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 Cha McCoy, an extraordinary sommelier, wine educator, and writer! Listen in, this is good: Check out the full episode and all Cha’s wisdom here THE FINAL FIVE (Ever so slightly edited for length!): QUESTION ONE Ellen: Whatcha drinking these days? Cha: Well, this is a nice easy segue, I’m gonna start with heavy promoting—I just released my Flight Cru wine club, so I have been tasting a lot of wines that were related to the October month subscription, and the cool part is that it is an homage this month to Portugal . Because you know, originally I was going to start the first month in September—I was doing a whole Southern Portugal wine trip, and because of COVID it was cancelled, and so I thought I just want to give the love to Portuguese wine. QUESTION TWO Ellen: Question number two is what is either a favorite or just one of the most interesting pairings you have ever consumed or enjoyed consuming? Cha: So many people don’t realized that Lisbon itself, or Lisboa , is its own DOC in Portugal, and so I could take an Uber out to like basically one of my friends’ vineyards from city center, so that’s also the bonus of living in Portugal too. To be honest, because of the way I roll I’m usually just taking mass transit but I can say in that area there is this small, in the middle of a suburban neighborhood—but it’s one of the coolest—restaurants that’s an old mom and pop deal and there was rabbit on the menu, and I don’t have rabbit often enough, but it was kind of like this orange citrusy glaze version of it like rabbit, like a chicken breast, and the pairing that we had, of course it was his wine, so of course I’m gonna shout out his wine. Arinto was the grape, or maybe a blend, but I remember it because I don’t eat rabbit often it of course was like just tastes like chicken so... Ellen: And it has a nice ring to it: rabbit and Arinto, so… Cha: Sometimes the memorable ones are ones you just don’t have often enough… QUESTION THREE Ellen: Question number three is in reference to that thing I’ve seen that you do, called the Communion, with wine and pairing—I was just curious, did you grow up with, or if you currently attend a church and have wine memories? Cha: So let’s go back, to explain to your audience, The Communion is a sommelier-led dining experience…and dining out on a budget—those are the restaurants that don’t usually have the best wine list, so I wanted wine-dining experiences where the wine is gonna lead. People will know that the chef has to adjust to the theme of the wine…so that’s been interesting to push the boundaries, and I say all that to say that the verbiage for Communion and naming it—I really thought about, hey, the first known winemaker was Jesus, turning water into wine…I know it depends on what you believe, and religion, but as someone who grew up Christian…so the idea of the last supper and the wine on the long table, and that is all you need to give a party, so…that’s giving you the background before I answer the question... I went to Catholic school, my entire life, and my family is not Catholic at all, so when my friends that were Catholic and going through their first Communion and things like this I was learning about it, but I couldn’t go through it, because I was Baptist basically. So I was like when am I ever going to taste the wine? So I wanted to get baptized just to taste the wine, and so one day—and I think God is going to forgive me for this—in elementary school I had a friend go up for me and save everything, so she didn’t take the wine, she picked it up and brought it back to the pew for me. No one has ever asked me about that so you’re the only one who got that one! QUESTION FOUR Ellen: That is a great story! Thank you for sharing it! Okay next question—I heard you got your MBA in Italy and that is part of where you got into wine—I was curious if you have a region or wine out of Italy either that you really love, or that you think people should know about? Cha: I love whites from northeast Italy: Vermentino , Veneto , or Friuli . I think that when a lot of people think of Italian white wines they think of Pinot Grigio , and of course you can find Pinot Grigio all over Italy and for that I look to Alto Adige . I know a lot of these grapes people take for granted like, oh, they are the same everywhere, but there are areas they are really special and maybe cost a little more, that I would tell consumers to pay attention to. The same thing for Pinot Nero …people know Pinot Noir but they don’t really think about a Pinot Nero, so we’ll taste them back to back then throw in a third version like Germany , just to throw people off, and I think that allows people to explore the grape. I also say in Italy if the grape begins with the letter ‘V’, so some of my favorites are Vermentino, Vespaiola , Verdicchio , I just tell people to go this route and you’re usually safe if it has the ‘V’. QUESTION FIVE Ellen: We are on to the last question I’ve been asking since the beginning of the show: what’s bringing joy into your life? Cha: In the beginning of quarantine I finally, let’s just say, to be honest, I finally made enough coins to buy myself some expensive skates, and so I’m just going to say out loud—for the record, because you’re going to date me after this—that I am not a good skater, but, every time I look at these people gliding on Instagram it makes me feel like, I could do it. So I ordered some skates in May—which it feels like death that I had to wait this long to get my skates because a lot of skate companies, but because people were just locked at home, skates just sold out. So I would say I haven’t had them long enough to bring me a lot of joy, but I finally got my knee pads and my skates…so that’s what’s bringing me joy is knowing on the weekends, no matter what is going on in my life I set aside a couple hours at the minimum of trying to get comfortable on the wheels. So when you see me on Instagram and I look like I’ve been doing it for years, that will be proof of how much I’ve been practicing. Ellen: I can’t wait to watch! *** You should watch too! Cha is on Instagram as @cha_squared or check out her website, to see everything she does, get into her expertise, and join Flight Cru wine club! Cheers! Check out the previous Wine Situation podcast with Lydia Richards here .

