A new wine bar called the Tasting Room has opened at 631 N. Trade St. in the Downtown Arts District.
The bar is owned by Matthew Medaloni and Alison Breen, who also own a Tasting Room at 901 S. Chapman St. in Greensboro. The original Tasting Room has been open eight years.
Matthew Medaloni is the brother of Joey Medaloni, the winemaker and owner of Medaloni Cellars in Lewisville, and who has acted as consultant in the design of the Tasting Room.
The Tasting Room carries a couple of Medaloni and other N.C. wines, but that is not its focus.
Instead, the Tasting Room carries a diverse and eclectic selection that is light on the popular varieties and regions found on most wine lists but heavier on lesser-known producers and wine styles.
“These are boutique wines,” Joey Medaloni said. “We want to have wines that excite your palate but you can’t find in the grocery store.”
The Tasting Room has about 60 wines by the glass and about 150 bottles on the shelves. Bottles bought at the shop can be opened with no corkage fee.
The bar also offers a handful of beers, mostly from North Carolina.
Tastings are held from 6 to 8 p.m. every Thursday. Tastings typically include four wines, often two reds and two whites, for $6. On Wednesdays, the Winesday Pick Three deal allows customers to choose any three wines off the glass list for a $7 tasting. Other tastings or specials are usually offered on Saturdays.
The Tasting Room has a Barrel Club that offers free wine tastings with a guest at both locations, two bottles of wine a month, a 10% discount on bottle purchases and a 15% discount on case purchases. Membership is $29 a month.
The wine list — organized by type and grape variety — is fairly evenly spread throughout the wine regions of the world.
“We’re getting out of the box,” Breen said. “We have a section for ‘geeky’ wines — things some people may not have had before.”
The Geeky Grapes section has 12 wines made from grape varieties not common to many wine lists. These include Furmint from Hungary, Bobal from Spain, Mondeuse from France and Malagouzia from Greece.
Other sections of the glass list include Bubbles, Whites, Reds, Rose All Day, Trendy Whites and Adventurous Reds.
Wines in the Trendy Whites section include Picpoul from France, Gruner Veltliner from Austria, Roussanne from California and Verdicchio from Italy.
Among the Adventurous Reds are Lagrein from Italy; Gamay from Beaujolais, France; Petite Sirah from Paso Robles, Calif.
And, yes, the bar does offer at least one each of the most popular styles, such as California chardonnay and French red Burgundy.
Wines by the glass are mostly in the $8 to $14 range.
Breen also acts as the general manager for both Tasting Room locations. Customers usually will find either her or manager Christina Morris, a certified sommelier, in one of the bars to talk wines or help customers find a wine they like.
“We like to spend time with customers and get to know what they like,” Breen said. “Then we can get them to try something new.”