When Screen Door Cellars released their first 100 cases of Pinot Noir in 2012, it was the culmination of a decade of work for winemaker Bobby Donnell. Donnell moved from his native Texas to California in 2002 and eventually began working for St. Clement Vineyards. After living in Napa Valley for several years, he and his wife Shannon decided to move closer to her hometown of Sebastopol in the Russian River Valley.

It had long been their dream to open their own winery and the fertile soils of the Russian River Valley were the perfect place to grow the style of pinot noir that Bobby loved. The first vintage was released to wide acclaim, and the accolades have only piled on as the public has caught on to these handcrafted wines.

At tomorrow’s tasting, we’ll feature four of Screen Door Cellars’ magnificent wines. Check out a preview of each one below.

2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

This wine was aged for eleven months in French oak barrels. It possess a wonderful ruby color and has aromas of Bing cherry, baking spices, and toast.  Additional nuanced notes of cola, cardamom, and vanilla lead to a finish of black cherry that is lingering and poignant.

2014 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

This wine is deeper in color than the preceding vintage. Black cherry aromas joined by blackberry and vanilla are the highlights on the nose. On the palate, confirming flavors from the nose with additional wisps of black cherry mixing with baking spice and an intriguing hint of truffle. Its finish draws the perfect balance between velvety tannis and a ripe, bright acidity.

2014 Leras Family Vineyard Pinot Noir

The fruit for this wine came exclusively from the Leras Family vineyards, which give it a unique aroma of rose petal amid the Bing cherry and spice. The taste of  cola, a Russian River Valley signature in Pinot Noir, is present with the added layers of raspberry and mouthwatering acidity.

2015 Rosé of Pinot Noir

Romantic pink in color, this rosé opens with a strong aromatic pairing of strawberry jam and lemon zest, followed closely by delicate notes of peach and plum. A bright acidity shines on the palate and highlights the lush flavors of sweet cherry. It’s Russian River Valley to the core and it was made for enjoying during hot summer nights.


“15 Questions with…” is an ongoing series of interviews with some of the most interesting people in our industry. 

Screen Door Cellars creates small, handcrafted lots of ultra-premium wine.  Screen Door Cellars is the result of the loving marriage between the bountiful promise of Northern California’s finest terrain and climate, with the dedication, pride and commitment that embodies the Texas spirit.  This wine is the warm and loving arms of family and friends, of bonds strengthening, of children in the yard, of belly laughter; accompanied by the inviting clap of the porch screen door as you step into the best days of your life.

Meet Bobby on Wednesday, June 1 at our tasting from 5-7pm!

1)The hardest thing about winemaking is…

The curve balls. No matter how hard you plan, forecast, and strategize for the perfect vintage for your wine, this is still 100% agriculture. The weather determines most, if not all that we do – from the growing season to the time we harvest. I guess the hardest thing for me as a winemaker is the emotional roller coaster of the vintage year. The joy of bud break, the late nights up during frost season and the warmth/heat of harvest. Keeping a cool head and an even keel is one of the hardest thing. Winemaking is not for the faint of heart.

2) How did you first get into the industry?

My wife…girlfriend at the time. She was finishing her Master’s degree from UCD in Viticulture and wanted to work a Harvest in Napa then head to New Zealand. Knowing nothing of the wine industry, besides the product, I took an Intern position at Beringer in the Lab. I really enjoyed the people and the energy of harvest and wanted to learn as much about wine and the process as possible. After harvest, I was hired for a full-time Cellar position at St. Clement. Shannon and I put down some roots, and I dove into winemaking head first.

 

3) What’s the most rewarding thing about your career? Connecting with people. Nothing makes me happier than creating a wine that people will enjoy with their friends, and the experience and emotions that are tied to Screen Door Cellars. The idea that I can make a wine from the Russian River Valley in California and friends of mine or people I don’t even know will share a bottle with their friends across the country. It’s that personal connection that’s the best and make me want to create the best.

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4) Who are the people in your industry that your most admire?

