Our June wines were curated by Liz Martinez, a certified sommelier who’s honed her craft at top restaurants across Chicago and Detroit. After building up wine lists at restaurants like Detroit's Prime + Proper and earning Sommelier of the Year from Food & Wine, Liz is now curating and pouring wines at the Royce Detroit, a downtown wine shop and bar that’s become an essential for the city’s drinkers.
At the various restaurants and bars Liz has worked at, she tends to bring a deliberate focus on diverse, lesser-known wines — think Portuguese, Greek, Croatian, and Lebanese — particularly ones that have a long history and sense of place. So for our June selections, Liz took us back to the Old World, aka the places where modern winemaking traditions originated. These familiar regions, like France and Spain, are the birthplaces of some of the most commonly-known grapes, like cabernet sauvignon or tempranillo. But there are so many other wines to be found in these iconic locales, made from grapes you may have never heard of. Those are the wines Liz shared with us in June:
- Skouras ‘Salto’ Moschofilero — This wine hails from Nemea, in the Peloponnese peninsula of Greece. Full of acidity and grown at a high altitude, it's made from moschofilero, a grape that bears many interesting traits — for one, it can vary wildly in color! This particular wine was processed with bit of aging on the lees (meaning time left sitting with the leftover yeast particles that collect at the bottom of a fermentation vessel) in steel, which gives it a lovely silky texture, balanced by that racy acidity. Expect whiffs of Bosc pear, lemon oil, and strong floral aromatics — florality is the driving force here, even more so as you drink and the wine opens up — evoking orchid and white rose.
- Piližota Babić — This Croatian wine is made from babić, a native red grape from the Dalmatian coast area that produces dark, dense wines. From the winery of Ivica Piližota, this wine has notes of mountain fruit and forest floor and bramble, as well as brown sugar and baking spices, with a little fruitcake and licorice. It's rich and complex and would be magical with a charcuterie board and cheese.
- Domaine Lupin Roussette de Savoie — This wine hails from Frangy, a picturesque town in France's Savoie wine region, part of the French Alps. Winemaker Bruno Lupin's family has deep roots in Frangy, and Lupin's built a reputation for exceptional white wines that showcase the best of this region. This wine, made from a lesser-known local grape variety called altesse, is rich and deeply flavored with a precise, sharp acidity. It’s a dreamy ambrosia, with flowers and honey with Meyer lemon and orange marmalade hiding out in the foreground.
- Raventós i Blanc de Nit Cava Rosé — This Spanish sparkler is a blend of Xarel-lo, macabeu, parellada, and monastrell grapes. Monastrell is a particulraly interesting addition, as it's a red grape which is rarely blended for cava. There’s a refreshing acidity in the form of tart red fruit at its core, plus some dark cassis flavors in the background and a chalky minerality. Crisp and elegant, you can enjoy this with pretty much anything, but fried foods (chicken!) and spiced veggies would be especially good.
Want to order more of these Old World gems? We have a select number of bottles for sale, thanks to our partner MYSA, for you to stock up on.