About Bill St. John

Marczyk Fine Wines has Bill St John and other wine lovers, to thank for our blog. Wine and food facts and falsehoods, delicious recipes, Denver liquor history, and "the best wines you never heard of" explained, all in one nifty place. This is the Denver wine store you're looking for. Bill is a Denver native and for 40 years, a teacher and writer on food and food & wine, including The Denver Post; Rocky Mountain News; Chicago Tribune; Wine & Spirits magazine; KCNC-TV Channel 4; and others. He also writes for Marczyk Fine Foods too.

Saucy curried chicken

Nothing in this preparation puts up any blockades to wine enjoyment; noacidic vinaigrette, for example, to "sour" up a wine, or too much salt or sugar to war with whatever wine. A niche red such as a high-octane California Zinfandel wouldn’t do, nor would anything at the other end of the shelf, either, a watered-down Pinot Grigio, for instance. What would be nicewould be an array of fragrant wines, their perfumes as potent out of the glass as this recipe’s curry and peppers. Just be sure that they also sport good, cleansing acidity.   HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED:• 1 1/2 cups small-form [...]

By | 2019-11-07T20:52:15+00:00 November 7th, 2019|

Arctic Charr “en papillote”

Charr is particularly suitable for a "papillote" preparation, a little piscinepackage of parchment paper roasted a few minutes, then opened at eachplate for both heady steam and tasty treat. Even more tasties come by way of a wine selection that is close to being all-encompassing: a dry crisp white; a sparkling pink; and a medium-bodied, lean red. Charr is the kind of fish — rich, succulent, unctuous, flavors on all fours — that appeals to nearly any kind of wine, as long as that wine has a good backbone of acidity and freshness. These three do.   HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED:• 1 large [...]

By | 2019-10-30T14:44:12+00:00 October 30th, 2019|

Niceland Ocean Perch Tacos

To paraphrase St. Paul, in wine there are acid, sweet, tannin, and alcohol,but the greatest of these is acid. Acidity — that tangy, zesty close to a sip of wine, that which sweeps the palate clean — is crucially important to delicious, successful wine and food pairings. It balances wine against any correlative acidity in the food prepared, as here, with its cider vinegar. The two acidities, interestingly, cancel each other out and a taste of both together is refreshing and cleansing, not tart or sour.  HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED:• 1 bag (16 ounces) pre-shredded cabbage and carrots• 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced• 1/2 [...]

By | 2019-10-30T14:41:10+00:00 October 30th, 2019|

Zucchini “Fettuccine” with Lamb Burgers

Let’s pretend, to "noodle" the recipe a bit (ba-dum-tsssshhh), that this is afull-on Mediterranean preparation, for wines from that region would well accompany it. By and large, the reds of Italy, Portugal, and southern France sport a bit more acidity and more cleansing tannins than their New World offspring, perfect for taming the oils from the citrus and the olive oil, as well as the fats from the meat and dairy in this recipe. Plus, with all their vowels, they sound nice with the words "zucchini" and "fettucine."   HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED:• 4 lamb burger patties• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil• 2 cloves garlic, [...]

By | 2019-10-01T21:39:00+00:00 October 1st, 2019|

Broiled Salmon with Bacon

Bacon makes everything with which it’s eaten, from eggs to ice cream, just taste better. One reason is its salt, of course, but another is its high glutamate content, a pronounced factor in any cured meat. Pair bacon with another food, such as salmon, also high in glutamate, and the savory quotient ratchets up —and then up again. All that juicy deliciousness suggests certain wines over others, those also multilayered in taste and savor. No monotonic fruit bombs here, but a crisp zesty white and two reds all with nuance, built-up flavors, and long, beckoning aftertastes. Perhaps most crucial, however, [...]

By | 2019-10-01T21:35:29+00:00 October 1st, 2019|

Tuna and Peach Poke

Simplify pairing wine with food by attending less to the texture, flavor, or weight of each and more to elements such as salt, sweet, acid, and fat. For instance, foods with salt (as the tamari soy sauce here) really appreciate wine that is high in acidity. Acidity enlivens, cleanses and balances. Poke is pronounced "poh-kay," rhymes with "okay," and means "chunk" in Hawaiian. Its recipe always carries salt and always benefits from wines high in acidity.  HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED:• 3/4 pound #1 ahi tuna, sliced into 1/2-inch cubes (on special at Marczyk Fine Foods this week for $27.99/lb (reg $29.99/lb))• 2 Ela Family [...]

By | 2019-08-28T16:23:30+00:00 August 28th, 2019|

Sweet-savory Scallops and Camembert

A spoonful of sugar makes more than the medicine go down; it makes everything taste better. But sweetness can be a bugaboo to tasty wine pairings. When a dish is sweet — as here with the peach chutney or the milk of the cheese — but the wine is dry, in the way most wines are, then it's the wine that will taste like medicine. The best partners to sweetness in a food are a bit of sweetness in the wine or a marked fruitiness (as is the case with all three wines this week) wrapped tightly with acidity. Because [...]

By | 2019-08-24T18:19:12+00:00 August 24th, 2019|

Italian Wine Labels by the Alphabet

DOC and DOCG Italy’s law of Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) regulates the production and labeling of a significant share of Italian wine. The law intends to give purchasers of a DOC wine a reasonable expectation that a wine labeled as, say, Barbera d’Alba will be both a Barbera d’Alba in fact and in style. That is, it will look, smell, taste, feel and age like a Barbera d’Alba—because it is. The words Denominazione di Origine Controllata roughly translate as “the name [of a wine] is governed [or set] by its place of origin.” The underlying idea of DOC is [...]

By | 2019-05-14T14:41:39+00:00 May 14th, 2019|


Margaux has the distinction, among the Médoc’s six winemaking communes, of being both the largest in area and diverse in style. It alone sports estates at all five levels of the 1855 classification of Bordeaux wines. Too, the soil is the poorest of the Médoc; the amount of gravel, the highest; the climate, the warmest; and the yield per acre, the lowest. The 4th century Latin poet, Ausonius, while in residence across the Gironde from this area, wrote of the Gallo-Roman thermal baths here, the termes mauojaliques, also known as “Marojallia.” Hence, over time, the name “Margaux.” While unquestionably a [...]

By | 2019-05-14T14:41:30+00:00 May 14th, 2019|

Pinot Noir

La bête noire As a wine grape, Pinot Noir is the bête noire of its family, Les Pinots—Blanc, Meunier, Gris and Noir. Pinot Blanc makes respectable wines from Alsace and Northern Italy; Pinot Gris, from the same places. Pinot Meunier is a mainstay in Champagne. But while Pinot Noir grows more widely, it does so much more unsteadily. In a sense, it is the Mae West of the famille Pinot. When it's good, it's very, very good. But when it's bad, it's as bad as bad gets. Pinot Noir mutates capriciously (over 230 strains exist, some polar opposites). It benefits [...]

By | 2019-02-04T17:45:09+00:00 February 4th, 2019|