Stella for star
Tilman Fertitta's luxe hotel uncorks comfortable new wine bar with major somm talent
One of Houston's most luxurious hotels has added a new option for wine lovers. Over the weekend, the Post Oak Hotel opened Stella's Wine Bar, which provides oenophiles with a new destination for enjoying the property's almost $5 million in wine inventory.
Located near the hotel's ballroom, The Post Oak converted part of its 29 North retail shop into Stella's. The intimate space seats about 30 inside with a 40-seat patio that features a pergola and a 13-foot olive tree. Overall, the space has a rustic look with plenty of wine racks and a wall of coolers displaying some of its selection of wine, cheese, and charcuterie. It serves as either a pre or post-dinner option for those dining on the hotel property as well as a destination in its own right.
Part of what sets Stella's apart is the talent of its sommelier team. Master sommelier Keith Goldston oversees the wine selections for the property, which includes the Post Oak Hotel as well as Mastro's Steakhouse and Wille G's Seafood. Julie Dalton, an advanced sommelier who won Houston's prestigious Iron Sommelier competition in 2018, moved from Mastro's to serve as Stella's wine director.
“No other wine concept in Houston offers our level of talent,” Dalton said in a statement. “The combination of knowledge and approachability from our sommelier team is what makes us a unique destination.”
That talented team can help customers select from 60 by-the-glass selections that draw from more than 30 wine-producing regions. Dalton has created a number of different flights that allow people to taste through some under-the-radar selections; options include a sparkling wine flight; the "E.L.O." flight that will "create an electric light orchestra on your palate" (singing "Don't Bring Me Down" is optional); and even three Malbecs selected by Dalton's fellow Iron Somm winner Sean Beck, beverage director for the H-Town Restaurant Group.
Food options are what someone would expect to find at a bar wine such as snacks, sliders, and flatbreads. The eight cheeses and seven charcuterie options can be combined on boards of four, six, or eight different choices. They include house made duck rillettes, prosciutto, Spanish chorizo, Redneck Cheddar (made with Lone Star beer), Mountain Maple brie from Texas, and more.
Of course, Post Oak Hotel owner Tilman Fertitta has put his touch on the concept. It takes its name from the Fertitta family's pet pig Stella (apologies for getting the hopes up of any fans of A Streetcar Named Desire). Pigs are said to be intelligent, inquisitive, and social, according to a release.
“We strived to create a casual yet sophisticated, social bistro for wine enthusiasts of all levels,” Post Hotel general manger Steven Chou said. “Whether gathering for pre-dinner wine or ending the evening with a nightcap, Stella’s Wine Bar is a delightful setting to sit, relax and imbibe the most sought-after wineries from around the world.”