When people consider Vinho Verde, they usually think of a unique style of zesty wine associated with the northernmost region of Portugal (technically, it is named after the physical location itself, not the wine). The Minho and the Lima flow through the area (also named the same as nearby locations—yikes!), and verdant hillsides abound throughout Vinho Verde. Geography lesson aside, this wine spotlights the indigenous grapes of Loureiro, Trajadura, Pedernã, and Alvarinho. Pale straw-green in hue and slightly effervescent, there are aromas and flavors of lemon, verbena, gooseberry, and grapefruit. An order of Baja shrimp tacos from Rusty Taco would complement this easy-drinking white from Portugal.
Highly rated by James Suckling, the Olema Sauvignon Blanc is both quintessential and unique. Olema’s goal is to feature well-known regions like the Loire and Sonoma which produce solid varieties without sticker shock. They market their wines as suitable for both everyday imbibing and special occasions, and the Sauvignon Blanc does not disappoint! Teeming with zippy acidity, the wine is aged in stainless steel to maintain the aromatic quality of the grape. On the nose, citrus, and jasmine emerge upfront, culminating in a balance of lemon-lime-kumquat goodness on the palate. Sauvignon Blanc can withstand an equally high-acid partner in cuisine, like the Insalata Caprese from Giuseppe’s.
It’s a love story for the ages: in 1908, founder Giovanni Cielo became smitten with a small estate overlooking the castles of Romeo and Juliet in the Veneto region near Verona and Vicenza. Three generations later, the Cielo family has grown the business into a success story. Displaying love for their community, the Cielo family gives to the charitable organization winetowater.org with every bottle purchase. The Rosso, a proprietary red blend, is a lighter, fruit-driven red, with an ABV of 14%. With medium tannins and medium acidity, the Rosso pops with red fruits: red currant, raspberry, and red cherry delight the senses, with additional notes of violet, mushroom, and walnut on the finish. Enjoy this red blend with the Meat Me pizza from Crooked Crust.
It’s an oversimplification to say the French know a little something about wine. Bordeaux, off of France’s Atlantic coast, encompasses over 50 appellations and crafts 65 different wine styles. The Gironde Estuary, north of the city, has created the concept of “left bank” and “right bank” wine. This blend consisting of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon is decidedly “right bank.” The Merlot contributes blueberry, plum, black cherry, and mint, while the Cab balances the vintage by adding a bit more body, tannin, tobacco, and spice. A Bordeaux blend is as classic as a wine lover can get for a bolder red. Sip this wine with an entrée of Chicken Biryani from Green Zatar Mediterranean Cuisine.
Husband and wife Francesco and Pauline head up Tenuta Foresto, a vineyard set in the idyllic Asti hills. They farm in Nizza Monferrato, a UNESCO heritage site, in Piedmont. This 100% Barbera is unfined, unfiltered, and aged in both cement and old oak as the winemakers prize holistic and organic practices. In fact, they promote Raw Wine fairs, which are two-day events where hundreds of like-minded grape-growers, vintners, and wine lovers get together to showcase low-intervention, biodynamic, and natural wines (the next fair is in Los Angeles on April 23-24!). Delicate wild red cherry, strawberry, and herbal notes permeate ‘La Ideale.’ On the palate, flavors of blackberry jam, plum, violet, and rosemary abound. While Barbera easily marries with Italian food, experience ‘La Ideale’ with a GreenHouse’s seasonal salad, a tangy mix of greens, goat cheese, cherries, walnuts, and roasted sweet potatoes.
Elizabeth Rose is part of a family-run empire that also includes Oakville and Ghost Block. The namesake is a reference to managing partner and grape grower Andrew Hoxsey’s eldest daughter (her husband is the winemaker, so they really keep the business in the family!). Cooled by the San Pablo Bay, the vineyards are swathed in generous sunlight, resulting in balanced, ripe fruit. The ‘Chockablock,’ a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec, is certified organic and aged in neutral oak for 12 months. On the nose, the wine offers a bouquet of strawberry, red cherry, rose, and violet. Once tasted, the ‘Chockablock’ expands into a dark fruity delight with hints of vanilla, cedar, and mocha. If you’re wanting some soul food to enjoy with this wine, order a chopped beef sandwich combo from Clara’s Kitchen, and smile as you imbibe.
Following up the huge success of December’s the ‘Bishop’ Shiraz (Svetlana and Matt’s choice) comes the ‘Wallace,’ a Shiraz and Grenache blend from Barossa Valley. These two varieties naturally complement each other: Shiraz brings power and body while Grenache, a workhorse of a grape, adds softness and juicy fruit. The ‘Wallace’ is named after Colin Glaetzer’s wife, whose ancestors hail from Fife, Scotland; thus, the Celtic cross, thistle, and knot on the label are an homage to her Celtic roots. The Shiraz is matured in old oak barrels for 16 months, but to preserve the structure of old vine Barossa Grenache, oak contact is avoided. Red fruits from the Grenache dominate the nose, rounded out by licorice, star anise and smoke from the Shiraz. Bright red cherry and red plum give way to blackberry, currant, and black pepper on the palate. Chargrilled veggies are a perfect pairing for the ‘Wallace,’ so swing by Café Brazil and try it with their Southwest vegan burger.
People love their Paso Robles wines, and this one in particular has an environmental and philanthropist twist: as of the writing of these notes, 32,727 trees have been planted in a partnership between Vina Robles and a non-profit with the goal of preserving the planet. Vina Robles specializes in Rhone and Bordeaux varieties due to proximity to the Santa Lucia Mountains, which trap heat during the afternoons, resulting in ample sunshine in the vineyards and ripe, juicy fruit. ‘The Arborist,’ so named for a horticultural magician who saved the tree featured on the label, is a unique blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache, and Tannat. The wine is aged for 18 months in small- and large-format French, Hungarian, and American oak to smooth out the tannins. Notes of blackberry, black plum, strawberry, mocha, black pepper, and cedar dominate the palate. Pair this with something as equally decadent, a black and blue ribeye from Cartwright’s Ranch House.
Welcome to March! Well, for those reading this on February 28, farewell February!
We are trying a little different format to the email today. Quick hits first, then a brief written update.
Blind Tasting Events: They start tonight. If you are considering attending all 4, grab the "4-pack" reservation today as it will go away after the tasting tonight.
The first blind tasting is 7 - 8:30pm tonight, and the theme is "Where is this wine from?"