The one winemaker that gave me my start and lit my fire, Aaron Pott. The other is Ben Papapietro. I remember having a bottle of 2010 “Leras Family Vineyard” Pinot Noir from Ben. I told a friend of mine, “if I could make a wine like that for the rest of my life, I would die a happy man.”

5) What’s your favorite childhood memory?

Hunting with my father. Driving out to the Ranch and just walking and talking.

 

6) What are your favorite books or movies?  

With 3 kids, I would have to say any current Disney/Pixar flick…

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7) What your most listened to Spotify/Pandora/Sirius station?

Top 3 on the dial: Margaritaville, Underground Garage, and Outlaw Country

 

8) If you weren’t making wine, what career would you have?

Sailboat Captain

 

9) What advice would you give to people who wanted to get into the industry?

Jump in and do it! I have people every year during harvest come out and work for a few weeks and ask the same question. My answer is always the same. If it is something you really want to do, do it. Immerse yourself into wine. Passion is hard to fake.

 

10) What’s your dream vacation?

Island hopping in the Caribbean on a sailboat

 

11) What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?

Cookies

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12) Hometown?

Lancaster, Texas

 

13) If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one drink (not your own brand), what would it be?

Margarita

 

14) What person has been most influential in building your career?

Aaron Pott, he started the fire.

 

15) Where do you see yourself and your brand in 5 years?

Growing. I see Screen Doors Cellars with our own tasting room in Sebastopol planting more Pinot Noir on our home ranch, ASERN. Reaching out and connection with more customers, but small enough to still have that personal connection with our fans and supporters.


“15 Questions with…” is an ongoing series of interviews with some of the most interesting people in our industry. 

James “Jim” Morrison serves as the National Sales Director for Copper Cane Wine & Provisions. He’ll be in our store on Friday on May 27, from 4-7pm.

1)Tell us a little bit about what it means to be a National Sales director and some the challenges that come with that position.

I’m the first face, voice, messenger to our retail customer regarding the Portfolio Joe Wagner is creating. I know and love wine, but do NOT consider myself a wine Expert or Master Somm, my real expertise is consulting to navigate a highly complicated route to market. Understanding the Distributor/wholesale network, different state and often within state legalities. Championing our products in an increasingly competitive landscape. Trumpeting a voice to the gate-Keepers of the industry.

 

2) How did you first get into the industry?

Recruited off the campus of the University of Missouri to E & J Gallo Winery. Territory sales with graduating levels of responsibility starting in Oklahoma, Moving through Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, and Chicago.

 

3) What’s the most rewarding thing about your career? Selling is a simple equation – “A transfer of enthusiasm”. My father taught me this early in my career. We sell more than just grape juice in a bottle, wine is an experience for people to `enjoy with people they want to be with doing activities they enjoy. People remember their first experience with a particular wine, where they were, who they were with. It’s a great Mental Paycheck to see someone “Get it” when they experience our wines.

 

4) Who are the people in your industry that your most admire?

Joe Wagner – His passion to make something great. His Vision to build on what he was given. Chuck Wagner – The vision and discipline to start his own winery with his dad and build it into what it is today. Jim Schroeder – A manager I worked for early in my career at Gallo, he taught me how to interact with people and create relationships. Marvin Shankins – His vision for educating people about wine. Robert Mondavi – His vision for Napa, starting over after being fired from his families company and creating Napa.

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5) What’s your favorite childhood memory?

Family gatherings – Coming from a large family, my Grandmother was one of 18 children, Grandfather on of 11. Our family reunions were a festival and it was fun to see my cousins and watch my parents interact with people they loved and made time to be with. The food and drink were always at the center of every gathering. Watching my Dad tease and laugh with my uncles.

 

6) What are your favorite books or movies?

Books – Mark Twain “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” Malcolm Gladwell “David & Goliath” George Orwell “1984” Movies – Cool Hand Luke The Outlaw Josey Wales Shawshank Redemption

 

7) What your most listened to Spotify/Pandora/Serius station?

Comedy Channel, NPR, Classis Vinyl

 

8) If you weren’t making wine, what career would you have?

Tour guide – Wine Country, historic sites or interesting cities or comedian – I love to make people laugh.

