Monday, June 28, 2010

3rd Corner Wines: Winners, Wowsas

We dropped in on 3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro's opening this past Friday for a quick wine tour. OMG.

First off, what a thrill to see the building that was once Palomino come back to life - especially the wood-fired oven that's now turning out tasty flatbreads and more.

As you see here, rows of wine bottles dominate the big interior space and are organized by country of origin. They're ready for your shopping pleasure at knock-down prices or, for only a $5 corkage fee, you can pick an off-the-shelf bottle to enjoy with your snack or full dinner. A bevy of well-priced choices abounds to accompany Goldilocks-style small, medium and large plates.

General Manager Marc Plummer's fondness for Tuscan wines shows through in 3rd Corner's selections in Brunello, Chianti and super-Tuscans. At this early stage, it's still a starter-pack but rest assured Plummer will soon expand the shop's vinfolio to include other Italian wine-growing regions.

California wines are well represented with popular choices such as single-format and magnums of Rombauer Chardonnay - rumored to be the desert's best selling restaurant white wine. Lovers of Napa reds can taste their way through BV 2006 Reserve Tapestry, Vine Cliff 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon and a smorgasbord of 2006 single-vineyard choices from Nickel and Nickel. Fans of Pacific Northwest wines will delight in the treasure trove of Oregon Pinot Noir and Northstar's 2006 Columbia Valley Merlot. Our hearts were pumping at the sight of Sonoma Coast's Flowers 2008 Pinot Noir as well.

Plummer also enjoys southern hemi wines and it shows in his selection of Aussie Shiraz, other red varietals from Down Under and their killer whites, including dry Riesling. We spotted a couple of favorite picks from Argentina - Tikal 2007 Patriota and Achaval Ferrer 2008 Malbec – and can't wait to pop a few corks of Santa Ema Amplus Cabernet Sauvignon.

Because 3rd Corner also serves food, you can buy and try wines that are usually destined for restaurants only. Could Cayuse be coming to Palm Desert? We can only dream!

Despite the main shop's stellar choices, you knew there had to be an elite wine room. Step inside to the scent of freshly cut wood to find the big guns: Sea Smoke, magnums of Chateau Montelena, Peter Michael, Rochioli, Richebourg, Ridge Monte Bello, Leonetti, Marcassin, Chateau Latour and other bottlings sure to make any occasion unforgettable - and sweeter still when someone else picks up the tab. Ouch.

Next, we'll set our sights on 3rd Corner's dining menu and report back soon. In the meantime, we'll be checking in on the Grand Del Mar, home to William Bradley's Addison and the resort's Amaya. Is the recession over yet?

3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro
73101 Highway 111 (just east of Hwy 74 intersection)
Palm Desert, CA 92260

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