Dave Nelson

  • Blogs

    October 27, 2010

    Ten Frightfully Good Beers to Bring Your Halloween Back from the Dead

    Dave Nelson​Looking to spice up the beer selection at your Halloween party? Here are ten excellent brews that play up the scary theme with their names and packaging -- and bring the quality as well. Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela ($15/750ml) For years tiny Jolly Pumpkin has walked the lonely, brill ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 14, 2010

    Cheap Pinot Noir -- Not an Oxymoron?

    Dave Nelson​Finding good pinot noir for under $30 is a tough task, but there's hope, in the form of a positive trend arising from our nation's recent, ahem, financial difficulties: Top wineries have been releasing value-priced bottlings. When we spot a pinot noir that fits this profile, Gut Ch ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 10, 2010

    (Everybody Must Get) Stone Hill Vignoles 2009

    Wine gets lost in the passionate "local" food movement. While locavores wax rhapsodically about farmers, cheesemakers, beekeepers and brewers, wine producers close to home are virtually ignored. With "Show Me Wine," Gut Check sets out to determine -- on a bottle by bottle basis -- whether we're miss ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 19, 2010

    Great Values in St. Louis Wines: The Vino Gallery

    Given Gut Check's never-ending quest for obsession with great wine values, we figured it'd be a good idea to check in from time to time with local merchants. They pick three wines they consider to be excellent values, and Gut Check buys and tries one of them. Price is important, but value is really ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 18, 2010

    This Week in Gut Check, Regurgitated

    Keegan Hamilton​Gut Check got swept up in World Cup fever this week, just like the rest of the world. Follow Keegan Hamilton to a new bar for each match in World Cuppage, and then get caught up on Dave Nelson's quest for the 2010 World Goblet Champion. What else did we do this week? D ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 15, 2010

    The World Goblet Round 1: Germany vs. United States

    ​While scanning the World Cup groups in order to plan our daytime drinking over the next month, Gut Check noticed that most of the great wine-producing nations are represented in the tournament field, including all of those with a reputation for crafting good, value-priced wines. Because Gut C ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 3, 2010

    Thrill or Swill: Bordeaux or Bor-D'oh?

    Dave Nelson​Inexpensive isn't the first adjective that comes to mind when one thinks of Bordeaux. Despite the fame and accompanying ridiculous prices of the red, white and sweet wines of the big-name châteaux, France's Bordeaux region actually produces a virtual ocean of wine -- about 150 mil ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 28, 2010

    2009 Rosés: A Gut Check Wine Tasting

    With rosé weather having descended on St. Louis with a vengeance, Gut Check swung into action, snagging a selection of six newly arrived rosés from the 2009 vintage. All were purchased from local retailers, and all came recommended. We ended up with five from France and one from California. Dave ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 21, 2010

    This Week in Gut Check, Regurgitated

    ​This week, two St. Louis breweries had us all abuzz. O'Fallon Brewery's new O'Fallon Hemp Hop Rye hit the store shelves, and Dave Nelson hit the bottle in the name of research. Schlafly Beer, meanwhile, launched the Schlafly Beer App for smart phones. Be sure to check out Robin Wheeler ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 17, 2010

    O'Fallon Brewery rolls out Hemp Hop Rye

    This past Friday O'Fallon Brewery released its newest beer, O'Fallon Hemp Hop Rye, in bottles. O'Fallon president Tony Caradonna describes it as "an amber ale brewed with both toasted hemp seeds and rye." Head Brewer Brian Owens' recipe contains three kinds of malted barley, two types of rye, three ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 13, 2010

    Thrill or Swill: Wine for Breakfast? Why Not!

    image creditHey! Tiny bubbles in the wine! Now this is a moscato we could get outside of!​No wine captures spring in a bottle better than a good moscato. It's a fresh, lightly carbonated glass of fruit and flowers. Yes, it's on the sweet side, but really just enough to make it a perfect match ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 21, 2010

    Wine Buy the Bottle - Great Values in St. Louis: Grapevine Wines

    Given Gut Check's never-ending quest for obsession with great wine values, we figured it'd be a good idea to check in from time to time with local merchants. They pick three wines they consider to be excellent values, and Gut Check buys and tries one of them. Price is important, but value is really ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 16, 2010

    Thrill or Swill: A Sure Thing?

