Sigalas Santorini Assyrtiko

Cost: Average price $18

Where buy now: Zipps Liquors, Thomas Wine & Spirits, Apollo Liquor, South Lyndale Liquors, and Whole Foods in Maple Grove.

Grapes: Assyrtiko 100%

Region: Santorini, Greece

Vintage: 2014

Sigalas Santorini Assyrtiko
Sigalas Santorini Assyrtiko PDO

My brother’s name is Nicholas. Naturally, we call him Nick, but NOT in front of my Grandma Alice. “Call him ‘Nicholas’- he’s not ‘Nick, the Greek.’” she would growl.


Please don’t misunderstand my dear Grandmother, she loved the Greeks. In fact, she had friends in her hometown of South Bend, Indiana from all over: first generation Greek, Polish, Hungarian and Jewish immigrants. She was an educated lil’ spitfire who taught junior high Algebra and Geometry for 30 years, and from whom I inherited my crimson locks and my, ahem, crumb and condiment catching chest. She was the best! Not just because she let me eat countless Ding Dongs, drink coffee at age seven, and parade around the supermarket in my Wonder Woman Under-Roos (though all of those things were AWESOME). Grandma Alice taught me that we have one life, so we might as well enjoy it.


I couldn’t agree more.


Sure, there are days when I wish I wore a single-digit dress size or jeans that don’t leave a mark on my stomach by day’s end. But I have an appetite for good food and wine, and if you plan to swallow your food and drink, an all wine diet a single-digit size does not make.


I mysteriously received a Greek wine sample last week. It was the first sample in a _long_ time I have deemed worthy of an article. [Also, it was the _only_ sample I’ve received in a long time.] Sigalas Santorini, is a dry white wine made up of 100% Assyrtiko grapes harvested from 60 year old vines. Assyrtiko is a snappy, crisp number. It’s quite pale in color, like diluted Ginger Ale. If you haven’t experienced minerality in a wine, you’ll notice it here. It’s dry with a pithy citrus thing going on. I’d recommend this to New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc lovers. While it doesn’t possess the grassy undertones, the acidity and minerality has me betting it would go over well with those folks.


So, the Greeks can make good wine. Great wine, in fact. Plus, on a hot and humid day, it was perfection. I know, I know, it’s more than $15, so by definition, it’s my Snob bottle of the month. I’m sure you can find it on sale for around $15. If not, bring it to a dinner party and really draw attention to the fact it’s Greek wine. Folks will be fascinated and instantly find you intriguing. There you go, introverts, now you have a party starter.


If Grandma Alice were still around, we’d likely split a bottle of Santorini and give a big ol’ “Na zdrowie!”. Heck, she probably wouldn’t have needed to Google the Greek word for “cheers” like I did. (It’s “Yamas”.) However, we’d both be grateful this wasn’t a red wine, for we’d have looked to see we dribbled wine on our, ahem, shelves.

My quick trip down memory lane, I found a few photos of Grandma Alice and me.

Grandma Alice and me
Grandma Alice and me
Grandma Alice and me in South Bend
Grandma Alice and me in South Bend
Grandma Alice and me at Swan Lake, MI
Grandma Alice and me at Swan Lake, MI

Substance Cabernet Sauvignon

Cost: Average price $18

Where buy now: Byerly’s Ridgedale, Saint Anthony Municipal Liquors

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon

Region: Columbia Valley, Washington

Vintage: 2013

Substance Cabernet Sauvignon is darkly opaque yet silky smooth. Like luscious berry, lightly oaky and toasty tobacco, it’s rich; not like old money rich, more like new money rich.
Substance Cabernet Sauvignon – Wines of Substance

Substance Cabernet Sauvignon is a Charles Smith creation produced and bottled by something called “Wines of Substance” in Washington’s Columbia Valley. I have reviewed some of his other [value] wines such as Kung Fu Girl and Boom Boom Syrah. I’ve been a fan of those so it stands to reason for about five bucks more, I’d be enchanted with this Savvy Wine “wallet-buster”.

You guessed it, this wine tips the scales around $16.99 so, by definition, I must label it a Savvy Lush “Snob” wine of the month. That said, between HBO Now, several ill-advised purchases, and ACL surgery for my dog, I’m pretty broke- yet I’ve splurged on this baby six times. (That’s half a case for you scoring at home.)

Plain and simple, this is divinely flavorsome Washington State wine. Substance Cabernet Sauvignon by Charles Smith is darkly opaque yet silky smooth. Like luscious berry, lightly oaky and toasty tobacco, it’s rich; not like old money rich, more like new money rich. It’s so yummy it just begs to be drunk unaccompanied. Don’t cloud it with succulent grilled meat stuffs before drinking it naked. Set aside 15 – 20 minutes, pour yourself a generous glass and enjoy it.

Some things are worth your time and money. Thank me later for my diligent research, as this is easily worth the investment.

Portada Rosé

Cost: Average price $8-9

Where buy now: Zipp’s Liquors

Grapes: Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Tinta Roriz. (Portuguese word for Tempranillo)

Region: Portugal

Vintage: 2014

Portada Rose
Portada Rose

Gah! It’s $7.99! I drank my first bottle in one sitting!


This Rosé is a blend of frolicking grapes that must have been BFFs growing up. Combined they create an easy drinking, refreshing beverage. It’s dynamic but soft; sensual yet practical. [Perhaps this Princess has finally found her Portuguese Prince?]. Okay so this wine isn’t technically a “Red Wine of the Week” being pink and all. However, it’s made from red grapes, so that’s good enough for me.


I should have just bought a case of the Portada Rosé. But no, I’m an asshole who likes to waste time by going back and forth to the liquor store on a daily basis. You know the people who claim their coffee barista knows both their name and beverage du jour? Yep, that’s my relationship with the liquor store sales clerks.  The only thing missing is my name on the paper bag.


Let me save you the trouble, buy this wine by the case, seriously. Pour yourself a glass and inhale the aromas of apple and strawberry engulfed in Portuguese minerality.  This stunner is _thee_ Rose of the summer (aka TROTS), as deemed by me, Thee Savvy Lush.


I just love it.