 

9) What advice would you give to people who wanted to get into the industry?

Understand the business and logistics of the industry. While romantic, it’s really about making great product and figuring out the most efficient way to get it to the consumer. The first several years are labor intensive and not very romantic.

 

10) What’s your dream vacation? Traveling with my kids. We’ve been all over the world and there is still so much to see! Exploring new places, figuring out how to get around and communicate with other cultures/languages.

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11) What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?

Watching TV! I love to lay back on the couch and Veg-Out! But almost never do, and when I do I feel guilty about all the things I could/should be doing. I’m getting better about this with age, the guilty part that is!

 

12) Hometown?

Rogers AR – 16 years and just now feels like home

 

13) If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one drink (not your own brand), what would it be?

Tough one – Either Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay or Jameson Irish Whiskey

 

14) What person has been most influential in building your career?

My wife Bridget. While my father taught me work ethic and several folks have influenced experience and skill sets, my wife has made me the success I am most proud of. Always supportive, collaborative. She “Get’s” me and makes me want to continuously improve.

 

15) Where do you see yourself and your brand in 5 years?

I’ve never been good at this! I believe in focusing on here and now and putting energy behind excelling at the task at hand. Competing, reacting, and growing relationships as I go. I can’t control everything, but I can control what I do, how I interact with those I come in contact with. Things happen for a reason, whatever that is, and I’ve learned that nothing is ever as good as you think or as bad as it seems. 5 years from now I hope to be doing something similar to today, loving those around me and putting energy into something that stimulates and excites me!

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If you’ve been to our shop recently, you’ve probably noticed that things are starting to look a little…pink.

 

But what’s so great about all that pink stuff? Well, I’m glad you asked.

 

Allow me to get on my soapbox…

 

Pink wine, as I like to think of it, is its own unique thing. It’s got all the lightness and finesse of a white wine with just a touch of the red fruit flavors that we love in red wine, combined with a texture that’s all it’s own.

The styles of rosé can often be hard to nail down because color and grape variety are very poor indicators for what the wine will taste like. I prefer to group rosés by region to get a better idea of what they will taste like. French rosés tend to be the most tart and have the least pronounced fruity flavors. I often notice a distinct minerality and an herbal aroma, like sage or tarragon, in rosé from the south of France. The best regions for French rosé are from the south of France, specifically Tavel, one of the few places where only rosés are made. In the USA, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris rosés from the Willamette Valley in Oregon combine a nice acidic kick with more fruit forward flavors than their French counterparts. Farther south in California the rosés are more full-bodied, fruity, and round in the mouth. You can also find rosés from around the world with vastly varying flavors. I recommend being adventurous and trying as many as you can.

Rose Regions

How Rosé is Made

The way a rosé is made can influence the taste and style of a rosé just as much as where it’s grown. There are three main ways of making rosé: the blending method, the maceration method and a third method called saignée.

Blended rosés are most common in Champagne and other sparkling wines from around the world. In this method, before it’s made to be sparkling, the still wine is white and a small amount of red wine is added just before the wine undergoes a secondary fermentation that results in the wine’s characteristic bubbles.

The second method, maceration, can be compared to the process of making tea. Grapes only have color in their skin (the inside is clear, you can check this with a table grape). When the grapes come into the winery and are crushed and the whole mess of grapes and skins are left to sit, sometimes just for a few hours, but sometimes for days depending on the desired style of wine. This time of contact between the skins and the freshly pressed wine is called maceration. Shorter time spent on the skin yields paler, though not necessarily lighter wines. Longer macerations create darker wines with more noticeable tannin.

The third way of making rosé is called saignée (sahn-YAY) in which a winemaker will “bleed” off a bit of wine from their red wine to make it more concentrated. The result can be quite intense with body and tannin closer to red wine than white. You’ll often know that a rosé was made in this method due to its bright pink hue and fruit-heavy aromas.

So which rosé is the best? Well, we’ll leave that up to you to decide, but our answer is all of them, of course! Check out the wines below and see which one piques your interests.


Glass of whiskey with ice on black stone table.

