A bunch of random updates and info

It’s a week of micro-announcements, as opposed to the long format essay of weeks past. Easy to read and digest! Call it the Cliff Notes version of the newsletter. Here ya go.


Congrats to the freshly minted new Somms of 2018!
Last Saturday dozens of hopefuls gathered in Wayzata for the Court of Master Sommeliers testing to be a Certified Sommelier. I was proud to help coach a number of them who passed, and particular congratulations to Amy Waller of The Bachelor Farmer and Alex White of Monello (winner for Best Sommelier in the Twin Cities Wine Awards 2018) for hitting it out of the park.

Here’s a fun story from when I took my test years ago: I tested in Louisville, Kentucky and my examiner for the service part (the most nerve-racking part) was Brett Davis, MS. The service test is exceedingly difficult because you have to juggle about a half dozen things in your brain while trying to serve a bottle of bubbly to a Master Sommelier, while he or she is shooting questions at you left and right.

Truth be told I was out for a bite before the service exam and there was some Bourbon involved (when in Kentucky …).

First question from the Master Somm: “What’s the liquor base of a Moscow Mule?”

With a straight face and without hesitation I told him the answer: “Bourbon.”


Still, I passed (with sweat dripping from my brow).

More the world of wine certifications in a future newsletter.


This Thursday, the first day of the State Fair, I will once again be a happy person.For twenty years now I’ve judged the amateur winemaking competition starting at 8:30 am at the Ag-Hort Building (the same building with the bees, apples, honey, crop art, and more). If you’re at the Fair in the AM on day one, swing by and say hi.

At 3:30 some real big fun begins at the Minnesota Wine building, across from the Ag-Hort building. It is then I will present my now-annual “Wine and Cheese Curds Pairing class” talking about the rise of cool climate wines, the idea of what grows together goes together, and the future of the state industry. If you can’t make it, be sure to follow us on Facebookto see the Livestream!


Here’s a no-brainer: get $100+ of top grade Riedel stemware, plus drink a bunch of awesome wine, plus learn from Max Riedel himself. Happening August 30th, 6pm, downtown Minneapolis. Organized by Surdyk’s. Info and registration: https://surdyks.com/calendar/tasting-with-maximilian-riedel/


Are you a damn good home chef? Do you have aspirations for television fame and fortune? Do you think Gordon Ramsey is an okay dude? Casting calls for MasterChef are coming to Minneapolis on September 8th from 10 am to 6 pm. If you visit MasterChefCasting.com you can get all the details and information.

One of the most important parts of the application is found in item 3 of the small print: “Bring your food/ingredients to be finished and plated once you enter the audition room. NOTE: There will NOT be a kitchen to cook or warm up your dish so come prepared! Also, we will NOT supply you with dishes, utensils, etc., so you must bring your own.” Made me wonder … can I bring an empty Riedel stem and a bottle of Barolo and simply call my dish “Piemonte Grape Soup”?


The Twin Cities Wine Awards Grand Tasting is only six days away! In case you didn’t see yesterday’s email, here is the list of tables and wines confirmed for the event:

Chateau de Roquefort Cotes de Provence Corail Rose 2017
Lavradores de Feitoria “Tres Bagos” 2013
49M Cremant de Loire NV
Domaine des Terres de Chatenay Vire- Clesse 2016
Jean-Marc Burgaud Beaujolais Villages 2017
Chateau Les Croisille “Calcaire” Cahors 2014

Gini Soave Classico 2016
Sottimano Barbera d’Alba Pairolero 2014
Malvira’ Roero 2010
Moccagatta Barbaresco 2012
Fratelli Revello Barolo 2013
Contratto Millesimato Extra Brut 2011

16C Bodegas Can Petit Rose Cava (Trepat) 2013
7E Villa deglo Olmi Prosecco Extra Brut NV
Champagne Barbier-Louvet Cuvee d’Ensemble Grand Cru NV
Corte Aura Franciacorta DOCG Pas Dose (No added sulfite, no dosage: Chardonnay/Pinot Noir) NV
J.J. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett Mosel Riesling 2016
Katharina Wechsler Scheurebe Dry White Germany (Rheinhessen) 2016
Kessler-Zink Scheurebe Lieblich 2016
Prinz Salm Two Princes 2016
Prinz Salm Two Princes Riesling 2016

NEW FRANCE WINE COMPANY (Winner of “Best Locally Founded and Owned Wine Distributor” so they get two tables)
La Cigarerra Manzanilla Sherry
Ameztoi Txakolina
Bermejos Rosado 2017
Punta Crena Rossese Vigneto Isasco 2015
Clos Cibonne Tibouren Rouge 2015
Skaramuca Plavač Mali 2016
Daulny Sancerre Blanc 2016
Gritsch Riesling 1000 Eimerberg Federspiel 2016
Luigi Baudana “Dragon” Langhe Bianco 2017
Francois Chidaine Montlouis Brut Nature 2005
Keush Methode Traditionelle Sparkling Wine NV
Ioppa Vespolina Coda Rossa 2015
Domaine des Homs L’ Amandier, Coteaux de Peyriac 2017
Stefania Barbot “Ion” Irpinia Campi Taurasini 2013

RUE 38
Piquentum-Buzet Refosk 2014
Idaia Ocean White 2017
Tchotiashvili Vineyards Mtsvane Kveri White 2015
Tchotiashvili Vineyards Saperavi Kvevri Red 2015
Vinarija Zvonko Bogdan 8 Tamburasa 2016
Vinarija Zvonko Bogdan Zivot Tece (Life Flows) 2015

Pierre-Paillard ‘Les Parcelles’ XIII
Chateau l’Esperance ‘Instinct’ Blanc 2016
Chateau Haut-Blanville ‘Horus’ Rouge 2014
Domaine de la Saraziniere ‘Clos des Bruyeres’ Aligote 2015
Les Athletes du Vin Pineau d’Aunis 2016

Argyle Brut
Miner Emily’s Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon
Alexis Bailly Seyval Blanc 2016
Duxoup Gamay Noir 2016
Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc 2014
Paetra K Riesling 2016
Gamling & McDuck Chenin Blanc 2015

Vistalago Blanca
Vistalago Tinto
Via Revolucinaria ‘Pura’ Bonarda
Prisma Sauvignon Blanc
Longridge “The Emily” Chardonnay + Pinot Noir
Arendsig Cabernet Sauvignon
Jamsheed ‘Harem’ Syrah
Dandelion 30yr Solera Pedro Ximenez 375ml

Famiglia Meschini Malbec Reserva 2014
Bella Vineyards “Hills & Benches” Zinfandel 2013
Domaine Rouge Bleu “Dentelle” 2015
Chateau Belle~Vue La Renaissance 2009
Alois Caiatì 2016
Château de Hauterive Cahors Cuvée Chemin de Compostelle 2015

A range of outstanding Minnesota wines from the winner of “Best Minnesota Winery, 7 county metro area”

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