Sunday, December 6, 2009

Central Bottle: An Update

A few weeks ago, I attended the Grand Opening of Central Bottle, a new boutique wine store in Central Square, Cambridge. Since that time, I have stopped by the store a couple more times, noting the changes that have occurred there as the store has worked on completing itself. The changes have been very positive and Central Bottle is becoming an even better wine lover's destination. If you have not been there yet, I highly recommend you stop by or attend one of their upcoming events.

One of the most significant changes has been the addition of four wine racks, one of which you can see above. These racks have glass tops, and you can see all of the wines displayed beneath the glass. Plus, the glass tops can be cleared off and used as make-shift tables during special events. One rack carries only wines (50+) that cost $15 and less.

Ultimately, the store will have around 300 wine selections, with about 80-90 costing under $15. So there are plenty of very affordable wines available. They are working on filling some of the gaps in their selection, and will eventually add more wines such as those from Greece, Kosher wines and even Saké. It takes them some time to add wines because they are very selective in what they will stock, tasting and ensuring they carry only very good wines.

On one visit, I found an intriguing wine from Lebanon, Massaya, a red blend with 60% Cinsault. It is rare to find wines from this region locally, though Lebanon has quite a lengthy history of wine making. I have tasted a couple Lebanese wines before and enjoyed them and wanted to try this as well. And as it only cost $12, it was an easy decision to buy a bottle to try.

I should also mention they carry over 20 different artisan beers and ales.

Their cheese and meats are now available for sale. They carry over 30 different cheeses from all over the world. Prices generally range from $13-$30 per pound, with several cheeses available in wrapped packages, mostly goat cheeses, and priced at about $7-$12 each. They also sell containers of home-made fig jam, sweet onion jam, chickpea dip and more. Their meats include prosciutto, culatello, bresaola, guanciale and more. To accompany these meats and cheeses, you might also want to pick up some breads from Iggys.

If you want a fresh and delicious snack, you'll also find home-made cicchetti, usually $2 each. The selection each day varies, though you often will find 8-10 different ones available. I have tasted a number of these cicchetti and have very much enjoyed them, from goat cheese & fig jam to thin slices of wild boar.

Central Bottle has a full schedule of events, from its Wine Bar on Thursday nights to its guest Chef tasting events. I attended one of these recent events, where Chef Tony Maws, of Craigie on Main, prepared three cicchetti which were paired with three French wines from Oz Pacific. What a fun and tasty event! You got to mingle and chat with the other attendees while dining on delicious food and sipping some interesting wines. Plus Chef Maws circulated, talking with the guests.

Chef Maws cicchetti included:

--Endive topped by house cured pork belly, kidney bean puree and baby basil. Delicious with an interesting blend of textures, from the smoothness of the puree to the crunchiness of the basil.
--Quatre Foies atop toast. A pate made from chicken liver, duck liver, pork liver and foie gras, with a hint of bone marrow. A pure taste of heaven! Incredibly smooth, full of rich, meaty flavors. It was addictive, and I could have just sat and ate an entire container of this pate, smearing it on bread.
--House made chorizo with mustard sauce atop toast. Another tasty concoction.

So as I said earlier, make sure you stop by Central Bottle for some excellent wine and food. And maybe I will see you there!


The Wine Whore said...

I tried a Lebanese wine last week that was very interesting. It had a nose like a barn but after a taste, it really grew on me. Just had to get over a bit of the funky, earthy, groove it had going.

Can't remember the name of it, but now, I just wanna try more of 'em from this region!

Any other regions like this that are worth checking out?


Travel Eat Love said...

We were at Central Bottle the day after it opened and are looking forward to going back to see what's new!

Richard Auffrey said...

Check out wines from Israel and Greece. Both have extensive wine histories yet they still seem to get ignored by many. Yet they are producing some excellent wines.

Travel Eat Love:
There is plenty new there, and it is well worth returning.

The Wine Whore said...

Israel and Greece... check!

Does that include grappa? :)

Richard Auffrey said...

Grappa is Italian, and not something I care for.