What an event!!!  On Saturday, October 13th we held our second annual Grand Wine Tasting event at Mystic Wine Shoppe. We had customers from near and far, including dogs and babies, come sample over 20 delicious wines with us.  This year we held the event in our attached garage to allow plenty of space for sampling. It was a great turnout and we’re so thankful for all the support.

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Did you miss the event? Don’t worry, we hold weekly wine and beer tastings.  Plus, make sure you reserve your ticket for our Dec. 6th Bourbon Tasting.
Thanks again for everyone who joined us!


Raisins are nature’s candy. The dried, sugary essence of a grape, concentrated into one little morsel. It seems hard to imagine a wine made from such a thing, but there are actually many. The most famous ones are from Italy, specifically the majestic Amarone, a blend of grapes used to make the very light and delicious Valpolicella wines and Vin Santo, the sweet, luscious desert wine the Italians eat with little biscotti called “cantucci.”

There are other wines made from shriveled grapes – mostly those affected by “noble rot” or botrytis and some “icewine,” made after the water has frozen in the grape so that you when you cold-press the grapes, you just get the sugars and acids and none of the frozen liquid. Excellent examples of these techniques come from Bordeaux in the form of Sauternes or Barsac and Germany, with their Trockenbeerenauslese (dry-berry harvest), but also in the Finger Lakes and the Niagara area where the grapes hang until they freeze before harvesting. I have an on-going love affair with all raisinated, botrytized and frozen wines, but they are all “special occasion” wines, so not on the regular rotation of every day wines.

But this wine is something new, that maybe you could drink more regularly. It is a raisinated wine from the Montepulciano grape, famous for the light, bright, fruity wines of Abruzzo. Most Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wines are meant for drinking casually, a cheerful blend of plums and cherries, with high acidity and low tannins that also “cleanse” the palate when you have it with pasta in a rich sauce. But when you dry the grapes and then press that precious, concentrated liquid into juice that ferments slowly and carefully, you get a deeply colored, deeply flavored wine that will stand up to heavy sauces and red meats and spice! This is a wine that has the intensity of a California Cabernet with all the mouth-filling aromas of fruit and some herbs, but has the acid brightness of wild cherries and summer plum, like a much lighter wine. It is a wonderful, unusual combination that will have you taking just one more sip, just to see if it really does have all that complexity. And the texture will have keep you sipping once you are used to the unusual mix of flavors, it is smooth and viscous. At $14.99, it will give that Amarone you’ve been saving for a special occasion a definite run for its money.

We had it last night with roasted leg of lamb and a wonderful mint sauce – definitely a regular from now on!

What a great turnout we had this weekend for our wine tasting with the one and only Hugh Hamilton!  Hugh travels from Australia twice a year and always hosts a wine tasting with us at Mystic Wine Shoppe. We’re always grateful for his time and for the support of the community.  Hugh and his team just launched a new wine collection and it will soon be coming to Mystic Wine Shoppe.

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Thanks again, Hugh We loved having you and sampling all your delicious wines.

Stop in and grab a bottle of Hugh Hamilton Wines at Mystic Wine Shoppe.  Trust us, you won’t be disappointed!

It’s like when you casually lean over to smell a rose, not expecting anything, and you can actually smell the rose! It transports you to your childhood in your grandmother’s beautiful garden with melon sized roses that you could smell from a yard away.

That is how the Manu Sauvignon Blanc is. You open it and pour, expecting to smell some Sauvignon Blanc, but then you smell it! It has a gorgeous nose that feels like a lungful of fresh air out on an alpine meadow. It is full of bright lime, grapefruit and green apple freshness balanced with tropical notes of guava and gooseberry. It is overlaid by a wonderful herbal grassiness that reminds you of lying on a hillside on a lush lawn watching the clouds drift across the sky. Even if you never actually taste the wine, you could breathe it in all day.

But then if you do taste it, it is tart and tangy, round and smooth and totally refreshing – from the first taste to the last lingering flavors, it is a wine to be tasted with your eyes closed.