If you’re not a regular scotch drinker, the many different terms and locations that are involved can be confusing. Hopefully we can clear up a few of these terms and give you a little bit of a guide when trying out a new drink.

A single malt is a whiskey made entirely from malted barley from a single distillery. Most of the whiskeys in our store are single malts.

Single grain means that contrary to what the name implies, the scotch can be made from a mix of barley, wheat, rye, or corn and must come from a single distillery. In general, single grain scotches are cheaper to produce because they’re not entirely barley based, and barely is the most expensive grain. Nikki Coffey Grain is the only single grain we carry.

Blended scotch can be a mixture of grains and is a blend of different distilleries’ production. These can be extremely cheap or extremely expensive. Examples include Johnny Walker, Chivas, and Dewars are all blends.

Much like wine, single malts express regional styles. In Scotland, the main regions are the Highlands, the Lowlands, Islands and Skye, Islay, Speyside, and the Coastal West Highlands.

Scotch Map

The Highlands are the largest and most diverse region. Most of the scotches produced here can be described as light, sweet, and fruity, but this belies the broad range of scotches the region has to offer.

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The Scottish Highlands

The Lowlands are home to most of the distillation in Scotland, however, most of this is grain whiskey destined for blends. The few remaining single malt producers here are known for triple distilling which produces a light, easy drinking scotch. Glenkinchie, and Auchentoshan are the main two but there are plans to open more in the region.

Speyside was part of the highlands until 2009. It produces more than 60% of all single malt scotch made in Scotland. It largely produces scotches similar in style to highland whiskey and is the home to Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, and Macallan. Those distillers collectively makeup one-third of the single malt market and are all from Speyside.

Distillation in the Coastal West Highlands is centered in the town of Campbeltown, which was once home to more than thirty distilleries. Now that number has shrunk to three: Springban, Glen Scotia, and Glengyle. Stylistically, the region is hard to pin down as each distillery has a unique style, but they are all by notes of smoke and brine.

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Campletown harbor

Island scotches, especially, the Isle of Skye, are all uniquely affected by the sea. The main islands to know are Arran, Mull, Jura, Skye, Lewis, and Orkney. Many of these islands were home to illegal distilleries trying to avoid heavy taxes. The styles are too disparate to describe a common character as each one is a one of a kind representation of its home island. 

A panorama of the Isle of Skye

A panorama of the Isle of Skye

Islay is the southernmost island in scotch producing island in Scotland and is considered its own unique region. There are eight distilleries currently operating on the island with more in the way. The style is dominated by the use of peat in the malting process. This gives the whiskeys a distinct smokey flavor that combines with the ocean air to produce a taste that is prized by scotch connoisseurs. 

No matter your experience level with Scotch, there’s always something new to try – lets us show you something new next time you’re in the shop.


I know what you’re thinking. Barbecue and wine aren’t your typical go-to’s when planning your summer cookouts. For so long, beer has been king of the backyard party, and I’m ready to see wine get its place in the spotlight. 

I’ll be the first to admit that pairing wines with the smokey, spicy, often sweet tang of BBQ sauce is a challenge, but I decided to take on the burden for the betterment of both my life and yours. You’re welcome. 

Brisket

Brisket is the best thing to ever come out of Texas. I’m sure there are those who would disagree, and that’s fine – we all have to be wrong sometimes. Brisket, with its delicate juices and tender, smokey meat is truly one of the finest things that can come from a cow. It’s a fickle cut, soft as snow when done correctly, but tougher than leather when mishandled. It calls for a slightly spicy wine with deep flavors to keep it in check.

My recommendations:

Haraszthy Family Cellars 2012 Amador County Zinfandel 

Subtly spicy and very fruit forward, this wine was grown in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains of northern California. You’ll find aromas of raspberry and vanilla that are matched with nutmeg and white pepper. It’ll keep the meat in balance, letting smoke come through without dampening the dark fruit flavors of the wine.

Green & Red “Tip Top” Zinfandel

Green & Red’S “Tip Top” vineyard rises over 1,700 feet above the Napa Valley floor, giving it both an amazing view and a perfect location for growing hearty zinfandel fruit. This wine is actually a slight blend, having a small percentage of grenache and carménère that gives the wine a subtle hint of smoke and bay leaf. The only problem here is that the wine is so good, you’ll have to remember to actually eat the meat.

