Tag Archives: Savour Wine and Chee



JULY 19, 2017

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kathleen. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.

Like many, I came to the hospitality business as support for my academic pursuits, putting myself first through Wheaton College, then through graduate school at the University of Chicago. While working on my PhD in History of Christianity, I started my catering and coffee shop business, aptly named “Ambrosia,” the “Food of the Gods.” While I was a student at the University, Rick Bayless, who ironically was a PhD candidate in linguistics at the University of Michigan, opened his first endeavor, Frontera Grill, with the adjacent soon-to-be-recognized 4-star restaurant, Topolobampo. In fact, Topolobampo won the James Beard award for outstanding restaurant in 2017. Our paths soon crossed when I took a position at Topolobampo and began working on the complex food and wine pairings of gourmet regional Mexican cuisine. I decided I needed to know more, so I completed a course of study with the Court of Master Sommeliers in Aspen, Colorado, with Richard Betts (then the sommelier at the Little Nell) leading the charge. After completing my certification as a sommelier, I went to work for a small, but influential, boutique distributor in Chicago, called Maverick Wines, where exposure to wine-makers, chefs, restaurateurs, and wine retailers, vastly expanded my knowledge of wine and the wine business. While working in Chicago, I met a savvy retailer, who had been in the business many years. One day, he observed, “We both sell wine, but I like my job much better. You have to go out and find the customer. My customers come to me and they want to buy wine. I just have to steer them in the right direction.” From that time on, I viewed the wine retailer as a “coach” essentially looking for and developing the “right talent” and putting that “talent in the right hands”.

I “soaked up” as much wine knowledge as I could hold. I started teaching a 5-part introduction to wine series I called “Become a Wine Expert,” which I still offer at Savour twice a year, in October and April. I decided I would like to open my own wine shop, with a unique vision, specializing in small-production, artisanal, boutique wines from around the world and a “Try before You Buy” business model, featuring wine-tasting machines, where customers could sample 20 different wines before settling on the right bottle. I knew I wanted a store with a strong focus on education, with particular emphasis on the most challenging task for the sommelier, chef, or retailer, the pairing of food with wine. So, to this day, I see myself much like a coach, as I taste every wine that comes through our doors at Savour, to be sure it meets our standards, and I sell it to the customer who presents the best fit. We keep extensive records, so we know our customers’ names, needs, and wine preferences. Many times, they can’t remember what they bought or liked or what they had the wine with (only that they loved it and want it again), but we remember. That’s the most satisfying part! Now, Savour has become a distinctive voice on the North Shore, where many come from Cape Ann, as well as towns like Andover, Beverly, and even Boston for our unique selection of wine and artisanal cheeses, as well as charcuterie, and even craft beers, mostly from New England.


Pinot Noir Seminar Tonight at Savour Wine and Cheese 5-7pm


Our special guest is David Polite, owner and winemaker at Carlton Hill Winery in McMinnville, Oregon – the heart of the famed Wilammette Valley.  He will pour his elegant Pinot Noirs for you to taste, talk a bit about what is involved in growing this very challenging grape, and explain what it takes to make great Pinot Noir.
Come sip, savour, and learn about one of America’s most prized and elusive wines.

Currently 11 acres in production, Carlton Hill Vineyard sits in the center of Oregon appellation Yamhill-Carlton District.  The Yamhill-Carlton appellation, which is comprised of the sedimentary remains of an ancient ocean bed, is unique in that the soils are some of the oldest in the Willamette Valley region.


And, while the Appellation is still very young, the wines produced from here reveal very distinct bright, black fruit flavors.” 


David and Dan Polite, Carlton Hill Proprietors


St. Patrick’s Day Dinner
Sunday, March 16
6 – 8 p.m.
$29.95 (plus tax and tip)
9 Places left!

Congratulations Savour Wine and Cheese on the Tremendous Success of Your First Annual Wine Tasting!

Savour Wine and Cheese ©Kim Smith 2013Savour Wine and Cheese’s First Annual Wine and Beer Fall Tasting Event was a phenomenal success. When I stopped by to take some snapshots at 3:30 there must have been 150 people and this was after the peak!Savour Wine and Cheese  -3 ©Kim Smith 2013.

This just in from Kathleen as I am writing the post–if it was too chaotic when you stopped by to pick up your order, Savour is extending the tasting discounts through the week (10% off 6 mixed wines or beer and 15% off 12 or more mixed wines and beers).

Savour Wine and Cheese  -4 ©Kim Smith 2013.Correction–there were closer to 200 people at the event, from as far away as Boston, Stoneham, and New Hampshire. It was Savour’s Best Day Ever and the event was only three hours long! Congratulations Kathleen, Bob, Matt, John, and Team Savour for much deserved success!!!

Savour Wine and Cheese  -8 ©Kim Smith 2013. copy

Savour Wine and Cheese  -5 ©Kim Smith 2013.Savour Wine and Cheese Nora ©Kim Smith 2013. copySavour Wine and Cheese -6 ©Kim Smith 2013.Savour Wine and Cheese -8 ©Kim Smith 2013.Don’t you think Kathleen and Bob look like newlyweeds?

FREE Wine Tasting Event at Savour and Best Paper to Store Cheese

formaticum-cheese-paper-6_grande I learned so much from Kathleen Erickson in her fantastic series “Become a Wine Expert,” not only about wine, but also about cheese as she paired fabulously delicious cheeses with each wine. I asked her to tell us more about the interesting paper that they use at Savour Wine and Cheese when cutting off a wedge and wrapping for their customers. Kathleen writes ~

“Kim Smith had asked about our special cheese paper known as “Formaticum.”  So here is a bit about it.

Their slogan is “Cheese is alive.  Store accordingly.” Although you do not see it often, any good cheese shop should present you with your cheese purchase carefully wrapped in Formaticum (which is the only company that makes cheese paper of this quality). ”

What make’s Formaticum so special? When you buy cheese wrapped in plastic or vacuum-sealed, it is suffocating and losing all its flavor and character. Formaticum is a special two-ply paper designed to allow the cheese to breathe, while also maintaining optimal humidity, which prevents the cheese from drying out. Formaticum is made of the same material that is used by the world’s finest cheese purveyors to wrap and store cheese and is manufactured in France.

Kathleen also writes, “Once you get your cheese home, store it in the Formaticum cheese paper.  You may wish to slip it into a loose baggie which allows some room for the cheese to breathe, if you are keeping it for a few weeks.”

Here is a link to their website and video on cheese-wrapping, which is an art in itself ~ Formaticum.”

Savour Wine and Cheese ©Kim Smith 2013


There are two special events taking place at Savour Wine and Cheese this coming week:

On Friday night from 7-9:30 pm is the Cape Ann Animal Shelter Fundraiser.

On Sunday afternoon from 1-4pm there is a COMPLIMENTARY Wine Tasting Event. Several of Savour’s excellent wine representatives from across the state will be pouring wines and answering question. Chef Matt Beach and Kathleen are creating appetizers to serve with the wines, which will also perfectly complement your Thanksgiving feast.

Visit their website for more information about both. events.


Rather than waiting until October 2014 and due to the popularity of our “How to Become a Wine Expert” series posted here on GMG, Kathleen is again teaching her series in April,  2014. People are already signing up, so sign up soon to get the early sign-up discount. This would make a great Christmas gift. And for couples, a great gift to each other. There were several couples in our class and the evening was their “date night!” To sign up for “Become a Wine Expert,” visit Savour’s Events page.

Renee Hansen Savour Wine and Cheese ©Kim Smith 2013

Renee Hansen and Geoff Rendall