Who can think of a better way to unwind after a long week (or couple of weeks, or month) than heading out on a Friday night to find a new place to enjoy a few good drinks? This weekend we decided to look up a local place called 750ml Wine Bar.
The great thing about wine bars on the weekends (mostly anytime really) is that they usually offer wine flights. For those of you unfamiliar with a wine flight, generally it is 3-4 wines poured in smaller portions of 1-2oz., and served all together so that you can taste at your own pace. I love flights, they are a great way to get exposure to a bunch of different wines you normally might not taste. You may not like everything in a flight, but it still helps you understand the flavors, tastes, and styles that you do prefer. Lucky for us, we didn’t have that problem with the Friday night flight at 750ml Wine Bar. They were serving four wines in their flight: 2012 Simi Chardonnay, 2008 Norman Vineyards “The Monster” Zinfandel, 2011 Grand Veneur Vacqueyras Grande Garrigue (French Rhone Style), 2012 Sketchbook Cabernet Sauvignon.
2012 Simi Chardonnay ($14) – Aromas are crisp pineapple and citrus (grapefruit), and a little herbal. It had a great taste of lemon, pear, and green apple, and for a chardonnay it was very crisp. It had really nice acidity and was served at a near perfect temperature. It tasted like it was fermented in stainless steel with the tangy acidity, but also had a nice hint of oak suggesting that it was at least partial aged in a barrel. At a $14 price point it’s a really nice chardonnay.
2008 Norman Vineyards “The Monster” Zinfandel ($25) – Everything about the nose of this wine said ripe red berries, although there was an indication of earthiness. The flavor picked up right where the nose left off with the taste of ripe raspberries and cherries that quickly transition into an intense black pepper. The finish is a combination of the pepper and fruit mixed with balanced medium tannins. This is an exceptionally full bodied wine. I’m always a big fan of peppery/spicy zins. For the $25 price point I think it’s a good wine, especially if you like a lot of spice in your zins.
Before I write about the next wine; I will admit I know almost nothing about French wines. Generally, in my experience, they present an almost too earthy (dirty taste) in my opinion. This is just my opinion, so if you are a French wine fan don’t hate me…if you do its okay, I’ll console myself with a delicious California wine.
2011 Grand Veneur Vacqueyras Grande Garrigue ($25) – I had to do a little research on this one. First, this is a Cotes Du Rhone style wine, primary made from Grenache grapes. The aroma is very simple with cherry, black licorice, and earthiness. The aromas carry over into the full bodied flavor with medium to high tannins. What surprised me about the wine was the high alcohol, almost hot finish. At first I wasn’t a fan, but it did start to grow on me. I think I’d give it another shot for the sake of “research”.
2012 Sketchbook Cabernet Sauvignon ($20) – This was a nice way to finish out the flight, the 2012 Sketchbook cab was a fun wine. It started with a very pronounced berry nose with a light hint of vanilla. The berry nose gave way to a dark cherry flavor with a noticeable, but not overwhelming tartness. It was very fruit forward with a very nice level of tannins. It wasn’t overly astringent, but had enough of a presence to add a slight dryness to my mouth. It finished very nicely with a light cherry and dark chocolate flavor. For $20 it’s not a bad bottle to pick up for a “daily drinker” or a nice all day weekend red.
This is why I love flights! It was pretty well put together and each wine complemented the others. Nothing was a stand out, but everything was solid and worth a second look based on quality versus price alone. If for nothing else, I love flights because they give me an opportunity to try things that I may overlook otherwise.
Bonus wine review: We were having a good time, and well…I like wine. So, I ordered another glass.
2013 Force of Nature Red Blend ($18) – This blend is predominately a Merlot (67%), but it drinks much bolder and bigger. There is a strong plum aroma on the nose and that was the least fruity thing about this wine. This is a fruit bomb (not saying that in a bad way), it has strong flavors of raisin and plums, with cherry mixed in for good measure. Rich and full bodied with a good amount of astringency that really dries out your mouth, in a good way. It finishes strong as well with a tobacco and cocoa profile also with a hint of cherry.
I’ve said it before, I’m a fan of eating local, and that goes equally for drinking local. If you get a chance give 750ml Wine Bar a visit. It’s a nice spot with a quality wine selection on their menu and on their walls for drink in or carry out. I look forward to making another visit, and can’t wait to see what they’ll have in store for future Friday night flights.
Go try something new…you just might like it!