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Fifty Shades of Wine?
It's exactly what you think.

It was bound to happen, the convergence of wine and the hottest book published within the last few years. (Full disclosure: I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey, so I am merely quoting the general public – and the New York Times bestseller list – when I make this claim about how, uh, hot this trilogy is.) E.L. James, the British author of Fifty Shades of Grey, recently debuted a white wine (White Silk with Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürztraminer) and red wine (Red Satin with Petite Sirah and Syrah grapes) in partnership with wineries in California’s North Coast. Reportedly, James tasted many single-varietal wines to come up with the ultra-enticing blends for Fifty Shades of Wine. Available online at Wine.com, each bottle costs $17.99.


This is actually an event, but I still call it a deal. For the price of a bottle of wine ($20), Otto’s Wine & Spirits is hosting a tasting of 50 wines paired with appetizers. Sip all you want and walk out with a list of wines perfectly suited to your palate, and potential bulk-buys for holiday gatherings. The walk-around tasting is Nov. 9 from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Tripoli Country Club in Brown Deer. To sign up, contact any of Otto’s Wine & Spirits seven locations.


Pastiche’s almost-2-year-old wine shop is a little gem tucked into the Bay View neighborhood, on the second floor of a former house and above the fantastic aromas of refined French sauces at Pastiche Bistro and Wine Bar. Stave off the Monday-night blues with a wine dinner on Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. Hosted by Jean-Christophe Calvet, president of Aquitaine Wine Company of Bordeaux, France, the five-course meal will pair some of Bordeaux’s greatest finds (from different producers) with chef Michael Engel’s cuisine. Start with a Champagne reception (and a chance to chat with Calvet) and end with a poached-pear tart matched with 2009 Chateau La Riviere Sauternes. To sign up, call 414-482-1446. Cost is $75.


Knowing I like wine, many friends and family members gifted me with bottles for my recent wedding. Among them, the 2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico (Tuscany, Italy, $25) paired well with a pot of spicy chili, the wine’s layers of black-cherry notes and fine, soft tannins laced with spices stacking up quite well to the robust chili. 

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