I heard about this story last week and could hardly believe it: The roots for a California wine label’s design can be traced back to Milwaukee. Libby and Patrick Castro – a Fox Point couple who design interiors for swank spots such as Milwaukee’s c. 1880 and the upcoming Wishbone Restaurant in Doha, Qatar, through their company LP/w design studios – began to create labels for Eno Wines with its first vintage (2001). But wait. The Dairy State connection makes sense since winemaker Sasha Vergage partnered with Milwaukee native Kiara Wilder to launch Eno Wines in Berkeley, Calif. As a very boutique winery, Eno Wines produces small lots of Pinot Noir, Old Vine Zinfandel, Grenache and Syrah using grapes sourced from throughout California. Although the wines are only distributed in Chicago, Colorado and New Jersey, you can order them online.
“It’s a ton of fun,” says Libby, “and very fun and inspiring, not to mention that [Eno] wines are out of this world.” The design has won several accolades, including a recent plug from Paste Magazine for being one of the 50 best wine-bottle designs.
WINE DEAL OF THE WEEK
Marcus Restaurants – Milwaukee ChopHouse, Mason Street Grill and Clear – has a heck of a happy-hour deal that includes not only glasses of wine for $5, but fabulous, decadent small-plate specials, too. And they’re far from tavern fare like roasted nuts or a basket of salty popcorn. Think baked lobster mac ’n’ cheese (Milwaukee ChopHouse, $8), a trio of smoked-salmon tacos (Mason Street Grill, $5) and a flatbread piled high with prosciutto-roasted tomato sauce, roasted bell peppers and Parmesan cheese (Clear, $5). To see the menus, and figure out when happy hour begins at each establishment, visit mkehappyhour.com. All happy-hour deals are Monday through Friday only.
WINE EVENT OF THE WEEK
Still looking for a way to fill up your weekend? If so, consider driving up to Elkhart Lake for the 11th annual Jazz on the Vine Festival at Osthoff Resort. Kicking off on Friday at 5:15 p.m., and stretching through Sunday afternoon (with a jazz brunch, $27.95), the festival merges live jazz performances with a tasting of 100 wines. Tickets cost $75 for either Friday or Saturday only, or $135 for a two-day pass. To snag a ticket to this event, call 800-876-3399 or visit the website.
WINE OF THE WEEK
Now that outdoor-cooking season is upon us, turn to 2011 Laetitia Vineyard & Estate Pinot Noir (Arroyo Grande Valley, San Luis Obispo County, California, $25), a classic example of a Central Coast Pinot Noir. Subtle smoky notes and a light body are the perfect match for grilled foods, but the cherry-pie accents help the wine transition easily from entrée to dessert. (laetitiawine.com)