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Artist and polymath Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “The discovery of a good wine is increasingly better for mankind than the discovery of a new star.” While we think the Renaissance Man’s words are extreme, we find it hard to argue with one of history’s most prolific and successful inventors about the value of certain discoveries. Want to ponder his genius? Read on to see what you can discover from local wine professionals.
Owner of Rosie’s Italian Grille
606 N. McCord Rd. | 419-866-5007
Did you grow up around wine? Yes I did grow up around wine. Both of my parents came from Sicily and enjoyed wine with dinner. I was allowed sips of wine from the time I was a child.
Have you always loved wine? No, not as a young adult. I first drank beer and vodka until I discovered some really good wine. That love affair is still going on today— until death do us part.
What was your first real wine experience? Drinking Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill. I am pretty sure I lost my dinner that night.
You’re at a restaurant and don’t know any of the wines on the list. What do you do? I look for the region. My wife, Betsy and I love Paso Robles and their amazing zins! So, if there’s a wine from that region we are pretty sure we will like it.
Steal: Mettler Old Vine Zinfandel, $39. Bring your pickup truck to load up on it!
Deal: Wino Wednesday: $10 off every bottle of wine $30 and above and $5 off every bottle of wine $29 and under. You don’t want to miss us on Wednesdays.
Unreal: Opus One 2012, $295.
Mancy’s Wine Director, Bottle Shop at Mancy’s Italian 5453 Monroe St. | 419-824-2463 | facebook.com/bottleshopmig
What was your first real wine experience? A wine dinner at Cousino’s Chez Vin. It changed the way I ate, drank, and prepared food.
In the world of wine, who do you most admire and why? Who influenced you? My biggest influences are the women in Toledo who built the local wine culture. I think Eileen Cousino was way ahead of her peers in trying to bring artisan wine to Toledo. Ann Kisin and Diana Kerr Brown, both veteran sales reps in Toledo are who really drew me to wine as a career. Their success and love of what they do still motivate me. They set the standard for level of commitment and hard work that it takes to be successful here. Toledo is a small and therefore very competitive market.
What’s the finest wine you’ve ever had? Chateau Lafite Rothschild, I don’t remember exact vintage, something 90’s. I shared it with a late and great friend, it will always be my finest wine memory and experience.
There’s a bucket of fried chicken in front of you. What are you pairing it with? Champagne.
Owner of Sautter’s Market Sylvania 5519 Main St., Sylvania. 419-885-3505 | Sauttersmarkets.com
What was your first wine-related memory? My first wine related memory was sneaking a sip of Mogen David Concord at grandma’s house on Thanksgiving 60 years ago. It tasted like cough syrup to me.
What are your favorite, and least favorite, wine trends? I love dry rosés, and I’m glad that people are learning that quality rosés are a far cry from white zinfandels.
What’s the finest wine you’ve ever had? A couple year’s ago I got my hands on a 1977 Petrus. I took it to Element 112 where four of us enjoyed a most beautiful wine with an excellent dinner.
There’s a bucket of fried chicken in front of you. What are you pairing it with? A crisp, dry Gruner Veltliner from Austria.
Steal: All the wines you will find in our markdown and closeout section are truly great deals.
Deal: I just purchased five great, high quality Bordeaux.
Unreal: Although we have more expensive wines, a fantastic wine is the Napa Valley Caymus Cab.
Manager of Rockwell’s Steakhouse & Lounge Inside the Oliver House. 27 Broadway St. | 419-243-1302
Did you grow up around wine? Yes. Italian wine was always a big part of family holiday meals and, to be honest, a good red wine pairs great with Italian food.
What was your first wine-related memory? My first communion. I remember being all dressed up in a little suit, walking up the aisle to get communion, and then drinking the Holy wine. I hated it! I didn’t start to get Holy wine after Communion until a few years later.
What wine trends are you currently seeing? I’ve seen canned wine, bottled wine, and a growing obsession for rosé.
You’re at a restaurant and don’t know any of the wines on the list. What do you do? It all starts with the food. It all depends on what I’m hungry for. The wine is meant to pair with the food, after all. Once I have my food planned, I pick the type of wine. From there, I kind of wing it. I’m not too picky when it comes to wine— so odds are I’ll probably still like it.
There’s a bucket of fried chicken in front of you. What are you pairing it with? 19 Crimes The Uprising. It’s aged 30 days in rum barrels, which gives it a pretty nice flavor profile. Plus, I personally think it goes great with that type of food— especially pizza.
Steal: Finca El Origen Reserva Malbec 2013.
Deal: Freemark Abbey Merlot 2013.
