24 Days of Giving: December 19th!

December 19, 2014 by: The Urban Grape

Today’s blog is going to be short and sweet, because we’re all in the holiday retail weeds, and the kids are out of school for the rest of the year in three hours. Ready, set, go!!! 

TONIGHT at UGSE, you can stop by and create cocktail gift baskets with help from our staff and Abby at Farm & Fable, the vintage kitchen and cookbook store in the South End. Abby will be popping up at the South End store from 5-8, with adorable muddlers and cocktail recipe books, among other fantastic things from her shop. 

By mixing and matching a little bit from Farm & Fable, and a little bit from UG, you can create a gorgeous and useful cocktail basket to put under the tree. 

Here are our ideas: 

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails for recipe inspiration!

Sucre Shop Muddlers (I am obsessed with these) for your bar!

A selection of local spirits (not my best PicFrame, admittedly, but the kids are now done with school in 2 hours, 45 minutes and I’m under the gun!)

Reidel Whiskey tumblers – also great for cocktails! 

This is an AWESOME gift idea, and one that will be so easy to accomplish, tonight at UGSE from 5-8. 

Chestnut Hill, you also have a great tasting with Champagne, Scotch, Silver Oak Cabernet and macarons from Miam Miam! 


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24 Days of Giving: December 18th!

December 18, 2014 by: The Urban Grape

2014 was the year that the mainstream media realized how good Japanese Whisky is. They were about 4 years behind when we started talking about it (we’ve carried it since we opened), but we’re none-the-less happy that these excellent spirits are finally getting their due. And we do say finally, because Japan has been making whisky since the 1920s.

If you still haven’t tried a bottle of Japanese whisky, you should expect a style much more similar to scotch than what our American palates are used to with Bourbon. If you’re looking to give a bottle of Scotch this holiday season, we suggest you give the unexpected and go with a Japanese whisky instead. Or, make a gift basket with one scotch and one Japanese Whisky for comparison. If you really want to give an amazing gift, throw in some of our Reidel scotch glasses and let us wrap the whole thing up in a gift basket for you! Done, done and done. 

Here’s a little bit more about a new Japanese Whisky that we just started carrying in time for the holidays:

 Akashi White Oak Blended Whisky – $36

This whisky has a perfect price point for starting your explorations of Japanese Whisky. It’s made by Eigashima, one of Japan’s oldest operating distilleries, more known for its sake and shochu. After just telling you how Japanese Whisky is more like Scotch, I’m going to contradict myself and say that this blended, unaged whisky is actually more like an Irish Whiskey in its lighter color and flavor profile. On the nose you’ll find chocolate, caramel and vanilla. The palate is wonderfully spicy and has nice caramel notes. If you’re just getting into whisky, this is an excellent approachable choice. 

Interested in learning more about Whiskey in general? Join us on January 11th for our TJ Talk on Whiskey, complete with tastings and cocktail demonstrations! (SO sorry I forgot to include the link yesterday – my brain is on holiday overload!)





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24 Days of Giving: December 17th!

December 17, 2014 by: The Urban Grape

My favorite gift to give TJ over the holidays is a date night. It’s always so fun to have something on the calendar to look forward to. We’re making that easy for you to do with tickets to our January 11th event, The Urban Grape’s TJ Talk on Whiskey


Ted Talks are so 2014. To kick off the New Year, we’re inviting you to a whole new kind of evening at The Urban Grape – the TJ Talk.

On Sunday, January 11th, 2015, TJ and three industry experts – Manny Gonzalez, the Beverage Director at Saloon; Dave Willis, on half of the brother duo behind Bully Boy Distilling; and Troy Clark, the Director of Mixology and Spirits Education at United Liquors – are coming together to talk all things whiskey. In three educational but spirited talks, our experts will cover the history of our favorite brown booze, what it takes to open a whiskey distillery, and the future of the beverage.

Interspersed with the talks will be cocktail demonstrations, a chance to sample some unexpected whiskeys, and food to nosh on courtesy of the folks at Saloon.

A little bit like a party, a little bit like an adult education course, The Urban Grape’s TJ Talk on Whiskey is the class you always wish you could have gotten college credit for.

