Wineglas 2008 Best of the Twin Cities
You will see plenty of "Best of" in regards to wine but I am able to offer the most accurate view of wine in the Twin Cities as I don't sell wine, collect advertising dollars from wine and am the number one wine reviewer in Minnesota for the general public!
Top Ten Wines
*In honor of the Wine Spectator Top Ten I am doing my with a local flavor. Note this top 10 are wines that are available here with the shop you can purchase them at in the cities.
2005 Columbia Crest Vineyard 10 Washington State Red Wine 90 points: At $4.75 on sale this wine is next to impossible to beat. Serve this at a party instead of the obvious names from California. Several shops $9
2005 Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Cabernet Sauvignon Washington State 92 points: Anywhere from $9.99 to $15.99 a huge crowd pleaser. Several Shops $17
2. 2005 Dr. Loosen Erdener Treppchen Auslese 95 points: One of the best German Rieslings I have ever tasted. Served at the Minneapolis Wine Club in November.
$32 through Wineglas Deals
3. 2006 Ayoub Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 96 points: Served at a few Wineglas events and is the top rated Pinot to date. Lakeside $60 (check the sale right now)
4. 2005 Kilikanoon Block's Road Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 94+ points: Ask your shop! $35
5. 2005 Livio Felluga Collio Pinot Grigio Italy 92 points: I normally am not a Pinot Grigio fan but this one is a knockout! Lakeside Sold Out $30
6. 2005 Chateau Tourneffeville Lalande-De-Pomeral Bordeaux, France 93 points: A Surdky's exclusive which was on a sale for $26. Surdyk's $35
7. 2005 Las Rocas de San Alejandro Vinas Viejas Spain 93 points: At $15.95 at Hennepin Lake get a six pack! Hennepin Lake $17
8. 1997 Argyle Extended Tirage Sparkling Wine Oregon 94 points: America's best Sparkling wine by a landslide and better then most French Champagne. A steal at less then $35 at Hennepin Lake. Hennepin Lake $40
9. 2006 Marquis Philips South Australia Shiraz Australia 93 points: Hard to believe at $13.95 they can make a wine this good. At Hennepin Lake. Hennepin Lake $17
2001 Fattoria La Fiorita Riserva Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany) 95 points: Brunello is a clone of Sangiovese and delicious especially from the 01 vintage. Call Lakeside for this one! $75
2004 Andrea Oberto Vigneto Albarella Barolo (Piedmont) 96 points: Barolo is made from the Nebbiolo grape and in a good vintage are amazing wines that rival the best in the world. Call a good shop but retail is $86.
Top Five Wines Not Available in the Cities or Hard to Find
A great search engine to find rare wines is Wine Searcher:
1. 2005 Tim Smith RSW Barossa Valley Shiraz 97+ points: Only available in Australia at the moment. Second best wine I have ever tasted!
2. 2005 Tim Smith Barossa Valley Shiraz 95 points: $32 a bottle and info on purchasing is on my private log-in section.
3. 2001 Dr. Loosen Erdener Pralat Auslese Riesling 94 points: 2001 is one of the best vintages from Germany in 50 years!
4. 1999 Bollinger La Grande Annee Brut Champagne 95 points: Expensive but the best Champagne I have ever tasted!
5. 2004 Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape 94 points: Might be a few left in the Twin Cities but available on the Internet.
Winery of the Year: Tim Smith from Australia
Runner Up: Dr. Loosen from Germany
Top Wine Shop Sale
Surdky's Fall Wine Sale
October 7- 25
*While there are always better deals on wines throughout the year no one match the overall quality of this sale.
They had the best catalog (vintages were accurate), a great free tasting over the weekends, the best German selection in the Twin Cities and very good employee help. They also have the only website of value to the consumer as they actually update it.
Hennepin Lake Liquors (Uptown)
*Always going to be in the top 3. No one has better every day pricing then Hennepin Lake but they only take check or cash.
Top Wine Shop Sale High End
Lakeside Wines & Spirits
580 Willow Drive
Long Lake, MN 55346
*The prices speak for themselves. Pat Keeler does not have the deepest selection in town but there are no games with this sale. It is 27% off every bottle in the store.
Some of the incredible prices are available under Wine Shop Sales in the Twin Cites.
Top Wine Purchase of the Year
2002 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese at Haskell's Winter Sale $26
2005 Dr. Loosen Erdener Treppchen Auslese $32 Private Info
Top Salesperson in the Twin Cities
Taylor Stein at Hennepin Lake. Taylor tells it like it is and with most consumers buying wine at under $20 there is no one better. His palate matches well with mine and if you take advantage of my reviews you will love his recs too.
Top Wine Program on the Web
Grape Radio. This is the only informative show I have found and if you want to learn about specific producers, wines and regions this show is for you. www.graperadio.com
Top Wine Tasting in 2008
I Nonni Italian Tasting
Even I can't put this on for $45. See Wine-related-articles for the great wines sampled.
Worst Wine Tasting in 2008
Any tasting that you have to wait five deep to sample a bad bottle after bad bottle of wine. On top of it you are charged $60+ per person for wines that are served free at various wine shops around town. You said the name of the event not me.
Worst Advice Giving Out By a Competitor
While I try to keep positive these 2 comments won't slide on my watch. "Shop for wine where right by where you live." That is like saying eat at whatever restaurant is closest. What if you live by a Burger King?
In regards to reviewing wine bars: "They have a nice flight of Minnesota wines." I am sorry but as a serious wine educator you will not see me recommend Minnesota wines or ever serve them at a tasting. We don't have the right "Terroir" to produce quality wine. It would be like a beer educator serving a flight of Bud, Miller Lite and Coors.
I want to thank those individuals and businesses that have supported Wineglas in 2008 and I look forward to working with you in 2009.
Wineglas is the only unbiased journalist in the Minnesota Wine Scene. I don't get paid to express my opinions and don't appear in glossy magazines with several paid adds. I also run the best wine club in Minnesota called the Minneapolis Wine Club.