    Dave Nelson​When Bon Vivant Wines, Riverfront Times' pick last year for "Best Wine Shop," closed in February, it left a gaping hole in the area's Beaujolais selection. Well-made Beaujolais has the capacity to meld seamlessly with a wide variety of food, and to slake the thirst of warm St. Loui ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 1, 2010

    Thrill or Swill: Savennières! Say Va-What?

    Dave Nelson​The Loire Valley in France is home to some terrific wines, with some of the most horrific names in all of winedom. Bourgeuil, Bonnezeaux, Pouilly-Fumé, Saumur-Champigny -- all can be tongue twisters. (Even Chinon and Muscadet can present some pronunciation challenges.) That said, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 30, 2010

    Hops on Top: Mikkeller 1000 IBU India Pale Ale

    Gut Check closely monitors new releases of beer, wine and other booze, searching for things we (and, yeah, you) shouldn't miss. We then give a select few bottles a spin before you plunk down your hard-earned. Dave NelsonBitter! Sweet?​Just in is a limited offering from the always innovative D ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 24, 2010

    Thrill or Swill? Putting Pisse-Vin to the Test!

    Dave NelsonDoes glass shape affect aroma and flavor? Today's wine four different ways: (from left) pinot noir, large all-purpose, small all-purpose, cabernet sauvignon.​You've gotta love the French ability to call it how it is. Once upon a time, aramon was the most widely planted red grape in ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 18, 2010

    Thrill or Swill: A Pinot Grigio Worth Paying For?

    Pinot grigio is an unequivocal commercial success. From sales of literally nothing in the mid-1970s, pinot grigio has risen to second place among white varietal wines in the United States, trailing only chardonnay. Success has come at the expense of value, however, and many of those pioneering pino ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 11, 2010

    Wine Buy the Bottle - Great Values in St. Louis: Veritas Gateway to Food and Wine

    Given Gut Check's never-ending quest for obsession with great wine values, we figured it'd be a good idea to check in from time to time with local merchants. They pick three wines they consider to be excellent values, and Gut Check buys and tries one of them. Price is important, but value is really ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 22, 2010

    The Fatted Calf Reopens in Clayton Today, Monday, 2.22

    Clayton institution The Fatted Calf (12 South Bemiston Avenue; 314-726-1141) reopened at 11 a.m. this morning. The restaurant closed in late October to repair damage from a grease fire.Gut Check contributor Dave Nelson was there and sent along a couple of photos.Dave Nelson​A photo of the famous b ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 18, 2010

    Bon Vivant Wines in Columbia, Illinois, Closing This Weekend

    Dave NelsonAndrew Traughber of Bon Vivant Wines​Gut Check contributor Dave Nelson passes along word that Bon Vivant Wines in Columbia, Illinois, is closing its doors after business this Saturday, February 20. Owner Andrew Traughber is taking a position with Cellar Advisors, a St. Louis-based wine- ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 19, 2010

    The Noble Writ Keeps It Real with Traditional Rioja

    Traditional Rioja holds a special place in my heart: It's one of the few wines that can achieve a captivating level of elegance. These wines have tremendous complexity, but in a very understated manner. This alone distinguishes them from most every other Spanish wine on the shelf.User "Gurrea," Wik ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 29, 2009

    The Noble Writ's Under-$20 Sparkling Wine Shootout!

    Let's admit two facts. First, 2009 has been a hateful year, economically speaking, for a lot of folks. Second, most folks will have enough drinks in them by 11:59 p.m. on New Year's Eve that opening a bottle of fine Champagne will be an ego stroke rather than a wine experience to savor.Quinn Dombro ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 15, 2009

    The Noble Writ: A Natural Whine

    ​No concept is generating more discussion, misuse, vitriol or hype in the wine world right now than "natural" wine. If you've been spared the hubbub to this point, this should offer a gentle and balanced introduction.What is a natural wine? Well, the very term is a primary cause of the friction t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 1, 2009

    The Noble Writ: Gifts for the Wine Lover

    ​'Tis the season for gift-giving, and if you have some wine lovers on your shopping list, you may be puzzled over what to give them. Having been both a giver and a receiver of wine-related gifts for many years, I offer the following humble suggestions:Gift CertificatesFrom my experience, buying w ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 24, 2009

