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An American Goes to Tuscany: Chianti Unclassico at Elmwood

  • Vintage Berkeley Elmwood 2949 College Avenue Berkeley, CA, 94705 United States (map)

Michael Schmelzer, the American winemaker at the helm of the 1000-year-old Monte Bernardi wine estate is to winemakers what the honey badger is to all mammalian life: at the very far end of the curve of not giving a @#$*.

You wanna tell him Chianti Classico is boring? Go right ahead. How Tuscany's not ready for hardcore natural, biodynamic winemaking? Step right up. Maybe you want to tell him an American won't make it in Italy's most storied winemaking region? Whoopsadaisy. 

Why this very week, the best magazine currently writing on wine and spirits, Punch, wrote that it was high time we reconsidered Chianti Classico, and selected the nine best wines to support that argument: two of which just happened to belong to a single honey badger of a winemaker. We're pouring both of those wines, along with six others... including three of out of boxes.

That's right: I said boxes. (Honey badger don't care!) Ever the iconoclast, Michael decided to release box wines right alongside his highly allocated, highly sought-after, high-end bottles of Chianti Classico Riserva. (We began selling some of these last year, and they're now among our biggest-selling wines, period. Campers love their portability; environmentalists dig their eco-responsibility; and as for our environment-hating couch potato friends? Turns out they just like delicious things served up in a liter format on a Monday night.)

But that's not the half of it. Michael is responsible for the resurgence of interest in Chianti Classico generally and in Panzano specifically, a small village in the heart of Chianti Classico that Decanter magazine recently called "one of the top 10 most important terroirs in Italy."

Please join us in raising a glass -- well, eight -- to iconoclast and legend-in-the-making, Michael Schmelzer of Monte Bernardi.

Eight wines for $10... along with special tasting-day-only discounts on the wines! 

Earlier Event: August 5
Francy Friday at Vine
Later Event: August 12
The Wines of Dee Vine...at Vine!