Matteo Correggia Brachetto “Anthos”, 2014 Piemonte

Don’t be a dweeb.

Bottles is purty.

Bottles is purty.

I will allow those to be the opening words for my first blog post since arriving back in South Carolina! Yes, that happened. It happened so fast that the memory of the 5 day cross country drive feels extremely foggy, only three weeks later. But yes, I did it, I am back, and I’m excited to say that I’m now working with Advintage Distributing. It’s been a wild first few weeks, but suffice to say I’m loving it.

Which means that I can now commence telling you about all the cool wine I’ll be selling all over Cola! I’m kicking off my “back to Columbia” blogging day with the ultimate testament to why I love wine, why I love writing about wine and why I love selling it. This wine needs me to sell it to you, just a little. Because it’s kind of a weirdo. And maybe you recall that I excel at weirdos. But it’s a brilliant little weirdo! So don’t be a dweeb, and try it! Did you know that tomorrow is Easter? I say that tongue in cheek, because I actually forgot it was Easter until roughly Wednesday. My point is, this is a great little Easter wine. What is it?

FullSizeRender (19)

Matteo Correggia “Anthos” Dry Brachetto from Italy’s Piemonte region, Roero specifically. Are you not familiar with Brachetto? This is a really cool place to start. Brachetto is typically made into a sweet, slightly sparkling wine (Brachetto d’Acqui). The Roero area struggles to compete with it’s nearby famous and very spendy neighbors, Barolo and Barbaresco. I find this a really exciting area to look for unusual values- this wine is case in point.

Made in a dry style, this wine captures the transparency of what is a very light, pure, highly aromatic little grape. The initial aromas are some of the more exciting I’ve stuck my nose in lately: reminiscent of a Beaujolais, it’s all about plump red berry fruit, potpourri, red twizzlers, violets, rhubarb and a nice string of interesting spice to weave it all together. This wine has very little tannin, but that touch of spice and a bit of sparkly minerality give the fruit something to hang their hat on. Without them, this would probably be like drinking boozy Kool-Aid. Which might not be the worst thing, but it would remind me of being 19 at a house party. Oye vey.

FullSizeRender (18)


Suggestion, and pretty please take it: chill this wine. It will help pronounce the flavors, and make it that much more quaffable. The low tannin and hint of spice make this wine ideal for charcuterie. I can see it going well with ham as well- again, great for Easter, and ham is not the easiest thing to pair with wine, IMO.

I’m leaving out the best part! This wine is $12.99. Absolutely ridiculous value, and great for entertaining a crowd. You can find it at Bottles– you know, that new place that you might not have been to yet. Great selection, great people.

Chill it and kill it, y’all. That’s all you gotta do. Happy Easter!




Ponzi Dolcetto, 12 Willamette. PS I’m in Oregon.

Welcome to my first blog post from the state of Oregon! But first, a disclaimer to those that didn’t know I had relocated…

In the past, I’ve always blogged about wines that were available for purchase at Cellar on Greene in Columbia, SC, because that was where I worked! (duh). Now that I’m here, I want to continue to write, but I don’t want to alarm anyone or confuse any local Columbia readers when I write about wines that may not be available at Cellar. I loved using the blog as a platform to expose people to wines available at Cellar, and that was the original intention of starting this blog. And it served me (and you, I hope) well. But as I’ve entered a new phase, I hope that if you’re a Columbian, you’ll continue to read if for no other reason that you’ve grown fond of my writing and you love to read about new and different wines. But in an effort not to create work for Ricky, don’t expect everything I write about here to be available at Cellar, or for that matter, in South Carolina at all. I hope to bridge the gap, and will do what I can to assist. So sit back and hopefully enjoy this new ride I’m on!

So- TONIGHT! Ponzi Dolcetto! Purchased at the Ponzi Wine Bar in Dundee, OR for $25. Conveniently located just down the road from me. How awesome is that.

Dolcetto in Willamettte? Who knew!

Dolcetto in Willamettte? Who knew!

So, Dolcetto? Who woulda thunk. I thought I was all cool because I knew Ponzi made an Arneis (amazing Italian white varietal), but now I get here and discover this Dolcetto! I tasted it at the Dundee Bistro a few nights ago, really enjoyed it, and knew I’d be picking up a bottle at some point. Here’s the skinny on Dolcetto: most is found in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. Some was brought to Cali by expat Italians (go figure!). This particular vineyard was planted in 1992 in the Chehalem Mountains AVA of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Is there more Dolcetto to be found in Willamette Valley? Dunno! Yet, anyway. I’m only in the first week of discovery here.

deets, heard.


