On a warm day last week, & wanting to hit the streets with Hammond, I decided to head to The East Village Arts District in Downtown Long Beach. The gorgeous city that combines with skyscrapers with the ocean at your fingertips, was clearly recovering from the roaring madness of The Toyota Grand Prix. I admit while out with my pup: I felt like a drink. & thanks to District Wine Bar, I was able to make it happen.
We took a seat outside & despite it was my first time in, I loved feeling as if I had gone to this bar for years. Owner, Mark, greeted me & Hammy like family. Completely there to walk you through a tasting, answer questions you might have or simply just chat, he started me off with a delicious trio of whites: White Oak Chardonnay, Del Castelli Di Jesi Verdicchio & Nicolas Feuillatte Bubbly. With Chardonnay being the first wine I ever enjoyed way back when, I was very happy the White Oak, which comes from Sonoma, & its buttery texture, quite present oak notes, as well as vanilla & pear.
The Verdicchio, which I am going to admit I was not familiar with, resonated very differently with me as oppose to what it is known for; while its listed as a light white with a dash of spice, i reminded me very much of a good Riesling. Which is not usually my wine of choice unless for very specific, sweet moods. I would love for you to try it & tell me your thoughts.
I could have champagne everyday, so you know I was thrilled with the Feuillatte! I loved how creamy it tasted, it could easily pass as a top-notch fountain drink…a grown up’s malt. Keep sipping this treat & I bet you will discover its tart notes of apples & pears.
Next thing I knew, I had some absolutely mouth savoring appetizers at my table; Pea Tapenade, Roasted Nuts & an eclectic cheese plate. The tapenade & nuts were the perfect to enjoy with the white selections. Combing sweet peas, parmesian & garlic, the tapenade balanced out perfectly not being too strong with any of the ingriedients. Next time, I plan to have the Chardonnay again with this dish.
Since I said how much I love champagne, which shows I have a sweet tooth, you can imagine how perfect this nut platter was as the 5 blends are tossed in brown sugar, rosemary, salt, cayenne pepper….& drumroll….is rounded out with slivers of dark chocolate. While it would be perfect for the reds, I could not wait & enjoyed a good portion of this plate with the whites (Especially, the Verdicchio….maybe thats when the spice comes in.)
As Mark brought out the next flight, I could not wait to delve into my 3 reds. Some say reds are an acquired taste & well, I am all red, baby! The choices were: Louis Latour Pinot Noir, Por Que No? Red Blend & Terra Bella Cabernet Sauvignon. The latter was probably my most enjoyed. It turns out the only other place to buy this Napa Valley wine besides at the winery, is District Wine Bar! With silky tannins & deep berry notes & I definitely see myself stopping in to buy a bottle of this sinfully good full bodies red.
The Pinot had a “zing” to it I instantly took to, it went perfectly with the variety of nuts & the cheese plate, which were 3 very different cheeses: Grevenbroecker, Cabra Al Romero & Schaf Reblechon….the names are much more intimidating than the cheeses themselves! The Grevenbroecker, I probably took to the most; very mellow, smooth & “safe” for a gal who likes cheese from a cow. The Schaf, a more pungent kind made from sheep’s milk, is considered an adventurous cheese. I enjoyed it, especially while having my Cabernet.
As for the Cabra….lets just say, it tasted like an excellent goat cheese. I am not a fan at all of goats cheese & was very relieved that Mark agreed that most who try it do not become a lover. Hailing from Spain, it’s a very rich blend, tart-like & favors that linger.
My favorite wine to say out loud has to be the Por Que No? Red blend, imagine a juicy raspberry that suddenly becomes more zesty like a black pepper. This would be great to pair with a salad; I am thinking arugula, candied walnuts, feta & a raspberry dressing.
District Wine also features a great lunch menu daily til 4 (psst…say you read about the bar in Along Comes Mary & I think Mark would extend it a bit past 4 for you 😉 ) & a Happy Hour menu til 7p Monday-Saturday (Yep, a Saturday Happy Hour!) that has flatbread pizza, the appetizers I have mentioned & of course, wine, for $5.
I also cannot say how awesome it is that they offer substitutes for Gluten Free. As soon as Mark heard I am, he made sure anything that usually had bread/crackers, had GF crackers for me instead. While they’re always on hand, I recommend calling ahead to ensure they have them (It gets busy).
District Wine is located at 144 Linden Avenue Long Beach, CA. To make a reservation or inquire about hosting an event at the bar, give them a call at (562) 612-0411 or visit their web-site here.
(*Special thank you to District Wine for hosting me.)