High-End Wine Pours Deliver Fantastic Value at Pappas Bros. Tastings In Downtown Houston

Imagine a dreamy shortlist of Nebbiolo wines from Piedmont that includes legendary houses like Giuseppe Mascarello, Produttori del Barbaresco and Roberto Voerzio.

Then add to that a smattering of rare and esoteric white wines from some of Italy's most sought-after domains.

And just to sweeten the deal for the oil and gas crowd, throw some of the world's most collected Super Tuscans into the mix, including a handful of wines that would set you back, say, $450 or more if you happened to pop into Pappas Bros. Steakhouse downtown and order a bottle from the list.

That's what the staff was pouring on Thursday night in one of the private dining rooms at the chain's McKinney location at an Italian-themed wine tasting.

"The best thing about these tastings," said sommelier Bill Elsey, a Master Sommelier candidate who was just one of four of the restaurant's wine professionals managing a station, "is that we get to interact directly with the guests."

At $95 per person, the personal attention is the least you should expect. And the caliber of wines like these is the minimum you should demand. But in the case of the restaurant's ongoing tasting series, the steakhouse wholly delivers both the access and the quality in an intimate and serene environment where connoisseurs can taste and share hushed notes and neophytes can mingle while they taste some of the venue's best lots.

As James Watkins, another Master Sommelier candidate, pointed out, the rarity and cost of the wines at even just one of the three-pour stations would have been worth the price of admission. Multiply that by four and the ticket price becomes a genuine bargain — especially since the pours were generous.

Even the most jaded Italian wine lover would have been impressed by the service of the evening's "unicorn wine": The other night, when a bottle of 1980 Chianti Rufina by classic producer Selvapiana went dry, the staff was quick to replace it for the eager and thirsty tasters who had missed it.

Details for the next tasting, which will feature the Loire Valley, have not been published but according to the restaurant's website, it's scheduled for Friday, June 10.

All the wines served are available on the Pappas Bros. Steakhouse regular wine list, and light bites are served as well.

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