Please come prepared to take notes and ask questions. As you know, seating is limited at UG, so comfortable shoes are recommended!

*This event is 21+.

*Refunds will not be given for cancellations within 48 hours of the event. 

 You can purchase tickets HERE.


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24 Days of Giving: December 16th!

December 16, 2014 by: The Urban Grape

A special six pack of wine in a sealed box is an amazing gift for a wine lover, and we happen to have a VERY special wine on sale today! 

2010 Concha y Toro “Don Melchor” Cabernet Sauvignon (Puente Alto, Chile)

It’s the end of the year, so everyone’s “Best Of” lists are coming out. We were thrilled to see this week’s Spotlight wine sitting in the #9 spot on Wine Spectator’s Top 10 wines of 2014 (with a score of 95 points). We were also happy to see that our price is $15/bottle cheaper than it is listed in Wine Spectator, and our 25% discount price is over $40/bottle cheaper! We know you’ll be thrilled about that too. 
Here is Wine Spectator’s review: “In 2010, Chile’s Puente Alto appellation saw a slightly cooler-than-usual growing season, and winemaker Enrique Tirado used the weather to his advantage, allowing the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes…to hang on the vines longer than usual. The result is this particularly elegant version of the flagship Don Melchor. Refined and elegant, with silky tannins behind the mineral, macerated cherry and damson plum flavors. Quite creamy, revealing hints of paprika and hoisin sauce. The long, lush finish is filled with notes of cocoa powder and dust. Drink now through 2020.” 
Don’t be thrown off by that hoisin sauce description – this wine has a wonderful earthy, sweet umami to it, which makes it a great food wine. 

We are offering our 25% off on four bottles, as always, but this wine does come in a gorgeous wood case for six bottles (see picture above). If you want to go for the six-pack in the wood box, we will of course extend the 25% discount.
This is a really amazing opportunity to get this wine at a steal of a price before it disappears from shelves completely. We also have lots of other wines in beautiful custom wooden boxes – Quintessa, Ornellaia, Chateau Fieuzal, Robert Mondavi, and Bruno Rocca, to name a few!!
Regular Price: $110/bottle
15% per Bottle Discount: $93.50/bottle
25% four-bottle Discount: $330 ($110 savings at $82.50 a bottle) 
*That’s like buy 3, Get 1 Free! 


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24 Days of Giving: December 15th!

December 15, 2014 by: The Urban Grape

*Here is Ben’s Annual Beer Gift Guide!

It’s that time of year again folks! The time that you need to find something to buy for your beer loving wife, boss, dog-walker, or boyfriend.. and I am here to help you. I have created a list of some pretty awesome stuff that I know I would love to get for the holidays, so you can rest assured that your favorite beer lover will be thrilled as well! So without further adieu, lets get to the beer!!

Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg ‘Samichlaus’ Classic & Barrique- Located at Eggenberg Castle in Austria, Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg makes one of the strongest lager beers in the world. Brewed on December 6th each year, this doppelbock is allowed to age for nearly a year before release. Classic ($16/750ml) was bottled in 2014, while Barrique ($25/750ml bottle) was bottled in 2013, and both can be aged for years to come! 

Brasserie Dubuisson is one of the most well regarded breweries in Belgium, and for good reason. Their Scaldis line features some of the most complex and ageable beers in the world. Scaldis Prestige de Nuits sits at the apex of this incredible lineup. Sitting at 13% ABV, Prestige de Nuits is aged in Burgundy wine-barrels from the Nuits St. Georges vineyard. We currently have the 2013 Vintage on the shelf, which is right when it is starting to bloom. The $50 price tag is bold for a beer, but worth every penny- I would age this beer for 15-20 years to come! 

We all know someone who is either gluten free, or would prefer to drink cider over beer (the horror… I know). I have to say though, these ciders are INCREDIBLE. The former Parisian sommelier, Eric Bordelet, inherited his family’s apple and pear orchards in northern France. He has since created some of the most incredibly elegant ciders in the world. His two higher end ciders, his ‘Argelette’ apple cider ($19/750ml bottle- that actually has tannin to it) and Granit pear cider ($25/750ml bottle- with pears coming off of 300 year old trees) are complex and amazing. Whether you like beer, cider, champagne, or anything that is good… you MUST try these ciders this holiday season!


