My errand to the grocery store on the day before Christmas got side-tracked to peek inside the wine shop, Zephs One Stop, that shares the parking lot. Zephs has a broad selection of mostly California wines with special depth in local Central Coast and Monterey County labels, as well as older wines from classic vintages. The imported stock is carefully chosen too, including top Tuscans, Bordeaux, Rhones, Champagnes, and Ports, among others. Theres also a wide range of imported and domestic beers. Pricing appears to be full retail with a 5% discount for purchases of three mixed bottles and 10% for six bottles.
The wine bar is a simple set up geared for tasting, near the entrance and check out counter, not really a spot that Id linger for long. However, it does offer 12 wines, kept under argon on the Cruvinet, and an equal number of whites in the fridge. The wines are available by the glass, half glass and taste, and change every day. The still wines are served in Riedel stemware.
I hopped on a bar stool to give it a whirl with a few samples. I tried 2002 Morgan Sauvignon Blanc, 2000 Chapoutier Bellerouche Cotes du Rhone, and 1999 Domaine Carneros Brut. Zeph, the owner, poured for me and he has a heavy hand. I had ordered these as tastes and the quantity was greater than a half glass at other places. My three tastes amounted to about 10 ounces of wine and cost me $7 plus a buck tip. Cant beat that.
The restaurant that shares the space, Portobellos Rotisseria, was closed for the holiday. Food orders can be served at the wine bar. The building (a former shoe store, IIRC) also houses Donnas Designs Gift Shop and Java & Juice Co. under the same roof.
Its going to take me a little while to adjust to the notion that theres a fine wine shop and wine bar in my hometown, walking distance from my folks house even. That said Im happy its there for my next visit. The 6:30am opening hour is a reminder that farming lettuce is still king in Salinas.
Zephs One Stop
1366 South Main St.
(in front of Nob Hill Foods)
6:30 am to 10pm