I like trying new places and even though it has been around a little over a year I decided to hit Mellow, A Wine Bar in nearby Liberty Station. I was there for almost two hours and it was time well spent. There was plenty of parking for this "mellow" place. I got there for happy hour (which runs from 3pm - 7pm, a nice change from the typical and hard to get to 4pm - 6pm that most places have). The place was simple and sleek in layout and the staff fun and chatty which is always a plus for me whenever I go somewhere new.
Mellow lists about 100 wines in their menu with nearly half available by glass and most are reasonably priced. One thing I did enjoy was that they didn't separate reds from whites. The wine list was divided "Old World" and "New World" with "Old World" separated by country and "New World" by varietal. This appealed to the "wine geek" in me because it meant you had to know more about the wine you were ordering (for example, that the French Vouvray and Spanish Albariño are whites). The overall offering of wines is pretty good, the one shortcoming seemed to be in the realm of Italian wines. They offered several flights (3 wines each in the range of $11 - $16 per flight) but I decided to go for the glass. I selected the following from their happy hour list:
2006 Qupé Syrah, Central Coast. It's kinda hard to go wrong with an offering from Qupé and I was not disappointed. The nose is classic Syrah... berries, spice and licorice. Fruit forward and well balanced acid and tannins make this a lip smacker.
2006 Ventana Due Amici. "Due Amici", Italian for "Two Friends" is a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon and it was quite tasty. This is a medium bodied wine with nice rounded tannins, good blend of cherry and blackberry notes with a hint of vanilla from the oak. I would definitely look for this one if you are thinking of having a grill night with friends.
At this point the server poured a round of something they didn't sell but was a promotional from someone (since he had only one bottle I am assuming as much), 2005 Opolo Sangiovese from Paso Robles. A nice basic full-bodied wine with traditional black cherry and hints of raspberry, mild tannins, good acid. I would think this to be a very food-friendly little wine.
For the final wine (four in an evening is enough when you're drinking and not tasting) I just told the guy to pick something. He brought me Bell Cellars 2005 Big Guy, which from the label looked like they threw in everything but the kitchen sink. Big Guy is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Syrah (the first five being Bordeaux and the final a Rhone varietal). I have to say, based on what I had been drinking and our chats (he talked a lot which I enjoyed) he made a good selection. Medium bodied, good complexity of fruits, soft and supple tannins made me want something BBQ'ed right then and there but alas between diet and location nothing around served what I wanted.
So, all-in-all it was a fun trip out to a new place that I am sure to visit again.