This weekend, you can make your loyalties clear. You can join us for an all California wine tasting on Friday, or Saturday's tasting, which will be 100% Old World (France, Spain and Italy). Of course you're welcome to attend both, and we recommend it. For those of you who are newer to our store, you should know that we pull out some really good stuff this time of year. Read on for all the details.
Tastings & Events

Free Wine Tastings:

Friday's Free Wine Tasting 4:00-8:00
Chandon Brut Rose, California (CA)
Mer Soleil "Silver" Chardonnay, CA
J Rochioli Chardonnay, Sonoma, CA
Angelinie Pinot Noir, CA
Stolpman Syrah, Santa Ynez, CA
Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma, CA

Plus an awesome Secret Sipper: Domaine Serene Pinot Noir "Evenstad Reserve" Willamette Valley, OR - please ask discreetly to taste this as it is intended just for our newsletter readers; while supplies last!

Saturday's Free Wine Tasting 3:00-7:00
With guest pourer Kingsley of Margron Skoglund Imports:
San Martino Prosecco, Italy
Andre Neveu Sancerre, Loire, France
Lafond Lirac Blanc, Rhone, France
La Querciolina Montecucco, Tuscany, Italy
Vieux Roudy Haut Medoc, Bordeaux, France
LAN Rioja Gran Reserva, Spain

New Arrivals & Great Deals


Chandon Brut Rose "Rebecca Minkoff" NV, California, Reg. $24.99, Sale $16.99
"Foamy, fresh and rather soft, this mouthfilling wine smells subtly like raspberries and cherries. It tastes attractively fruity and has a smooth texture." 89pts WE

Gimonnet Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne "Cuvee Cuis" 1er Cru, France, in Jeroboam (3 Liters), $389.99
"The most recent disgorgement from January 2015 is based on the 2011 vintage (+ 22% Réserve wines), and is very pure, lovely, fresh and delicate on the typically intense, chalky/mineral, well balanced and elegant palate. The lighthearted yet quite complex wine was disgorged with a dosage of 6.5 grams per liter." 90+pts WA

Mousse Fils Blanc de Noirs Champagne Solera "l'Or d'Eugene", France, $52.99
"Smoke, candied almond and licorice notes accent the exuberant ripe strawberry, black cherry coulis and whole-grain toast flavors in this well-balanced, juicy version, with a firm, lightly chalky bead." 92pts WS

Gaston Chiquet "Special Club" Champagne 2009, France, $84.99
This vintage not yet rated, but the 5 previous vintages (not done every year) were rated 91, 93, 92, 94 and 90 points respectively by Wine Advocate. 70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir


"Gio" Chardonnay by Alex Simcic 2016, Slovenia, $18.99
Slovenia is rapidly developing a reputation for making outstanding Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc, but this Chardonnay really jumped out at us. Only a third of the blend sees any oak (French), yet it has significant depth.

Fossil Point Chardonnay 2015, Edna Valley, CA, $17.99
"Proving one of the more reliable affordably priced brands from the region, this bottling offers fresh jasmine, tangerine pith, crushed chalk and pineapple aromas. The palate is a bit more tropical, delivering coconut and mango flavors with enough restraint to please many." 88pts WE, **please note, this is scheduled to arrive Friday before 4:00

Andre Neveu "Grand Fricambault Silex" Sancerre 2016, Loire, France, $29.99
"Silex is the key word here and it refers to the most sought after flinty soils of Sancerre, thought to produce the world's finest Sauvignon Blancs. Citrus rind and pine forest come to mind at the first whiff of this wine; the flint comes on after swirling. The palate is dry with zingy grapefruit, lime and a surprising mix of smokey darker berries that finishes quite broad." DM; Taste this with us Saturday! **please note, this is scheduled to arrive Friday before 4:00


La Quercia Aglianico 2016, Puglia, Italy, $15.99
It is made with organically grown grapes from their estate vineyards and fermented in stainless steel to maintain freshness. Yet it avoids the harshness of tannins that are often associated with young Aglianico. Plum and white pepper are the standout notes on the nose and palate. Only 1100 cases are produced annually. The winery, staying true to their geography, recommends this with seared Ahi tuna with plum sauce, grilled polenta cakes with sun-dried tomatoes and Cioppino. This is an outstanding value.

Sallier de la Tour Nero d'Avola 2015, Sicily, Italy, $18.99
70% of the blend is raised in stainless steel tanks to maintain the freshness. 30% is aged 12 months in second or third pass French oak barrels to soften the tannins and give overall harmony to the wine; this brings out the spicy and licorice notes that are telltale to the best examples of this varietal.

Podere Ciona "Montegrossoli" 2015, Tuscany, $17.99
This mini-super-Tuscan is primarily Sangiovese with a small dollop of Alicante Bouschet added for structure and color. The tiny 300 case production wine spends almost 2 years in new French oak barrels, which is absolutely crazy considering the price.

