With her warm personality and unbridled energy, Mary Allison Wright is as natural and engaging as the wines she champions. The former music promoter, who once toured with Phish just for fun, founded Denver’s RiNo Yacht Club with her husband, McClain Hedges, in 2012. The bar was named one of the country’s “15 Most Important Natural Wine Bars” in 2018.
Wright took time out from planning that move, her work as wine curator for The Proper Pour, and her role as beverage director for French-inspired Morin restaurant, to tell VinePair which wine changed the course of her career, and why she would drink Miller High Life forever.
1. What’s the bottle that made you fall in love with wine?
Lapierre Morgon! Mathieu [Lapierre] was in Atlanta pouring the new 2009 vintage at Holeman & Finch Public House, and to say it blew my socks off might be an understatement. At this point in my life, I was still in the music industry but obsessed with the burgeoning craft cocktail movement and was what I might describe as “wine-curious,” meaning I was super interested in learning more, and this wine rocked my world.
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2. FMK three varieties: Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay.
F*ck Chardonnay, marry Pinot Noir, kill Cabernet.
3. You’re on death row. What’s your last-supper wine?
Birth-year Chenin Blanc, then a bottle of Valdespino Inocente with a swirly straw in it to take it straight to the dome.
4. You can only drink one wine for the rest of your life. What is it?
Hmmm… maybe Lapierre Morgon because I like bringing things full circle.
5. You can only drink at one bar for the rest of your life. What is it?
EASY. Robert’s Western World in Nashville, Tenn. Find me at the bar eating a $5 “Recession Special” (fried bologna sandwich plus a Miller High Life).
6. What’s the best and worst wine on your rack (or in your fridge) right now?
The worst? In my fridge is a half-drunk bottle of weed rosé that is probably past its prime and a bit skunky. Best is a 2016 Keller Riesling von der Fels.
7. If you could no longer drink wine, what would be your beverage of choice?
The other wine, Miller High Life. (Champagne of Beers, duh.)