Halloween-Inspired "Spirits" & Wines


No TRICKS only TREATS! Check out our recommended list of Halloween-inspired wines and spirits available at Michael's Wine Cellar:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon "Freakshow", Michael & David, 2014, $19.95
  • Zinfandel "Sin Zin", Alexander Valley Vineyards, CA, 2013, $18.95 Zinfandel "Romanzo Moon", Lapis Luna, Lodi CA, 2012, $16.95 Red Blend, 19 Crimes, AU, 2015, $11.95
  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Ghost Block, Oakville, CA 2014, $69.95
  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Ghost Block, Oakville, CA 2014, $69.95 Whiskey, Jim Beam "Jacob's Ghost - White Whiskey", 750ml, $21.95
  • Moonshine "Cafe Moonshine - Full Throttle", S'Loonshine, 750ml, $34.95
  • Moonshine, Catdaddy "Original Spiced", 750ml, $27.95|

Wines Named with Edgar Allan Poe Inspiration:

  • Merlot "The Rook", Corvidae, Columbia Valley, WA, 2014, $13.95
  • Syrah "Lenore", Corvidae, Columbia Valley, WA, 2016, $13.95Click here to shop online anytime, or stop in the retail store, 10 am - 6 pm, Monday - Saturday.
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To Drink or Not to Drink: A Hurricane Dilemma

We hope you'll enjoy another tale from our knowledgeable wine specialist Sean King at Michael's Wine Cellar. It began on Friday night about 48 hours before Sarasota was predicted to be hit (punched really) in the gut by hurricane Irma. Lots of Sarasota had left town including many of the Michael’s On East staff. With a great deal of the restaurants around being closed, we were quite busy and I was able to step away from the Wine Cellar to the Restaurant floor and help with wine. Around 7:30 pm, I began to notice a trend. DChampagne Glassesiners from the bar to tables were asking about and ordering what I would call “ special occasion” wines. As I opened a bottle of 2006 Veuve Cliquot La Grande Dame Rose for a four top in the Lounge and knowing that I still had a 2009 Colgin to open, it occurred to me that this was a special occasion. Everyone in this Restaurant wasn’t sure what our city was going to look like on Monday. This was quite literally the calm before the storm. Most of the guests were regulars and two different tables said the exact same thing to me “ I have always wanted to try this wine.” As the evening ended, I believe I said “ good luck” or “ be safe” more than I ever had.

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As Saturday went from morning to afternoon Robin, Michael and I were in the Wine Cellar putting stuff away and talking about the craziness of it all and what we were going to drink since we were going to hunker down at home. I asked Michael if he was going to open up anything special and he slyly smiled and said “Bordeaux'. (We all had some Champagne.) As the afternoon turned to evening, I began having multiple conversations via texts with friends, winemakers and sommeliers from around the country asking me what I was drinking and what they would open from their cellars if they were in a similar situation. One of our team members texted me around 5 pm on Saturday: "Wines I’m consuming way too young tonight because they may not make it through the storm….2014 Turley “Ueberroth” and a 2008 Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelleux. What about you?”

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I, taking comfort in my heritage (thanks to Rebecca, one of the bartenders in the restaurant whose mother brought me back a big bag of Taytos from Ireland), enjoyed the bag of Irish crisps, a cold beer and my companion Clyde the dog at our local pub. I am not sure who loves Taytos more Clyde or me. (By the way - Taytos is definitely worth Googling! Here I sit in Michael's Wine Cellar asking you what if anything special you drank? Please email me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and let me know. We will happily post your responses in part two of this update….because like hurricane season, this story isn’t over yet.

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Sip & Shop: October 2017

Each Saturday at Michael’s Wine Cellar, we invite you to “sip & shop” as you browse thousands of wine, spirits and beer offerings available at the retail store located in Midtown Plaza, just outside of downtown Sarasota. This month our knowledgeable team of wine specialists will be pouring:

(Our Open House Wine Tasting will be held on Saturday, October 7, 2-4 pm. Admission is $10 per person.)

Saturday, October 14

  • Chardonnay "Game Reserve", Graham Beck , ZA, 2014 - $16.95
  • Chenin Blanc "Original", Raats, Stellenbosch, ZA, 2016 - $12.95
  • Red Blend “Optima”, Rupert Wines, Wesern Cape, ZA, 2012 - $19.95
  • Pinotage, Barista, Western Cape, ZA, 2016 - $12.95

Saturday, October 21

  • Chardonnay "Bramito del Cervo“, Marchesi Antinori, Umbria, IT, 2015 - $17.95
  • Pinot Grigio, Due Torri, Delle Venezie, Tipica, IT, 2015 - $9.95
  • Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Masciarelli, IT, 2014 - $11.95
  • Chianti Classico, Castello di Bossi, Tuscany, IT, 2013 - $19.95

Saturday, October 28

  • Sauvignon Blanc, Ritual, Casablanca Valley, CL, 2014 - $14.95
  • Chardonnay, Rayun, Central Valley, CL, 2014 - $9.95
  • Cabernet Sauvignon “Antiguas Reservas”, Cousino-Macul, CL, 2012 - $15.95
  • Red Blend, Primus, Colchagua Valley, CL, 2014 - $17.95
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Upcoming Wine Class & Tasting Events

Please mark your calendar and start registering now for upcoming events at Michael's Wine Cellar. October Open House Wine Tasting: This Saturday, October 7, 2-4 pm
Our monthly casual, walk-about wine tasting featuring dozens of international wines returns this Saturday afternoon at Michael's Wine Cellar! $10 per person. Simply join us at the door!

