Mockingbird Bistro is famous for unpretentious dishes like a big honking Kobe hamburger and crispy French fries. So it's no wonder that their wine stewardess, Marcy Jimenez, isn't all that interested in pleasing the wine snobs. Here's her take on wine and her pick for five wines that will blow your mind.
MJ: I guess I'm all about the unsung heroes of wine, the little guys and the alternatives to obvious stunners. I tend to lean away from the mainstream and look next door to the greats for some potentially elegant wines and tremendous values. Here's some of my favorite examples:
$15 or less
Chateau de Roques
This is sort of the little brother to the much more acclaimed Gigondas area of the southern Rhône. I just simply adore this wine. I'm a sucker for anything with this much Grenache, no matter where it's from. The '03 vintage is drinking beautifully right now, really rich and delicious. It may not have the prestige of its neighbors to the north, but it's an elegant example of what is commonly thought of as a rustic wine.
$30 or less
Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Mosel-saar-
Riesling in general was treated like the stepchild of the noble grapes for quite some time. Amazingly, some people still don't consider it a serious wine. I beg to differ, and this is one of my favorites. For me, this is what Riesling is all about — lime, limestone, sort of fleshy but with a super-linear acidity. The finish on this is pure magic. This should be no surprise; the Selbach family has been making Riesling on this estate since the 1600s. Maybe it's time for everyone to take another look at Riesling.
$60 or less
2000 Cavariola, Oltrepò Pavese,
When people think of the wines of northern Italy, usually all the big show-offs come to mind, your Barolos or Barbarescos. But it's straight to Lombardy for me, particularly the Oltrepò Pavese region. Bruno Verdi started bottling at his estate shortly after WWII. The winery is now run by his son, Paolo Verdi, who is producing world-class wines. This one has rich layers of blackberries, chocolate and spice. It's made from local grapes, including the Croatina, Barbera and Uva Rara varietals. This is an extremely decadent, downright naughty number. It's so good, you'll think you're doing something wrong.
$120 or less
Grand Siècle Alexandra Rosé
1997 Tour sur Marne
Champagne is one area where I just won't skimp. I could have this wine with every meal of the day. It's expensive, and it's worth every penny. When people wax poetic about champagne, this is what they are talking about. This baby's 100 percent Grand Cru fruit — and it shows. They may not have the name recognition of some of the larger houses, but this wine can stand up with any of them.
Quinta do Noval
1967 Vintage Port
Typically, this is where people name a great Burgundy or Bordeaux. No way; for me it's all about the old Port. Some friends were celebrating a birthday and opening some spectacular bottles. This was truly the most magical glass of wine I have ever had in my life.