So this wine is a 2012 vintage, and since it’s my first time having it, I can’t compare it to other vintages. BUT- I have to say, it’s freakin’ slammin. Not sure if they submit for scores or not, but I could see this scoring a solid 90 or 91. From someone important. If that’s important to you. Why’s it so good? 1.) it’s varietally correct. It reminds me of several Dolcetto d’Alba’s I came into contact with in the SC market. Perhaps a slightly higher price point, but with the production level on this one and relative scarcity, that’s to be understood. So 2.) it’s delicious, of course! A beautiful deep, vibrant purple/magenta with nice medium density. A nose of mulberry, blackberry, licorice, briar patch, and a nice streak of herbs- mint, maybe a touch of rosemary. With a sturdy tannic finish, I find this to be a perfect sipper. What would marry nicely with it? Braised lamb? Something wintery? Yes, I think so. This wine is robust, yet not in-your-face. Certainly best drunk within a few years of bottling, in my opinion. I’m into it.

Sadly, I’m almost 100% certain this wine is not available in SC. That just means you’re gonna have to get your tail to Oregon and visit the winery.

So, how am I? Is anyone curious? Now that I’ve had a glass of wine, I’ll share. Granted, it’s been less than a week, but it’s been a little up n’ down. Highs and lows. Highs? Realizing I can go wine tasting any time I want. Amazing scenery. Great people. Did I mention amazing scenery??


Sunset at Belle Pente yesterday.

Sunset from my house tonight.

Sunset from my house tonight.

So, lows? Not having a job. YET, anyway. I do have leads, and I remain optimistic, but I pretty much hate not being employed. I like to work. It’s hard to feel like I’m getting in the groove when I don’t have any real “purpose” on a day to day or even hourly basis. But writing seems to make me feel more like “me”, so if anything else, that is a motivator to keep writing. Other lows? I do miss y’all. My Columbia peeps. I miss my constant slew of work-related texts. I miss Ricky Mollohan’s ass. I really do. It’s strange to not be able to talk to him about Homeland and The Blacklist spur of the moment. I hate that while I was driving here, Vincent Sheheen did NOT become the governor. I truly hate that for the state of South Carolina. I feel far away, and that’s a little hard to swallow. But at other moments, it feels amazing to be far away.

But I’m good. I got this.

Now go drink some wine! Cheers, y’all.

Cyber Tuesday: Snowpocalypse Edition!

Well, it’s noon and I haven’t seen a snowflake yet… But the lists of cancellations and closings just keeps on coming!  What better time to surf the interwebs and check out some new wines!  Here’s some fuel for your fodder- in another brush with internet fame (err.. it’s my second), these two wines were submitted as samples from  They’ve certainly made my weekend a little brighter…

photo 3 (2)

Castello Banfi Belnero, 2010 Italy, Tuscany

The first thing that puzzled me about this wine was that on the website, a customer has posted an (although very favorable) review, referring to it as a Chianti.  I would not call this a Chianti.  Not to nitpick.  This borders on Super-Tuscan status.  Which is great!  It’s a fun category.  I’ve always respected the idea of a Super-Tuscan- I like the “eff this noise, we’re gonna put whatever grapes we want in our wine and DOC/DOCG be damned!” mentality.  How can you not?

It’s a dark, rich wine that has a giant nose of vanilla and dark fruit upon opening.  It shows nice depth, color concentration and will definitely fill your “big red” niche.  Additional layers of tobacco, coffee and mocha offer complexity, followed closely by luscious black cherry, blackberry, fruit compote, roasted herbs and maybe a hint of balsamic.  A pleasant grip of acid reminds you that this baby is all Italian.  I dig it.  It’s one of those New-meets-Old-World styles that accomplishes it’s mission quite deftly.  Furthermore, it’s a definite overachiever for the $19.99 pricetag.  *please note- as of 1.28.14 this wine is sold out via, but they expect to re-up very soon.*

photo 2 (3)


Fratelli Recchia Ca’ Bertoldi Amarone della Valpolicella, 2005 Italy, Veneto

I was looking forward to this one for two reasons; 1.) it got a 92-point rating from Wine Spectator and 2.) it’s $24!  These two reasons in and of themselves are not earth-shattering, but combine them AND consider that this is an Amarone?  Cha-ching!!  For those that don’t know, Amarone can often be a verrry spendy category.  It’s also an interesting style of wine because it can be a bit divisive.  There are plenty of people out there who might never like Amarone, stylistically.  Speaking personally, I’ve had some that I didn’t care for despite the fact that I recognized them as “good wine.”  However… I can say that one of the most, if not *the* most, knee-buckling wines I have ever tasted was an Amarone.  Granted, it was a $400+ retail bottle of 2006 Dal Forno.  Sort of like saying, “Yeah, I was never the same after I drove that Lamborghini.”  Duh.