Live Music and the Cover Charge: We have been asked several times by guests who come into the bar when we have live music if they have to pay the cover charge for the band if they are here to "just drink". The simple answer is yes. We find that most people do come in during live music to enjoy both the wine and the music. But, if they are truly here to just have a glass of wine, people can sit on the front patio without having to pay a cover charge. In the past we have charged cover to sit on the back patio as we normally broadcast the show to the patio so people can enjoy the music outdoors.
Our Monday Night special listening events have been quite well received and we have two more coming up in March. The first is next Monday, March 6th with the Greg Waits Nonet - Small Big Band. Seats are avaialble to reserve online for the event. The next one will be March 27th with a special performance with Rosana Eckert. We will have more info and reservations online soon.
Blind Tasting Events: We are kicking off our Blind Tasting series tonight at 7pm. We still have seats available but get your reservation in early today as we will be ordering the cheese board from 10:1 Artisan Cheese at noon today.
We have four weeks of blind tasting events each Tuesday evening starting on the 28th. Each week we will have a different "theme". On the 28th, we will focus on 4 wines from 4 distinct regions of the wine world, and the challenge is to identify where each wine is from. On March 7th we will be looking at "what grape is in my glass?" The following week will be "Is this sweet or fruity?" And the final week we will taste 4 wines and the challenge will be to identify what price range each wine falls into. You can register for one or more events individually, or if you like, you can purchase the 4 weeks up front and save a few $'s. Along with tasting the wines, we will be working with our friends at 10:1 Cheese to have something to pair with each wine.
Travel Events: We are excited to be working with Walter and Kim Eagleton on a trip to France in 2024 for Steve's Wine Bar guests. Specifically to the Burgundy and Beaujolais regions. There is still room available for those interested in spending a week with us in October of 2024. You can learn more online at Artistic Gourmet Travel October 2024.
Wine Club: The March wine club wines have been chosen and are being delivered this week. We will be kicking off our March club tastings this Friday afternoon! For those club members who missed the February tasting, you can taste through Friday and after that, you can still come in during the month of March and pick a couple of bottles from the list. We will have a couple of the wines still open by the glass in March as they were a hit this last month.
Not a wine club member? You can learn more online at Steve's Wine Bar Wine Club.
Have a great day and we'll see you soon!
Steve, Karen and the entire Steve’s Wine Bar Team.
Time is moving forward and February is wrapping up in just 7 days. Over the next several days we have some fun things happening here at Steve's as we look forward to amazing music, fun tastings, and great friends.
Live Music: This last week was fantastic! With the great music from all the musicians who came in to perform, especially the Tixier brothers on our special Monday night event. We continue that musical experience this week with The Pan-Tones Wednesday evening, then Friday with special guest artist from NY, saxophonist Jeff Antoniuk, Irish music Saturday afternoon, and the Ed Soph Trio on Saturday evening. You don't get much better than that anywhere in the country.
Our Monday Night special events have been quite well received and we have two more coming up in March. The first is on March 6th with the Greg Waits Nonet - Small Big Band. Seats are avaialble to reserve online for the event. The next one will be March 27th with a special performance with Rosana Eckert. We will have more info and reservations online soon.
Blind Tasting Events: We are kicking off our Blind Tasting series on the 28th. We will have four weeks of blind tasting events each Tuesday evening starting on the 28th. Each week we will have a different "theme". On the 28th, we will focus on 4 wines from 4 distinct regions of the wine world, and the challenge is to identify where each wine is from. On March 7th we will be looking at "what grape is in my glass?" The following week will be "Is this sweet or fruity?" And the final week we will taste 4 wines and the challenge will be to identify what price range each wine falls into. You can register for one or more events individually, or if you like, you can purchase the 4 weeks up front and save a few $'s. Along with tasting the wines, we will be working with our friends at 10:1 Cheese to have something to pair with each wine.
Special Wines: We purchased a special wine from Piattelli Vineyards in Argentina for Valentines Day called the Arlene. It was a hit by the glass and several people have purchased a bottle. We still have a few bottles left, so consider grabbing one for your next special dinner or party.
"The Arlene is an elegant and rare vintage like none we have released or experienced at Piattelli." - Alejandro Nesman, Winemaker, Piattelli.
We also picked up a really fun Cabernet from our friends at Vina Robles in Paso Robles, CA; the Mountain Road Reserve Cabernet. Another big bodied, full flavored Cabernet Sauvignon. Quantities are limited, so make sure to grab a bottle or two in the next couple of weeks.
Check out the calendar online to see what events and experiences we have scheduled in the days to come and make your reservation.
We hope to see you this week, and if not, then some day over the next couple of weeks.
Upcoming Events include:
Have a great day and we'll see you soon!
Steve, Karen and the entire Steve’s Wine Bar Team.
Happy Super Bowl Sunday! We hope your day is a going well, and if you have a "horse in the race" we wish you good luck on a big win!
Even though we do not have Big Plans for today, we will have the game on our TV's with sound and we will be pouring amazing wines, and plenty of options on beer too! Looking to enjoy some patio time? We'll have the TV and sound going on the back patio and if you wish to enjoy a cigar during the game, we have a nice selction to consider. So come join us if you do not have any party plans in place today, or you just need to get away from house. Don't forget, you can bring your own food, so feel free to order up from one of the restaurants around us, or bring in your own Sunday game-day spread.
Tomorrow (Monday) we have the amazing Tixier brothers performing at 7pm. We have sold out of the advance reserve seats, but we still have room available if you desire to stop in and join us for the concert. Doors will officially open at 6pm and the music is planned to start at 7pm. This is not a "business as usual" night as will not be doing wine tastings and other activities so we can create a quiet space to listen and enjoy these amazing musicians.
Tuesday is Valentines Day. We have some fun options for those looking to have a very special glass of wine with their loved one, plus a cholcolate and a rose.
We have purchased a special wine from Piattelli Vineyards in Argentina. High in the Andes surrounding Salta, Piattelli’s Cafayate wines are made from select estate fruit grown at over 5,900 feet elevation. The splendor of this area, with its pure water and extreme thermal amplitudes produce grapes bursting with flavor, which make this not only one of the most beautiful, but also one of the premier grape growing regions in the world. The Arlene is an award winning red blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, aged 18 months in French & American oak barrels.
"The Arlene is an elegant and rare vintage like none we have released or experienced at Piattelli." - Alejandro Nesman, Winemaker, Piattelli.
