Author Archive: Mike Conti

An Old Friend

deloachOut to dinner with friends last night and spotted DeLoach Pinot Noir on the restaurant’s wine list. Over the years, this has been one of my favorite wines.DL_CaliforniaPinotNoir_Bottleshot_120_433 I paired it with Braised Short Ribs, and they were delicious together. After dinner, I came home and did a little research as to how far back I’ve been drinking Deloach. “In a previous life”, I managed a few restaurants and wrote a few wine lists – many of the lists I still have today. Invariably, every single wine list I wrote from 1982 on had DeLoach Pinot Noir on it! My affection for the wine still exists today.

King James used to call for his old slippers, because they were the best for his feet. That’s how I feel about DeLoach Pinot Noir – it’s an “old friend of a wine” that’s best for my tastebuds.

Viva Mencia

I’m always intrigued by tasting wines made from the indigenous grapes of their regions or countries. These are generally wines that are limited in selection here in the US, and I find many of them uniquely different than many “standard” selections.

This week took me northwest Spain, specifically the Bierzo region, where I enjoyed a red wine from Bodegas Godelia made from grapes known as Mencia. (My wife who lived in Spain for a year reminds me to pronounce the grape as mehn-THEE-ah).


Ever since the discovery of 100 year old vines of Mencia in the last decade, I believe the wines have truly come into their own. I enjoyed the balance of floral aromas and spicy red fruits of this wine, with the rustic elegance and dark fruit flavors – and a long lingering finish. Viva Espana!


More info click here: Godelia Bierzo Mencia WS top 100 talker

Pot Roast & Syrah

potroastThe weekend had that fall “feel” with a little chill in the air. Raking leaves, starting up the corn stove, and harvesting the last vestiges of the garden were on my to-do list. So was making a pot roast. So I slow roasted a nice 4 pound boneless chuck roast in the oven with carrots, onions, garlic, and herbs, and sacrificed a half cup of my Domaine Pradelle Crozes-Hermitage to incorporate, knowing full well that this was the wine I wanted to enjoy with dinner.vignerons_independants_logoThe wine was a big hit! This beautiful syrah from Northern Rhone was the perfect pairing with the pot roast – so much so that we had to open a second bottle!pradellepradelle

Positively Passitivo Primitivo

601_passitivo_logoA request came in for a red zinfandel to serve by the glass. My “knee-jerk” reaction was to head straight to our California selections and start picking out a few recommendations – which I did. Last minute, I packed a bottle of Passitivo Primitivo in the bag – let’s see where Italy’s version of red zinfandel might fare amongst the pack. From my client’s reaction, very well. As each person tasted, their reactions and comments were incredibly positive, As a result, the wine will find a home on their lists.


I saved a glass to try when I arrived home. From my perspective, this wine had tons of character. Medium bodied, typical flavors and aromas of black fruit and spice, rustic yet elegant and nicely balanced with a touch of oak influence.

It’s great to get reacquainted with a wine not tasted in a while. This gem will be coming home with me frequently this fall!




Summer is For Sancerre

Temperatures are in the 90’s for the past five days in a row. The extended forecast looks like the heat wave will continue. I’m eating lighter, with more salads and seafood listed on my “home” menu. Of course, wine is expected with every meal, so I turn to an old friend – Sancerre, in particular, Jean-Marc et Mathieu CrocheJMC sant Sancerre 2014. Simply stated, this wine is light, invigorating, and charming.

To me, Sancerre has a striking balance between a fuller-bodied Pouilly Fume and a lighter-bodied Muscadet from the Loire Valley. Sancerre is made with Sauvignon Blanc grapes, and has a pale yellow color with slightly grey overtones. It’s bouquet is undeniably expressive of its region, with interesting notes of boxwood, brush, and almonds. This wine is thirst-quenching on a hot day, with pleasant citrus fruits that add the perfect match to my field greens with sauted shrimp overtop. When I’m thinking wines for the summer, I’m always thinking Sancerre.

Cheers, Mike Conti