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Wine Tasting: LA Wine in Chinatown

Updated: Feb 24, 2019

This week, a few of the newly formed LA Wine Gang members met up at LA Wine in Chinatown for a Galentine's Day tasting! The incredible Elle (@TheModernPour) organized this event and the owner of the bar, David, put together an awesome tasting for us that showcased some of the incredible variety that he has at the bar.

First of all, Wine LA (@LAWineForever) is located in Chinatown in DTLA and has only been open about 2 months. The inside is small and intimate with a giant wrap around bar that's perfect for tasting flights and getting to know your bartender. Their wine menu is phenomenal, and they have a reserve list with some INCREDIBLE wine finds like a 2006 Hall Cabernet (!). They even have their own label, as David was a full-time wine maker at one point before opening up this bar. To start off the night, I drank a hangover preventative called DrinkAde, which was a WISE move on my part. This preventative drink tastes like freaking CANDY and helps your body hold onto water and vitamins so you don't feel like crap the morning after heavy drinking.

First up in our lineup was the Bonny Doon 2017 Picpoul (Arroyo Secco) Beeswax Vineyard. This wine was incredibly light and refreshing- perhaps one of the lightest whites I've ever tried. The wine had notes of melon, lime and apricot. The wine was floral but had a low sweetness. I would 100% want to drink this wine on a hot day by the pool, floating in a lazy river somewhere tropical.

Next up was the 2017 Curran Grenache Blanc from Santa Barbara County. I think the first thing to come to my head when I tasted this wine was sunny springtime. The note I tasted the most was honeysuckle, as well as notes of peach, pear and stone. The wine was also very dry but fruitier than the first. I'd say it was a little sweeter than the first one as well. I'd love to try this again and pair it with a sharp cheddar and honey, or a brie with fig jam.

Next, was the 2016 Navarro Vineyards Gewürztraminer from Anderson Valley. All I can say at first about this is WOW. You know, I appreciate whites, but I'd typically pick a red over a white any day. This was one of the most complex wines I've ever tried and I am itching to get myself a bottle and try it again. On the nose, this wine is overwhelmingly fruity and floral, but on first taste the wine was surprisingly bone dry. This wine could be dangerous- I am fairly confident I could polish of an entire bottle of this by myself in one afternoon. The color of the wine is a little more yellow, and the scents are complex, ranging from grapefruit, lemongrass, orange blossom, peach and tropical lychee. This wine continues to open up and be an explosion of flavor, I cant wait to try it again.

We then turned it over to the dark side, and tried LA Wine's own label 2014 Syrah. This was a beautiful Sonoma red from Green Valley of Russian River Valley. I don't have a ton of experience with wines from this area yet, but I really enjoyed the relatively lighter body of the wine. On the nose it had hints of earthy flowers and currant, and on the palette I tasted blueberry and blackberry. The finish was unexpectedly toasty, a pleasant surprise. I'm looking forward to coming back here to get another glass of this. This Syrah compliments the bar's selection of all California wines very nicely.

Last but not least, we tried the Lucas & Lewellen 2015 Estate Vineyards Valley View Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Santa Ynez Valley. This wine had nice aromas of dark berries, plums and spice. This wine stood out to me because on the nose, it smelled like smoked salt - not like charred barrel but almost like smoked gouda. I could taste flavors of tobacco and leather, as well as perhaps sea salt. It reminded me of the ocean in a way that I haven't experienced with other reds, which I thought made this pretty unique. If you try this wine sometime, I'd be really curious to hear your opinions on it.

Overall, we had an awesome tasting experience at LA Wine. If you're ever in the area, I recommend stopping by this bar and asking David for a taste of California. He knows his CA wines and has managed to curate the perfect love letter to California wines.

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