Australian Wine Class Tuesday, October 17, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Join us for another educational wine class as Gary O'Brien presents some great wines from Down Under! Admission is $25 per person. Click here to register now as space is limited.
Wine, Women & Shoes Retail Wine Tasting (with more than a dozen winemakers/special guests!) Saturday, November 11, 2-4 pm $10 per person. Simply join us at the door, or click here to register online.

Be sure to buy lots of wine during this tasting as a percentage of sales benefits Forty Carrots Family Center!

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Wine, Women & Shoes ~ 2017 Wine Tasting

Wine Women & Shoes Wine Tasting 2017Michael’s Wine Cellar hosts a walk-about tasting in the local wine and spirits shop on a monthly basis. However, each November, the Michael’s team hosts an extra-fashionable tasting hosted by winemakers and properties participating in the annual Wine, Women & Shoes, Sarasota Signature Luncheon which sells out each year!

The Wine, Women & Shoes Retail Tasting offers a great opportunity for members of the public to participate in the stylish weekend of Wine, Women & Shoes functions supporting Forty Carrots Family Center. (A particularly nice option if you weren’t able to secure a highly-coveted ticket to the popular Signature Luncheon event!)

Guests will have an opportunity to taste dozens of international wines at this year’s Wine, Women & Shoes Retail Tasting set for 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, November 11, 2017 at Michael’s Wine Cellar, 1283 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.

This casual tasting is open to the public and event admission is $10 per person.

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South Africa & "Pinot Noir's Next Big Thing"

South African Wine Bottle Wine Glass FlagThe secret is getting out...  Michael's Wine Cellar Co-Proprietor Michael Klauber has been following the rise of South Africa's wine industry for decades. From leading bi-annual wine-buying trips to the Cape Winelands with the Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club, to hosting visiting South African winemakers for tastings and wine dinners and featuring these prized (and often quite affordable) wines in our adjacent restaurant Michael's On East, you can rest assure we have some tremendous wines from South Africa available for Michael's guests.  So this week, Michael was pleased to come across this WineSearcher article covering several of his close winemaker friends and colleagues from South Africa, including Hamilton Russell Vineyards and Paul Cluver Wines. Pinot Noir's Next Big Thing August 8, 2017 ~ winesearcher.com "The great grapes of Burgundy have found a rather surprising new home, James Lawrence argues. If one were to imagine the most likely candidate for producing refined, elegant Pinot Noir, South Africa might, to put it mildly, not come very near the top of the list.... ...Yet a recent tasting of various South African Pinots, grown in diverse sites across the Western Cape, strongly hinted that this proud nation is one of world's great unsung heroes of producing memorable and evocative Pinot Noir, albeit in small volumes."  Click here to read the entire article on winesearcher.com.
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Featured Article: BYO (Build Your Own) Wine Collection

Wine News Build Your Own Wine CollectionWine, travel & lifestyle writer and blogger Nicole Carbon recently had the opportunity to speak with our team at Michael's Wine Cellar about building your personal wine collection. Please click here to read the complete featured article as featured in the Venice Gondolier Sun on August 5, 2017. 
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Sip & Shop on Saturdays in August

Each Saturday at Michael’s Wine Cellar, we invite you to “sip & shop” as you browse thousands of wine, spirits and beer offerings available at the retail store located in Midtown Plaza, just outside of downtown Sarasota. (Please also join us for our monthly Open House Wine Tasting on Saturday, August 5, 2-4 pm. Admission is $10/person. Simply join us at the door, or click here to register online in advance.) On Saturdays this month our knowledgeable team of wine specialists will be pouring: 
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  • Chardonnay, Rayun, Central Valley, CL, 2014 - $9.95
  • Sauvignon Blanc, Veramonte, Casablanca Valley, CL, 2014 - $11.95
  • Malbec "Clasico", Altos Las Hormigas, Mendoza, AR, 2015 - $11.95
  • Red Blend, Primus, Colchagua Valley, CL, 2014 - $17.95
Saturday, August 19, 2017
  • Prosecco “Brut”, Cantine Maschio, IT, NV - $12.95
  • Sauvignon Blanc “Route 29”, Routestock, Napa Valley, CA, 2015 - $17.95
  • Zinfandel "Sin Zin", Alexander Valley Vineyards, CA, 2013 - $18.95
  • Cabernet Sauvignon “Horse Heaven Hill”, Silver Totem, WA, 2014 - $17.95
Saturday, August 26, 2017
  • Vinho Verde, Casal Garcia, PT, NV - $9.95
  • Gruner Veltliner "Singing", Laurenz V. and Sophia, Kremstal AT, 2014 - $15.95
  • Tempranillo “Crianza”, Condado de Haza, Ribera del Duero, ES, 2014 - $19.95
  • Bobal “Old Vine”, 11 Pinos, Manshuela, ES, 2014 - $11.95
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Restaurant Honored with Wine Spectator's "Best of Award of Excellence”

We hate to brag, but we think our talented team at Michael's Wine Cellar may have had a hand in a major achievement at our adjacent Restaurant, Michael's On East. Here's the full announcement as Michael's On East receives its first-ever "Best of Award of Excellence" from Wine Spectator!

