Story: David Moore
If you’re looking for a place to impress a date, a colleague or out-of-town friends, look no more. We’ve found it for you at Cuvee Wine & Bistro in Ocala.
You’ll be initially impressed with its elegant furnishings, the elaborate chandelier in the Fireside Lounge and the large, high-backed booths that offer great privacy. But what you’ll love even more is the awesome service, the exquisite food, the extensive wine list and it’s one-of-a-kind wine sampling system.
“If you like wine, it’s like being a kid in a candy store,” said David Lewis, Cuvee’s general manager, noting the restaurant offers 104 different bottles of wine, both domestic and international.
Indeed, you can’t help but notice its unique wine sampling stations throughout the restaurant. Here’s how the sampling works: You purchase a card with a pre-determined amount on it and then use that card to purchase samples of wine at the various stations. You can purchase 1-ounce or 2.5-ounce samples or enjoy a typical 5-ounce glass. Or you can order the whole bottle if you like.
At the sampling stations, there’s a label with each bottle of wine that lists the name and type of wine, the year it was bottled, its country of origin, along with a description and prices for the samples. Like this one from the Chateau De Sancerre, a 2010 Sauvignon Blanc: “Fresh and lively in the mouth with good body and a long finish.”
But wait, you say, I’m just a wine novice. How would I possibly know which ones I should sample? Ah, that’s where your knowledgeable server comes in. “I’ve sampled every wine we have,” said our server Dana Buckler. “I can help you find a wine you’ll love in three glasses.”
I like his confidence and enthusiasm. Sampling all the wine, it turns out, is part of his job as the restaurant wants all of its servers to be knowledgeable about the wine and food it serves. That’s a great practice.
So if you’re not sure what you would like, your server can point you in the right direction and offer a wine to complement your menu choices. On this Thursday evening, there were plenty of people milling about, glasses in hand, braving it on their own. It’s just part of the Cuvee experience.
Check out August 2012 issue to read the rest of this food experience.
Ever been to Cuvee Wine & Bistro in Ocala? Let us know in our comment section.