April 26 2013 04:15 PM

Wine lovers have a new neighborhood to visit

Photo by Jen Van Tieghem

Beyond beach babes and beer bros, Pacific Beach suits limited walks of life. Since sunshine disagrees with my pale skin and I'm allergic to reggae, I don't head there often. However, after a friend's mention of Turquoise Cellars (5026 Cass St., facebook.com/turquoisecellars), I made an exception. The recently opened wine bar hidden inside Turquoise Coffee offers a change of pace to the neighborhood.

The space is aesthetically appealing and functional. With bar seating, intimate tables and one long table, it accommodates all sizes of wine-loving groups. Behind the bar, a large floral display and rows of stemware create an attractive backdrop. 

I perused the retail selections first. Bottles priced at $20 to $30 seemed reasonable, and each had a descriptive card to help shoppers. I found out that if we wished to imbibe one of these, the corking fee would be $10 (bottles not bought at Turquoise can be corked for $20).

Our sun-kissed blonde server looked the part of a P.B. bartender, and her thorough knowledge of the wine list complemented her upbeat sprit. Wines by the glass range from $7 to $12, and flights of any three are $10 with pours of 2 to 3 ounces. I picked a wide-ranging wine flight: Stratum Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, an Argentinian Alta Vista Malbec and a Zinfandel from Paso Robles by Minassian Young. These varietals and regions being my favorites, I was excited to sample each. I was originally going to pick the $7 Malbec, but found it to be the weakest of my trio, so the flight turned out to be a good value. The Zinfandel was delicious, meriting its $12 price. After tasting, I ordered a glass of the crisp Sauv Blanc—its tart, herbal flavors making it a fine stand-alone choice for $7.

The quaint wine bar has sparse hours—5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday—but offers an appealing food menu of appetizers and flatbreads to complement the wines. There's a decent micro-brew selection for beer drinkers, with flights of four for $10. Unfortunately, no happy hour or nightly specials are offeredósomething I adore about wine bars in North Park and Hillcrest. While Turquoise doesn't suffer from a lack of clientele, I think specials could pack the place with those looking for a new wine hangout.

Write to jenv@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Jen_VT.


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