Featured User: Tom Casagrande

Tom Casagrande is here to introduce himself as this week's Featured User! I have loved and studied wine since I was in college, so got into wine sales in the early 1980s just after graduating. Turns out I’m terrible at selling. So I became a lawyer and entered big firm practice. But guess what? Firms don’t care if their partners know law. They want partners who bring in clients. Oh no! Sales again! So eventually I became a government lawyer (no sales!). But for me wine is a passion on par with “the law.” Delectable: What sparked your passion for wine? Tom Casagrande: I grew up in an Italian home where jugs of Carlo Rossi and, on special occasions, screwcap bottles of Riunite Lambrusco were always on the table. Not very exciting, right? But I understood at a gut level that wine is part of a meal. Then during my last two years of college in 1981-82, I worked waiting tables at The Fish Market (then a high-end seafood restaurant in Center City Philly). Good white wine list. If a customer didn’t finish a bottle, I’d put it behind my wait station, and sneak sips while I did my side-work after the customers went home. What a revelation! Meursault ! Sauvignon Blanc ! Gewurztraminer ! Riesling ! I had no idea wines could taste so amazing and complex and different from each other! I started reading everything I could about wine, and selectively tasting what I could afford, to link my actual perceptions to the words I was reading. I was hooked. Still am! D: What wine region are you wild about right now? TC: The Walla Walla AVA in Washington/Oregon (especially Rhône varietals grown in “The Rocks”). D: What is the most unusual wine you’ve ever tried? TC: Sparkling Aussie Shiraz . D: What is your golden rule for wine? TC: Sustainably-grown, minimal-intervention winemaking. D: Say you’re not allowed to have wine, what is your second option? TC: For burgers, pizza, etc., a Coke. For nicer meals, a glass bottle of mineral water, senza gas. D: Choose a movie, book, quote, or song and pair it with a wine. TC: Hmmm. A Moveable Feast, by Hemingway, paired with a typical French bistro wine, like Chateau Thivin Côte de Brouilly or a Jean-Max Roger Sancerre rouge. Delectable: If you were a wine, what wine would you be? TC: An old-vine Dry Creek Zin by Rafanelli . It’s both old world and new world. Old vines don’t make much wine, but what they make is worth having.

Chester's Anvil

Mead Ranch Zinfandel 2012

Delicious, and showing some of that toasty, brambly thing that Zins show with a little bottle age. But the delicious spicy blackberry Zin fruit is still front and center, but complicated with some crushed granite. Very savory in the mouth, with a long finish. Acids aren’t that bad for a wine with 15% alc., which only barely registers as heat. — 5 years ago

Mark, Severn and 16 others liked this
Severn Goodwin

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Fun times!
David T

David T Influencer Badge

Congratulations on your profile. Nice job! I’ve been sitting on a Rockford Sparkling Shiraz that I picked up at the winery in April 2017. They said, “hold it 2 years.” We’ll have it this Christmas Day with brunch, which is tradition in Australia. Cheers!🍷
Severn Goodwin

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@David T @Tom Casagrande Only AUS sparkling Shiraz we ever had was a 2006 Mollydooker Goosebumps. We see that bottle sporadically, but generally do not see that style frequently. I believe we bought it outside of Chicago. It was tasty and fun!

Rôtie Cellars

Southern Blend Washington State Grenache Blend 2014

Nose gives off sultry and low-toned scents of cracked dark stones, a note of iodine, and smoky crushed dark blackberry. Mouthfilling, soft, and with broad swaths of dark minerality. Very savory, with a clingy tactile quality. I swear, the basaltic rocks and silt in Walla Walla really do unique things to grapes grown there. So good. — 5 years ago

Severn, Shawn and 10 others liked this

Amavi Cellars

Walla Walla Valley Syrah 2014

In Washington State for a week, first for a work conference and then to Walla Walla to taste and drink. So the local Seattle Whole Foods has this. Dark fruity nose, very clingy and savory on the palate. Acid is a bit low for my taste. Loads of soft tannin and long finish. This is a wine in search of a grilled Porterhouse. — 5 years ago

Matt, Julia and 9 others liked this

Balma Venitia

Le Pas de Montmirail Gigondas Red Rhone Blend 2014

A soft, flavorful Southern Rhône. Nose has spicy, sultry, ripe dark berry fruit and loads of cracked stone minerality. In the mouth it’s very rich and soft. The tannins are very fine-textured. Long finish. Great value at under $20. — 5 years ago

Sharon, Shawn and 14 others liked this

Domaine Jean Teiller

Menetou-Salon Pinot Noir 2015

A value-priced alternative to Sancerre Rouge. Light, zesty nose of chalky, high-toned, almost candyish cherry fruit and a bit of moist loam. Very minerally in the mouth, with the cherry fruit along for the ride in a savory vehicle. Surprisingly long finish. In the absence of an Alsace Pinot, it was a good accompaniment to my Poulet au vinaigre et vin blanc. — 5 years ago

Bob, Peter and 14 others liked this
Matt Perlman

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❤️ Loire Pinot
Bob McDonald

Bob McDonald Influencer Badge

Is it Loire or Alsace?
Tom Casagrande

Tom Casagrande Influencer Badge

@Bob McDonald - It’s Loire. Village is near Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume. More known for their good Sauvignon Blanc.

Point Ormond

Heathcote Shiraz 2016

This is the Grampians Shiraz. Nice fruit in the nose: ripe juicy blackberry, baking spice, warm sandstone. Lots of dark, juicy fruit initially, no jamminess, nice acids. Finish isn’t that long but everything is in balance. Very fun. Nice value. — 5 years ago

Angelo Casagrande
with Angelo
Dawn, Jonathan and 9 others liked this
Angelo Casagrande

Angelo Casagrande

Great value. Just a nice, fruity, Shiraz. No heavy alcohol- no heavy oak.


Latta Latta Grenache Blend

Very fruity and easy-drinking. Nose has very ripe berry fruit and charcoal smoke element. Hint of iodine. Very soft and mouthfilling. No tannin to speak of. Lots of dark fruit in a vaguely savory format. — 5 years ago

Ely, Mike and 6 others liked this

Domaine Jean-Louis Tribouley

Orchis Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes Grenache Blend 2013

100% biodynamically-grown old vine Grenache. Fair amount of brett imposes on an otherwise interesting nose of deep, tangy black raspberry fruit. Some nice clean, stony minerality too. Surprisingly for a Grenache, you can also sense in the nose that the acids are very bright, and the sip confirms this. Dense, very tangy, and with some nice stoniness, but I find the brett a little much (others may not mind as much). Drying, mouthwatering finish. Can’t believe the acids on this. — 5 years ago

Severn, Matt and 12 others liked this

Bonny Doon Vineyard

Cunning Carignane Mourvedre 2015

This is very savory and Old World in style. Terrifically fresh nose has tart red berries, roasted herbs, and a Rhône-like iodiney/savory note. It’s mouthfilling but with terrific acidity. Refreshing and savory on the long finish. It was great with our marinated grilled chicken. — 5 years ago

Severn, Dawn and 11 others liked this