Wine Talk

Snooth User: Faron S

What you'd like to see in Wine Bars

Original post by Faron S, Aug 13, 2010.

What are the "must-have-wines" when you visit a wine bar?  Or just stuff you'd really like to see. This can become tricky with "by-the-glass" stuff, because I imagine people can become quite cautious with a glass of wine above the $12 figure. Any insights??

prev 1 2 3 4


Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 31, 2010.

Wow, this has turned into a really interesting discussion.  I just want to make it clear that I do agree with quite a bit of what GDD said--Bin38 does have the opportunity to offer a few things that are outside the norm.  If you are educating palates, Briccatondo Barbera and Brancaia Tre are just too easily available, and there are a few readily available wines on the domestic side as well.  I think A Cote is at one extreme (in Oakland) with stuff you can never find again (or so it seems). Bin38 is not at the other extreme, but there's room to stretch, to be sure. I also want to point out that Californians have the unique opportunity to go to wineries nearby, and not drink big company mediocrity.  That's exactly what Napagirl does.  That's what I did (except that I drank the wines that are now owned by big companies when I was a kid because what was there besides BV and Mondavi?).  It's just one approach that we and a few others who live in wine country have:  Start local and branch out.  Wines here vary from purely Californian expressions to more old world styles, but it's also worth remembering that, even without so-called Parkerization, European wines would have changed as some technology allowed for quality control and, frankly, a lot of wineries coasted on reputations from as far back as 1855. And a lot of vineyards were so carved up among owners as to make the provenance of the grapes pretty meaningless if you didn't know the winemaker, too, which was pretty hard to do.

So back to the point, FaronS:  Have wines that express something--their growing region, a winemaker's point of view, or just reliable drinkers.  But carry stuff YOU can tell a story about--why you picked it.  It's your wine bar, after all. People here have shown that, what we all want in a wine, is an expression of someone's opinion.  We reserve the right to agree or disagree.  De gustibus non est disputandum.

Reply by dmcker, Aug 31, 2010.

Since my education wasn't exactly classical and is sadly lacking in latin and ancient greek, and though I can guess at the meaning of your latin phrase, Foxall, I just did the rounds of the free machine translation options on the web and found that not only does Google not handle latin, but nobody else was able to help, either.

Highlight of that failed search, however was this restaurant in Beijing. Talk about being literalminded! Either the owner was bloodily so and this is an epic failure, or had excellent tongue in cheek. I wonder which? The characters just mean eating place, dining hall, what have you....

Reply by dmcker, Aug 31, 2010.

A prime example of what you like to see from a good wine store, but perhaps an example of the kind of thing a good winebar might also do.

And Napagirl, sounds like a perfect way to encounter a lot of good non-CA wines, and people knowledgeable about same, all nearby in Berkeley!. Good food, and music, to boot. No excuses, now.... ;-)

From Kermit Lynch:


Once in a while someone gripes after I write about my summer in Provence—that’s where I live when working in France. This summer Mother Nature slapped me with a sciatic episode, so cool it—envy would be misguided this year. Luckily I found some red, white, and pink muscle relaxers right under my house.

Except for the actual Mediterranean Sea, we have almost everything we need to live it up à la provençale right here on San Pablo Avenue: olive trees, sunshine, delicious dry rosés, and Gail Skoff’s original hand-painted photograph of Lulu Peyraud’s simmering pot of bouillabaisse. To have witnessed Lulu and Richard Olney trading tips on the perfect bouillabaisse while drinking a bottle of Domaine Tempier’s rosé was one of the highlights of my career.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 18—Provence Day in Berkeley. Our parking lot will be filled with thirsty patrons, the smell of wood smoke and garlic wafting from the grill, and the sounds of great music provided by some down-home musicians. We will present food and wine from one of Europe’s loveliest regions.

This time, we are going to have an extra-special addition to our parking-lot extravaganza. Peter Lewis, co-founder of Seattle’s Campagne Restaurant and Café Campagne (the Chez Panisse of Seattle, if you will), and longtime supporter of my selections, has written Dead in the Dregs, a modern-day crime novel that involves the brutal murder of a prominent wine critic, and an ex-sommelier, Babe Stern, who needs to dive back into the wine world to crack the case. Peter will be holding court and signing his book in the store during Provence Day.

So come on by and join us for a day of wine, food, music, and revelry. The price will be reasonable, as usual, the event is presented by Café Fanny, and the chef is Christopher Lee.

C’mon everybody, it’s our time to party, Provençal style.
Note the date:

Saturday, September 18

11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

Reply by napagirl68, Aug 31, 2010.

Dmcker- that sounds great!  But 9/18?  Uugghh... my son's move in date at college.  Can't miss that. 

And yes, when in SF, you should ck out bin 38.  I have enjoyed my visits here for sure, for many reasons besides the wine :-)

Reply by daveswan, Sep 1, 2010.

It would be good to see a couple of 'wines of the week' form each type and sold with a story (the story has to be interesting and presented well). Maybe offer some tasters as a prior to buying a bottle.

Reply by dmcker, Sep 1, 2010.

