The first time I visited Trisler's Wine Bar, it was rather forgettable: An unremarkable cheese board and some average wine, and let's just say I wasn't inclined to go back.
Several years have passed, and I now work less than two miles from the spot's unusual home on the ground floor of Mission Valley's hoity-toity Promenade at Rio Vista apartment complex. I decided to give it another try.
The décor is wine-themed in a bland sort of way. The wooden shelves of bottles lining the walls, murals of vineyards and kitschy "vino" signage, reminiscent of the home-goods section at Ross Dress for Less, are all presentable but yawn-inducing.
Unfortunately, that's the overall theme. Our attentive server, with her sweet disposition and strong Italian accent, explained that Monday's special was half-off glasses of any wine opened over the weekend. She identified half a dozen white wines and said there were no reds on happy hour. I inquired about other specials—beer or food—but that was it.
The good news was that, at half-price, the glasses were $4 to $7, and there were diverse whites to choose from. Our wine pusher also offered sips of any open wine before I settled on a glass—a smart move with open bottles a few days old. I started with the 2013 Pratsch Gruner Veltliner from Niederosterreich, Austria. It was slightly effervescent and refreshing, full of floral fragrances. Tart green apple and pear flavors were pleasant, although not terribly complex.
Next I moved to the 2013 Mas Carlot Rose from France. I'm picky when it comes to pink wine, but this one was done well with an interesting combination of Grenache and Syrah making for berry notes and a light pepper on the finish.
The wine list held other interesting choices—Italian Barbera and Argentine Malbec highlighted the reds, while a few California wines also made the menu.
It was noteworthy that during the course of a couple hours, only two other patrons stopped in. Perhaps the food trucks and live musicians on other nights of the week here garner more attention. But maybe folks, like me, just need a little more excitement from a happy hour.