Wine Bars – The new way to sample many different wines all in one place

One of the newest hippest places to go to when in a downtown area is to go to a wine bar.  Why you may ask?  Well the main reason is that if you like wine, they usually offer a very large selection.  Some wine bars offer tastes in 2, 4, and 8 ounces besides the glass and or bottle.  I love the different sized samplers as it give you a perfect way to sample different wines.  When you find a wine that you like you should write down notes about what you liked so you could go and find it to have at home.  Usually these wine bars offer tapas or small bites to select to go with your wine.  It’s a perfect, casual and fun place to go with other wine lovers.  

A few weeks back I went to meet up with my friend Liz for just that.  We agreed on meeting at Vinoteca in Danville.  Neither of us had been there as they were pretty new to town.

Vinoteca was beautiful with its wood floors and tables, some couches with short cocktail tables and tall cocktail tables covered with black tablecloths with tall stools.  Liz and I were greeted very nicely and were taken to a nice bar table.  We looked at the menu, which is very nice, filled with beverage and tapas choices.  The food menu is divided by categories of Nibbles, Bocadillos (small grilled sandwiches), Greens and Things and Petite Plates.  The wines they offer are mostly from Europe.  This was a nice change of pace for me.  I didn’t know what to order so I asked my waiter and he made a great suggestion.  You can order the wine in 3 different sizes – glass, carafe and bottle.  Besides the wines they offer, they also make blood orange sangria that they serve with lunch, and they have draught beer from Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Pacific Coast.  They also have some bottled beer, ports and espresso drinks to end the meal with.  

I had a glass of ’07 Vaza, Crianza, Tempranillo, Espana, which was just perfect with the Tapas we ordered.  Liz had the ’07 Olvena, Chardonnay, Somontano, Espana also good but served a bit too cold.  They serve the wine in a Luigi Bormidi glass (which I’ve never heard of before.)  We ordered marinated olives, salted almonds; sheep’s cheese-stuffed Majool dates wrapped in pancetta; smoked pulled pork, caramelized onion with Piave cheese Bocadillo, and chicken and salt cured ham croquette with spicy sofritto.  When the boys came to join us Larry ordered a ‘07 Albarino, Paco & Lola, Rias Baixas, Espana and Werner ordered an ’07 Pinot Grigio, Benvolio, Furili, Italia. 

To add to what Liz and I had eaten the boys ordered heirloom tomato salad with spicy oregano and baked feta; grilled calamari with yellow fin potatoes, chorizo, piquillo peppers and arugula, and a black cod with heirloom tomato gazpacho and couscous.  Everything was delicious and served on different styled plates.  We were all full after having these dishes.

The service was fantastic and it was crowded for a Thursday night.  They have a live band in there Thursday-Saturday from 9-11, but by 9:30 when we left they still weren’t there.  I would highly recommend Vinoteca for lunch, an aperitif to dinner or for dinner.

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