I tried Tucos Wine Market and Cafe in Davis based on recommendations on Chowhound.
Tucos Wine Market and Cafe is a small place (seats about 25) on G Street in downtown Davis. Actually, my niece Amy and I pulled up in front of the place last June on our way back from the large unsuccessful Napa and Sonoma wine tasting, but I don't think it was open. There's a great restaurant called Little Prague a little bit further down the street.
Tucos sells wine at retail price and also serve food. The day I visited they had six flights of wine that had four types each: One all white flight, one all red flight, three mixed red and white, plus one dessert flight and a flight of a Paul Hobbs merlot and cabernet sauvignon. The Hobbs and one mixed flight were $15. The rest were $10.
I started with the all white: Les Charmes-Godard Cotes de Francs 2002 Bordeaux; Pegasus Bay riesling 2002 Waipara, New Zealand; Elena Walch Gewürztraminer 2003, Alto Adige, Italy; and Talley Rosemary's Vineyard Chardonnay 2002 California.
First wine, right off the bat, BANG!, touch 'em all, a home run. I took an interest in wines beginning in 1999 and the about the first thing I learned was that I don't like cabernet sauvignon and I don't like California chardonnay. Last October I had a friend serve me a 22-year-old red Bordeaux as part of an excellent meal, but that didn't convert me. So I guess mentally I had written off all of Bordeaux. But the Les Charmes-Godard just blew me away. A white Bordeaux would taste this good -- who'd a thunk? It's finding wines like this that make wine tasting so fun. It was only $18 a bottle. It's imported by the Wine Warehouse in Los Angeles.
The second wine was the riesling and it was another excellent find. My last experience with riesling was by Bonny Doon. A lot of people recommended it to go with spicy food. I found it to be a let down. This was excellent and definitely worth trying again. Next up was the Gewürztraminer and it was also a great wine. Not sweet like a lot of Gewürztraminer I've tried in California.
The last white was the Talley chardonnay. I was surprised by the Bordeaux and I've found a Talley pinot noir that is excellent. So I had high hopes I would find a California chardonnay I liked. Mentally I was cheering TALLEY! TALLEY! TALLEY! I poured it, smelled, tasted and, well, eh. I'm sure it's a fine wine. Not for me, though.
I had to choose which wine flight to try next and I decided on Red Discovery: Lang Des Calloux Vacqueryas 2003; Luis Canas Rioja crianza 2001; Burrell School cabernet sauvignon 2002, Santa Clara Valley; and Easton Zinfandel, 2003, Amador.
Again, first one up, BANG!, back back back back back HOME RUN! It was very fruity and vibrant and just so much good flavor. I didn't recognize what area of France Vacqueryas was in and asked the owner about it. He said it was a Rhone. I fell in love with Rhones last year and I'm just starting to get to know them. The owner started to talk about it, saying it was the first wine he was offering from this wine importer named Kermit Lynch and started to explain who he was. I waved him off and said I was going there the next day.
Next up was the rioja. Part of the reason I picked this flight was because of the rioja. I've found it to be an excellent wine that's also price friendly. To my amazement, this was the first rioja I've tried I didn't like. Riojas always seem so smooth. This was the opposite of smooth. I guess because it's a crianza, meaning it's the least aged rioja. Maybe he included it on the wine flight to give people a chance to try a different kind of rioja. My problem, though, is that it's not a typical rioja. People unfamiliar with rioja might be off put by it and not try another. Third up was the cabernet sauvignon. Low expectations and again, eh. I'm sure it's a solid wine that a lot of people enjoy. My taste buds are not geared for it. Maybe I lack subtlety.
The last wine was the Easton zinfandel. I had a chance to sample this last October when I was tasting Rhone varietals in Amador and El Dorado counties. It's made by the same people who make Terra Rouge wines. I passed because I wanted to limit my wines to Rhones that day. It's not a subtle wine. A big sloppy zinfandel full of flavor. I loved it. And it's also price friendly at $13 a bottle. I ended up ordering a glass of it to go with my dinner.
They have food at Tucos Wine Market and Cafe too. I got the full dinner for $35. I got several little courses of small things that were good, including a pastry shell stuffed with ground chicken and a poached egg with some steamed vegetables. The main course of prime rib was good, although not great. So they serve good food but the real star is the wine. My tab for the wine, the dinner and the tip came to $98. That's a lot for me. But if I hadn't like the wine that much, I wouldn't have shelled out big bucks the next day at Kermit Lynch in Berkeley, where I also picked up more Lang Des Calloux Vacqueryas.
Tucos Wine Market and Cafe
130 G Street