Wines Akin to an Unapologetic Middle Child

Nov 10, 2023

By Liz Miller - wine guru at Hop City West End

Is it just me, or does November remind you of the introspective middle child that no one really “gets”? It exists on the calendar somewhere between tricks, treats, and gilded trees; having to navigate family drama and reflect on itself before diving head-first into the overindulgence of December.

The wines featured in this week’s newsletter are unapologetic middle children. Wines that are too strange to blind taste, but that will harmoniously delight the senses nonetheless.


My partner grew up in South America, from a region where Tannat reigns supreme as the top produced red wine grape. When we were there for his brother’s wedding this past August, friends and family alike wanted us to taste what they believed to be “the
best Tannat from Tarija or Samaipata”. When I told them that I’d had a “white Tannat” back home, their eyes rolled... “White Tannat”!? They all echoed in disbelief. What I had actually drank was Teutonic Wines’ Bacalao, a lush and age-worthy wine that drinks like a white Bordeaux. It's made from the fermented juice of the Tannat grape, while carefully excluding the skins. It still has acid and structure, but without the harsh tannic quality that some Tannats display. A true unicorn of a wine in quality, flavor, style, and price.


CARBONISTE ROUGE BRUT (50% Merlot, 50% Albariño)

We've highlighted Carboniste bottles several times before and for good reason - they're simply fantastic! Carboniste is trying to revolutionize sparkling wine in California by politely saying, “Champagne is France, Carboniste is California''. This wine came about as a lark, by combining merlot with Carboniste’s sparkling albariño at the producer’s Thanksgiving dinner table. It was a hit! Merlot delivers underlying sweet red plummy fruit while Albariño keeps the wine energetic and light. Before performing your own lab experiments at this year’s Thanksgiving table, try bringing a bottle of this instead!



There’s nothing unusual about combining Pinot noir and Syrah. In fact, France has known a thing or two about blending these two opposites for some time now. Pinot Noir, the ‘heartbreak grape’, rewards patience with unrivaled depth and complexity. It’s also the most highly prized grape in the world. Pinot Noir is usually light to medium-bodied, with lower tannins (thanks to those thinner skins) and high acidity, making it a wine of grace and subtlety. Syrah on the other hand is a thick-skinned grape that produces rich, powerful, and sometimes meaty wines. Now for the kicker... This liter bottle from Transylvania (you read that right... Where ‘ol Dracula himself was sipping on the finest type O negative) features artwork that could have only been created by the demands of a middle schooler to an A.I. art generator. The label may be too crude to give my reader’s a full description, but let's just say there’s a dog drinking his glass of Sefu pinky up.

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