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Markus Joey 2015 Insieme

22 Sep

Markus Joey 2015 Insieme, Markus Wine Company. 13% ABV, $19/bottle. Available from Borra Vineyards


What happens when two winemakers are friends and decide to partner on a wine? Sometimes you get a beautiful result, and here is a great one! Markus Joey Insieme is the blend of 95% Lodi, California Torrontes grapes (winemaker Markus Niggli)with 5% Lewisville, North Carolina Traminette grapes (winemaker Joey Medaloni). If you look closely at the label, you’ll see both winemakers, Markus facing West to Lodi, Joey facing East to Lewisville. But just wait until you taste what they made in the middle!


The color is pale straw, while the nose offers faint peach, gardenias and a hint of pineapple. On the palate: beautiful citrus, honeydew melon, and a white floral bouquet are met with a moderate body, focused minerality and strong acidity. The flavors are gentle but they linger, tantalize your palate, and challenge you to drink more.




This wine is what you want to serve your oenophile and sommelier friends, because they won’t guess what it is, unless they’ve already been fooled by it. So hold on to a bottle if you can, but I can’t. It’s too delicious to cellar! I found myself reaching for the bottle of Insieme in the late afternoon and pouring myself a tiny bit to sit in the late day sun, sniff, sip, and admire. I’d love to buy a case of this but I doubt it would ever make it past the first floor of my home.

I paired a bottle of Insieme (which is Italian for “together”) over a two week tasting period with a cheese platter, Mexican food, Chinese food, and a Julia Childs-style braised chicken breast with new potatoes. The supple flavors, beautiful mouthfeel and delightful acidity make this sing like one of the stunning, gratuitously expensive wines from the Bavarian alps, but this wine is pure American made fruit. Its complexity allows you to enjoy it with many pairings, but I ended up preferring it all by itself, it’s just that much of a pleasure to drink and focus on. And even over two weeks(!) it stayed fresh and consistent in my fridge, thanks to the screw cap and high acidity that keep the blend in check.



If I had to put this wine partnership into a mental image, I’d offer it up as Wassily Kandinsky/Jackson Pollock mesh of art styles. But trust me, you white wine lovers, you’d rather put this in your mouth and savor the flavors of partnership. This bottle offers incredible value with a reasonable price for exceptional drinking pleasure, and that’s all the reason you need to keep some on hand.


à votre santé!


Wine from WHERE? Indiana?

6 Aug

Indiana. A buddy of mine sent me wine from Indiana. I was amused, even a little shocked. But hey, WHY NOT? I cracked these open and tasted them over a week. As you can see, I didn’t refuse to review them, so they passed the drinkability test! Read on, dear oenophiles:


Monkey Hollow Winery Chambourcin 2013, MSRP $18/bottle.

Color is violet with clear edging. Nose of bright red fruit and rose bush. In the mouth: cherry cola, blackberry, and green vegetation up front. There is powerful acidity in the mid-palate that makes this wine feel both more tannic and sweeter than it actually is. Notes of pencil shavings and more intense blackberry show predominantly on the medium finish. I’m fascinated by this, because Chambourcin is traditionally a dry red with intense color and flavor and I found this less dry and less intense, but very interesting to drink, pairing this wine nicely with steak, pasta, pizza, and asian stir-fry.


Monkey Hollow Winery Traminette 2014, MSRP $20/bottle.

Dark straw with medium opacity in color. A fragrant nose of honey, citrus fruit and wildflowers, in the mouth it immediately tastes like a midwestern cousin to gewürztraminer (which of course the grape actually is) lychee and apricot dominating the front palate with notes of delicate spice -candied ginger, cinnamon sugar, vanilla bean- on the finish. Over the course of a week, the apricot became more dominant but the wine stayed fresh and enjoyable ands paired easily with light flavors, as an apéritif or with chicken, salad, and delicate cheeses.


Monkey Hollow Wines are made in Saint Meinrad, Indiana which is closest to Santa Claus, Indiana. That’s about sixty miles from Evansville, IN, which has brutally hot summers and cold, windy winters. I know that because I lived there for three years.

(Alcohol by volume not listed on the Money Hollow Wines bottles or their website.)

à votre santé!

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