Where do you go to get your wine? At the wine aisle at the local Ralph’s? 7-11? Or, do you prefer one of the two BevMo stores in town?
For getting a bottle of large production, wide distribution wine, those serve the need nicely. Want a bottle of Mondavi Cabernet or Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc or Menage a Trois, they’ll likely be there.
But what if you’re more selective or seek something not quite as universally available? You’re going to a dinner party – you know many of the guests have an appreciation for fine wine. Albertson’s probably is not the answer. They won’t have many small production wines and they certainly don’t have anyone there to answer questions about food pairing or the differences between a white Burgundy and Kendall Jackson Chardonnay.
Well, as long as you don’t leave it to the time when you’re driving to the party, you’ve got a couple of choices. Lee’s Wine Bistro and Valencia Wine Company, both on Town Center Drive in Valencia, feature knowledgeable staff and a more eclectic selection of excellent vino.
If you’re willing to drive out of the SCV, your choices expand greatly. Total Wine is the liquid equivalent to a Home Depot. The stores are massive and well-stocked. They post great information about the bottles (like, Robert Parker or Wine Spectator scores or accurate descriptions of how the wine tastes). And if you want to see what South Africa can do with Chenin Blanc, the staff at Total Wines can point you in the right direction.
What about if you’re expanding your cellar and want some depth in Bordeaux or Brunellos? Then either K&L Wine on Vine in Hollywood or Wallys in Westwood can help. They’ve developed long term relations with the more famous wineries around the world, their staff has tasted most of what’s on display, and their prices are fair.
Or, if you’re looking for great wine at an incredible price, shop online. My favorite is Wines ‘Til Sold Out, or WTSO.com. As I’m writing this, WTSO is selling a 91-point $25 Chardonnay for $12. If you order four bottles, there’s no charge for shipping or tax.
An entirely different option is to go to a wine tasting like the one on Wednesday October 15th at Salt Creek Grille. There you’ll meet Julianna Martinelli, President of Martinelli Wine, a long time standard bearer for great wine from Sonoma County. You can sample seven different wines, get some delicious tapas, and help a worthy cause, which is the Boys & Girls Club. You can buy tickets either online at the SCV B&G website or call 254-3063. Hope to see you there.