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A&E >  Beer/Drinks

Renegade by MonteScarlatto opens in downtown Spokane

Renegade by MonteScarlatto has opened in downtown Spokane.

A grand opening celebration is planned for Friday with music, food, art and, of course, wine.

The Red Mountain winery occupies the storefront previously held by Patit Creek Cellars. The space has been completely renovated. The new color scheme is white, red and black. Decor is contemporary. The chairs and bar stools are made of clear acrylic.

“They’re called ghost chairs,” said owner, winemaker and farmer Joel Mackay. “Aren’t they cool?”

This is his first tasting room outside of his Benton City estate winery, which includes a 10-acre vineyard with grapes such as cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, barbera, merlot, malbec and petite verdot.

Vines were planted in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The Benton City tasting room opened in 2013. The downtown Spokane tasting room opened Oct. 24.

It will feature all of MonteScarlatto Estate Winery’s offerings. The winery specializes in Bordeaux-style wines. But barbera, an Italian varietal, is one of MonteScarlatto’s signature wines.

A $10 tasting fee gets wine enthusiasts five pours, equivalent – Mackay said – to a full glass of wine. The fee is waived if a customer buys two bottles. Bottles range from $32 to $45.

Merlot, reserve cabernet sauvignon and King Cutter Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2012 are available. So are Dawn’s Bikini Barbera and cabernet franc from the 2013 vintage and malbec and the barbera from the 2014 vintage. Syrah from the 2016 vintage is also available along with Dawn’s Bikini Barbera Blush, Late Harvest del Dolce and chardonnay from the 2017 vintage. Non-vintage wines include the Tenth Hole Red Blend and Miscelare Red Blend.

After bottling in about three weeks, a new syrah will be available. And, next summer, expect a carménère.

Glasses of wine cost $12 to $16.

The room seats just over 40 people. There are six seats at the high bar inside the front windows. There’s additional seating along the bar, which is topped with black-and-white porcelain tile that resembles marble. The mirrored back bar holds 500 bottles of wine, reachable by a rolling library ladder. A sofa and a couple of chairs are set around a fire feature in the back of the storefront. Another couple of couches sit in front of a 65-inch TV just inside the front door.

“I bet we’ll be one of the only tasting rooms with a TV,” said Mackay, who played quarterback in college before transferring to Eastern Washington University and still likes to watch a good football game.

He spent weekends in Spokane last summer working at Left Bank Wine Bar in downtown. That experience helped him decide to open his own tasting room here.

Mackay also lived in Spokane during college, graduating from EWU in 1989 with a degree in math. He grew up on a farm near Eltopia and attended Connell High School.

He said he plans to pop in to Spokane tasting room “probably once or twice a week.”

Sueanne Rizzuti is the general manager. Her son, T.J. Yager, is the operations manager. There are also five part-timers in the tasting room, to start. Additional staff might be hired as food and other amenities are added.

Mackay is considering small plates, soup, seasonal specials and desserts.

Hours are noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p. m. Sunday.

Renegade by MonteScarlatto is at 822 W. Sprague Ave., Suite 101. On the web:

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