On any given night, Augustine, a new Sherman Oaks wine bar, opens about a dozen impeccably preserved older-vintage bottles. How old is old? How about a 24-year-old Hanzell chardonnay? Or assuming you were born in 1966, consider a glass of Château Figeac St. émilion from that year to celebrate your next birthday (yes, there’s a ’66 here). These wines aren’t cheap—most cost between $25 and $50 a glass—but they’re still undervalued. “We want these wines to go to good homes,” says co-owner Dave Gibbs, who sounds like a purveyor of kittens until he thrusts a 1961 Ducru Beaucaillou St. Julien under your nose. The exquisite bordeaux costs $75 a glass here—a wine you can’t get for less than $950 a bottle in California. Pedigreed St. Julien is frequently awesome upon release. But like so many of the world’s great wines, its transportive powers don’t kick in until it’s been cellared for years, polishing tannins, shedding fruit and fat, edging ever closer to the harmony it was meant to express. In the past, only a few could shell out the dough necessary to acquire a taste for these wines. With the opening of Augustine, almost anyone (and maybe a friend with whom to split that $75 glass) can appreciate the miracle of time.
Augustine Wine Bar, 13456 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-990-0938