By Jessica Yadegaran
Wednesday, September 26th, 2007 at 12:02 pm in Uncategorized.
I went to the grand opening of Wine Styles last night at 1532 Locust Street in Walnut Creek. The easy-to-navigate wine store has been open a month, but the bash was the first opportunity I’ve had to pop in.
It’s a great concept. The woman who started the company has a European background, and never understood why her friends on this side of the Atlantic lacked confidence when selecting wine.
So she organizes the 150-bottle inventories of the 180 franchises not by region or country or even varietal, but by flavor profile and food pairing. Wines in alcoves under the “Crisp” banner are “refreshing, clean and bright with flavors of citrus, apple and pear” and are tasty with “shellfish, spicy dishes and cheeses.”
“Mellow” promises a selection of “round, velvety and smooth” wines with flavors of cherry, berries and earth” and goes with “pasta, veal, pork or beef.” You get the idea. The other headers are Silky, Rich, Bubbly, Fruity, Bold, Nectar and my favorite, If You Insist…
The selection was promising. I walked out with a Dragon Seal Brut ($12.99), a sparkling wine from China that I’ve been curious to try. I’m impressed they carried it. I also spotted serious Trefethens and Silver Oaks and just about everything in between. The majority of bottles are under $25.
New World had a strong presence, but I spotted one bargain Bordeaux and some Italian blends as well.
Despite being a chain, I got a good local vibe from owner Dyan Cushing, who’s lived in Pleasant Hill for more than 20 years. In addition to in-store tastings and private parties, she plans to host excursions for wine club members. Thirty five bucks gets you two bottles a month worth $40, by the way.
The coolest thing about the store is this barrel that doubles as an instant bottle chiller and is worth upwards of $1,700. If you’re on your way home, simply dunk your bottle into the barrel to achieve the desired temperature drop within minutes. Just as good as salt.