Brian McClintic and Eric Railsback may be accomplished sommeliers, but they're also pretty savvy about marketing themselves and their new Santa Barbara venture Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant.
The first week they opened the shop in early August the two hosted the annual Santa Barbara County Wine Futures tasting—and 50 or so winemakers without a hitch. How can you not want to patronize a wine shop that offers a "Riesling and Ramen" night?
McClintic was one of the four Master Sommelier hopefuls in the documentary SOMM. And on Nov. 1, Les Marchands will be hosting Level I and II Master Sommelier courses and examinations in Santa Barbara.
They're also just now launching the SOMM Series Wine Club from Les Marchands, which is quite a bit more upscale than most such clubs. "Join this elusive group of Master Sommeliers as they unlock their knowledge," reads a description of the club on their website. Subscribers to the club won't get just bottles but also the Master Sommelier's "personal hand-written tasting notes, wine descriptions, and recommended food pairings."
You can sign up at two levels: the SOMM Seasonal Package, which brings you three wines each month for three months at $109 for each shipment, plus shipping and tax; or the SOMM Annual Package, which means three wines each month for a year at $99 per shipment, plus shipping and tax.
They must be expecting a big run on this because the signup period closes Oct. 10, with shipments beginning Oct. 21. Actually, it's because many of the wines they're picking for the club are highly allocated. If you're interested, better move on it. A membership could make a suitable gift for a fledgling wine geek.