    The Noble Writ: Chianti, Not Just for Candles and Hannibal Lecter Any More

    John Menard, Wikimedia CommonsVineyards in Tuscany, Italy​Chianti is another wine making a comeback from a poor reputation. I find myself choosing it to accompany a vast array of Italian and Italian-American dishes, as it can be an excellent companion to food. There's just something about its bri ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 17, 2009

    The Noble Writ in the Lion's Den of California Cabs

    ​Following up on my post a couple of weeks ago about wine being fun, I decided to have some fun myself. I saw a post on the Wine and Cheese Place's blog about an upcoming tasting featuring the wines of Chateau St. Jean and Beringer. Regular readers of the Noble Writ will likely realize that these ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 11, 2009

    FoodWire: Wine Tasting at Bon Vivant Wines Thursday, 11.12

    Dave NelsonInside Bon Vivant Wines in Columbia, Illinois​Bon Vivant Wines, which this here publication deemed the Best Wine Store of 2009, is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a wine tasting tomorrow, November 11, from 5-7:30 p.m. The tasting will feature wines from importer Kermit Lynch.Acco ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 13, 2009

    The Noble Writ: A Port for Every Storm, Part 2

    Continuing our exploration of port from last week (read "A Port for Every Storm, Part 1"), we'll cover the other forms of port you're likely to see on the shelves. We'll also spend some time discussing what, if any, food will match well with the port in your glass.First, to finish up with the red ( ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 6, 2009

    The Noble Writ: A Port for Every Storm, Part 1

    As cool autumn weather begins to settle in, my thoughts turn to richer wines that can keep the chill away. One wine that fits this bill perfectly is port. Typically, port is imbibed while enjoying a good book at bedtime or while sitting next to the fireplace, but it makes a lovely match with cheese ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 15, 2009

    The Noble Writ: Comfort Wine

    My tastes generally run to the esoteric, the obscure, the endangered and, sometimes, the downright odd. Which isn't to say I can't and don't appreciate more "mainstream" wines, because I can and do, but with so many wines available in the market, I can't resist the urge to explore.Occasionally, how ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 1, 2009

    The Noble Writ's St. Louis Grand Crus: Paul Hayden, the Wine & Cheese Place

    ​From time to time, I dedicate a post to someone doing remarkable work in the St. Louis area. In this edition, it's Paul Hayden, who has the enormous job of managing the Clayton location of the Wine & Cheese Place and buying wine (and other non-Noble Writ beverages) for the store's other loca ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 25, 2009

    The Noble Writ: How to Decant, or What You Won't Learn at Your 20th Reunion

    I graduated from high school in 1989. No, it wasn't in St. Louis, so don't waste time wondering which one. In celebration of blowing off my 20th reunion, and being two decades removed from the trying social experiment called high school, I decided to pull a wine from the 1989 vintage for this week' ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 18, 2009

    The Noble Writ: A Pair of Classics, a Classic Pair

    Matching food and wine is something that has become perilously overwrought -- almost to the point of preciousness. Articles wax poetic over the hint of Dalmatian sage that echoes the slightest grassiness of a sauvignon blanc, or over the wisdom, if not the necessity, of opting for a Cabernet from Ru ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 11, 2009

    The Noble Writ: A Riesling Primer

    Riesling is my favorite white grape variety, and if pressed, I'd probably choose it as my favorite grape overall (pinot noir being its only real competition). So it pains me that so many folks interested in wine seem to ignore it, if not deride or despise it. There are many misconceptions about ries ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 4, 2009

    The Noble Writ: Corkage with Class

    On the relatively few occasions when I dine at a nice restaurant, I'm usually seen carrying my "geek bag." (I have used the 820 model for almost ten years.) Inside will be three or four wines from my cellar that I am willing to pay to open pursuant to the restaurant's corkage policy.A restaurant tha ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 28, 2009

    The Noble Writ: Pairing Pizza with Wine, via Piedmont

    Wait, it's pizza and beer, right? Not in my book. As someone who loves beer, pizza and wine to degrees that would probably embarrass most folks, I'm mystified how this generic "match" has become a ubiquitous populist myth.What kind of beer? What kind of pizza? What kind of wine? These are areas rif ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 21, 2009

