Max Koch Uncorked

Wine-soaked adventures through a twisted life…

Augustine Wine Bar

Listen, I don’t wanna hang out with most anyone these days. It’s enough with people already. Especially NEW ones you gotta get to know. I’d rather be home alone, watching horror movies with my dogs. But this dude Jerod Gunsberg had been comin’ at me for a while (he and his wife, like, share ALL the same friends from high school as I do). And so I caved and, I’ll admit, reluctantly showed up at the Augustine Wine Bar in Sherman Oaks for a sit-down.

Well, as it turns out? We had a blast.

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See, Jerod is a Criminal Defense Attorney here in Los Angeles. Right away, that’s gold in a BUCKET. I mean, you can only imagine the stories HE has, right? I got a real education about the court system in just a few swift hours. Not to mention the fact that he also used to work in the music business. So really there was no shortage of conversation to be had. He’s also blogging about wine, too. Check out his Serious Juice stuff on Instagram. Although, Jerod is MUCH more “serious” about wine than I am, we found some really stable, solid ground. Yeah, Jerod is VERY familiar with All Things Paso Robles. He even told me about Paso Underground, which I’d never even heard of, and I’m up there at least three times a year. He was also the cat who introduced me to Herman Story Wines, which the wife and I visited over New Year’s. Love at first sip.

As for Augustine itself, I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more. The staff was fabulous (especially Brian) and the ambiance was pretty damn perfect. You felt like you were sitting in a warm, comfy, dimly-lit wine-brary. They even had a piano! But no one hopped on it.

Food-wise, we tore through an order of tator tots with Heinz 57 and Bombaccione sauce and the Braised Octopus, one of the best dishes I’ve dipped into in recent memory. WHEN have garbanzo beans ever been so complimenting? (I insisted Jerod enjoy the largest of the tentacles…)

I got there about a half hour before Jerod, so I sat and slowly got to know a glass of 1997 Domaine de la Fontainerie Chenin Blanc “Sec” from Vouvray, France. So. So. Good. It was like being pelted with soft green apples on a grassy knoll. Whatever the hell that means.

Jerod really liked that one, too, so he ordered up a glass as well to go with his octopus. 

Finally, we finished off with a glass each of Jerod’s pick, the 2013 Eugenio Bocchino Nebbiolo “Roccabella” from Langhe, Italy. That was more like your sexy aunt Angelina from the Mediterranean Sea, sitting on your lap and whispering what she WISHES she could do to you in your ear. (What???)

Anyway. It was a good time at a great place. And I’d totally hang with Jerod again. This whole wine thing, I tell ya…it really does bring people together.

WINE PAIRING: My pick from last night wins. The Chenin Blanc! (Sorry, Gunsberg. Next time…)