Time sure does fly when you’re having fun! It’s hard to believe that on March 14th, 1987 Paul Marcus Wines first opened its doors to a thirsty Rockridge neighborhood. At the time, our spirited leader, Paul Marcus opened this dynamic shop full of vinous goodies to share his enthusiasm for wine, and the European concept that wine is an integral part of a meal.
Paul Marcus & employee # 1 Joel Mullennix
Fast forward to 2019, the “wine is food” motto rings true for us at Paul Marcus Wines more than ever.So, whether you are looking for a new wine to enjoy with tonight’s take out, or an upcoming special event, we are here to help you!
And now for breaking news: In the spirit of turning 32 years young, we at Paul Marcus Wines are rolling out on a special and super fun project.
In the next couple of weeks, we will introduce two sets of exciting wines to share with you. The wines in each set of two bottles each will showcase a specific wine region, made by dedicated and talented vignerons.Of course, it goes without saying that these wines pair beautifully with food!
Along with the selection of wines, you’ll find a nifty little zine, to peruse while you enjoy the accompanying selections. Inside we’ll include information regarding the featured wines, along with a bit of backstory as to why we find them so fantastic. We will also share a simple recipe that can be whipped up on the fly, as well as other fun, inspirational content.
In this first edition we’ll also revisit the history of Paul Marcus Wines, and learn more about Paul’s early days starting and running his bustling, pocket-sized wine shop.
These wine sets will be very limited, and available only at Paul Marcus Wines. We’ll be sure to let you know when they are good to go. Please stay tuned, and we’ll see you at the shop!
https://www.paulmarcuswines.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/pmw_bday.jpg15621320Mulan Chan-Randelhttps://www.paulmarcuswines.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Logo_Paul_Marcus_Wines2018.jpgMulan Chan-Randel2019-03-20 06:00:492019-07-23 19:54:14Happy Birthday Paul Marcus Wines!
As many of our customers already know, wines that pair with food are our specialty here at Paul Marcus Wines. However, our hearts and palates are not limited to wine. Enter, sake, the national beverage of Japan, and a very food friendly beverage to boot.
Due in part to its subtle flavors, lower acidity and near absence of tannin, sake does not run the risk of overpowering many dishes. In addition to traditional Japanese cuisine, the perfect sake can pair with a wide variety of fare, including grilled meats, fish, roasted vegetables, fried foods and many appetizers. There are even off dry – delicately sweet sake that pair well with spicy dishes.
Want to know more about sake or need a pairing suggestion? Then please stop by Paul Marcus Wines and we’ll share with you our current selection from Japan Prestige Sake.
In the meantime, we’ve put together a short list, if you will, of commonly asked questions regarding this nuanced and versatile beverage. Please read on!
What is sake?
Simply stated, Sake is an alcoholic beverage produced from polished white rice grains. Along with this base material, water and a mold laden rice known as koji are combined in order to transform the rice kernels into a sugary liquid. The addition of yeast then converts this liquid via the process of fermentation into the alcoholic beverage known as Sake.
How is sake different from wine, distilled spirits and beer?
Sake is an alcoholic beverage made from rice. Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fruit, and most often, grapes.
Sake (like wine) undergoes a fermentation via the introduction of yeast in order to transform sugars into an alcoholic beverage. Distilled spirits start with a fermented product containing alcohol, which is then most often heated in order to capture, cool and condense the vapors that are released during heating process. This process is known as distillation.
Sake, like beer, is made from starchy, solid grains, however the process by which this starch is converted to sugar such that fermentation can begin is very different. In beer production, unpolished grains germinate, which enable them to convert densely stored starches into fermentable sugars. This process is known as malting.
As sake rice kernels are polished beforehand, they do not contain the necessary components (the germ), to undergo the malting process. For this reason, a mold known as koji must be added to the steamed rice in order to convert the rice starch into fermentable sugars.
What is the alcohol level of sake?
Sake generally has an alcohol level of between 15-17%, which in most instances is higher than most wines ands beer.However, sake is much lower in alcohol than distilled spirits like vodka, gin, tequila or whisky, which are generally bottled at or around 40% abv.
How do I know if a sake is sweet or dry?
