At the Riverside Inn, we are fortunate to have not one, but TWO certified sommeliers in-house. Their passion and dedication to wine is the heart of our extensive wine list, and their education and training of our front of the house staff is priceless. Recently, I sat down with one of these experts, Emily Larkin, to chat about wine and to find out what she is excited to be drinking these days. These are Emily's picks for fall.
“Think of this wine as the girl in the room in the little black dress who everyone wants to dance with, but who can also can kick everyone’s butt on the pool table. This wine is comprised of 100% “free run juice” meaning there is no over extraction of the grapes, preventing vegetal or stem qualities. It is fermented to dry. This the route many winemakers are currently taking with their Riesling grapes. One thing Riesling is not is one dimensional. Smell after smell, taste after taste, it reinvents in your mouth - that’s complexity, people. In 2016, female winemaker and Detroit native Kasey Wierzba, took over as winemaker at Shady Lane. She brings her well honed skills from wineries such as Frog’s Leap and Far Niente. I’m very excited to see what other delights she produces for our area.”
“This wine is like the person you ignored during your entire school career only to find that they are the most interesting person in the room at your high school reunion. Once you’ve acquainted yourself with this wine, it will likely become a staple in your home cellar. The grape is Arneis, produced by Vietti near the town of Roero. With wine, the first question is often about the grape: what’s it like? Chardonnay? Pinot Grigio? The truth about this varietal is that it stands on it’s own. Aromas of ripe pears, orange peel, and delicate white flowers burst forth through low acidity fully allowing for an expressive nose and varietally specific flavor. The weight of the wine mirrors a full-bodied, un-oaked chardonnay. Simply put, it’s pretty in a Jessica Lange/Susan Sarandon kind of way.”
“The first time I drank Meursault was somewhat akin to the moment I learned Darth Vadar was Luke Skywalker’s dad - unbelievable! I was completely unprepared to have my mind blown by a chardonnay, yet it absolutely was. Unlike conventional chardonnays, Meursault is creamy and sophisticated. It’s the Marilyn Monroe of chardonnay styles; rounded, supple, curvy, and better with age. The Jean Charton Meursault is a lovely example of this style of wine, and my advice is to run, not walk into the arms of this sultry new love affair.”
“Pinot Noir connoisseurs claim that these southern Californian pinots are going through an identity crisis. This varietal is thought to be somewhat of an operatic diva in most parts of the world, but tends to express itself in a more masculine way in this region (think late author Jim Harrison). The southern California heat brings the grapes to maximum ripening potential, and the hills that elevate east to west provide exposure to the damp protection of the Pacific fog preventing the grapes from becoming total slobs. The Cargasacchi vineyard has a reputation for producing beautiful examples of pinot noir from this region and it is highly sought after by wineries. Most wineries source fruit from different reputable vineyards to create their wines. It’s a chef’s mentality. Most chefs don’t grow or raise their own food for the menu, they stock their larders with produce from the area's best growers. This is precisely the case with the Samsara vineyard who sourced Carcagsacchi grapes to produce this outstanding pinot noir.
I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Cargasacchi and having dinner at his home. He cooked wood fired pizzas in an outdoor oven and we drank numerous bottles of pinot noir. At the end of the night, he told us he had to turn in because he had an early start the following morning. He explained that to make a little extra cash his wood fired oven also served as the neighborhood’s pet crematorium and he had a really busy day ahead of him. He said goodnight and turned to go without a smirk or gesture to indicate a joke. I still don’t know if it was, but I know for a fact that the pinot noir produced with his expertly grown grapes is dead serious.”
“Chateau de Montfaucon is situated on the Rhone River directly across from Chateauneuf du Pape. The label is an odd triangular shaped sketch of the Chateau. This is the same label they used back in 1829, and still use today in their portfolio of wines on this particular cuvee. What makes this wine unusual is that they take 15 different grapes varietals, both red and white, and ferment them all together. Typically, fermentation is done separately per varietal. This is an old-field blend technique but this wine hardly drinks as a silly little table wine. It’s extremely integrated - much like its neighbor Chateauneuf du Pape. Consider that they have been making wine since the 16th century and we have access to it. How lucky are we?”
So there you have it. If you find yourself in the mood for an outstanding wine experience, Emily suggests popping open one of these delicious options. Each of these wines is available on our wine list, and we would be happy to discuss the option of case purchases as well. Cheers to you & happy sipping.