So my kids, who I lovingly refer to as “Thing 1” and “Thing 2,” were off on an adventure with their grandparents for a few days which gave my husband and I some adult time. What to do? We knew we’d take in a nice dinner, but also wanted to have some pre-dinner drinks. After some consideration and doing some reading, we settled on Cru Wine Bar in the West Ave area of River Oaks. This is such a great part of the Houston wine scene.
Cru Wine Bar is a chain of sorts with locations in a few Texas cities as well as Denver and the Atlanta area. Inside was a very inviting and cozy spot with tables, couches, and bar area. And there were walls and walls of wine which always adds to the ambiance. They also have a nice patio area but it started to rain so we sat inside. The large selection of wines ranged from inexpensive (in the $30 range) to a bit pricey (upwards of $300). They also had thirteen different red and white flights from which to choose. I love going to places where I can choose a wine flight as it provides an opportunity to explore several new wines and Cru had a nice variety of wines representing different varietals, styles, and countries.
I choose flight #8 called “Sexy, Silky, & Sensual.” I was going to do the Pinot Noir flight as I’d not had any of the listed wines, but then the Cabernet Franc from Patagonia caught my attention and I recalled previously having a Cab Franc from Patagonia that I loved. I don’t recall what it even was, but I just remember telling myself to be on the lookout for Pinots from Argentina. And I have to pull myself out of Pinot Land sometimes.
While my three wines were bold, they were also very smooth, almost velvety on the tongue. So it seems that the flight was aptly named. The Spanish blend of Carinena and Grenache had lots of fruit as expected, but was still very structured. I may have to get one of these for next year’s International Grenache Day (go read my post about this)! The Cab Franc was a bit of a surprise for me. It was “bigger” than I was expecting and while I liked it, I think my appreciation of it would have been even greater if I’d had some food to pair it with.
My husband (true to form) choose the #12 Pinot Noir flight called “Pinot Envy.” I loved the representation of the different styles of Pinot. And there is method to the madness in the staff’s ordering of the wines. The wines increasingly got a bit heavier and bolder and you progressed down the list. My favorite of the bunch (yes I had some of his) was the Loveblock from Central Otago. My guess is that was partly due to the fact that we were just having the wine. I suspect that if I’d been pairing the wines with some food, the wines would have tasted a bit different. That they had a Pinot from Central Otago was a bit ironic as I’d recently attended a Pinot from around the world tasting (go read my post on it) and I really appreciated the wine they had from there. Definitely a region that I need to explore more to learn about their great Pinots. And isn’t this the point of wine tasting and trying something new? I’ve now had two Pinots from New Zealand’s Central Otago very recently which has just made me more interested in the region. Of course I would probably have to sedate my husband to get him on a plane for such a long period of time to get all the way to New Zealand, but hey, we have to do what we have to do.
All in all, it was a nice relaxing cocktail hour before dinner. And I even joined their wine club called “Cru Club.” It doesn’t cost you anything but provides members with discounts on wine purchases and tastings, as well as gets you on the list to be notified of various wine events. And I have been quite impressed with the wide range of events to which I’ve already received invites such as winemaker events, wine dinners, etc. They also have a weekly champagne/sparkling wine event which I have yet to make but I’m definitely working on it.