Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Blu Figs & Mark West Pinot Noir

While appetizer and wine hopping Saturday night we stumbled upon a new dining establishment – Blu Figs. Blu Figs has a casual Mediterranean feel and is located at 15463 N Dale Mabry Hwy. What makes this establishment stand out is the way the wine menu is presented. The name Figs stands for France, Italy, Greece and Spain. These wines are prominent on the wine menu. The traditional Cabernet’s, Merlots and Shiraz are listed as Other Reds. The other great thing about Blu Figs is for those who appreciate a good beer; you will not find a single AB (now InBev) on tap. Instead look for Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Dogfish Head, Dunedin Brewery and other craft beers. The restaurant buys local whenever possible. They buy produce from Bearss Groves and support local micro brews. This Wine Chick was so happy to see real beer I had to have the Dead Guy Ale. My husband and I got married in Portland, OR and our reception was a pub crawl. Rogue Distillery was our second stop so Dead Guy is near and dear to my heart.

Before we move onto the wine segment, I have to call out the wonderfully delicious food served at Blu Figs. I had a cup of the Lobster Bisque, nicely priced at $5. The lobster is pureed and the bisque is topped with tangerine and green tea froth. It was quite possibly the best Lobster Bisque I’ve had in a long while. My husband ordered the Vin Plat priced at $5 per person. This delightful plate came with a medley of soft cheeses, salami, roasted pepper, candied pecans, sundried figs and olive Provence. Pure Heaven on a plate! Dessert was a Tri-Chocolate & Hazelnut Parfait for $6. Now I am not a dessert person but I could not resist this wonderful smooth and delectable treat.

Of course being the wine chick I did have to try at least one wine. The wine list is so refreshing, none of the old standards. In fact dare I say, I wasn’t familiar with any of the wines! The bar manager even let me try several wines before I settled on a Mark West Pinot Noir (in keeping with my Portland vibe).

Mark West Wineries mantra is Pinot for the People. The difference with this Pinot versus so many others is, this is not a thin Pinot but has more of a full bodied flavor. Mark West Winery also believes in keeping wines affordable. Well this Wine Chick is all about affordability! Upon further research, it appears the winery has no land, no vineyard and no winery. I have to wonder if they are crushing the grapes in their bathtubs. If they are, stomp away because this wine was too good not to try again. I can gather they age it somewhere in Sonoma. I did find out some other little interesting tidbits on this winery but will save for another blog.

Wine Chick didn’t have anything to take notes on but this is a lesson learned. Here’s what I do remember; detecting strawberries, raspberries and black berries. Smooth finish and a very easy drinking wine. I think I’ll have to go back to Blu Figs soon to further my research!

Blu Figs owner Theo´ Anglakos and Bar Manager Joe Cater are super friendly and extremely informative.

I have not seen Mark West wines in stores but online it appears to retail for less than $10.

Chickadee word of the day:
Aging – The process of maturing wines so they can improve. With age, the wine becomes less harsh, less tannic and produces a smoother flavor and texture.

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