Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Urban Grape- Go Geek Out with them, South End, Boston

I was out to dinner a few nights ago with a friend and as we considered the menu, the all important discussion of the wine list came up.  The discussion of wine is always a subject in itself.  It seems most of us wend our way through wine lists slightly blind.  Even if we have an elementary understanding of wine, it never seems enough to know if that 2009 Pinot Noir will be better or if the 2011 Chardonnay is the way to go.  So you do a dance with the menu, looking at the list, reviewing regions, narrowing by price...often choosing a wine can be a stressful task, and that's just with a limited wine list in a restaurant.  Let's consider wine stores, with their aisles of wines, their labels promising perfection, and yet no real understanding of what their bottles hold.  

The Urban Grape, with locations in Chestnut Hill and the South End changes all of that.  Proprietors TJ and Hadley Douglas opened their first location in Chestnut Hill just about three years ago with an eye to changing how we buy wine. Instead of organizing their space by region or varietal, they have sorted their bottles by the viscosity of the wine itself.  Their model is known as Progressive Shelving, meaning that their white wines are arranged from lightest on the palate to heaviest, and their reds are organized in the same way.  Now you might be wondering what "light on the
palate" refers to.  It's literally crazy idea of mouth feel that we talk about.  Its the idea of how skim milk feels on your tongue as compared to how heavy cream feels.  One is much heavier, it coats your mouth with its property and the other flows similar to water.  One leaves a lingering flavor, while the other washes away. 

I love this concept.  It means that as opposed to finding a wine that you like and sticking with it, where it's organized on their wall will lead you to other wines you'll enjoy based on their similar weight and properties.  Perhaps they are both Malbec's, perhaps not.  It also means that, especially with the help of TJ, Hadley and their staff, you can find the perfect wine to pair with that killer dinner you've been preparing.  It means that when you serve roast that you've been preparing all day, and the wine you serve with it is its perfect compliment, and then when you uncork that after dinner bottle to relax with, it will be that comforting feel that you want to spend the rest of the evening with.  The system and the staff at Urban Grape means that you will be the hero of pairings.  
The Urban Grape is constantly finding new ways to help their customers wend through the world of wine.  They keep track of your purchases and your preferences to find recommendations for you.  During those busy weeks where every little bit helps- they can create a case for you based on those preferences so all you need to do is pick it up. Both locations also offer a host of tasting events at both locations which will help give you that further edge as they delve into different varietals and walk through their properties. Finally, The Urban Grape is also offering a full selection of beers, sake's, ciders...you name it.  

If you are one of those persons who "fakes" it during wine selecting- get on over to The Urban Grape- a quick trip in will arm you with information and some fantastic bottles.


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