LAN Rioja Gran Reserva 2008, Spain, $27.99
"Tasting this wine with my co-workers back in the Spring, there was some debate between us as to which was more enjoyable, this 'traditional' wine or their more 'modern' special bottlings (which sell for more than twice the price). I came down on the side of this wine. It is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Mazuelo (Carignan) that spends 24 months in a combination of American and French oak, before resting for 3 years in the bottle prior to release. The combination of red fruits, dried herbs, cinnamon, fennel and cigar box are intoxicating enough just on the nose that you don't even have to drink it; but you might as well since you've got it in the glass." DM

After Dinner***************************************************

Cossart Gordon Bual Madeira 5 Year, Portugal, $27.99
"Smooth and lush, with loads of glazed apricot, maple, vanilla and cream flavors. Fresh, focused finish." 89pts WS. This is a great bottle to have open for the holidays as the heating method that is used for premium Madeira creats a product that is pre-oxidized and won't go bad once it is opened; really, it's good for months or even years!

Worth The Splurge Whiskey**************************************

Roknar Limited Release Maryland-Style Rye - $42.99
One of Minnesota's most ardent "field-to-glass" producers -The crew at Far North hand-selects and plants the "finest" non-GMO grains like AC Hazlet rye and Minnesota 13 heirloom corn in order to craft these field-to-glass projects, and is proud to "mill, mash, ferment, distill, and bottle" on-site at the nation's northernmost distillery.
Taste: Nose of hay, roasted corn and saw-dust, with notes of avocado honey and ripe fruit on the palate. It finishes bright, with cinnamon and other baking spices. Only 140 cases released!

Kaiyo Japanese Whisky - $67.99
Matured in the finest Mizunara oak casks. The distillery's pioneering research into the effect of wood selection on whisky maturation has led to the development of bespoke aging barrels, crafted from slow growth, air-seasoned wood from hand-selected trees. The casks are hand made due to the Mizunara oaks delicate wood grain. The whiskey is gently matured in a traditonal style for many years before it embarks on its unique sea voyage.

Taste: Delicate nose with vanilla, ripe dried fruit and hints of cherry and a long lingering finish.

BARRELL Whiskey Batch 004 - $77.99
Cask strength American Whiskey, (uncut, no color added, non-chill-filtered), distilled in Indiana and Tennessee and crafted and bottled in Kentucky. Matured first for 11 years in previously used American Oak then finished in rum casks and rye barrels.
Taste: Roasted fruits, creamy spice, tropical and exotic aromas combine with traditional flavors of vanilla, cinnamon, toasty grains. The wound up spices create a vibrant mouthfeel and candied fruits resolve into toasty grains and woody tones.

Joseph Magnus Bourbon - $99.99
A team of industry experts were inspired to recreate the original Joseph Magnus recipe from the 1890s, after discovering old bottles of and sampling some of the century-old pre-prohibition era bourbon. Using sourced 8 to 9-year old bourbon from MGP in Indiana, the Jos. A. Magnus & Co. distillery then triple-cask finishes the bourbon in used oloroso sherry, Pedro Ximenez sherry, and cognac casks.

Taste: Rich caramel and dried fruit on the nose. The palate has a smooth texture up front, while the mid-palate is rich with spices enhanced by the heat of the alcohol. The finish has a touch of charred wood.

J. Rieger Monogram Oloroso Sherry Bota - $109.99
Modified Blurb from The Whiskey Advocate
Here's what makes it special: the barrels themselves are roughly 100 years old and came from the solera of Williams & Humbert, one of the oldest sherry producers in Spain. Unlike new oak casks that have been seasoned with sherry for the express purpose of aging whisky later on (the way most whisky producers obtain sherry casks), solera botas are prized for their neutrality-no one wants an oaky sherry. Old botas are also valuable to sherry bodegas for the colonies of yeast and bacteria that have set up shop in the wood, facilitating the continuity of the wine's character over decades of fractional blending. An established sherry bodega might hold on to its botas for well over 50 years and even up to a century, according to "A Modern Guide to Sherry" by Talia Baiocchi. These sorts of casks rarely make it out of their original homes, and I've never heard of one being used to age whiskey until now.

Although the youngest whiskey in the blend is 9 years old, Monogram could easily be mistaken as older thanks to the influence of the botas, which impart characteristic flavors of highly mature whiskies (think "old library book"). It's 52% ABV and only 1,000 bottles are available. The company plans to continue using the solera for some Monogram releases, but won't be replicating this particular batch-so if you want to try it, track it down now.

Thanks for reading. We hope to see you soon.

The North Loop Wine & Spirits Team

Key: WA=Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, WS=The Wine Spectator, V=Vinous, JS=James Suckling, WE=Wine Enthusiast; North Loop Staff: LI=Lisa, TD=Tony, DM=Darrin, PG=Patti, MP=Madison, ER=Emily

North Loop Wine and Spirits
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401

North Loop Wine and Spirits