Michael’s On East Earns its First-Ever Wine Spectator “Best of Award of Excellence” Restaurant Award in 2017. BAE17color 163x300

After 25 Consecutive Years in “Award of Excellence” Category, the Restaurant is Honored with an Upgrade in Award Level during 30th Anniversary Year Michael’s On East Among 3,592 Winners Worldwide; Full 2017 Dining Guide Revealed in Wine Spectator’s August Issue [Sarasota, Fla.] (July 27, 2017) 

Michael’s On East has been honored for its outstanding wine program in Wine Spectator’s 2017 Restaurant Awards. The Restaurant is recognized among other winners from all over the globe as a top destination for wine lovers. After 25 consecutive years being recognized with the “Award of Excellence,” Michael’s On East won its first-ever “Best of Award of Excellence” honor this year.

“Our unique wine program is a true prize of the Michael’s operation, boasting 12,700 bottles on property. It’s certainly an outstanding time to be honored with this upgraded award as we marked our Restaurant’s 30th anniversary this past spring,” said Michael Klauber, Co-Proprietor of Michael’s On East.Klauber’s personal experience with the Wine Spectator restaurant award program dates back decades as he accepted the “Grand Award” in 1982 for the wine program he created on Longboat Key at The Colony. “Every detail at Michael’s On East is designed with our discerning guests in mind as they enjoy inventive cuisine with fine wines–often from winemakers we have enjoyed personal relationships with for many years! Our guests also have the unique benefit of purchasing wines they discover on the Restaurant’s wine list from our adjacent retail store, Michael’s Wine Cellar. We take tremendous pride in providing remarkable wine experiences for true wine lovers, and couldn’t be more excited to receive the ‘Best of Award of Excellence’ distinction this year,” Klauber added.“Restaurants continue to raise their game when it comes to wine, and we are particularly proud to present this year’s winners,” said Marvin R. Shanken, Editor & Publisher, Wine Spectator. “As wine becomes more important to diners, the Awards program is thriving—with an increasing number of entries, as well as growing print, digital and social audiences. Wine Spectator congratulates each and every award winner.”

Wine Spectator began its program to recognize the world’s best wine lists in 1981. There are three levels: the Award of Excellence, the Best of Award of Excellence and the Grand Award—with 2,335; 1,168; and 89 winners this year in each respective category. The Award of Excellence recognizes restaurants whose wine lists feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style. Best of Award of Excellence recipients offer more extensive selections with significant vintage depth and excellent breadth across multiple regions. The Grand Award is the program’s highest honor. The complete list of award winners is available in print in Wine Spectator’s August issue, currently on newsstands and online at Restaurants.WineSpectator.com, where visitors can search and access exclusive content on the more than 3,500 restaurants. The full list is also available for free on iOS via the Restaurant Awards app, which allows users to look for dining spots in any location with maps, choosing by wine strengths, cuisine type, pricing and more. Follow the Restaurant Awards on Twitter and Instagram, with hashtag #WSRestaurantAward.

About Wine Spectator Wine Spectator is the world’s leading authority on wine. Anchored by Wine Spectator magazine, a print publication that reaches more than 3 million readers worldwide, the brand also encompasses the Web’s most comprehensive wine site (WineSpectator.com), mobile platforms and a series of signature events. Wine Spectator examines the world of wine from the vineyard to the table, exploring wine’s role in contemporary culture and delivering expert reviews of more than 18,000 wines each year. Parent company M. Shanken Communications, Inc., also publishes Cigar Aficionado, Whisky Advocate, Market Watch, Shanken News Daily and Shanken’s Impact Newsletter.

About Michael’s On East Michael’s On East was founded on April 27, 1987. Located at 1212 East Avenue South in Midtown Plaza, the iconic restaurant is open for lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, open for dinner 6 p.m. to close Monday through Thursday and 5:30 p.m. to close on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sundays, with the exception of Easter and Mother’s Day each year. The establishment is the winner of the 2009 Fine Dining Hall of Fame and received their 28th consecutive AAA Four-Diamond Award as well as the Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence in 2017. Michael’s On East is a contemporary fine dining restaurant featuring an extraordinary supper club atmosphere, inspired cuisine and an intimate piano bar. Michael’s Events & Catering is Sarasota’s premiere caterer creating memorable events from candlelit dinners for two to dazzling galas for 1,000. Michael’s Wine Cellar hosts more than 1,000 International estate-bottled wines including more than 200 domaine wines under $20, boutique spirits and craft beers. Michael’s Wine Cellar is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 941-366-0007 or visit www.bestfood.com.

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The Joy of A Well-Made Wine

Another Tale by Sean King of Michael's Wine Cellar... Among most of the people in my circle, I am known as the wine guy. (I know it’s a cliché, but if I had a $1 for every time someone asked me a variation of the question “Have you had this wine?” or “Do you like this wine?” …. Well you get the idea). Needless to say, people like coming to my house because of the good food, good conversation and good wine. If my guests actually have an interest in wine, inevitably the conversation steers that way.

We Have So Much in Common... A well-made wine is capable of so much. I believe interesting wines often start conversations that boring wines could never inspire. Captivating wines can bring a dynamic commonality to simple cheese and appetizer get-togethers that can make the evening much more memorable than a fancy four-course, sit-down dinner party… Wine is like almost anything else that will inspire discussion - whether it be cars, art, movies or food. Consider a group of guys sitting at an outdoor patio drinking beer. They won’t take notice of a brand new VW Jetta that is parked out front, but if a 1963 black-on-black MGB pulls up and parks these guys are likely to start a conversation with the owner which would lead to a discussion about their dream cars and the cars they have owned. If there are other guys around it is quite possible that strangers will join in because of the simple commonality.

