When imagining a place that specializes in wines from the Pacific Time Zone you may think of California Chardonnay or Oregon Pinot Noir. While the aptly named Pacific Time (5277 Linda Vista Rd.) does carry standards from these states it also offers lesser-known varietals.
But this spot is more than just a wine bar. It’s also a bakery, eatery and retail shop with sandwiches, cheese and other treats. With so much going on it still feels like a quaint neighborhood spot where guests receive warm service and find many reasons to return.
Of course, I came with one thing in mind. First, I browsed the bottle selection along with a colorful map on one wall. The clever display is color-coded, so seeing that Oregon is green on the map means wines with green placards are from the Beaver State, and so on. From California I was happy to spy familiar names: Napa’s Matthiasson and San Diego’s Vesper, among my favorites.
After looking these over I took a seat at the bar. While perusing the wines by the glass I was pleasantly surprised to find such outliers as Gruner Veltliner from Edna Valley and Tempranillo from Southern Oregon all at reasonable prices, from $6 to $11 (you can also uncork a bottle for $8). I went with the Abacela Albarino from Umpqua Valley, Oregon.
The wine was pleasantly crisp with light apple and pear flavors and a slight sweetness. I enjoyed it as I chatted with Pacific Time’s owner Dave Loretta about his business. One thing he heard from me—and others—was a desire for wine flights. He said he was looking to add them, and when another guest asked about them minutes later he offered generous samples of three wines of her choosing for $12.
This go-with-the-flow attitude came in handy when a party of 14 showed up ordering cheese boards, beers and wines in rapid succession. Loretta and the staff took the good fortune in stride and soon the place was filled with sounds of happy drinkers.
As for this happy drinker, I sampled a splash of Eyrie Vineyards 2013 Pinot Gris— another Oregon find—and was instantly hooked. Savoring notes of white pepper and tropical fruits, I grabbed a bottle and headed into the dusky night thinking, “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.”