Taste Select Austin

taste_austin.jpgI won’t claim to be odoublegood whose frequency and mastery of a restaurant review is legend here on Austin metro blog. So how about a different perspective…

What a great way to get blasted! We caught the bus downtown Friday evening with the objective of going to try out Taste Select Wines. We’d already eaten, so we were not going for the food. Here’s how it worked.

You go in, the take a credit card and in return give you a pre-loaded $50 gift card. You insert the card into one of four machines loaded with an assortment of select wines. You chose the wine you want, hold your glass under the spout and press the button. Out comes a 1.5oz taste of your selection. We were sharing one card between two, and apparently soon hit house rule 1. over the speed of drinking. It was great, a little of this, a little of that, a taste of this, a taste of that. Before long we’d spent $30 and I for one was starting to have a hard time describing the wines coherently. I’m sure that was because of the assault on my taste buds rather than the amount I’d drunk(honest guv).

When we visited they had a selection of 16-whites and Rose wines, priced from $1.75 to $5.02 per 1.5oz serving, and 32-reds, priced from $2 to a staggering $16.70 per serving. So, depending on how careful you were, this could be a pricey evening out. However, we left having spent around $30, tasted some great wines, and in reality spent little more than the price of an average priced bottle of a single wine in a normal bar.

The location was modern style, a high ceiling and lots of brick work. The music was only just audible, and so wouldn’t get in the way if you were eating and talking to friends. The atmosphere was ok, but might not be as good if the place was less than full.

The only downside for the “drinks” only crowd was that was really no easy way to cleanse the palette or obvious way to dump the wines that you didn’t like. It would have been nice to have had a tap with water only, hopefully at zero cost, and some way to get either some bread or crackers. Overall though Taste Select Wines on the corner of Chavez and Colorado was a fun way to spend an hour.

In the interests of transparency, I’d just like to say I paid for all my drinks myself(honest guv) and didn’t declare I was a reviewer for Austin metblogs and so didn’t get any special treatment from the pumps, especially when they though I was drinking too fast ;-)

4 Comments so far

  1. monkeysocks on July 29th, 2008 @ 3:35 pm

    Thx for the review.

    That’s disappointing that they don’t have a way for you to cleanse your palate.

    Do they allow you a way to clean your glass between tastings? Or to get a new glass?

  2. triman on July 30th, 2008 @ 5:52 am

    I’m not sure if there was away to cleanse the palette, or if they’d have changed the glasses, it just wasn’t explained, and we never asked as we were having too much fun at the time, "children in the candy shop".

    I’m sure their target audience is people coming in too eat, rather than just fun or casual drinkers. They sell wine by the glass and bottle for diners, but plenty were also going the tasting route and they obviously had access to bred and water at their table.

  3. odoublegood on July 31st, 2008 @ 5:35 pm

    Thanks for this report; I’ve wondered. And thanks for reporting on the audible ambience. I hope that somebody will report on the food side of the menu as well.

  4. redgren on August 11th, 2008 @ 10:07 am

    We went as there a while back as part of a party of around 12 people. It was Sunday night, the restaurant was empty except for us, and we received what I consider the absolute worst service I’ve ever experienced. It was mostly (90%) due to our server, but the management really did nothing despite complaints (polite, discreet complaints at first that escalated as the evening went on). I can’t even recall the quality of the wine and food, due to the overwhelmingly poor server. If management had rectified the situation, maybe I’d go back and give it another try…

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