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Lunch with Lapostolle’s Winemaker
Chilean winemaker Andrea Leon sits down to lunch.

Andrea Leon, the 34-year-old winemaker at Lapostolle in Chile, was in Chicago and Milwaukee recently – her first trip to the Midwest – and asked if I’d like to have lunch in Milwaukee. “Why, sure,” I replied. “When?”

A few weeks later, we’re at Harbor House dining on spicy-tuna sushi, kusshi oysters and walleye sourced from the Great Lakes, paired with half a dozen of her wines. Located two hours outside of Santiago, the winery doubles as a hospitality venue with Chile’s only Relais & Châteaux accommodations (the swanky four-suite Lapostolle Residence) and restaurant. Wine geeks can sign up for a tour of biodynamically farmed vineyards and take a peek at the organic culinary gardens too.

Of the Lapostolle wines I tried, here are my favorites.

2011 Casa Sauvignon Blanc (Rapel Valley, Chile, $12), which was blended with 8 percent Semillon, features lots of mineralites, wet pebbles and floral notes. An intriguing aroma of bananas and pineapples precedes it.

2011 Casa Chardonnay (Casablanca Valley, Chile, $14), aged in stainless steel, imparts a delicate feel on the palate, a nice departure from overly oaked and buttery Chardonnay styles.

2011 Canto de Apalta (Rapel Valley, Chile, $20) is a blend of Carmenere, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, resulting in a highly aromatic red wine with spicy notes from the Carmenere and elegance from the Cabernet Sauvignon.

2010 Clos Apalta (Colchagua Valley, Chile, $90) is well-balanced and marked by smoke, refined tannins and notes of chocolate. It’s a very complex wine well worth its price.

If the label looks familiar to you, I bet I know why. Lapostolle wines appear on “Top Chef” from time to time, especially during episodes where contestants develop restaurant concepts.

WINE DEAL OF THE WEEK

I’m straying a bit outside of Wisconsin for this deal but for good reason. Master Sommelier Yashar Shayan recently launched ImpulseWine.com with a strong focus on procuring wines from boutique Washington wineries. Just how boutique, you ask? Recently Shayan offered up bottles of 2012 Savage Grace Sauvignon Blanc, Red Willow Vineyard (Yakima Valley, Washington) for $16 each. Only 71 cases of this wine exist. Shayan got five of them. Subscribe to the newsletter via ImpulseWine.com to get first dibs on deals like this. While shipping costs are hefty, you’ll still save plenty of cash. And can you really put a price on good wine?

WINE EVENT OF THE WEEK

I haven’t covered Racine County very much on this blog and that’s why I’m excited to share news of a six-course wine dinner in Caledonia this Sunday. Starting at 5:30 p.m., Sebastian’s will host a six-course feast paired with wines from Napa Valley’s Cuvaison Vineyards. All proceeds benefit the Women’s Resource Center of Racine. Tickets ($100) available by contacting Katywrc@sbcglobal.net or 262-633-3274 x107.

WINE OF THE WEEK

I’m normally skeptical of “cute” wine labels but a few years ago Layer Cake’s line of wines lured me in, causing me rethink that claim. And I’m glad they did. Acting as a virtual winery, meaning there is no home base and, instead, the wines are made in South Australia (Shiraz); Mendoza, Argentina (Shiraz); Puglia, Italy (Primitivo); Spain (Garnacha) and California (Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). The 2012 Layer Cake Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina, $16) is packed with jammy, fruit-forward, earthy layers of blackberries and chocolate with a smooth, round mouth feel. (layercakewines.com)





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