'Burbs, Wine and Bunny Rabbits

I was kind of kidding the other day when I jokingly made the statement that I hadn't been out of the city and into to the "suburbs" in a about 2 months.  Then it hit me that I really hadn't.  So when I got the invite to a wine tasting at Urban Grape in Chestnut Hill from Michelle, who write the Economical Eater, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to sample new wines and take in a little change in scenery.

Having never been to Urban Grape before, I really didn't know what to expect.  It is tucked away from the congestion that is Rt 9, and is a small, narrow space of a store.  But you certainly can't judge this store by its size because nestled inside this little shop are over 750 various wines (and beers too).  They stock all of the well-known labels (Kendall Jackson, Mondavi, etc) but also sell numerous lesser-known varietals from all over the globe.  There's also a section off to side, when you first enter, that allows you to try a sampling of selected wines.

When I first met the owner, TJ, I noticed right off the bat how passionate he was about what he does.  And he's totally living the dream: making a living off of what he is most passionate about.  He was beaming and had so much excitement and energy as he talked about the different wines that we sampled.  It was fairly evident that when you walk into his store, he's there to make sure you leave happy.  He even stopped our demonstration several times in order to personally help customers make their selection.

My favorite part, besides the level of passion that TJ has, is his knowledge.  I was totally engrossed in what he had to say.  I also was fascinated by the unique layout of the store.  Clean, bare bones and with the emphasis on the wine, the shop is also organized by how heavy the wine is.  To explain this better, he used the metaphor of milk.  On one spectrum, skim milk tastes sort of watery.  On the other end of the spectrum, cream is thick and heavy.  He categorizes his wine according to this scale and affixes his opinion of the wine's heaviness to the back of the bottle.  This trait is important to note in wine because it help you pick the ideal cooking wine or the perfect wine to serve during a particular time of the year (heavier for colder months, lighter for warmer).

Throughout the evening, we sampled many wines.  My favorite, surprisingly enough, was a Bordeaux.  I'm not typically a fan of French wines, but this one was fantastic.  It had so many flavors to it that all seemed to come at you individually and on cue.  One right after another.  My second favorite was again a shock; a Cabernet from Napa.  I usually don't reach for New World Wines but this one was brilliant.  A little heavy, but would be absolutely fantastic to enjoy on an icy winter evening.

Michelle and Urban Grape, thank you for hosting such a fun event.  It was also great to catch up with some blogger friends: Lara, John and Melissa.  It was all totally worth making the short trek out of the city for!

To top off my little trip to the 'burbs...I saw actual wildlife on my way home tonight....look!  Aren't they kinda cute?  Maybe I'll venture out the 'burbs a little more often...


Terrianne, Call me Ree said...

Sounds like a great event. TJ sounds totally passionate about what he's doing and that's awesome! Passion is infectious, so I'm sure that only enhanced your wine tasting experience. =)

Bunnies! I love bunnies. After reading Richard Adams "Watership Down" I'm totally convined bunnies have a secret life trying to navigate through the world us humans are oblivious to. *giggles*

MichellePC said...

Great recap, Katie! Thanks again for coming - glad you had a good time, and enjoyed your trip to the 'burbs! ;) I'm also glad we realized we're both QU alumn!

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