We are inclusive of everyone here at the Urban Grape, so we are offering these AWESOME gift packs from Schmaltz Brewing Company’s He’Brew: The Chosen Beer line. This incredible mixed eight-pack ($35 for 8 beers, glass, and candles) is a celebration of the Eight Days of Hannukah. Including a special edition glass and eight candles to create your own beer menorah, this limited holiday pack is full of awesome beer and cheer! 

Perhaps this isn’t the best gift to give to your boss or your girlfriend’s father, but Stone Brewing Company always brings awesome beer to the table. This box full of bastards features Arrogant Bastard, Double Bastard, Lukcy Basartd (a blend of Double Bastard & Oaked Arrogant Bastard.. also, try to read the bottle.. it’ll make your brain numb), and the newest addition to the family- Bourbon Barrel Arrogant Bastard. This mixed pack will be the easiest $25 you spend on bastards all holiday season. 

I think the holiday season is the time of year to buy things for people that they want, but wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves. And if there is anything this beer guy loves for the holidays.. its big bottles of beer. What is better than beer besides MORE beer?! We have a ton of different big bottles of beer available for you this holiday season, for a full inventory give us a call at either Urban Grape location (SE: 857-250-2509; CH: 617-232-4831). But for some ideas to whet your appetite, my favorites are Brouwerij Van Steenberge Gulden Draak 1.5L- $46, Trappistes Rochefort 8 1.5L- $60, LoverBeer BeerBera 1.5L- $125, Allagash Brewing Curieux & 2013 Interlude 3L- $130. 


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24 Days of Giving: December 14th!

December 14, 2014 by: The Urban Grape

Good morning! The Douglas Family is on our way to New Hampshire this morning to meet a woman about a new puppy that we hope will be coming our way next summer. For all of you who know how much we loved Chappy, this is a bittersweet, but exciting day for us. 

But just because we’re up and early this morning doesn’t mean that you should be doing anything more than lounging in your jammies and slippers. Today’s gift guide is all about how to put a little extra love in your morning (or evening) coffee! 

The following selections are our ideas for slipping into a cup of Joe, but they work equally well for mixing up coffee or chocolate based cocktails. 

Molly’s Irish Cream 

A blend of fresh Irish cream, Irish Whiskey and chocolate, this Irish cream is our pick over the more well-known Bailey’s. The cream is sourced from grass-fed cows, which we think adds an extra creaminess to this liqueur. A shot of this in your coffee will definitely help you ease on through the holidays. 

Meletti Cioccolato Liqueur

The Meletti combines milk, Dutch cocoa, sugar and spirits to form a chocolate liqueur that adds a perfect punch to coffee or hot chocolate. While sledding, we highly suggest making a Thermos of hot cocoa for the kids and a separate Thermos for the adults that contains a little, or a lot, of Meletti. 

Amarula Cream Liqueur

TJ and I first discovered Amarula in South Africa on our honeymoon in South Africa, where it would be served to us in coffee in the evenings. We also really enjoy this served cold with or without ice, or blended into a coffee milkshake. Made of the Marula fruit found only in Africa, this is an imported treat unlike any you’ve ever had before! 

360 Double Chocolate Vodka

When we were dating and TJ was managing restaurants, I used to sit at the bar sipping Espresso Martinis while he closed up for the night. Even just the smell of an espresso martini brings me back to that time. Back then, we didn’t have high-quality chocolate vodkas like the 360 Double Chocolate. This eco-friendly vodka is made with real infusions, not just chemicals that mimic the flavors. This is always a huge hit when we sample it at tastings because it taste like the real thing, and is so deliciously smooth. Great for coffee, hot chocolate, or a late night espresso martini while you’re waiting for your boyfriend to get off work. 


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24 Days of Giving – December 13th!

December 13, 2014 by: The Urban Grape

Long before we ever opened the Urban Grape, TJ gave me two bottles of Billecart-Salmon Rosé Magnums for Christmas. It was such a thrilling gift, and we stored them away for special occasions. When we finally did open them, it was to share them with really good friends, and I loved telling everyone how TJ had given them to me on Christmas. It was building a memory on top of a memory – a great thing to do with wine! 