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Another Glass? Of Course... Last Monday in the Michael’s On East Lounge, Nancy from the Wine Cellar, Tyler the GM of the Restaurant, Kim Mancini and I met for some appetizers and to try a wine. Knowing full well that Kim and Nancy are huge Chardonnay fans, I opened a just-released 2015 Aubert Chardonnay. (Mark Aubert makes some of the most sought-after Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in California and the fact that Michael’s was able to secure a case is quite a testament to how important we are to the wine community.) I also chose this wine because Tyler is on the Aubert mailing list. After I pulled the cork and poured a little in each person’s glass our corner section was filled with toasty citrus blossom. None of us could not get over the complexity. It was both rich and refreshing and it started a conversation when Nancy asked how Mark Aubert can do this when almost no one else can. I said that what’s makes Mark a master. Tyler told stories of his last trip to Napa to a Chardonnay barrel tasting and Kim said, “I need to have Phil get me a couple bottles!” I talked about barrel delivery day that happens in early August when the truck backs up to the winery and off come 75 brand-new French Burgundy barrels and the smell of that toasted wood when I put my nose in the opening. As we were all getting up to leave a woman came up to me and asked “How does one get invited to your table?” I said: “You need to like well-made wine and then just show up. We are here most Mondays.”

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In the Back of My Mind I Knew I Was Neglecting You…A Promise to You, Wine 

Nuits St George Aux Murger(Another sharing session by Sean King, Wine Specialist with Michael’s Wine Cellar) Why do we do it? Why do we neglect and forget about the people and things that bring us pleasure? I began thinking about this after I received a phone call from an old friend I hadn’t been in contact with for awhile. After the 20-minute phone call ended I looked at my phone–I could hardly believe that it had been almost 16 months since she and I had spoken. We had been pretty close friends for many years. We shared good meals, great conversations and more than a few bottles of wine, but as we both got busier and older we slowly began to lose touch with one another. Fortunately, in this case, we were able to catch up enough to plan on her coming to Florida for a long weekend. If only our wines were as forgiving... Pure Gold Without the Karats Those of us who make an effort to buy multiple bottles of some of our favorite producers’ wines from multiple vintages can sometimes forget that each year has distinct similarities and often times big differences. Some wines will be OK with us not checking in on them for five, six, or even ten years, while others will simply fade from neglect. I have always had a certain affection for red Burgundies from Domaine Meo-Camuzet. Maybe that’s because my first real experiences were the 1996 and 1997 vintages. I bought some mixed cases of the Vosne Romanee and Nuits St. George Premier Crus and some Grand Cru. The 96s almost required 12 years of cellaring to begin to show what they were capable of. They were rich and full with subtle oak and lots of acidity.  The 97s were the opposite. Riper fruit, generous oak and significantly less acid and around 2003 they were simply delicious—nothing earth shattering or profound but just a really good bottle of Pinot Noir. As is the case with most collectors, life got busier and I bought more wines as the weeks, months and years passed. The thing of it is, each year that I got older, so too would every bottle of wine I owned. In the back of my mind, I knew I had a few bottles of these 1997 Meo-Camuzets and I knew the likely weren’t getting any better.  So, early in the summer of 2011 I decided to open a bottle of Nuits St George “Aux Murgers.” As I feared it was tired, lacking life and past its prime. I was so disappointed. Not in the wine, but in myself for allowing this to happen. I really let this bottle down along with the two others I owned, and I let down Jean Nicolas Meo because he made really good wine in a not-so-great vintage. I thought about the places where I had enjoyed these other bottles. My little yard in Berkeley in the late spring after planting 12 types of heirloom tomatoes. Thomas Brown’s living room while watching a U.S. Open match between Agassi and Sampras while eating take out sushi after a typical 14-hour harvest day. More than once at one of the great restaurants in the world, Chez Panisse, alone or with friends. These were all good memories and because of my neglect, my last memory of 1997 Meo-Camuzet is one of regret. Pouring out a Bottle for the Deceased Wine Sean's Kitchen for Wine Party On a long drive back from Savannah last year I thought about family, friends and wines. I tried to take mental stock of some of the wines that I had not tried in a long while and approach them with the some of the meticulous enthusiasm I had when I started out buying wine to cellar. With that, I called a couple friends and my uncle and we gathered at my house on a Saturday to cook, catch up and open up something we could taste that likely needed to have its life expectancy gauged. Quintarelli ValpolicellaOver the course of the evening my uncle and two friends shared our thoughts on our lives and, of course, the two bottles of 1996 Quintarelli Valpolicella classic. The wine had good color with classic brick around the edges. It smelled dusty with dried fruit and Amarone like aromas. It was balanced, pretty and big despite a supple mouth feel. It was—as I think we all agreed—wine that will likely not get much better, but will hang around in the cellar for another three or four years. It was a beautiful bottle of wine that was 20 years old. (My uncle even commented that it was the same as the Italian loafers he was wearing). We toasted the people we know would have loved such an evening that weren’t with us and we toasted the lost wine we left unopened in the cellar and promised we would not disappoint the late Guiseppe Quintarelli by forgetting and regretting because his wines are like our real friends…..they deserve better. So please don't forget about the prized wines lurking in your home cellar, and when you are ready to continue adding to your cellar - or starting one! - please turn to our team at Michael's Wine Cellar. 
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CONNOISSEUR CLUB TRIP: Wines from South Africa

