Stephen Abronson opened Pourtal Wine Bar on April 29 in Santa Monica, featuring Tasting Tours by acclaimed sommelier Peter Birmingham (Norman’s, Il Grano). The “newest playground for the wine enthusiast” includes a state-of-the-art tasting room with a rotating selection of 40 wines tapped on temperature-controlled Enomatics. Purchase credit on a black debit card and slide it through the slot to select a one-ounce pour. In the near future, Pourtal’s debit card will be able to remember which wines you’ve tasted on previous visits.
Each themed Tasting Tour features as many as eight options. To start, Pourtal is offering GenuWine Worldly Whites, Pinot Envy and Three’s Company (grape trio blends from classic growing regions). I worked my way through five different Three’s Company pourtals, the equivalent of a full glass of wine. Four of my samples consisted of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre varietals, and – no surprise – Birmingham managed to showcase the blend’s full range of flavor and body.
The digital price above each tap includes tax. Birmingham said the basic rule is to multiply the price x10 if you’d like to purchase the bottle. He advised us to begin on the left of the Enomatic and work our way to the right.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ENOMATIC POURTAL
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE GLASS POURTAL
Abronson already has future themes in mind. For Bastille Day, expect a flight of French wines. On Halloween, he’d like to see a candy bar pairing with options like Mr. Goodbar and Krackle. On St. Patrick’s Day, 2009, you’ll find Vinho Verde (green wine) from Portugal. Next Earth Day, he envisions a Tasting Tour of biodynamic and organic wines.
Pourtal’s food is designed to complement wine, featuring a focused menu divided by Toothpick, Fork and Spoon. Andrew Steiner of nearby Andrew’s Cheese Shop selected all of Pourtal’s cheese and even provides fresh burrata and bocconcini. The Bar Nuts were especially addicting – walnuts, pecans and cashews flavored with rosemary, cayenne, brown sugar and butter.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try an order of Chocolate and Belgian Bleu crostini. A slightly tamer option comes slathered with roasted garlic puree and garlic chips.
Pourtal also carries four varieties of Full of Life Flatbreads, produced by Clark Staub in Los Alamos.
Sat Gaarg of Akar Studios designed the warm space that features concrete floors, terrazzo counters and an eight-seat outdoor patio.
Update: Pourtal Wine Tasting Bar is now CLOSED.