So what’s the deal with Amarone?  Why do I call it divisive?  Well, they are made in a specific style- appassimento– in which the grapes (Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara) are allowed to partially dry.  This causes them to lose a large portion of their weight, and concentrates their sugar content.  Hence, the resulting wine is almost always rich, heady, and just plain intense.  And some people just aren’t into that…

But I’ll tellya- you find a good one and it’ll just plain blow. you. the. eff. away.  Like seriously, you’ll feel as if one of the secrets of the universe has been revealed to you.  In one moment, you’ll comprehend why so many have chased the dream of winemaking like Captain Ahab for so many years.  I’m not even exaggerating.

Alright, so that was a fun trip down memory lane, but now on to this wine!  And let me start by saying I’ve tasted this wine over the course of three days, and it is still freaking beautiful on day three.  Upon first open it was maybe a little restrained; the nose showed typical notes of preserved/dried fruit, cocoa, some nuttiness (nut brittle, even), anise and figs.  The palate isn’t weighed down or clumsy in it’s fruit/alcohol content.  It’s really a perfect introduction to this style of wine; it doesn’t break the bank and it’s balanced enough to appeal to a broad wine-drinking audience.  On day two the wine seemed to relax significantly, and bloomed with some additional spicy notes and fruity finesse.  All-in-all, I’d call this wine darn good.

One cool perk about Wine Chateau is that on your first order, you get a coupon for $10 off shipping.  Additionally, they offer a Mix-&-Match free shipping on many (not all) wines.  As I maintained on my last post that involved wines available for internet purchase- I can’t see myself as someone who would purchase wine online that often, but once and a while it’s fun to mix it up.  And sometimes online retailers do offer very competitive pricing, and occasionally exclusives on wines you might not find elsewhere.  In the case of one particular wine that comes to mind, it has actually become easier in the last few years to find online than it is for (at least in SC) on-premise accounts to get it.  So, I’d be remiss if I did not say- don’t forget about your small, local wine store!!; but there’s room in the wine world for more than one way to purchase.

photo 1 (3)

Alright so that’s it for Snowmageddon morning!  Best of luck to y’all in the impending doom.  I hope you have enough wine.  I sure do!

Cantina Fratelli Pardi Sagrantino di Montefalco, 2006 Italy

Wow.  Just wow.  This seems like the only suitable way to introduce this wine.  If you made it past the title (which is kind of a mouthful, not gonna lie), you’re in for a real treat on this Monday afternoon.  I have fallen head over teakettle for this wine, and I remain somewhat awestruck by a.) how surprised I am that I like it, and b.) how FREAKING good it is.  I still, at the end of each sip, marvel at how amazing it is.

Okay.  So first things first: what the heck is it?  Sagrantino is the grape, and it only grows in this one place.  Montefalco is the specific region, or as I’m learning, “comune” that it comes from, which is in the Umbria region.  Sagrantino di Montefalco has it’s very own DOCG status, as of 1992.  Only about 250 acres of Sagrantino are planted in the wee Montefalco.  That’s not a lot.  AND that accounts for how rare it is to see this wine outside Italy. ***DING DING DING*** this wine is SUPER SPECIAL!!  Sagrantino can be made into a regular old red wine, or in this case, a Passito style.  Passito, aka “raisin wine” is a style of wine that involves laying the grapes out to dry, and concentrate their juice.  It results in a dessert-style wine, almost as if a wine and a port had a delicious love child.  So now that you’re used to saying “Sagrantino” and “Montefalco”, and have learned more than maybe you care to about all this, let’s progress to the fun part!!

