Expert Wine Merchant Brian Herr offers November Drink Tips
November is a fantastic time for wine. Just ask Bryan Herr, proprietor of the Chesterfield wine, whiskey and music venue, Naked Vine. Herr’s venue features domestic wines, whiskeys and artisan cheeses.
When asked about Naked Vine’s chilly weather inventory seasons Herr responded: “Do we change during the seasons? Not so much the seasons…we change all the time. We’re always bringing in new wines, new whiskeys and new cheeses. We’ve got 90 wines by the glass and 80+ whiskeys. Any given week we can have 10 new wines and four new whiskeys. Production is so low on some of these that they’re here, and once they’re gone, they’re not available again until next year. We’re still solidly California, Washington and Oregon but we make every effort to find these smaller production wines and whiskeys.”
It is safe to say that Herr relies on quality and exclusivity when it comes to recommendations, rather than catering to the current trend.
I asked Herr about wine recommendations for the month of November, and he answered with excitement and sensitivity to the amount of flavor and food being consumed during the month, specifically on Thanksgiving.
“Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to pair wine because there are so many different flavors on a Thanksgiving table,” he says. “It really opens up the opportunity to pair with different wines. Stay away from a wine that is so big and bold and tannic that it overruns the food. So, traditional turkey and all the fixings call for a wine that tends to be more medium-bodied. Pinot Noir tends to be the wine that we recommend first for Thanksgiving dinner. Other wines that work well can be Zinfandel and Grenache. And going into white wines—a dry rosé. Rieslings, both sweet and dry, also work well with Thanksgiving.”
Herr’s personal Thanksgiving routine matches his recommendations, as he starts with dry rosés and Rieslings during the day and drinks heavier bodied pinot noirs by night. Finally, Herr concludes his favorite holiday by “always finishing with a couple of nice glasses of whiskey.”
There are few places in the state with the selection of wine, whiskey, and cheese as Naked Vine. When overloaded by the abundance of squash, sweet potatoes and pumpkins piling in your kitchen, stop by and ask Herr for the perfect accompaniment to your colorful fall meals. If you go on a weekend, you’ll experience Naked Vine’s commitment to supporting quality local music as Herr noted: “there is no one in West County who does live music like we do.”
As simple words of wisdom, remember wine is about enjoyment. As Herr says, “You’re not drinking wine to stay hydrated. You are not drinking it to stay full. You drink wine to enhance your life. All we’re talking about is fermented grape juice. What you like is what you like, and we’re here to help you find that.”