The S.M.V. (Sake Meter Value) is the gauge for measuring the dryness or sweetness of the sake. The higher the S.M.V., the drier the sake.The SMV range extends from -99 for very sweet sake to 10+ for some of the driest. The median value of S.M.V. is +3, which would for most drinkers register as a dry, but plush example of sake. However, like wine, there are a myriad of components (acidity, pH, mouthfeel) that determine if a sake tastes sweet or dry to a sake particular drinker. What one person might find very sweet and lush, another might quite dry.
What is the best way to serve and drink sake?
The best way to enjoy sake is in a neutral vessel, preferably made of glass or glazed ceramic. The traditional O-choko works very well. A Wine glass is also an excellent option, especially for sake that is served chilled or at room temperature. You’ll want to avoid any vessel that has a porous texture, like wood, that could impart additional flavors to the sake.
Once open, how long does a bottle of sake last?
An open bottle of sake can last anywhere from 1-2 weeks if refrigerated properly. However, during this period, the sake will begin to lose its subtle nuances and flavors. As such, the ideal consumption period for most open sake is over the course of one to several days.
Is a chilled sake always higher quality than a sake that is served warm?
Not necessarily. Sake that are more delicate and fruit driven are often served slightly chilled in order to enhance the melon, pear and fresh nuances of the beverage. On the other hand, full bodied sake that display more savory or earthy components often show best served at room temperature or even slightly warm.
Wherein the folks at Paul Marcus Wines get to the bottom of our most FAQs in the shop.
Is my bottle of wine corked?
You show up to a friend’s party with two bottles of your favorite Côtes du Rhone. The first bottle tastes great! Fresh, vibrant and juicy…just as you remembered it. However, the second bottle smells a bit like wet cardboard, and doesn’t have nearly the same fruit nuances and charm as your first bottle. Is your bottle of wine corked?
I. What exactly is a corked wine?
Cork taint is a wine fault that is caused by certain molds sometimes present in the bark of cork trees. These molds can and do live in cork after it’s been harvested, processed and shipped out in the form of finished corks. For most people these molds are undetectable, until they co-mingle with chlorine or chlorophenol compounds at any time during the winemaking process.
When these cork bark molds and chlorine interact, an aromatically unpleasant compound derivative 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole can develop. This compound is more commonly known as TCA.
As you can imagine, the possibilities for the formation of TCA are numerous. For instance, cork bark undergoes sterilization in the production of corks, and bottles need to be sanitized before being used.
Of course, chlorine is found in our water supply, and in many cleaning agents. For this reason, wineries are vigilant when it comes to their water source and how they sanitize not only bottles but all winery equipment, and often eschew such chlorine detergents in favor of peroxide based cleaners.
II. What does a corked wine smell like?
While small amounts of TCA a wine can result in a very subtle loss of aromatic fruit and vibrancy, higher levels of TCA can impart distinctive and downright unpleasant aromas.
Descriptions of a corked wine include: moldy cardboard, old sofa, swamp, wet dog or stale fruit flavors.
(Note: older bottles of wine will often display earthy and dank nuances when opened. This is not an indicator of TCA. Aged bottles of wine will often shed primary fruit notes and develop more secondary nuances. As such, special attention should be given when evaluating older wines)
III. What is not an indicator of a corked wine?
An old, or crumbly cork. The physical appearance of a cork does not indicate that a bottle wine is contaminated with TCA. Older bottles with corks that look less than pristine, often do a fantastic job protecting wine over the years, and with no evidence of cork taint.
A pushed cork, or one that rises above the level of the bottle most often indicates that the wine was exposed to higher temperatures at some time in the past, or that the bottle was overfilled. This condition is not necessarily an indicator that a wine is corked.
Bottle seepage or capsule corrosion. Wine seepage or a corroded capsule are unrelated to TCA contamination and do not indicate that a wine is corked.
Mold on the cork. Frequently bottles of wine, especially older bottles that have been stored in humid conditions may develop some sort of mold or fungi around the wine capsule or cork. These fungi are not necessarily related to molds that cause TCA.
