Review: Pourtal Wine Tasting Bar

I popped into Pourtal, right at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica after my Beaujolais tasting hosted by the American Sommelier Association's 2009 Best Sommelier, Michael Engelmann, at Jiraffe a few weeks ago.

This little wine bar is part of the trend of installing stainless steel enomatic machines that dispense tastes of a variety of wines so you don't have to commit to a full glass. Lavinia in Paris, which I wrote about last month, is more of a wine shop, but it's the same concept. The only problem for Pourtal is that there is another similar wine bar on Main Street, just a few blocks away, doing the same thing. That one is called Salute, and is more of a loungey-hangout kind of place, whereas Pourtal is cozy and bar-like. Both have small plates menus, though Salute's is larger. I liked the wine selection at Pourtal better, and their enomatic offerings change every month or so, so I think I'm leaning towards it as my favorite. I think I'll have to go back and try both several more times before I'm sure though!