Wine and Dine with Joe
We bet you are wondering, how does Joe choose the great selection of wines offered at Joe’s Butcher Shop? Well, we are going to give you a bit of insight into how Joe himself selects those perfectly paired bottles.
Choosing wine for Joe’s Butcher Shop is left exclusively to Joe. His philosophy is to pick wines that complement the proteins we serve, price them competitively, choose a wide range of varieties and to buy wines whose quality can be judged by the Vintner.
Choosing wines that complement our proteins is very important. This is sometimes referred to as choosing “food friendly” wines. In general, food friendly wines have a palate cleansing acidity, fruitiness with low tannins as well as a great balance of acidity, tannins and fruit.
For Joe’s, food friendly wines means that we do not buy sweet wines. Sweet wines can draw too much attention from your food and tend to work better as stand-alone items for dessert or sipping. Instead, we focus on dry wines that have a fruit forward orientation. Bright fruits give the slightest impression of sweetness purely from the fruit, not from residual sugars that are part of fermentation. In the white wine arena, the most food friendly wines are dry Rieslings. Chardonnay or White Burgundies, Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis and dry Rose Of these wines, dry Rose’s are the workhorse of food friendly wines pairing well with everything from a flank steak to eggs benedict even hamburgers to vegetable skewers. On the red side food friendly wines include Pinot Noir/Burgundy, Chianti (Sangiovese grape of Tuscany), Barbera, Zinfandel and red blends. Pinot Noirs are interesting as young wines can be very fruit driven and older Pinot Noirs lean towards an umami or mushroom/earthy profile. Since Joe’s is a butcher shop, we also stock “steak friendly” wines. These wines tend to cut the fattiness of meats and include red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Meritage, Claret (Bordeaux style wines), and Syrah’s.
Of course, a food friendly wine is not very great if you cannot afford to buy it with the food you are purchasing! That is why generally all of Joe’s wines are priced at $25 or less per bottle with the majority priced under $20. Joe firmly believes that while there are some great wines that cost a pretty penny, you do not need to spend big dollars for wines that you will both enjoy and if need be – impress your guests. A secret from Joe is that he refuses to mark up any bottle of wine more than $5 a bottle. This means the more expensive wines are a relative bargain, allowing superb wines to be purchased for less.
Purchasing high quality for less is a hallmark of Joe’s, but it would not be as outstanding if Joe’s did not offer a great variety in a small space. Joe’s offers approximately 50 wines for sale at the Butcher Shop. Of the 50 wines about 15 are white and 35 are red wines. A variety in food friendly wines is important as different geographic areas lend different tastes to the same grape. As an example, Joe’s offers Sauvignon Blanc from California, France (White Bordeaux) and New Zealand. The French Sauvignon Blanc is more mineral driven and earthy, New Zealand wine is more fruit forward yet with great acidity, while California style takes on the flavors of tropical fruits. Each of these while dry, pair differently with different foods. The same can be said for a Burgundy versus a Washington Pinot Noir. Joe strongly believes that having this variety amongst the same grapes in such a small space makes the wine experience at Joe’s unique.
Also, what’s unique to Joe’s is the focus Joe places on who makes the wine (the Vintner.) Large Vintners such as Kendall Jackson or Gallo can turn out some highly rated wines with big points. But these wines are popular because they appeal to the taste of the crowd, they have little to no reflection upon the quality of the wine produced. Small Vintners harvest grapes from smaller fields, each field reflecting the dirt upon which it grows in the taste of the wine. These wines are called terroir driven and they show the true craftsmanship of the winemaker. Two great examples in Joe’s wines are the Lyeth Winery in the Alexander Valley in California and Poggerino Vineyard in Radda in Chianti, Italy. Chip Lyeth started the Lyeth Vineyard on 285 acres and quickly gained acclaim for his Bordeaux style blended red wines. He became so acclaimed that he founded the Meritage Association, a group of vintners that agreed upon a quality standard for Bordeaux style blended wines in California which they proudly called Meritage. Joe chose Lyeth Meritage to carry at Joe’s because it is the original and best value (under $20) for a high-quality Meritage. Likewise, the Poggerino Vineyard in Italy shows the best a Chianti (Sangiovese grape) can be. The vineyard is small, just 21 hectares (50 acres) on some of the only southward facing slopes of all Chianti. Piero Lanza is the vintner, and he grows all his grapes biodynamically or organically, with no fungicides or pesticides. He was discovered by Joe’s nephew Charles who owns a wine importing business in Denver, CO. Piero produces quite literally just a few hundred cases of his Chianti with love and quality placed into each bottle. Piero would never submit his wine on his own to a rating service, but Charles convinced Piero to do so in 2014. The result was a Wine Spectator who voted Poggerino Chianti Classico as the #18 wine of the top 100 wines in the world in 2014. Joe’s carries this wonderful wine at an unheard-of price.
It is this level of thought and care that goes into each wine Joe chooses. He works with his vendors to choose only those wines that demonstrate Joe’s commitment to quality, value, variety, and food friendliness. You can be assured that you will never buy a bad bottle of wine at Joe’s. He guarantees it with his quality pledge. If you ever have a bottle from Joe’s that does not meet your standards, simply return it for a complete refund, no questions asked. We feel that this is what makes our trusted store an establishment of invaluable service and people. If you don’t consider yourself a wine connoisseur, no need to worry. Ask one of our team members what pairs nicely with your purchase.