Unreal: Rodney Strong “Rockaway” 2014.
Restaurant Manager of Brim House Inside the Renaissance Toledo Downtown Hotel 444 N. Summit St., 419-243-7664. Brimhousetoledo.com Breakfast: 6:30am-11am, daily. Lunch: 11am-2pm, daily. Dinner: 5-10pm, Sunday-Thursday. 5-11pm, Friday-Saturday. Bar opens daily at 11am.
Have you always loved wine? It took me awhile to enjoy the taste of wine but I have always been interested in it. Most of my family are wine drinkers so I’ve been around it for my whole life.
What are your current favorite wine trends? Something that came out of the rosé trend is that people are now becoming more and more open to trying different wines. I mean, I love cabernet sauvignon and Chardonnay, but it’s great to see people getting excited about things like nebbiolo and Beaujolais-Village. I’m not a big fan of the bourbon barrel aged red wines, I know people really like them and that’s fine but for me if I want bourbon, I’ll just have a bourbon… and I always want wine.
There’s a bucket of fried chicken in front of you. What are you pairing it with? First and foremost, champagne is an amazing pairing with fried chicken, the acidity and effervescence of the champagne helps to clean the oil and fat from your palette. If a true French Champagne is a little out of your price range, go for a Cremant or a Cava. You could also go with an off-dry riesling or if you’re in the mood for a red wine, try a tempranillo.
Steal: Agostino Pavia & Figli “Casareggio” Barbera d’Asti, $9 a glass/ $34 a bottle. This wine has more of a lush mouthfeel than you tend to find with a fair amount of Italian red wine. Very easy-drinking red.
Deal: Bonny Doon Vineyard “Le Pousseur” Syrah, $58 a bottle. Good restaurant price on this amazing Syrah from Bonny Doon. This Syrah has a flavor profile closer to St. Joseph or Hermitage in France than it does to your classic California Syrah. Deep, dark, and intriguing.
Unreal: Philippe Gonet Champagne NV, $130 a bottle. Amazing grower producer Champagne made from 100% Chardonnay. Classic notes of fresh butter and brioche with apple and lemon.
Bar Manager of Poco Piatti Perrysburg: The Town Center at Levis Commons, 3155 Chappel Dr., 419-931-0281. 11:30am-9pm, Monday. 11:30am-9:30pm, Tuesday-Thursday. 11:30am-10:30pm, Friday-Saturday. Noon-9pm, Sunday. Sylvania (opening Monday, November 27): 6710 W. Central Ave., 419-720-8028. 11:30am-9pm, Monday. 11:30am-9:30pm, Tuesday-Thursday. 11:30am-10:30pm, Friday. 4-10:30pm, Saturday. Pocopiatti.com
Have you always loved wine? I have not always loved wine, but our relationship has matured over time.
What is your favorite wine trend? Rosé— all day.
You’re at a restaurant and don’t know any of the wines on the list. What do you do? Narrow it to varietal, and go with the bartender’s recommendation of course.
There’s a bucket of fried chicken in front of you. What are you pairing it with? Champagne, because bubbles make everything better.
Steal: Our amazing Sangria.
Deal: 1/2 off Wine Wednesdays.
Unreal: Massaya Gold, $80 a bottle.
Wine Director of Walt Churchill’s Market Maumee: 3320 Briarfield Blvd., 419-794-4000. Perrysburg: 26625 N. Dixie Hwy., 419-872-6900. waltchurchillsmarket.com
What was your first wine-related memory? Sitting with my grandmother sipping Manischewitz with water out of a juice glass.
What was your first real wine experience? Pedroncelli Zinfandel Rosé. It was dry. Bought it at Olympia Wine and Beverage.
What are your favorite, and least favorite, wine trends? Favorite: More wineries focusing on naturally made wines. Least: Overripe, over extracted cocktail wines.
In the world of wine, who do you most admire and why? Who influenced you? My grandfather was the most influential. Next— Paul Draper, CEO and chief winemaker at Ridge Winery, now retired. He has consistently made some of the best and most interesting wines in California and stayed true to his philosophy of natural winemaking.
You can only drink from one region for the rest of your life. What is it? The Veneto region of Northern Italy. Diverse styles of both red and whites.
Steal: Protocolo Vino de La tierra De Castilla. Spanish red. Great value at $7.99.
Deal: Domus Vitae unus Solus Toscano Rosso. A great Tuscan red. Complex, full-flavored. Classic old world. $14.99.
Unreal: Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1996. Absolutely outstanding perfume, really shines with cocoa, white pepper, strawberry. Simply one of the most aromatically interesting Mouton’s ever. $999.99.