Champagne is a wonderful gift to give at the holidays. Here are our picks for the best Champagne-style and true Champagne wines that we carry at UG, at every price point: 

Gruet Blanc de Blancs ($20) and Rosé ($21) – Gruet is an amazing success story. Founded by a French Champagne producer, Gilbert Gruet, in New Mexico in 1985 and now run buy his children Laurent and Nathalie, this vineyard makes incredible Champagne-style sparkling wine at a fraction of what true Champagne costs. Gruet used to be the best kept secret in the wine industry, but we’re happy to be showcasing their wines this whole holiday season! 

Roderer Estate Brut ($23) and Rosé ($37) – Another transplant from Champagne to the United States, Roderer Estate is the US-based operation of the famed Roderer brand. These wines have are also made in the true Champagne-style, and have all of the quality of their French cousins. We like to say Roderer is Champagne with an American accent. Both the Brut and Rosé are fantastic, and both are very reasonably priced options in comparison to real Champagne. 

Canard Duchene Brut ($40) and Rosé ($50) – Canard Duchene represents the lowest price-point Champagne we have found that still has all the quality of the more expensive Champagne houses. We like to call this our “house” Champagne. It’s certainly more expensive than a Prosecco or Cava, but if you want excellent Champagne, and don’t want to serve the ubiquitous Yellow Label, this is the best choice you can make. Trade name-recognition for quality!! 

Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs ($76) – This is a wonderful grower Champagne, at a reasonable price point for this kind of wine. Grower Champagne means that the producer grows all his or her own grapes to use in their house’s Champagne. Non-grower Champagnes can source their grapes from other growers throughout the region. Blanc de Blancs refers to a wine that is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, which makes the wine more bracing and focused. This is a blend of 20 years of harvests from the Pierre Peters vineyards. A truly wonderful Champagne, and Yoko’s pick to pair with oysters! 

Bollinger Special Cuvée ($80) – Here’s a hint: guys love Bollinger because James Bond drinks it. The Special Cuvée is special because it is a blend of harvest grapes and reserve wines, meaning that it has both depth of age and a freshness of flavor combined in each sip. This is a great food wine, perfect for pouring if you’re serving any kind of shellfish or crustacean. Just make sure your man wears his tux. 

2005 Gaston Chiquet Special Club ($95) – Special Club Champagnes can be challenging to explain. In short, the Special Club is a group of 26 grower Champagne producers who are believe that, in certain vintages, they can make a wine that is the best expression of their unique terroir. A winemaker from this group submits his wine for judgement by his peers in the group. Only if the peer group agrees that it is the best of the best can the wine be sent to market. So, not only is this Champagne judged to be an exceptional expression of wines from this region, we also think it’s pretty darn yummy. Terry Theise calls wines form this house “innately lovable.”

2005 Pierre Gimonnet Vintage Collection Magnum ($260) – Serving Champagne out of a magnum is just plain awesome. This 100% Chardonnay wine is so delicious, you will be sad to see the magnum run dry. It’s got everything you want – floral notes, minerality, nice bright fruit. It’s also a bottle you can age for some time. This would be a wonderful gift for the Champagne lover on your list. And the price is so reasonable, given that this is in magnum form! 

Billecart-Salmon Rosé Magnum ($225) – Here it is! The bottle that TJ gave me all those years ago. We have one left in the South End, and it can be yours if you act quickly. Otherwise, it might end up under my tree this Christmas!




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24 Days of Giving: December 12

December 12, 2014 by: The Urban Grape

Why should six-packs be filled only with beer? We’ve noticed that our Urban Hops beer six-packs also beautifully fit six half bottles of wine! What could be better (not to mention more adorable and affordable!) than picking out six bottles of wine, wrapping it up with a bow, and letting a loved one experience new wine without the full commitment of opening a big bottle?! Nothing we say, nothing at all. 