Pulled Pork

Pulled pork can be difficult because of how much it changes based upon where it’s cooked. In some places, the sauce can be rich with vinegar, and in others, it can be packed with the fall-on-your-knees goodness of slightly sweet mustard. For either (and anything in between), I’d drink it was dry rosé….yes, that pink stuff. With barbecue. No, I’m not crazy. Why? Because they’re served chilled and they’re delicious. What more reason do you need?

My recommendations:

Chateau Des Rocs, Cabrières Rosé “Premices” 

Once you get over how impossible to say its name is, this wine is going to knock you down with its red fruit aromas (think strawberry and watermelon). It’s a blend of cinsault, syrah, and grenache from the southern coast of France, and before you can tell me that you don’t like sweet wines, just stop. This is bone dry, and at 13% alcohol by volume, this ain’t your grandma’s afternoon sipper. It’ll cut through the sauce, and, especially if you’re like me and put slaw on your sandwich, balance out the vinegar with fruit.

Raptor Ridge Winery Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir

This is another dry rosé, and this one is practically a fruit salad in a bottle. Strawberry, watermelon, cherry, rhubarb, and pomegranate – they’re all here but balanced by an acidity that will cut through the sauce of the pork and take your meal to a whole new level. This is another one that will balance the tang and tartness of sauces and slaws.

Ribs

Is there anything more glorious in the world than sitting down to eat with a plate full of ribs? Maybe the birth of a child, but I don’t have kids so I wouldn’t know. Ribs and the minimum three gallons of sauce that come with them are big and bold and they’ll need a wine that can go toe-to-toe with them flavor-wise. Syrahs are deep and spicy, one of the darkest wines available, and they’re the only thing I reach for when it’s rib night.

My recommendations:

Green & Red “Tip Top” Syrah

I know I’ve already mentioned Green & Red’s Tip Top vineyard, but this juice is just too good to skip over. The elevation does wonders to the fruit, producing a wine that’s inky black and a full of warm spices like fresh black pepper. It finishes with a note of smoke and sweet wood that develop over time and is typically reflected in the ribs themselves. This is a big wine that needs some time to open up. If you can, I’d recommend decanting for several hours before drinking.

Bell Syrah

This syrah from Bell Winery is unique in that it’s grown on a peninsula surrounded by water. This creates constant breezes that give it a slightly more fruity personality than other syrahs. Be on the lookout for blackberry jam, raspberries, white and black pepper, and a tiny little hint of lavender. It’s a great match for the sauce that’s inevitably going to get everywhere.

No matter whether you choose zinfandel, a rosé, or syrah, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a better match for your meal than a glass of wine!


Mira Winery was founded in 2009 by Jim “Bear” Dyke and winemaker Gustavo A. Gonzalez. Their goal was to make simple and elegant wines that captured a true expression of both the grapes and the vineyards. In 2013, the winery decided to try something that had never been done before: to completely rethink the traditional aging process. That February, Dyke and Gonzalez decided to see what would happen if instead of aging their wines in oak they aged them the ocean.

The idea was novel enough. Wine has been aged for centuries in oak barrels largely because of French tradition. The water would certainly be cold enough for the wine, but what would the rocking of the waves do? Would it speed up the aging process? Maybe slow it down? No one was sure, but everyone was excited by the thought. The winery submerged 48 bottles of their 2009 cabernet sauvignon 60 feet below South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor.

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Three months later, the bottles were removed and tested. According to Dyke, the wine tasted as if it had been aged for years. He has was so pleased with the experiment that the winery decided to try it again, this time submerging 96 bottles for 6 months. This wine was eventually sold exclusively to members of the winery’s wine club.

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So, where can you get your hands on an ocean-aged bottle of wine these days? Well, that’s where things get a bit tricky.