When we had a chance to taste this wine a couple of weeks ago with the representative from the winery, we felt is was special enough to bring in just for this Valentine's evening. Plus the story that goes along with it is perfect for Valentine's Day. So stop in and hear the story and have a glass or two with us this Tuesday.
We will have a "package" that includes 1 glass of the Arlene, chocolate from Candy Haven, and a yellow rose (you will know why when you hear the Arlene Story) for $35. If you wish to simply enjoy a glass sans chocolate and the rose, it is $25.
Prefer a different wine from a red blend? We will be doing a similar package with any of our wines on our By-the-Glass Menu with the chocolate and a rose for $25.
On Wednesday night we have a special performance with Ginny Mac. We have sold out of all our table seating for the evening, but like our Monday concert, we will have room for people to sit at the bar, the patio, and the tasting room.
We hope to see you this week, and if not, then some day over the next couple of weeks.
Upcoming Events include:
Stay tuned for a special announcement about our blind tasting events coming soon.
Have a great day and we'll see you soon!
Steve, Karen and the entire Steve’s Wine Bar Team.
What needs to be said about a bonus club wine...Okay maybe a little. Tenuta Santome is a family-run estate with experience in viticulture stretching back to the 70’s. The fruit for this wine is sourced from Grave di Papadopoli, a small island consisting almost entirely of vineyards in the middle of the Piave river. Leaning towards the sweeter end of Extra Dry, the nose offers bright, piercing aromas of orchard and tropical fruits. The palate is fresh and zippy, with the residual sugar meshing well with the abundance of sweet fruits. This might not be your ‘fried chicken and bubbly’ beverage, but it would go deliciously as an aperitif or with Linnybird cupcakes with your Valentines date.
Regarding Friuli, Jancis Robinson commented “every nation of wine consumers treasures most what it finds most difficult to produce”. Whether it’s austere red wines, or some of the world’s most desirable orange and dessert wines, Friuli has become a niche source of the most cerebral wines in Italy. At the forefront, however, are aromatic varietal wines made of both international and indigenous varieties (A rarity for much of Italy). Fantinel, a relatively new winery in the region, has embraced this fully, with bottlings of seemingly every white variety suited to the region. Their Sauvignon (alternative name for Sauvignon Blanc) is reminiscent of an example from Chile or South Africa, with aromas of bell pepper, honey dew melon, and fresh cut grass. The electric acidity gives way to subtle flavors of citrus and stone, making for an excellent pairing with some raw seafood. Try it with the Sun Rise Roll at I Love Sushi.
We’ve visited Torrontes multiple times over the past couple of months, but they have almost exclusively come from Mendoza. Despite being the most famous and productive region in Argentina, it is not considered the premium site for Torrontes; enter Salta. Located near the very north of the country, Salta sits at the foot of the Northwest Andes, and features high elevation vineyards that make for some of the more elegant, floral expressions of Malbec Argentina has to offer and arguably the highest quality Torrontes overall. Piatelli’s winemaking exploits are split evenly between Mendoza and Salta, with the latter being overseen by Alejandro Nesman. Their Torrontes is considerably different than other renditions we have featured, spending some time in oak to round out Torronte’s quintessential lean and electric nature. The result is a beautifully complex, but approachable wine, with aromas of sea salt, tart tropical fruits, and hints of fresh herbs. The palate is full and fruit-driven with varietal notes of flowers and honey, making an excellent pairing with a simple salad of walnuts, arugula, goat cheese, and cranberry dressing.
It’s been a hot minute since we have looked at Turkish wine here in the bar. Depending on your school of thought, Turkish wine could be considered New World or drastically Old World, as the first commercial winery was established in mid 1920’s, but the region itself potentially has viticultural history dating back to 11,000 BC. The Aegean Region accounts for roughly half of total production and leans equally on indigenous and international varieties. The Selendi ‘Beyoba’ is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Shiraz that equally embraces both the Old and New aspects of Turkish wine. The nose is very savory, with tomato leaf, sour cherry, earth, and hints of iron shining through. The palate, on the other hand, is rich and extracted, with penetrating red fruit accented with slight sweet oak-driven notes of vanilla. This is an easy-drinking red that would go well at your next outdoor gathering (whenever that happens), with a smattering of robust cheeses and jams from the folks at 10:1.
We’ve featured Grenache from virtually every significant growing region multiple times over, but we’ve yet to hit some of the demonstrable “if you know you know” sites: enter Montsant. Famously dubbed by Jancis Robinson as “half-priced Priorat”, Montsant features much of the same geographical, meteorological, and varietal characteristics without the price tag of its more famous neighbor. Vinyes Domenech is a boutique producer that has only been around 2002, but is already turning out both traditional varietal wines and blends of popular varieties. The ‘Sotabosc’ (Catalan for underbrush) is a blend primarily consisting of Garnacha with Samso (Catalan for Carignan). Much like its namesake, the wine offers intense aromas of garrigue accented with pure maraschino cherry. The palate is grippy, but resolves into a layered, complex profile of red berries, spice, black fruits, and floral accents. This is a showstopper of a red needs something equally rich and complex; pick up some Chile Verde Empanadas from Boca 31 and go to town!
The Rose was a test run; now it’s time for the real fun! Like the LYB rose, the red is designed to be drank in large quantities among friends, or perhaps a date? Made of 100% Sangiovese, the LYB truly envelops the ‘So Fresh’ inspiration, using carbonic maceration to create a comparatively high-toned and juicy version. The deeply-hued wine offers aromas of fresh cherry, subtle herbs, and the quintessential plum character you get from carbonic maceration. The palate is zippy with a hint of tart acidity and virtually no tannin, leading to bright bing cherry and raspberry. This is a wine to chug among good company but could also go beautifully with the Turkey Bob or Bohemian at LSA.
Saint-Amour? Valentines? C’mon y’all, it made TOO much sense. Our next stop on Brian’s mandatory tour of the Beaujolais Cru’s is Saint-Amour. Unlike our recent stops in Brouilly and the general Beaujolais AOC, Saint-Amour is located towards the very top of Beaujolais, and generally produces comparatively elegant wines compared to its southern neighbors, while still featuring much of the same terroir and meteorological features that make the 10 cru’s so special. Domaine des Fonds is a relatively new property, but the father and son team of Florent and Andre Berrod have already made waves with their bottlings. The nose offers a complex nose of violets, tart red currant, blackberry, and hints of earthiness. The palate offers a similar fruit profile with mouthwatering acidity and fine-grained tannins. Cru Beaujolais is a versatile pairing wine, but we think the profile of the DDF would sing well alongside a Gyro wrap from Gyro 360.