I really don’t know where to begin here!  This is kind of a must-experience.  On the outside, you can clearly see how dark and rich this wine is:

dark n’ stormy

So when you first get a whiff of this, you might think- whoa.  I’m not sure this is my jam.  I’ve opened several bottles of it, and they all seem to have this really brief mustiness when you first smell them.  After that, you definitely get hints of vanilla, cedar, clove.  Close behing are intense dark, cooked (yet not exactly jammy) notes of blackberries, kirsch, a hint of balsamic, raisins, black pepper, and a slight touch of something flowery, like violets.  However, its nose accounts for maybe 25% of it’s personality; it’s alllll about the taste and texture.  It hits you with layer after layer of dark fruit.  It is luscious and silky.  It is dark and intense.  BUT- it is not weighed down, flabby, or alcoholic (it’s just 14% alcohol!).  And the finish is noticeably dry, which is the real kicker.  A dry finish on a dessert wine?  It must be because Sagrantino is among the most tannic of grapes; so even though it “raisined”, it still maintains some tannin and dryness.  Freakin’ perfect.

The real reason I’m so surprised I like this is because (confession) I HATE port.  I guess hate is a strong word.  I’ve tried maybe one or two in my life that I would consider consuming an ounce of.  Usually, their smell alone is enough to make me grimace and squint.  Perhaps I just haven’t developed my taste for them, or maybe I just flat out don’t like them and never will.  Who knows.  But the important thing to take away from this is IF you think you don’t like port, or dessert wines- TRY THIS!  You might just like it.  You might just be obsessed with it.

You know what this wine is perfect for?  Bringing to someone’s house for dinner who REALLY likes port.  You can show up with this and be all- BAM!  try this!  how d’ya like me now?!  You know what else this wine is good for?  The end of the night.  You’ve had dinner, you’ve had red, maybe you’ve had dessert, maybe no one wants to open another bottle and is teetering on the edge of going home- then you open THIS!  And everyone is surprised and delighted.  But since it’s sweet and intense, no one guzzles it- they just sip it slowly and chill out a bit longer.  And it’s low in alcohol, so you’re not risking ending the night too soon.  You know what else is awesome?  This wine has higher residual sugar than most reds, which means you can open it on a Monday (who doesn’t need a drink on a Monday?) and you can have some more on Wednesday, and some more on Friday, and it’ll still taste good.  I’ve tested this, and it works.  Some of that tannic finish might soften up, but the wine is still yummy.

imported by deGrazia, for those who are curious.

One more thing to seal the deal: Sagrantino in general, including this one, hardly EVER sell for less than $30 a bottle.  (remember that whole- only 250 acres planted, hardly seen outside of Italy thing?  yeah, thats what it means).  Really, look some up.  And because we’re so incredibly awesome, we’re selling this for $18 a bottle!  The only sad thing is, when it’s gone, it’s probably gone (at that price) forever.  So you should snap some up while it lasts.  Also, it is currently by-the-glass at Cellar on Greene, so if you’re still iffy about whether you’ll like it at all, you can come sample some.  I invite you to do so.

Sometimes I can’t choose just one…

A true story for you, on this Saturday. Most weeks I start out with the intention of picking a wine and writing about it.  Duh.  But if one were to review my blogging history, you’d see that I hardly ever post back-to-back weeks; there’s usually a spell of a week or two where I am silent.  And here’s the reason why: I have too many choices.  I like too many wines.  Many of them, like these three, I like SO much that I spend a chunk of time bound by indecision, struggling to come up with one unifying or decisive factor that will dictate which wine I will write about.

And then all of a sudden it’s Friday, and I have written nothing.  And I feel guilty.  And resolve to do better next week.  And sometimes that is successful, and sometimes it’s not.  Such is the human condition.  Many writers probably know the feeling of wanting to write, but when you sit down to do it, the words don’t come. Words are fickle creatures, and you can’t force them.  Even when they are not incredibly profound, and all you want to do is blather about wine and impart a bit of silliness along the way.

But today the stars seem to be aligned, and once I elected to just narrow it down to three wines, my brain seemed to cooperate and here I sit, ready to rock it out.  These three wines are simply stunning!  They are perfection.  They are three wines that once open, it’s literally impossible not to keep drinking them. So on with the show…

Muga Rose of Garnacha/Viura/Tempranillo, 11 Spain, Rioja.  Retails for $13.

look how frosty and delicious this looks.