The government soon caught wind of Mira’s little project and the winery was investigated by the Alcohol and Tabacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), and it shut the operation down over fears that the wine might be contaminated. Though this claim was never proven by the TTB, the forced Mira to cease all of their oceanic aging practices. Now, only a small number of bottles remain in the cellars of a lucky few.

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While it’s not longer aged in the ocean, you can still taste some of Mira’s incredible wines at tour tasting event on Wednesday, May 18 from 5-7pm. Winery owner Jim Dyke will be on hand to talk about his winery and to answer your question. Click here to read an interview with him. 


Shamrock Selections is a monthly subscription service that brings you the best wines from around the world. Each month’s selection is carefully chosen by sommelier Keegan Sparks and his team. He keeps a keen eye out for wines that are unique, rare, and new to our market. Shamrock Selections is ideal for enthusiasts and explorers who delight in finding hidden gems and trying new, exclusive vintages. Each month, you can join us on a journey sampling and learning about some of the greatest wines in the world. Each selection of wine comes with detailed tasting notes and food pairing suggestions from our team.

2103 Trimbach Riesling Alsace, France

I’m certain that for some of you seeing a Riesling in your Shamrock might be less than exciting, but give this one a shot!

This Riesling is totally DRY and is much more mineral driven than its German or Washington state counterparts. The Trimbach family has been at it since 1626, so they now a thing or two about how to make a good bottle of wine. I was lucky enough to meet Jean Trimbach at a tasting last summer in which we tasted through some older vintages of his Rieslings. I was absolutely blown away by the beauty and complexity of those wines and I wanted to share that experience with you. The 2013 vintage is a classic example of a Trimbach wine. Wet stone minerality dominates the nose with hints of honey, cedar, white flowers, and lemon. The palate is DRY with racy acidity and a gripping texture, like biting into a Granny Smith apple. The finish is persistent and DRY. Enjoy this wine at around 50° with classic Alsatian dishes like sausage and sauerkraut, or be adventurous and pair it with sushi or even curry.

2014 Grochau Cellars Gamay Noir Redford Wetle Farm, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon

One thing I love about Oregon winemakers is they aren’t afraid to try new things. This Gamay Noir from Grochau Cellars is a fantastic example of that. The winemaker, John Grochau, is using an uncommon grape and a blend of old and new world techniques to makes something that is truly unique. The aroma is bursting with bright cherry and strawberry aromas that are balanced by warm toasty notes of cinnamon and clove along with a really interesting hint of freshly cut stem and leaf. The wine is light but is rounded out by somewhat aggressive tannins. I recommend chilling the wine slightly. 15 minutes in the freezer should get it to the perfect temperature. Those tannins will be a perfect match to fattier foods like duck breast, charcuterie or even barbecue.

Want to learn more about Shamrock Selections? Click here.


Wait, where did spring go?! It’s already too hot outside, so check out how we’re cooling down with this month’s staff picks. 

Tercos Torrontes

Torrontes is a special grape. Grown almost exclusively in Argentina, it’s incredibly aromatic with medium acidity. It has a wonderful floral notes that include rose, geranium, and violet. Specifically, this torrontes from Tercos has a lovely hint of peach that I think really sets it apart. It’s best served cold and is the perfect match for the spicy Asian and Indian foods that I enjoy cooking. It’s an excellent accompaniment to white meats – chicken, fish, seafood, and even tofu.

– Seth

PI Red Wine

If you want to try something different from your typical red wine, PI is a great option. Exclusively made with 100% concejon, a blending grape only grown in Spain’s Aragon region, this wine is medium/full bodied with notes of dark fruits and spices. It has firm yet smooth tannins and an oaky overtone that makes this little wine a winner!    

 – Susie

Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling

This is an awesome introduction to Rieslings. It’s lightly sweet, but not cloying. There are aromas of white peach and apricot. Flavors of Fuji apple, shiro plum, and lime leaves are balanced with a long, minerally finish.

 Ty

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Stangeland Pinot Noir

Strange name. Tastes good.

