Tag Archives: white wine review

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

Mionetto Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore

Cost: $11.59

Where buy now: Costco

Grapes: Prosecco

Region: Italy

Vintage: N/V

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore

New Savvy Lush mantra: When in doubt, drink bubbles.

In keeping with my recent Italian theme, let’s talk Prosecco. Prosecco, the sparkling white wine that hails from my motherland, Italy. I love it’s versatility. Drink it when you want to celebrate, drink it on a Summer afternoon, drink it on a cold Winter’s night and drink it when you don’t know what else to drink. Need to bring a hostess gift? Bring Prosecco. Want to freshen up the palate? Drink Prosecco. Out with your Boss and want to impress? Order a glass of Prosecco.

Bottom line: when in doubt, drink bubbles.

To round out my Costco “mini-series”, I proudly bring you Mionetto’s “Valdobbiadene” Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G. Wowza, that’s a mouthful! [That’s what she said?] Who cares how to pronounce it, you just gotta drink it. But if you don’t want to sound like a total buffoon, it’s .

Prosecco hails from the North Eastern Region of Italy, known as Friuli-Venezia Giulia. (free-OO-lee vehn-ETZ-yah Julia.)The region that borders Austria and Slovenia is where these grapes thrive. Prosecco is named from the village Prosecco near this region’s capital, Trieste. (tree-ESS-teh) You know famed chef, Lidia Bastianich? You guessed it, from Trieste. Enough about the geography lesson, wanna learn up go here: http://www.mionettousa.com/whyprosecco.php/Mionetto

Let’s get down to the what, where, why and how.

What: This particular prosecco, Valdobbiadene Superiore D.O.C.G., is some special hooch. It’s at the top of the food chain when it comes to Proseccos.

Where: Single vineyard grapes picked from a very small area known as the “Prosecco grape zone” between the towns of Conegliano & Valdobbiadene. That special area where only Prosecco D.O.C.G. can be labeled.

Why: This stuff is delicious! We’re talking 100% Prosecco; no half-assed mish-mash. This is a fresh and clean sparkler with green apple and light citrus aromas. Now for my douchey moment: I detect jasmine flower. Not all-up-in-your-face, Avon soap jasmine reek, but rather jasmine from afar. Not to sound like an ass, but I say this because I’ve experienced subtle wafts of jasmine first hand in Italy. The flavor is green apple, light citrus and stone fruit. It has a more rounded mouthfeel for a sparkler, too. If you or someone you know digs on Moscato, stretch the palate with this guy. Plus, you won’t get a headache drinking it. Need more reason? Clearly you’re a jerk.

How: Prosecco grapes are pressed into juice and fermented into still (not bubbly) wine. That wine then nestles into stainless steel tanks where it bathes in yeast for a couple months, creating a natural second fermentation. The longer it sits during this process, the more expensive the wine. This wine spends about 2 months in pressurized tanks before being bottled. That’s a relatively short amount of time, which is reflected in the price. Whereas most of your super-duper fancy pants Champagnes [read: pricey] sit for years and command a pretty penny, this beauty may be my first case investment in some time.

At Costco you can spring for Mionetto’s “Target” brand for $9 and change. BUT, for a measly two dollars more, you can upgrade to the Superiore. Two dollars! I’m not trying to clear you out of house and home, here, but, c’mon! You’ve already “saved” money on that giant aquatic toy, the 7,500 ct. generic Advil (a Savvy favorite) and 137 oz. vat of spinach and artichoke dip. Don’t get cheap now.

In fact, buy two- one for you and one for that future occasion when you can’t quite figure out what to drink. Now, you’ll never be in doubt.

Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay

Cost: Average price $17

Where buy now: Solo Vino – $15.99, Byerly’s, Zipp’s, Thomas Liquor

Grapes: 100% Chardonnay

Region: Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan

Vintage: 2011

Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay

Thanksgiving will soon be here- our time to give thanks for all the riches in our lives. Of course it also means retailers will be forcing sales, deals, and fake holiday cheer down your throat. You likely have plans to see family and friends; some you want to see and, well, a few you kinda don’t. Tis’ the season, right?

What do I love best about Thanksgiving? Why the Thanksgiving feast, silly! A juicy, succulent bird adorned with all the fixings. It’s heavy and warm like a down comforter. And just like a down comforter, it’s dead weight downright paralyzes you. Really, you’ve no choice but employ wine to help cut through all that “stick to your ribs” fare. (Not to mention to help deal with your annoying cousins who won’t discipline their children leaving you to quell their sugar laden spastic behaviors.) Or that drunk uncle that starts singing hymns before crying and then later passing out.

But I digress.

I have the perfect regional wine, from Michigan to be exact- a Chardonnay that’ll knock your socks on your ass: Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay from Black Star Farms Vineyards. Black Star Farms has vineyards on both the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas, this is the second Michigan wine from the same area that’s impressed me. Earlier this year, I deemed L.Mawby Vineyard’s Sex as perfect V-day wine http://bit.ly/Xy47T9/L Mawby Sex Yes, Michigan. Home of Gerald Ford, Kid Rock and a city actually named “Colon”.

What’s going on in Northern Michigan? Let me tell you. The Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas are located on the Earth’s 45th Parallel. This means it’s smack dab in the middle of the North Pole and the Equator. Other famous wine regions on that Parallel include: Alsace, Bordeaux and Burgundy. Hmmm, imagine that? Awesome juice coming from France lies on the same 45th Parallel as that of Old Mission & Leelanau Counties. Plus, this area is surrounded by Lake Michigan, creating it’s own micro-climate. This not only influences temperature and precipitation, but also, it has it’s own unique terroir going on. Yes, Michigan. http://www.wineriesofoldmission.com/local/upload/file/WOMP-Broch-2013.pdf /Old Mission Wine Map

I was introduced to this wine from our old pal Rodney at Byerly’s Minnetonka, by way of this great lil’ bro/sis duo, Oeno Distribution. I met Anthony (brother) who made me aware of L. Mawby’s Sex. BTW, he’s a saucy little spitfire, so I encourage you to follow Oeno Distribution on Facebook and make it to a tasting near you. Anyways, when I heard this wine came from Oeno, I knew it had to be good.

Rodney poured me a glass of this pale golden nectar. Before I even finished the sample, I was reaching for a bottle to put in my basket. For real. That is not an exaggeration.

Arcturos Sur Lie is an unoaked Chardonnay. Fermented in stainless steel tanks, you’re getting a medium bodied wine with notes of apple, pineapple and citrus fruits. Earlier, I mentioned this area has it’s own terroir. Simply tasting this wine made me realize that. It has a nice expression of steely minerality and fruit that just seem to say “Welcome to Michigan”. [It does NOT say “Welcome to Colon”, thankfully.]

This is a versatile white wine and a great pairing with your Thanksgiving Day feast. That medium body will hold up to those mashed potatoes and gravy. The crisp citrus notes will pair well with that all natural, free-range, organic, Andrea Boccelli-serenaded-whilst-being-slaughtered turkey. Plus, how many of your family members have tried a Michigan wine? Blow away their expectations with this Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay. You’ll truly be enjoying the best of the Midwest, savoring and appreciating all of life’s riches.

That is, until you pass out.