“The (last two) Week(s) in Wine” 4-18 June, 2017

What an incredibly busy past two weeks it has been. Last week, when this post should have gone up, I was in Minneapolis taking my WSET Level II exam, which was honestly very difficult. I find out soon if I passed or not, so more on that when the time comes. Fortunately, though I found little time to write, I did find plenty of time to taste and share wine with family and friends. The week of June 4-10, I tasted 47 new wines, and the week of June 11-18, which included four winery visits, one in Iowa and three in Minnesota, I tried 71. The following are just a few of the standouts from a couple terrific weeks of wine!

4-18 June, 2017


Gotta love Amontillado! Especially a nice, dry amontillado at a terrific price. Sipped in a speak-easy in Minneapolis, this one checked all the boxes. Plus, I mean, it’s a pretty cool image, right? Right.


A brilliant wine from the Frank Family in Napa, this bordeaux style blend was provided by my friend Zach and shared in our hotel room after taking our WSET II exam.  Big and rich, it continued evolving over the course of an hour as we sipped at it. One of the most complex and beautiful wines I’ve had in quite a while. Seek it out.


Mind-blown! “Nokomis” is a grape bred and grown exclusively by the proprietors of WineHaven winery in Minnesota, just a short drive north of Minneapolis. This wasn’t good “for Midwestern varietals” but rather, it was simply good. A beautifully full-bodied red, I’d bet on this against much more popular wines made from much more common vinifera in a blind tasting. You can only get it one place, but I’m urging you to consider visiting them or at least ordering a bottle. I was seriously impressed!


My parents actually visited Northern Vineyards a few years back, and brought me a few bottles of their wine. Visiting them myself, I was enamored with the beautiful little town of Stillwater and, equally, with their wonderful little winery. Another impressive Minnesota wine, this semi-sweet white table wine was perfect for a hot summer day on the patio.


Yesterday was Father’s Day, but I had a big day of lawn-mowing and yard work in front of me. Not wanting to open an entire bottle at nine in the morning, I popped the cork on this split (single serving bottle). An elegant Champagne, I enjoy the combination of toasty notes and tart fruits. This is a go-to Champagne for me.


Orange wine isn’t made from oranges. Rather, it’s white wine left on the skins after pressing, which gives it not only a beautiful, vibrant orange hue, but also a ton of terrific flavors and some tannins to boot. This was my first orange wine, but I enjoyed it so much that it most certainly won’t be my last. Shared on the patio with friends yesterday, it was perfect!


Another first for me, this is from the Bugey AOC, and is just a really fun sparkling wine. It  has terrific bubbles, a low alcohol content (8%) perfect for early afternoon enjoyment, and a nice profile of earthy flavors, toffee, toast, and fruits. Really a fun wine; this is another one I suggest.

Alrighty then, two more weeks in the books. As usual, I continue to be impressed by the tremendous diversity of excellent wines that are available, even in places of arguably limited distribution. The subtle nuances and seemingly infinite combinations of qualities that a single liquid can possess never cease to amaze me. Thanks for reading, and enjoy the wine!





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