The Valley has no shortage of wine bars where you can try a glass of just about anything, from a crisp white to a smoky red or even a refreshing rosé.
But a new venue in town aims to fill a wide-open niche. The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort at Gainey Ranch today unveils The Wine Bar, specializing in vintage and hard-to-find wines. The rotating 11-wine list will include wines from years past that are no longer sold in wine stores, highly rated wines that were made in limited production and special releases that are often only available at the winery itself.
"Most of these, you wouldn’t be able to get by the glass if you were able to get them at all," said Ted Ent, food and beverage manager for the Hyatt in Scottsdale. "You read about them in the Wine Spectator, but you can’t find them anywhere."
Until now. The bar, located on the mezzanine level off the Hyatt’s main lobby, will stock bottles from numerous wine regions and have printed material about the wines on hand. Wine bar hosts are constantly in training, so they’re knowledgeable about all the offerings. Appetizers, artisan cheeses and breads will be on the menu, and best of all, if you drink a glass you like, you can buy a bottle to go.
Prices are $10 to $20 a glass; bottles will run about $45 to $120. The introductory list will include a 1986 Beringer cabernet sauvignon, which was a Wine Spectator wine of the year; a 1992 ZD cabernet sauvignon reserve; a d’Arenberg Dead Arm shiraz 2000; and a Leeuwin Estates Art Series chardonnay 1999, among others.
If you see something you like on the list today, drink up — it may not be there long.
"They’re a limited quantity," Ent said. "I may only get three to six bottles from somebody, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. It will be replaced by something else."
Nowhere else in the Valley — perhaps in the country — offers this concept. Ent worked closely with the Hyatt’s general manager, Bill Eider-Orley, and the resort’s horticulturist and now cellar master, Lee Ackman, to find the initial 350 bottles to open the bar. From here, they’ll buy on a daily basis to keep it stocked.
The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale is buying some of the wine through regular distribution channels, some through brokers and others by contacting wineries directly and buying from their libraries through Arizona distributors. Wineries set aside small amounts of each wine from each vintage for posterity’s sake, and in the case of extremely wellreceived vintages, it can be for prosperity’s sake as well: A wine that gets a killer rating or a cult following will be highly allocated, which means only select stores in select markets might get a hold of it. Then it’s snapped up by collectors immediately, and the price goes up.
The Wine Bar at the Hyatt allows the rest of us to try some of these legendary wines without having to spring for a whole bottle without knowing first if we love it. Or, collectors can revisit some of their favorites that they might not have had in a while.
Ent summed up the Wine Bar’s concept, saying it’s "a great place for people to come and taste things they haven’t had in 10 years or experience something new and know it’s the best of the best."
The Wine Bar
What: A tasting bar and retail location for vintage and hard-to-find wines
Where: The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort at Gainey Ranch, 7500 E. Doubletree Ranch Road
When: 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays
Cost: $10 to $20 by the glass; $45 to $120 for bottles
Information: (480) 991-3388