Have you ever seen someone smell a glass of wine and remark on its “lemony overtones” or “essence of plum,” and wondered if they had any idea what they were talking about? Usually you're right, and they're pulling words from the 2009 Unabridged Wine Libs Dictionary. Pair one word from the "Obscure Fruits and Woods" chapter with another from "Vague Concepts" and you've got a smart-sounding wine description. How many times have we heard a Wine Libs poser foolishly declare that a wine resonated with "cedar echoes"? Too many times to count on one seven-fingered hand—eight times, to be precise.
But it turns out there is actually a science to smelling wine, and a corresponding aroma wheel with a full spectrum of scents both familiar (fruity, floral, spicy) and odd (microbiological, oxidized, pungent). A few people actually aren't making it up when they talk smart about wine; they understand the aroma wheel and are tasting those amazing things they're talking about. Those mahogany-cinnamon hughes are real my friend, and they taste exactly like the time you put cinnamon on your mahogany banister and went to town. That great moment can be relived—even topped—by the food and wine available at 55 Degree Wine. 55 Degree Wine understands the Aroma Wheel, Occam's Razor, and the Pythagorean Theorem, enabling them to create a simple, isosceles triangle of wine, food, and the number 55.
Today's Groupon gets you giddy on $40 worth of fermented grapes at 55 Degree Wine for only $20. The shop, in an unassuming Atwater Village strip mall at 3111 Glendale Blvd., is a cozy, wine-lovers hideout with warm colors, wine-barrel tables, and Mediterranean flair. Along with Italian classics, 55 Degree Wine carries wines from Argentina, Portugal, Spain, and Australia. And its got plenty of foreign beer too, such as Japan's Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ales and traditional ales such as Foret by Brasserie Dupont Belgian Beer.
This Groupon is good at either the retail shop or the wine cellar basement, where you can sample lesser-known wines by taste, glass, or flight. Each week there are four flights with three wines in each (flights can start as low as $9.50). Of course you're also going to want to taste 55 Degree's rotating cheese menu. With red, try Chiantino from Germany, or with white, have a bit of Morbier from France. If the wine and cheese whet your appetite, 55 Degree has pizza, salami, and prosciutto too.
- 55's mission's to educate customers on around 500 mostly Italian wines without forcing them to ask annoying questions like "Does this go good with chicken?" or "If I take this with Phenobarbital, will it make me gassy?" To accomplish this, wines are segregated into "light bodied" and "dark bodied" racks, then stocked in ascending order by origin—from the toe of the Boot on up to that strange folded bit that evokes sword fights and general bawdiness. – Thrillist
- Tuesday through Sunday nights, the expansive underground cellar and wine bar features a rotating menu of economical lesser-known wines that are available for sampling by the taste, glass, or flight, plus cheeses for nibbling. Upstairs is no slouch of a wine store, either, carrying one of the city's largest selections of Belgian ales. – Los Angeles
- 55 Degree has incredible wine (and a friendly, knowledgable sommerlier [sic] to boot), amazing cheese plates, a cool underground atmosphere (literally), and a truly nice staff. – Sarah D., Yelp
- The place looks so humble and unassuming from the outside but really, it's so much more when you walk inside and downstairs! It made me feel like I was in a cocoon under the ground, safe from the world tasting wine and relaxing for awhile. – Amy K., Yelp
- This Atwater Village wine shop is no snobby Beverly Hills boutique -- here, the thrill is in descending to the dim wine cellar to taste at the bar, and inside the chilly lockers themselves. – Martha Burr, Citysearch
55 Degree Wine
Cozy candlelight and flickering lanterns cast soft shadows in 55 Degree Wine’s cellar, where waiters eagerly pair customers’ palates with weekly rotating wines. Featured on Best of LA Weekly in 2012 for its wine program, the winery stocks more than 2,000 labels, of which up to 60 are spotlighted in the cellar’s monthly lineup of pours. Though most vintages are Italian, ambrosias from Europe, South America, and other far-flung climes find homes in the shop after being tasted and approved by store owners. The thermostat, appropriately set to 55 degrees, helps keep elixirs fresh and patrons comfortable, but guests may wish to bring a sweater or particularly affectionate bear.
3111 Glendale Blvd #2
Los Angeles, California 90039Get Directions