MONTHLY FEATURES

You’ve found it! The inner sanctum. The place where we reveal our current infatuations and abiding passions: the wines we have a crush on, the vineyards we daydream about, the specials we’re offering in our very own store. Check back at your leisure. Updates posted as fancy moves us.

May 2019 Six Pack Special

With all the May celebrations in mind, we’re pleased to offer this Six Pack Special (for those of you with an Everyday Wines Bag) for only $76.98 (tax included).

Whites

Marland Bordeaux Blend 2017 (Michigan, Lake Michigan Shore) $20.99

Named “Land near the Lake,” from Old English, Marland is the “everyday” line from Michigan winemaker James Lester of Wyncroft Winery. The fruit (with the exception of the Sémillon in this wine which is from the Wyncroft estate) is sourced from neighboring Lake Michigan Shore growers that he works closely with to the meet low-yield and organic practice requirements that respect the grape’s inherent characteristics. Even in his own winery Lester focuses exclusively on European vinifera varietals, determined to show that Michigan terroir can stand up to any old-world standards.

Sémillon for example, the 3rd most widely planted grape in France, thrives in our cool climate, retaining an essential acidity. Blended with Sauvignon Blanc that’s overwintered in stainless steel, the juice is then bottled in February when it’s still cold outside, capturing the freshness and aromas of the fruit. We get hints of grapefruit, lemongrass and green fig from the Sauvignon Blanc; apple, green papaya, and a lovely round weight from the Semillon. The labels on both the Wyncroft and Marland wines are inspired by the 19th Century Arts & Crafts Movement, an aesthetic artistry you can taste as well.   

If you’ve read this far and are interested in meeting the Winemaker, James Lester and his wife, Daun, check out our event on Thursday, May 16.

Pairings:   sushi, sushi, sushi, Michigan goat cheese, brown butter scallops, fennel and blood orange salad, takeout from Cardamom, going to the shore

 

Ostatu Blanco 2018 (Spain, Rioja Alavesa) $14.99

The Saenz de Samaniego family has been in this sub-region of Rioja for many generations. Rioja Alavesa, at the foot of the Sierra de Cantabria mountains, was a place to pass through for travelers on the road between Laguardia to Vitoria. So much so that this 250 year old winery took its name from the Basque word for “inn” or “Ostatu.” But it’s chalky clay soils and cool climate make a perfect permanent home for grapes like Viura (known as Macabeo in the rest of Spain) and Malvasia, as are found in this roundly crisp white blend.

Using only indigenous yeasts and stainless steel during fermentation the winemakers preserve the bright citrus and acidity of the fruit beautifully, while still allowing the weighty minerality of Malvasia to ground the palate. We get a slight nuttiness on the finish also, making this a terrifically versatile wine for food.

Pairings: Grilled vegetable skewers w/saffron yogurt sauce, spicy cod roe pasta, canned smoked fish, “Chicago” cheese (go ask Loomi Cafe), canoe trips

Rosé

Chateau Jouclary 2018 (France, Languedoc) $11.99

Summer in a bottle, this lovely rosé is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Grenache and Cinsault from an appellation – Cabardès- that is required to blend Atlantic grapes, aka Bordeaux grapes: Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot, along with Mediterranean grapes: Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault.

Charming minerality of stone and chalk dominates the nose and palate with touches of fresh watermelon and light strawberry, orange citrus and a zippy refreshing finish. A lot to love for $12.

Pairings:  Orzo with seasonal vegetables, sea bass ceviche, grilled root vegetables with goat cheese and apple cider vinaigrette, anything on the porch or by the campfire

Reds

La Playa Carmenere 2016 (Chile, Colchagua Valley) $8.99

It’s nine dollars. It’s from Chile. It’s Carmenere. It’s not much on paper, but it’s mighty in many ways. Did you know that Carmenere was thought to be a lost varietal after phylloxera wiped out most of the vines in its native France? Up until 1994 most of Chile’s vines were thought to be Merlot, when a scientist noticed some plants were ripening slower and thus “rediscovered” Carmenere. The varietal thrives in Chile, to say the least, producing wines with dense, lush palates that can stand up to its half-sibling Cab Sauv, and with friendlier tannins.

This producer in particular also underwent a strident 3 year certification program called ISO14000 to reduce the winery’s carbon footprint in every facet of production, from irrigation to disposal to packaging. The vineyard manager works from horseback, so as not to damage the soil with heavy machinery. We’d like to affix tiny little capes to each one of these bottles.

We get ripe blueberries, warm wood notes (like bark not oak), and just a touch of smokey meat. The palate has a hint of that green peppercorn and cocoa powder that the varietal is known for. But finishes as a well-rounded, ripe and juicy red wine that will pair with so many spring and summertime moments.

Pairings: Grilled steak (or tempeh) and bell pepper fajitas, pao de queijo (Brazilian cheesy-poofs), chicken satay, blackened redfish, burger parties at Island Park   

 

Lenotti Bardolino 2017 (Italy, Veneto) $10.99

Lenotti is owned and operated by Giancarlo (who we loved meeting when he stopped by the store a couple of years ago) Marina, and their son Claudio Lenotti.  The vines were first planted on the farm in 1906, although no wine was bottled until 1968, the same year Bardolino was granted DOC status.

Bardolino is a light red wine made on the eastern shores of Lake Garda. Like its more famous neighbor, Valpolicella, Bardolino is made primarily from a blend of Corvina and Rondinella, with a combined 20% of other grape varietals (Moinara, Barbera, Sangiovese, Marzemino, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) also allowed.

We get red fruit on the nose and palate, with good acidity, light earthy spice, a dash of herbs, and light tannins on the finish. This wine is as charming as Giancarlo.

Pairings: Mushroom and herbed polenta, Swedish meatballs (meat, veggie or vegan balls) with cranberry compote, whole roasted trout with couscous, light-sweater kind of nights

 

Zaca Mesa Syrah 2014 (California, Santa Ynez Valley) $15.99

Purchased and planted in 1973 this was only the 3rd winery in Santa Barbara at the time, and thus was at the forefront of exploring the best varietals for the terroir. After much trial and error,  the vineyard responded best to French Rhone varietals, and Zaca Mesa has focused on their vinification ever since. While they’ve mentored many winemakers who have gone on to become household names (Qupe, Au Bon Climat), Kristin Bryden is currently at the helm.

This Syrah acts more French than Californian, with aromas of wild herbs and smoked meat. There’s an abundance of blackberry, balanced by chewy tannins and a refreshing acidity. We’re picturing this with Graduation feasts or Mom’s favorite dinner, also known as celebrations to take your time with. This wine is best sipped slowly and with plenty of air.

Pairings: Charred eggplant with fresh herbs and aioli, lamb shank, tea-smoked duck breast, roasted marrow with sea salt and parsley, chimineas (pro tip: Moms dig chimineas)