This summer's Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club journeys advance as Michael & Terri Klauber and Ryan Hilton of Admiral Travel continue to surprise travelers with remarkable wine experiences in the bush, in addition to wildlife viewing on safari drives. Over the past week, the group has enjoyed spending time with Olive and Anthony Russell of Hamilton Russell Vineyards while on safari and an extravagent tasting at Boekenhoutskloof in Franschhoek. Our team in the Wine Cellar would be happy to introduce to you wines from both of these fabulous properties! Click here to browse wines from South Africa through our michaelswinecellar.com online wine shop. Stay tuned for more photos this coming week!  We invite you to join the GCCC's next culinary journey(s) around the world: Sip & Savor Europe & Taste of the British Isles. Reservations are booking quickly for these 2018 adventures!  

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Love Affairs and One Night Stands with Wine

Disclaimer: Who knows what Sean King of Michael's Wine Cellar has to share this week! References to mature subject matter will be minimal, but possible. The good news? You should already be 21 years old if you're reading our michaelswinecellar.com blog!  Love Affairs and One Night Stands with Wine by Sean King, Wine Specialist with Michael's Wine Cellar People who know me have often heard me wax poetic about the similarities between wine and dating. The analogy holds up in today’s world of higher alcohol and high extraction wines. Being in the wine business, I often taste 500-1,000 wines a year and – like that first encounter with a romantic interest - I know from the initial taste/conversation whether or not I want to spend more time getting to it/them better.

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Wish they all could be California wines? I would love to take credit for comparing wines to dating, but I must confess it was inspired by the late Denis Mortet over lunch in San Francisco. We were trying wines and I gave him some Pinot Noir I made that I was proud of (Robert Parker gave it 95 points). I was eager to get Denis's opinion.  So you all know: I loved his wines from Gevrey, France, and I was not alone in believing Denis was one of a handful of the best winemakers in Burgundy.  I poured some of my single vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir into his glass and watched as he swirled it, smelled it and then tasted it. He then said it was “a little forward and whorish” and it didn’t remind him of any of the past loves of his life. It was a wine conversation I will never forget. The late Denis Mortet Fast forward to Michael's late last year.  My all-star sommelier friend Dan from Chicago was in town for a couple of days and we were in the Michael's On East Lounge drinking wine. I brought a bottle of the 2006 Molly Dooker “Velvet Glove.” It’s a wine that costs about $175 and boasts an abc (alcohol by volume content) of about 16% because Dan is the ONLY somm I know that does not lie about liking insanely high alcohol wines with copious amounts of new oak. I told him that it was the “high class hooker of wines.” It is ripe, forward and downright slutty. It is a good dinner companion who you might want to spend the night with, but you won’t want to start a relationship with it. The next night we walked into Michael's Wine Cellar and selected a 2012 Jean Grivot Nuits St George “Aux Boudots.” We opened the wine and decanted it. Dan and I - as well as Michael - all agreed that this wine was really, really good. 

A Woman of Substance Denis Mortet’s explanation of Burgundy goes something like this:  Great Pinot Noir is all things sexy, seductive and feminine with a strong muscular backbone of integrity. Great Pinot Noir should be wines that a person will want to spend a lifetime getting know much like the great loves of our lives. Dan, Michael and I agreed that as delicious as the Grivot was, it was a wine we could date, but it certainly wasn’t marriage material and with that we raised a glass to Denis Mortet.

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Featured Wines: July 8th Tasting