IV. What should I do if I think that I have a bottle of corked wine?
If, after careful evaluation you’ve concluded that TCA might be the culprit, here’s what you’ll want to do.
Don’t pour out the bottle of wine. Re-insert the cork and save as much of the wine as possible. A reputable wine shop will exchange a bottle of wine that is contaminated with TCA. However, they will want evaluate the bottle in person before making a definitive judgement.
Here at Paul Marcus Wines we love to celebrate any and all occasions involving food and wine.Which is why we are so psyched about March 20th. Why? Because it’s International Francophonie Day! This day celebrates the approximately 220 million Francophones, plus the additional 72 million Francophiles throughout the world who are learning French.
International Francophonie Day was in 1988, and celebrates the signing of the Niamey Convention in Niger on 20 March 1970. The convention established the Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, the precursor to the International Organization of La Francophonie, which represents countries and regions throughout the world where French is the lingua franca. Although French speakers come from diverse ethnic, cultural and political backgrounds, all can rejoice in that they are united by the love and commonality of their shared language.
Irina Bokova, the former General Director of UNESCO aptly described the honorary day, on the occasion of International Francophonie Day March 20, 2017.
“The French language crystallizes centuries of culture and history. … It is in French that Pascal, Voltaire or Rousseau led the fight for tolerance, democracy and human rights. It was in French that Assia Djebar defended the rights of women and that Césaire, Senghor and so many others laid the foundations of modern humanist consciousness. On all 5 continents, hundreds of millions of men and women express their hopes for a better life in French.”
So how can we, out here in sunny California, celebrate Francophonie language and culture? How about checking out a French language film? Nouvelle Vague perhaps? Or breaking out that iconic Charles Aznavour record that’s collecting dust in the closet. How about revisiting one of hip hop’s best and brightest, MC Solaar (La 5ème Saison – oh yeah) All this talk of Francophonie is making me hungry.A chunk of chevre on a freshly baked baguette sounds pretty fantastique right about now.
And if wine is your thing (and as you are reading this I suspect, yes) how about pulling the cork on a bottle of French wine to celebrate! We at PMW certainly will do so. Incidentally, the wine thing pairs equally well with movies, records, and cheese. Below are two of our current staff favorites that we’d love to share with you. Both wineries are family owned and operated, and tout à fait francais.
2017 Patrice Colin “Pierre a Feu” Coteaux du Vendomois (Chenin Blanc) – $19
“Pierre a Feu” literally translates to “Rock of Fire” in French- an appropriate name for a wine that proceeds from the flinty soils of the “Coteaux du Vendomois” appellation in the Loire Valley. While this area only received its appellation status in 2001, wine production here can be traced all the way back to the 11th century, and Patrice’s family has been in the business since 1735. All farming is organic and vegan here, with the fruit being vinified in stainless steel to preserve crisp floral and mineral flavors. This is a beautiful example of Chenin grown to the north of Vouvray… dry, elegant, and pure. Chevre and other semi-soft cheeses call forth pear and peach fruits, and “Pierre a Feu” is also excellent with fried fish, cilantro, (think Baja-style tacos) or chicken.
2016 Roc des Anges “Segna de Cor” Cotes Catalanes – $29
Another wine with an interesting linguistic twist in the title, “Segna de Cor” is actually the name of the producer- which is Roc des Anges, but just spelled backwards! And truly, “Rock of Angels” is the perfect name for this project, as these vines are grown in full view of the majestic Pyrenees mountains. This is breath-taking country can be a bit difficult for vignerons: it is infamous for its arid climate, intense sun, wind, and nutrient-poor soil. However, the cold mountain air does encourage complexity in the grapes, which winemaker Marjorie Gallet has bio-dynamically farmed since 2001.
Gallet’s self-proclaimed goal is to chisel out structure and elegance from this challenging terroir, where “concentration is the enemy.” Sample some of her determination in “Segna de Cor”, a GSM blend that sings with aromas of blackcurrant, date, and fig- making it a wonderful pairing with the savory-sweet flavors of Moroccan cuisine. Alternatively, pick up a bottle to bring along with you to a plein air picnic to usher in the spring. The depth of fruit, good acid, and dry finish make it perfect with semi soft cheeses, paté and charcuterie.