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Bottle Rockin’

Tue Dec 26, 2006

It’s been more than ten years since I last lived near Los Angeles. When I left, most everything between Santa Monica and Hollywood was considered no man’s land to the young and tragically hip. So I’ve been surprised to now find places like Culver City, once mocked, are now peppered with trendy little boîtes, restaurants and boutiques frequented by twenty and thirty somethings. On a recent sunny Saturday, trolling for new spots, I wandered into Bottle Rock, a shiny new wine bar/shop that opened late this summer on Main Street in Culver City. Rays bounced off the gleaming chrome furniture, casting glares so that I needed to wear my sunnies inside. (How better to start you on a rock star vibe?) With irreverent signs delineating varietals and styles like “Effin Merlot” and “No Champagne No Gain,” my inner punk was intrigued. Now if only they could engage my inner wine geek…

At nearly 80 degrees in the shade that day — summer-style wines were understandingly enticing. Virginia, an old college friend just getting into wine, ordered a glass of the 2005 Chateau Revelette Rosé at my urging. Revelette is a biodynamic wine from Peter Fisher in Aix en Provence ($8) made from 50 percent Syrah and equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. This wine was crisp and fresh, boasting a bouquet full of Provençal lavender and thyme with an undercurrent of tart black currants. The wine went fabulously with the roasted vegetable panini with buffalo mozzarella.

I ordered a glass of the 2004 Mauritson Sauvignon Blanc ($8). I had tried the 2005 back in June when I visited the Mauritson’s Dry Creek winery and loved it so was excited to try another vintage. The Mauritson family has been growing grapes in the Dry Creek Valley since the 1870s, but didn’t start making wine until the mid-1990s, releasing their first vintage in 1998. This Sauvignon Blanc, like the 2005, was stainless steel fermented, contributing to its bracing acidity. I loved the ruby red grapefruit aromas on the nose and the hint of minerality on the finish. If you’re looking for a wine that compliments that overjoyed feeling you get on a lovely, warm December day, this is it. My inner wine geek was impressed to find such a small production, lesser-known wine in the shop and by the glass no less. (Bottle Rock also has the Rockpile Madrone Petite Sirah from the Mauritson’s second label, Rockpile, on the shelves.)

Not wanting to get smashed mid-day, we decided to take advantage of Bottle Rock’s policy of pouring anything in the shop by the glass, selecting the 2003 Bandol from Domaine Tempier’s “La Tourtine” vineyard as our third wine. If you go this route, make sure the service staff or owner explains the pricing clearly so you’re not surprised when you get your bill. The wine gets marked up from the posted retail signs, not unlike corkage, if it’s poured in-house. Cost confusion aside, the Bandol was worth every penny, (we ended up buying the whole bottle). It had the fabulous Mourvedre-y anímal qualities coupled with high-tone cherry, raspberry and mulchy forest floor aromas. The finish was long and luxurious and utterly memorable.

If you’re looking for something fun or funky, Bottle Rock has a great selection, irreverence not taking precedence over knowledge and passion. And while Virginia and I were the only customers in the shop for more than an hour that day (not complaining) I’ve heard the place rocks out at night. So whether you’re itching for scene or just a really great bottle of wine to take home to your friends — the main line is Main Street.

Bottle Rock
3847 Main Street
Culver City, CA

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3 Responses to “Bottle Rockin’”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I had an awful experience at Bottlerock. The staff were rude, incompetent, and extremely slow. It took 20 minutes for us to get our wine, which we picked directly off of the pre-set wine list. We asked for a cheese plate and were told we could not have it. Later, we were charged $43 for a bottle of wine we were told was $18.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    bottle rock (cont). When we pointed out these problems to the manager, he was extremely rude made excuses for the poor treatment we had received. When we were leaving, another group of people told us they were considering not paying since this was the worst service they had ever experienced. Overall, a huge disappointment.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    it is now July 07, and i think bottlerock management may have ironed out the service wrinkles. i’ve been there twice in the past few weeks and had decent service both times. give them another chance.

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