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Great wines for any budget

Photos by Dan Bishop

December 2013

Brian Broomell, River Lane Inn

If youíre looking for a special wine for a big celebration or just a bottle of red to go with take-out pizza, local wine pros have got you covered. Here are their picks for their favorite high-end wines as well as their go-to vino thatís priced right.

Brian Broomell
Bar Manager, River Lane Inn, Brown Deer

HIGH END - Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon

Quote Him: "An elegant, complicated, intriguing wine." Why itís so Good: Blends best Cab grapes from various Napa regions. Price: About $125 a bottle, and you might have to ask for it specially. Tip: Store it in the cellar for seven to 10 years before you drink it.

UNDER $20 - Big House White or Red in the box

Tasting Notes: A balanced blend containing many grapes. And/Or: Excellent for entertaining or an everyday table red. Price: About $5 a bottle ($20 a box). Bonus: Less waste, and stays fresh in the bag-tap.

Jeff Cox
Co-owner and Wine Guy, Wine Maniacs, Milwaukee and Oconomowoc

HIGH END - Sturino Trotta í08 Chardonnay Carneros

Quote Him: "Best California Chardonnay produced in the last decade." Secret Ingredient: A unique blend of three different yeast ferments, including one wild yeast. Tasting Notes: Well balanced and remarkably creamy. Short Supply: $65 a bottle; production limited to about 100 cases total

UNDER $20 - Roller Coaster NV by Meeker Vineyard

Test of Time: "A perennial favorite." Waste Not: A blend of all the leftover reds at this upscale vineyard. Tasting Notes: Full-bodied red with nuance and complexity. Smart Buy: $14 a bottle; Meeker varietals sell for up to $120.

Jessica Barger
Sommelier, Mason Street Grill, Milwaukee

HIGH END - Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia

Lasting Impression: "I will never forget my first taste of this wine." Super Tuscan: A Cabernet Sauvignon/Franc blend developed in Italy to approximate French Bordeaux. Tasting Notes: Bold and robust, yet supple. Price: $150 to $200 a bottle.

UNDER $20 -Freixenet Negro Brut Cava

Quotable: "Extremely crisp and refreshing" sparkling wine. Tasting Notes: A particularly dry wine, with apple flavors and no harsh aroma. Relatively small bubbles that cascade on your palate rather than fizz. All Occasion: At $11 a bottle, itís an excellent value.

Bryan Schmidt
General Manager, Dream Dance Steak, Milwaukee

HIGH END - Ehlers Estate 1886 Cabernet Sauvignon

Quotable: "By far one of my favorite Cabs." Tasting Notes: Intense, dark fruits and integrated tannins; pairs great with grilled meats. Price: $95 a bottle Do Good: Winery donates proceeds to cardiovascular research

UNDER $20 -Cusumano Nero díAvola

Pairings: "My go-to for pizza or southern Italian fare." Unique: A fairly obscure varietal in a cool, glass-stopper bottle. Tasting Notes: Strong red and dark berry flavors with a nice balance of acidity and tannins. Price: $9 to $12 a bottle.

Sean D. Parisi
Director of Franchise Operations, WineStyles, Brookfield

HIGH END - Evening Land ó Red Queen ó Seven Springs Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills ó Willamette Valley, Oregon 2010

Tasting Notes: A pinot noir with "outstanding restrained power, complexity and elegance." High Praise: Rated 93 points by Wine Spectator. Drinking Tip: Good now, better in five years. Price: $79.99 a bottle.

UNDER $20 - Bodegas Borsao ó Monte Oton ó Garnacha (Grenache) ó Campo de Borja, Spain

Quote Him: "Full-bodied, easy to drink, and always a crowd-pleaser." Tasting Notes: Ripe black fruits with hints of blueberries, raisins and fig. And/Or: Great for cocktail parties and pizza night. Price: $7.99 a bottle

Bon-Bree is back

If youíre a Lake Country native you may remember the famous Bon-Bree cheese made at the Mapleton Creamery many years ago.

The delectable cheese has made a comeback thanks to Delafield dairy farmer Lloyd Williams, who contacted the original cheesemaker, Terry Shaw, for the recipe. Shaw agreed to work with Williams in resurrecting the old recipe, which they successfully did after several attempts at the Madisonís Dairy Business Innovation Center. "It is a very precise formula in making cheese," says Williams. Shaw died last December shortly after the recipe was perfected. "It was a pleasure to work with Terry and to watch him in Madison," Williams says.

Williams is working with Bob Kapsy, a purveyor of wines and his partner in the celebrated release of the Bon-Bree cheese this past August. Since then, weekly production has doubled, resulting in 4,160 pounds of cheese made since Aug. 1. Bon-Bree is made at Clock Shadow Creamery in Milwaukee.

The pure natural cheese has no preservatives, food coloring or artificial flavoring and is rBGH free. Itís made with 100 percent all-natural milk cheese, cheese cultures and salt.

"Itís hand-made, which gives it a unique taste," Kapsy says. The cheese comes in brick and caraway ó dill and chive flavors will be added to the collection by Christmas.

Visit for a list of local stores that are selling Bon-Bree.

Ė Amy Siewert


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