Overlooking the Dry Creek Valley is Rockpile, an oddball of an AVA containing some of the most desirable Zinfandel plantings in the state, with virtually no immediate wineries to capitalize on them. This is likely due to the widely varying gradients in elevation, which coincidentally make for ideal vineyard conditions. As such, many noted Zinfandel producers in other parts of Sonoma such as Ridge, Seghesio, and Turley source from Rockpile for various premium bottlings. The Flight Wine Company extends this philosophy across all their products, sourcing from various appellations before vinting them at a central location. Their Rockpile Zinfandel is style-appropriate, with aromas of blueberry and blackberry cut with the quintessential bramble of Zin’. The palate showcases the potential of the high elevation vineyards of Rockpile, with fine-grained tannins enveloping the aforementioned fruit, dark chocolate, and hints of pipe tobacco. No frills with this, grab a cheeseburger from Rooster’s and go to town.
The Minimo is another creation from Lucca Hodgkinson (La Brisas) that snuck into the bar around the holidays and since picked up steam among regulars. This blend of Malbec, Syrah, and Carmenere is sourced from the Colchagua Valley of Chile, a low-altitude growing region near the Pacific that benefits from a significant maritime influence. First, elephant in the room, this is a Malbec FROM Chile, which is rare, but not unheard of. In theory, the poor granitic and other volcanic soils that provide ideal growing conditions for other Bordeaux varieties makes it as dreamy a place as any to grow Malbec; which is reflected in the Minimo. Following two years each in oak and bottle, the nose offers complex tertiary aromas of leather and tobacco with hints of plum and blueberry. The palate is much more generous, with a fine-grained grip surrounding rich, ripe blue and black fruits. This is a date night wine through and through, so throw a couple of filets in the pan and go to town.
P.S: I hope this last list from me reads like a love letter (ha) from me to y’all. The last 3-plus years have been transformational for me, and that doesn’t happen without y’all’s support and enthusiasm. I hope to see all of you around in this new adventure; and that this is not a farewell, but a see ya’ around.
- Brian McGoldrick, Your Insufferable Neighborhood Wine Geek.
Once considered one of the ‘in’ wines for wine professionals, Austrian Gruner has become more universally known, but still remains a relatively rare sight in wine establishments. This is largely due to Austria still being a comparatively small exporter, but current data trends show this slowly but surely changing for the better. The result is more crowd-friendly wines that eschew the esoteric branding historically embraced by Austria and Germany. BioKult is one such example, focusing on Austria’s primary red and white varieties (Zweigelt and Gruner Veltliner respectively) sourced from a variety of terroirs. A winemaking cooperative, BioKult utilizes the contributions of multiple growers and estates for one winemaking team. With regards to their Gruner, the result is a classic style. The nose offers aromas of quince, tart citrus, quince, and white pepper. The palate is somewhat ripe for Gruner, but offers the classic greenness and high acidity that personifies the grape. Though this wine might seem like a shoe-in for seafood, try it instead with some lightly-fried meats ala schnitzel, maybe like the fried chicken sandwich that sometimes graces the menu of Insurgent.
Keeping with the cooperative operation theme, we have Alliance Loire; an organization of seven vineyards from around the Loire Valley united to export the wines of small growers. The Les Lys is a quintessential expression of dry Vouvray (Chenin Blanc), with aromas of wool, wax, stone fruits, and a hint of sweet citrus. The palate displays the quintessentially high acidity possible with Chenin Blanc with stone fruit and mineral notes reminiscent of Riesling. In case you did not know, we have a new Indian restaurant in town, Namaste Denton! Vouvray and Butter Chicken is one of life’s great pleasures, and I suggest you go try it for yourself!
Greek red wines, particularly dry renditions, are difficult finds in the US. Beyond Greece not exporting as much as their old world counterparts, there is a reliance on indigenous varieties, whose acreage is dwarfed by international varieties. As such, it is not uncommon now to see indigenous varieties blended with international varieties in order to both ease and encourage exporting to new world markets. Ktimas Brintziki takes immense pride in both the propagation of Greek wine to larger markets and the fact that they are leading the charge in green wine production in Greece (a relatively new conversation). The ‘Melios’ is an interesting blend of Merlot and Mavrodaphne, a variety historically used in sweet wine. The nose offers red and black fruits, dried meat, earth, and dried herbs. The palate is friendly, with juicy red fruits, soft tannins, and quaffable acidity. This is a versatile red that would easily pair with a Jackie Mays burger.
A straight-forward wine with a LOT of pedigree behind it. Zolo utilizes multiple sites throughout Mendoza for mostly traditional Argentinean bottlings. Founded in 2003, it is run by Patricia Ortiz, generally regarded as one of the most important women in Argentina when it comes to wine. As if that was not enough, the winemaking team is lead by Fabian Valenzuela, a former winemaker at Catena, and Jean Claude Berrouet, former head winemaker at Chateau Petrus for 44 vintages. Their ‘Signature’ Red is a blend of Merlot, Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec. The nose offers aromas baked red fruits, licorice, and dark chocolate. The palate offers very fine-grained tannins with a medley of red and black fruits. The approachability of this wine screams for a lazy Sunday with a board of Manchego and sharp cheddar from Ten:One.
From the makers of ‘La Cuadrilla’ (you know, the wine y’all have been devouring for the past 3 months), we have another quirky, delicious wine from Ruben Solorzano and company from their ‘So Fresh’ series. This series is centered around quaffable wines meant to be drank in large quantities among many friends. The cepage for the rose is 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, and is aged in stainless steel. Aromas of fresh strawberry and stone fruit lead to a palate of tart red berries, quince, high acid with some creaminess to balance it all out. I generally recommend fried veggies with rose, but lets make a new resolution; in 2023, rose goes with fried cheese curds (baby steps) from Cheese & Salsa.
