Exclusive offer: 7/14/2023 — Patio Pounders Part One

Offer available through Monday, 7/17/2023, or as inventory lasts.

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Hi everyone –

We’ve successfully settled into what is shaping into an INCREDIBLE summer in Minnesota. Yes, we could use a touch more rain but I’m sure that will come in due time. The lack of mosquitoes and Japanese beetles has been a blessing (and I’m sure I’ve now jinxed that). I don’t want to believe that the State Fair is only six weeks away. No! No! No! I want NEED summer to be longer!

And no summer in Minnesota is complete without a nice collection of pop-on-a-whim patio pounders.

First, let’s define this term.


pat-ee-oh, pah-tee-oh ] noun

  1. an area, usually paved, adjoining a house and used as an area for outdoor lounging, dining, etc.
  2. a courtyard, especially of a house, enclosed by low buildings or walls.


poun-der ] noun

  1. a person or thing that pounds, pulverizes, or beats.
  2. a person that enjoys a beverage with amazing speed and efficiency.

Patio Pounder

[ pat-ee-oh poun-der ] noun

  • A wine that is delicious on a summer night in Minnesota, especially if chilled down and consumed outdoors with friends while listening to good music and food is on the grill. It can be white, rosé, or red, but regardless of color, it’s served chilled. The host should always overpour the glass to show love. Affordability is required, so popping another bottle on a whim is always appropriate.


This is a terrific little collection of wines. All wines are available ala carte, or buy a twelve pack (two bottles of each) for even more savings.

Terres Basses Côtes de Gascogne Blanc 2021

100% estate grown and 100% organic! Two things you rarely find in Côtes de Gascogne.

The area of Côtes de Gascogne is in far southwestern France, south of Bordeaux, towards the border of Spain. It’s an area best known for brandy production, and the grapes used for brandy include Colombard, Ugni Blanc, and Gros Manseng (which is what we have in this bottle).

But more and more often, lucky for us, farmers that grow great grapes make wine instead of brandy.

A great Côtes de Gascogne, such as this, is the perfect New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc alternative. It has the same lip-smacking acidity and refreshing style as the Kiwi wine, but often with a touch more “completeness” on the flavor. Plus, if you bring this to a party, nobody really knows what it is.

If you’re looking for one wine in the offer to stock up the summer fridge with, this is it.

Tasting note: Apples meet lemon drops, with firm acids but not overwhelming citric layers. A nice rounded finish. Lighter bodied but doesn’t disappear quickly. So so so refreshing. Have with shrimp tacos!

Viña Zorzal Garnacha Blanca 2020

A beautiful organic low-intervention white!

There was a time not long ago when I wouldn’t have a Garnacha Blanc on this list. For a long time, I wasn’t a fan of white Grenache, finding more of them to be devoid of personality.

And FOR SURE, I wouldn’t be caught offering a three-year-old Grenache Blanc! What kind of three-card monte am I playing here?

So what happened? Two things.

First, it seems about four years ago many European producers finally dialed in how to blast quality out of Grenache Blanc. What used to be a blank canvas of flavor (thin, at best), has now turned into a reliable burst of apple-floral aromas that are simply awesome. I’m finding this from wines in Spain and France over and over. Wines that I used to dismiss and avoid are now wines that I’m suddenly drawn to, and it’s 100% because of better winemaking.

Second, this wine has been stored properly: in the dark, in the cold, in a local warehouse. If it was stacked up in the heat of retail shop that would be a problem, but the stability of the wine due to wholesaler storage is solid, and we fully endorse it because of this.

Tasting note: Loads of pineapple! You don’t find that often! The pineapple richness carries through to a great clean finish that is persistent (i.e. not hollow). Light to medium bodied and fresh. Have with whitefish, pan fried in just a bit of butter, with mango salsa on top and touch of cilantro. If you prefer, add come crumbled bacon! #betterwithbacon

Lunaria “Civitas” Pecorino, Terre di Chieti IGP 2021

Biodynamic wine from a nearly extinct grape!

Yes, Pecorino is a cheese (and an awesome one at that), but it’s also a little known grape.

The Pecorino grape, like so many in east-central Italy, was nearly extinct in the 1960s and 70s as the country was still in the economic dumps of WWII.

From Winesearcher:

The variety has a long, complicated and all-too-common history. It has been cultivated in the Marche region for hundreds of years but low yields saw it replaced by more-productive grape varieties like Trebbiano.

By the mid-20th Century, Pecorino was thought to be extinct. In the 1980s, a local producer researching native varieties investigated a rumor of some forgotten vines in an overgrown vineyard.

Cuttings were taken and propagated, and eventually grew enough grapes to make a very good wine in the early 1990s. Since then, the variety’s plantings have grown exponentially, and Pecorino is now found across the Marche, Abruzzo, Umbria and Tuscany.


Pecorino is a bold wine. The grapes produce quite a bit of sugar, which translates to an overall higher alcohol level. This could be a problem for many grapes, but Pecorino has enough acidity to balance the whole thing out.

Learn more about Pecorino: https://vinepair.com/articles/everything-you-need-to-know-about-pecorino-wine/

Tasting note: This wine is so cool. The nose is Riesling-esqe, i.e. as complex as it gets. Bright and fun, punchy with big fruit and packed with honey crisp apple and lime zest. The wine is bone dry at 13% but can fool people with the intensity of fruit. In other words, a PERFECT wine to drink on a hot and sticky day (like I’m doing right now by the way). Pair it with jalapeño popper cheese balls, of course!

