true! This Wine Steward is now a Specialty Buyer for a great company. One I truly believe in.  And let me just point out that I said this at my interview,  noting whether I got the job or not,  I was truly happy to have such a great company invest in my neighborhood. Did I mention it is only two miles from my house? Did I mention it is a six-minute drive during rush hour? Yes, all true. Heck I could walk or ride my bike which I may just actually do!  The soon to be very GRAND opening of this beautiful [pictured above] self standing store is scheduled for May Day/May 1st and is all the buzz of the neighboring towns and villages.  How lucky am I to be part of this new and exciting addition.

I am also happy to announce that my blog will continue as I record and report on my new adventures. Was that a collective sigh of relief  or dread? 🙂 I am looking forward to new in-store wine experiences via tastings and classes that I will get to oversee along with the challenges of running a department stocking 750+ wines and 400+ beers. Come one come all!  But don’t worry if you can’t make it in person I will gladly fill you in from here.

Thank you to all my supporters and followers who continue to inspire me to dream.  I can dream can’t I?  ¡SALUD!

Press release from BrowardNetOnline:

North Miami, Fla. – Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket and America’s first national certified organic grocer, will open its new North Miami store on Wednesday, May 1 at 9 a.m. Located at 12150 Biscayne Boulevard, the art deco-inspired Whole Foods Market North Miami is the company’s 19th store in Florida.

free continental breakfast will be offered on opening day from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the parking lot, and the first 500 shoppers will receive free Whole Foods Market goodie bags.

To celebrate the opening, Whole Foods Market North Miami will host Sneak Preview Tours complete with tastings and giveaways for the public onMonday, April 29 from Noon – 8 p.m. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Those wishing to attend can sign up online atnorthmiami.wholefoodsrsvp.com beginning WednesdayApril 10.  The guided tours will take place every 15 minutes with a suggested donation of $5 per guest to benefit The Embrace Girl Power Foundation, which provides positive social experiences, life skills, character building training, academic tutoring, and cultural exposure for young girls ages 4 – 12.

Giving Back

As part of the company’s ongoing commitment to the community, Whole Foods Market North Miami will donate 5 percent of net sales from the opening day to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), a local nonprofit organization.

Four times a year, each Whole Foods Market store holds a 5% Day where they choose a local nonprofit or educational organization to receive 5 percent of a specific day’s net sales. “We work hard at being a part of the neighborhoods that we serve,” says Blake Ledbetter, store team leader for the North Miami store. “Our 5% Days are just one of many ways we plan on giving back to the North Miami area.”

Local Seafood and Sustainability

In September 2010, Whole Foods Market launched a color-coded sustainability rating system developed by the Blue Ocean Institute to show the sustainability status of all non-MSC-certified wild-caught seafood the stores sell.  In 2012, all stores ceased the sale of all red-ranked species, deepening their commitment to having a fully sustainable seafood department. The North Miami store will also highlight the local fisheries and day-boat fishermen that will be supplying the store, all aimed at bringing customers the largest variety of locally caught seafood available.

Gary’s Seafood (Madeira Beach) and Cox Seafood (Tampa), Keys Fisheries (Marathon) and D & D Seafood (Marathon – local stone crabs and lobster), four of the stores primary suppliers, employ numerous day-boat fishermen who bring Whole Foods Market the freshest fish available from nearby waters.  Whole Foods Market also works with other day-boat fishing operations and fisheries throughout the state with fresh catches arriving in store six days per week.

Community Supported Agriculture – CSA

The North Miami store will join the other Whole Foods Market locations in Florida by opening its doors to local farms with a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. The program allows local farmers to use the store as a drop-off and pick-up point for their subscribing customers, free of charge. The North Miami store will be a CSA site for Teena’s Pride.

Animal Welfare Rating System

With the old-fashioned butcher shop style comes Team Members who are eager to educate the community on the Global Animal Partnership’s (GAP) 5-Step Animal Welfare Ratings. The rating system provides clear information that helps shoppers make informed buying decisions and offers peace of mind to them that the products at Whole Foods Market comes from animals raised with care.  All beef, poultry and pork sold in the store’s fresh cases meet the GAP criteria and are certified by independent third party auditors.

Healthy Eating Specialist

With its Health Starts Here program, the store will open with a full time, in-house Healthy Eating Specialist to help educate customers on making informed decisions about healthy foods, teach cooking classes, give guided store tours and be a resource for the community.

Additional store offerings will include:

  • Prepared Foods department featuring:
    • More than 100 items in the full service chef’s case, hot bar, soups and prepared salad bars
    • Mobile food cart offering unique tastings
    • In-house roasted deli meats
    • Dry-aged beef
    • Made to order sandwiches
    • Panini bar
    • Pasta bar featuring Severino Pasta, offering signature bowls and made to order pasta
    • Open hearth pizza oven, serving a variety of full-size and personal-size pizzas and pizza slices
    • Cheese Cutter’s Corner
    • Allegro Coffee bar
    • Smoothie and juice bar
  • Grocery, dairy and frozen aisles featuring more than 50 locally produced items
  • An expansive produce department with a wide variety of locally and organically grown fruits and vegetables
  • European-style Bakery department featuring Artisan breads from the Plantation bake house as well as locally crafted specialties featuring gluten-free products
  • More than 400 beers, including a “Build Your Own 6-Pack” feature
  • More than 750 wines
  • More than 250 artisanal cheeses from around the world, hand-cut and wrapped daily in the store

Whole Foods Market North Miami is located at 12150 Biscayne Boulevard; the store will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Telephone:(813) 264-3600. “Like” the store on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.