From the up-and-coming Clarksburg AVA in the delta area just south of Sacramento, Calif., Blue Plate Chenin Blanc 2010 was born. Blue Plate Chenin Blanc is 86 percent Chenin blanc, 12 percent Sauvignon blanc and 2 percent Chardonnay. These grapes were harvested while still cool in the early morning to preserve freshness, and boy, does it show! This is an exciting wine for the summer—bright, crisp and juicy; the perfect picnic wine. If you are unfamiliar with Chenin blanc, but you enjoy a refreshing pinot grigio, Sauvignon blanc or a dry Vouvray, this is the wine for you. If you have a hankering for a great wine to drink on the deck, by the pool or on the boat, this is the wine for you. If you just plain like good wine, this is the wine for you. —Ryan Sadowski
THE WINE SHOP: 17521 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka; 952.988.9463
Ryan Sadowski is the owner of The Wine Shop. Sign up for his weekly recommendations by email, and read his best seasonal wine pick on this page each month.
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris is the latest undertaking by legendary historian David McCullough. This book is the enthralling, inspiring and—until now—untold story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900.
After risking the hazardous journey across the Atlantic, these Americans embarked on a greater journey in the City of Light. Most had never left home, never experienced a different culture. None had any guarantee of success. That they achieved so much for themselves and their country profoundly altered American history.
McCullough tells this sweeping, fascinating story with power and intimacy, bringing us into the lives of remarkable men and women who, in Saint-Gauden’s phrase, longed “to soar into the blue.” —Charlie Leonard
THE BOOKCASE: 607 E. Lake St., Wayzata; 952.473.8341
Besides being the owner of the Bookcase in Wayzata, the Twin Cities’ oldest independent bookstore, Charlie Leonard has been at various times a writer, editor and teacher, and is currently the founder and executive director of Blue Water Theatre Company in Plymouth.
Rattling off the details of The Avalanches’ collage masterpiece Since I Left You is moot; it’s always thrilling to hear albums created entirely from samples. (DJ Shadow’s brooding opus Endtroducing … did it in 1996 because of the apparent impossibility of fusing more than 3,500 samples into one record.) After Since I Left You’s 2001 release, mash-ups have become the MP3 du jour. But while mash-ups exist for a short-lived novelty, Since I Left You is a full-length, gapless dance album designed as a whole. Devoid of traditional lyrics, the loose narrative is an international search for love after a relationship sours. “Radio,” “Flight Tonight” and “Electricity” let you know it’s a party instead of mopey introspection. It’s unfortunate that The Avalanches have been on hiatus the past decade, but we can scour the nuances of Since I Left You while awaiting their next creation. —Jack Kentala
FIND THE ALBUM AT: Barnes & Noble, 13131 Ridgedale Dr., Minnetonka; 952.546.2006
Jack Kentala, a local freelance writer/filmmaker/musician, haunts most Twin Cities indie rock shows. He’s the tall guy blocking your view of the stage. He also recently directed his second feature film, which will hit the festival circuit this year.