Okay, so here’s the thing about Muga Rose: IT’S FAB.  This is such an elegant little wine with a microscopic little pricetag, and it’s almost unfair.  So if you’re new to Rose, and you still think they’re sweet- this wine begs to differ.  It is delightfully dry, with perfect acidity, and yet a soft mouthfeel that caresses the ever-lovin’-shizzle out of your tongue.  The nose is flowery and zesty.  When it first hits your mouth (especially if it’s a touch too cold), you might think it tastes like nothing.  But the mid-palate really explodes with pretty flavors of cherry, watermelon, wild strawberry, rhubarb and an ultra-clean, citrusy finish that makes your mouth water.  There’s a touch of strawberries-and-cream on the end, too that round out this wine’s finesse.  A lovely expression of a Grenache Rose- many of the ones I’ve had tend to be in-your-face in the fruit content- maybe it’s the addition of Viura (a white grape) that make this one super-perfect.  2011 was a hot, dry year in Rioja- perfect for Grenache.  It really shows.  Drink up!

Antonio Sanguineti Vermentino, 2011 Italy, Tuscany.  Retails for $14. 

Next up: a little gem of a white wine from the Small Vineyards portfolio, an awesome collection of wines, mostly from Italy.  Small Vineyards imports wine that meet certain criteria: they must be hand-harvested, from a family-owned estate, and earth-friendly.  A pretty high standard in the sea of mass produced wines that we swim in.  I was fortunate to attend a tasting this past March in Charleston, SC where they presented many of their wines.  Duly impressed, I was.  This wine in particular really seemed to “sing”!  When you consider the standard of quality, and the fact that this is only an 800-case produced wine, it’s $14 pricetag really seems unreal.  But it IS real!

So this is a very classic Tuscan white; Vermentino likes sun, so it has a very lively, up-front personality.  It is fresh and light, with a buoyant and fun palate of pineapple, white flowers, honeysuckle, apricots and citrus zest.  The finish is crisp and lean.  This wine’s true appeal, to me, is that it seems very “alive”- a strange thing to think about, but it’s perkiness and silky texture really stand out, and it seems happy to exist.  Call me cray, but it’s true.  You’ll just have to come taste it.

Finally, a red: Tortarossa “Red Cake” Super Tuscan, 2010 Italy, Tuscany.  Retails for $16.

I lurrrrv this label.

This is another wine from the Small Vineyards portfolio.  This wine stood out to me upon first taste (and still does) because it’s a perfect melding of old and new-world styles.  The category of “Super Tuscan” is not officially recognized as a “thing” by Italian wine standards, so it is something of a rebel category.  Piero Antinori was the first to fly in the face of DOC regulations, and aimed to make a “Chianti-style” wine that ignored the need for convention, and incorporated Cabernet Sauvignon into the (now famous) Tignanello bottling.  The Tortarossa is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet and 10% Syrah.  It drinks like a dream- warm, ripe and very precise and focused. Dark black fruits dominate- blackberry, blackcurrant, and subtle integration of vanilla and oak.  The punch of the Syrah is nicely pronounced- adding depth, color and body- making it a touch more appealing to the New World palate- yet maintaining it’s Italian roots.  A nice balance of acid make it a great food wine- but I’ve found it to be a perfect solo sipper as well.  Also, I love the packaging.  It’s whimsical and accessible.

Well I do hope you’ve enjoyed being introduced to these three- they’re all currently By-The-Glass at Cellar on Greene, which means they’re open at all times, should you require a taste or two.  Cheers!

Rocca Bastia Pinot Grigio, 2010 Veneto

Rocca Bas-tee-ah.  I was saying Rocca BAS-tee-ah for a while there.  But I don’t think anyone heard me, so it matters not.  It’s been a while since I took on an Italian white, and my extreme fondness for white wine does not generally extend to Pinot Grigio… but THIS is a really pleasant surprise!  An excellent value, and a really stunning level of complexity for its… wait for it… $9 PRICETAG!  Yipeeeee!

So, what’s to like about this lil guy?  Well, I just gave you one reason- it’s $9!  But I’d rather throw $9 out the window than spend $9 on a crappy bottle of wine- so when I share my excitement over it’s price, it’s because I have deemed that it is worthy enough to be hailed as a truly delicious bottle of wine, not just a decent cheap bottle of wine that you won’t want to spit out.  You dig?  Good.

I can hear servers and bartenders all accross America heaving a collective sigh as the ladies at his or her table announce “I’ll take a glass of the Pinot Grigio.”  Heavy hearted, they ring the order in and secretly suspect that these broads are the type who just want something in their hand to sip on, and they couldn’t give a hoot what it tastes like or anything about it.  They fight the desire to pour some water into it and see if they notice.  They prepare themselves for the separate checks that will certainly be forthcoming, even though everyone’s bill comes to exactly the same amount.  Does that sound like your stereotypical Pinot Grigio drinker?  Yup.

