Wine Tasting at Lounge ON20 – Romas Style
By Jamie Romas
Saying that Californians are into wine is like saying Willie Wonka was a guy who liked candy. We live in a state of oenophiles, from the experts who grow their own grapes to the appreciators whose wine fridges are set exactly to 58 degrees. And then there’s me.
Don’t get me wrong – I love wine. There’s nothing like a glass (or two… hell, let’s make it a bottle) after a long day at work. But as a born-and-bred Midwesterner, I feel like I’m at a slight disadvantage when it comes to oenology. I have had more than my fair share of wine from a box. And my idea of bubbly is less Moet and more Miller Highlife. After all, it is the “champagne of beers.”
So in an effort to up my sophistication quotient and further my wine education, I headed to Lounge ON20 with my drinking accomplice, Julia, for a Wednesday night wine tasting. For $10, we sampled four different wines while the resident wine expert – manager Garrett – explained the qualities that make each one unique.
The tastings are themed – on this particular Wednesday, all the wines featured were Italian – and the pours are generous. I’d say each “taste” was at least a half glass of wine, and we definitely had more than four. This probably explains why Julia ended up wearing her Chianti (see photo).
Now, Julia claims not to know much about wine, but after listening to her and Garrett discuss the Argiolas Costera Cannonau, I knew I was out of my league. Tannins? Legs? BACON? I tasted some hints of cherry and licorice, but seriously people – if they made wine that tasted like bacon, I’d be checking myself into the Betty Ford Clinic right now.
It wasn’t until Garrett used the word “sultry” to describe a Palazzo della Torre Veronese that I unlocked my own personal key to wine appreciation. To me, sultry + Italian = Sophia Loren (Monica Belluci is also an acceptable answer.) So we decided to liken each wine to a film star. Since I’m more Hollywood than Healdsburg, I took to this game immediately.
The sweet, violet and cherry-laced Chianti evoked a young Audrey Hepburn. The timeless, perfumed Pinot noir was pure Grace Kelly. We had a harder time pinning down the Montepulciano – it was less sophisticated than the other wines, but a lot of fun. Think Cameron Diaz (although she could just as well be a shot of tequila).
My introduction to wine education was so much fun that I made it a point to find all of the best wine events and happenings around town. Here are just a few:
- L Wine Lounge (1801 L Street) in Midtown has “Wine on Wednesdays” – each Wednesday from 6-8 p.m., they offer a themed tasting of four wines for $10 (cheese and charcuterie are often included.) They also hold special Food & Wine pairing classes, in which the chef and Wine Director explain the dynamic between certain wines and foods.
- Just around the corner from L Wine Lounge, 58 Degrees and Holding Co. (1217 18th Street) offers all of its wines by the glass in a 3-ounce “taste” size. And if you really like what you’ve tried, you can just head over to their wine shop, which is conveniently located under the same roof.
- Slightly off the grid – but worth the trip – is Enotria (1431 Del Paso Blvd). With one of Sacramento’s most extensive wine lists, they always have wine flights on the menu. And on Fridays from 5 p.m. to close, they offer a specially selected flight of three wines for $12.
And if wine just isn’t your speed, not to fear – Lounge ON20 is venturing outside of the box – or should I say, bottle – and holding a Scotch Tasting TONIGHT. They’re featuring over thirty scotches, and there’s even a cigar-and-scotch tasting option for the truly adventurous. Looks like my drinking accomplice and I have another assignment ahead of us!
EDITOR’s NOTE: Know of any wine tasting events on the grid? We want to hear about them (and your funny experiences maneuvering the sometimes downright intimidating world of wine tasting). Send us your info/story to girlsonthegrid AT gmail DOT com.