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Off the Beaten Path


Anyone can pop the cork on a Napa cab or a white burgundy.  But there are a lot of pleasures to be had if you allow yourself to stray off the beaten path.  Al has a few suggestions to help you get pleasantly lost.

Click on the picture for the full wine list. 

Zaccardi Bonardo, Mendoza, Argentina '11

A little known big rustic red that is doing well in Argentina

Quality: ★★

Price Range: less than $20

Pueblo del Sol Tannat, Juanico Region, Uruguay '13

Well-made, up-to-date second tier grape that has found a new home

Quality: ★★1/2

Price Range: VALUE! less than $20

Graziano Petite Sirah, Mendocino '12  

High acid, exotic fruit, tasty red that is definitely not syrah

Quality: ★★

Price Range: less than $20

Pessora Da Vinha Touriga Nacional Reserva, Douro Valley, Portugal '13 

Acid dominated stand-along T.N. that should have been blended.Quality: ★1/2

Price Range: less than $20

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
As General Partner of Clipper City Brewing Company, L.P., Hugh J. Sisson is among Baltimore's premier authorities on craft brewing and a former manager of the state's first pub brewery, Sissons, located in Federal Hill. A fifth generation Baltimorean, Hugh has been involved in all aspects of craft brewing.