Beside the Rhine River in Germany or in sun-soaked fields in Tuscany and California, vines grow heavy with ripe fruit. These jewel-toned morsels fill bottles at PRP Wine International, whose consultants then share the global terroir during special events and private tastings at home. Each staff member has a library of facts about wine production and consumption on the tip of their tongue, as well as several varieties of corkscrews hanging from their mandated utility belt. Their mission is to cultivate an appreciation of fine wines by introducing clients to global varieties—from beaujolais to chianti—while sharing food pairing ideas and recipes, and educating clients about the winemaking process and wine in general.
An online shop organizes varietals, such as montepulciano and gewürztraminer, by their taste profile and country of origin, and sparkling wines are searchable by price point. To deepen their client's connection to their favorite bottle, they may either be etched or emblazoned with custom labels that commemorate an event or deliver a dry thank you.
Phlight's servers pilot plates of traditional Spanish mini meals, bottles of boutique wines, and glasses of international beers between high-rise tables under a roof anchored by rustic wooden rafters. Splash in the savory waters of seafood selections, including tiger shrimp ($14), stuffed squid ($6), and roasted John Dory ($12), whose eye spot observes diners to see if they know the difference between a salad fork and a tuning fork. Poultry dishes abound, wrapping succulent duck meat into soft tacos ($7) and igniting chicken wings with adobo spice ($8), and short ribs mind their beefy business under a sweet sprinkling of brown sugar and ginger ($18). Herbivorous hankerings plant themselves on crispy lentils ($6) or sautéed bok choy ($4), and asparagus ($8), cuddling under the calescent cover of serrano peppers to subvert chilly glares from the ice water.
Though freedom to choose your own pairings is good for believers in true love and eclectic décor, professionally paired flavor combos showcase the best qualities of each ingredient. A retail shop outfitted with a handsome tasting bar, California Wine and Cheese stocks wines produced exclusively in California, regularly consisting of over 200 selections. Wine flights consist of four to five samplings and change every Friday, giving customers a chance to gain a broad appreciation for all kinds of wine. If you've already sampled one or more wines from the flight, just wait a week and new choices of red or white wine will magically appear. To complement the characteristics of each wine, a sampling of imported and domestic cheeses accompanies each flight. Because California Wine and Cheese sells the goods to take home, you can purchase the wines and cheeses you like best to re-create the pairings at home for dinner guests and culinarily curious cats.
Named after its spot in the shadow of the Santa Anita Racetrack, One Hundred to One evens the odds with a no-frills selection of beers and spirits. Float toward camaraderie-laden coves borne on the sudsy currents of Budweiser, Amber Bock, or Shock Top draught pitchers (starting at $7.50). Or listen for the sound of ocean waves and subliminal messages from Sting by putting your mouth and ear to international bottles ($4.25), including Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, and Dos Equis. Parched partiers can also place their fermented fate in the hands of one of One Hundred to One's merrymaking mixologists, sating thirsts with cocktails constructed of blithe spirits including Belvedere ($6.75), Crown Royal ($5.75), and Bombay Sapphire ($5.75).
A person's choice of drink says a lot about them, though admittedly not as much as the fact that they're drinking it from a handmade amphora carved from the crystal skull of a hippogriff. Today's grapey Groupon lets you ooze sophistication and effortless worldliness from every pore without requiring immediate medical attention. For $20, you'll get $40 worth of pours and plates at Versai The Wine Bar, a Euro-like hot spot in Yorba Linda that specializes in rare sips, small plates, and nightly re-creations of Hannibal crossing the Alps using shadowpuppets. Versai The Wine Bar is open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Chefs at redwhite+bluezz sling exceptionally tasty salads, soups, entrees, and desserts forged from creative ingredients and accented with upscale libations. The luxurious menu unleashes contemporary influences upon classic recipes, such as a starter of fondue kicked into the 21st century by a squad of lobster, spinach, artichoke hearts, fontina, and sliced baguette ($14). Main courses flank the all-American meatiness of a buffalo rib eye with pommes lyonnaise, burrata and tomato gratin ($32) and hide vegetarian surprises such as pumpkin gnocchi served with roasted spaghetti squash and a pool of pistachio buerre noisette ($21). Quell sweet teeth clamoring for attention with unshareable desserts such as the vineyard-inspired cookie-mousse Eton Mess ($7).