Rotating Wine Special
We bring in a case of wine every week or so to run on special. This is probably the most fun aspect of our jobs. We hope you join us as we work through case after case of wine that we have carefully picked out and are excited to share with you. Below is what is on special now, and further down the page you can see what's on deck.
Still Room Wine Manager
Jonathan first became well-acquainted with craft beer, far-flung wines, and classic cocktails on the consumer-side, reaching legal drinking-age in one of the best restaurant and bar cities in the world (Chicago, IL). Moving subsequently to the rugged central highlands of Arizona, and finding a home in the burgeoning viticultural region of the Verde Valley, he spent several years working in the area’s vineyards, cellars, and tasting-rooms, eventually managing one of the latter (while helping out part-time at a friend’s local craft-brewery, which presented tremendous opportunity for cross-over projects).
While he still has a palate-preference for the fine Rhône-style wines that are the focus of Arizona’s terroir (not to mention actual Rhodanien wines), his overriding project at the Still Room is to bring to our tables unique, exciting, and overlooked varietals from any region—meaning you won’t find our wines at most other dining or grocery establishments, and many bottles will include a descriptive journey away from mainstays and towards the margins of the winemaking map. But, as Ishmael says Instagram-famously in Moby-Dick, “true places never are […] down on any map”.
In his spare time, Jonathan can be found drinking beers brewed by Mountains Walking or Imagination, waiting for the Roxy to reopen, playing around with new punches for our in-house punch menu, and researching the etymologies of obscure words. He is also a published poet, with an MFA in Poetry from University of Montana, as well as a candidate for an MA in Literature who needs to finish his thesis.
2016 M.O.B. Lote 3 Dao Tinto
Moreira, Olazabal, & Borges “M.O.B” Lote 3 Tinto
Pronunciation: lote-three tin-toe
Varietal Blend: 40% Touriga Nacional, 40% Alfrocheiro, and 30% Jaen
Color: Brickish plum-purple
Oak Profile: Aged for 12 months in oak barrels of 225L
Terroir: Dão DOC, Centro Region, central Portugal
Price: $10 BTG / $38 BTB / $16 Offsite Retail
Tasting Notes: Notes of old distressed leather, barn-floor, ripe red and purple plums, and desert-dusty saddle bags predominate the nose, with some black-cherry and boysenberry lingering. Flavor is heavily boysenberry-driven, with a good, moderate, cleansing acidity, with tones of fresh topsoil, green-peppercorn, thyme, and a touch of bright salinity rounding the profile.
Background: A pronounced minerality is born of the substratum of granite that (thanks to the Dão region’s being a plateau surrounded on three sides by the granite ranges of Serra da Estrela, Serra do Caramulo, and Serra da Nave) underlies the well-draining sandy soils that characterize the geological morphology of Dão, which is also cross-cut by two of Portugal’s primary rivers (the Rio Mondego and eponymous Dão). Somewhat counter-intuitively, the three ranges also keep the region warmer in the summer, shielding it from wet, cooling, low-pressure systems coming off the Atlantic Ocean—conditions ideal for veraison (grape ripening).
The varietal blend is driven by Touriga Nacional, likely Portugal’s most well-known red grape, and often considered its finest. A frequent component of Port wines, as well, Touriga produces low yields and small berries, which leads to high tannins and concentrations of black & purple fruit. Often blended with Touriga Francesca (a partnership Jancis Robinson has likened to that of between Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, in Bordeaux), here it is instead presented with accompaniment from Alfrocheiro Preto and Jaen—the former a native Portuguese grape, grown almost entirely in the Dão, which provides dark, rich, earthy coloring to wines; the latter better known as Mencía in Galicia, the northwestern Spanish province which borders Portugal to the north. Jaen is a high-yield grape that often lightens a blend, but contributes appreciable fragrance along with that levity.
From the producers: “The vineyards, in a total of fifteen hectares, ten located in Seia and five composed by old vines in Gouveia, are situated in one of the colder sites of the region, in the foothills of Serra da Estrela; the conjunction of altitude, soils, and the grape varieties of the property convinced us that it would be the right place to move forward.”
2019 Planet Oregon Sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé
Varietal Blend: 100% Pinot noir
Color: Pale ruby-red grapefruit
Oak Profile: None
Terroir: Mineral Springs Ranch, Willamette Valley AVA, Oregon
Price: $14 BTG / $36 BTB / $20 Offsite Retail
Tasting Notes: The aromatics supply some classic, Champagne-like cheesy lees, along with some breezy, underripe raspberry, and dew-wet straw. A highly effervescent sparkling wine—with frenetic, crisp bubbles—the flavors evince tight, underripe Flathead-cherry juice, underripe raspberry, aronia berry, and even a touch of Rainier cherry, along with the expected, classical Parmesan-hinting lees. This excellent sparkling Pinot noir rosé is light & crisp, with a cleansing wisp of bitterness on the finish, and a very bright, yet complex, summery bite.
Background: This sub-label from Soter Vineyards, a well-known and highly-respected producer from the Willamette Valley, in Oregon, comprises a sustainably-grown, environmentally-themed set of wines (two, for now: this rosé, and a still red Pinot noir). A portion of the proceeds go to Oregon Environmental Council, so—like the Fullerton “Three Otters” Pinot noir we host on our menu—you’re investing back into the Willamette Valley ecosystem, and not just the economy, when you buy this wine.
The wine itself is very New World, in certain respects, and very brunch-appropriate, but also perfect for patio sipping alongside afternoon hors d’oeuvres. Yet the Champenoise aspects shine through at heart, given it a nice balance between richer, Oregon-style Pinot expression, and French-style sparkling wine aspects. With spring here, and summer (seemingly? hopefully?) fast-approaching, this wine is a perfect cheery accompaniment to the brightening skies.