If Mike Kallay knew as much about curing cancer as he does about wine, the disease would have been under the bridge about 700 years ago. You should hear him talk about mouthfeel, bouquets, points, the differences between growing seasons in the hemispheres, the number of cases it takes to establish credibility--the man's a total walking grape orchard, and he eagerly notes the gaps in his knowledge amid the constant discoveries in his field. 'Just when you think you have it figured out,' he says, 'you don't.'
But Kallay's expertise is a big part of what makes downtown's The Cask Room, which he owns, such an enjoyable place. Pick something like Argentina's Bodega Lurton Pinot Gris from 2005--you learn that it's not only a 'great food wine' (which it is) but also that the 90-something family patriarch, who lives in France, is still working the land! Kallay has nuggets like that off the top of his head at every turn. And perhaps none of his pearls of wisdom cuts to the chase like the one he reserves for Seduction Merlot, out of Napa's O'Brien Cellars.
'Chicks dig it,' he says. Spoken like a true connoisseur.
All you have to do is get to 505 Park Blvd. anytime between 5 and 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 5 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays--you, too, can enjoy a great glass of wine for around $8 or pick up a bottle for about $20. The number is 619-822-1606. Leather sofas, free wi-fi, a modest bistro menu, beer, cheeses and desserts also await. And with any luck, the chicks are on their way.