If this month’s list has seemed too friendly, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered; enter Domaine Colin. Located in Touraine in the central Loire, the Coteaux du Vendomois AOC is the last bastion of one of Loire’s historical indigenous varieties; Pineau d’Aunis. Long eschewed for Cabernet Franc, Pineau d’Aunis is similar to Cab Franc in the sense that it makes red fruit and green-driven wines that display impressive complexity and food versatility. Domaine Colin has long been a vanguard of Pineau d’Aunis, being involved in its production since the beginning of the 20th century, also engaging in organic viticulture, manual harvesting, and general minimal intervention. The nose offers aromas of high-toned red berries, pleasant black pepper and dried herbs, and hints of earthiness. The palate is very fresh, with tart strawberry accented with subtle oak and black peppercorn. They are currently undergoing renovations, but our friends at Chestnut Tree are masters at Provencal-inspired cuisine that would go beautifully with this wine.
Some of the best values in wine result from producers going outside of their native terroir to experiment with other winegrowing regions. Some of the most famous examples of this include Opus One, Domaine Drouhin, Clos Apalta, and many more. This month, we feature Marlborough Pinot Noir made by the Henri Bourgeois family, which has been making a plethora of wines across the Loire Valley for 10 generations. Their New Zealand winery, Clos Henri, specializes in the country’s primary red and white variety, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc respectively, from various regions and terroir. The ‘Petit Clos’ offers Burgundian aromas of aromatic red fruits encompassed by spicy underbrush. The palate is more traditional for NZ, with soft tannins and mouthwatering acidity accenting dark red berries, earth, and black tea. The slight weight and noted acid makes this a candidate for rich renditions of sushi or sashimi such as the Komodo Tower or Snap Dragons from Komodo Loco.
Beckmen, first & foremost, is known for their renditions of the major Rhone varieties like Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre; particularly from their cooler Los Olivos vineyards. However, the warmer vineyards in Santa Ynez Valley are equally suited for the production of Bordeaux varieties; namely Cab’! While the Beckmen family was first royalty in the world of music (founders of Roland), they have since achieved similar fame in the Santa Barbara wine scene and beyond. Their Cabernet Sauvignon, much like their previously featured ‘Cuvee le Bec’, showcases the typical richness of warm climate new world Cabernet Sauvignon, with aromas of cassis, blackberry, and hints of oak. Beckmen’s deftness for balanced wines comes through the palate with similar fruit notes accented with pleasant espresso and tobacco. Try this with a steak with currant or berry reduction.
If you are familiar with Tokaj, it is likely due to the unparalleled ‘Tokaji Azsu’ and ‘Tokaji Esszencia’ dessert wines produced here. Also known without bias as “the kings of wine”, these two wines are among the most treasured botrytized wines in the world along the likes of Bordeaux’s Sauternes and the Mosel’s Trockenbeerenauslese’s. However, Tokaj has more to offer behind heavenly nectars, including dry wines using the same varieties as their namesake treasure. Chateau Pajzos’ rendition of a dry Furmint (the main variety in Tokaji Azsu) is supplemented with small amounts of Harslevelu and Yellow Muscat. Aromas of nectarine, peach, apricot, and subtle honeyed nuts create an inviting nose, leading to a quaffable palate of the same fruits accented with bright acidity and a touch of residual sugar. This wine could serve as a slightly sweeter alternative to Sauvignon Blanc to pair with the Chicken Goat Salad at Barley & Board.
A Sicilian varietal Syrah is a bit of an odd find, as indigenous varieties like Nero D’Avola, Nerello Mascalese, and Nerello Cappuccio are at the forefront of dry red wine production. However, the dry, hot summers of Sicily provide excellent ripening conditions for Syrah, with mild winters offering little of the dangers one would find in some other prominent Syrah-producing regions like Rhone and South Africa. Meaning “hope” in Arabic, Musita’s ‘Amal’ label pays historical homage to the Moors and Saracens of Sicily who ruled over the region during the bulk of the 9th century. Eschewing the big, inky archetypes of Syrah, the ‘Amal’ is decidedly austere, with tart red berries, peppery black fruits mixed with spice, incense, and earth on the nose and palate. Though Syrah generally is associated with rich, red-meat driven dishes, the comparative delicacy of the ‘Amal’ calls for something a little lighter, but equally spiced, such as the Meze platter from Feta’s.
Grant Burge’s wines have been a recent, and extremely successful, phenomenon for us recently, so we figured we should keep the good times rolling. The fruit for this wine is sourced from both Barossa Valley and the Limestone Coast, both extremely prolific areas for the production of red wine. While we have discussed the Barossa Valley at length on the club, the Limestone Coast has not been represented thus far here at Steve’s. Famous for its terra rossa soils, the Limestone Coast and its’ inherent appellations are arguably the premium growing region for Bordeaux varieties in Australia. It only makes sense then that the ‘League of Three’ would incorporate some of that with the hedonistically rich fruit found in Barossa. The result is a dense, juicy Merlot with aromas of plum, cassis, mocha, and vanilla. The palate is on the softer side, with fine-grained tannins and low acidity giving way to the gratuitous fruit from the nose. The richness and slightly sweet fruit profile lends this wine towards rich, hearty stews and braised or smoked red meats, like those found at Juicy Pig!
We have shown on the club why Languedoc is king in terms of value-driven wine regions, visiting Corbieres and various Pay D’Oc bottlings in the process. Minervois is another famed region of the Languedoc, known for supple blends of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan among others. Though not quite as storied or established as other producers in the region, Domaine de L’Ostal has plenty of pedigree, being founded by Jean-Michel Cazes, owner of the elite second-growth Chateau Lynch-Bages out of Pauillac. The ‘Estibals’ label showcases Cazes’ vision for his Languedoc estate beautifully, with a purity of fruit and unmistakable terroir. This blend of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan is aged partially in oak (30% of the Syrah sees 12 months), but otherwise is developed in stainless steel. The nose offers aromas of cooked raspberry and black currant with hints of herbs de Provence. The palate is richly tannic, with a plethora of bruleed cherry, plum, and cassis to back it up. Something hearty and rustic would go well with this, such as the Psychedelic Burger over at LSA (Add bacon!!!).
It’s been a while…but ‘Pet Nat’ is back on the club! For the uninitiated, petillant naturel’ is one of many wines made via the methode ancestrale. Unlike methode traditionelle (AKA the Champagne method), wines made in the ‘ancestral method’ are bottled prior to the conclusion of the primary fermentation. This results in a lightly sparkling (3-4 atmospheres of pressure vs. the traditional 5-6) wine often left with sediment in the bottle, as ‘pet nats’ are almost never disgorged. Hailing from the South Island of New Zealand, the Naturalist Blanc cepage consists of Sauvignon Blanc and Rousanne. Though sparkling Sauvignon Blanc might sound like a bit much in terms of acidity, Rousanne’s warm, rounding presence brings the necessary body and richness to balance everything out. The nose offers fresh aromas of lime, apple, and hints of fresh herbs, the palate offers a soft mousse with bright acidity enveloping bright citrus and orchard fruit flavors. Though bubbly and fried chicken is a classic pairing, the citrusy nature of this wine might go best with something equally zippy and crispy, like the Elote Totchos over at Komodo Loco.
