Bacchus Wine Bar
Another one from my blog that barely anyone reads haha...
I was visiting my old stomping grounds in South Miami on Wednesday to do some shopping and decided that Id grab a bite somewhere new. I had heard about Bacchus Wine Bar from a little publication that South Miami puts out to promote area businesses and keep people informed about ongoings in the community (I wish the Grove would do something like this...) and a friend had also recommended it after attending a wine tasting there. So, I headed over to check it out.
Bacchus Wine Bar is located on the "corner" of US1 and Sunset Ave. I say "corner" because its really not on the corner, but the building it shares with other tenants is. Basically, its next to Origin Bistro and you can access the parking lot by driving on the street that Deli Lane is on. They have free valet if you remember to get your ticket validated, which I thought was pretty sweet even though I had walked there from Sunset Place. Upon entering, I was greeted by the 2 owners - a husband and wife tandem whose names Ive apparently forgotten and I dont happen to have the business card they gave me, so we will just call them "Mr. & Mrs. Bacchus" for now. They were extremely friendly and offered me a seat at the bar. The inside of the wine bar is decorated with purple ceilings, a black granite bar, couches, tabletops, and a stage where live music plays on Thursdays (also their wine tasting day) and Fridays. Various paintings and mirrors decorate the walls and give the spot a homey type of feeling. The place is pretty new, so I wasnt surprised to be the only person at the bar. There were a few people sitting at a table on the other side of that bar, but other than that it was empty. Mr. & Mrs. Bacchus said that Thursdays and Fridays draw a big crowd and I was surprised when they said that a lot of UM kids go there as well. They said the UM crowd is mostly the intellectual type and that many of them follow the band that plays there on Thursday.
I sat down and looked over the wine menu. I didnt see many I was familiar with, but Im no wine expert so that didnt surprise me. There were a few glasses in the $8-$9 range, but for the most part, the wines were $11+ and $32+ for the bottle. Its definitely way more worth it to grab a bottle at those per glass prices, which I thought were a tad high. The bottle prices were very competitive and marked up about 50%, which is pretty standard. Anyways, Im a big Pinot Noir fan so I settled on a glass of Sideways which, according to Mr. Bacchus, was one of their most popular wines and had experienced a lot of popularity due to its connection with the movie Sideways. I was hungry as well, but I didnt see anything on the menu that really jumped out at me. The menu is filled with appetizers, all of which have a Greek myth themed name to them like "Theseus Shrimp". Pricing on the food was a tad high I thought as the aforementioned shrimp came to $20. Not knowing what the dish looks/tastes like though, I guess its unfair for me to judge, but $20 for an appetizer is going a bit overboard. Who knows, maybe it is the size of an entree? I settled on the small Bacchus Platter which was a plate with assorted meats, fruits, and cheeses for $10 which, at first glance, seemed small but definitely was well worth it in the end. The quality of the food and the assortment justified the price and surprisingly left me somewhat full after I finished the plate. Now, reverting back to me not being a wine expert, I will not attempt to describe Sideways Pinot Noir outside of saying this: Its damn good, very smooth with what I would call a slight buttery taste to it, not too fruity, not too high on the acidity, and goes great with a meat/cheese/fruit plate. I enjoyed it so much that after dinner last night I went and picked up a bottle for $16 at the liquor store.
Mr. Bacchus and I engaged in conversation about various wines and how we both will get hooked on a type of wine but like to be open to trying new ones. He then poured me a few different types of red wine to taste, which I appreciated and enjoyed. Its always nice to find a place that has knowledgeable owners who get you interested in trying new things based on their passion for food or wine. I finished up my last sample and asked for the check as I was headed to Town to meet a friend for a cocktail. Mrs. Bacchus gave me 50% off on my glass of wine as a kind gesture which I appreciated and they didnt charge me for the tastes I had with Mr. Bacchus either. I would definitely recommend checking this place out with friends, or heading over for their wine tasting nights on Thursdays. Food and wine are both great for bringing people together and its nice to have a cozy little place like Bacchus Wine Bar as a venue for enjoying a nice bottle of wine while listening to some live jazz and blues.
Bacchus Wine Bar
5904 S Dixie Hwy
South Miami, FL 33143
Glad you liked the place, but I have been generally underwhelmed by the latest spate of "wine bars" opening up locally.
Case in point: there is actually no wine called "Sideways" in the movie "Sideways". After doing a bit of research, it seems that someone, after the success of the movie, found some cheap pinot juice (not even from Santa Barbara where the movie was based), put it in a bottle, and slapped a "Sideways" label on it. Of the very limited comments I can find on it, none are very positive. I'm dubious about the degree of knowledge of the proprietors of anyplace that's serving this kind of stuff. Seems one step away from the "Marilyn Merlot" bottles with pictures of Marilyn Monroe on them.
Well, I didnt say it was in the movie, I said it gained popularity because of the movie, and yes, its maker was totally out to capitalize on that as there is even a film roll print on the label. I happen to enjoy Sideways PN. I dont buy into reviews by "professionals" because Im not wine "professional" myself . There are a million types of wine and you cant go by what some "professional" says about one that they may have had once. I shared a bottle of Black Opal last night with a buddy and it was $6.99/bottle and was fine, not outstanding, but good enough for $7. I dont see how you can comment on it if youve never tried it either. The proprietor wasnt pushing this wine, he merely commented on how it was popular at his shop because of the movie. You should give the place a try and come to your own conclusion sometime rather than just guessing that you wont like it or the wine. Who knows, maybe you might like it?
re: Blind Mind
BM - first, I'm not judging your tastes, to each his own and so on. My mention of comments on the wine was not reference to professional reviews (indeed you cannot find one on this wine) but rather what I'm able to find in the way of community-based feedback from individual (i.e. amateur) tasting notes at sites like cellartracker.
As for "professional" reviews, they're a tool but I treat them with a healthy skepticism as well. Though I should add that I'm not sure why the fact that you're not a professional yourself is a reason to disregard professional wine reviews. If you were buying a new car, would you not read a Car & Driver review because you're not a professional driver?
However, I can say that this particular wine bears all the hallmarks of something that has been created for marketing purposes only, and that hardly ever correlates in my experience to high quality. I am not a wine snob and drink plenty of good wine for $8 -15 a bottle, but rarely does it come in this kind of package. I am also, and forgive me for being so cynical, skeptical of any "wine bar" serving this kind of gimmick wine.
Also, I apologize if I misunderstood your post. When you said the wine gained in popularity because of the movie, I thought you were under the impression that the wine existed before the movie - though it seems it was created for the very purpose of capitalizing on the success of the movie.
Yeah, it definitely was created to capitalize on the movie, no doubt. I happen to like it though, so to each his own I guess. Just because of the movie correlation doesnt mean it shouldnt be carried by a wine bar though... A wine bar concept is to gather people who enjoy drinking wine and that wine happens to be one that most know and enjoy.