Fine Wine Brokers: a Bottle to go with Brats

The meal: brats on the grill
The store: Fine Wine Brokers in Lincoln Square
The wine: a German Pinot Noir–that’s right, German
The details: $21.95 for the 2007 August Ziegler Pinot Noir Pfalz
The verdict: Pairs well. Buy a bottle. Perfect for Memorial Day BBQs.

Walking in to Fine Wine Brokers, 4621 N. Lincoln Ave., you immediately know they know their wine.  The quaint store is two-rooms-full of wine from all over the world.  The focus is on small production wines, which co-owner Louise Rohr says were made by “hands-on and passionate” winemakers.

Tuesday evening, we challenged salesman Sandy Marshall to find a wine to serve with our grilled brats–and without hesitation, he chose seven bottles (both red AND white).  He was knowledgeable and nice and speedy–all qualties you want in a wine salesman, especially when your 10-month-old is in tow and about to throw a tantrum.

After some debate, we settled on a 2007 August Ziegler Pinot Noir Pfalz (a Spatburgunder).

He Sipped

I was intrigued by the German Pinot selection–largely due to the fact that I don’t remember ever having one before.  Brats aren’t necessarily an easy food to pair wine with.  Of course, when you think brats, you think beer.  Sandy made a good suggestion though.  

This wine was red in color with a little bit of brick around the rim.  It was pretty transparent, so I could tell right away this was not a heavy wine.  To me, Pinot Noir has a very distinctive aroma.  I’ve heard it described as mushroom or even barnyard.  Neither of those seem quite right to me, but it’s hard to describe.  You know it when you smell it–and I definitely got it with the August Ziegler.  The nose was more earthy, with some minerality, not a ton of fruit.  It’s just what you’d expect from a cool climate wine.  

On the palate it was fairly low in tannin with some nice acidity–again, that cool climate.  It has some minerality as well as sour cherry and a touch of cinnamon.  This was a great wine to enjoy outside on a warm evening.

She Sipped

I wanted a white.  Often do.  But this red handled the 90-degree heat of the day well.  It was light and refreshing for a red, the perfect combo for a Memorial Day fiesta (or two).

“It’s a light red for the summer, more watery than I thought. I always think of a pinot as a wine that warms you up in the winter. This is different,” said Pam, who brought dessert to go with our wine–her homemade caramels, dubbed Paramels.  (More on these delicious treats tomorrow in a special She-Said-Only post.)

But I digress.

On the nose, as they say, this wine was all fruit.  He got cow manure; we got strawberries. Go figure.  I’m pretty sure that it’s been scientifically proven that women have a stronger sense of smell.  So who are you going to believe?

For just over $20, this wine fit the bill.  I would buy it again and probably again.  It’s the kind of red wine, you could bring to a white-wine drinker.  Pam even said our friend Christine would drink this red–which means if Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc is your go-to wine, this Pinot Noir is still drinkable.  Better yet, bring this August Zeigler (I want to meet him because his name is super cool) to your next girls’ night and force the white-club to try it.  Tell me the response. I’d be curious.  But my guess is they won’t be making pucker faces at this one.

We Sipped

Buy a Bottle

If it was a few bucks cheaper, we’d even say Buy a Case.

The He Sipped/She Sipped Wine Tasting Scale

Buy a Case (Find it. Hoard it. Save it. Drink it. Just get it.)
Buy a Bottle (If the price is right, buy and enjoy.)
Have a Glass (Good for one or two drinks. Don’t bother seeking it out.)
Dump it (Not worth your money. Not worth your evening. Not worth getting a glass dirty.)

More on the Store

Sandy’s Favorite: Guiseppe Lonardi Amarone Classico 2005
Louise’s Girls’ Night Pick: Dubaril Gamay Romand 2008 (Swiss Rose Wine)
Best Bargain: Gazela Vinho Verde 2009, $7.95

Number of Wines: 1,000 (including half bottles, which are hard to find)
Specialties: Organic and Biodynamic wines
Events: Free wine tastings from 1-4 every Saturday. 


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  • So, are you going to be in town and bringing some of this wine with you on Memorial Day so I can try it out? :)

  • In reply to SarahS:

    That's a good idea!

  • great post. i will definitely try a bottle of this per your recommendation.

  • In reply to themaestro:

    Thank you for your comment, Maestro. We look forward to your continued readership.

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