Three Bottles, One Shop is a series in which we take a peek into an L.A. wine shop and ask the owner to pick and describe three great bottles on offer. Have a shop you'd like to see featured? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first thing that might strike you upon entering Barsha Wines and Spirits in Manhattan Beach is that it does not look like most wine shops. It feels light and airy, with architectural and industrial design pieces paired with colorful Tunisian folk art. Cheeky puppets hang from panels made from reclaimed antique barn doors and wine paraphernalia for sale is displayed in a huge metal structure that came from an old hardware store in Ohio. Vibrant pillows decorate a comfy lounge near the side windows. On one side of the space, long wooden tables take up about a third of the store -- in case you feel like sitting, sipping and indulging in some cheese and charcuterie after shopping.
Barsha is mainly a retail store, but that side element is also a huge part of its personality. Husband-and-wife owners Adnen and Lenora Marouani came from the restaurant business; Adnen, a native of Tunisia, owned restaurants in Hermosa Beach and Pasadena before moving to Las Vegas. There he met Lenora, where she was working as a cook at Guy Savoy.
When they returned to L.A., they wanted to do something that had aspects of the restaurant industry but "without 20 busboys and three bartenders," Adnen says. He had been focusing on wine in his career, and so they decided to open a wine shop and tasting room. So you can buy wine here, but also sit, drink and nibble. Barsha's cheese selection alone is worth stopping in for, with a mainly domestic list of lesser-known cheeses. If you particularly like one, you can buy it from the cold case in the shop to take home.
Barsha is coming up on its first anniversary. The shop has three areas of focus: Italy, Southern France and what Adnen calls "the good California cabs and pinots." It also has a highly curated selection of spirits, with a focus on small-production American whiskey and Scotch.
On the day I was there, the back of the store was full of neatly tied brown paper bags with little nametags attached -- Barsha has a wine club that's become quite popular, with about 150 members signed up just in the first year. This month, the club focuses on Spanish varietals grown in California. Membership also gets you 20% off in the tasting room.
We asked Adnen to pick three bottles he loves right now on sale at Barsha. For his picks, as well as more photos of the shop, turn the page.
Firriato Ribeca Perricone, 2010, Sicily, Italy. $39.99
"This is like the little brother of Nero d'Avola. Only a few hundred cases came into the state. It's something I often give to people to take them a little out of their comfort zone, and then they come back in asking for it."
Domaine Laporte Pouilly-Fume Les Duchesses, 2010, Loire, France. $22
"I love this wine because you can drink it by itself, but it's also great with swordfish or salmon, it has the personality to go very well with food."
Virage Bordeaux Blend, 2007, Napa. $44.99.
"I love cab franc, and this is 71% cab franc. It has bright fruit, is a little earthy, the tannins are there but they're soft. It has a wonderful, persistent finish. It's the best of old world and new world wines, together."
See also: Three Bottles, One Shop: Domaine L.A.
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