Monthly Bottles

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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

FICTION Red Wine Blend

Cost: $8.99

Where buy now: Several stores nationwide

Grapes: California Kitchen Sink Blend

Region: Paso Robles, California

Vintage: 2013

Fiction can

“Honey, I’ll take it in the can tonight.”

And yes, you will. My Skank Wine of the Month is a little above my $6 threshold but it’s in a can which deems itself skank-worthy.

I grabbed a can of Fiction Red Wine Blend out of sheer curiosity. It’s a kitchen sink Cali blend and I was shockingly surprised. Cheeky, but I liked it!

Some thirty-something year old cat in California has a job that exposes him to some valuable grapes. He buys them up around the state and blends them into a wine he enjoys and now cans (for the cool kids.)

This wine is novel and has it’s place in the back pack of a bicyclist, in a cup holder on a boat or in your hand at a concert. This wine is deep ruby red boasting dried blackberry fruit flavor, herbs and mineral sweat. It’s like the thinnest kid at fat camp; confident enough to hold it’s own within it’s field.

Grill up some skin on wieners or my new fave – the Cherry Bomb Brat at Kramarczuk’s and crack a can. While your friends suck down PBR or the new Miller LITE throw back tall boys, you’ll pull this out and be all classy and shit.

By the way, the glass was used for posterity.


Surdyk’s Spring Wine Sale Survival Guide

Navigating the Surdyk’s Spring Wine Sale

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I have been frequenting Surdyk’s for more than 15 years, and still get giddy every time the wine sale flyer comes out. However, the Surdyk’s wine sales are not for the faint of heart. Dare I say, it takes feats of strength (and patience) to manage it. This is typically due to one or more of the following reasons:

1 – The parking lot is a disaster. People drive in from all around the metro, often times in giant SUVs, desperately seeking that rock star spot.

2 – Okay, great, you finally have a spot and are inside. What’s next? People everywhere, carts up and down the narrow aisles, not to mention wine bins every 5 feet. It can look as if people are stocking their bomb shelter, full of nervous energy associated with situations requiring said bomb shelter. Quite overwhelming.

3 – You found your wine- now you need to wait in a cartoonishly long line (hey, that rhymed!). Then, back to the clusterf**k in the parking lot, only this time, with several breakable treasures in tow.

Sold you on going to Surdyk’s wine sale, haven’t I? Not to fret. In my 15 years, I’ve managed this event the wrong way and I’ve done it the right way. Here is my insider’s guide to the “right” way, followed by my top picks.

First off, I cannot believe I’m even giving you this dirty little secret: avoid the parking lot nightmare by arriving shortly after they open. I like to get there by 9:15 a.m. If need be, I’ll conveniently schedule a “doctor appointment” that morning and skip a half day of work. This is the main perk of arriving early: less human clutter. I chat with the little old men in newspaper caps, take my time looking at labels, and you can actually hail a wine associate for their undivided attention.

“Get a cart or not?” That is the question. If you plan to buy more than 8 bottles, get a cart. Otherwise use your eco-friendly wine totes. Do NOT push your cart down the aisles. Surdyk’s even posts signs to thwart this rude act, but the bewildered and stupid still force their carts down the skinny aisles creating an annoying bottleneck. These people should be shot (or at least maimed).

Note that each aisle is marked by country/area of origin. Use these signs to guide you, as the list I’ve created below is categorized geographically. With my system, you could be in and out of there within 15 minutes (hmmm, perhaps an infomercial is in order? Sham-what?).

Now that you’ve learned how to tame the Stegosaurus that is the Surdyk’s Spring Wine Sale, here is a Savvy Lush endorsed smattering of sagacious picks, this list is long enough w/o including the French:


2010 Cline ‘California’Zinfandel @ $7.49
2010 Gnarly Head Zin @ $7.99
2010 Ravenswood “Vintner’s Blend” Zin @ $6.99
2008 Peachy Canyon “Incredible Red” @ $6.99
2010 Clos du Bois Chardonnay @ $7.49
2010 J Lohr “Riverstone”Chardonnay @ $7.99
2010 Cupcake Chardonnay @ $7.49
2009 J.Lohr “Seven Oaks” Cabernet Sauvignon @ $9.99
2010 Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc @ $8.49
2010 Angeline Sauvignon Blanc @ $8.99
2010 Simi Sauvignon Blanc @ $9.99
2009 Estancia Merlot @ $7.99
2009 Dynamite Merlot @ $7.49
2010 Cupcake “Red Velvet” @ $7.49
2009 Red Truck @ $6.49

Italian White

2010 Antinori Orvieto Classico “Campogrande” @ $7.99
2009 Cusumano Insolia @ $8.49
2010 Inama Soave @ $12.99
LaMarca Prosecco @ $11.99
Astoria Lounge Prosecco @ $8.99

Italian Red

2009 diLenardo Ronco Nole @ $11.99
2010 St. Giorgio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo @ $7.49
2006 Sella & Mosca Cannonau “Riserva” @ $10.99
2009 Cusumano “Benuara” Sicilia @ $10.99
2010 Cusumano Nero d’Avola @ $8.99
N/V Giacomo Vico Langhe Rosso @ $10.99
2010 Franco Serra Barbera @ $9.99
2009 Luccarelli Salice Salentino @ $10
2010 Gabbiano Chianti @ $6.99
2008 Giacomo Mori Chianti @ $13.99
2009 Antinori Santa Cristina @ $7.99

Spanish Red

2009 Montebuena Rioja @ $8.99
2006 Bodegas LAN Crianza Rioja @ $9.99
2007 Marques de Caceres Rioja @ $9.99
2009 Monseran Garnacha @ $7.49
2010 Evodia Garnacha @ $7.49
2009 Protocolo Red @ $5.99
2010 Manyana Tempranillo @ $4.49


2009 Jakob Schneider Riesling Kabinett @ $11.99

South America

2009 Palo Alto Reserva @ $8.99
2010 Colores de Sol Malbec @ $7.99
2010 Alamos Torrontes [white] @ $7.49
2010 Veramonte Cabernet Sauvignon @ $6.49
2010 Diseño Malbec @ $7.49


2011 Gazela Blanco Vinho Verde @ $4.49

New Zealand

2010 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc @ $10.99