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Van's Liquor Store is here to help

you select and enjoy wine!

Van's Liquor Store has proudly served the tri-states since the mid 1930's. Originally started by John Vanderah, it remained with his family until 1987 when, Ron Jansen, became proprietor. It was Ron's commitment to wine nearly two decades ago that made Van's “the tri-states true wine specialists.”

Throughout the years Van's has increased wine awareness through wine dinners, weekly wine tastings, and our large bi-yearly wine tastings. Annually we hold one wine tasting in the spring and the other to kick off the holiday season about two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. Our seasonal wine tastings are really a great experience; they allow people to sample all types of wines from all over the world. At these wine tastings people are given the opportunity to try over a hundred wines at each tasting in addition we serve hors d'ouerves for our guests to try their own food and wine pairings.

We have found through the years the key to unlocking the mystery of wine is to simply sample whenever possible. You can read all of the publications and know the terminology but the bottom line to the mystery of wine is do you like it? If it tastes good, you've found a winner.  If not, keep on tasting!

When it comes to pairing wine with food the first thing you should do is disregard every “rule” you may have heard regarding the matching of wine with food. The best wine to pair with your meal is whatever wine you like! The truth is every person's palate varies, so what works for some may not work for all. That being said, here are some useful things to keep in mind when paring food and wine:

•  Acidity:  Wine is acidic and some wines are more acidic than others. This is a good thing because acid enhances and lengthens the flavor of your dishes.

•  Texture and Body:  Just as a simple pasta dish with light oil and garlic will be much lighter than the same pasta with a heavy alfredo sauce a Pinot Noir will be lighter than a Cabernet Sauvignon. So why does texture matter? Imagine a wonderfully prepared light and flaky piece of sole accompanied with a big bold Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. In this case the cabernet's rich flavor and body would completely overpower the crispness of the fish.

Recommended Red Wines

Produces nicely colored deep wines, rich and flavorful.  Merlot lacks the body of a Cabernet, it  is a crucial component to many Bordeaux wines; Smoothness is the key to a good Merlot. Merlot can be light to heavy bodied having nice berry flavors, some have heavier tannins which will add to age ability. A Merlot would go well with chicken, dishes, mild and creamy cheeses, as well as lamb, steaks, and pork.
Recommended Producers:  Bogle, Raymond Estates, Lindemans, & Meridian

Cabernet Sauvignon
A full bodied red wine, the classic variety for red bordeaux wines;  considered to be the king of red wines. One of our biggest Red wines capable of great age ability, up to 20-30 years in some cases.  Common flavors will be cassis, blackberry, earthy flavors, oak and even tabacco. Cabernets will go well with roasts, grilled steaks, lamb, and other meat dishes.
Recommended Producers:  Beringer, B.R. Cohn, Diamond Creek, and Robert Mondavi.

Pinot Noir
A medium bodied red wine that is a bit more supple than that of a Cabernet or Merlot.  Pinot Noir is the primary grape for red Burgundy. Typical flavors of a Pinot Noir are raspberries and lighter berries.  Most Pinot Noir is light bodied, with higher quality Pinot having a little more body and more age ability.  Pinot Noir will go well with pork, veal, chicken, and ripe cheeses.
Recommended Producers:   Acacia, Chalone, Cuvaison, and King Estates.

Prime grape of southern Italy, used widely in California to produce blush wines to big robust red wines.  Full bodied, rich with spicy tones and some peppery notes.  It has big, ripe, rich fruits and red berry tastes.  Zinfandel normally has a higher alcohol content than most wines, sometimes reaching 15% alcohol. Zinfandels go well with pizza, steaks, Italian dishes, pork, stews, and chili.
Recommended Producers:  Ridge, Seghesio, Cline, & Alexander Valley

Syrah or Shiraz
Used widely in the Rhone Valley, had roots that date back to 600 B.C. in Persia. This is a full bodied red wine with a peppery bouquet and slight earthiness on the taste. A Syrah or Shiraz goes well with grilled meats, hearty stews, or ripe cheeses.
Recommended Producers:  Rosemount Estate, Penfolds, & Yalumba.

Recommended White Wines


If Cabernet Sauvignon is the king of grapes then Chardonnay is certainly the queen, it is responsible for some of the greatest white Burgundies as well as some of the best Champagnes. Chardonnay has a bouquet of green apples, buttery flavors, sometimes with oak (if more expensive).  Your more expensive Chardonnay will age for up to 3-5 years from vintage and will improve with some aging but as a whole they are meant for immediate consumption.
Recommended Producers: Hess Select, Columbia Crest, Parducci, Meridian, Kendall-Jackson, Landmark, and Beringer.


Made famous from Beaujolais, drinks well young not meant to age. Light, fruity,  having a nice floral aroma.  This is a great wine for beginners - nice fruit, very mild, and a lighter bodied. Goes well with chicken, ham, and is also perfect by itself.
Recommended Producers:  Georges Dubouef

A red grape that produces a white wine, very distinctive in Alsace. It is a semi-sweet wine with nice richness and a floral bouquet. Goes great with turkey, oriental food, and spicy dishes.
Recommended Producers: Columbia Crest, Dopff,  and Fetzer.

Johannisberg Riesling
Usually signifies wine that is made from a true Riesling grape.  Ideal Riesling comes from the Johannisberg Rheingau vineyards. The taste exemplifies a bouquet of apples or apricots, light dry to sweet. Goes well with fish chicken or fruit salads.  It is also very nice for just sipping.
Recommended Producers: Fetzer and Geyser Peak.

Derived from vines that have a very small yield. Aromatic bouquet of almonds and exotic fruits.  A richly flavored wine with medium body and a drier taste. Goes well with pork tenderloin, salmon, tuna, chicken dishes, oriental foods, and vegetarian foods.
Recommended Producers:  Callaway and Phillips EXP

Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris
Where it is made dictates whether it is called Grigio or Gris. It is an easy drinking Italian, white wine with a soft, light, dry body.  Very approachable and a definite crowd pleaser. Goes well with salads, oriental foods, or by itself.
Recommended Producers:  Bolla, Placido, Scarllata.

If you have questions about choosing the right wine for your upcoming special event, fill out our form and we can help you decide!

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