major wine discounts

Houston restaurants offer wines and beer to-go at unprecedented discounts

Houston restaurants offer wines and beer to-go at massive discounts

La Grande Rue wine discount sign
La Grande Rue is one place selling wine at a serious discount. La Grande Rue/Facebook

The mandated closure of dining rooms has some restaurants seeking different formats to raise revenue. In addition to selling food to-go, some establishments are offering their wine and beer inventory at unprecedented discounts of as much as 50 percent.

Whether people are looking to stock their cellars or just to make dinner at home a little more special, these offers provide oenophiles and beer lovers with the opportunity to drink something they couldn’t typically find at a traditional retail shop. Beer drinkers have the opportunity to fill growlers with special draft-only brews. 

Per TABC regulations, restaurants may sell wine to-go only if someone also purchases food, but the regulations don’t require any sort of minimum quantity. Here are a few options from this growing trend. 

Backstreet Cafe 
The Houston classic has marked down its entire list to “at or below retail levels,” according to Sean Beck, beverage director for H Town Restaurant Group. In addition to individual bottles, Beck will also put together 6 and 12-packs for customers starting at $120. Call 713-521-2239 for more information.

  • 2018 Boya Leyda Valley, Chile, $18: Juicy, vivacious and joyful rose made from Pinot Noir. It’s got the classic salmon hue, bone dry texture with prime citrus and red fruit. It’s sustainably farmed and delivers far beyond the price.
  • 2016 Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles, California, $26: Paso has been hot on Napa’s tail for years. They are really dialed in on making Cabernet that is powerful, yet smooth. This steal from Vina Robles is black in color and full of dense cherry, touches of chocolate, black plum and balanced oak.
  • NV Adami ‘Garbel’ Prosecco Treviso, Italy, $24: One of the best producers in Prosecco. This isn’t bubble gum, fizzy juice. This is elegant bubbles, off creamy texture and clean, refreshing power.

Doris Metropolitan 
Sommelier Lexey Johnson is selling most of the steakhouse’s wine inventory at 50 percent off the list price. That means Champagne fans can take home a bottle of 2000 Dom Perignon P2 with two etched champagne flutes for just over $300 (regularly $625). She also recommends the Terlan Gries, an Italian red, and Vineyard 29, a California Zinfandel that’s usually $200.

Carnivores may also inquire about raw steak or whole primals from the restaurant’s dry-aging cabinet.

The Flying Saucer 
The downtown craft beer bar is offering 64-ounce growler fills for $20, which represents approximately a 30-percent discount off regular pricing. In addition, all bottles of wine are $13 or six for $65 and packaged beers are discounted approximately 25 percent. Manager Joshua Justice points out that Prairie Weekend Imperial Stout would usually cost about $70 for a growler, but it’s currently available for $20 (while it lasts).

La Grande Rue/Savoir  
The restaurant and wine shop in the Heights is selling its inventory at 40 percent off. Sommelier Emily Tolbert identified a few wines from each establishment that wine fans should consider.

  • NV Georges Laval Brut Nature, $93: The grower Champagnes of Georges Laval are not to be missed if looking to splurge on something truly remarkable. The grapes are grown and sourced from the family’s estate in premier cru designated Cumieres, they are grown organically, and in total produce small production, low intervention, balanced, finessed, thought provoking, yet incredibly quaffable wines that truly reflect the unique terroir of the area.
  • 2009 Colet Navazos NV “Reserva” Extra Brut Cava, $34: Made from 100-percent Chardonnay, this wine is rich, opulent, super nutty, yet finessed and balanced. If you like Krug but not the Krug price tag, this wine is a must.

2017 Stolpman Vineyards “Combe” Trousseau, $38: Trousseau is a red grape variety that originated in Eastern France and produces a light to medium bodied, fruity, vibrant, and fleshy wine. This wine is no different, and when it’s made by two of some of the most talented winemakers in California (Raj Parr and Pete Stolpman), you know this wine will not only be very well made, but it will reflect the place and have impeccable varietal expression. Now that it’s officially Spring and the weather is warmer, this is a perfect red to match. With a little chill on it, it’s one of my favorites to sip or have with food.

Penny Quarter/Public Services/Squable
Wines from all three of these lists overseen by sommelier Justin Vann are available for 50-percent off their regular prices. In addition to providing the following recommendations, Vann notes that Theodore Rex, another list he helps curate, is 15-percent off.

Penny Quarter

  • NV Field Recordings "Hopped Pet Nat,” $25 (approximately): This dry california sparkling chardonnay has pretty delicious, approachable flavors, but worth noting that this is an exception to my hatred of adding hops to things other than beer. It has this really juicy tropical fruit thing going on that cannot be ignored.
  • 2016 Domaine de Roally Vire Clesse Macon Chardonnay, $25 (approximately): Overperforming classic white burgundy. This is big, and has new oak flavors, but really satisfying.

Public Services

  • 2018 Mosse "Overmars" Chenin Blanc, $38: This is one of the greatest orange wines I've ever tasted in my life. It's highly allocated to Texas, and somehow we still have 4 bottles left.
  • 2018 Envinate "Lousas" Ribera Sacra, $38: Ultra classic expression of the Mencia grape in ribera sacra.

Squable

  • 2018 Elio Altare Langhe Nebbiolo, $27.50: This is barolo on a budget. Modern style Nebbiolo from Silvia Altare. Incredible.
  • 2018 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie, $27.50: A very full bodied expression of a typically light wine. CldR has always been a value driven standby.

Vic & Anthony’s 
The downtown steakhouse has an extensive selection of Bordeaux, Burgundy, and wines from California, especially Cabernet from Napa Valley. Wine manager Charles Kirkwood points out rare gems like the 2002 Cobalt and 1989 Mayacamas as opportunities for collectors. He’s even willing to part with a 1928 Château d'Yquem.

“Ninety-year-old wine retail, it just doesn’t exist in Texas generally, really anywhere unless you’re in New York or San Francisco,” Kirkwood tells CultureMap. “It’s a pretty neat opportunity to get wine that’s ready to drink and take it home.” 

Brasserie du Parc/Étoile
Both of chef Philippe Verpiand and Monica Bui's restaurants are currently offering wine at 50-percent off its list price. In addition, both restaurants are offering curbside to-go and delivery within 5-miles of their locations.

Rainbow Lodge
The Houston classic is offering its wines at 50-percent off list price. To-go customers who pick up their orders will receive a $20 gift card good for their next visit. Call 713-861-8666 to order or to speak with sommelier Marc Borel about the wine list.