Call Me Wino

I love wine. Call it genetics. After all, I am 50-percent Italian; and Italians make some of the best the world has to offer. But, to me, it has that something special that makes a meal, a family party, a conversation with a dear friend, or a romantic night out.

And, just like with food I do not discriminate. Sometimes I wish I did. But, like my dad, I love it all: red, white, dry, semi-dry, sweet, Italian, Spanish, Australian, Californian, and of course, Michigan.

Before I go further, I need a disclaimer: I am uneducated wino. While I have some knowledge about the regions, countries and wineries that produce it, I am really at the adolescent stage of my learning. I have tried enough to remember vintages I prefer, but not enough maturity to always have confidence when making selections at a store or restaurant. I’m okay with that. It gives me a license to experiment, make discoveries and to become friends with local sommeliers and wineries in my area.

Two experiments included a night out at Sangria’s in Royal Oak back in February; and a wine tasting at Filipo Marc Winery, a local winery in Clinton Township two Saturdays ago.

The night out at Sangria introduced me to Spanish wines; particularly Garnacha. My experience that evening left me on a quest to find a duplicate at my local gourmet grocer. Alas, I did not find that particular bottle. But, the sommelier at Vince and Joe’s tipped me off to other varieties of Garnacha, some under $10 a bottle, that are now staples in my wine rack. I am a happy wino.

Next, my attendance at that wine tasting was for a fund raiser for a non-profit I advocate for called Kids on the Go (which I’ll post about in the future). Owners, Gerard Giacona and his wife Tressa hosted our group. While I have previous acquaintance with Filipo Marc Winery and some of their selections, I had not actually been to a tasting there.

What I discovered — in addition to more bottles I like — was the tasting events Gerard and Tressa offer are really two-hour wine classes. In addition to tasting notes, they graciously explain the process of how each wine came to be, tasting advice to ensure an optimal experience with each selection, and food pairing suggestions. To learn more about Filipo Marc Winery and the 80+ wines they make, check out their web site or — if you’re a local — stop in for a visit at the winery. They’ll let you sample before you buy.