We were aghast, horrified, really sad when Heritage Wine Company in Old Town Pasadena, California, suddenly closed its doors for good last winter. Anne’s mom got turned onto sparkling Vouvray at that store – which goes to show just how important a good wine merchant can be.
Which is also why we’re quite pleased with the wine store that has opened in that space – Everson Royce. Actually, the ironically named Everson Royce, since the store is named after the 2-year-old twins sons of co-owners and life partners April Langford and Randy Clement, who own this store and Silver Lake Wine with George Cossette. Nothing like being seriously underage and having a wine store named after you.
We met up with Langford anonymously recently – we don’t want to get any favors – and she told us that she, Clement and Cossette had been wanting to expand for years and grabbed the Pasadena space as soon as things went south with Heritage.
This is going to be a fave stop for us. It has all the hallmarks of a really good wine store. They’re focused on small production wineries, the folks you are not going to see in grocery stores and few other places. At the same time, there’s quite a breadth of offerings from all over the world and at all price points. And they are people-oriented. April was exceedingly helpful and caught on almost immediately to our price point, never pushed us beyond it, and while we didn’t ask for advice about what bottle to buy (which we should have, oops), she was very knowledgeable and was able to answer all our questions.
The selections are a really good mix of French burgundies, California pinot noirs and chardonnays, French reds and whites from Bordeaux, Italian and German offerings plus a wide selection of rosés – one of our faves – and sparkling wines from Champagne and elsewhere in the world of bubblies. There are spirits as well from smaller producers and many are artistinal.
If you’re not in the Pasadena area, you’ll want to find a wine store like this. You don’t need some snob putting down your fave wine columnist – as happened to Anne once – and pushing you towards bottles that you can’t afford. You do want a lot of different options and a store that has a good sense of who they are and what they have to sell.
If you are within reach of Pasadena, then definitely give Everson Royce a try. They’re Sunday and Monday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday – Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. There’s free 90-minute parking in the public garage next door to the store at 155 N. Raymond Avenue – they’re just north of The Amory art center and just across the park from the Memorial Park Gold Line station. You can call them at 626-765-9334 for their tasting schedule as well. Tastings are Tuesday and Friday, 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 2 to 5 p.m.