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The Casbah’s 25th Anniversary Wrap Party Dec 21, 2014 The local music venue celebrates the end of its 25th year with live performances from The Burning of Rome, Barbarian and Low Volts. The outdoor rock show will also include food trucks and alcoholic beverages 62 other events on Sunday, December 21
 
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Home / Articles / Eats / Bottle Rocket /  Being early pays off at The Wine Lover
. . . .
Friday, Jan 25, 2013

Being early pays off at The Wine Lover

Hillcrest vino bungalow is a great place to kill some time

By Anders Wright
wine Photo by David Rolland

It happens now and again. I have a movie to see and time to kill beforehand. In one recent case, I was an hour early for a press screening of Stoker, the first English-language film from Korean auteur Park Chan-wook, at Hillcrest Cinemas. It was reasonably late in the day, so I felt justified spontaneously sauntering over to The Wine Lover (3968 Fifth Ave.), the cozy lit- tle wine-bar bungalow just across the street from the theater.

I took a seat at the bar, and a minute or two later, Serge Chablé, who co-owns the business with his brother, Nick, came through the front door, fresh from helping some patrons out on the patio. Truth be told, I hadn’t come looking for conversation, but when it’s just you and the owner, you can’t help yourself.

I sipped on a glass of 2008 Rivarey Tempranillo, which ran just five bucks as part of the all-day happy hour. It’s a perfectly reasonable wine, and reasonable at that price, but I still had time, and decided midway through that I wanted something more substantial.

I’ve been focused on Syrah for years, but recently I’ve delved back into Cabernets. I told Chablé that I wanted something that would knock me down, and he suggested exactly that, a 2007 Levendi. He poured a taste, and it was inky and peppery enough that I committed to a full glass. This is a solid California cab, an achingly big wine made up in the Napa Valley, complete with a full nose and hints of berries, leather and tobacco.

Throughout all this, Chablé was pulling together a batch of sangria for the evening. He makes it from scratch (that much was clear), and when he poured me a taste, I almost wished I’d started there. I don’t drink a lot of sangria, because it tends to be sweeter than I like, but Chablé’s managed to be both dry and light, a solid concoction that I would have been comfortable drinking with a meal.

All told, it was a great way to kill an hour. I should try to be early more often. 

Write to anders@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com. You can follow Anders on Twitter at @anderswright.




 
 
 
 
 
 
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