By: KENDALL ASBELL
While the Midwest is known for its breweries and finely crafted IPAs, the West Coast is known for it’s variety of wineries. And while wine tasting might seem a far cry from beer sampling, they are really quite similar. This week we will explore a place to do a little learning about wine here in the Bend.
One look at Tapastrie’s menu and you know you are not in your average South Bend restaurant. With a Pan-Mediterranean menu that includes food from regions like Spain, Greece and Turkey, Tapastrie has a lot of unique items to try, and lots of wines from around the world to try them with.
Foreign foods can sometimes seem a little daunting to try at first, what with their hard to read names that are even harder to pronounce. But luckily most of the menu items are served as smaller plates perfect for sharing, so you can keep the cost low, but still try a bit of everything.
This style of dining certainly lends itself to larger groups, where friends can be adventurous together, even if you’re are vegan or vegetarian. My personal favorite items to share: The Blistered Shishito Peper (Pimientos del Padrón, on the menu), and the Lamb Meatballs (called Albóndigas).
But the menu is not the only thing that makes Tapastrie unique. A machine made by an Italian Company called Enomatic is used to store and pour the restaurants 24 bottles of wine for tasting. For anyone interested in expanding his or her wine tasting palette, the Enomatic could be the answer. A 2 oz sample of wine ranges from $3-$7, with 4 oz and 6 oz pours being offered at a higher price.
Although these prices might sound a little hefty, they are actually a great deal. Since a bottle of wine exposed to oxygen only lasts a few days, restaurants often do not offer finer wines by the glass. But since the Enomatic machine keeps the oxygen out of the bottles they are able to last weeks or even months.
While this tasting system is fun, some people already know exactly what they want, and for them there is a full cocktail list, beer on draft, and 14 more bottles of wine behind the bar ranging in $7-$10 price. And if you really want to get a bang for your buck, go on a Monday when all the wines are only $6 a glass.
Tapastrie certainly brings a little something different to South Bend—a little more of a refined slice of life. I highly suggest going in one night with a friend and tasting their selection of pours, while comparing tasting notes of the that particular sample. If you are new to the wine tasting process, I’ve included some steps to help you out and charts to help you out.
Wine Tasting Steps:
Step 1: Don’t swirl right away. First, smell it. Describe what you smell.
Step 2: Ok. Now you can swirl it. The idea is that you want the wine to coat the edges of the glass to get a small amount of oxygen in to bring out the flavors.
Step 3: Now, smell it again, see if you notice any differences.
Step 4: So now you get to drink it. But you want to really taste it, not just swallow it. So take these sub-steps: Take a very small sip of wine in your mouth, but don’t swallow it. Lightly rest your top front teeth behind the top of your low lip. Lightly press your tongue against your bottom teeth. Now, with the wine at the front of your mouth, breathe in gently. This will produce a gurgling kind of effect that aerates the wine. If wine seems to spill out a little when you try to do this, try again with a smaller sip. Now you can swallow, and taste the different flavor notes. After swallowing, smell the wine again and see if you notice anything different. Repeat as many times as necessary.