Local Restaurants Are Also a Great Source for a Variety of Wines
Wine shops and grocery stores aren’t the only source for good wines. Local restaurants can also provide you with enjoyable wines that are sometimes difficult to find elsewhere. A case in point is Tivoli, a newer Bellingham restaurant located at 1317 Commercial St.
Granted, you’ll pay more for wines in the restaurant that you will in the store. But part of the reason for this – and in my opinion, why it’s worth it – is that the wines are served in an atmosphere where you’re totally pampered. You don’t have to worry about preparing the meal, food and wine recommendations are often made for you, and if the service is impeccable, as it was for me during a recent visit, you won’t even have to refill your own wine glass.
One of the things I look for in a restaurant wine list is variety, with a broad range of choices in terms of price, varietal and country of origin. Tivoli offers a fine list of European selections from France, Italy and Spain as well as domestic wines from Washington, Oregon and California. While there are several wines in the $40 a bottle and up category there are also plenty of good choices in the $20 to $29 a bottle range, along with five whites and seven reds available by the glass.
During my visit I started with an appetizer of Prosecco steamed mussels in cream sauce, accompanied by a glass of Augey White 2006 Sauvignon Blanc ($7). This lovely white Bordeaux has understated melon and citrus flavors with bracing acidity in a classic, Old World style.
With an entrée of braised beef, a 2003 Merlot from Three Rivers Winery ($27 a bottle) paired beautifully. It’s a big, dense Washington merlot with firm tannins and dark fruit flavors that open up nicely as the wine is given time to breathe.
For dessert, I enjoyed a glass of the Rotta Winery 2003 Black Monukka ($8) from California. This unique wine resembles a tawny port, with delicious nutty, caramel flavors that melt into a lengthy finish.
Tivoli is currently open for lunch from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm Wednesday through Friday and dinner is served Tuesday through Thursday from 5:00 to 9:00 pm and Friday and Saturday from 5:00 to 10:00 pm. Phone 594-4313 for reservations.