Wine Bar George today confirmed what Orlando Wine Blog first reported a week ago — the long-awaited – and long-delayed – Disney Springs establishment will open this Saturday, May 19 with its full wine list and food menu ready to go. Doors will open at 5pm; regular opening hours (11am-2am) will kick off the following day.

Wine Bar George Exterior by Natasia Lynn
Photo credit: Natasia Lynn

The venue will be helmed by Master Sommelier and Disney alum George Miliotes. Back in the mid-90s, he helped open Disney’s California Grill; he returns to WDW with his eponymous wine bar, boasting what quite probably will be the most extensive by-the-glass wine list in metro Orlando.

Here’s your first look!

The bar-restaurant will offer more than 130 eclectic selections by the glass, representing over 40 grape varietals. Of those, thirty are high-end, rare, and vintage wines that will be available in one- and three-ounce pours too.

Glass prices range from $8 … to $500. Yes, you read that right. If you’re so inclined, you can pay $500 for a glass (or $84 for an ounce) of 1988 Chateau Margaux from Bordeaux. Most offerings, however, hover around the mid-high teens.

Appealing to Disparate Audiences

Miliotes had a fine line to walk when he created this list. He had to satisfy the tourists who’ll stumble in with screaming kids in tow, as well as the oenophiles, wine collectors, and wine industry folks for whom the establishment – Florida’s only Master Somm-led wine bar – will be a destination.

George Miliotes Headshot
Master Sommelier George Miliotes. Photo courtesy Wine Bar George

For the harried tourists who don’t want to spend their vacations studying wine, there are plenty of familiar options like Kendall-Jackson chardonnay and Chateau Ste. Michelle merlot.

The wine geek crowd, however, will surely gravitate to the “outstanding by the ounce” sections of the list.

There are some truly intriguing selections there that I can’t wait to try. The 2013 Edi Simcic rebula from Slovenia, 1998 Chateau Musar from Lebanon, and 2009 Trimbach Clos Sainte Hune riesling from Alsace are highest on my list.

It’s also pretty cool that the wine on tap program includes Bonny Doon’s Clos du Gilroy Grenache and that the sparkling selections include Janz rosé from Tazmania and Digby brut from Sussex.

Unexplained Idiosyncrasies

Still, there are aspects of the list that I find confounding.

Most of the selections are organized by grape. In some categories, it seems Miliotes is aiming to provide a comprehensive overview of varietal expressions across different regions:

  • Sauvignon blancs from Loire (France), Chile, Sonoma, Napa, and New Zealand
  • Rieslings from Mosel (Germany), Kamptal (Austria), Alsace (France), Australia, Finger Lakes, and Washington.

But in others, the selections seem focused on just one region:

  • Three gamays, all from – or near – Beaujolais’ Morgon cru
  • Three malbecs, all from Argentina.

Also, the significant wines and wine regions of the world seem to be unevenly represented. For example, the list includes:

  • Six Bordeaux but only two Rhones
  • Only one Barolo and one Brunello
  • No Cahors or Chinon.

Do these idiosyncrasies represent Miliotes’ personal tastes (maybe he really loves Bordeaux and he’s not a Rhone fan)? Is he divining the preferences of the buying public? Or is he trying to teach us something about wine that I can’t yet understand?

Miliotes has so far rebuffed my interview requests, but I hope someday we can sit down over a few glasses of something fun, and he can explain the thinking behind his choices. I’ll bet it’s pretty fascinating.

 

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