By now, pretty much everyone knows that Vegas, besides being a gambling “Mecca”, is also a great destination for entertainment and dining. And dining definitely includes wining.
Obviously, there are plenty of great restaurants on the Strip. Most of the big hotels have at least one outstanding dining establishment. And one day, we do plan to go to Robuchon, Aureole, etc. But, for now, we really prefer to do our dining away from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas Boulevard.
Our most recent trip to Las Vegas was a three-nighter – Friday through Sunday. Karen and I had planned to have great meals Friday and Sunday evenings, and try to eat lighter on Saturday night. We were partially successful.
Our first night [Friday] found us in Desert Shores, about twenty minutes from the Strip. There, on the shore of a man-made lake, we ate the first of our dinners, at a restaurant called Marche Bacchus [http://marchebacchus.com].
Marche Bacchus is a combination wine store and restaurant. The wine prices in the store are reasonable, and picking a wine from the store to bring to your table is just an additional $10. In addition, the wine selection is outstanding, with the focus on boutique wineries and harder to find wines. In the particular section I was searching, I found a lot of my favorite wineries – Turley. Mollydooker, JC Cellars, Tobin James, Herman Story, Linne Calado, etc.
Marche Bacchus also has an excellent wine-by-the-glass program. For example, I’ve never seen Outpost Grenache poured by the glass anywhere. [This is the only Grenache that I have ever heard Eve say she likes.]
We’ve eaten at Marche Bacchus before and enjoyed the experience immensely. But, we also wanted to eat there again because of Ian.
We first met Ian several years ago when he was working at Rosemary’s Restaurant. [More on this restaurant in the final installment.] He always provided us with excellent service as well as great wine recommendations. In fact, it is Ian who sparked my interest in Australian wines by recommending Marquis Philips 9 some time ago.
Even though Ian was eventually lured away to Tao Restaurant and later to Vintner’s Grill, we managed to follow his career and we were happy to finally catch up with him at Marche Bacchus.
So, when I asked Ian what he thought of my selection of the 2006 Robert Foley Muscle Man Petite Sirah, and he said it was really good but “tooth-staining”, I knew it was a wine for us. Ian suggested he decant it, which I thought was a good idea, but I asked him to cool it down a little first.
One of my pet peeves is red wine served too warm. In my opinion, most red wine should be served at cellar temperature, not room temperature. Wines that are too warm, especially those with higher alcohol, can taste overly heavy and lack flavor. And, it is very enjoyable to experience a wine as it changes during the process of gradually warming up from cellar temperature. I’ve had servers raise their eyebrows at this request and some even question it. But Ian, of course, knew what I wanted and was happy to comply.
After a little cooling time, I was finally able to taste a wine that I’ve wanted to try for some time – the Robert Foley Muscle Man Petite Sirah. Aptly named, this might be the most massive wine I have ever had. The wine was not only huge and mouth-coating, it had tons of flavor as well. It definitely ranked up there with some of my favorite Petites – such as Turley, Outpost, Biale, and David Fulton.
Of course, we ate too.
We started with an incredible appetizer platter, which included a terrific assortment of cheeses, as well as pate, lobster salad, salmon, and some other goodies.
For dinner, Karen sensibly ordered the scallop appetizer, which she pronounced delicious. I, on the other hand, couldn’t pass up that night’s special – beef tenderloin topped with seared foie gras. Once Ian and I confirmed that we were both on the same page with the definition of “rare” [cool, even cold center], I enjoyed a most amazing entrée.
Finally, we finished off the evening with Marche Bacchus signature bread pudding, drinking our coffee and listing to jazz saxophone on the patio by the lake.