Bodega Nights

wine-tastingApparently I was the only one on earth who hadn't been to Bodega Wine Bar in Santa Monica. OK, maybe not the only one ON EARTH. The only one in the Western Hemisphere, anyway.

Feeling the need to remedy this immediately, Jess suggested we meet there last week. Yay for Jess.

For those in the Eastern Hemisphere who have not gotten a chance to visit Bodega, it’s a darkly lit, fairly small restaurant/wine bar, with a slightly know-it-all atmosphere but still cultivates kind of a laid-back vibe. Like that guy from college who was smarter than everyone else you knew, but still managed to be totally cool about it. That was my impression of Bodega. Or at least the impression I felt they were trying to impart.



When I got there, Jess had already ordered two Argentinean malbecs for comparison: A Felipe Rutini an and a Finca el Portillo. The Felipe Rutini is listed as a “premium” wine at $12 a glass. The Finca el Portillo is not. Although I did a blind taste test of both malbecs, I could instantly tell which was the better wine. I thought the Felipe Rutini, while it had that “young,” strong alcohol taste, was more full-bodied and richer than the Finca el Portillo – which I found to be utterly undrinkable. It had the unfortunate combination of being both boring and aggressively tannic. Jess wasn’t as offended by it as I was, but she described both wines as “bland.”

I loved Jess’ idea of having a “taste off,” so I also ordered two glasses. I chose blends, because there were two on the menu that seemed interesting: Santa Barbara Winery’s ZCS (zinfandel, carignane, sangiovese), and Turnbull’s Old Bull a (merlot, tempranillo, sangiovese). Unlike Jess’ malbecs, I found that the “premium” wine – in this case, the Turnbull – was far less drinkable than the $8 ZCS. The Turnbull was highly tannic, although it became more palatable the longer it breathed. The ZCS was fuller, more interesting and less tannic – but still not great.

In general, I’m not a big fan of merlot. I wonder if the merlot in the Old Bull might have been partly why it wasn’t to my taste. I think I’m going to sample some merlot blends to test the theory. And also because I like finding excuses to drink more wine.

Posted on by Arianna Armstrong in Wine Tasting Notes

Comments are closed.