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About this Episode

Grace Hood, wine educator and certified sommelier, and Robert Tas visit Arroyo Chop House in Pasadena. This restaurant offers the finest traditions of the classic American steakhouse, and is a popular location for business dinners, special-occasion dining, and after-work handcrafted cocktails. In addition to a few stellar wine suggestions, Grace also explains why the barrel used in aging chardonnay makes a difference.

 Wines reviewed include:

 ●  2011 Sea Spray Blanc de Noir

●  Gran Moraine from the Willamette Valley

●  2016 Foxen from Santa Maria Valley

Transcript: Arroyo Chop House


RT: Hello and Welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where we will review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Grace Hood, wine educator and certified sommelier. Hello Grace, it’s great to have you!

GH: Hey Robert! Happy to be here as always.

RT Before we jump in, let’s talk about those wine lists. We created CorkRules to help demystify wine list’s because we know from experience, that sometimes when we get that list handed to us, well… it can be intimating, and even a little daunting.

Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, or value wines or that special bottle that will take your dining experience over the top.

RT: So, Grace today we’re chatting about Pasadena’s modern steak house, Arroyo Chop House. What are your initial thoughts?

GH: So, my brother lives in Pasadena, and I had no idea this place existed! But looking at the food and wine menu, I’m definitely going to make it a point to dine there next I’m visiting him. Hi Spencer! haha

RT: What’s better than a great meal shared with your family? I love it. Now we’ve talked about a lot of steakhouses on CorkRules. Anything that makes this one stand out from the rest.

GH: Yeah so they herald themselves as “a modern take on a classic American steak house” and I did get that sense from their menus. It def has a fresh approach as opposed to the often times antiquated vibes of the old school steak houses.  

RT: I can totally see that. We’re always going to love the classics, but it’s nice to see some modern concepts becoming just as successful. What kind of approach do they have to this wine list?

GH: Honestly, the first thing I noticed was that it’s super affordable! A lot of the whites are under $100 and even the reds are super approachable around $150ish. Of course, there are some stunners and big baller bottles on the list, given that it is a steakhouse in a rather affluent neighborhood. They do have a focus on California but also have a small selection of international wines too. Something for everyone for sure!

RT: Love that! Gives people more incentive to get out of their comfort zone and try some new bottles. Should we start with sparkling as always?

MV: I mean twist my arm why don’t you Robert hahaha they have a great selection of both domestic sparkling and French champagne. If you wanted to do something really special, I would grab a bottle of 2011 Sea Spray which is a blanc de noir from the famous and highly allocated Sea Smoke, out of the Central Coast region of California. This winery is so small production and so sought after that it doesn’t have a tasting room and doesn’t even sell in stores. You basically have to be on the allocation list if want this wine, especially their sparkling. Most people know Sea Smoke for their incredible pinots, but if you’re know, then you know they make amazing sparklings from that pinot noir as well.

RT: Oh, that’s awesome. I have heard of Sea Smoke but like many, I didn’t know they made sparkling. Will def have to put that on the try list. Now what about some whites?

GH: On the lighter side, they have a really lovely Sauv blanc from Ladera – I remember that being one of the first California sauv blancs I had and it was really aromatic and refreshing. Then if you wanted to do some chardonnay, I would go with the one from Gran Moraine from the Willamette Valley 

RT: I remember in another episode, you were talking about the difference between California Chardonnays and Oregon Chardonnays. It’s the barrels mainly correct?

GH: Yes, that’s partially right! The type of barrel used will really play a huge part in how a wine will end up tasting. So those buttery oaky flavors you get in California Chardonnay is from the new American oak that they use. As opposed to the subtle nuances of French oak that they used in Oregon Chardonnays.  

RT: I love it. Different chardonnays for different palates. Now Grace since we’re at a steak house we’re definitely going to have to talk reds! What’s sticking out to you?

GH: If we’re thinking pinot noir, which tbh I always am haha I would grab the 2016 Foxen from Santa Maria Valley. Definitely one of the central Coast's premiere pinots. They’ve also got two vintages of the SeaSmoke if you wanted to try their pinot noir as well as sparkling   

 RT: Oh, Yum a whole Sea Smoke tasting sounds delicious. Now you know I love my big bold reds, what would you pair with Arroyo Chophouses award-winning steaks?

GH: Well you know my rule about big tannic wines – the older the better! And Arroyo Chophouse did not disappoint with their selection of older affordable reds. They have a 1999 Freemark Abbey cabernet from Napa valley which I would LOVE to try – if anyone orders it, DM me at wines with grace and tell me how it was hahah   

RT: Oh, same here. Sounds delicious! Grace thanks so much again for helping us navigate the wine list at Pasadena's Arroyo Chophouse. To our audience, Thank you all for Joining us here on CorkRules.  If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to: Info@CorkRules.Com or visit our web website where we have a request form available and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quickly as possible.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists. Follow us on social media @CorkRules and @wineswithgrace

And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.

Thank you.







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