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Greek, Deadly Sins and Art combine for unique wine experiences

By Greg Horton

Oklahoma receives a dizzying amount of new wine nearly every month. In fact, the sheer number of new products that hit the shelf is probably roughly equal to the number that disappear, whether from depletion, sold out vintage or loss of representation.
That means there are always new things on the shelf, but tracking all the changes is impossible.

This month, we are going to do our best to highlight three trends that are worth watching in new wines, and we have one for the wine geeks, one for the artists and aesthetic types, and one for the traditionalists.
It is a very nice cross section of different, new wines that will appeal to diverse groups.

It’s Greek to Me

Greek wines are finally making their way to Oklahoma. Most of the wine professionals we speak to tell us something very consistent about ordering wine in a restaurant or wine shop: pronunciation is intimidating.
In other words, it is far easier and more likely that someone will ask for a “house wine” or common varietal (glass of Chardonnay) than that they will order something called Assyrtiko off a list.

David Lack, owner of Broadway Wine Merchants (824 N. Broadway), hopes to help demystify the experience of trying Greek wine.
These are some of the oldest and best wines in the world, but the labels can be intimidating, even to the advanced wine nerd, as this is the first time we have had them in Oklahoma.

Lack brought in every Greek wine available and will have them in one section. He has also trained his staff to walk customers through the process. Do yourself a favor and give one of these a try. Most are under $20.

Art for Wine’s Sake

Many wine lovers are familiar with the Orin Swift line of wines, whether via Papillon, The Prisoner, Locations, Abstract, Mercury Head or the bold, rich Machete, Swift makes wines that appeal to lovers of big, dense, ripe wines.
The highly praised 2012 vintage of Machete—Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Grenache—comes with a new look, most notably the twelve possible labels.

The labels, featuring a friend of winemaker Dave Phinney’s wife, look for all the world like an homage to 1970s “blacksploitation” films, featuring a barely clad actress sporting a machete.

The photos are retro design, and given the recent obsession Tarantino has had with grind house and blacksploitation films, we are left to wonder if the inspiration is spreading in California.

The labels are beautifully done, and the wine inside is the same in all twelve versions. Machete is not meant to be subtle, so look for heavily extracted fruit, tannins, and plenty of over the top taste.

It’s big, really big.

The Fifth Deadly Sin

Wrath was Brad Pitt’s final sin in David Fincher’s brilliant film “7even,” but here it’s a new-to-the-state line of traditional California style wines.

The Thomas family references Virgil’s “Aeneid” in their promotional literature, primarily because they believe wine is a product of human and superhuman (gods, weather) forces.

Four of these Southern California wines are now available in Oklahoma, including a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and two Pinot Noirs, one a single-vineyard project, the Tondre Grapefield 2011 from Santa Lucia Highlands.

The Wrath wines will appeal to traditionalists—the winemakers love French oak—but they are not so over the top California that they can’t be enjoyed more widely.

The Pinots are big, fruity and brawny, but the Sauvignon Blanc shows great balance and subtlety.

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