Wine Situation Final Five (Now With Drunk Dialing!)

The Wine Situation hosts everyone from winemakers to writers to find out what a person’s situation is…with wine. It’s the solo season, as host Ellen Clifford is in quarantine, but listen in with a glass, and nobody is drinking alone! In lieu of guests, at the end of every action packed episode Ellen is phoning a friend with her Final Five questions. This week Ellen talks to sommelier Alissa Bica, a sommelier at Los Angeles’ 71Above and author of the Off the Beaten Wine Path blog! Check out the full episode here : THE FINAL FIVE (Ever so slightly edited for length!): QUESTION ONE Ellen: Whatcha drinking these days? Alissa: I’ve been really into Italian wine these days. I just bought a Merlot/Sangiovese blend , I really like the earthiness of Italian wine. I also have a Grifalco Aglianico from Basilicata, from Aglianico del Vulture, which is lesser known than Taurasi, but it’s so so good. QUESTION TWO Ellen: Question number two, do you have either a favorite pairing or unusual pairing you’ve enjoyed? Any kind of food, any kind of drink. Alissa: We pair at my restaurant every night with food, so I have all those pairings in my head—recently we did a pork that has Treviso—it’s a vegetable that kinda looks like endive but it’s a little bit bigger, and we’re pairing it with a Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc because of that bitter vegetable quality. My favorite pairing ever is chocolate and peanut butter, so some kind of chocolate peanut butter dessert and having a good Madeira . I really like the brown sugar, caramel cookie quality of Madeira with desserts. QUESTION THREE Ellen: That sounds so good! Number three is, because I know you write, too, do you have a favorite thing to drink or snack on while you write? Alissa: Well, when I write stories I’m probably just drinking a gallon of coffee. But if I’m wine writing I really do like to taste what I’m writing about while I’m writing. I have a big papasan chair and I’ll sit in there with my wine and my computer on my lap and usually that’s when all the magic happens. QUESTION FOUR Ellen: Next question is, now that things are opening up, what is a place you are excited to go to? Alissa: I work downtown, so I really want to go to Death and Co. I’ve been trying to practice making cocktails, especially during pandemic. Some of them are good, some are okay, but I’m looking forward to sitting in an actual bar, with an actual mixologist making me something amazing. QUESTION FIVE Ellen: Last of the final five is just what is bringing you joy these days? Alissa: Getting outside and starting to do a little travel—I actually just went to Willamette Valley last week to try wine again at a winery and that brought me complete joy. And my constant joy is my cat Logan. He always brings me joy. *** You can follow Alissa on Instagram Check out the previous Wine Situation podcast with Matthew Arnall here .


Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Lemon, lime, candies grapefruit, crushed white stone, cut hay. First 2020. Good stuff. — 3 years ago

Iwan, Romain and 5 others liked this

Duckhorn Vineyards

Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Grapefruit, lemon candy, apple, peach and hints of tropical fruit. Electric acidity and great minerality. — 3 years ago

Beachin and Paul liked this


Vintage Madeira Boal 1977

A glass ordered off the wine list. Amber brownish gold. Heavy but translucent. Powerful nose. Notes of brown sugar, molasses, warm orange sauce and some burnt butter. Powerful acidity. Very rich. Fun to try and enjoy. — 6 years ago

LM, Eric and 9 others liked this


Madeira Verdelho 1981

The fourth bottle on my 40th birthday week was this lovely surprise pour from a Somm friend at Tasting Group. While my Delectable account doesn’t reflect it, I’ve always been a sucker for Madeira and this was flat out delicious. Candied walnuts, orange fruit marmalade, creme brûlée, figs...all of the things. So richly layered and long lasting on the palate. Just lovely. — 3 years ago

Timmer, Andrew and 14 others liked this

Grifalco di Lucania

Gricos Aglianico del Vulture 2015

Excellent Aglianico. Vulture DOC. Venosa. Big and velvety. Tannic. — 5 years ago

Billy and Severn liked this

Vigneti del Vulture

Pipoli Aglianico del Vulture

ripe almost reduced plum and boysenberry on the nose, with Aglianico funk- loamy earth. wet bark. medium weight, moderate acid, firm but open ended tannins. 👍 — 6 years ago

Severn and Douglas liked this

Groth Vineyards & Winery

Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Star bright straw yellow. Inviting nose of green apple and balsam. Echoed on the medium light palate with citrus rind and a stony minerality. Juicy acidity and a moderate rindy finish (used French oak). Classic California Fumé Blanc style SB with an elegance that’s to be expected from a producer like Groth. Enjoy with salads, seafood, or as I am, KFC. Drink now through 2024. — 3 years ago

Josh, "Odedi" and 3 others liked this


Madeira Bual 1977

Vintage 1977 / A real treat after a long tasting. Intense and concentrated, multi-layered taste. I made no formal notes but love such Madeira. — 4 years ago

Mark, Andrew and 22 others liked this
Peter Sultan

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G- save Madeira & all things baked. Came to Madeira in my old age & loving the ride so far @Peter van den Besselaar
Jay Kline

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That’s a nice, young Madeira you have there ❤️

Grifalco di Lucania

Aglianico del Vulture

It has the level of tannins I compare with a cat's tongue. Rough and charming in one fell swoop. With enough ripe dark fruit and medium acid to make you fall in the kitty's embrace. IF you like it is kitty licks you. I really like this one. Good pick if at Osteria Mozza! — 7 years ago

David, Anthony and 5 others liked this