 -Zachary

Elijah Craig 12 Year Small Batch Bourbon

Well, summer is here and it’s time for cool bourbon drinks and relaxation. There’s nothing more perfect this time of year than Elijah Craig 12 year. It’s big and bold enough that it won’t be overwhelmed if mixed in a cocktail, but it’s also smooth enough to enjoy in a glass all by himself. Enjoy the rich taste of caramel, oak, spices, and a hint of rye on the finish. Smell the powerful aroma of vanilla and caramel and let them take you away as you enjoy a gorgeous bourbon on a great day this summer.

 – Zachary

Arrogant Bastard Ale

“You’re not worthy”

The tagline used to promote this tasty brew says a great deal about the attitude of its creators and its followers alike. Arrogant Bastard has been pushing the envelope of craft beer since its inception in 1997 and has been challenging beer drinkers along the way to taste liquid enlightenment. Arrogant Bastard’s creators Greg Koch and Steve Wagner came upon the recipe by accident while trying to perfect another brew but after the first taste they knew they had something special. Since then the beer and brand have developed a uniquely “arrogant” personality that pushes beer drinkers to question and look outside of the “fizzy yellow beer” paradigm and reach for something… superior. The beer itself is a prime example of the classic west coast IPA style which it helped to develop and popularize. The beer pours a dark amber with a sudsy, off-white head and beautiful lacing on the glass. Aromas of fresh tropical and citrus-y hops abound on the nose as well as the palate. The beer drinks very light for 7.2 abv and has a balanced malt component that rounds out the whole experience. Bottom line is: This beer issues a challenge, reject the idea that great beer is light, smooth, and inoffensive and step into a broader world of flavor where malt and hops are bold, flavorful, and unrestrained. Some say hops are an acquired taste, do yourself a favor and acquire it!

– Spencer


“15 Questions with…” is an ongoing series of interviews with some of the most interesting people in our industry. 

Whether it was building a garden with his brother in the alley behind their house or riding the tractor through the fields with his grandfather, there has always been something peaceful about growing things for Jim Dyke, owner of Mira Winery. He still wonders at the beauty of the cycle that produces grapes each season and is amazed at the process that evolves the grapes into wine. One of his first jobs after a stint at the Senate Parking Lot upon graduating from the University of Arkansas was as Assistant Brewmaster at one of the first Microbreweries in the country, Capital City Brewing Company. Here, Jim answers our questions in advance of his tasting on May 18, 2016, from 5-7pm.

1)The hardest thing about winemaking is…

Working with nature and all the uncertainty that it brings.

 

2) How did you first get into the industry?

Making beer in WDC when I graduated from college. A number of years later I met world renowned winemaker Gustavo Gonzalez and we both thought it was an incredible opportunity to partner and do something special.

 

3) What’s the most rewarding thing about your career?

The people. The people I work with every day who are so dedicated to being exceptional. The people I meet who try/drink our product. Its never dull and so many people are so interesting.

 

4) Who are the people in your industry that your most admire?

Steve Schweizer who owns a 40-acre vineyard in the heart of the Stags Leap District of Napa. Every year he produces exceptional grapes and every year he has different weather. And he is always calm as a cucumber.

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5) What’s your favorite childhood memory?

Playing soccer in Razorback Stadium for the U11 state championship.

 

6) What are your favorite books or movies?

Wedding Crashers just above the classics (Caddy Shack, Stripes, Animal House) and Unbroken (the book).

 

7) What your most listened to Spotify/Pandora/Serius station?

Y2kountry

 

8) If you weren’t making wine, what career would you have?

Politics

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9) What advice would you give to people who wanted to get into the industry?

If you don’t have 30 years – don’t start. It’s a long haul and you have to find rewards in small sometimes hidden places.

 

10) What’s your dream vacation?

A beach, preferably pink sand but I am not too picky.

 

11) What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?

Cigars

 

12) Hometown?

Charleston, SC but I was born and raised in Little Rock and went to the U of A so I still consider it home.

Mira-Wine-Club

13) If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one drink (not your own brand), what would it be?

Grey Goose Vodka

 

14) What person has been most influential in building your career?

Gustavo Gonzalez, Mira Co-founder

 

15) Where do you see yourself and your brand in 5 years?

Widely acclaimed as one of the premier producers in the world.