The eagerly awaited Residual Sugar wine bar and retail space has finally opened in Walnut Creek and it's off to a good start. I went in tonight to see what the buzz is all about and left with the feeling that it has definitely has something special to offer the 925. I'm already plotting my next excuse for a visit.
Owner, Jim Telford, grew up in the East Bay and has been honing his palate and getting ready to open his own place for many years. He's got a passion for the Old Country and hopes to share his passion with those in the area that maybe have cut their teeth on more California-centric fare. I think with the right wines and the right guidance from his staff, he'll have a hit on his hands. Walnut Creek has a pretty high end bar scene once the sun goes down, and it's going to be a learning experience figuring out a good balance between good New World wines that are very forward and bringing people into the Old World fold. I couldn't help but suggest to Jim to get some good educational programs going. How are you going to know to dive into the Burgundy if you haven't been exposed to it? (First of all, you need to build trust). On the wall and in his reserve cooler, he's got some great mature wines, but he needs to break these out and turn some newbies onto the good stuff. Lots of professionals work close by, so whetting those palates will pay off in terms of loyal customers.
I scanned the WBTG (wine by the glass) list and my eyes were drawn to a Pinot Grigio from Aldo Adige, full of minerals and the sea, but decidedly New World in its winemaking program. It was a weighty wine, and reminded me of the fine Pinot Grigios from Luna in Napa, always my first stop on the Silverado Trail. Like a good Gelato shop, you can ask for a taste of something new to you and they will oblige –they really do want you to like what you're getting a generous pour of. My lovely wife tried a few things before settling on the meaty Frank Family Chardonnay 2008, decidedly big California, but a well crafted wine.
If you live in the 925 or coming to one of the many excellent restaurants, plan to come an hour early and spend some time at Residual Sugar. I hope you do because we need more places passionate about wine to enjoy a glass after work.