Unfortunately, Pinot Grigio in the restaurant world is sort of a sad story.  It can be marked up more than it should be, because the owner knows it will sell regardless.  Wine retailers probably stock Santa Margherita somewhat begrudgingly, knowing that it will sell no matter how hard they try to get people to branch out.  It’s sort of like casting a really smokin’ hot blonde in a summer blockbuster movie.  Even if she’s not particularly charming or even beautiful, the fact that she’s wearing Daisy Dukes and a cut off white t-shirt will ensure that people see the movie.  But that’s the way it goes, I guess.

Before I get too verbose, let’s move on to the actual WINE.  The reason I like it is because it is perfectly balanced between light fruit, citrus, minerality and a nice flowery finish.  And perfect acidity to make it thirst-quenching and sublime for hot weather.   Tart notes of green apple, lime, and a sweet hint of honeysuckle.  The finish is longer than expected, and it’s clean and minerally.  I don’t ask for much more than this.  Don’t be boring and innocuous- show me some liveliness!  Show me some zest!  that’s what this wine has.  A friendly, lively zestiness.  It must have had fun hanging out in the bottle or during fermentation, because it’s really pretty pumped to be alive.  It arrives in your glass with enthusiasm.  You didn’t think that was possible in a simple little bottle of Pinot Grigio, did you?  well, give it a shot, because I ain’t makin’ this up.

TONIGHT, May 25th from 5-7 at Cellar, I will be introduced to this wine’s step-sibling, the Rocca Bastia Soave, as well as a few other Italian whites, which I’m pretty excited about.  If you’d like, you may meet them too!   Also known as a wine tasting, this meet & greet will cost you something like $7 and will definitely cool you off after the thermometer hits a fantastic 99 degrees today.  AWESOME.  Not.  Come to think of it… this would also be perfect to throw in the car with you on your way to the lake or the beach this Memorial Day weekend… why yes, it would.  Just sayin’.

Can’t make the tasting?  We have plenty of the Rocca Bastia in stock at Cellar for $9 a bottle.  It’s also available as part of our $90 Mystery Case.  Whuck??  never heard of a Mystery Case?  Get to it.  Oh, you don’t know what “whuck” means?  You poor thing.  You haven’t discovered Rants from Mommyland yet.  You need to get on that, too.  I don’t even have children and I’ve been staying up late laughing til I cry.  That’s all I got, thanks for reading and happy almost Memorial Day!

Colterenzio Muller-Thurgau, 2009 Italy. Muller-Thur-what??

“Umm.. ex-squeeze me?”  The great Wayne and Garth get straight to the point.  Huh?  Muller?  Thurgau? 

So let’s start at the very beginning… a very good place to start, as Julie Andrews would say.  How the heck do you say this?  Well, to further confuse you, I’ve had two people in the business whose opinion I would trust pronounce it two different ways.  MULL-er Thur-gow and MEW-ler Turr-go.  The “u” is supposed to have an umlaut over it regardless, but I don’t know how to get my keyboard to do that.  My best guess would be that Mew-ler Turr-go is correct, if you were trying to be fancy about it, but that Mull-er is an acceptable Americanization that will not get you laughed at. 

Mew-ler grapes

 Here they is- cute little green grapes.  More about the actual grape- Muller is what I like to call a “test tube baby”- created in 1881 by a guy named Hermann Muller- who wanted the intensity and sharpness of Riesling, and an early ripening season.  Wikipedia says “…Although the resulting grape did not entirely attain these two qualities, it nonetheless became widely planted across many of the German wine-producing regions.”  Interesting!  I guess he just got lucky.  Must be nice.  Apparently many people think Muller is a cross between Riesling and Silvaner- but is in fact a cross between Riesling and “Madeline Royale”- which I never would have guessed was a grape.  Who would name a grape a person’s name?  Bizarre.  Anyhow, there you have it. 

Moving on, this Colterenzio Muller Thurgau has got to be one of my favorite whites that we’ve poured by the glass this year!  Now, to be fair- I am a total whore for unusual, offbeat, acidic white wines, and this is no exception.  It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but in my effort to make everyone in the world appreciate the exact same wines I do (kidding), I wanted to write about this wine.  It hails from a little region in northern Italy called Alto Adige (AHL-to Ah-deejay).  This part of Italy used to be part of Austria which makes it a very unique spot.  Even the bottle- and all the Colterenzio bottles- have a distinct look to them that differentiates them from other Italian wines. 

