Jimmy Reid and Dalton Smith are attempting to change the way we think about wine in Oklahoma.
At Posca Lora, their new takeaway wine bottle shop inside Heirloom Rustic Ales, 2113 E. Admiral Blvd., they are removing the barriers between curious drinkers and good bottles.
“The average consumer has to sift through hundreds of wines to find a wine that was actually made by a person instead of a company,” Reid says. “(Our) focus is on the people who make it and how they make it.”
The duo’s years of experience serving at Vintage Wine Bar and Reid’s former employment with Thirst Wine Merchants sparked a resistance to mass-produced wines and revealed a new path toward consciously engaging with drinkers. They are putting bottles they personally enjoy, made by real winemakers with interesting histories, directly into the hands of customers.
Posca Lora (two Greco-Roman words referring to ancient drinks) sells a constantly rotating selection of wines to go, a unique and fresh selection.
Even with the barrier of choice removed, the intimidation factor of wine remains. Many are overwhelmed by a false image of the beverage as a fancy gastronomic experience or pretentious hipster elixir — realities in the wine world, but unnecessary to the purchase or enjoyment of wine with friends or a good meal.
“We want to take out that intimidating factor,” Smith says, “and that’s why we’ve selected the wines that we have. We based them all on quality and consistency.”
Natural wine is one of those terms that gets debated endlessly online and means different things to different people. One famous philosophy is: Nothing added and nothing taken away, meaning wine has always been and should be made out of grapes that are grown without chemicals, harvested and fermented without additives (often not the case with “conventional” wines, think Budweiser versus craft beer).
Another definition is: “Minimal intervention,” meaning humans should interfere with the above process as little as possible.
However, the guys at Posca Lora recognize Oklahoma is an agrarian state. The same is true in the wine producing regions of Italy, France, California, Australia and anywhere else grapes are grown.
They want to sell wine made by farmers, not corporations, because vines must be tended carefully for grapes to reach optimum conditions, and then fermented and aged with experience. “Natural” is only a philosophy. Posca Lora sells wines with the human element intact.
“The story of who it came from is equally as important as what it tastes like,” Reid says.
And the wines themselves? As of late January, Posca Lora offers one rack (approximately more than two dozen bottles) neither bound by region nor style — with plans to expand. I tried the Ken Wright Cellars 2018 Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley American Viticultural Area in Oregon. Reid says Wright was instrumental in establishing Pinot Noir in Oregon.
“The weight and the texture alone are the first things that hit me on the palate,” Smith says. “It’s much bigger in body, it’s got a very round, almost silky texture, which is crazy for Pinot Noir anywhere. … I get a lot of red raspberry and cherry, so there’s something unusual here, also some blackberry, some plum, and cedar.”
His notes are accurate, highly specific. Based on my preferences, Reid recommended the Walter Glatzer Rebencuvée Zweigelt 2018 from Carnuntum in Austria: an equally stunning and surprising bottle, priced right.
Like the people who make it, wine can be interesting, lovable or even sad, but each bottle has, as Reid says, “history, culture, language, geology” that goes beyond red, white, sparkling and label art.