Villas des Anges Old Vine Cinsault Rosé 2021

This is one of the top bargain Rosé of this summer.

First off, look at that gorgeous color! The faintest pale pink that there is, indicating a fresher and bright style with good acidity. The grape is Cinsault, the workhouse grape for rosé production throughout Southern France.

From Winesearcher:

Cinsault is a French red-grape variety, traditionally used in a Southern Rhône blend as a partner to GrenacheSyrah and Mourvèdre. Also known as Cinsaut without the “l”, the variety has developed hundreds of synonyms owing to a wide distribution and over four centuries of cultivation. 

Despite a decline in plantings over the past decade, with stylistic trends moving towards lighter wines, Cinsault has been recieving fresh attention.

Cinsault is a versatile grape in the glass. As a varietal, it produces a soft wine that is low in tannins with a light, brick red color.

The most commonly found descriptor is bright, red berry fruits. Cinsault sourced from older vines that are at least 20 years old contribute a more sweet spice and meatiness complexity. As a blended wine, it is employed for its floral and strawberry-like perfume.

As a rosé, it takes on brighter aromatics of raspberry, white peach, tea leaf and rose petals with flavors of tropical fruits of lychee, guava and papaya.  

This is a 2021, and like so many of the 2021 vintage rosés it got held up in the supply chain issues of 2022. The wine sat in a (temperature-controlled) container, still and in the dark, for months while ships and trucks were finally arranged to transport it to Minnesota. In other words, PERFECT storage conditions.

Tasting note: So wonderfully crisp and clean and fresh. It’s like a hummingbird of a wine, with speed and flash, but not being big. It zooms around on the palate, then about three or four seconds after swallowing it goes *poof* and it’s gone. Super fresh and chugable. Strawberries, white flowers, and minerality prevail.

It’s the kind of wine that you suddenly look at the empty bottle and say “Hey … where did that bottle go?”

Mary Taylor Imports Cabrerisse (100% Carignan)

Mary Taylor is a superstar and we’re proud that we were the first to feature her in the Twin Cities. She’s a rockstar wine importer, finding tiny properties throughout Europe to represent.

This is from IGP Coteaux de Cabrerisse. Say what? I had to look it up. We’re looking at the Languedoc, of which a small section is the Cabrerisse. This is where Jancis Robinson remarks “is the land of the proud peasant farmer.”

This wine is from a small vineyard tended to by owner Anne Sarda, coming from dry-farmed and organically-farmed 40-60 year old vines. This is old school wine from an old school area. If you serve this with a slight chill it brings out the best of the flavors.

A quick bit on the Carignan grape (again, from Winesearcher … tons of good info in this article): https://www.wine-searcher.com/grape-583-carignan-carinena

And here is the tech sheet on this gem:

Tasting note: Oh. Wow. Purple-red-fruit-magic. Like the ultimate berry muffin with no sugar, if that makes sense. It’s a lighter bodied wine than you’d expect but the surprise in on the palate. Tannins and acids galore that make for a SNAP especially when served chilled. This is SO MUCH FUN TO DRINK. Perfect summertime red.

Be SURE to serve chilled. That’s what makes it a patio pounder.

Food pairing? Hamburgers! Simple as that. Do two thin patties with American cheese and a good bun. Perfecto. (Also great with an Impossible Burger, of course.)

Sansilvestro Barbera “Ottone I” 2021

Lastly, one of the top red wines to gulp down on a hot summer day: Barbera.

We love Barbera dearly, as many of you know. The lack of tannin, but the burst of acidity, makes for a wine that is perfect with anything off the grill, pizza in general, and even salads (the right salads of course … but I recently had this with a rich Caesar and found it worked perfectly).

This is a fourth generation winery, currently run by two brothers (Paulo and Guido Santirano) who have taken generations of farming and winemaking knowledge, along with modern winemaking principles, to make some of the juiciest and drinkiest wines of Piedmont. I have not had their Barolos, but I jam on their Barbera.

The name is in reference to Otto I, who was the Grand Emperor of Saxony and who’s son-in-law founded Monferrato, which is one of the area’s most coveted sites for Barbera.

Tasting note: Screaming sour cherry, which is super fun at a chilled temperature (it’s also delicious at “normal” red wine temp but we’re not talking about that here). The lip-smackiness of the wine is so great, but it’s balanced by a wet-loamy undertone.

Food pairing: Grilled pork, or pulled pork. This can stand up to BBQ. Wowza. (Angela also just added: “You know what else would be good with this? Potato salad! From oil-n-vinegar, to creamy style, it’s good.”)

Buying advice

This is an offer about stocking up and popping on a whim.

A big part of enjoying a Minnesota summer is to soak up every bit of the fine weather that you can, and this is best done with a glass of wine in hand. Every one of these wines over performs for this task, and you won’t regret having them at the ready.

Thank you, everyone! We couldn’t do this without you!

Jason Kallsen
Sommelier and founder/owner of Twin Cities Wine Education

Offer and special pricing are available through Monday 7/17/2023 or as supplies last

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