This is such a beautiful wine.  I love a white wine that really captures a degree of elegance and purity, and this one is just that.  It would likely go overlooked at one of our Saturday wine sales, especially if it were placed next to something much more “new world” in style.  It takes a bit if concentration to appreciate this wine, because it’s not very forthcoming with it’s presence.  Light notes of wild flowers reveal themselves, especially after the wine warms up just a touch.  Honeysuckle and white peach show up as well, and the palate is steely, quenching and refreshing with citrus and minerality.  Fantastic. 

This wine makes me want to be here:

 And based on looking at photos of the Alto Adige region, this is pretty much what it looks like.  Green grass, wildflowers, mountains, clean air… and Julie Andrews basking in all of it.  Grab a bottle of this wine for just $13 next time you’re at Cellar!  Which will be soon, I hope….

Whites You Need for the 4th!

A quick post before our annual summer vacation from July 3rd-7th!  This Thursday night, the 1st, we’re doing a special night of Whites You be Needin’ for the 4th of July.  All of the wines I’m about to blather on about may be consumed for $4 a glass on Thursday night, and then ones you like best may be whisked away with you that very night (after you purchase them, of course)!  Yes, you know you need to stock up that cooler before you high-tail it out of Columbia.  Why do I know you will be doing that?  because that’s what you all did last year!  The night before 4th of July weekend, we had a total of 6 customers at Cellar on Greene.  Columbia was like a ghost town.  Which is fine- have fun, be safe, but STOCK UP!  Especially on some killer summer whites!  What else could you want for the beach?!  Beer, I suppose.  Beer tastes good at the beach.  But so does Opala!  And the rest of the wines I’m about to tell you about….

Opala Vinho Verde (Portugal) really needs no intruduction- it still remains the most visited post out of all the wine rants I’ve created over the last year and a half.  It’s our best seller at Cellar (get it?  seller?  cellar?).  It’s $10 a bottle.  I seriously doubt there’s anyone who hasn’t tasted this wine and not loved it.  It’s light, it’s crisp, it’s a little fizzy, and it’s low in alcohol, so you can practically sip it through a straw while you roast in the sun and never get more than a pleasant buzz.  We have PLENTY in stock, so stop in and grab as much as you need!

Norton Torrontes (Argentina)– this is a new one to me, but I *heart* torrontes, and so do a lot of our regulars.  Stylistically this one’s a bit on the drier side, which is nice for a summer wine.  Torrontes tend to have very flamboyant noses, with lots of bright fruit going on- sometimes hints of candy like jolly ranchers and gummy bears- but then they surprise you when you with their crispness when you get to the palate.  This one has leafy notes, with granny smith apple and tangy lemon flavors.  Delish!  $10 a bottle!


Markham Sauvignon Blanc (California) is definitely an above average Cali Sauv Blanc for this price range ($13 a bottle).  California Sauv Blancs are some of my favorites where Sauv Blanc is concerned- I love New Zealands as well, but occasionally I feel as though I’m chewing either a.) a grapefruit rind, or b.) a mouthful of grass.  The Markham offers delightful tropical hints- passionfruit, guava, gooseberry- finished off with nice lemony and white peach notes.   Fantastic alone or delicious with a fresh green salad and a citrusy viniagrette of sorts.  Fish, chicken, even a lightly prepared pork- perfect!  Very versatile wine.


Pighin Pinot Grigio (Italy).  Okay, I said it- Pinot Grigio is probably my least favorite white wine.  BUT!  When it’s good, I love it!  And it still has a stronghold over people, because it sells like hotcakes in the hot weather.  The Pighin is from Friuli, which gives it a leg up over other Pinot Grigio’s- the grape manages to maintain it’s intensity.  Peachy stone fruits, a silky texture, a h int of hazelnut, and a touch of melon lead into a classic, clean finish.  Yum!  $10 a bottle!


Last but not least, Lonen Charonnay (California).    A lush, rich little Cali Chard, which despite the the amount of “anything but Chardonnay” press there is out there these days in wine-snob land- still maintains strong selling presence… pretty much everywhere.  The Lonen is like a big, ripe basket of exotic fruits- pineapple, mango, light touches of orange blossom and a luxurious, butterscotchy-oaky-toasty finish.  Delicious and a fantastic value for $13 a bottle. 

