We’re bringing out a couple of reds for this cooler weather at our Free Friday Tasting, 4-p.m.
Underwood, Pinot Noir, Oregon 2015 — This Pinot aims to be an excellent every day drinker, and it hits the mark. Well-balanced with light strawberry flavor, and herbal forest notes.
Underwood is label of the Union Wine Co., which is very proudly made in Oregon, and boasts one of the most fun online presences of any wine company (just check out their Instagram – it’s a pretty good time). This Pinot was rated 87 points and a Best Buy by Wine Enthusiast.
This is our photo. Check out theirs from their Instagram:
Klinker Brick, Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, CA 2014 — “Old vine” isn’t legally required to mean anything, but the idea is older grapes produce lower yield and therefore concentrated juice. In this case, it means a blend from 16 different vineyard blocks with an average age of 85 years.
What you get is dark, sweet fruit flavor with berries and spices on the nose, and a hint of black pepper. A big, hearty Zinfandel with a long-lasting finish.
Our Free Friday Tasting is about to happen in the shop, 4-6 p.m. Here’s what’s on for today…
Pomelo, Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County, CA 2014 — Pomelo is a giant citrus fruit from Malaysia, an ancestor of grapefruit. Think aromas of fragrant orange blossom, and grapefruit, and white peach flavors, and that’s what you’re getting from this refreshing Sauv Blanc by Mason Cellars.
Nimble and light-bodied with high notes of lime zest and passionfruit. Wine Spectator gave it 90 points and put it #40 on its Top 100 last year.
Regio, Malbec, Lodi, CA 2012 — Dark garnet color, with dark plums, black currants, and spice undercurrents. This is a nice alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon, and a great table wine, especially if you’re setting your table with grilled meats or barbecue.
Medium-bodied, with a velvety finish. Lodi’s Mediterranean climate makes a more finesse style of Malbec (versus Argentinian big, blustery styles).
Here’s what we’re going with for our Free Friday Tasting, 4-6 p.m. We can’t wait to crack into these…
Montes Twin, Red Blend, Colchagua Valley, Chile 2014 — The blend mashes up some of our favorite New and Old World varietals to make a well-balanced table wine: fruit and structure from Cabernet Sauvignon, freshness of Tempranillo, substance of Syrah, and velvety finish of Carmenère.
Part of the beauty of South American wine is that it gets right down to business with young yet powerful wines. This one has plenty of red and black berry fruit flavor, followed by subtle spices. French oak gives it a touch of dark chocolate and caramel on the finish.
J. Hofstadter, Lagrein, Alto Adige, Italy 2012 — This one is fun! Say the varietal with a German accent (“lah-GRINE” rhymes with “WINE”) and the appellation with an Italian accent (“ahl-taw ah-dee-je”).
That’s because in this mountainous region of Italy, also known as South Tyrol, the majority of people speak German – it’s right on the border. Lagrein can be an enjoyable, straightforward wine with tasty plum and earth notes, full-bodied but not too heavy, with a minerally finish.
This is a perfect example of a Lagrein, a with deep-dark color, captivating aroma, and harmonious yet assertive palate.
We’re very excited and humbled to earn a spot on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s dining critic’s Top 30 list for the second straight year! Let’s celebrate a little by tasting some reds at our Free Friday Tasting, 4-6 p.m.
Albino Rocca, “Rosso Di Rocca,” Nebbiolo Red Blend, Barbaresco, Italy 2014 — This is a stylish, racy Piedmontese wine, and a great bang for the buck. Because it’s a blend, it can’t be called a Barbaresco, which has to be made solely from Nebbiolo. This one is rounded out with some Cab Franc and Barbera. Expect a whole lotta dark cherry, blackberry and bitter chocolate. Medium-bodied and juicy, with a slightly sticky finish that lingers. Great value at $12.
Primitivo Quiles “Cono 4” De Pura Cepa, Monastrell, Alicante, Spain
— Ruby red Monstrell shines in this Spanish red. Straightforward red fruit flavors are perky right away, and pick up some earthiness when you let it breath for a while. Then you get some jammy raspberry and cherry, and a smooth finish. Pretty great deal for just $10.
We’re tasting a two wines that are great for this not-quite-autumnal time of year. A Red Blend to go great with grilling, and a Sauvignon Blanc to savor the last bits of summer. Stop by for a free taste, from 4-6 p.m.
Red Blend, Columbia Crest, Limited Release Gold, Columbia Valley, WA 2013 — Dark, rich, silky palate… what are we talking about? Fresh raspberries, salted dark chocolate… Ready for this? This is a Cabernet Franc-based red blend! The grape is probably best known for often riding shotgun to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in Bordeaux. Here we get to taste what it can be when it grows through a warm Washington State summer, ending on a cool September, with some time in a little French oak.
Sauvignon Blanc, Angeline, Russian River Valley, CA 2014 — This is a great portrait of a Russian River Sauvignon Blanc. You’re going to get a lot of bright, citrusy notes right away, like ripe mango, kiwi, and key lime zest. It’s bursting with fruit flavor, but balanced out by a crisp acidity. This would be great with fish dishes. Or maybe our Elote. So good.