Eternally underappreciated, Zweigelt returns to the lineup at Steve’s just in time for the holidays. Though Hungarian in origin, Zweigelt, a cross between St. Laurent and Blaufrankisch, is the most planted red variety in Austria and has become synonymous with Austrian red wine. This time, we’re featuring Judith Beck, a biodynamic winemaker whose eponymous label celebrates everything and anything Austria. Her Zweigelt showcases everything amazing about the variety, embracing both it potential for juicy fruit and smoky rusticity. The nose offers sour cherry, blackberry, bramble, and hints of bittersweet chocolate. The palate is juicy, showcasing the aforementioned red and black fruits accented with star anise, cacao, and hints of smoke. This screams for heavily spiced poultry with rich accents, such as the blackened chicken sandwich over at Boca 31.
There’s not much that needs to be said about Barossa Valley Shiraz at this point; it’s REALLY good. The combination of ancient vines, variations between fertile and poor soils, and abundance of sunlight are great for Syrah. We have featured the Glaetzer family’s wines at multiple points throughout the years here at Steve’s but decided to return to a wine we haven’t stocked in two years: the ‘Bishop’. Somewhat of an entry level label for the eponymous Glaetzer line, the Bishop is sourced from mostly younger vines (around 30 years in age) and sees less time in oak in comparison to some of their other wines. This does nothing to diminish the hedonistic richness of the wine however, as this deep purple-hued wine demonstrates aromas of crème de cassis, mocha, and hints of sweet spice. The palate features an abundance of blue and black fruits balanced out by the rustic tannin. Though this might seem like a shoo-in for steak, try some eggplant as alternative; particularly how it’s featured at Insurgent!
In the running for the most “black sheep”-ish region of all time, Irancy is an AOC located just South of Chablis known for making very un-“Burgundy”-like Burgundy. Only permitted to make red wine, Irancy, like most of Burgundy, specializes in Pinot Noir while also growing a small amount of Cesar. Unlike many red wines made across Burgundy, however, Irancy is known for being extracted, tannic, and uncharacteristically fruit driven. David Renaud’s rendition doubles down on these characteristics, opting for tank fermentation and aging to preserve the aforementioned fruit. This wine pours a deep ruby with purple hues, offering aromas of spicy bramble, earth, and tart strawberry and raspberry. The palate is rich, blending rich dark red berries with earth within the frame of considerable tannin and moderate acidity. Generally, ruining good Pinot Noir with beef is sacrilegious in our opinion, but this wine has the stuffing to go beautifully with it. Try this wine with Cheese & Salsa’s Shirley Tacos!
We've featured Torrontes AND Caligiore recently on the club, so let's put them together. The 'Grazioso' is Caligiore's take on the polarizing Argentinian variety. Like the Bonarda we featured from Caligiore, the fruit for this wine is sourced from high-elevation vineyards; from the eastward town of Lavalle in this case. This is a very style-specific rendition, with as little exposure to oxygen as possible to maintain the delicate aromatics of the grape. The nose offers a fragrant blend of geranium, tart peach, and citrus oil. The palate offers a slight creaminess, with juicy stone and citrus fruit leading to a steely finish. This wine would do best as an aperitif but could also enhance a dish centered around goat cheese.
New to the club is a constantly underrated, but generally admired style of wine: Vinho Verde. Located in the Minho province of Portugal, the Vinho Verde DOC is the largest Portugese appellations in terms of size and production. Though you might think the name refers to the slightly green-ish tint of white Vinho Verde, it actually refers to how the wine should be drunk in their youth or "green-ness". Vinho Verde can be made in white, rose, and red renditions with a plethora of different varieties. The Arca Nova is made from a combination of Touriga Nacional and Espadeiro, both indigenous varieties that can be found all over Portugal. The nose offers fresh red berries cut with hints of sweet citrus. The palate features a subtle effervescence, with high acidity accenting bright strawberry and raspberry notes. Like the previous wine, this wine is excellent for an aperitif, but could also excel alongside the Ozmo noodles up at Graffiti Pasta. Maybe get a couple portions for your Thanksgiving table!
We have visited MANY of the different appellations in our favorite peninsula/ wine-utopia, but we admittedly have not touched on one of its most notable island gems. Enter Sardinia! This island in the Mediterranean is an autonomous territory of Italy, but one that gets lumped into the larger 'Denominazione di Origine Controllata' system. Though a plethora of different red varieties are planted here, Cannonau (AKA Grenache) occupies most of the space and attention. Unlike the Grenache of Southern France or Northeastern Spain, Cannonau is typically savory with an emphasis on earthy, meaty flavors in lieu of the fleshy fruit of its counterparts. That being said, Zanatta's 'Salana' opts for a softer, brighter style that should sit well at the Thanksgiving table. The nose offers tart cherry accented with dried herbs and hints of black pepper. The palate is medium-bodied, with fine-grained tannins and a medley of red and slightly black fruits interlaced with subtle anise and cedar box notes. Given the lighter style, this is an excellent alternative to pair with whatever game 'feathered or furred' you have at your table.
Petit Verdot: Simultaneously a grape many have heard of, but few can describe. If you fall into this camp, you're not alone, as there are no areas in the viticultural world that specialize in varietal Petit Verdot. Instead, it is relegated to being one of the *minor* grapes of Bordeaux; supplementing Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This is not helped by it's late-ripening nature, which relegates to the warmest wine regions OR the most patient of winemakers: enter Ricardo Cruz and the rest of the Korta team. With fruit sourced from a small DO in the Southern portion of the Curico Valley, their GR Petit Verdot sees both pre and post-fermentation maceration in addition to a year in French and American oak. The nose offers a dense, complex bouquet of black pepper, sage, violets, and plum. The palate offers present, but balanced tannins and vanilla-tinged black cherry, plum sauce, and chocolate notes. The dense, decadent nature of this wine lends itself to decadent, earthy, and umami flavors; think mushroom cassoulet.