    The Noble Writ: Romo-ance and a Romo-rant

    This week we're going to delve into yet another virtually extinct grape variety that, in the right hands, makes absolutely delicious wine: romorantin. First, though, a bit of a rant. There are more worthy grapes out there than just cab, merlot, pinot noir and chardonnay. And, for the really adventu ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 14, 2009

    The Noble Writ: A Trying Time for Wine

    Like many sectors of the economy, the wine industry isn't doing well. You might suppose that alcohol sales would be more resilient than most things, and to some extent that's true -- sales of inexpensive wines remain relatively robust. However, high-end wines are being hit hard.My first clue that so ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 7, 2009

    The Best of Gut Check: The Noble Writ

    Dave Nelson is the author of the blog Beer, Wine and Whisky. He writes about wine for Gut Check every Tuesday.While Gut Check is on vacation this week, check out some of Dave's best work:Chardonnay for the Chardonnay Hater (March 3, 2009):The world produces an ocean of chardonnay. In California a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 30, 2009

    The Noble Writ: Wine on the Run

    From time to time I feel obligated to investigate new products I see on the market. Were I "just" a consumer, I might well pass them by, not willing to risk my hard-earned money -- but since I can at least write about such things here, I'm a bit more adventurous. A recent pre-camping trip wine run ... More >>

  • Dining

    June 24, 2009
  • Blogs

    June 23, 2009

    The Noble Writ: Vino Soave

    Remember chugging Lancer's, Mateus, Black Tower or Blue Nun in the parking lot before the Three Dog Night concert?Me neither.But I certainly hear plenty of quasi-wistful reminiscences about them. I was relatively surprised to learn that many people lumped one of my favorite white wines, Soave, in wi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 9, 2009

    The Noble Writ: Tell Me a Story

    We live in a time when well-made wine is readily available to just about everyone. You can walk into most grocery stores -- not to mention wine shops -- and find dozens of wines that are cleanly and soundly made starting at or below $5 a bottle.But I need a wine to be more than "good." A "good," te ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 26, 2009

    The Noble Writ: So You Want to Be a Wine Geek?

    Dave Nelson is the author of the blog Beer, Wine and Whisky. He writes about wine for Gut Check every Tuesday.Wine is a daunting subject: tens of thousands of producers, located in unique microclimates all around the world, each creating between one and dozens of wines, each of which is different t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 12, 2009

    The Noble Writ: Thinking Clearly about Alternative Closures

    Dave Nelson is the author of the blog Beer, Wine and Whisky. He writes about wine for Gut Check every Tuesday.As I've researched the many issues surrounding cork and its alternatives, a central theme has emerged: Little solid research has been done into both the chemistry of wine aging and the impac ... More >>

  • Dining

    May 6, 2009
  • Blogs

    May 5, 2009

    The Noble Writ: Spanish Spring

    Dave Nelson is the author of the blog Beer, Wine and Whisky. He writes about wine for Gut Check every Tuesday.While Spain doesn't have the staggering diversity of grapes that Italy does, it's still home to some fantastically distinctive white wines. Fewer of these are imported into the United State ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 30, 2009

    FoodWire: Fair Shares Spots Still Available

    Thanks to our very own Noble Writ, Dave Nelson, for passing along this info: local CSA Fair Shares still has a few spots open for its new season. Joining a CSA is a great way to support local agriculture and feed your family healthy, delicious food at its seasonal peak. For more info or to submit a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 14, 2009

    The Noble Writ: Do Try This at Home

    Dave Nelson is the author of the blog Beer, Wine and Whisky. He writes about wine for Gut Check every Tuesday.Aging wine at home is something everyone should attempt. You don't need a cellar. In fact, I hesitate to use the term "cellar" because it carries so many preconceptions. People tend to thin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 6, 2009

    The Week in Gut Check

    Zach Dyer It was a busy week here at Gut Check International Headquarters: Zach Dyer showed us the person behind the coffee, while Dave Nelson tried to convince those who hate chardonnay that the grape isn't all bad.I heard from the Corn Refiners Association -- and gave it right back to 'em -- while ... More >>

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