The multi-faceted Brent Karlicek

What’s the one grape varietal that best represents who you are, psychologically, spiritually, and emotionally?

It’s a question that I’ve asked many winemakers and sommeliers over the years. It’s not about the grapes that they most enjoy in a single varietal or blend, but more about the characteristics of a certain grape that most closely match their own as real people.

I tossed that one earlier today to Brent Karlicek, beverage director of Upward Projects, as he was hosting local media at the company’s newest Postino Wine Cafe scheduled to open next week at the intersection of Grant Road and Tucson Boulevard in Tucson.

Without much hesitation, he told me a tale of two sides on the varietal spectrum that he believes authentically define who he is.

“On one side we have Gamay, a grape that’s fun, personable, pleasurable, and happy-go-lucky,” he said. “I’m in the hospitality business, and this is a business about simply making people feel good.”

Eager to hear what was on the opposite side of the spectrum, while at the same time fearing that the other Brent might not be as fun, personable, or pleasurable as the one across the table from me, I asked him to reveal it.

“The other part of me is more like a Nebbiolo, a grape that’s a bit deeper, more structured, and introspective,” he said. “This one takes a little more time to understand as the layers are peeled back.”

The answer to the question, in his words, introduced a “multi-faceted me.”

Postino’s wine list is as multi-faceted as the man who curated it, assembled with approachability in mind and a pledge to feature a few selections that you may not have seen before. For me, one of those was the Pomares Douro, a bright white blend perfect for a Friday afternoon on the patio. I don’t think it was a coincidence that this particular wine got my attention. Made from Gouveio and Viosinho grapes, it hails from Portugal in the Douro Valley, which is exactly where we’ll be heading on my next Culinary and Cocktail Cruise.

I left my inaugural Postino moment with the confidence that it will thrive on the Southern Arizona food and beverage scene, and with an enthusiasm for getting to know both sides of Brent Karlicek a little better. I guess that means drinking some Gamays and Nebbiolos with him next time…at a decidedly structured yet happy-go-lucky happy hour!

Located at 2500 E. Grant Road, Postino opens to the public on Monday, March 2, 2020.