In the business district by Porter Hospital, Little’s Wine and Spirits’ diverse inventory is meant to intrigue. The wine manager and certified sommelier, Ashley Hausman, is intent on sparking customers’ interest in wine. The placement of items and choices are meant to create that first sensational taste experience, thereby prompting a return visit and a dialogue about wine. Yet, the selection is engaging for veteran wine drinkers too.
Directly inside the door, across from the cash register, is a rack marked “12 for under $12.” These are good value choices, some from familiar wine producing areas, such as California and France. Others are from far flung wine regions like South Africa, or little known Italian or French areas. You will find unusual varietals such as Ugni Blanc, Torrontes, Touriga-Nacional, or possibly Carignan.
This diversity continues throughout the store with boutique and artisanal wine makers, as well as widely available vintners. For example, there is a good representation of Colorado wines, several bottles of Austria’s Gruner Vetliners, and a vertical tasting, six bottle case, of Robert Mondavi wines from 1991-96. In addition to typical offerings, the champagne section holds interesting choices such as a Cremant de Loire, a sparkling shiraz from Australia, and a sparkling Argentinian wine made from 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay blend.
Hausman highlighted bottles from Spain’s R. Lopez de Heredia’s Vinos Finos de Rioja. These are Old World wines made in Spain using traditional methods. She finds these compelling because "These are artisan. You can really taste what a Rioja was like in the 19th century.” The wine maker holds the bottles for years, until the wine has matured. Once it shows the appropriate bottle aging, it is released for commercial distribution. The wines available here were from 1999, 2000, and 2001. Yes, the shop offers an interesting, diverse inventory.
Little’s commits to customer education by hosting two weekly tastings 4-7PM Fridays and 3-7PM Saturdays. Three weeks of each month, attendees can taste 3 wines and 1 craft beer. Once a month, the focus is on the store’s large selection of craft and artisanal beer.
All efforts center on the belief that wine is best enjoyed in context, such as “geography, culture, and winemaking techniques.” Sign up to learn more through Little’s email newsletter. It provides informative articles and wine/food pairing ideas with both New World and Old World wines. Or engage Hausman to develop a personalized tasting based on your interests. She can give you examples of past offerings, such as a representative tasting of the different wine regions of Spain.
The store offers a Saturday errand discount of 10% off an entire purchase between 11AM -3PM. Discounts offered all the time are 5% off ½ case and 10% off a full case of wine.
When asked for two exceptional bottles around $15, Hausman selected the following:
Domaine Allimant-Laugner, Pinot Blanc 2007 Alsace, France $16.99
Danjean-Berthoux, Domaine du Moulin Neuf, Bourgogne, Pinot Noir 2007 France $15
Stop by. See if you can resist selecting one or two bottles from the wine offered here.
Little’s Wine and Spirits
2390 South Downing St
Denver CO 80218
303 744 3457