Long before Ken Wright became the king of single vineyard Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley, he founded Panther Creek as his first venture into the state he would be synonymous with. Though he has since sold the winery, it is still known for being a pioneering producer of Oregon's most important varieties: including Pinot Gris. Though the grape does not command the same adoration as its other Burgundian brethren, the right winemaker and terroir can turn it into something special. Panther Creek's rendition is decidedly Alsatian, with aromas of honey suckle, tropical fruit, and hints of sweet apple. The palate is slightly creamy, with moderate acidity giving way to flavors of fleshy orchard and tropical fruits. Though this would generally be a can't-miss pairing with Komodo Loco, this would also be an excellent pairing for the charcuterie boards you'll OBVIOUSLY set up before the big meal (hit up Ten:One for that).
There is something magical about a style-appropriate Willamette Pinot sat on the Thanksgiving table. This is virtually all that Chehalem does; make delicious, delicate Pinot Noir in their namesake AVA. Despite a string of challenging vintages throughout the Willamette Valley due to wind and fire threats, Katie Santora and her team have managed churn out delicious vintage after delicious vintage, and the 2020 Chehalem Mountain is no exception. The nose offers aromas of black tea, crunchy red berries, forest floor, and hints of oak. The palate is silky, featuring fine-grained tannins and snappy acidity leading to a palate of cranberry, rhubarb, and hints of potpourri. This would pair well with most things around the table, but most effectively with the main attraction: Turkey.
We've covered Sancerre and Sancerre Rose, so let's move onto the last wine of the region: Sancerre Rouge. Arguably one of the more niche renditions of French Pinot Noir, Sancerre Rouge makes up the smallest proportion of productions of the three styles of wine produced in the region. Despite the relatively small variation in terroir and climate across Sancerre, Sancerre Rouge can vary greatly in style depending on the stylistic preferences of the winemaker. The Dezat estate can trace its lineage in the region back to the 16th century, and is often regarding as a respected overall producer and a champion for Sancerre Rouge. The wine has a notedly dark ruby hue, with aromas of slight cola, peppercorn, and earth. The palate is rich, with medium tannins and crunchy red fruits accented with oak-driven notes of spice, with a lengthy spicy finish. Pinot is generally known as the preeminent turkey wine, but this could also stand up to pork and lamb dishes with aggressive, umami-driven seasoning.
Though Southern Rhone's many red wines (CDnP, Cotes du Rhone, Gigondas) are ubiquitous in the minds, palates, and aisles of the American market, Northern Rhone is considerably less so. This is due to a number of factors,namely that the overall style of wine (red or white) produced in the Northern Rhone is considerably less user-friendly than its neighbors to the South. For starters, the kitchen-sink style of the South is eschewed for varietal bottlings, with only 1 red grape (Syrah) and 3 white grape (Marsanne, Rousanne, Viognier) allowed total across the whole region. Additionally, the Northern Rhone Valley is much cooler, and utilizes many of river-lining hills to plant high-ish-elevation vines. The overall result is peppery, structured reds and minerally, long-lived whites. Vincent Paris embraces said red style with gusto with his ‘Les Cotes’ St-Joseph. The nose offers savory, rustic aromas of hay, black pepper, and bacon fat. The palate is comparatively juicy and complex, with rich red and black fruits with a plethora of savory spices and earthy accents. This is the definitely the wine to pair with whatever red meat you are featuring on your table.
It is hard to believe we are just a couple of weeks away from the Denton Day of the Dead Festival and Halloween. Are you planning to host a party, or go out and enjoy the festivities with friends? If so, we have some fun wines for you to order and show your "holiday spirit"!
We are ordering a few cases of wine from the Paso Robles Winery, Chronic Cellars. There is a limited amount of product here in Texas and we want to give you a chance to grab a few bottles that are ideal for your spooky experiences.
Go online to check out our specials on six different wines. They are all very tasty Paso Robles wines and are super friendly to the pallet and the eye.
The labels are all ideal for the Halloween and Day of the Dead festivities. And bonus, the juice in the bottle is pretty tasty too!
2015 Dead Nuts Zin Blend
2020 Pink Pedals Rose
2020 Purple Paradise Zin Blend
2020 Sir Real Cabernet
2019 Sofa King Bueno Syrah Blend
Spritz and Giggles Sprakling Wine
2020 Suite Petite Sirah
As an incentive to jump online today and purchase some wine, we are pricing them at a very low price. And each day they will increase in price by $1 until the 27th. Order online ASAP and pick up the wine at Steve's Wine Bar October 27. We will be doing a pick up party and special tasting with the wines that evening (10/27) 6-8pm while Twilight Tunes is happening in the park across the street from our place. You can come in and pick up your wine anytime after 2pm that day or over the weekend to be ready for your parties that weekend and Halloween night. We will also be selling the wine by the glass and bottle that evening for Twilight Tunes and over the weekend for Day of the Dead October 28 - 30th while supplies last.
Order your wines today at Our-Wines-and-Products/Specials
Again, each day our price will go up by $1 on each bottle until the 27th, so get in early to get the best pricing.
There is limited availability in Texas, so take advantage of this opportunity today!
In a sea of affordable porch pounders, Muscadet stands tall as one of the benchmarks. Located in Pays Nantais, the Westernmost wine region of the Loire Valley, it is made of a variety called Melon de Bourgogne. Despite the name, Melon is associated exclusively with the Loire Valley. Without any intervention, Melon can produce light, somewhat boring white wines without much in the way of complexity. However, Muscadet is almost always produced with significant sur lie aging (aging on the dead yeast particles), which adds weight, complexity, and richness. The result is still light and lively, with aromas of lime, calcium, tart apple, and brioche. The palate displays zippy acidity, a light body with a touch of creaminess, and refreshing flavors of citrus and salt. Muscadet is often associated with oysters, so we would recommend visiting Hoochies; bottle of Muscadet in hand.
