While many people may envision St. Louis as a beer town, the city and surrounding region is also home to many restaurants (and wineries!) contributing to the area’s cachet as a tasty space for wine lovers.
On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, the team from Sauce Magazine joined us for the next edition of Sound Bites. We discussed wine: wine lists, wine types and what you need to know about ordering a glass in St. Louis.
Sauce Magazine’s art director, Meera Nagarajan, was joined by Glenn Bardgett, the wine director at Annie Gunn’s in Chesterfield, and Andrey Ivanoff, the beverage director at Reed’s American Table in Maplewood.
Here’s what you need to know to navigate a wine list in St. Louis:
That’s according to Bardgett, whose work with the Missouri wine industry has taught him that some people are intimidated into buying certain things.
“Because Missouri wines are sweet, people think they are lesser quality wines,” Bardgett said. “I’m like, no, drink what you like.”
You don’t have to know what’s the best thing to drink on the wine list, said Ivanoff.
Bardgett, for example, does a wine class with his servers before opening the restaurant.
If the restaurant doesn’t have a sommelier, look through the list and hone in on things you recognize. Look for similar price points or grapes in the wine and make a choice from there.
Bardgett said the prevailing wisdom is that there is a perfect wine for every food, but he doesn’t buy it.
“To me, you match the person with the wine more so than the food with the wine,” Bardgett said. “If I give you the perfect wine for what you’re having, and you don’t like it, it is not the perfect wine.”
The same goes for chilling wine — if adding ice cubes satisfies you, do it.
“The only job wine has is to make you happy,” Bardgett said.
Consider this permission: You can find a quality bottle for less than $20, often along the $12-15 price point, said Bardgett.
Nagarajan recommends Lucas Park Grille downtown, for affordable and reliable bottles of wine that will be worth your dollar. Truffles, in Ladue, has an 80 page wine list. Nagarajan said that you can find some unexpected wines on Truffles’ list, particularly from the Balkans.
This Sound Bites segment is produced as a part of a partnership between Sauce Magazine and St. Louis Public Radio.
St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.