Test 2

Five Vines Wine Bar

SELRES_21091176-a06d-4f96-b587-c5341b1953bdSELRES_03e5df0e-6667-46ab-8697-e6b2e959a150SELRES_2c3de0e7-0457-49a4-a347-56cdf2b85e3cAfter a busy day of driving around SoCal, we needed a rest (plus it was almost cocktail hour).  Luckily, Five Vines Wine Bar came up on a search for wine bars located nearby.  We had the place practically to ourselves when we arrived shortly after 4pm, but it was hopping with locals when we left a few hours later.SELRES_2c3de0e7-0457-49a4-a347-56cdf2b85e3cSELRES_03e5df0e-6667-46ab-8697-e6b2e959a150SELRES_21091176-a06d-4f96-b587-c5341b1953bd

Located in heart of San Juan Capistrano, Five Vines is named for the family of five who own the bar.  We met Suzy (aka “Vine #2”) who was a terrific hostess. She and another gal handled the front of house expertly, we never had an empty glass on our table.

Five Vines offers over 5o different options by the glass (6oz), taste (2oz) or bottle – with most bottle prices under $50.  California heavy list, but I was happy to see a few wines from my beloved home state of Washington (Seven Hills, Nine Hats and Stone Cap), along with a smattering of Italian and French wines.  A few sparklers and dessert wines round out the list.

For flights, you can choose from one of their house designed flights (with cutesy names like “Mischievous Malbecs” or “Chillaxed Chardonnays”), or you can put together your own from any of the wines on their list.  They also have a “Flying Blind” flight where they’ll pour you three red wines, and if you guess the varietals correctly you get the tasting for free and your picture posted on their Facebook page – something I’d definitely consider trying down the line sometime.

In continuing my personal “California Adventure” of acquiring a greater appreciation and knowledge of the state’s wines, I ordered a flight of three Golden State whites:

  • Barlow 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley. Nice citrus and grapefruit, lower acidity than usual for this varietal.
  • Victor Hugo 2015 Viognier, Paso Robles.  The best of the three with lush peach aromas, but also distinctly smelled of Pillsbury crescent rolls.
  • Saracina 2016 Unoaked Chardonnay, Mendocino County. This didn’t taste completely unoaked to me, definitely had some baking spice notes.

Hubs tried a Riesling from Marin County that was positively teeming with petrol aromas, followed by a Pinot Noir from Santa Rita Hills.  He liked the Pinot but I thought it came across as thin and tight – and while I would love to be similarly described, not exactly what I’m looking for in my wine. 😉

Also have to give serious props to their playlist – our good friend The White Buffalo’s song came up on the rotation!

Overall – a comfy, unpretentious wine bar with solid, but not over-the-top, service.  I’d definitely go back for the personalized flights so I can practice my blind tasting and to have another crack at the Mormor cheese ball – a secret family recipe



Of all the things I thought I’d find during my first visit to New Orleans a couple weeks ago, one of the most awesome and unique wine bars certainly wasn’t one of them. Bacchanal in the Ninth Ward  was truly a memorable experience. Combination retail store, restaurant, outdoor courtyard/jazz bar – with one of the most exciting, wine nerdy selections of wines I’ve ever seen.

Me in Bacchanal
Kid in a candy store!

Bacchanal’s retail store was full of bottles from all over the globe – but the focus was definitely Old World. I didn’t notice anything overly expensive, most of these gems were under $30.   And their glass pours – Pinotage! Who glass pours Pinotage??! And Jacquére! Even this corkdork couldn’t remember WTF that grape was all about (FTR – it’s found mostly in Savoie and produces fairly neutral, dry white wines).

Hubs wanted a Rosé (and who am I to argue with a man who loves to drink pink?!), so I grabbed this bottle from Bacchanal’s well stocked cooler:Loimer Rose

I recognized Loimer as a producer I’d tried before.  The wine was 90% Zweigelt, 10% Pinot Noir. “I love Zweigelt!” I exclaimed to the guy ringing up our purchase, who immediately gave me a disbelieving look. “I’ve never had anyone tell me that before” he said.  Probably true, although I’m sipping on some Zweigelt right now as I write this and am totally digging it.

The Rosé was a perfect start to the evening. Light and fruity, but with some savory notes. Paired deliciously with the giganto cheese board we put together. We also went through a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau and a sparkling Txakolina that eve. And sampled our neighbor table’s Argentinian Pinot Noir.

So many unique regions and varietals under one roof, and a very unpretentious and adventurous environment.  Why don’t we have something like this where I live??!

The reason I decided to focus on Niederösterreich is because of that delicious bottle of Rosé.  At the time, I could not for the life of me remember much about this region from my WSET studies, but the bottle was memorable. As was the entire eve. 🙂  If you’re ever in New Orleans, check out Bacchanal Wine.

Here’s the outline on Niederösterreich: (and I’ll probably drill down into the specific DACs and other regions at some point in the future).