I can count the times on one, maybe two hands that I’ve been to 13.5% Wine Bar in the always enjoyable Hampden neighborhood in Baltimore.
That number just went up and is going to continue to go up if each visit is like the last one. Every time I’ve been here I’ve always felt comfortable sitting at the bar outside, whether it’s with people or by myself. The first time I visited was over six years ago, and I came here purposely alone. I loved everything about it, and while company is great, so can be solitude.
This time I had a friend join me, but not before our bartender Mackenzie (big thanks to her for her hospitality and kindness) had me try three wines on the spot. An impromptu tasting will always make me happy. Maybe I made a wish to the universe and three bottles magically showed up.
Here are the three : The 2017 Pato Frio “Cashmere” Rosé; the 2016 Chalk Hill “Wits End” Vermentino, which is a new varietal and grape for me out of Australia, and my favorite the 2016 Three Brooms Riesling.
They’re all good to great with the Riesling having the most character, boldness, and structure. To me it tastes more like a Sauvignon Blanc, and the tasting notes would say the same. I don’t usually appreciate Riesling’s, but this was so good that a few 3 oz. pours would say I truly loved this wine.
Yes, 3 oz. pours make it easier to try multiple wines at even more reasonable prices. I stuck with my Riesling, and kept that momentum going. Even per other recommendations, I wanted to stick with what made me happy.
I haven’t seen these wines sold anywhere near me, so this seems to be the place to have them, for now…
I appreciate the honesty and transparency of what these wines would cost at retail. I don’t recall if I’ve seen menus like this anywhere else. It’s welcome to see. This is new to me, but it’s a detail that’ll keep me coming back.
My friend and I had a good time catching up, talking about important things, talking about absurd things, and then nothing at all. The small plates were great, and in a way symbolizes that the little things are the big things, and that’s what matters.
Something about 13.5 has always brought joy to me. It’s a getaway within a city. If I want to be around people I don’t know, or don’t always see it’s perfect. I like the anonymity and a different part of the city that while I do explore, I don’t explore enough.
The weather was perfect and ideal for sitting outside, but then the chances of a tasting and who knows what else may not have happened. It’s all about location and timing, and I think, no I know, the decisions were made right.
You can’t force these things. You can’t force good times and you can’t force your hand. Being in the right place, at the right time, with a little divine faith is all you need. And the universe will do the rest.
The universe looked out for us here. This was tremendous in all areas.
Rosé and whites have slowly been done, with so many more to try. There’s still the reds. There’s still plenty of time to try them all, but that journey will be done slowly, surely, and effortlessly. Well maybe not too slow.
This is to be continued, as we keep that momentum…