Champagne GlassesWe love offering you dozens of international wines to taste at each of Michael's Open House Wine Tastings at Michael's Wine Cellar. Here's a preview of the featured wines for the July Open House Wine Tasting set for this Saturday, July 8, 2-4 pm. Admission is $10 per personTable 1 ~ Signature Luxury Wine & Spirits Sauvignon Blanc, Decoy, Sonoma County, CA, 2016 $16.95 Sauvignon Blanc, Ritual, Casablanca Valley, CL, 2014 $14.95 Riesling, Trimbach, Alsace, FR, 2013 $19.95 Meritage "The Swell", Tower 15, Paso Robles, CA, 2013 $21.95 Super Tuscan “Modus”, Ruffino, IT, 2014 $24.95 Cabernet Sauvignon, Justin Vineyards, Paso Robles, CA, 2014 $25.95 Table 2 ~ BreakThru Beverage Viognier, Fairview Vineyards, Parrl, ZA, 2015 $18.95 Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Willamette, OR, 2015 $16.95 Gruner Veltliner "Singing", Laurenz V. and Sophia, Kremstal AT, 2014 $15.95 Cotes du Rhone, Andre Brunel, Rhone Valley, FR, 2013 $11.95 Cabernet Sauvignon, Prelius, Tuscany, IT, 2015 $16.95 Red Blend “Lot No 5 - Field Blend”, R Collection by Raymond, CA, 2014 $12.95 Table 3 ~ Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits Sauvignon Blanc, Black Stallion, Napa Valley, CA, 2015 $13.95 Fume Blanc, Ferrari-Carano, Sonoma County, CA, 2015 $16.95 Chardonnay “Unoaked”, SeaGlass, Santa Barbara County, CA, 2015 $11.95 Merlot, Napa Cellars, Napa Valley, CA, 2013 $17.95 Sangiovese, Fantini Farnese, Abruzzo, IT, 2013 $9.95 Cabernet Sauvignon “Classic”, Barkan Vineyards, Galil, Israel, 2014 $9.95 Table 4 ~ Stacole Fine Wines Sauvignon Gris “Isidora”, Cousino-Macul, Maipo Valley, CL, 2015 $12.95 Arneis "Blange", Ceretto, Langhe, IT, 2015 $19.95 Chenin Blanc "Original", Raats, Stellenbosch, ZA, 2016 $12.95 Barbera d’Asti “Tre Vigne”, Vietti, Piedmont, IT, 2014 $16.95 Tempranillo “Vendimia”, Hazana Vina Viejas, Rioja, ES, 2014 $11.95 Cabernet Sauvignon “Antiguas Reservas”, Cousino-Macul, Maipo Valley, CL, 2012 $15.95 Table 5 ~ Opici Fine Wines White Blend, Dogajolo, IT, 2016 $11.95 Chardonnay "Light Horse", Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, CA, 2014 $12.95 Riesling “RK”, Rechsgraf von Kesselstatt, Mosel, DE, 2015 $14.95 Pinot Noir, Primarius, OR, 2014 $15.95 Baby Tuscan, Dogajolo, Tuscany, IT, 2015 $11.95 Zinfandel "Old Vine", Plungerhead, Lodi, CA 2014 $13.95 Table 6 ~ Augustan Wine Imports Assyrtiko “Santorini” Santo Wines, GR, 2013 $12.95 Bourgogne "Chardonnay", Pascale Matrot, FR, 2014 $22.95 Chardonnay, Calera, Central Coast, CA, 2014 $21.95 Syrah “Lenore”, Corvidae, Columbia Valley, WA, 2014 $13.95 Red Blend "Nicole Marie", Sean Minor, Napa Valley, CA, 2012 $19.95 Shiraz, Brash Higgins, McLaren Vale, AU, 2012 $26.95 Table 7 ~ Michael's Wine Cellar Clos des Lunes “Lune d’Argent, Bordeaux Blanc Sec”, Pessac-Leognan, FR, 2014 $18.95 Hárslevelű "Arioso", La Favorita, Tokaji, HU, 2015 $24.95 Chateau, Cap Saint George, St. Emilion, FR, 2014 $24.95 Chateau Vrai Canon Bouche, Fronsac, FR, 2009 $29.95 Baron de Brane, Margaux, FR, 2012 $29.95 Chateau Clos Lunelles, Cotes de Castillon, FR, 2012 $29.95
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Reintroducing Sean King

Earlier this month we published a new wine recommendation from our own Sean King, but we're afraid we didn't properly introduce - or perhaps reintroduce - him! Please allow us to "formally" introduce you to Sean King of Michael's Wine Cellar, in his own words:  There is always a long story and often a short story.  I am going to give you the in-between one. I’m back at Michael's after a brief 12-year sabbatical.  This time around I hoping to tell you a great story, an honest opinion from my near 20 years of either making wine, collecting wine, reviewing wine and - of course - drinking wine as well as my out-and-about happenings around Sarasota (usually with my companion Clyde the dog). Over the past two decades, my interest in wine and knowledge of wine expanded as much as Michael's Wine Cellar has. I spent my winters here in Sarasota for more than a decade while living in Napa Valley. In 2004 and 2005, I worked for Michael Klauber in the Wine Cellar (when it was literally ½ the size it is now) a couple days a week and served as a sommelier in the adjacent Restaurant (Michael's On East) on Friday and Saturday evenings. Some of you may remember when I had a slightly different hairstyle as evidenced below. Sean King 2017 ~ The 2017 middle-age Sarasota look ~ Sean King - Long Hair ~ The cool winemaker look ~  Last year I decided to make the SRQ my fulltime home after a couple of years in Chicago and 15 years in the California wine country. So, when I am not in Michael’s Wine Cellar (and under the oppressive managerial regime of Robin Schwartz who continues to offer some amazing wine classes when not fully-occupied as my boss),  I will likely be around town with Clyde the dog. I look forward to seeing you around the community, and in the Store!  The Michael's team is thrilled to welcome Sean back to Sarasota full-time and we look forward sharing to his unique storytelling on this blog for Michael's Wine Cellar! 
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Sip & Shop in July

Sip & ShopEach Saturday at Michael’s Wine Cellar, we invite you to “sip & shop” as you browse thousands of wine, spirits and beer offerings available at the retail store located in Midtown Plaza, just outside of downtown Sarasota. (Please also join us for our monthly Open House Wine Tasting on Saturday, July 8, 2-4 pm. Admission is $10/person. Simply join us at the door, or click here to register online in advance.) On Saturdays this month our knowledgeable team of wine specialists will be pouring: 
July 1, 2017
Sauvignon Blanc “Virginia’s Block”, Davis Bynum, Russian River Valley, CA, 2014 - 15.95
Rose, Domaine de la Petite Cassagne, FR, 2016 - $9.95
Red Blend "Conundrum", Caymus Vineyards, Napa Valley, CA, 2014 - $19.95
Pinot Noir "Undone - Undone”, PJ Valckenberg, Rheinhessen, DE, 2015 - $9.95
July 15, 2017
Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Willamette, OR, 2015 - $16.95
Chardonnay “Four Bears”, Sean Minor, Central Coast, CA, 2015 - $12.95
Malbec "Crios" Susana Balbo, Mendoza, AR, 2015 - $14.95
Monastrell “Silver Label”, Juan Gil, Jumilla, ES, 2014 - $15.95
July 22, 2017
Chardonnay “Unwooded”, Yalumba Y Series, South Australia, AU, 2016 - $12.95
Pinot Gris, Holm Oak Vineyards, Tasmania, AU, 2016 - $19.95
Shiraz, Yangarra, McLaren Vale, AU, 2012 - $16.95
Red Blend, 19 Crimes, AU, 2015 - $11.95
July 29, 2017
Sauvignon Blanc, Rustenberg, Western Cape ZA, 2015 -  $12.95
Chardonnay "Estate", Paul Cluver, Elgin, ZA, 2014 -  $18.95
Red Blend "The Left Bank", Neil Ellis, ZA, 2014 - $13.95
Pinotage, Barista, Western Cape, ZA, 2016 - $12.95
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Wine Pairings for Caribbean Cuisine

