Morrell & Company

our favorite pics, picks, tastings and events at Morrell & Co.

The Cupcake segment

We received more proof recently that marketing vodka requires a unique set of skills. The evidence came in an interview with David Kent, CEO of The Wine Group, a hugely successful and smart wine and spirits company. In the interview published in Shanken News Daily, a trade publication, Kent recounted the launch of a new line of vodkas:

"Once Cupcake vodka was on the shelf, we learned that we didn’t really understand how to communicate flavors to the consumer. People thought that Original, which was unflavored, should taste like cake batter or vanilla. And hardly anyone seemed to know what Chiffon was. Fortunately, the consumer response to the vodka’s quality and style was very positive, and several flavors such as Frosting and Devil’s Food have established strong positions in their segments."

Oh yeah: “Cupcake” is also a wine brand. The Wine Company sells 2.4 million cases of it a year.

Wine Makes Steady Gains in US

A Post from Sam Perkins at Morrell & Company —

I love tracking the way Americans ‘interact’ with wine, whether it’s by going to wine tastings or seeking out wine festivals or buying at auction. So I was intrigued to see a recent factoid from a study according to which wine as a percentage of all alcohol Americans consume is making gains over liquor. The study compared consumption patterns in 1982 with those of 2011.

Especially noteworthy: wine is being bought at a store and consumed in the home as opposed to bars and restaurants: “Of the money we spend drinking at home, more goes to wine and less goes to hard alcohol.”

What it it doesn’t say is what percentage of wine consumed at home is delivered to the home versus the percentage brought home by the consumer. For outlet or non-“neighborhood” stores that’s an increasingly critical number.

I guess this is a bit geeky, except when you consider that while people retrench economically, they are maintaining their basic consumption of wine — just shifting the venue from the resto to the home. Could this be a sign that wine is not seen as a luxury, but a staple? A lot of us hope so.

Sam P

Party Wines!

This time of year we are all faced with the decision of what wine to bring to a party. Let me give you an insider’s tip: don’t try to bring a wine that everyone will love. Really. It doesn’t exist; peoples’ tastes are just too different. What you can bring is a wine that everyone will talk about; hostesses tend to be very grateful for anything that gets the conversation going. The best conversation starter I know is a sparkling red wine; jaws just drop. For a casual get-together with close friends, try Uncle Dick’s Sparkling Shiraz from Australia, the New World capital of sparkling red wine. The wine is juicy, just a touch off-dry and oodles of fun!

Meanwhile, for the sophisticated gathering of wine geeks, grab a bottle of dry high-quality Lambrusco. This is not the Lambrusco that your parents drank. It’s not the least bit sweet and is all the rage in the downtown wine scene. It also happens to be the perfect partner for a piatti di salumi. The former Wine Director of Cru, Dan Perlman once told me “Any restaurant that serves Italian food and doesn’t serve Lambrusco isn’t serious about wine.” Be serious, drink Lambrusco.

The Morrell Portfolio Tasting packed in a happy crowd to taste scores of wines and spirits. Highlights included the Ruinart and Krug tables; the fine collection of single malt whiskeys and the Girardin Puligny Montrachet Folatieres. After the event the staff took the half-empties to Morrell Wine Bar for a serious post-mortem.

Turkey Tipples

"What wine goes with Turkey?" This is the most common question I hear at this time of year. The truth is, good ol’ Tom is not the best partner for wine, so save those extra special bottles for another time and jump on these great values.

The Pinot Project Pinot Noir, California, USA 2010, $14.95

Pinot Noir has become so popular that it’s hard to find a good one that won’t break the bank. But the juicy cherry fruit and velvety texture of this bottle will make your friends think you’ve gone all out.  This is one of the favorite reds we pour by the glass at the Morrell Wine Bar in Rockefeller Center.

Chateau Trimoulet St Emilion Cuvee Emelius Grand Cru $29.95

I am always astounded by how many people are impressed when you bring them a French wine and there is no more prestigious region in France than Bordeaux. This charmer is as easy on the wallet as it is on the palate.

Burgans Albariño, Rias Baixas, Spain, 2010, $14.95

The national tapas bar craze has fueled a strong interest in Spanish wines, and this bright, zesty white is one of the reasons why. This is a fabulous choice with your pre-turkey nibbles; it appeals to a broad range of tastes, is flattering to most finger food and is also great to drink on its own.

Morrell Portfolio Tasting

We’re gearing up for a great tasting tomorrow evening at the Morrell Wine Store. We’ll be pouring over 60 wines and spirits for Morrell Wine fans. It’s fun and a perfect way to get a ‘round-the-world palate education in wine. We’ll have a savvy selection of wines from US, France, California, Spanish, Southern Hemisphere, Champagnes and more. Check it out and buy tickets at:

Photo Recap of the Zagat Dinner at Morrell Wine Bar

Zagat Presents brought 40 foodies to Morrell Wine & Café for a delicious and imaginative meal Nov. 1. The menu was a great two-part invention featuring by dishes by Wine Bar Chef Jake Klein paired with wines selected by Morrell & Company. The results were inspired.

Roberta Morrell and Giacomo di Neri of Casanova di Neri meet at Morrell Wine Bar to discuss the great 2006 vintage of Casanova di Neri Brunello. Giacomo assesses the quality of the 2007 to 2010 and the Casanova di Neri Rossa.