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Episode 4 | Navigate wine shopping with expert, Leonard “Lenny” Redé

Leonard “Lenny” Redé | NW Wine Academy

Lenny imparts a refreshing perspective to those who may be new to shopping at a well-curated wine shop and the advantages to having your own wine specialist.

Formerly, he was the Marketing Manager for Esquin Wine and Spirits, Seattle’s oldest and largest independent wine shop. He is well regarded in the wine industry for his knowledge of wine history and gastronomy. An instructor in the Wine Technology Program at South Seattle (NW Wine Academy), he wrote the curriculum for the Associate of Arts Degree in Food and Wine Pairing Sommelier Studies. A classically trained chef and pastry chef he garnered international attention at his award winning restaurant Sapphire kitchen and bar. He was nominated for educator of the year when he was a Chef Instructor at the world renowned Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. A restaurateur, wine steward, chef and educator with over 30 years of industry experience Chef Redé has an unique blend of culinary and wine expertise. He loves to share his passion for all things gastronomic and he’ll gladly help you navigate the world of wine and is always quick with a wine pairing or recipe.

Lenny is currently the Wine & Spirits Buyer for New Seasons on Mercer Island, WA.

Visit Esquin

Under $20 Bottle Shopping Challenge

In this episode, explore self-guided wine buying vs. seeking the advice of an expert at a curated wine shop, like Esquin. We give practical advice to those that may not have everyday access to quality, local wine buying resources or need to quickly pick a bottle up. Dave and I talk about a challenge we set up for ourselves—to find quality wines under $20 at common stores in our area like Walmart, Rite Aid, Safeway, Grocery Outlet Bargain Market and even an unlikely source, the Shell gas station.


Wines we loved—$20 and under

Barons Winery

2012 Petit Barone
80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon | Winery notes: Quite inviting and utterly delicious. The nose suggests fresh black cherries, sweet forest scents and a stroll through a far-off spice bazaar. The first taste is lithe and elegant, with a precision of berry flavors and complex earthy notes, the tannins are round and supported by integrated acidity. Lush, but never heavy, it has a smoothness and sophistication that belies its price and a finish that is long and sweet/savory at the end.

Website | Esquin Wine and Spirits

Kevin White Winery

2016 Red Wine
45% Syrah, 32% Grenache, 23% Mourvedre | Winery notes: This wine jumps out as a lively blend of Bing cherry, plum, and blueberry aromas with floral and spice elements throughout. On the palate, these flavors are wrapped around a medium body with soft tannins leading toward a lovely finish. A very enjoyable wine to drink now. Pair this wine with food any night of the week!

Website | Esquin Wine and Spirits

Gifford Hirlinger

2014 Stateline Red
53% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 8% Tempranillo and 2% Petit Verdot | Winery notes: The 2013 Stateline Red from Gifford Hirlinger is a bit of a “kitchen sink” blend, containing Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Tempranillo, and a little bit of Petit Verdot. This wine is all about the fruit, with clean and well-ripened cherry, raspberry, and a touch of cassis. The mouth follows with red fruits, notes of ripe plum, and baking spices rounding it all out. The tannins are young and firm, and the acidity keeps it fresh and clean.

Website | Esquin Wine and Spirits

Jones of Washington

2012 Merlot
Winery notes: This Merlot opens up with bright aromas of ripe blackberry and dark cherry with nuances of baking spices and cigar box. On the palate, it is well balanced with integrated tannins, acidity and flavor. This wine evolves from dark plum, bright cherry and rich raspberry upfront to a touch of earthy tones and toasty mocha. Finishing with hints of nutmeg and clove and sweet, velvety tannins.

Website | Esquin Wine and Spirits


2015 Chardonnay
Winery notes: From David “Merf” Merfeld winemaker for Northstar comes this new project. This inaugural Chardonnay shows a lot of promise of great things to come. No wilting flower this wine is rich, smooth and balanced, with flavors of fresh tropical fruits, honey, ripe citrus and vanilla. The wine finishes with smooth oak notes with a crisp, complex finish. A lot of wine for the money!

Website | Esquin Wine and Spirits

Nathan Gray

2016 Cabernet Sauvignon
Winery notes: Made by II Vintners and Covington Cellars winemaker, Morgan Lee, this wine has aromas of black cherries and other dark fruits. Rich and full, with a chocolaty velvet smoothness on the palate. This Cabernet is best enjoyed with grilled meats BBQ and a big juicy steak.

Esquin Wine and Spirits

Canoe Ridge

2014 The Explorer Red Blend

49% Syrah, 27% Cabernet Franc, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon | Winery notes: This fruit forward blend offers notes of cassis, blackberry, plum, and a kiss of cedar on the long, lingering finish.


Chateau Ste Michelle

2016 Dry Riesling
Winery notes: The Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling is a dry, refreshing style of Riesling with beautiful fruit flavors, crisp acidity and an elegant finish. It offers inviting sweet citrus aromas and flavors. This is an incredibly versatile food wine and my favorite with oysters.


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