MKE Wine Craze

Located at Clear, in the InterContinental Milwaukee Hotel


California Wine From North to South

Wednesdays | 5:30- 8:30PM | $5 Per Tasting

Join us on a journey down the California coast as we explore some of the world's most famous winemaking regions. Golden State grapes are in full harvest, and we will reap the benefits in a glass every Wednesday in May.




May 4th

Wine Tasting 2011 Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, USA

Fruit aromas of white peach and nectarine are followed by honeysuckle, honey and light floral with hints of toast, butterscotch, grapefruit and cantaloupe. This wine is richly textured with a mouth-coating "appley" acidity and a round and creamy mid-palate, creating that signature Sonoma-Cutrer balance from start to finish. Flavors of Golden Delicious apple are accented with toasted nuts and barrel spice.

Located in the cool Sonoma Coast viticultural region, Sonoma-Cutrer vineyards was founded in 1973 by Brice Cutrer Jones. The winery is dedicated exclusively to the production of Estate Bottled Chardonnay from its own vineyards. Since 1981, Sonoma Cutrer Vineyards has produced three "vineyard designated" wines from the distinct soils of Les Pierres, the Cutrer Vineyard, and Russian River Ranches.

Wine Tasting 2012 La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, California, USA

This Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir opens with lovely, vibrant aromas of cherry pie and sassafras, supported by subtle earth tones and hints of rose petal and vanilla. Vibrant pomegranate and cranberry join in on the palate, with notes of black licorice, espresso bean, sweet pipe tobacco and cherry cola. With elegant structure, the juicy mid-palate leads to a lingering ­finish of sweet spice.

Since 1979, La Crema Winery has been a pioneer in producing Burgundian varietals from the cool Sonoma Coast. They handcraft their wine, one barrel at a time, at their family-owned estate located in the Russian River Valley. Balance, finesse and great fruit intensity come through in every glass of La Crema wine.

La Crema's location in the Russian River Valley is ideal for producing wines of uncompromising elegance and balance. To achieve this goal, several unique steps take place in getting fruit from the vineyards to the bottle. It begins in the vineyard, where careful canopy management and hand harvesting assure fully ripe, undamaged grapes are brought to the winery. At the winery, Winemaker Melissa Stackhouse uses artisan winemaking techniques to handcraft wines of distinctive flavor, elegance and balance.

May 11th

Wine Tasting 2011 Saddleback Cellars Chardonnay, Napa Valley, USA

The winemaker describes its Chardonnay as follows: “The nose emits aromas of pear, lemon rind and brioche. The taste echoes the lovely nose and has a viscous mouth-feel due to the batonnage (stirred sur-lees) process.The long finish has aftertastes of peach, pear, lemon and a hint of toast. A perfect accompaniment with dried fruit, cheese, crab or lobster.”

Saddleback Cellars is a Napa Valley winery located in the city of Oakville. Owner and winemaker Nils Venge, "King of Cabernet," produces amazing wines from the grapes grown on their estate vineyard, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Viognier, Merlot and Zinfandel. They also run a tasting room for the public to experience their wines.

Wine Tasting 2009 Andretti Sangiovese, Napa Valley, USA

This wine is from Mario Andretti’s Napa Valley winery. It is clear and bright, medium ruby and has solid legs. The nose is clean and developing with medium plus intensity and offers aromas of strawberry, cherry, red plum, roses, tar and as it opens, leather and tobacco.

The palate is dry with medium plus acidity and beautifully medium dusty tannins with admittedly high alcohol. It’s got flavours of more ripe strawberry, cherry, red plum, fragrant rose petals and tar with kid glove and sweet tobacco and vanilla. The finish is medium plus.

Andretti Estate Winery was founded in 1996 by Mario Andretti and Joe Antonini. Mario immigrated to the USA from Italy at age 15. He is most known for being a world famous Formula One, Indy Car, World Sportscar Championship and NASCAR driver who won the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, the Formula One World Championship and the Pikes Peak Hillclimb.

May 18th

Wine Tasting 2012 Chalone Vineyard Monterey County Chardonnay, California, USA

"In our Chardonnay, bright, fruit-focused flavors keep cadence with sweet essence of oak. Baked pear, Braeburn apple and sweet tangerine are accented by wafts of floral and nutmeg. Well-balanced, the fruit remains bright and crisp, complemented by just enough oak to lend structure and complexity."

Wine Tasting 2011 Victor Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, USA

"Victor Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel is crafted from grapes grown on our Lawson vineyard and other selected vineyards with vines aging from 35 to 112 years old. Our Old Vine Zinfandel is rich with brooding complexity - supple tannins of dark raspberry, blackberry and cherry rounded with brambly spice and hints of mocha, black pepper, and lightly toasted oak. 85% Zin, 15% Petite Sirah, aged 9 months in French Oak."

May 25th

Wine Tasting 2009 Sturino Trotta Edna Valley Chardonnay, California, USA

100% Chardonnay hand-picked from a single premier vineyard in Edna Valley, a prime appellation for premium Chardonnay. Barrel fermented – several with native wild yeast, producing a wonderful texture and mouthfeel. Then aged in French barrels specially selected from several different forests, producing multiple layers of flavor.

A complex wine with hints of grapefruit, toasted hazelnut and marzipan – which are found in premium well-aged French Chardonnays and Champagne. Like the great chardonnays of France, this wine was made in a style to be aged.

With less than 300 cases produced, this wine is a real treat!

Wine Tasting 2012 Chalone Vineyard Monterey Pinot Noir, California, USA

Fragrant heirloom roses, ripe black cherries and a touch of tobacco invite the senses into this approachable and enjoyable Pinot Noir. The red fruit brightens across the palate, picking up raspberry and spice. Soft and silky through the middle, the wine crescendos on the finish, leaving a vibrant, juicy memory in the mouth.

The oldest producing vineyard in Monterey County, Chalone Vineyard Estate rests on the Gavilan Mountain Range on the north slope of Chalone Peak. At 1,800 feet, the quiet splendor of the vineyards overlooks spectacular views of the wide-open Salinas Valley, made famous by local author John Steinbeck. The vineyard's name comes from the peak, which derives its name from the indigenous Costanoan Native American tribe, the Chalone, or Chollen.