Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Belly up to the Wine List: 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar

Posted By on Wed, Mar 3, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Owner Jeff Stettner has seen to the thoughtful expansion and continued excellence of 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar (1913 Park Avenue; 314-231-9463), a Lafayette Square classic. The space is sleek yet inviting, and the addition of a second room complete with comfortable seats (and two additional restrooms) has made 33 even more welcoming.

Jeff Stettner, owner of 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar in Lafayette Square - TOM CARLSON
  • Tom Carlson
  • Jeff Stettner, owner of 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar in Lafayette Square

The vibe is laidback and the lights are low enough to inspire romance or the hatching of conspiracies while still allowing you to properly admire what's in your glass. It can get loud when it's packed, but in warmer weather the small, secluded patio makes for an excellent refuge.

33's wine list is, frankly, staggering, both in size and in quality. The roster clocks in at just north of 700 selections, including more than 25 half-bottles. While that may seem daunting, Stettner and his long-tenured staff of Dylan Mosley and Mike Bianco quickly put patrons at ease. These guys know their list; they'll be happy to recommend wines that fit your tastes, or, if you'll let them, give you something you've never tried, once you've told them what you like.

Next up: Gut Check's Wine List CherryPick: Three wines to try from 33's list, painstakingly researched and selected for our discerning readers...

Gut Check's CherryPicks:

2008 Nigl Grüner Veltliner Freiheit A lively, tasty grüner that'll pair perfectly during the coming asparagus season. (No, really. It takes a special wine to be able to pair with asparagus.) ($21 to take home or $30 with corkage)

Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Champagne (nonvintage) This Champagne is made by the same person who grows the grapes it's made with. That's not the case with most well-known French bubblies, which are made with grapes gathered from hither and yon and blended to be consistent year after year after year. Two great things about grower-made Champagnes: They nearly always cost less then their more-famous brethren; and they are almost always more distinctive and complex. This one's imported by the estimable Terry Theise -- another name to look for. ($62 to take home or $71 with corkage)

2006 Littorai Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Nearly impossible to find. An elegant pinot noir from one of California's top artisanal producers. Owner Ted Lemon was the first American hired as winemaker by a Burgundy house, and has spent the past fifteen years pursing his own vision of pinot noir in the cool vineyards of the true Sonoma Coast and Anderson Valley. ($42 to take home or $51 with corkage)

Next: More about 33...

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