Remember the first time your parents bought you a soda and you were allowed to serve yourself as much as you wanted? Thanks to Dee Lincoln, you can pour like a kid and drink like an adult. The Uptown location Dee Lincoln Tasting Room and Bubble Bar has the latest generation of the enomatic Italian designed system that allows consumers to serve themselves wine (sparkling and still), and stores the remaining contents in temperature-controlled conditions for up to 10 days. The only bummer is, unlike most drink stations, these refills are not free. (Insert sad little English boy face here).
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Bubble Bar’s wine director Randolph Hollo explained the cabinet stores wine under argon gas, which is not a new technology. However, here are two unique qualities: the contraption keeps sparkling wines “fresh” and the card reader on each machine that allows consumers to choose a portion size and serve themselves. It’s like a robotic sommelier! Hand over your credit card and receive a charge card from the bar. Look through the refrigerated cabinet for the wine you want, put the card in the slot, place your glass underneath the spout, select the quantity (2oz, 4oz, 6oz) and watch it pour. It’s a great way to create your own tasting and you don’t have to wait for anyone to refill your glass. (I understand Ms. Lincoln is installing one in Nancy’s kitchen.)
I visited the Tasting Room and Bubble Bar last night and deliberately chose two bottles with low liquid levels to see how they held up. I picked Beaux Frères Les Cousins Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon ($15 for 6oz) and the Tablas Creek Pinot Noir, Paso Robles, California ($10 for 6oz). My goal was to find signs of oxidation or off-odors. I’m familiar with both wines so any flaw would have been the result of the machine. I was impressed. Both were as bright and fruity as though they had been opened that evening.
I performed my next test on two pricey Champagnes to see how the machine handled sparkling wine. The Perriet Jouet Grand Brut and the Dom Pérignon Brut are expensive, elegant, world-class wines enjoyed by a clientele that would not accept them flat or oxidized. They are normally opened immediately before serving, so how would they fare after several days under the argon? Once again, they seemed to be preserved like new. I would love to compare an enomatic-stored glass against a glass from a freshly opened bottle but I suspect that I would not be able to tell the difference.
Hollo explained that the Cedar Springs location has 36 wines stored like this. Some two-ounce servings are as little as $3.25. And there are no clunkers. You can seriously do your own tasting of, say, white Burgundy, California Cabernet, Rhône wines, sparkling and other themes besides. It’s darn fun!
The whole atmosphere of the restaurant and wine bar is kind of fun as well. The downstairs was packed at 7pm on a Wednesday night which created a lively albeit noisy space. Attention guys: I learned the Bubble Bar is very popular with single women. A gaggle of gals arrived just after we did. If this isn’t your scene, move upstairs where you can find a bit of quiet time. The space also has two rooms available for large parties and from your perch on the comfortable seats you also get a podium view of the glass-encased wine cellar. If you really want Screaming Eagle, they have it. However, if you want an everyday-priced bottle, they have lots of those too. This is a place that looks more expensive than it really is. And they are taking proper care of the wine.
We also checked out the Sushi Pizza, described on the menu as “Dee’s Best Kept Secret” (she must have forgotten about the photos). This is a thin crust topped with ahi tuna, sriracha, and tobiko caviar. Dallas has become a great pizza town in the last two years but, in future comparisons, this one should not be forgotten.
SideDish paid for its food and red wines, but was comped the Champagne.