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Firefly Wine Shop offers beer and wine for every occasion

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A wine display at Firefly Wine Shop.


Christina Ruotolo

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

It’s an average Wednesday night at Firefly Wine Shop in Greenville, where a group of wine enthusiasts are tasting a variety of hand-selected pours. Others are sitting around a table drinking red wine and playing cards. Next to them are members of the International Wine and Food Society of Greenville, who are sharing stories and laughter over a bottle of white wine and a vegetable tray with dip and salty crackers. The room is bright and open, and the wine and conversation are flowing.

Firefly Wine Shop, 3110 Evans St., is owned and operated by Brenda Drake, a wine and service steward who became a certified Sommelier in 2015. She has extensive training in wine and food pairing and is knowledgeable with a personality as bubbly as her champagnes.

Drake and her staff have the ability to help you explore, taste and enjoy the vast array of beverages. The store is bright and vibrant with wall-to-wall cedar wine racks displaying brightly colored wines in all varieties. The shop offers more than 400 different wines. Wine prices range from $8 to more than $100, so there is a wine for all tastes and budgets.

Firefly also has an impressive domestic and imported beer selection with more than 200 varieties. Beer prices range from $1.70-$25 per bottle. From pale ales to dark stouts, there are plenty of flavors to taste. One is a unique, limited-edition Rodenbach sweet bubbly beer made with aged cherries, raspberries and cranberries that is aged in oak barrels.

I recently attended one of the Wednesday night wine tastings and was able to sample five wines and one beer. I started my tasting with the Trappistes Rochefort Belgian Ale, a unique beer produced by monks in the Rochefort Abbey Brewery in Belgium. The beer is made in limited quantities with the sale of the beer going to support the monks and additional proceeds going to charity. This golden-brown ale is a Dubbel style with good bubbles and foam. It has full-bodied taste with notes of caramel and cream. It’s barrel aged and has a softer finish with not too much hops bitterness. The beer is 11.2 ounces, has a 7.5 ABV and costs $5.95 per bottle.

The first wine I sampled was the Gloria Ferrer Private Cuvee Brut. This winery is owned by a Spanish family and is in California’s Sonoma Valley. This bubbly is made with 91 percent pinot noir grapes and 9 percent chardonnay grapes. It has a light, smooth flavor with stone fruit accents including peaches on the front note and no strong champagne aftertaste. The bottle is priced at $16.20 and pairs beautifully with a platter of salty, briny oysters.

Next I tried the Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs champagne. This is made with 100 percent chardonnay grapes. It’s light in color and also has nice bubbles. You can smell the yeasty biscuit flavor first and then you taste the bright citrus flavor of lemon. This one was also a clean tasting wine, but had a fuller mouth feel with more dimension. This enjoyable champagne is $23.50 per bottle and pairs well with a cheese and charcuterie board.

The Gloria Ferrer Brut Rosé, made with 90 percent pinot noir and 10 percent chardonnay, gets its soft pink coloring because 25 percent of the pinot noir grape skins were left on for 36 hours of the fermentation process. This one has a great aroma of strawberries and rhubarb, a crisp acidity and a gorgeous pink color and fine bubble trails. It was a bit on the dry side, but quite enjoyable. It’s priced at $25.65 per bottle and pairs nicely with fresh fruit or salads.

Next, I tried a red wine, the Southern Belle from Spain. The artwork on the bottle is stellar and dreamy, which ended up being exactly what this wine tasted like. It’s made with 50 percent Mourvedre grapes and 50 percent syrah grapes. The wine is aged in old Papi Van Winkle Bourbon barrels, which gives it smooth vanilla and toffee notes with a sweet, soft finish. It had a complex flavor, but the wine was mostly mellow and smooth with flavors of blackberry and blueberry. This would be an excellent sipping wine and is priced at $17.55 per bottle.

The Tintero Moscato D’ Asti white wine provided a sweet finish to the tasting. It’s pale in color and slightly fizzy. This one has beautiful aromatics of fruit and citrus. It’s a traditional wine that is super sweet on the tongue, but not a sticky sweet. This wine pairs well with a fresh fruit dessert or a cheese platter, especially blue cheese. The sweet wine and salty cheese complement each other. It’s priced at $16.50 per bottle.

The cost to join Firefly’s wine club is $35 per month and includes two unique bottles of hand-selected wine, one red and one white tasting, plus winery notes with each wine and a 10 percent discount on all special orders and club-only tastings.

If you are seeking a hard-to-find wine or beer, Drake can help you track it down. If you’re not sure which wine you want, you may create a mix-and-match box for $50. Choose six bottles of wine from a large hand-picked selection. Customers also get a free wine bag with this special purchase.

Firefly Wine Shop is open from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Call 756-4994 or visit www.facebook.com/​FireflyWineShop or www.fireflywineshop.com.

Duck Donuts

Duck Donuts, 420 E Arlington Blvd., is offering several new options during the holiday season. The mint icing is back; try it with chocolate drizzle, Oreos or your own combination. It is also offering holiday espresso drink flavors of peppermint mocha and toffee nut latte. The holiday assortment of doughnuts also is available. Call 689-6305.

Breakfast fundraiser

Hwy 55 Restaurant, 2907 E. 10th St. is sponsoring a pancake breakfast from 7-10:30 a.m. Saturday to benefit Pitt County Chapter 37 Disabled American Veterans’ Building Fund. Cost is $6 for pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns, coffee, tea, juice, milk, soft drinks and danish. Pick-up or delivery (five plate minimum); call 754-8305. Eat in and get all you can eat.

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is introducing a one-day seasonal take on its Original Glazed doughnut. The Gingerbread Glazed Doughnut will be available on Tuesday only — National Gingerbread House Day. The doughnut has a gingerbread dough with a warm gingerbread molasses glaze. Krispy Kreme is at 300 E. 10th St. Call 830-1525 or visit www.krispykreme.com.

Villa Verde

Villa Verde, 2601 E. 10th St., will host a tree-trimming party from 5:30-7 p.m. Monday. Bring an ornament to hang on the outdoor tree. There will be free photos with Santa and a free nacho bar for kids ages 12 and younger. Call 689-6005.

Chef Jamie DeMent

Sam Jones BBQ, 715 W. Fire Tower Road, Winterville, will host chef Jamie DeMent from 5-9 p.m. Dec. 16 for a dinner inspired by DeMent’s first cookbook, “The Farmhouse Chef: Recipes & Stories from My Carolina Farm.” Pitmaster Sam Jones will create a selection of sides and a dessert from the cookbook, offered a la carte. Special menu items will include Broccoli Ranch Salad, Roasted Buttered Brussels Sprouts, Grated Sweet Potato Pudding, Warm Cabbage Salad and Cane Syrup Pecan Pie.

DeMent will sell copies of “The Farmhouse Chef” ($35), as well as gift baskets of artisanal North Carolina pantry products.

Call 689-7946.