Sauvignon Blanc is grown in many regions of the world. While the Loire and Bordeaux are undoubtedly the wellspring of classic Sauvignon Blanc wines, it has found one of its most popular expressions in New Zealand. Close to 95% of all wine exported form New Zealand is Sauvignon Blanc, followed by very excellent Pinot Noir. What is it about this southern clime that makes this wine so special there? There are several factors. One is the ideal climate in the Marlborough region of the southern island. It is a maritime climate with warm, sunny days and cool nights with ocean breezes flowing off the Pacific to cool down the vines. The morning fogs protect the grapes from the worst of the sun’s ray until the sun is overhead and the leaves can protect them – after all, grapes can get sunburned too. It has combination of schist and sandstone mixed with clay (called Greywacke) that allows the roots of of the plant to penetrate deep, drain well and yet retain enough moisture to nourish the vines. And of course, the final factor is the winemaker. Steve Bird is a fabulous producer – dedicated, thoughtful and willing to think “outside the box.”

As our summer transitions into autumn, this wine will allow you to linger in that alpine meadow for a little longer and draw out the best of the season.

On Wednesday, I went to the farmer’s market in Arlington and there they were. Native tomatoes! I bought a carton of cherry tomatoes, a carton of sun gold tomatoes, a few Black Princes and six early Early Girls. I also bought a big bunch of basil because my daughter and her husband were coming for over and I was planning a simple, summery pasta for dinner.

Now I needed wine.

Although, since Sideways, we all drink Pinot Noir, pasta with tomatoes and garlic calls for something a bit bolder. Something Italian. I could have picked a Montepulciano, which I love, but my inner Anthony Hopkins prevailed.

Hello, Chianti.

I picked up two bottles of Rocca delle Macie’s 2015 Chianti which boasts a understated label that belies its reasonable price. Then I went home, unpacked the tomatoes and got cooking. This is my easy, go-to summer pasta sauce because frankly with fresh, ripe tomatoes, it’s hard to go wrong.


I tossed some minced fresh garlic in a pan with good olive oil. My daughter, Perry, arrived. “Smells good in here!”
I handed her a corkscrew and she opened the Chianti. Yes, she’s over 21. And that’s just one of the great things about adult kids. You can drink with them. We poured the wine and noted its gorgeous ruby color. We sipped and knew that even though the first swallow was delicious (tart cherry, vanilla? cinnamon?) it would be even better by the time we ate. So we opened the second bottle to let it mellow out, too.

Then Perry showed me a hack to slice cherry tomatoes that she had seen on YouTube.

It worked!

So we tossed all the halved cherry tomatoes and one of each of the big tomatoes into the pan with some salt, pepper and basil chiffonade. While the sauce cooked down a bit, we started the water for pasta, put some hot Italian sausages onto a cast iron pan and made an arugula salad.


By the time my son-in-law and husband arrived, it was time to eat. We brought our plates and the two bottles wine onto the porch so we wouldn’t have to get up mid-meal. The evening was getting cooler, the sky was turning grey, thunder rumbled in the distance. We filled our glasses and toasted to an ordinary Wednesday. The wine had opened up and was smooth as silk, the tagliatelle was al dente and the sauce captured the essence of summer.


May every day be this ordinary. Ciao!

I remember the first time I tasted a Soave in my wine class. I was expecting Riunite – a sweet fruity drink that would loosely be classified as wine. Boy, was I disappointed! My first taste – which went against every expectation I had – was tough. It was totally dry, dry as the Sahara dessert and therefore shocking to my palate.

Let me back up a step. Expectations are always a tricky thing. Sometimes, they become a self-fulfilling prophecy – you expect something to be bad, you make it bad in your mind by picking it apart. And vice versa, you expect something to be good, so you only see the upsides. But most of the time, expectations can mislead you. When someone hypes something to you and raises your expectations too high, you are bound to be disappointed. And again, vice versa, you hear only negative reviews of something, but then when you actually try it, it’s not so bad! My husband used to always tell me to spend about 20 percent of my time managing expectations. In order to get a job for example, you have to talk yourself up. But then when you actually get the job, you need to make sure people are going be realistic about what you can accomplish. So, walk the line of not being a complainer, but talk about the challenges, your problem solving strategies and so forth. Make sure people know what they are getting so then, they will be happy with the outcome!

