California Pizza Kitchen wine tastings

I was at a Californa Pizza Kitchen last month and not intending to have wine with my food, I went ahead and had a small serving any way – since they were free.

Trying to get ahead of other casual dining chain restaurants, CPK has launched its new redesigned wine list nationwide and looking to start a new “wine culture” at its restaurants.

To give diners a glimpse they are offering free wine tastings to diners ages 21 and over. Each week two featured wines are chosen and offered as tastings.

The selection of wines were handpicked by the restaurant’s co-founders/co-CEOs Rick Rosenfield and Larry Flax. Most selections on the new list are priced under $10 for a glass but still considered high quality for their price.

The selection includes:                                 

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-Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Chardonnay

-Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay

-Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio

-La Crema Pinot Noir

-Stags’ Leap Merlot

At my visit, I tried the pinot grigio, a white wine for those unfamiliar with wine, and the pinot noir, a red.

I’m not big on white wines and even though the Santa Margherita was tasty and a little woodsy, it was too sweet for my wine taste.

The La Crema pinot was nice and smooth for a more dry and bitter wine but it had the right amount of dryness which is not easily accomplished in many reds.

It’s nice to see CPK step it up to compete with the many smaller upscale restaurants that are more able to switch up their wine offerings. I wonder if they’ll also start offering pairing suggestions too.

Now, can I just have a truly small side salad for like $3 with my pasta? Please….

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