Regulars love Bodega for its solid wine list, thoughtfully crafted wine flights and cozy atmosphere. Regulars also know the best place to restock your cellar is at Bodega’s monthly wine fair, where their already-reasonable bottle prices are discounted even more. Held the last Saturday of every month, it's a place where drinkers can also try 15 wine samples for $25. If this is your first wine fair, here are a few tips for navigating the cornucopia of wines.
1. Make it an afternoon event.
I’ve done tastings that have lasted just over an hour, and I’ve been to one that took more than four. Depending on how many people show up and if Bodega is shorthanded, the pours can come swiftly or slowly. Bring some friends, settle in and enjoy the experience. If you’ve got plans in the early evening, sit this one out and come back next month when you have time to relax and hang out.
2. Pace yourself.
Trying 15 wines is taxing on your palate, and going too quickly will give you a buzz that distracts from how the wine tastes. Take time with each wine. Savor it and take notes to help keep wines from running together. Drink plenty of water between wines.
3. Ask for a spit bucket.
If you’re worried about palate fatigue or getting tipsy, there’s no shame in dumping or spitting your wine. If something isn’t to your taste, don’t drink it all — there will be more wine to try. A bucket isn’t always provided, but they’re available on request.
4. Bring crackers.
Bodega allows you to bring in outside food, so pick up a packet of table water crackers on your way over. They’ll be great palate cleansers between each tasting. If you forget, or if you realize you need a palate cleanser halfway through, cheese and charcuterie boards are available for purchase.
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5. Don’t jump into the reserve tasting.
For an extra $15, you can try five or six wines that are rarer, have higher ratings and cost more than those on the regular wine fair list. These can be quite special, and it’s nice to get to try before you buy. However, if your palate is completely shot after trying 15 wines, you won’t be able to fully taste these more expensive bottles. See how you’re doing after you’ve made it through the regular wine fair list before committing to the reserve tasting.
6. Come with a wine-buying budget.
The wine fair is an amazing deal — wine is already a few dollars off retail price for the fair, and if you buy six bottles or more, you get an extra 10 percent off. Some wines might be under $20; others could be over $60. If you want to buy six bottles for the extra discount, you don’t have to break the bank. Still, be careful to stay within your budget — easier said than done after drinking nearly a bottle of wine in one sitting.
This month’s wine fair is 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27 and costs $25 per person or $40 per person for the reserve tasting.
Bodega Wine Bar, 6434 E Mockingbird Lane