Yes, it's impossible! In fact, our team can help you select the ideal bottle to pair with any type of cuisine.  Each month, as the Michael's On East culinary team is challenged to design a menu inspired by the world's most exotic food and wine meccas, our wine specialists at Michael's Wine Cellar work diligently to hand-pick the perfect red and white wine pairings for the Restaurant's Epicurean Adventures. (These featured lunch and dinner menus change monthly at Michael's On East!)  As we prepare for our July 2017 Caribbean Epicurean Adventure at the adjacent Restaurant, our team considered the following in selecting the wine pairings. 
Caribbean CuisineNancy reports: "As most of us can attest, Caribbean food tends to be pretty spicy.  Jerk seasoning, for example, is generally made with the hottest of chili peppers. A light crisp, dry white wine with lush flavors of citrus and other fruit such as peach pair well with Caribbean cuisine. Consequently, high tannic red wine can increase the heat found in spicy foods. Therefore, red wine made from grapes that are naturally low in tannins such as Pinot Noirand Merlot are good choices." 
If you're able to join us this July to try the Caribbean Adventure Adventure at Michael's On East, we look forward to presenting these featured wine pairings:  Riesling, "Selenium Vineyard", Pacific Rim, Horse Heaven Hills, WA (A dry Riesling!) Tasting Notes: Color- Pale straw Bouquet- Bouquet of jasmine and citrus Taste- Citrus, white peach and minerals Winemaking:   Our Wallula Vineyard Dry Riesling is crafted exclusively with ungrafted Geisenheim clone 198 Riesling grapes. We pick our grapes relatively ripe (22-23 Brix) in late October. The Riesling juice is fermented with native yeasts at cold temperatures for 30 days to dryness and then aged on lees in stainless steel tanks. We stir the wine on lees once or twice a week for five months. There is no oak and no malolactic on this wine.  Merlot, Napa Cellars, Napa Valley, CA Tasting Notes:  The 2013 Napa Cellars Napa Valley Merlot boasts aromas of black currant, raspberry and hints of thyme herbs on the nose. Subtle notes of tea leaf and cola lead to remarkable, opulent flavors of ripe plum, cherry, mushroom and white pepper on the palate. This wine showcases balanced acidity, which frames the full-bodied and round tannins, and extending through the finish. For a decadent meal, pair the 2013 Napa Cellars Napa Valley Merlot with roasted duck or honey-barbequed chicken with a side of ricotta risotto. Winemaking:  Once harvested, the grapes undergo a 9- to- 15- day maceration period and are fermented using the Délestage method. This process allows the winemaker to extract copious amounts of color and flavor from the skins, while avoiding excessive extraction of bitter and astringent flavors. After the fermentation process is complete, the wine is aged for 20 months in 99% French Oak barrels and 1% American Oak.  
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White Burgundy & The HvD Chardonnay

White BurgundySean loves White Burgundy, and so should you. Sean King recently returned to our team in Michael’s Wine Cellar. (You may remember Sean, his love of many wines and expert recommendations from his past tenure working in our wine shop several years ago!) We couldn’t be happier to welcome him back to the Michael’s family, and know you’ll appreciate his insight, humor and wine knowledge. Here’s a personal note from Sean about White Burgundy. I love White Burgundy. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! The biggest problem is that it’s so expensive and it’s very difficult to get. When I say “expensive” I mean $100 or more for Puligny Montrachet from a good producer. When I say “very hard to get” I mean we recently secured my own personal three bottle allocation of a Montrachet. I know, I know, but am I telling you this for a reason. So, I decided to open a bottle of the 2013 HdV “Hyde Vineyard” Chardonnay to have with the Pompano at the Michael’s On East Lounge. Before I continue, allow me to tell you that the Hyde Vineyard in Napa is one of the best vineyards in the world for Chardonnay because of the cool climate afternoon breeze that arrives like clockwork from the bay. It allows for the fruit to hang on the vine as much as two weeks longer than the neighboring vineyards just three miles away. Chardonnay is exactly that in more ways than one.  The winemaker is French and previously made wine in Burgundy. In fact, HdV is a venture between the Hyde Family of Napa Valley and the de Villaine Family of Burgundy. The families, related by marriage, share long histories in French and Californian winemaking. At HdV, the oak barrels are from Burgundy and you will appreciate the de Villaine family name, as Aubert de Villaine is the owner of Domaine Romanee Conti. (The DRC Chardonnay sells for about $5,000 a bottle.) Back to this specific HdV wine… This Chardonnay is incredibly fresh with an acidity that is lost on so much of the Chardonnay made today. Rich oak that does what it is supposed to do, properly frame the great Chardonnay fruit! This bottle retails for just under $70 bottle, but I promise that when you drink it you will say “This is what great Chardonnay tastes like!” It is also more affordable than harder to find White Burgundies of similar quality.
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National Rosé Day: June 10, 2017

