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Fine flavors: Mercantile Wine Bar offers varieties from around the world

Mercantile Wine Bar guests can order an artisanal charcuterie and cheese board that includes pickled vegetables, olives and almonds. (Courtesy of Douglas Merriam)

Wine has a way of relaxing the mind and easing the soul.

Add savory small bites and a fire pit and you have the ultimate evening. Mercantile Wine Bar inside the Sawmill Market is making that experience possible.

“It’s a great spot,” said Mark Montoya, general manager of Sawmill Market. “We have a killer wine list. We have about 30 wines by the glass. We use a Coravin system, so we have some higher-end wines that we also pour. … It is a great place to make a reservation, even if you just want to come in and have a cheese board, a charcuterie board and a glass of wine before you have dinner in Flora (Mexican restaurant) or have dinner in one of our other spaces.”

The wine bar, at 1909 Bellamah NW, offers wines from around the world at reasonable prices in 3-and 6-ounce pours or by the bottle.

“We have a lot of great California wines, but we do try to have a variety of wines from around the world,” Montoya said. “We’ve got some Old World wines, and we recently brought on some cool wines from Australia, South America and from Chile. What we try to do with our wines is, especially right now, is to have wines that are kind of exciting and fun, but also at a price point that you’re not breaking the bank to try these cool wines.”

Montoya said value was of the upmost importance when it comes to creating wine lists.

Mercantile Wine Bar inside Sawmill Market offers a Tarte Flambe, an Alsatian-style flatbread with blue cheese, seedless grapes, creme fraiche and onion to pair with its wines. (Courtesy of Douglas Merriam)

“When we put our list together, we definitely look for wines that have that value to where we don’t have to charge $200 for a bottle,” he said. “Where you can come in and get a nice bottle of wine for $30 or $45 on up. So we keep that in mind, especially now. We’ve noticed people are looking to have a good time and get out of their houses, but they’re also a little more price cautious, so we try to work with our distributors and look for those nice wines that have a lot of big bang for the buck.”

The wine bar is offering a tasting with Italian Magnum wines paired with small tapa-style bites, according to Montoya. There are more small tastings in the works.

“We’re kind of looking into doing some theme winery events and tastings where we’ll pair with some of the wineries,” he said. “… We’re working on some of those things. We’ve done a few and we’ve had a great turnout. With COVID, it’s been a little difficult to do those types of events. We’re still trying to do as many fun, cool things that we can.”

On Saturdays and Sundays, guests can enjoy brunch with Italian prosecco or upgrade to a bottle of Champagne for not much more.

“Basically on the weekends is we do the Mercantile Cafe menu,” Montoya said. “(The menu has) a roasted vegetable omelet. We have a crispy rice bowl that has two poached eggs on it. We have a killer breakfast sandwich and then the French toast, and on the weekends chef will do a special, like we’ve done different styles of eggs Benedict. We’ve done some breakfast wraps that are served with a little spring mix salad. We try to keep it fresh, but definitely the full cafe menu is available during the brunches and there’s always three or four specials each weekend.”

Reservations for the wine bar are encouraged and can be made on the Yelp Waitlist app.

“We’ve been getting a lot of reservations, so we recommend people to book ahead early,” Montoya said. “There’s are some patio (seating) for the wine bar, and there’s a really cool fire pit up front that we have on seven nights a week, and that also has a built-in heater. So we’ll definitely continue to seat people outside throughout the winter. And then inside, the tables are spaced out 6 feet and to the guidelines, you know, the 25% guidelines, so we definitely recommend people make reservations, because with the space, we definitely sell out quite a bit.”

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