THE FRIULIANS ARE HERE! – VILLA JOB AT PAUL MARCUS WINES

One of the great perks to selling wine is the opportunity to discover, learn about and taste new wines from all over the world. Case in point, last month the PMW team had the opportunity to meet with Alessandro and Lavinia Job and taste the wines from Villa Job, their family winery located in Friuli Venezia Giulia.
This 6.5-hectare domaine is located on the Friuli Pozzuolo plateau, and at an altitude of 90 meters above sea level. The organically farmed vineyards are surrounded by dense woods and the Cormor River. The influence of this body of water contributes to the soils of the area, which are largely composed of sand, silt, clay and marl.
The vineyards at the domaine are planted to the ribolla gialla, friulano, sauvignon, pinot grigio, refosco and schioppettino. All the farming at Villa Job is done via organic practices. In the cellar, Alessandro and Lavinia seek to produce wines with minimal intervention. Fermentation takes place via native yeasts, and no new oak is used. Wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered, and with minimal amounts of SO2 at bottling.

Family owned for generations, Alessandro remembers playing in the estate vineyards as a child on vacation and growing up amongst the vines. Fast forward to adulthood, when he and Lavinia met in Milan. At the time, Alessandro was working in business management engineering, and Lavinia in marketing. When Alessandro officially inherited the domaine, he and Lavinia made the life changing decision to exchange their city jobs for the life of a farmer and winemaker.
Their devotion and passion are paying off, as exemplified by a select range of wines that showcase their commitment to understanding the complexities of the land and vineyards, while producing wines that proudly represent the region of Friuli.
The following four wines from Villa Job have recently arrived at PMW and are ready to go!

2017 Villa Job “Sudigiri” Venezia Giulia Sauvignon Blanc

Sudigiri, which translates loosely to “elated” comes from 15-year-old sauvignon blanc vines planted on a combination of marl, clay and silt. The grapes undergo two days of skin contact before fermentation begins via native yeast in open top barrels. The wine then ages in concrete tank for six months, followed by an additional three months in old mulberry barrels. It is bottled unfiltered, and then spends 2 additional months aging before release. Sudigiri is not your typical sauvignon blanc, as it displays hints of celery, lemon oil, ginger and light clove on the palate.

2017 Villa Job “Untitled” Venezia Giulia Friulano

Untitled comes from 15-year-old friulano (tocai) vines planted on a combination of marl, clay and silt soils. Considered the most classic variety and vinous expression from the region The grapes undergo two days of skin contact before fermentation begins via native yeast in open top barrels. The wine then ages in concrete tank for nine months, followed by an additional three months in old mulberry barrels. It is bottled unfiltered, and then spends 2 additional months aging before release.

2017 Villa Job “Piantagrane” Friuli Grave Pinot Grigio

Piantagrane is Villa Job’s pinot grigio cuvee with vines from different parcels and soil types found on the domaine. The average vine age here is 15 years, and planted on a combination of marl, clay and silt soils. The grapes undergo two days of skin contact before fermentation begins via native yeast in concrete vats. The wine then ages in concrete vat and old barriques before being bottled unfiltered. This unique Friulian white displays notes of wet stone, mineral, yellow peaches, and a slightly salty finish.

2017 Villa Job “Serious” Venezia Giulia Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso

Villa Job’s “Serious” is a not so serious but seriously delightful take on this native variety. The average vine age here is 15 years, and planted on a combination of marl, clay and silt soils. Fermentation takes place in open tonneau vats via native yeast. The wine then ages in concrete vat and old barriques for approximately 12 months before being bottled un-fined and unfiltered. Subtle notes of strawberries, raspberry, peppercorn and light spice make for an intriguing rendition of refosco.

We’ll see you at the shop!

As many of our loyal customers already know, 2019 marks the 32nd year of Paul Marcus Wines setting up shop at Market Hall. To recognize this milestone, PMW published our first ever Wine Zine earlier this spring. In it, we highlighted several new wineries that we are excited about, as well as recipes, and a fun chronicle of the early years at the shop. For this month’s newsletter, we decided to reprint Part 1 of the history of PMW – from 1987 up through the late 1990s. We hope that you enjoy this wine trip down PMW memory lane!

Yes, it’s true, Paul Marcus Wines recently celebrated our 32nd anniversary! It has truly been a remarkable journey, filled with wonderful customers, and thousands of bottles of wine. As most folks who frequent the shop know, Paul Marcus Wines champions the notion that “wine is food”.  But how did our guiding principle come to pass?

Let’s rewind to 1974, when Paul embarked on a four-month trip through France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The voyage was both a blast and life changing.  His experiences with the people, cuisine and

European landscape crystalized the notion that food and wine go hand in hand, and that at their best, are connected to a sense of place. For years, Paul remembered each wine he tasted on this trip, and returned stateside with a deep curiosity to learn more.