Rose WineMany Saturdays are special in Sarasota. From fun family events like Splashin’ Saturdays which return this weekend at Selby Gardens and relaxing afternoons at Siesta Beach, to our Open House Wine Tastings at Michael’s Wine Cellar on select Saturdays each month, Sarasota has so much to offer. However, the second Saturday in June is extra special. It is indeed “National Rosé Day!” NATIONAL ROSÉ DAY National Rosé Day is observed annually on the second Saturday in June.  Rosé is probably the oldest known type of wine, dating back as far as 600 BC.  Rosé wines are generally made from red grapes and are very versatile wines that complement many types of food. Rosé is lighter than red wine and deeper than white wine.  The pink color of Rosé wine depends on the time the grape skin stays in contact with the juice, also known as maceration.  There are Rosé wines that are semi-sparkling or sparkling with different intense of sweetness levels and dryness. HISTORY National Rosé Day was submitted to and approved by the registrar of National Day Calendar in October of 2014 by Bodvár – House of Rosés– a Rosé House specializing in Rosé wines to raise awareness and give Rosé lovers a day to celebrate with “summer’s water.” Stop in the store to pick up a special bottle to toast National Rosé Day this Saturday. Plus, be sure to share photos on social media as you sip using #NationalRoséDay. Michael’s Personal favorite rosé wines: ROSE, DOMAINE DE LA PETITE CASSAGNE, FR, 2016 $9.95 This salmon colored rosé is very flavorful. This wine displays hints of spice and fruit notes of cranberry, strawberry and cherry. Domaine de la Petite Cassagne is located four kilometers from the village of St Gilles on south/south-eastern exposed slopes of the Costières de Nîmes. The soils here are characterized by cailloux deposited by the Rhône River centuries ago. ROSE, DOMAINE SAINT AIX, PROVENCE, FR, 2016 $16.95 Tasting Notes: You will notice tremendously vibrant and summery taste. AIX has a bright, pale-pink color and has a delicate balance of crisp acidity and soft, ripe summer fruit. The 130 years old winery of Maison Saint AIX is situated in the south of France.  With over 300 days of sunlight per year and cooler nights the grapes allow for optimal maturation.  South western exposure and the common Mistral Wind makes a perfect protection for the vines, drying them after the rain or dew.  All things considered, Maison Saint AIX has the perfect conditions for a leading rose. "Shows good zip, but delivers more white cherry and strawberry core notes up front than through the finish, where a light savory hint lingers." Wine Spectator: 86 ROSE, WOLFFER ESTATE, LONG ISLAND, NY, 2016 $18.95 Winemaker's Notes: Light copper-salmon in color. Pure and fresh floral and flinty aromas fill the glass. The mouth-feel is filled with fruit notes of peach and apricots. The mouth-feel is fresh and vibrant with lively acidity and well balanced, satisfying fruit. The finish is classic--dry with subtle, fine tannins and minerality, making it food-friendly and versatile. Winemaking is at the heart of all we do at Wölffer. The process begins in the vines, where Vineyard Manager Richie Pisacano meticulously manages our 55 pristine acres of vines. We grow Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and small lots of Trebbiano, Pinot Noir and Vignole. We use sustainable farming practices, and are proud to be among the few vineyards that are certified as sustainable by Long Island Sustainable Winemaking.  
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Sip & Shop in June

Sip & ShopEach Saturday at Michael’s Wine Cellar, we invite you to “sip & shop” as you browse thousands of wine, spirits and beer offerings available at the retail store located in Midtown Plaza, just outside of downtown Sarasota.  This month our knowledgeable team of wine specialists will be pouring:  (Please also join us for our monthly Open House Wine Tasting on Saturday, June 3, 2-4 pm. Admission is $10/person.) Saturday, June 10, 2017
Rose "Guilhem", Moulin De Gassac, Languedoc, FR, 2016 - $9.95
Pinot Grigio, Palmina, Santa Barbara County, CA, 2014 - $18.95
Red Blend "Cirque du Vin", Peachy Canyon, Paso Robles, CA, 2012 - $16.95
Pinot Noir "Undone - Undone”, PJ Valckenberg, Rheinhessen, DE, 2015 - $9.95
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Sauvignon Blanc, Gamble Family Vineyards, Napa Valley, CA, 2013 -  $19.95
Chardonnay, Aviary Vineyards, CA, 2015 - $16.95
Cabernet Sauvignon, Trim, CA, 2013 - $13.95
Merlot, Napa Cellars, Napa Valley, CA, 2013 - $17.95
Saturday, June 24, 2017
Vinho Verde, Casal Garcia, PT, NV - $9.95
White Blend, Tenuta Forconi, Toscany, IT, 2015 - $12.95
Red Blend "Les Mines", Priorat, Priorat, ES, 2011 - $16.95
Valpolicella "Superiore", Zenato, IT, 2013 - $13.95
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Michael's Wine Cellar
1283 S. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34239