This Woman Made Me Drink Merlot

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

"The thing I like about the Houston wine scene," says the Houston Wine Merchant's Marcy Jimenez (above), "is the Gulf Coast attitude. We're a little more relaxed than the folks to the north of here." Marcy was born in the Bronx and raised on Long Island, New York. But she cut her teeth in the New Orleans food and wine scene, where she lived and worked in her twenties.

When she and I met earlier this week, she had just returned from New York City, where she had traveled especially to taste with one of the hipster circuit's hottest young winemakers, Raúl Pérez, scion of one of Spain's leading wine families and now a top producer in his own right. But don't look for these "highly allocated" wines on the store's shelves: They sell out quickly after Marcy offers them to a select group of clients via her e-mail list (all you need to do to get on the list is to ask).

I've been so impressed with her often esoteric and eclectic selection that I once let her talk me into buying a Merlot from Piedmont, Italy, despite my diametric opposition to international grape varieties raised on Italian soil (it was delicious).

Marcy is one of a growing number of Houston wine professionals who think globally and act locally. And her knowledge of the international wine scene makes her one of the top resources for both European and domestic wines in our market. I wasn't surprised when I bumped into her in April at the Italian wine trade fair in Verona, Italy, just one of the many international events and tastings she attends each year.

She's a big fan of Italian wines, but the Loire Valley, France, is where her expertise really shines. And she always seems to have a surprise up her sleeve, even for wine nerds like me: This week, when she showed me an under-$25 white wine from Chinon -- an appellation known exclusively for its reds -- I just had to have it.

But the thing that really leads me back to visit Marcy is that somewhere between the ubiquitous tattoos, the New York swagger, the infectious laugh and the dissertations on the virtues of biodynamically farmed Chenin Blanc from the Loire, she always reminds me that wine should be fun -- whether a $12 Vermentino from Lodi, California, or a $80 Nebbiolo from Piedmont, Italy. Somehow wine, no matter where it's from, just tastes better when paired with a touch of Gulf Coast attitude via the Bronx.

Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.