Wine Situation Final Five! With J Ryan Stradal

The Wine Situation hosts everyone from winemakers to writers to find out what a person’s situation is…with wine. This week J Ryan Stradal, author of “Kitchens of the Great Midwest” and “The Lager Queen of Minnesota” joins hosts Ellen Clifford and Shaughn Buchholz at Sidebar Covell to switch from beer talk to wine talk! Every episode ends with a Final Five questions. Click HERE for the full episode. THE FINAL FIVE (edited for length): QUESTION ONE Ellen: What’s the best pairing you have ever had? J Ryan: This is going to sound really strange— Ellen: Even better. J Ryan: It was Macallan and a banana. A Macallan 18 and a banana. It was like whoa. It really brought out the butterscotch in the scotch. Ellen and Shaughn: We really gotta try this. --Interim chat about cheese and wine and how pairing wine with cheese is not cheating for wine pairing—if anything it complicates things!-- QUESTION TWO Ellen: What’s your favorite non-wine drink? It can be alcoholic or not. J Ryan: Wow. Oh my god. I kind of like Ardbeg Uigeadail . It’s a really peaty Scotch. I haven’t tried it with a banana. Maybe try it with plantains… QUESTION THREE Ellen: What place that has wine—or it could be a rare Minnesota brewery—would you visit for the wine or beverages or the food? J Ryan: There’s so many! --Shaughn and Ellen throw out suggestions for Alto Adige and Hill County Texas— J Ryan: I’ll go ahead and say Priorat . I’ve never really been to that region. I’ve been to Barcelona…but wasn’t there expressly to drink wine and I didn’t know anything about Priorat at the time, I was 21, I had no idea. QUESTION FOUR Ellen: If you made a wine what would you want to make and what would you name it? J Ryan: I guess given this conversation, I feel sort of cornered into making a Rhône -style blend. Ellen: You can go wild. You can make Chardonnay . It’s okay Shaughn (joking): It’s like a Rombauer ! Ellen: Oh no. Shaughn: A rich rich buttery Chardonnay! --All giggle at the novelty.-- Shaughn: But what would you call it! J Ryan: En Francais? Question mark. --All agree they’d drink a California Rhone-style blend with that name. -- QUESTION FIVE Ellen: What’s bringing you joy? We are in Los Angeles. J Ryan: Oh that’s wonderful. Just waking up every day. And I’m still a writer. I’m always pinching myself. I get to do this. It’s wild. J Ryan’s books are astounding. We recommend you read them, wine (or lager!) in hand, and listen to The Wine Situation here to hear more from Ellen, Shaughn and their guests!


Marcassin Vineyard Chardonnay 2012

One of the better Chardonnays on the table. Although I think this one was bested a scosche by a 2015 Aubert Sugar Shack. This is the opinion of one man! I really was not getting much on the nose. Possibly due to my impatience of wanting to try within 5 minutes of cork pop? Potentially. Definitely on the herbal side. Palate of yellow fruit, guava, baked green apples. More to the leaner than full throttle side. Finishing with some stiff oak tannin, this one is going to hang around for a WHILE I believe. I think I'd like to try this in a few more years if I am lucky... — 5 years ago

Dan FitzgeraldBradley DavisShay A
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Michael Herzog

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Had one not too long ago and it really needs decanting and several hours. 100 pointer from WA. We’ll see how it evolves. Nice bottle!
Shay A

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Similar experience to when I had this about 5 months ago (pear and roasted lemon battling sea salt and cashew notes). Undoubtedly powerful and undoubtedly Marcassin. However, I will say that I picked up butterscotch here that I normally pick up with added age on Marcassin chards...have never gotten it this early. I enjoy that characteristic so it didn’t detract, just found it interesting.

E. Guigal

Côtes du Rhône Red Rhône Blend 2015

A blend of 55% Syrah, 40% Grenache & 5% Mourvèdre with attractive aromas of berries and spice. On the palate flavors of blackberry and black cherry with smoke and savory spice. Lingering finish, grippy tannins ending with earthy herb spice. Great value, should age over next few years. — 5 years ago

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Clos Erasmus

Laurel Priorat Garnacha Blend 2016

Hues of purple and deeply-concentrated ruby. Heavy extraction and tearing on the glass. Nose has strong leather, barnyard, and earthy notes. Also dried prune, stewed plum sauce, and creme de cassis along with delicate anise and lilac notes. Nicely balanced on the palate. Has complexity, an interesting character, and noticeable tannins. Delish! — 5 years ago

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Rombauer Vineyards

Napa Valley Zinfandel 2017

These guys have this figured out; this is the non Napa County version, consistent with the past and other versions at Rombauer. This is less jammy — 5 years ago

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Jay Kline

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@Neal Ferry I don’t think I’ve tried the 2017 yet. Hope we can connect again soon!


Uigeadail The Ultimate Islay Single Malt Scotch Whiskey 54.2% abv.

Greg Ballington

Happy #WorldWhiskeyDay. Peated nose with some mesquite smokiness to it. Rich palate with some smoked sweatiness, stone fruits and caramel. Long finish. — 5 years ago

India Okoh
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