I thought it would be interesting to take a week-long look at the wine offerings at each of six local restaurants in Coppell and compare them on quality, cost, markup and overall value. The first post in the series is an overview of all six restaurants. This is the filth of the detailed reviews of the restaurants.
Along with Local Diner, Simmer is the first of what we hope will be a variety of quality restaurants in Old Town Coppell. A family-friendly casual restaurant with a large bar area and sizable patio, Simmer, like J. Macklin’s, offers only wines that are sold both by the bottle and the glass. With no bottle-only options, the Simmer wine list is both affordable and has some really nice options to go with dinner and conversation, but wouldn’t be a destination by enthusiasts just for the wine. Simmer has the lowest wine-by-the-glass markup of any of the Coppell restaurants, keeping the cost of a glass extremely reasonable.
Best Splurge: It’s a little tough to define a “splurge” on a list where the most expensive bottle is $38, but the best of the bunch at that price is the Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio ($22 average retail). A very consistent offering year-after-year, this Pinot Grigio is sufficiently dry with hints of pear, melon and a crisp minerality. The Santa Margherita is a refreshing selection to share among friends, especially on Simmer’s patio in the warmer months.
Best Budget Bottle: Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling. It is hard to go wrong with any bottle from Washingon-based Chateau Ste. Michelle, and the $18-a-bottle Riesling ($9 average retail) is no exception . Filled with apple, citrus and honey with a medium sweetness (considered off-dry), the Chateau Ste. Michelle lacks the minerality of a German Riesling, but brings a floral component that makes this an easy-to-drink chilled white, especially when paired with seafood or lighter chicken dishes.
Best Red by the Glass: Byron Pinot Noir. The biggest weakness of the Simmer wine menu is the lack of quality reds by both the bottle and the glass. The most consistent of the offerings is the Byron Pinot Noir ($19 average retail bottle price). At $10 a glass, the Byron is a reasonably good value for an honest Pinot Noir filled with bright cherry and a touch of spice. For those looking for a weightier red than a Pinot Noir, the $9 glass of J. Lohr Paso Robles Cabernet is a good choice, but expect a Cab that has a bit more red fruit (raspberries) than is found in a traditional Napa or Sonoma Cab.
Best White by the Glass: La Crema Chardonnay. The longer growing season due to fog on the Sonoma Coast create in the $10-a-glass La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay a concentration of flavors hard to find in other wines at this price ($19 average bottle price). This chardonnay undergoes full malolactic fermentation, giving it a soft and buttery feel to go along with the ripe citrus and melon in the fruit. At $6, the glass of Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay ($12 average retail bottle) is also an extremely consistent wine well worth the price, but won’t have quite the layers of fruit you will find in the La Crema. The Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling ($5 a glass) and Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio ($10 a glass) are as good of a selection by the glass as they are in a bottle.
Wines I Would Avoid: The Show Chardonnay, from Rebel Wine Company, the same group that makes the Bandit line of screwtop boxed wines, is a flat and uninspiring Chardonnay. At $7 for The Show, the Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay costs less and the La Crema at $3 more is completely worth the extra 300 pennies. Skip The Show and order one of the other Chardonnays. I also would skip the $5 Darkhorse Cabernet, opting instead for the $6 14 Hands Cab or, better yet, J. Lohr Cab at $9 a glass.
Final Note: Simmer offers a number of quality white wines at very reasonable prices, perfectly suited to the lighter side of its menu and especially for the outside patio in warmer months. The wine list itself doesn’t provide an opportunity for exploring new wines or for a high-end experience, but it does a nice job of complementing the atmosphere and menu for this family-friendly casual restaurant.
If you have any comments or questions on any of the posts in this Coppell restaurant series, please feel free to leave a comment to these posts or hit me up on Twitter at @erikj. Also, if you have other area restaurants that you would like to see evaluated for wine offerings, please let me know! The links to all posts in this series appear below.
Six Coppell Wine Lists in Seven Days: