Hospitality industry professional Leo Bortolotto has worked in the realm of fine wine and food for more than a decade. He spent several years in Europe learning the finer points of pairing European cuisine with the ideal complement of wine. He shared his passion for the culture by leading rafts of tourists in exploring renown and rare Italian wineries. Leo’s decision to relocate to his adopted home of Denver, Colorado was with the intention of realizing his vision for an eclectic and customer-focused wine boutique. This venture, a retail wine shop in the Lower Highland community of downtown Denver, is a journey every wine lover must make.
"Settled first by Etruscans then the Romans, the territory of Tuscany has been prized since antiquity for its rich soil and favorable climate for the cultivation of grapes and olives. The earliest documentation of a "Chianti wine" dates back to the 13th century when viticulture was known to flourish in the "Chianti Mountains" around Florence. The name 'La Maialina' (little pig) references the Cinta Senese heirloom breed that originated in the Siena area during the 1300's and is the only Tuscan native pig to survive extinction.
La Maialina Chianti expresses a ruby red color, with bright aromas and flavors of red cherries and ripe strawberries with hints of sweet spices and a soft finish."
Critical acclaim for the 2010 vintage!
We absolutely love the wines from Scarborough in Washington State. This micro-production winery produces some red blends and Cabernets that are out of this world! Here's a little info about Scarborough winery:
"Travis Scarborough, Winemaker, grew up in the Napa Valley and worked at a few different wineries before moving up to Washington in 2002. His style is rather simple: "Maintain concentration while avoiding over-ripeness, and focus on the vineyard instead of can be done in the cellar. Once in my hands, practice 'barrel integrity' and precise blending techniques, the wine can maintain a consistency throughout each vintage. For the love of wine, we hope you enjoy!"
91 points -- The Wine Advocate
"Starting out the reds, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon The Main Event is a multi-vineyard blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot that spent 24 months in 60% new French oak prior to being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Bright and subtly volatile on the nose, with bramble, cedar, potpourri and black currants emerging from the glass, this full-bodied, decadently styled blend has knockout richness, a seamless texture and a clean, well-focused finish...Improving with air, it should continue to thrill through 2020. Drink now-2020."
$99.99/ 1.5 liter bottle
The Russian River traverses Sonoma County from its source high in the mountains of northern California. This river valley is known for a relatively cool climate due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Morning fog often rolls in from the Pacific through the Petaluma gap and burns off during the day, resulting in a wide range of diurnal temperature variation. Pinot Noir does exceptionally well in the Russian River Valley, as this very delicate grape variety appreciates cooler climes.
"The 2011 Miro Pinot Noir has fresh, medium red bright color. The first impression is of cherry compote, hint of cranberry, ripe strawberry and pronounced rose petals aromas. With further aeration the wine shows slight nuances of new oak barrels-vanilla and toast and a hint of forest floor and earthiness. The mouth feel starts out freshly fruity and finishes with balanced acidity and soft tannin. The wine is still very young at the time of these notes and it will develop nicely with 2-4 years of aging. Cheers!" $29.99
Rosé season is not over! The mercury is well into the 90s and you need something crisp, light, and refreshing. Commanderie de la Bargemone is THE quintessential Provençal rosé that is sure to be your next wine crush.
"One of my go to Provencal rosés, the 2012 Commanderie de la Bargemone Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence Rosé is another beauty. Very pale in color, it nevertheless has loads of flavor, with plenty of melon, orange peel and floral aromas to go with a medium-bodied, racy palate that has both richness and freshness. Buy this beauty by the case and enjoy bottles over the coming year or so." ~JD
90 Points - The Wine Advocate
Rye Whisky is all the rage these days, and for good reason. Walk into any bar in the United States 100 years ago, and chances are your bartender was making drinks with Rye Whisky, the staple libation of the time. Years later, Bourbon became America's spirit of choice due to its sweet finish and fruity character. In recent years, however, Rye has staged an impressive comeback amongst bartenders, mixologists, and bearded hipsters alike.
Cocktail archeologists have been digging up recipes from the pre-Prohibition era and pride themsleves on recreating a bit of Americana at your local watering hole. Distillers around the country are clambering to get their Rye on the market as well-to-do 20-something urbanites have no problem forking over $15.00 for a craft cocktail.
Among the crowded shelf of Rye whiskys at the local bar, Dickel stands out as a go-to brand. George Dickel Rye whisky is dry and rich with fruit notes of cherries and dates. It is well balanced with a spicy zest and hint of nuts which is the perfect blend of tangy and spicy. 90 proof $26.99
Lillet Blanc is a French aperitif wine made in the Bordeaux region with the addition of citrus liqueurs and other botanicals. Lillet is best served chilled with a slice of lemon or lime and acts as a wonderfully aromatic aperitif during the Summer months.
Lillet can also be used as an ingredient in a range of cocktails, including James Bond's 'Vesper' made popular in both the Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace films. See below for a recipe.
3 measures of Gordon's Gin
1 measure of vodka
1/2 measure Lillet
lemon peel for garnish
The Vesper according to Ian Fleming and James Bond:
"Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?"
-Casino Royale, Chapter 7
Wine maker Dave Phinney is responsible for such cultish and iconic wines as 'The Prisoner', 'Saldo', and 'Papillion.' On his latest wine project, Phinney traverses the globe crafting elegant & approachable wines in places like Spain, France, and Italy.
The Locations Italy project is a blend of native Italian varietals including Negroamaro, Nero d'Avola, Barbera, and other varietals from Puglia.
"Revealing an attractive color spectrum of crimson and scarlet with a slight magenta band on the rim, the wine explodes with aromas of macerated raspberries, dried lavender, plum tart, and toasty oak accents. The palate is immediately hit with super lush flavors of ripe berries and spice, supported with a dense core that has just the right amount of characteristic acidity. The tannins are already velvety and soft which provide for a lingering finish with hints of minerality and some herbal notes." $19.99
The 2009 Bordeaux from Chateau Peybrun is a classic earth-driven claret. Black fruit and plum aromas abound alongside hints of cedar, vanilla, and spice. Dark fruit is present here, but this claret will be a favorite for those who love savory earth elements. Wet stones, tobacco leaf, and roast coffee flavors come to the fore and linger on the long finish. Medium-full bodied, dry with good concentration and fine tannin make this an expressive example of the incredible 2009 vintage in Bordeaux.
Try this Bordeaux with grilled lamb, roasts, sirloin, game meats, and sausages.
According to many pundits and wine makers alike, 2007 was a great year in the Rhone river valley. The wines are known to show great concentration and depth of flavor. Most of the 2007 vintage has been sold off, but we were lucky enough to find a stash of the Chateau Courac Cotes du Rhone Villages Laudun.
Laudun is a village in the southern Rhone valley which focuses on producing high-quality blends of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. This particular bottling from Chateau Courac is Syrah-heavy and delivers a deep and dark garnet hue with ripe and fruity notes on the nose. Enticing scents of blackberry liqueur sneak through. A heavy amount of Syrah gives the wine a meaty quality with peppery tannins and a chewiness on the palate. This is a beautiful representation of the Cotes du Rhone and is ready to drink now. $21.99
Known for their prestigious Brunello di Montalcino, Altesino began making the Rosso di Altesino in 1989 to offer a high-quality wine at a price that could be enjoyed everyday. 80% Sangiovese with 20% Cabernet and Merlot, this is a fresh wine with a bright, ruby red color. Notes of red roses and violets, the wine itself is dry and slightly rustic. Pasta or lasagne with a bolognese sauce would be a match made in an italian kitchen...or heaven, isn't that the same place? $19.99