We like Brian Mahoney’s vibe at Terroir in Scottsdale. His unpretentious wine bar is all about the wine, not atmospheric bells and whistles.
He pours 30-plus wines by the glass — and not those wimpy 3-ounce drams, but topping a satisfying 10 ounces. In everyday-speak, this is a ThirstBuster portion.
But this hot spot speaks to something larger, something more important when looking for a wine bar: Passion. The staff is friendly and conversant and genuinely interested in your wine experience. They love to talk wine, but not in stilted, highfalutin language. I don’t think you’ll hear the words "disgorging" or "malolactic fermentation" here. They encourage you to sample various wines until you find just the right one to go with the chunk of Emmenthaler you pulled from their cheese case. Lounging on the sofas, you feel right at home. Where’s the remote?
Terroir is at 7001 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, (480) 922-3470. Here are a few other East Valley wine bar gems.
98 South Wine Bar
98 S. San Marcos Place, Chandler (480) 814-9800
You can almost envision parking the Model A out front and bellying up to the soda fountain in this beautifully restored historic building in downtown Chandler. Only now, you’ll find Chalone instead of chocolate sodas. The soaring ceilings and bordeaux-colored walls set the stage for a solid experience. Wine pro Wendy Lamer packs the list with many wonderful selections such as Chateau Potelle blush, La Crema pinot noir, Cline syrah, Marques de Caceres and Gancia prosecco (bubbly). I’ll have one of everything. Plan an early-bird dinner 2 to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and sip a free glass with your meal.
D’Vine Wine Bar and Bistro
2837 N. Power Road, Suite 101, Mesa (480) 654-4171
Hooray, finally there is an alternative to Red, White & Brew in this neighborhood. Our friends who live in Las Sendas have lamented the lack of restaurants in northeast Mesa for years and are thrilled with D’Vine. We recently visited and understand what all the hoopla is about. Attractive fortysomethings swirl and sniff and jaw about wine and real estate (what else would they be talking about?). We like the New World selections from New Zealand and South America, and the edg y California producers like Frog’s Leap and Turnbull. In a tribute to "Sideways," there’s Sanford pinot noir. We are not drinking merlot tonight!
House of Tricks
114 E. Seventh St., Tempe
While it’s too hot to sit outside, you can still visit this preeminent East Valley wine bar for a late dinner and glass of wine — indoors or out. Housed in a 1920s cottage east of downtown and north of campus, there are few wine experiences like Tricks anywhere. We love the massive shade trees around the bar and are willing to take the heat just to sip in the great wines and ambience. Last check of Tricks’ list shows several good summer whites from Alsace and Sancerre. These are lower in alcohol and pair well with the fruit-andcheese course.
My Wine Cellar
5030 E. Warner Road, Phoenix
How can you not like the fiery spirit of co-proprietor Kathleen Fordyce? She’s warm, funny, bombastic and passionate about wine. It seems that everyone knows each other in this festive spot west of Interstate 10 in Ahwatukee Foothills. The wine list beckons: Chewy Ravenswood zin, Scott Harvey and sexy Folie a Deux, among others. Friday happy hour, 3 to 6 p.m., invariably turns into a party, with $2 off wines by the glass. Meet the Mrs. and make it dinner.
Skip the tour buses this fall and tour Napa Valley aboard an exclusive 22-passenger yacht. Anthony Damiano of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute escorts an American Safari cruise Oct. 28 round-trip from San Francisco. Experience onboard food and wine pairings and tasting seminars in addition to behind-the-scenes visits to several area wineries. Priced from $1,750 per person. Coordinated by Hager’s Journeys of Scottsdale, (480) 998-7606.