Over the next decade, and while working at Leopold Records as the main buyer, Paul immersed himself in wines from the Rhone Valley, Italy and Burgundy. At the request of his friends, he began to select wines from these regions to enjoy with their meals. Unbeknownst to Paul at the time, opening a wine shop to share his passion for wine and food was in his future.

Fast forward to Saturday March 14th, 1987, when Paul Marcus Wines opened its doors in Market Hall, the European styled marketplace in the heart of Rockridge. The shop featured several hundred wines from Europe and California, and Paul and his two employees were thrilled share their journey of food and wine with the neighbors. At the time, Rockridge was a sleepy little neighborhood, and not considered part of the East Bay food and wine scene. However, things began to change.

Throughout the 1990s, Market Hall and PMW became fixtures of the Rockridge community.  Folks from the area and beyond were thirsty for food friendly wines to pair with the remarkable products available at Market Hall. Of course, PMW was thrilled to help slake their thirst. Paul’s wine team grew to four employees in order to assist customers at the busy Oakland wine shop.  “Wine is food” continued to inform all activities at Paul Marcus Wines, and continues to this day.  Please Stay tuned for Part II coming soon!

Over the past several weeks on your way into the shop, you might have already noticed a new addition right outside our doors. Meant in part to peak curiosity and put a little spring in your step, we’ve come up with a fun PMW chalkboard to do just that!

Whom, might you ask is responsible for this breath of fresh vinous air and inspiration? We are very fortunate to have the very talented Heather Mills creating this beautiful signage and artwork for PMW! Many of our customers know Heather well, having enjoyed her wine pairing recommendations and expertise here at the shop over the years. She is an integral part of the PMW wine team, and might we also say, our current “artist in residence”. Thank you, Heather!

Thus far, the feedback has been just wonderful, which makes us very happy! We’ll be updating the artwork, inspirational messages and wines regularly, so please be sure to swing by and take a look.

The glorious cabinet of artifacts pictured above is part of the collection at the Naturkunden Museum in Berlin. Curated in the early part of the 18th century, the cabinet showcases coral, sea sponges, and an assortment of shells – small wonders of the natural world. Curiosity, or curio cabinets have been around for hundreds of years. During the 16th and 17th centuries, curio cabinets often displayed ambitious collections of naturalia (natural artifacts), artefacta (ancient objects) and scientifica (instruments of science). These cabinets (and in some cases – entire rooms or Wunderkammer) often served as mementos of the owner-curator’s travels and life experiences. Further examination and reflection of each object assembled in a particular cabinet was meant to inspire wonder, enjoyment and further exploration.

In the spirit of wonder, enjoyment and exploration, Paul Marcus Wines is very proud to share with you our very own (cold) curio cabinet!

Ensconced on our back wall, between our Barbaresco and Germany/Austria sections, you’ll find an eclectic collection of white, sparkling and rose wines from across the globe. And, if you look closely, you’ll even spot an artisanal beer or cider! We constantly change up and add new selections, empowering you to take a new wine adventure each time you explore our cold cabinet.

And for those of you who prefer to revisit a wine several times before moving onto a new adventure, we’ve kept the bottom shelf of the cabinet stocked with a range of reliable, go-to wines. These customer favorites will be around for a spell – or at least until we run out.

We hope that our curio cold cabinet inspires you to further explore and enjoy the world of wine. And of course, we are always available to make a recommendation, or to answer any questions that you might have.

We’ll see you at the shop!

In our last newsletter we mentioned that a special project was in the works here at Paul Marcus Wines. News update: We are very pleased to announce that the PMW Wine League packs are now in the shop and ready to roll! Please note: Only a very limited number of these special bundles are available.

The Wine League

We currently have 2 different selections. The first tier includes a white and red from Terenzuola, a family owned winery located a stone’s throw from the Ligurian coast. Our second-tier highlights 2 Savoie selections from Uliz, and rising star winemaker Antoine Petitprez. The nifty little flyer above explains the details.

PMW Wine League Zine Issue #1

Wine League Zine

Also, included with your selection is our inaugural issue of the Paul Marcus Wine Zine!

Inside this issue, you’ll find additional information regarding the wineries featured with each pack. Also, recipe and cheese pairing suggestions for each wine. And in celebration of PMW’s 32 years as part of the Rockridge community, we’re revisiting the history of how Paul Marcus Wines came to be. The PMW wine journey has been a great trip thus far, and we look forward to many more adventures!

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

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!

Sake does not fight with food!

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 the sake or need a pairing suggestion? Then please stop by Paul Marcus Wines and we’ll share with you our newly arrived 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.