That’s all I have time for today!  Likewise, if you need some REDS for the 4th, too- just let me know and I will hook it up in a jiffy while you’re sipping away on your $4 glass of white.  And maybe some tuna nachos, too?  That’s what I just had for lunch.  Ah, the benefits of working at Cellar on Greene.  Tuna Nachos whenever I want!

Dama Montepulciano, 2007

Introducing… our RED OF THE MONTH at Cellar on Greene!  Look to your right as you walk in the door and BAM!  there she is, beckoning…


Folks, this one is a winner!  Awesome, awesome, awesome.  I’ll take a backseat for a moment and allow Dama to speak for itself:

Dama writes;

“Rich, earthy, striking red wine seeks passionate consumer for possible Long Term Relationship.
Me: notes of black cherry, vanilla, currants, cocoa and licorice. Loves food and pleasant company.
You: discerning, fun-loving, must appreciate a full body and like an earthy, dirty finish. Age, race, gender, and wallet size unimportant. Take me home today to experience all I have to offer!”

Some of you may remember this wine from about a year ago, when we poured it by the glass at Cellar for a brief, yet fulfilling time.  I’m slightly perplexed as to why they’ve changed the bottle so much this year- there used to be a pretty woman’s silhouette painted in a nice purple watercolor on the label.  I was pretty fond of it, and so was everyone else.  But- the good news is, the wine is just as delicious, so I won’t dwell on it. 


This is a must, especially for people who love Italian wines.  I can say with certainty that I have been rendered speechless in the past when greeted with a truly amazing Italian bottle- the problem is, they have usually come with high price tags.  Obviously, this can be said of any country.  But if you’re like me, and you fell in love with a really pricey Italian wine that someone else paid for, and ever since then you’ve been saying to yourself- why can’t I find wine that good for less money?- TRY the Dama!  It will remind you of WHY you liked that Italian wine so much.  It’s juicy, earthy, perfect by itself and with food, deep and impressive.  And it’s $19 a bottle! 

If you remain unconvinced, feel free to grab a free sample at the Wine Sale this Satuday, the 26th, from 12-2!

Clara C Prosecco! Perfect to welcome back you-know-who…

Alright, peoples.  This is going to be hard for me to write.  But I know it will appeal to many of you out there, so here goes…

Hey, everyone!  Football is starting next week!  What could be better than BUBBLES to welcome back your beloved Gamecocks?!  Well, lucky for you this non-football fan is looking out for you!  I’ve got a delicious little bottle of Prosecco that would taste simply delicious while you wait on line for your football tickets… oh, wait, drinking on the street is illegal.  Well, it will taste good the morning of the first football game to get yourself psyched up.  It’s great by itself, but it would mix quite well with fresh OJ for a mimosa.  Are mimosa’s illegal for Gamecock fans?  Seeing as they’re orange?  This is why I’m not a football fan; things like this are very foreign to me.  Perhaps a bloody mary would be more appropriate.  I really don’t know.  I’m trying very hard here.  You can’t possibly understand how little a Yankee like me knows about College football.  In New England, there is only the NFL.  I know it’s tough to imagine, but there really is no such thing as College football anywhere but the South.  I’m not trying to rain on your parade, or for heaven’s sake doubt the importance of the Cocks, but just keep that in mind…


Little Clara here will be at the Wine Sale this Saturday the 29th (12-2) for $12, and we’re also pouring it by the glass here at Cellar right now.  It’s a pretty, delicate wine, with light citrus and green apples on the nose, and a touch of something flowery… honeysuckle, maybe.  Nice amount of bubbles.  I know that sounds like a wierd thing to say about a sparkling wine, but sometimes I find Prosecco’s don’t have quite enough to really make me feel like I’m drinking a sparkling wine.  It’s fairly dry, but not bone-dry.  I think it’s a steal for $12.  And it really would make a perfect mimosa.  Get you some fresh OJ… mmm.  That’s where it’s at.  You could even save Clara for the day AFTER the first game of the season when you need a little “hair-of-the-dog.”  There is really nothing quite like a mimosa with a late morning greasy breakfast to cure a hangover. 

A quick plea before I sign off… remember those home football games you love so much?  Well, we here in the restaurant business TRY to love them… but it’s very hard when it feels like your restaurant gets ditched faster than Jennifer Aniston whenever there’s a game.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t go… goodness, no… just don’t forget about us completely.  Stop in and grab a glass of wine an extra time that week.  We miss you.  Really. 

Hope to see everyone at the sale on Saturday!