When Frank Crandall, owner of Renegade Wines (417 Santa Barbara St.;  568-1961; renegadewines.com), died last year, many feared a great light in the murky world of finding the right wine would be extinguished. Thankfully, not so: His successor, Steve Wayne, who’s worked at the shop for 18 of its 23 years, continues to inform and advise in the laid-back but brilliant Renegade way, selling and storing bottles from near and far in an unpretentious warehouse storefront.
Friday, Renegade hosts a tasting, this time powered by Old World wines from Angeles Wine Agency. “We’re a French importer, first and foremost,” said distributor Daniel Berman, “but we have a lot more from Spain and Italy coming in now, too.” Here’s what’ll be tasted on October 19, 4:30-6:30 p.m. ($20); attendance limited to 30 people, so RSVP ASAP.
Col Vetoraz Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut 2011: Prosecco is actually a grape, not a region or style, so Italy is striving to make that clearer by single-designation bottlings like this one from Valdobbiadene, whose tiny bubbles are full of pineapple and grapefruit. Refreshing as can be. $18.50
Laila Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Marche, 2011: Italy’s home to thousands of grape varieties, and one of the great whites comes from verdicchio, which once powered Roman soldiers during wartime. This one, from the eastern side of central Italy, is one of Renegade’s hottest sellers. $11
Don Sancho de Londo “Calma,” Rioja 2009: 90 percent tempranillo and 10 percent graciano — “or ‘grathiano,’ as the great winemaker David San Pedro would say,” explained Berman — this fruit-forward bottling is more New World than old, which makes for easy drinking. It’s also by-the-glass at Cadiz restaurant. $18.50
Domaine des Escaravailles Côtes du Rhône “Les Sablieres” 2010: “This is affectionately known as the bug wine here,” said Wayne’s girlfriend, Jenna Allensworth., referring to the beetles on the label, “beetles” being what the French would call the Rhône region’s black-cloaked Capuchin monks. From the hills of Rasteau, it’s as tasty as a Gigondas but way cheaper. $15.50
Domaine Jessiaume, Santenay Rouge, 2009: “This has become one of my most popular wines in town,” said Berman of this Villages wine from Burgundy, which somehow delivers discernible Dijon mustard notes on the nose and a nice herbal presence in the mouth. $34