Rebecca Theris of Cambridge’s Loyal Nine on stocking Jura, Madeira and zweigelt - Wine & Spirits Magazine

Rebecca Theris of Cambridge’s Loyal Nine on stocking Jura, Madeira and zweigelt

Rebecca Theris, along with her husband, co-owner Daniel Myers, opened Loyal Nine in March of 2015. Prior to that, the duo ran the Hand Taste Collective, a local pop-up, after spending two years at Hungry Mother (now closed). Theris hand-throws all pottery for the restaurant and looks to grower-producers to stock her wine list.

Educated Clientele

Living in Cambridge, people are well-educated in wine and really open to listening and learning. I’ve had a lot of luck with Jura wines, and the Tissot chardonnay [2013 Stephane Tissot Arbois Les Graviers] is beautiful and easy. Tissot is a name that people are familiar with. I think that coastal food and mountain wine are a really good pairing. There are lots of savory notes in mountain wines. When I was pulling together the list, I was looking for wine that was dry and savory, with an umami aspect to pair with Marc’s [chef Marc Sheehan] food. We have a lot of shellfish on the menu, and he makes his own salt.

Madeira’s tie to colonial New England

I like to do a raw scallop with Sherry to start the meal, but Madeira is what I like to end with. Depending on what type of dessert we have that week, there is Sercial with its acidity or a Malmsey [Rare Wine Company New York Malmsey is a popular dessert wine on her list].  We’ll even do a flight for guests. Our food is based on colonial New England and with all of the historical references to Madeira, I’ve really been trying o get people interested in Madeira again. We have this one dessert—it’s been on the menu since we opened—and it’s a chocolate brewis (a colonial word), which is like sourdough bread pudding. We have sides at the table, like marshmallows, candies, caramel sauce and toffee. It is such a simple and delicious dessert and works so well with Madeira.

A zweigelt surge

Lately, people are more familiar with zweigelt around the area as well. It popped up out of nowhere and now everyone knows it. People know zweigelt [the Mittelbach 2014 Zweigelt from Wachau is a top BTG pour] instead of the more usual French or American grapes, and there’s been lots of restaurants in the area offering it in the last year. I’ve been surprised but folks are open to trying new things. I love that many are asking what I recommend, just describing the style they are looking for and putting themselves in our hands. They’re even jazzed about Greco di Tufo; very exciting!

Caitlin Griffith knew her future career would entail food and drink when, at the age of six, she munched an anchovy from her father’s Caesar salad thinking it as a small strip of bacon—and was more than pleasantly surprised. While enrolled in New York University’s Food Studies program, she learned the secrets of affinage in the caves of Murray’s Cheese.