WEATHER »
<b>PROFESSOR SOMM:</b>  Get educated while sipping on wine from the Old World and New with sommelier Carlos Mascherin, who's got plenty of background on the wines he pours at Armada.

Paul Wellman

PROFESSOR SOMM: Get educated while sipping on wine from the Old World and New with sommelier Carlos Mascherin, who's got plenty of background on the wines he pours at Armada.


Armada Wine Bar’s Old World Treats

Tasting the World at Santa Barbara’s Hidden Yet Happening Wine & Beer Merchant


Stumbling upon Armada Wine & Beer Merchant (1129A State St.; [805] 770-5912; armadasantabarbara.com) is like discovering a secret Old World tavern. Tucked into a back corner of San Marcos Plaza, it’s a reliable escape from the bustle of State Street or the hustle of your downtown office, yet steadily buzzing inside with friends who work and live in the neighborhood. There’s plenty of Central Coast wine and beer to be had, but it’s also an ideal place to educate your palate by trying a new wine from Europe.

A major reason why Armada’s Santa Barbara-born sommelier Carlos Mascherin, who can rattle off a stunning amount of history and technique behind each grape and bottle. “How adventurous are you feeling today?” he’s known to ask his customers. If you answer “very,” this is what you might get.

Riva Leone Gavi 2013: Fresh and light yet complex with tight melon and white florals, this Piedmont white wine is good to pair with calamari or shellfish, Mascherin suggests, explaining, “I think of it as a sauvignon blanc without the green pyrazine note.”

Fonterutoli Chianti Classico 2011: Lush, smoky, and attention-grabbing, this is not the dusty sangiovese blends of yesteryear, evidence of Italy’s modernist movement. “There’s a real resurgence of producers trying to take sangiovese back to its roots and put it in the center stage,” said Mascherin, who showcased this wine a while back during one of the quarterly wine dinners offered, which explore varietal expressions from around the world.

Zlatan Crljenak Kaštelanski 2010: Rich with red and purple fruits but with bright minerality and firm tannins, this Croatian grape, grown on the island of Hvar, is the true root of what we Californians call zinfandel (and what Italians call primitivo and what UC-Davis-professor-turned-winemaker Carole Meredith is now bottling as tribidrag). It’s a fascinating wine to sip while listening to Mascherin detail the decades-long search for the popular grape’s origins.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Senior Fair Hosts the ‘Young at Heart’

The Senior Fair brought together more than 25 organizations to match needs with services.

City College Ranked #1 by Value Colleges

High graduation rate, community service, and online degree programs made SBCC a 'flawless investment.'

News Commentary: Ribbon Cutting Is Not as Easy as It Looks

Grand opening for new Eastside bridge conveys a tingle of progress.

Santa Barbara Rental Prices Have Skyrocketed Over the Last Five Years

The average rent for a South Coast studio is $1,553.

Trio Stops the Show at Board of Education

More than a dozen appeal to Santa Barbara Unified School District to maintain music classes and programs.