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Howie’s Cellar Picks: Spring and Reunions!

Spring 2021 is going to be the most unique and exciting spring in years. We have been cooped up at home, watching endless amounts of Netflix or HBO Max. I personally have rewatched the entirety of Cheers, Frasier, and The West Wing. We are longing for connection and craving interaction with other human beings (that aren’t food delivery workers).

With the impressive vaccine rollout happening right now, we can (finally) see the light at the end of the tunnel. Some have already started to see fellow vaccinated friends and family members with glee and relief. With that, we are here to curate the bottles that exude the phrase, “Hi! I’ve missed you.”

In the last few months, there have been many new labels from a handful of spectacular small producers that have hit the shelves. Many of them, perfectly appropriate for spring and reunions.

2016 Dr. Lippold “Josephine” Riesling, Mosel, Germany $14.99

Riesling is a grape that gets an absolutely terrible reputation due to the decrepit bottles from mass produced conglomerates who’ve put out syrupy, overly sweet, and unbalanced versions out into the market. On the other hand, this wine has been the pain staking work of Dr. Lippold, a professor of viticulture as well as passionate farmer and vintner. His work dry-farming his vineyards paired with minimal manipulation in the winery, has produced a wine whose taste is a testament to its makers expertise.

“Josephine” is a fun wine meant to be consumed with gusto. With a touch of sweetness, loads of mouthwatering acidity and fruity aromatics, this bottle is meant for an evening outside with fried chicken and a couple of close friends.

2020 Lioco Rosé of Carignan, Mendocino, California $24.99

Lioco is a small winery run by the husband and wife team of Matt and Sara Licklider in Santa Rosa. They are part of the new wave of winemaking called “New California Wine”, creating wines in a more European style, as homage to the “more restrained California wines of the 1980’s.” (In other words, before Robert Parker scared winemakers with low scores and forced them to only produce wines that please his palate.)

Matt and Sara are producing some of the most fun wines in the state. This rosé is a crunchy, aromatic and vibrant wine. It boasts herbaceous notes of cilantro and fruity fresh strawberry, along with watermelon and rhubarb. In a punk rock fashion, this wine is a darker shade of pink than most others in its class and it is unafraid of the natural hues Carignan can produce. Though, many people have the mindset that a darker rosé equals sweet wine, this Licco rosé throws that notion far far away. This dry and delicious wine is unapologetically flavorful and refreshing. Meant for a long lunch, this rosé pairs perfectly with some ceviche with avocados and tortilla chips, or some grilled salmon with a parsley, caper, & lemon sauce.

NV Jo Landron “Atmospheres” Brut, Loire Valley, France $21.99

Jo Landron is an incredibly talented French winemaker based in the Muscadet region of the Loire Valley. A standard barer for the area, his wines are considered a gold standard. Being a true champion of Muscadet, his wines are always full of character and vitality. This sparkling wine is no exception.

“Atmospheres” is made of a native grape variety called Folle Blanche as well as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This is one of the best bang for your buck bottles of bubbles that we have in the shop. It’s fun, refreshing, flavorful and delicious. Pair with some Fanny Bay oysters and an evening with a loved one.

2019 Field Recordings “Freddo,” Paso Robles, CA $19.99

Freddo, named after the traitorous brother in The Godfather, is a light-bodied and chill-able red that is perfect for spring and warm weather. This wine is 100% Sangiovese and is 1000% delicious. Made at the Field Recordings Winery in Paso Robles, CA, this wine was produced to be “vin de soif” (meaning, wine for copious drinking). A perfect bottle for any occasion, pair this with some oven roasted chicken and potatoes. When the Hollywood Bowl opens up again, this will also be a perfect bottle for that occasion!

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