We’re tasting a couple of great go-to wines in the shop today from 4-6 p.m. A Côtes du Roussillon from a very familiar Côte du Rhône producer, and a sweet, straightforward Moscato.
Les Vignes de Bila-Haut, Michel Chapoutier, Côtes-du-Roussillon Villages, France 2012 — If you like fruit-forward wines grown in hot places like Cali or Australia, wines from Côtes-du-Roussillon can be a great intro to French wine. It’s down by the sea, and very close to Spain, where there is a lot of sunshine to give wine fruit flavor and body.
A red blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan, you’ll get blackberry and jammy fruit before herbal, peppery, and earthy notes. R.P. gave it 91 points, if you’re into points, but also called it “another smoking effort that will top anyone’s value list.” It’s a smoking hot bargain! Fun fact: Michel Chapoutier was the first wine producer to use braille on its labels, which it now prints on all the wine it sells.
Moscato, Dante, Reserve, California 2012 — Smooth and simple, this Moscato has a honeyed sweetness. You might get notes of orange blossoms, peaches and lemon candy. Great as a light after-dinner drink or an aperitif for anytime.
We’re getting a little weird with the selection for this Friday’s free sampling, with a couple of out-of-the-box, out-of-the-ordinary wines to try from 4-6 p.m. Let’s taste this California Zinfandel that applies a technique you don’t usually see with wine, and a wine from the Piedmont region of Italy made from a seedy (as in, full of seeds) grape.
1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel-Aged Zinfandel, Mendocino, CA 2013 — We see a lot of beer aged in bourbon barrels; it’s a way for whiskey makers to recover of the cost of their new, charred oak barrels, which can only be used once to make bourbon. While we’ve seen some whiskeys aged in wine barrels, we haven’t tried the inverse – until now. The extra effort gives it a lingering finish to add to a good balance. Warm and engaging with just a touch of vanilla-y bourbon. Dark-colored with a nose of berries and cherries. 91 points, Editor’s Choice from Wine Enthusiast, if you’re into points.
1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel-Aged Zinfandel, Mendocino, CA 2013
Marchione, Grignolino, Asti, Italy 2013 — This one will surprise you. Grignolino is a grape varietal grown in up North in the Piedmont region of Italy. It’s name derives from a word in the local dialect meaning “many seeds,” and the presence of these seeds contribute tannins to give great earth and structure to very lightly colored, fruity reds. A rare find in that it’s a fresh, easy-drinking wine that combines notes of strawberries and raspberries, and an undertow of warm spices, and still express the limestone and clay soil in which its grown. This wine manages to be both rustic and elegant, with a delicate body and fruit that make it a great red for warm weather (and at just 12.5 percent, it won’t bowl you over).
Marchione, Grignolino, Asti, Italy 2013
Whatever you’re doing this evening, swing by the shop to try out some refreshing wine first! We’ll have something to taste every Friday, so you can sip while you shop for the weekend. This Friday, Aug. 12, from 4-6 p.m., it’s Prosecco & Rosé!
Viña Palaciega Rosé, Argentina 2015 — This is a blend from three vineyard areas in Argentina, so of course its made from MALBEC. Hand-picked Malbec from the Uco Valley, Tupungato, and Mendoza went into this wine, for a juicy Rosé with a solid core of ripe strawberry and watermelon notes. This just screams summer, but it would be fun to have on hand for hanging out all year round.
Bellafina Prosecco — This Prosecco is in a Frizzante style – literally meaning “fizzy;” versus Spumante, which means fully “sparkling.” This is a easy-drinking, gently sparkling wine, with smaller, softer bubbles, and it could be a great fit if you’re not into the assault of big bubbles from other sparklers. With notes of apple, peach, and pear, it’s excellent as an aperitif, with appetizers, or with fish dishes.
We’re tapping Lakefront Brewery’s anticipated Brandy Barrel-Aged Cherry Lager starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 16. If you like Old Fashioneds, Lagers, and/or Lakefront beer, you’ll really like this cherry delight!
$7/small tulip. We’ll also have Lakefront’s SMaSH Ale on tap and, as always, Riverwest Stein. Let your friends you wanna drink some beer on our Facebook Event.
We’re tasting Rosato & Riesling today, Friday, Aug. 5 from 4 p.m. until 6. And pick up your copy of Wine Spector, which lists our Restaurant Award of Excellence in the latest issue.
Fattoria di Basciano, Rosato di Toscano 2015 — Rosato is what Italians call “Rosé,” and we all know summer is the most fun time to drink Pink! It’s made in Tuscany, just like Chianti, so — you guessed it; it’s 100% Sangiovese. Like much of Italian rosé wine, it’s a deeper, reddish pink with fruity and floral notes. Crisp acidity, yet soft on the palate, so it’s great with food.
Mercer Canyons, Riesling 2013 — Grown up north in the Yakima Valley, where cooler sites allow for deep flavor to develop, this wine still maintains the crispness you’d find in a European Riesling. You’ll taste fresh fruits like peach and tangerine,
with a honey-kissed orangey nose.