Cantina Terlan

Tradition Alto Adige Pinot Bianco 2015

Another lovely Terlan wine from the Dolomites. We enjoyed sipping these clean whites in the mountains last summer. Crisp notes of pear and lemon grass, no oak influence, bone-dry, a little extra complexity from aging on the lees. Pinot Blanc should be on more wine lists... no bitter finish and a lovely alternative to most Pinot Grigio. — 3 years ago

Ira, E and 4 others liked this
Ira Schwartz

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@Darren Dittrich consistent quality , age worthy wines at a fair price .

Al Cantara

U Toccu Pinot Nero 2015

The first wine of our wine progression dinner with Gino and Tia. Such an amazing Pinot from Mnt. Edna that doesn’t taste like a Pinot. So spicy, minerally and rich dark fruit that resembles a high end Southern Rhone. Paired phenomenally with the peach caprese, the varsi salami and the Jarlsberg cheese. — 3 years ago

Tammy de Weerd
with Tammy
Ira, Skip and 2 others liked this


Vinho Verde Rosé Blend

Spritzy rich and wtf...overdelivering. Ripe peach Melba covered with a sweet (not actually but the flavors of sweet) reduced grapefruit coulis. My sweet spot for Vinho Verde lives on. — 3 years ago

Paul, Eric and 14 others liked this
Ellen Clifford

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@Severn Goodwin an undersung delight! Although being less renowned makes it a serious steal
Matt Perlman

Matt Perlman Influencer Badge

Portugal ftw once again

Azienda Agricola Stanislao Radikon

"S" Slatnik Venezia Giulia Chardonnay Tocai Friulano 2014

Seville orange marmelade on the nose, as well as lemon zest, bruised apple and dried apricot. High acidity and tannins, really good food companion. — 3 years ago

Josh, Ira and 4 others liked this

Le Vigne di Alice

Tajad Veneto Brut Boschera Blend

NV. Crisp, mineral, lower abv (11.5%) Italian sparkling wine with minimal mousse. Paired great with Parmesan and Panko crusted chicken breast and lemony couscous. — 3 years ago

Josh liked this

Symington Family Estates

Quinta da Fonte Souto Arinto Verdelho 2018

This is the right parts everything in terms of acid and rich and just a little of all. All good. — 3 years ago

Severn, Mario and 15 others liked this

Cantina Mesa

Giunco Piccolo Vermentino di Sardegna 2017

Cantina Mesa Giunco Vermentino Di Sardegna DOC 2017: Lemon. Minerals. Sea salt. Clean finish. Close your eyes and let this bottle transport you to a seaside town in Italy! Cheers🍷 — 3 years ago

Trixie and Severn liked this


Pretty photo! Cheers!🍷

Quinta Vale D. Maria ( Quinta Vale Dona Maria )

CV Curriculum Vitae Douro Red Blend 2017

Made from low yielding 90-year old vines, deep Ruby with aromas of red/black fruits and floral spice. On the palate flavors of blackberry and plum with cacao, black pepper and floral citrus. Firm tannins on a long finish ending with fruit and mineral character. Nice but needs a few years in big the bottle!! — 3 years ago

Alex, Clive and 5 others liked this


Reserva Lisboa Red blend 2015

Very nice blend - just a little sweetness - — 3 years ago