Dining » Food & Drink

Achaia Clauss Demestica Red

3122 Watson Road


This column was supposed to be about Spiro's Greek Margarita. We were all set to say how the drink was a tug-of-war of flavors between the ouzo and the tequila (two liquors we'd never thought about pairing), the ouzo ultimately winning out. We were going to describe Spiro's décor as something out of a movie set, a place that'd be denoted in the script as, simply, "A Greek Restaurant." All the elements are in place: the egg-white walls bedecked with framed photos of Greece, the space itself divided into two sections by a partial wall interspersed with Doric columns. Even our tuxedoed waiter (who's shaped kind of like a lowercase "b" and whose charming accent made "margarita" sound more like "mar-ga-ray-ta") was impeccable in his supporting role of Greek Restaurant Waiter #1.

We were going to say that though we liked it, our Greek Margarita was too overpowering for us to finish, even though it came in a snifter and wasn't particularly huge. We were even going to gripe a little about how long it seemingly took for our check to arrive. We have places to go — how could Spiro's not know that?

But that's not what we're going to say. Because before we can ask for our check, Greek Restaurant Waiter #1 asks if it's our first time visiting the restaurant. We say yes. He offers us a dessert or an after-dinner drink courtesy of the owner. We think about the people we're supposed to catch up with tonight. We're late already, so what the hell. We accept his offer, opting for glass of Greek red wine.

When Nick, the owner, comes over to thank us for coming in, it's immediately clear that he takes a lot of pride in Spiro's food and drink: He asks what we had ordered and if there are other things on the menu we'd like to try. We thank him for the wine, an Achaia Clauss Demestica Red. And without knowing who we are (Drink of the Week boozes incognito), he tells us a bit about the table wine's production and history. Nick tells us the grape in the Achaia Clauss Demestica Red is grown in the craggy landscape of Greece, whose climate, terrain and rainfall is so different than that of California or France, that it results in a fruit that lends the wine a sweet, agreeable, dry finish.

Over the next several minutes, we learn that Spiro's uses grain-fed livestock from Colorado rather than New Zealand. (Tick, tick, tick, goes our mental clock.) Then Nick tells us that some of their product — including the Achaia Clauss — comes from Manzo Importing Company on Devonshire Avenue, near his childhood home (tick, tick). And then he grows a bit nostalgic for south city living, saying that, after moving to the county, it took him a long time to get used to the quiet streets devoid of buses rumbling past his home, their vibrations gently shaking his bed every few minutes. One topic of conversation easily rolls into the next, like the hills in the pictures of seaside Greek villas above our head. We stop calculating how late we are. This is good stuff.

So Spiro's pace isn't the same as our own. This turns out to be its greatest asset.

Got a drink suggestion? E-mail kristie.mcclanahan@riverfronttimes.com.