You might have never thought to describe what's inside a keg as displaying "well-balanced tannins," "stewed raspberries" or a "grassy nose." Think again; kegs are not just for beer swillers anymore, you can now find vino on tap. Eateries across the nation have begun pouring wine from 5 or 15.5 gallon stainless steel kegs, and it's catching on. Not only is it eco-friendly by the diminished use of bottles, but some establishments see it as a cost-effective way to keep wine fresh longer, create their own house label, or sell small-batch boutique wine otherwise not available.
Noteworthy examples are Father's Office in L.A., Oxbow Wine Merchant in Napa and our homegrown Ruggles Green at CityCentre. You might need to navigate your way through the khakis and baby strollers to get there, but it's worth checking out. Every evening on the patio, they serve six wines on tap, all produced at Vintners Own, a custom crush winery located in the Heights (3482 W. 12th Street).
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Surprisingly, given the expanding Texas viticultural system, the grapes are sourced from out of state, but are pressed, fermented and barrel-aged (the reds) at the winery. They are then transferred to argon gas kegs and ready to go. For you red wine fanatics, you can find a Petite Sirah, Cab-Merlot blend and a Sangiovese. Since they're oak-aged and then transferred to the keg, you might not detect a difference in taste from a bottle pour. But if that's a concern, stick with a zesty white like their Sauvignon Blanc or Blanc du Bois. And if you must insist because you can't live without it, take the Chardonnay. The prices are reasonable and the pours are generous. View them as rewards of facing the grueling I-10 afternoon traffic.