Browse past the racks of secondhand shirts and dresses, then past a trippy painting of hot dogs and horses, and you'll find one of the best wine lists in Sacramento?
That's right. We're talking about the cafe at Bows & Arrows, a vintage clothing store and art gallery with an independent aesthetic and solid taste in food and wine. Bows & Arrows recently moved to new digs on 19th Street near S Street in midtown and added a cafe to its offerings.
So, after considering a vintage David Bowie T-shirt or secondhand dresses that someone's mom rocked in the 1970s, you can order a $7 glass of 2009 Monpertuis Côtes-du-Rhône. It's a grenache filled with juicy flavor that floats across the palate. And look here, a $6 glass of 2009 Setzer Grüner Veltliner, a white varietal known for its complexity and refreshing character.
The wine list was created by Michele Hebert, a wine columnist for Midtown Monthly who also works in wine sales. You're not going to find any Rombauer chardonnay or similarly full-blown domestic wines here. The offerings are moderate, from easy-to-drink alcohol levels under 14 percent to manageable prices in the $6-to-$9 range. Look for a gamay from Berkeley's Edmunds St. John (with vineyards in El Dorado County) a rare California offering on this list and an Italian biodynamic wine of barbera and dolcetto.
"The gallery at Bows & Arrows is trying to give a home for artists who don't have a lot of representation around town, and I wanted to find a home for the wines, as well," said Hebert.
There's also a refreshing lack of pretension, with wines served in Mason jars and a copy of the Oxford Companion to Wine behind the bar in case customers or staff members have questions.
Coupled with a food program run by Fat Face, including gourmet pop- sicles and fig sliders, Bows & Arrows sure makes vintage retail therapy tasty.
"I'm definitely not a glassware snob and I like how the jars dress down wine a little bit," said Hebert. "Hopefully we're setting a tone that nobody's trying to out-snob each other. People in Sacramento are making leaps and bounds for food, and chefs are challenging customers a little more. I think it's a good time for a wine selection to be more challenging."