I encourage venturing beyond your normal wines because, as the old adage proclaims, “you don’t know until you try.” But this isn’t so easy when a “new” pour can be costly and confusing if you’re unfamiliar with its characteristics. Old Vine Café at The Camp to the rescue! The Costa Mesa restaurant has a 6-for-$60 offer that affords wine lovers the opportunity to try new wines with confidence.
Chef Mark McDonald, a wine connoisseur himself, and Old Vine Café’s Wine Director, Kate Perry, hand-select half a dozen interesting wines and offer them at the restaurant for an affordable price. Better yet, they create suggested food pairings for each wine, with tasting notes, meaning you can comfortably retain your hostess-with-the-most-est status with a wine that’s unfamiliar to you.
“Created in 2008, 6-for-$60 offers our clientele a reliable experience of eclectic, quality wines,” says McDonald. “To this day, the program is strong as repeat customers look forward to the varieties changing every few months. Many people buy the six-packs while dining with us, and some stop by just to buy them as a gifts.”
The current 6-for-$60, below, is available through October and includes a bottle from the MAN Family Wines of South Africa. I’m a loyal fan of MAN chenin blanc, and excited to try the shiraz. And the De Gregorio Sicilian white wine sounds perfect for our dog days weather, and I’m a fan of all things Rioja.
2013 Atance, Bobal – Valencia, Spain
This 100 percent Bobal offers ripe fruit and moderate tannins, with bright acidity.
Suggested Pairing: BBQ Pork Ribs
2012 Carlos Serres, Crianza – Rioja, Spain
This 85 percent tempranillo, 15 percent garnacha is aged for 14 months in oak barrels and offers spiced red fruit notes with well-balanced acidity and tannins.
Suggested Pairing: paella with dark-meat poultry and pork
2013 De Gregorio, Ruanello Bianco – Sicily, Italy
This white blend of Inzolia and Cataratto, offers vibrant acidity, seashell minerality, and sweet citrus notes.
Suggested Pairing: light pasta dishes, seafood and lemon
2015 Carlos Serres, Rioja Blanco – Rioja, Spain
This 85 percent viura, 15 percent tempranillo blanco offers ripe green apple notes with flowers on the nose and is nicely balanced with vibrant acidity.
Suggested Pairing: semi-firm Manchego cheese, sliced apples
2009 Cantina del Valdarno Superiore, Chianti Classico – Italy
This aged 95 percent sangiovese, 5 percent canaiolo offers tart cherry fruit, herbal notes, and moderate tannins.
Suggested Pairing: pasta Bolognese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, rosemary-Infused extra virgin olive oil
2013 MAN Family Wines, Shiraz – South Africa
100 percent shiraz offers ripe blue and black fruit, with mild pepper notes.
Suggested Pairing: char-grilled lamb chops
Old Vine Café
2937 Bristol St. Suite A-102