Wine can be intimidating — at least for a beer and spirits guy like myself. It can take years of tasting (and perfecting your wine spitting etiquette) to discover and rapidly recall the traits of the many different varietals hand crafted not only in California, but all the wine producing regions across the globe. Pick the wrong bottle and you could be in for a long night.
That’s why I recommend Esters Wine Shop & Bar in Downtown Santa Monica, where they have a wide selection and experts on hand to help you discover which wines go best with certain foods and picky palettes.
The folks at Esters do a tremendous job of curating fun events that make it not only affordable to expand your knowledge, but also meet like-minded lovers of the nectar of the Gods.
Just last night I attended their #EstersGuestSomm Series featuring Jared Hooper, wine director at Faith & Flower, one of L.A.’s most stylish restaurants. For just $20 you get a flight of three special selections that you can find at Esters, with the guest somm pouring each while sharing stories on why they fell in love with them. You get a tasting note sheet that you can take home, study and then use to impress friends at your next dinner party. The series is held once a month, but the fun doesn’t stop there. On Sundays Esters hosts another tasting focusing on a different region or production method. March 19th you can learn all about “biodynamic” method and taste some beautiful wines from Spain. For $25 you get the wine, plus cheese and then if you decide to pick up a bottle or two, they give you 10% off your retail purchase of the wines in the lineup.
The tastings are casual, allowing you to stop by anytime during the three-hour window. They even have Monday game night!
Check out their calender for other great events and wine pairing dinners. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that not only do they have an awesome selection of wines and brews, but their kitchen pushes out some delightful dishes. Check out this bad ass charcuterie plate:
Esters is the newest member of the Rustic Canyon Family of restaurants – a partnership between Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan and Rustic Canyon restaurant’s wine director, Kathryn Coker, and her husband, Tug. The space is cozy, yet very stylish, situated in the groundfloor of a remodeled Art Deco gem on Seventh Street, right next door to Cassia restaurant. Grab-n-Go options include house-made sandwiches, loaves of fresh baked bread from Milo & Olive, and a handful of specialty products from friends and suppliers whose work inspires them.
If You Go
Esters Wine Shop & Bar
1314 Seventh St.
Downtown Santa Monica, CA
All photos courtesy of Esters.