Tag Archive: Sommelier’s Wine Bar

My biggest weakness in recognizing wines is the whites. My descriptors for these aren’t nearly as broad because I haven’t had as much experience with them, and certainly not with well made white wines. Part of the problem that I run into, is that restaurants, and even wine bars serve white wines at ice-water temperatures, which flattens out ANY personality that a white wine could have. Do yourselves a favor, folks, and don’t leave white wine in the fridge before serving it. Instead, try leaving it in the garage, or a cool basement. This gives it a nice chill, without making it so cold that you could be drinking anti-freeze and not notice.

Lange Pinot Gris
This wine’s nose is ripe with gold pears, green apples, and evened out with hibiscus flowers. I expected a tart wine, but was pleased to find a pleasantly frizzante palate cleansing of pears, golden with hints of Asian pears around the edges.

King’s Ridge Pinot Gris
This wine might have gone bad. The aroma was almost rancid, rottenly overripe with green grass. Certainly the wine was from colder weather, and had flavors like tart green apples, and grapefruit. As it opened, the faults of potential oxidation abated, to show a mineral, grassy wine, that more resembled a sauvignon blanc. (As a side note, I have met only a handful of sauvignon blancs that I could stand).

Elk Cove Pinot Gris
This wine also had some flaws up front, that faded as I let it sit. It opened with acetone, perhaps gassed and saved after previously opening? The Elk Cove pinot gris smelled of overripe cantaloupe, celery, parsley, sea foam and was finished with refreshing lime. As it turns out, the Elk Cove Pinot Gris was my favorite of the night, with stunning cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and canned pear juice. The balance was exquisite, between fruit and acid.


King’s Ridge Riesling:
This wine is pale, daylight bright and clean. The aromas are rich with iced honey, with hints of florals. At first sip, it is honeydew, with slightly sharper edges, like the tart finish on honeydew melon after it’s sat on your tongue for a little time. Eventually, it opens up to apple blossoms, and fresh green apples.

L’Ecole Chenin Blanc
Typically, this grape is from South Africa, but in this case, Washington State. In the glass, it’s brilliant and bright, pale sunlight. Across the nose, it is super ripe cantaloupe and linden blossoms woven together with Raineer Cherries, tempered with pineapple acid. This wine opens to buttery vanilla and becomes delightfully crisp and refreshing.

Champalou Vouvray
This French white wine whispers in your ears with honeydew melon, white stone fruits, fossilized white shells. It’s more reticent than the other two, being more mineral than fruit. It’s more welcoming than the other two, enticing, and stands well on it’s own, immediately. The other two need a few more minutes to open than this one, and would be better with food. The Champalou Vouvray is lovely with and without food, opening to rich caramel, and papaya.

Sommelier’s Wine bar offers a very neat thing, a Flight of Wines. This is a decently portioned taste of three different wines for the price of one full glass. (They equal about that if not a little more). I chose the option of 3 reds all first pours. The three were, Flegeheimer Brother’s Reserve Red 2010, Domaine Manoir Du Carra 2012, and Ancient Vines Carignane Cline 2011.

Flegenheimer Brother’s Reserve Red 2010 from McLaren Vale Australia, stole the show, so it gets to start. I was so thoroughly impressed by this wine that my companion of the evening, the fellow who set up this site, treated me to a glass! Big thanks!

This wine bounds out of the glass to greet you with big Italian plums, figs both dried and candied, and loads of black cherries! It’s heavy, but not obese, with a comfortable structure built upon an understated tone of toasty oak that presents itself as an after-thought, laced with roses. This wine is a delicious complement to smoked cheeses and well oiled bread, and in the end, chocolate. I adore how versatile this dark fruit beauty can be. I haven’t had a wine from McLaren Vale that I haven’t enjoyed, yet.

Sommelier’s Wine Bar

Sommelier’s Wine Bar is a touch of Manhattan in Helena Montana. It’s tucked away on the side of Bert and Ernie’s Restaurant. While the restaurant isn’t bad, it’s the wine bar that really shines. Pleasantly and creatively lit, it presents a welcoming atmosphere with comfortable group seating, and more intimate lounge seats in “booths” for two with a small table just big enough for wine in-between. The menu is mostly state-side wines, with a few imports. The care with which these wines are offered is decent, though it does depend on who is helping you. I would recommend that you talk to Kyle- he seems to really care about the wine in the way that one would hope and expect from a bar called Sommeliers. The wines are presented in Reidel glasses, engineered in Germany to perfectly enhance and display each varietal to it’s fullest potential. Customers can even purchase Reidel’s high end glasses at the bar, and leave them in a magnificent glass case for when they visit the bar again.

Granted, I haven’t been to too many wine bars, since it’s almost always cheaper to buy a bottle to yourself than go out- but each experience depends on the ambiance, your own mood, and of course, who waits on you. I’ve only ever had one bad experience with a server, to which I would remind those of you who care: * if it tastes flawed, or turned, ask your server when the bottle was opened. The server should know enough about wine to be able to tell you whether or not the bottle has gone bad, the wine has turned, or it was opened too long ago.

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