Corkbuzz owner and Master Sommelier Laura Maniec is expanding the company’s SouthPark presence with The Cellar @ Corkbuzz, which will open directly next door early next week.
Instead of offering a full sit-down experience, The Cellar will have a casual wine bar feel in an 850-square-foot space with six four-top tables, bar seating and TVs. It will be connected to Corkbuzz and the two spaces will share a patio and kitchen.
The menu will include Corkbuzz classics like the Goat Cheese Dumplings ($8) and new offerings like Chilled Bay Scallops ($10) and Bacon Tater Tots ($6).
Small plates will hover around $6-$9 and wines will average around $12-$13 per glass.
With its red walls and small space, The Cellar has a warm, cozy feel that will edge on busy, but that’s what Maniec is aiming for – she wants the space to feel like a “hug.”
What will set The Cellar apart is its wine profiling experience, which will be offered by Sommeliers trained by Maniec herself, who finished her Masters in 2010. The program, which will hover around the $25 mark, will help customers better understand what they actually prefer in a wine and take about 45 minutes to complete.
Maniec profiled me earlier this week, and though I’m admittedly a wine novice at best who’s heavily influenced by those I’m around, she assured me that the program is tailored to every level of wine knowledge.
“We’ll be offering wine profiles to help patrons better understand and articulate their wine preferences,” she said in a statement.
She walked me through eight different wine samples of varying sweetness, dryness and texture – just to name a few elements – and explained everything as we went, and we didn’t go in a straight line but rather jumped from wine to wine to compare elements to get a feel for what I like and didn’t like.
While I knew that although I’m more of a red person than a white, I figured that I liked heavy-bodied wines with an oaky taste because that’s what I see around me. The process was detailed and by the end, when she put my preferences into an eloquent sentence (which will be done for every tasting, most likely on a fill-in-the-blank style, business card-sized note), I found I knew nothing about my preferences.
Instead of heavier whites, I “prefer mild-bodied wines with moderate acidity, and at times off-dry is okay but I almost never like oak. I enjoy a little fruit and a little bit of earth, but the most important thing to me is texture, which is preferably round. Florals? Sure, why not? And herbaceous wines? Sure, sign me up!”
The experience can be done in groups, though Maniec expects the group setting to be a bit less personalized and intimate. She recommends giving it as a gift.
The Cellar @ Corkbuzz will open early next week and its initial hours will be Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to midnight. Charcuterie and cheese plates will be available all day and small plates will begin to be served at 4 p.m.
Maniec is aiming for it to become a late-night spot where novices and experts alike “mingle, drink, laugh and indulge.”
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