Cinsault and the lightly-hued pink stuff go hand in hand at this point. Whether it’s Provence, Costiere de Nimes, South Africa, the Central Coast, or Texas, Cinsault is a major player in many a rose producer’s repertoire. Though you might not see a ton of Chilean roses in the market, Cinsault plays a significant part as well, particularly in the cooler, more Southerly portions such as the Bio Bio Valley. Muscat, however, is a bit of a weird one. Even in small amounts, Muscat (Moscato, Zibibbo, etc.) is noticeable; offering an intense floral, honeyed, and “grape-y” component to any blend. Winemaker Luca Hodgkinson thought the combination of bright red berries, cotton candy, and a slight spicy green-ness would combine well with these Muscat-y flavors. Turns out he was right! The Brisas rose is made of 90% Cinsault and 10% Muscat of Alexandria (Also known as Zibibbo in the famous dessert wines of Sicily). The result is a showy and bright expression of rose, with aromas of flowers, sweet cherry, and hints of bubble gum. The palate displays zippy acidity with a slightly creamy body, with the aromas following through on the palate. You know that we recommend rose with fried veggies, and this is no different. In this case, might we recommend the fried squash blossoms you can find from time to time at Osteria il Muro?
Another Tempranillo? Garnacha? Nah, Bobal. This sneaky variety is the second most planted red variety in Spain, but is often relegated to bulk wine or grape concentrate, save for the DO of Manchuela. Located within the larger Castilla la Mancha province, Manchuela is the only region dedicated to creating elevated expressions of Bobal. Bodega Altolandon, albeit located closer to Valencia, specializes in eclectic blends and off-beat varietal wines made in an ecologically friendly way, and as such are low-intervention in their approach. The Rayuelo is aged in large French barriques for 8 months and is then aged in bottle until release. The result is a complex and savory red that puts one of Spain’s best-kept secrets in a delicious light. The nose offers dried red fruits, rich licorice, baker’s chocolate cut with notes of new leather and tobacco. Spicy tannins envelop plum and cherry sauce cut with spicy tobacco and black pepper. The age and complexity of this wine makes it difficult to pair, but the balance of creamy and umami-driven notes from Chestnut Tree’s Caponata & Burrata Crostini would do the trick.
Since it’s October, we figured a Halloween-friendly wine would be in order. Though the ‘appassimento’ technique of partially-drying grapes prior to fermentation is most often associated with the wines of Veneto, there’s nothing stopping the process from being used elsewhere. The Corte Fiore is a proprietary blend of Puglia varieties that goes through appassimento prior to fermentation. The result is a rich, ruddy red that showcases aromas of leather, milk chocolate, and maraschino cherry. The palate is rich and viscous with globs of dark chocolate, vanilla, black pepper, and cherry and blueberry coulis. Though this could go well with sticky BBQ, a chocolate, coconut and rye cookie from Demeter’s Kitchen would also do the trick.
Y’all know and LOVE Sancerre- the pinnacle expression of Sauvignon Blanc from the Eastern Loire that has served as the archetype and continued inspiration for some of the world’s most popular white wines. But did you know that there are Pinot Noir-based wines (red and rose) also made in Sancerre? Though in terms of production they lag FAR behind their white counterparts, these expressions of Pinot offer an interesting look into how the minimalist winemaking philosophies of Sancerre translate. Jean-Marc and Mathieu are a father-son team that focus on various bottlings of white Sancerre and small productions of both red and rose Sancerre. None of their wines see oak, as they instead opt for various degrees of lees-aging to add richness and complexity. Their rose offers aromas of tart cherry, fresh peach, and hints of slate. The palate is light with a slight creaminess, electric acidity, and a plethora of tart red berries. Though I’ve leaned into the “rose and fried stuff” pairings recently, this rose is complex enough to go with more “serious” fare. Next time Insurgent is around with their salmon, couscous, and tomato/peach salad, give the Crochet a shot.
It’s been a second, but back to Bordeaux we go. This time around, we are on the Right Bank, land of Merlot and lottery-priced bottles (Hey Petrus). The wines are typically blends of predominantly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Haut-Piquat is found in Lussac-St.-Emilion; one of the satellite regions for the more famous, and pricy, St.-Emilion. The Chateau run by winemaker Riviere Jean Pierre was established in 1850, and focuses on a small portfolio with wide exportation. The estate cuvee sees time in 20% new French oak and an overall combination of oak, vat, and bottle aging. Time in the glass unveils aromas of ripe plum, baked bread, and spices. This follows through on the palate, with a rich, sumptuous mouthfeel supplemented by rich, but balanced blue and black fruit. As I have mentioned in the past, Merlot is the superior ribeye wine, and should be paired with wherever they are sold.
It’s impossible to rattle off the great producers of Santa Barbara without mentioning the cult behemoth that is the talented team at Stolpman Vineyards. Founded by Tom Stolpman, the winery is now run in tandem between his children and Ruben Solorzano, the winemaker behind the magic. Stolpman is known for an eclectic portfolio ranging from ‘serious’ bottlings of terroir-specific Syrah to light-hearted bottlings with fun stories behind them (Read up on their ‘GDG’ for a hilarious example). The La Cuadrilla is no different, with the intent of the line to celebrate the various workers that make Stolpman go. Eventually, this blend that was reserved for the workers themselves is now distributed nationally with all profits made from the wine going directly to Ruben Solorzano and the rest of the vineyard crew. The 21’ vintage is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Sangiovese that is fermented both whole-cluster and destemmed; followed by time in large oak vats for a brief time. The nose offers a warm, complex profile of black tea, cherry, plum, bakers’ chocolate, and espresso. The palate is rich, but comparatively soft featuring many of the same notes as the nose with some added spice from the oak. This is a complex wine meant to be enjoyed simply in the company of friends; but it would positively kill with the sweet, sour, slightly spicy Banh Mi Fries from the Pickled Carrot.
Italian viticulture is full of ‘unorthodox’ winemaking methods; many of which result in some of Italy’s truly quintessential wines. Veneto, and Valpolicella in particular, is a hotbed for these, with many of the region’s most significant wines employing techniques such as appassimento or, in the case of this month’s wine, Ripasso. Ripasso is a sort of secondary fermentation which involves a finished Valpolicella blend of Corvina and Rondinella (with some Corvinone or Molinara potentially) being fermented again on the used lees of an Amarone or Recioto della Valpolicella. This fermentation generally results in the base wine taking on more alcohol, more “dried” and “reduced” flavors, and more body. The Torre Mastio Valpolicella Ripasso is a rich and complex version, offering aromas of dried cherry, orange marmalade, cinnamon, and leather. The palate is equally rich, with fine-grained tannins and moderate acidity accenting a plethora of juicy fruits cut with a myriad of spices. Something red meat-focused with plenty of spice and not a TON of fat would be an excellent pairing. Hannah’s Steak-au-Poivre was surely made for this wine.