When a friend suggested we dine out in celebration of her birthday, suddenly we had a reason to check out Pizza Man’s brand-new Downer Avenue location. Arriving at 5 p.m. – reservations are only taken for groups of eight or more – on a Saturday night we were greeted with a half-hour wait, ascending to the upstairs level where sunlight pours in via an open garage door and a stunning patio. Settling into the bar, I couldn’t get my hands on the binder (a.k.a. Amazing Wine List) fast enough. Eighty-five wines are available by the glass – and 600 bottle selections hail from California, Oregon and Washington. Eight wines are poured on tap. Our table settled on a bottle of the 2010 Sanford Winery Flor de Campo Chardonnay (Santa Barbara County, California), its crisp pear notes and minerality a solid match with two signature pizzas: artichoke a la mode (with cream cheese) and pesto.
On the night of our visit Pizza Man’s owner – Mike Amidzich – strolled around the dining rooms, dropping by tables to ensure everyone was having a good time. Now if that’s not good customer service, I don’t know what is!
WINE DEAL OF THE WEEK
I’ve plugged Waterford Wine Company’s Friday afternoon wine tastings before and I’ll do it again. (One reason? They are completely free!) Starting at 4 p.m. and lasting until 7 p.m. this Friday, staff will be uncorking bottles from France’s Southern Rhone, including Michel Gasser’s “Lou Coucardie” Costieres de Nimes Blanc and the 2010 Roucas Toumba Vacqueyras.
WINE EVENT OF THE WEEK
The West Allis Farmers Market in downtown West Allis puts a focus on wine later this month with the eighth annual Forks and Corks event on Sept. 13. Whether you’re more of a foodie or a wino – even better if you’re both – there is a lot to sip and nibble. With a $25 ticket, you get access to wine and beer sampling plus live music from Freddie & the Cruisers. Pay just $2 for each food tasting or splurge on packs of 10. The event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. and wraps around 9:30 p.m. You can purchase tickets through the above link.
WINE OF THE WEEK
The 2011 J. Lohr Estates South Ridge Syrah (Paso Robles, California, $15) is a light-bodied red wine that features notes of smoky/charred/grilled meat, plus tobacco, vanilla and bright red fruit. (jlohr.com)