Monday, September 22, 2008


Last night, I got to try a very limited bottle of Burnet Ridge Lou’s American Red NV ($17.98). ZFor those of you beyond the Greater Cincinnati area, Burnet Ridge is a local winery, generating some pretty good wines using California grapes brought in and crushed in a small Garagiste setting. Lou’s American Red comes to us via our good friend (and RNDC/Barkley Division rep) Lou Schnier and winemaker Chip Emmerich.

Before I talk about the wine, let me tell you about Lou.

I met Lou, strangely enough, at Chateau Pomije, some 7 or so years ago. I was actually Lou’s replacement as Pomije’s wine buyer. Lou had left to join the wholesaler side of the business, going to work for Commonwealth Wine & Spirits of Kentucky (which inevitably morphed into the current RNDC of Kentucky). It was only after I left Pomije to come to work here at Liquor Direct, did Lou and I actually become friends. Lou’s always had this very laid-back, dry sense of humor and easy-going attitude that makes dealing with him almost effortless. Anyone in my line of work comes across more than their share of the uptight, almost-manic salespeople that seem stressed to the limit with quotas, but Lou is, as the expression goes, is “as cool as a cucumber.”

So I was pretty intrigued when he came to me presenting a wine he inspired Burnet Ridge’s winemaker Chip Emmerich to make – a tasty, fruit-driven red blend of Grenache, Carignan and Petite Sirah. Only 100 cases of this wine were made, and apparently, will only be available in the Northern Kentucky market. By admitting that we brought in 40 of those 100 should impress you enough, because space is always an issue here, and I wouldn’t bring a crap wine in because I don’t have the room for it.

Anyway, my wife and I drank a bottle last night, which paired up nicely with the Barbeque Pork Medallions I made for dinner (though the spicy hash browns I served up with them overwhelmed the wine). This red is expressive, with dark cherry and spicy red raspberry aromas and flavors, mixed in with hints of cinnamon, red currant and cola. Its medium-bodied frame is meshed with a nice balanced acidity and presence of oak, and shows good concentration and depth. This wine is meant to drink right now, and does a great job at being just a delicious everyday drinker.

Stop in and give it a try. [Editor's note: Sadly, Burnet Ridge has opted to pull out of the KY market altogether, so this particular wine will be the last we can sell of Burnet Ridge.]

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