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Food and Drink Features

Wines that shine

Share your fall with new wines in the OKC metro.

Greg Horton November 16th, 2011

Stella Modern Italian Cuisine, 1201 N. Walker, has featured a mixture of American and Italian wines since Lori Tyler opened the restaurant last year. The two areas reflect Tyler’s preference for great California wines and the wonderful food-friendliness of Italian wines.

In September, Tyler (pictured) restructured the list to add a few wines that are new to the state and complement the new seasonal menu.

“The idea behind Stella is seasonality,” Tyler said. “With the new fall menu, this just seemed like the perfect time to introduce some new wines.”

Among those is a rarity in Oklahoma City: a Grillo/Viognier blend. Grillo is a common grape in Sicilian wine, but it’s scarce in the state. The Arancio Dalila, which is available by the glass and bottle, is a great food wine for pasta and seafood.

“Our focus is on smaller, boutique wineries, so we have some labels people don’t know,” Tyler said. “We train our staff on wine every Saturday, and I’m very proud of where our staff is education-wise.”

The restaurant provides tastes of their approximately 30 by-the-glass selections. A new one is a wine Tyler discovered on a recent wine trip to Oregon: Matello Ribbon Ridge Pinot Gris.

The Matello is a very small production wine (230 cases) from one of Oregon’s smallest wineries. Having it by the glass is a rare treat, and this Pinot Gris delivers far more complexity, fruit and flavor than many of its competitors.

Tyler also added Acquaguista Vermentino, an Italian varietal that is made to accompany light foods. The Vermentino features Key lime, white peach and floral flavors, as well as good acid and slight minerality. It pairs well with antipasti and light pasta dishes.

On the red side, Stella now has Owen Roe’s The Keeper Cabernet Franc by the glass. Good Cab Franc is hard to come by, and good Cab Franc at a reasonable price is even more unusual. Black fruit, spiced tea, herbal notes and cedar combine in a full-bodied wine that is the perfect accompaniment to Stella’s osso buco.

The list contains about 80 bottles, plus the newest additions. Among those, Stella has also added Conn Creek Cabernet, a delicious, affordable Napa Valley Cabernet. The wines are not well-known in the metro, but are an exceptional value.

Candice Pugh, general manager of Bin 73, also added the Conn Creek.

“We needed an affordable Cabernet for the fall, and the Conn Creek is delicious,” she said.

Pugh also added Alexander Valley Gewürtztraminer for the fall list. The affordable Gewürzstraminer is light, spicy and makes an excellent holiday wine selection.

Bin 73 isn’t the only place adding in the delicious Gewürtztraminer fall pick. You’ll find it on the menu at Cafe do Brazil, 440 N.W 11th, as well.

Photo by Mark Hancock

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