Tips for Everyone #1

1. Try a wine from a region you are not familiar with
2. Try a grape that you are not familiar with or try a grape you know that is grown in a completely different region than what you are used to
3. Don’t go for the ‘big name’ producers just based on the name
4. Don’t rely on the ratings from the wine magazines. If you want to buy it, do so and try it.
5. Never buy the least expensive wine on a restaurant wine list. You find the greater values in the $60-$90 range
6. Share all your wine ‘discovery’ and knowledge with your friends

Articles

BOTTLED CHIC

By SARAH LEMON

An Ashland wine bar hopes customers find something new each time they visit -- including a great glass of wine

The impressive array of bottles isn't a new Ashland wine bar's only asset. A casual yet chic atmosphere at Liquid Assets aims to appeal to everyone, said co-owner Jim Piotter.

"We're not a pretentious wine shop," he said.

Chocolate leather chairs and butterscotch suede sofas invite guests to relax with a glass of pinot or port. Local artists' photographs and prints call patrons to wander through the space, which opened earlier this month on North Main Street.

The conspicuous absence of a wine list encourages browsing through bottles from Oregon, Washington, California, Australia, Europe and beyond.

Shopping labels rather than scanning lines of text, Piotter said, reveals the "personality" behind each of Liquid Assets' some 175 wines, like Sonnet Wine Cellars 2005 Rosé with Shakespeare sonnet 11 printed on the back. Whether for $18 or $200-plus, tasting novices and sophisticated palates alike will find the right bottle, Piotter said. A corkage fee of $5 makes trying a high-end wine more affordable than it would be in many restaurants, he added.

"You wouldn't go out to a super-fancy dinner every week," Piotter said. "But you could come in and have a glass of wine."

Liquid Assets has been in the works for about three years, since Piotter and his wife, Denise Daehler-Piotter, took a trip to Ashland. The pair had been working at Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Ariz., but wanted to bank their combined experience in the service industry on a new business. Southern Oregon's landscape, climate and culture felt like "home," they said.

"Because food and wine is such a passion in our lives, we wanted to have a place to convey that passion," Piotter said.

Trained as a chef at Le Cordon Bleu, Piotter envisioned a light menu of "tasting plates" to accompany Liquid Assets' main product. Starters, salads, desserts, pâtés and cheese plates will change seasonally as fresh ingredients are available, Piotter said. Priced between $4 and $13, selections encourage customers to try something new free of the commitment to an expensive meal, he said.

Despite a decidedly French flair, dishes highlight local food products. Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue Vein from Central Point stands up to French Saint Nectaire, Pierre Robert and Bucheron. The chocolate truffle sampler comprises confections from Lillie Belle Farms, of Jacksonville.

"We look here first," Piotter said.

Local wineries also get their due. Medford's RoxyAnn 2005 Pinot Gris appeared on last week's by-the-glass menu among California sauvignons and French chardonnays. The week's featured flight lets tasters try three different wines for $12. For another $2, the more adventurous can create their own flight from about 20 selections.

If oenophiles can't find a favorite vintage, Liquid Assets will take a special order. Case purchases receive a discount. Private tastings, wine seminars, changing art displays and live music are part of the plan to offer customers something new on each visit, Piotter said.

Located in the new Shasta Building, at 96 N. Main St., Liquid Assets is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Food is served until midnight. Call 482-9463 (WINE) for more information.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail slemon@mailtribune.com.

Other Articles

Taste the Eugene-Medford connection

Local tempranillo wins again

South Stage Cellars: Moore grapes

The right wine depends on the occasion

Store shelves brim with local wines

Quady North takes root in Applegate

Rocky Knoll joins list of regional labels

Rising Sun offers wide variety of wines

Foris offers bargains for wine lovers

Wine bars are entering their heyday here

Liquid Assets, Corks wine bars

Since You Asked - Local Wines

Don't panic, this wine's biodynamic

Wine can come from colder climes

Mall's 'All About Oregon' offers wine finds

Take your pick from local wine lists

These new wines are worth a taste

Willamette wines are truly worthy

And the World of Wine winners are ...

Merlot tops Spangler winery offerings

Don't miss a world of wine

A taste-filled room with a view

Vineyard events keep the spirits flowing

'Taste of History' samples the best

These new wines are worth a taste

Good year for grapes

How to Begin Wine Collecting

Three Rules For Choosing The Right Dinner Wine

Wine and Beer Are Good for Us? Yes!

Wine Storage is the Key to Preserving and Aging your Wine

Food And Wine Choice Advice From An Expert Wine Taster

Choosing Wine On A First Date

Wine Racks - A Guide To Home Wine Storage

The Ideal Wine Cellar: Everything You Need to Get Started