We have all sorts of options at the store, like: 

  • Festive half bottles of Champagne like Billecart Salmon Rosé or Krug Grand Cuvée
  • Refreshing half bottles of white wine like Sancerre  and Albarino
  • Intriguing half bottles of red like the famed Ken Wright Pinot Noirs from Oregon
  • Award-winning half bottles of wine like Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc or Ornellaia 
  • Effervescent half bottles of fun choices like Brachetto d’Acqui, a perfect dessert wine

This is a great option for a person just getting into wine who wants to try a variety of bottles, or for the single person in your life who loves wine but feels like they can’t open a big bottle of wine at home. Dare we say this could even be the best present ever from a pregnant wife to her spouse! We’ve even had nutritionists send their clients over to UG for half bottles as an easy way to cut calories at home. The possibilities are endless, so stop by and let us fill up a six-pack for you! 



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24 Days of Giving: December 11th!

December 11, 2014 by: The Urban Grape


One of UG’s most popular new service areas in 2014 has been the development of our Urban Affairs in-home tasting program, run by the energetic Chelsea Bell. We are of the ever-so-humble opinion that these easy to plan parties are the perfect gift to give this holiday season – especially if you are the type of person who likes to give an experience, as opposed to just more stuff! 

Let me set the stage: you and a friend, or loved one, or sibling, or random person off the street, would like to learn more about wine, or would like to showcase wines that you love to others. So you invite 20 people to your home for a tasting party where you taste wine and hear fun and educational stories about that wine in the process. The Urban Grape makes the entire process as easy as can be, from picking the wines, to making tasting booklets, to setting up and breaking down the tasting station. We can even bring glassware if needed! 

This fall we’ve been doing great tasting parties with food from our partners at Taza Chocolate, Boston Raw Bar, and Formaggio Kitchen. We’ve also go a slew of caterers that we work with, like Saltbox Farms, who can turn these cocktail parties into coursed out dinners paired with the perfect wine and a little education throughout the night. 

Some fun themes we’ve done in the past include: 

  • Drink Progressively (wines from lightest to heaviest bodied)
  • Old World vs. New World (i.e., Bodeaux vs Napa)
  • Sparkling Wines from Around the World
  • Up and Coming Wine Regions
  • Seasonal Selections (rosé, holiday, etc)
  • Female Winemakers
  • Not into wine? Book a beer or spirits tasting!

All you need to do to make this into the perfect holiday gift is be in touch with Chelsea to book a date and some of the details. Then we’ll make up a gift card and a certificate that explains the gift. You wrap it up (or we can put it all in a cute gift bag) and look like a gift-giving hero! 


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24 Days of Giving: December 10th!

December 10, 2014 by: The Urban Grape


Tonight is the South End Holiday Stroll and despite a gloomy forecast we are so excited to welcome everyone to the store, and to help you plan your routes to other great gift-buying destinations throughout our neighborhood. 

The stores participating in the Stroll are all part of a very fun raffle, in which you receive a ticket for every $25 you spend at participating stores in the South End throughout the evening. The winner will be announced via email at the end of the week, and will receive a gift basket that is literally stuffed with goodies from all the stores in the area. 

We’ll have Bully Boy Distillers on hand pouring their selection of spirits, including their new Hub Punch. And it’s the Hub Punch that we are spotlighting on today’s UG Gift Guide! 

Inspired by the original Hub Punch recipe popular in the late 1800′s, Bully Boy Hub Punch, their barrel aged rum infused with fruits and botanicals, revives a historic Boston tradition that was a casualty of Prohibition. Originally concocted at the now defunct Hub Hotel, Bostonians typically enjoyed Hub Punch mixed with soda water, ginger ale, or lemonade. Bully Boy consulted a variety of historical accounts of Hub Punch to craft a spirit that pays homage to the traditional recipe and spirit of the pre-prohibition era Boston. Bully Boy Hub Punch is fruit forward with the botanicals providing tea-like undertones ideal for mixing with both dry and sweet mixing agents.

My favorite way to serve it is with a little sparkling water or club soda and a twist of lime. It’s warming and refreshing at the same time, and the flavor is so delicious it will make your toes curl with excitement. This is a must have for any evening of cocktailing – holiday or otherwise! 

You can sample the Bully Boy Hub Punch, as well as a selection of their other fantastic craft spirits, tonight from 5-8 in the South End, and on Saturday 13th from 2-5 pm in Chestnut Hill. 



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