Anyone in the writing business knows sometimes there are ideas that don’t quite add up to individual columns. So, the following items are shared as Wine Briefs.

New Fishers Wine Shop
Any time a new retailer opens an Indiana wine shop, it’s worth a mention. Small retail is tough but wine shops and gourmet grocery stores really have to fight to find a niche.

Tasteful Times, at Olio Rd. and 116th St., Fishers, is a delightful shop with a big supply of gourmet grocery items and an eclectic wine selection. The store was opened by Ian and Linda Sadler along with their son Jonathan.

“We wanted to combine offering the finest products with having some fun,” Ian Sadler said. “We’re passionate about good food and good wine as a family and with friends.”
The British couple are delightful hosts. The grocery includes a wide mix of meats, cheeses, dairy products, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, flavored oils, and I was told a very popular Bloody Mary mix.

The wine selection included many labels not seen in other Indianapolis shops. “We’ve been very selective because we don’t want to carry wines that everybody else has,” Sadler said. “We also want to carry wines that we’d be proud to serve in our home to family or friends.”

Wines with Funny Names
Many a wine critic or writer will bash “critter” wines or wines with cute names. Much of the criticism is well founded. But I continue to stumble across some worth consideration. “Sassy Bitch” wines are available throughout Indiana.

Tami Fricks, a Macon, Ga., native started the company after talking with friends about how confusing wine buying can be for the average consumer. She and her husband wanted a good product with a catchy name and seem to have found both. They traveled to Chile and found boutique winery Casa del Bosque and then launched Sassy Bitch wines.

They are currently producing four wines right around the $10 price point – Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a Merlot. The Cab was named a Wine Enthusiast “Best Buy” this year.

I received media samples of the Cab and Pinot. I would describe them as good $10 wines. The Cabernet is rather soft without much of a finish but better than some I’ve tasted at the price point. The Pinot Noir was the better of the two. It’s hard to find a Pinot under $15 that is drinkable. This one doesn’t have big fruit but it is nicely balanced and drinkable.

Obviously, they wanted to have fun with the name (enough said), but the wines are good $10 values.

Stand up for Shipping Rights
You’ll be reading a lot about Sunday liquor sales over the next few weeks. But nothing is stranger than wine shipping laws and Indiana’s laws may be the most ludicrous in the nation.

Did you know if an out-of-state winery has a Hoosier distributor it cannot directly ship to you if you visit their tasting room? Did you know it can cost more than $500 to get an Indiana license if they don’t have a distributor and want to send you the 12 bottles you just purchased? It goes on and on.

Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville, introduced the bill to allow Sunday sales. His quote, as reported in the Indianapolis Star, is what really caught my eye.
“No government, in my opinion, should create a monopoly in any one area,” Boots said. “We need to have a free-market society. We need to have a free-market environment where everybody can compete.”

Well said and I couldn’t agree more. Write your U.S. House representative and ask him to oppose H.R. 5034 which would cripple wine producers from all states. Write your state representatives and senators to ask them to tear down the antiquated three-tier system and to allow direct wine shipments to Hoosiers.

Welcome Aboard
Just a quick shout out to new readers in Monticello, Indiana. Editor Trent Wright has added Grape Sense to the Herald-Journal!
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