Recently a pal that used to live in Santa Clarita had called me as he was opening a wine bar where he lives now in Texas. He didn’t want advice on anything other than what wine I would want if I were to visit his bar.
Since he had moved to Texas a few years ago he had been working in real estate, spent some time working in a large wine store, met more ex-pats (people that had come from California too) and ran a large wine tasting group. I didn’t offer any advice on how to open his bar as he had it covered. But I took to Facebook to ask my local pals what they would want stocked in the shelves if they owned a wine bar. They had some really great ideas! These are some of their comments:
THE WINE LIST
This is a compilation of just some of the wines my pals would stock their wine bar with:
Jonata, Potek, Scar of the Sea, True Believer, Andremily, Mail Road, Stolpman, Kimsey, Roark, The Paring, The Hilt, Spear (all Santa Barbara).
So many – Crémant, Melon d’ Bourgogne, Cru Beaujolais, Cahors, Brunello, Valtellina, Vin Santo, Madeira to name a few.
There is never enough Syrah anywhere. Still gets short shrift in the marketplace, which is a shame.
I am a sucker for Roussanne and other Rhone varietals. I love Grenache and Viognier too. Zaca Mesa and Stolpman make fabulous Roussanne.
I would like to see some Gruet Brut Rose or some blends that you can’t buy at a grocery store.
Belle Glos and Domaine Carneros Pinots, plus some Australian, Spanish and Chilean cabs.
Quintarelli, Casanova, Pine Ridge, Ridge, Tolo, Foxen…
On a wine list I look for value since they have to mark it up so much. Burgundy and Barolo would be nice but I’d go to the off the beaten path wines – Cru Beaujolais (France), Ripasso, Valpolicella, Sicilian wines. For those who like big jammy wines – Shiraz! Whites – I like to see Rose from France, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Sancerre (France). If there is a Somm I give them a price range and let them know what I like. Never have been disappointed.
Bernardus Sauvignon Blanc, Frogs Leap Cab, Rombi Cabernet, Bookenoogen Pinot and Heller Merlot.
Under $100: Cade Cabernet Sauvignon, Campesino Syrahs and Pinot Noirs, Shafer One Point Five, Grgich Hills, Turley Zins, Prisoner, Orin Swift, Patz & Hall pinots, Flowers, Mantanzas Creek Chards, Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Tablas Creek and Justin.
Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir is hands down one of the best Pinots out there.
Lone Star Wine Cellars and Landon Winery are two wineries in McKinney Texas. I haven’t been there in a few years. But, remember the wines were pretty good. They have tasting rooms in historic downtown McKinney TX.
Also would love to have more orange wines on menus. I’m glad it’s becoming a trend.
Would love to see more wines from Paso Robles and the Santa Ynez area. Roblar in Los Olivos is one of my favorite wineries and reasonably priced in my opinion. There are so many smaller vineyards in both of these areas to explore. Tired of seeing Kendall Jackson and the like in many of the restaurants/wine bars. Pretty much I would love to taste wines that I would not be able to find at Bev Mo, not that they have bad wines, but just not interesting ones…
Le Vigne Vineyards has some wonderful wines, Justin cabs of course, Clos Solene, L’Aventure and RN Estate are some of my favorites. All from Paso.
Justin makes a great Malbec I have been enjoying! I’m typically a Cab girl myself.
For whites: Dry Rieslings (German or Alsatian), Sancerre, South African Sauvignon Blanc, and Austrian Gruner Veltliner (as opposed to Hungarian). For reds: I love the less stereotypical Italian reds such as Nero D’Avola and pretty much any red from the Piedmont region.
I’m always excited to see Barbera and GSM’s when I visit a place that I am planning to drink wine at. I also enjoy having a good port or cream sherry available if I am visiting the wine bar after dinner and I want to end the night with a dessert-like treat.
Where wines started … Italy!
I have a rather long list, but most are red wines from the Paso Robles region, Lompoc and Santa Ynez regions as well: Longoria Wines, Tercero Wines, Eberle Winery, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Amalie Vineyards in Oregon, Ascension, Bass Note Sangria, Sanford, Sculpterra, Castlerock, Cutruzzola Vineyards, Joel Gott, Cass, Hoi Polloi Winery, San Antonio Winery (official), Michael David…I love all reds, depending on winery, but my go tos are usually Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Cab, Beaujolais, and red blends. I love our California wines!
Something interesting and different. Also some local TX wines.
From me: This is ONE of my own picks, because I voted for it as our Best of Show at the Global Wine Awards, from Martellotto Winery: https://martellotto.com/products/martellotto-riserva-il-capoccia-happy-canyon-of-santa-barbara
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.