Now, back to the shock to the palate. Soave is dry! Dry, dry, dry but also delicately floral with notes of peach and pear and a very refreshing, crisp, mineral-driven finish. In fact, it is one of the great wines of Italy. One would not necessarily know that because it is not as recognizable as Chianti or Prosecco. And furthermore, it is made from the terribly named Garganega (pronounced gar-GA-nega) grape. Sounds like mouthwash, but tastes sublime – it is fresh, lively and can pair with everything from white meats to shellfish.

wine photoSoave Classico is the heart of great wines made with the Garganega grape. It is in the extremely picturesque part of the Veneto that is just east of the gorgeous Lake Garda. The valleys are lush and beautiful dotted with castles and modern buildings alike. Rocca Sveva is made by the cooperative winery, the Cantina Di Soave, which having been established in 1898, is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year. They use high-technology to analyze soils and ensure the quality of the grapes supplied by their growers as well the latest techniques to ensure quality but make wines that are extremely traditional and hark back to their origins.

The Rocca Sveva Soave Classico 2016 is a wonderful, easy-to-drink, highly enjoyable wine. It’s beauty is in its simplicity. It doesn’t require any concentration to appreciate its depths like a white Burgundy might and it doesn’t lull you into a stupor like a big, high-alcohol, buttery Chardonnay might. In fact, at 12.5% alchohol, you can enjoy that second glass guilt free. And really prolong the enjoyment on a hot summer’s day. This wine has lovely notes of grapefruit and lemon zest with a hint of white peach on the nose. It has a nice, soft mouthfeel with some mineral notes and it leaves your palate with a fresh, dry snap.

Cheers! Seema

Moldova is a fascinating country. It sounds both very remote and yet very familiar to my ear – something about Transylvania and the Carpathian Mountains to the west, the Black Sea to the east. It seems to sit at a sinister juncture of fairytale and legend. But in reality, Moldova is a country covered by gently rolling hills that reach no higher than 1000 feet. There are lush valleys and rich pastures with a very temperate climate that is not too cold in the winter and not too hot in the summer and it gets just the right amount of rain for farming grapes.

In fact, Moldova has been growing grapes for millennia. There is evidence suggesting that the native Moldovans were making wine as early as 3000 B.C.E. There has been constant cultivation since that time, excepting the 300 years of Ottoman rule that destroyed many of their vineyards. Further damage was caused during both World Wars, decimating their wine stocks. However, in the post-war period, there has been a concerted effort to replant the wonderful hillsides with vines and bring production back to its former glory.

They have succeeded to a very great extent and replanted many indigenous varieties such as the difficult to pronounce “Feteasca Alba”, “Rarã Neagrã” and “Zghiharda.” They have also followed global trends and replanted the lands with more international varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, which seems to thrive almost everywhere, as well as Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay.

Until I tasted this remarkable wine, I couldn’t really predict what I would be tasting. I have had many, many red Cabernet Sauvignon wines and even had a few rosés, but I have never had a white wine made with it. This wine makes you appreciate just why Cabernet Sauvignon is indeed a superstar among grape varieties. My son would call it “o.p.” or overpowered. When it is gently pressed to preserve its fruit flavors and keep out the colors and polyphenols from the skins, it yields a white wine that has some beautiful aromas and flavors. Fresh and approachable, you smell grapefruit, herbs, perhaps some mango, pineapple and banana, and maybe just a hint of jalapeño. Then on the palate, you get creamy textures of summer fruit and with a mineral finish that is completely satisfying. Like most Cabernet’s, this is a full-bodied wine that is perfect with a range of flavors including shell fish, mature hard cheese, and charcuterie.

Thanks for reading,


Last summer rosé and frosé (frozen rosé) was all the rage and we think it will only become more popular this summer. With new rosés coming out left and right, the options for tasting and creating cocktails is endless. This month we’re sharing a super simple recipe to make your own frosé at home.

Check it out –

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Mystic Wine Shoppe Frosé Ingredients:

  • Bottle of rosé – we found the darker colored rosé worked well to hold its color
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Handful of rasperries
  • 1/2 cup sugar

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  • Freeze your rosé for at least 6 hours – we used ice cube trays
  • Place sugar into a small saucepan and add half a cup of water. Heat and stir constantly until sugar dissolves. Add crushed  raspberries to the sugar/water mixture. Let it all sit for a couple of minutes in the freezer. Strain out the liquid and place to the side.

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  • Mix together frozen rosé cubes, handful of ice, raspberry liquid and lemon juice
  • Blend to perfection and serve!

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This would be perfect for all your summer cookouts!  Next month we’re adding strawberries and vodka to take it up a notch!

Thanks for your support – Cheers,

Mystic Wine Shoppe