While you could certainly join the hordes at a certain "Get Together" this weekend, you could instead enjoy one of our free events with free parking and just a handful or two of your neighbors. And while we don't have smelly farm animals, there's often a friendly dog or two around the shop who'd appreciate a good petting. And in case you were wondering about the "ABC" wines mentioned in the subject line, that's just wine-geek-speak for "Anything but Chardonnay" or "Anything but Cabernet" as this newsletter features a number of wines just off the beaten path.

Friday's Free Wine Tasting, 4:00-8:00
We have a special guest from a new distributor coming in to pour for you. Peter Plaehn is at the top of the list of Minnesota Sommeliers. He'll be bringing his big-ole wine brain and a handful of new and super tasty wines to share with all in attendance. At "press time" we hadn't finalized the tasting lineup, but we'll post it on our facebook page before the tasting starts.

Saturday's Free Wine Tasting, 3:00-7:00
With a guest pourer showing off the outstanding Spanish portfolio of Gil Family Estates:
Shaya Arindo Rueda
Kentia Albarino
JUan Gil Muscat
Blue Grey Priorat
Can Blau Montsant
Atteca Garnacha

Plus a very cool Secret Sipper: Mas De Can Blau Montsant (with over ten years of bottle age!)

Sunday's Free J Carver Spirits Tasting, 3:00-5:00

Tasty Wines:


Pewsey Vale Dry Riesling 2016, Eden Valley, Australia, $19.99
"Final blend unbottled and unfiltered, this has plenty of fragrant lime and stone fruit aromas on the nose. There's a supple, even and succulent palate; good flesh, spicy, even and balanced." Range: 92-93pts JS

Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2015, Washington, $14.99
"Tangy and zingy, with lively acidity that balances against gobs of ripe pear and apricot flavors, carrying through the long, lime-accented finish. Drink now through 2020." 90pts and Top 100 -WS, also 90pts WA & WE

Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Marlborough, $24.99
"The crisp lime and grapefruit notes are lively and juicy up front, set on a fleshy body. Becomes more complex on the finish, with honeysuckle details and a whiff of green tea. Drink now. 14,000 cases imported." 90pts WS

Yalumba Viognier "Eden Valley" 2015, Australia, $19.99
"Yalumba's Eden Valley Viognier bottling rivals the brand's Virgilius bottling in varietal expression, even if it's not as ripe or rich. Gingery spice and floral notes bring a dimension of complexity without oak, and the wine's fruit remains citrusy, fresh and focused through the long finish. Editors' Choice" 92pts WE

Heymann Lowenstein "Kirchberg" Dry Riesling Grosse Lage 2013, $25.99
I (DM) just tried this the other day for the first time, and it is an exciting take on Germany's "First Growth" Rieslings. It's unclear whether this vintage was reviewed by the wine press (due to constant changes in the way German wines are named), but the wine press has gushed about the two subsequent vintages. Here's Wine Advocate's take on the 2014: "From sandier red slate soils compared to the Winningen terroirs, less warm but more vigorous and picked at the beginning of October, the 2014 Riesling Kirchberg 'VDP Grosse Lage' needs a bit of time to show its talents. The wine starts with a pure and smoky nose with stony and herbal flavors, as well as ripe Riesling berries. Full-bodied, round and silky, with a lot of finesse and a lovey purity on the palate, this perfectly balanced Riesling reveals a very, very long and salty finish; it has ripe and intense Riesling fruit in the endless aftertaste." 93pts

Lagar de Condesa "Kentia" Albarino 2016, Spain, $14.99
Taste it with us Saturday!

Arindo Rueda 2016, Spain, $12.99
Taste it with us Saturday!


Chateau de Paraza Minervois Cuvee Speciale 2014, Languedoc, France, $13.99
"Tasted as a tank sample, the 2014 Minervois Cuvee Speciale is a beautifully balanced, elegant red that has fresh, crisp notes of black cherries, damp herbs, skoal and mint. Medium-bodied, nicely concentrated and balanced, bright and lively, yet perfectly integrated acidity, it's an impeccably made red and should evolve nicely for 4-5 years." 87-89pts WA

Fontanafredda "Briccotondo" Barbera 2014, Piedmont, Italy, Reg. $17.99, Sale $13.99
Take advantage of this great end-of-vintage deal on a super solid red that always does the trick for pizza or pasta.

Colossal Reserva 2014, Lisboa, Portugal, $13.99
"Creamy, with plentiful ripe raspberry, red plum and milk chocolate flavors, this medium- to full-bodied red is marked by spice and mineral details through the velvety finish. Drink now through 2019." 91pts WS

Rotie Cellars "Northern Blend" 2011, WA, $59.99
"The 2011 Northern Blend is comprised of 95% Syrah that spent 16 months in French oak barrels. A beautifully classy and elegant effort, it offers up textbook blackberry and black raspberry fruit, cracked pepper, violets and hints of spice to go with a medium-bodied, elegant and pure profile on the palate. It's a gorgeous effort in the vintage and should drink nicely for over a decade." 92pts WA

Bergstrom "Shea Vineyard" Pinot Noir 2014, Willamette Valley, OR, $78.99
"Brilliant ruby. Ripe cherry and black raspberry aromas are complicated by floral oil and cola nuances. Sappy and expansive on entry, then tighter in the midpalate, offering palate-staining red and dark berry flavors that turn sweeter on the back half. Shows a sexy floral pastille note on the strikingly long, penetrating finish, which is framed by silky, even tannins. The blend of richness and vivacity here is quite impressive." 94pts V, also 94pts JS & WE

Calera "Jensen" Pinot Noir 2013, Mt. Harlan, CA, $99.99
"The Pinot Noir Jensen Vineyard is one of the most overt and powerful wines in the range. The stress of the drought comes through in a wine with real sense of push and pull tension. Ample, rich and also structured, the Jensen is another wine that needs at least a few more years in bottle. The flavors are especially dark and intense this year, while the huge, resonant finish adds to the wine's considerable appeal." 96pts V, also 96pts WE

Calera "Reed" Pinot Noir 2013, Mt. Harlan, CA, $79.99
"Calera's 2013 Pinot Noir Reed Vineyard is a beauty, and one of the standout vintages of this cuvee. Harvested on October 8th and 9th, with a scant 1.14 tons per acre, and aged 17 months in 30% French oak, its light ruby color is followed by a sweet, perfumed bouquet of sassafras, mint, sweet cherries and dried flowers. This cooler site always imparts a lively, sappy, almost green note, but it's always balanced by a solid core of fruit. Medium-bodied, supple, elegant and silky, it has tons of charm, no hard edges and should evolve nicely on its overall balance." 93pts WA, also 93pts V & 96pts WE
Thanks for reading. We'll see you soon!

The North Loop Wine and Spirits Team

Key: WA=Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, WS=The Wine Spectator, IWC=Steven Tanzer's Old Publication, WE=Wine Enthusiast, V=Vinous (Galloni & Tanzer), JS=James Suckling, North Loop Staff: LI=Lisa, TD=Tony, DM=Darrin, PG=Patti

North Loop Wine and Spirits
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401