Very much a different grouping of 'usual suspects'. Now in an ideal world, wouldn't there be a winebar offering flights of this sort?   ;-)


Annual Comparative Bordeaux Tasting
Vintages 2003 and 2005

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Newberry Library
60 West Walton St.
Chicago, IL

$325 per person 


Please join us for our annual Comparative Bordeaux Tasting as we assess the individual and collective merits of these two superlative vintages.  The 2003 and 2005 Bordeaux vintages are considered two of the top vintages of the decade. The tasting will feature 40 wines from 20 Châteaux.

The weather for the 2003 vintage consisted of a mild winter and early spring followed by a dry, hot summer. The best wines are very ripe and display good concentration and structure. The weather patterns for the 2005 vintage were considered perfect. The wines from ‘05 are rich, complex, and beautifully balanced, packed with ripe, pure fruit and have the structure that will allow the top wines to age well into the next decade and beyond.

Join us as we taste and compare the 2003 and 2005 vintages.

“Tasting the 2005 red wines from the bottle, many of them three or four times, confirmed that this is the greatest vintage produced during my 30-year career. A great majority of the wines are far superior from bottle than they were from cask, confirming the quality of this remarkable vintage.” RP


Please contact Marc Smoler at 312.482.9766 or click here to email him for reservations.

Selections from the tasting:

Château Montrose
Château Calon-Segur
Château Cos d’Estournel
Château Mouton Rothschild
Château Lynch Bages
Château Lafite Rothschild
Château Latour
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste
Château Ducru-Beaucaillou
Château Léoville Las Cases
Château Léoville Poyferre
Château Margaux
Château Palmer
Château Haut-Brion
Château La Mission Haut-Brion
Château Cheval Blanc
Château Monbousquet
Château Pavie-Macquin
Château Clinet
Château l’Evangile

Reply by amour, Sep 1, 2010.

A list out of HEAVEN!

Just what my palate is talking about continuously!!!!

Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 1, 2010.

dmcker: "In matters of taste there is no argument."  (Literally, "Of taste there is no dispute.") In other words, you like what you like and it's all opinion. I just typed "de gustibus" in Google--it does come up.  I wasn't trying to be obscure, just using the little bit of Latin I learned in high school.

Of course, there IS incompetently made wine. And one can say they love entirely the wrong thing about a particular wine because they know nothing about the wine itself. 

If FaronS or his customers want to see the wine shelf filled with 25 kinds of merlot, because he is passionate about it, who am I to say he's wrong?  I can vote with my feet if I feel differently.  FaronS now has an idea of who his (traveling) customers are and what they want to see. I wish him luck, and I will look for his place if I am in that part of Florida. It will be interesting to try to see which of our ideas he used.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 1, 2010.

One last thing:  I do sometimes think there are different kinds of wine bars, too.  We have a local joint that isn't so far off the beaten path in its selections, but it's inexpensive (relatively) and you can take folks there who might be intimidated by the list at A Cote or even Bin38.  It's almost pub-like in atmosphere.  They don't carry Layer Cake or Clos du Bois, but there are plenty of familiar styles and nothing is very expensive.  And it's kid-friendly.  So it serves a big need for those of us who have elementary school age kids and want a modest meal with a reliable glass or two, while the kids munch on the fruit and cheese plate or a panini.

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Sep 1, 2010.

I agree with Foxall there is and should be different types of wine bars.

There are plenty of different experiences we all enjoy.  We have a wine bar here which every Sunday afternoon has live Blues Bands playing from 4pm to 8pm.

Plenty of good beers and a solid inexpensive $7/150 ml glass to mid range $15-20 per glass.

Always a Champagne and usually a smaller producers NV [well not a LVMH label] at around $20 and a selection of local SW's and occasionally a Prosecco or Cava.

Plus good selection of Spirits including mid range single malts and cognacs

Most people there for a relaxing hour or two for the live music and many bands use it as a way to reach out to a community the does not have a great live music culture and especially southern US blues style stuff

But everyone agrees having a good wine selection makes for a good relaxing afternoon.

Reply by dmcker, Sep 1, 2010.

Foxall, that was what I'd guessed from what little of Latin I know. Took Spanish in Jr. High and High School, and French and Japanese in college, I'm afraid. Lots of words with latin roots in the first two (definitely not the 3rd), and English, too, of course. Have a close friend who taught himself Latin, Classical Greek and T'ang Dynasty Chinese as an adult (he also brews damned fine beer at home). Afraid I'm not quite that ambitious....

So where would a winebar that offered something like the Chicago tasting I posted above be located, I wonder?

Reply by rolifingers, Sep 1, 2010.

Went to a wine bar one day, no Cinzano nor Martini & Rossi vermouth. Io non capisco questo ! I love vermouth.

Reply by napagirl68, Sep 2, 2010.

Ok foxall... tell me about the kid friendly place in the bay!!! NOW!! LOL! 

I have a 6yr old daughter.. would it suit her age?  

I usually go to wine bars with my hubby on date night, or with my crazy girlfriends.  Would be nice to have something that was wine AND kid Friendly- no bbsitter required.... PM me if you want....

prev 1 2 3 4

Back to Categories

Top Contributors This Month

847804 Snooth User: EMark
29 posts
127503 Snooth User: rckr1951
29 posts
324443 Snooth User: outthere
12 posts


View All

Snooth Media Network