Wednesday, October 21, 2009



Antique photo of treasured old wine

Several of my readers have asked me where I shop in Roanoke. They are interested in seeing what our little mountain city has to offer. While we don’t boast a lot of slick, super-sized malls, we do have a number of excellent specialty shops that I know I can depend on for great products. When wine is on my shopping list, one of my favorite stops is The Wine Gourmet on Franklin Road.

Pam West, Aaron Layman and Kimberly Eaken with a bottle of Villa Pozzi

Owner Kim Eaken and the rest of the staff always make me feel at home there. I love the knowledgeable, patient guidance I get when I’m trying to find a wine for a particular purpose. And I’m pretty sure that every customer is treated just as grandly. One recent find the Wine Gourmet staff guided me to is Villa Pozzi, a red Italian wine. It is mellow and delicious and reasonably priced. Kim and her family have been involved with wine in one way or another for more than twenty years. Her parents started Blue Ridge Vineyard in 1985.

Kim also spent several years helping customers at Lee and Edwards Wine Shop before she decided to open her own business. She is one of 1700 Certified Specialists of Wine in the United States. She opened Wine Gourmet in 2002 and has since devoted her time to providing customers with excellent wines and superb service.

Amarone wine

Another wine I discovered through the guidance of the folks at Wine Gourmet is Amarone. A friend told me that Amarone is made by picking grapes late in the season and then laying them on straw mats to shrivel up to the size of raisins before mashing. The end result is a rich, complex wine with a high alcohol content and a flavor often (but not always) vaguely reminiscent of cream sherry. He said he was purring happily to himself after finishing the better part of a bottle.

The shelves are chock-full of intriguing looking bottles

A few years ago I took a wine and food pairing class from Kim which was given at Foodies Gourmet Cooking School. (I’ll be posting more about Foodie’s school in the future.) What a wonderful evening! Kim amazed me with her encyclopedic knowledge of how to pair wine and food to bring out the best of both.

You will be delighted if you go to Wine Gourmet’s website and blog page. There are great ideas and recipes for pairing some of your favorite fall dishes such as Chili polo blanc du Wine Gourmet. “The recommended wine for this dish is a light to medium-bodied red with some zing. A grenacha, if it’s from Spain, such as Las Rocas Vinas Viejas (Old Vine), @ $18.99/btl. It has flavors of black raspberry, black cherry, and black pepper with enough body to stand up to the chili but not so much body it overwhelms it.”

It's not all about wine-if you like beer, they've got that too!

Wine Gourmet may not be able to duplicate the wines seen in the antique picture at the top of this post, but I have a feeling if you ask Kim to try, she’ll find something equally elegant and tasty! Visit them at or or

The Wine Gourmet!

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