WineStyles’ inspiration for its wine-tasting parties began, of all places, at a backyard barbecue. Some friends at the barbecue found themselves with too many bottles of wine. As an experiment, they decided to taste the wines blindly, so as not to be influenced by price or packaging. This impromptu tasting became the template for WineStyles, a boutique designed to help you choose a wine simply by taste. That is, wines here aren’t categorized by varietal or region, but instead by one of eight taste profiles: crisp, silky, rich, and bubbly for whites; fruity, mellow, bold, and nectar for reds. However, patrons interested in knowing more about their selected bottle can still do so—each bottle comes with a description of its characteristics and suggested food pairings.
Those looking to learn even more about wines can attend one of WineStyles’ weekly tastings or discovery classes. During these events, certified specialists explore everything from the history of different varietals to current trends in wine drinking, such as which wine goes best with texting. Different levels of wine-club membership give participants two to three bottles a month (each selected by a Masters Wine Panel), invitations to private tastings, and discounts toward additional purchases.
Visitors to CataVinos Wine Shoppe & Tasting Room are treated to a flight of six hand-selected wines tied together by a common theme. On Thursdays, Fridays, or Saturdays, folks taste their way through six wines?along with cheese and crackers as palate-cleansers: each week, the wines might all hail from the same country, or they might focus on a holiday, such as "Thanksgiving Feast Wines." The themes change weekly, but the atmosphere stays the same, with visitors invariably meeting someone new as they sip their wine flights.
For customers ready to commit to a whole bottle, the shop has a full selection of reds, whites, sparkling, and dessert wines, including domestics and imports from around the world. They're modestly priced, too?hundreds of them are under $15. For special occasions or as gifts, the team packages custom-designed?wicker gift baskets, alongside goodies like chocolate, bruschetta sauce, cheese, and olives.
d'vine's wine club boasts a globe-spanning array of rare and celebrated fermented fruit nectar, giving new and seasoned oenophiles a heady taste of the world of wine and fine dining. In addition to free weekly wine tastings each Wednesday, club members score their choice of two bottles of wine every month from a rotating selection of two reds and one white, ensuring easy removal of accidental grape stains. The two bottles must be consumed at D'Vine, though any club member ambitious enough to want a third or more receives an additional 10% off their decadently Dionysian purchase. The wine bar's unpretentious staff fills members' minds with tantalizing wine facts and fills goblets with vintages that may include 2009 Isabel Mondavi I'M chardonnay or 2008 Rock & Vine cabernet sauvignon. Drinkers transform into diners when they activate members' 10% discount on meals from d'vine's vino-friendly menu of tapas, salads, grilled pizzas, and rotating specials.
The popular wicked roll hides a bundle of spicy crab, avocado, cilantro, and jalape?o topped with a sweet thai-chili sauce, and the truffle Hamachi pairs fresh yellowtail sashimi with white-truffle oil, cilantro, and sea salt. The kitchen also whips up a handful of eats other than sushi, including grilled chicken and vegetarian-friendly panko-crusted tofu with miso-butter sauce. Diners can pair their meals with sake, cocktails, beers, and wines poured at Rock Lobster?s bar or milked from a giant grape hanging over the restaurant?s entrance.
The meats of Mexican cuisine are as diverse as the colors of the rainbow, and Ta’Carbon strives to serve every one. Chefs load up the charcoal grill with familiar morsels of certified-Angus carne asada and barbacoa and pair them with specialty cuts such as lengua, cabeza, and tripa. These sizzling cuts then find their way into burritos, tacos, and dinner platters, which guests then customize at the salsa bar with a choice of red and green salsas, pico de gallo, and spicy vegetables according to their own tastes and the rules of upcoming fire-breathing contests. To crown meals, the chefs sling traditional desserts such as flan and stock a range of Mexican sodas. Guests can grab food to go at the walk-up counter, enjoy their meals outside on the patio, or stay for an imported beer and watch the HDTV plasma screen showing soccer matches or telenovelas about people watching soccer matches.
If the name 5th and Wine doesn’t give away the restaurant’s specialty, maybe the wine barrel guarding the front door might. Or possibly the selection of more than 40 wines available by the glass, including reds and whites from around the world and 5th and Wine’s very own sangria. Those libations––along with specialty cocktails such as a black-cherry manhattan or root-beer martini––complement a menu of seafood, steaks, and burgers made with beef, elk, and bison patties.
Inside the 60-seat dining space, arched beams frame the room and a chalkboard wall displays daily drink specials and upcoming sets from local musicians. In front of the floor-to-ceiling windows, comfy couches and chairs carve out a post-meal lounge area, along with a murphy bed for guests who know which window to punch. Additionally, a 40-seat tasting room indulges guests with red leather chairs and the aroma of an old-fashioned popcorn machine at work. Diners can also enjoy their meal on the courtyard patio where an awning shades meals during the day and strings of lights brighten up the night.:m]]