Chaad Thomas – Partner, US Wine Imports, Michigan
Chaad Thomas
Partner at US Wine Imports

NAME: Chaad Thomas

POSITION: Partner at US Wine Imports



BEST VARIETAL/REGION: Northern Rhone Valley


FAVOURITE RED VARIETY: Villa Tavernago Bonarda Frizzante and Vernaccia Nera Frizzante


MEMBERS' TIP-OFF: French Picpoul de Pinet from France with oysters splashed with mignonette

Chaad Thomas is the owner of a wine-importing company in Ann Arbor, Michigan (USA). By his own admission he drinks “too broadly, as a matter of practice and preference, to have any favourites”  when it comes to nominating a preferred wine variety or region. And fair enough too! He will, however, claim to being “on little tear with two wine types right now, really loving the world of sparkling wines, especially Italian and French, and I’m also head-over-heels for aged, Northern Rhone Valley wines.”

Most recently opened with his Code38 was a 2001 Lanciola ‘Terricci‘ (a Super-Tuscan blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from around Florence). But he still recalls the most exciting wine his Code38 Duel uncorked was an ” ’01 Sangenis i Vaque Priorat Gran Reserva ‘Clos Monlleo’… An old vine blend of Carinena and Garnacha, and it’s always exciting to open a bottle because it’s both one of Spain’s very best wines, and because it’s a guaranteed show-stopper for everyone who tastes it. Sharing an amazing wine is one of the most exciting things about the wine business!”

His favourite white, currently, is the 2010 vintage Chablis – ”especially”,  he adds, “the wines of Patrick Piuze.” And reds? Chaad says that as a category it’s been the lightly Sparkling Reds of late – ”particularly Italian versions like Bonarda Frizzante from Villa Tavernago and Vernaccia Nera Frizzante from Colmone della Marca. I’ve been exploring Lambrusco again, but no real hits there yet.”

I ask Chaad about his most memorable wine moment. “Funny”, he replies, “but one of my last memorable wine experiences was being saved from having my head blown up by an overdose of wasabi on sushi by sipping a glass of Champagne. I still don’t understand the chemistry of what happens, but apparently the bubbles take the burn away immediately. It’s pretty cool to experience!” (Must try that sometime!)

As for recommending a wine for other Code38-ers, Chaad is going back to a classic. “Picpoul de Pinet from France with raw oysters splashed with mignonette. I know the custom is to default to Sancerre or Chablis, but Picpoul, grown right near the Etang du Thau where so many oysters are cultivated, is an absolutely brilliant match, sporting briny, citrusy, and mineral notes that combined for lip smacking savouriness.” He suggests that a quality Picpoul de Pinet should be able to be sourced by any competent bottle shop.

What he loves most about his Code38 – apart from its flawless performance and its built-to-endure factor, is “the way seeing it, feeling it, and using its imparts a sense of the thoughtfulness and purposefulness in its design. It’s a brilliantly engineered tool, and one that deserves special praises for having found, in such a simple device as the corkscrew, a way to refine its design elements to create an utterly peerless user experience. I’m really impressed by it every time I use it.”

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