Au Natural

As he tips the bottle of Du Grappin Rosé, a French natural wine from the Beaujolais-Villages region, into a glass, Nate Cohen talks excitedly about how weird it is to have a 2016 vintage Rosé in 2021. “Rosé is meant to kind of just turn and burn relatively quick and when summertime comes, vineyards release everything and it’s gone. You rarely find some stuff that has a few years on it, but when you do, it’s fun,” says Cohen, the beverage director for the new bar inside Elroy’s Fine Foods.

The “fun” Rosé is one of several found behind the bar and on the shelves at Elroy’s, which claims to have the largest selection of natural wine on the Peninsula. Jay and Chloe Dolata opened what they call their “uncommon market” last August, as the second surge of the pandemic was taking hold.

At the center of Elroy’s, both physically and philosophically, sits this clean, chic bar. It has operated as a full-service coffee, tea and smoothie bar since the shop opened. The bar’s other identity – a local craft beer and hand-selected natural wine bar – has been buried under pandemic restrictions. That changed as the state shed restrictions on June 15. Customers can still get coffee, but now they can also sit down for a glass of wine or a pint.

The bar-inside-grocery-store is a rare concept but Chelsea Davey, who runs customer service, says it was at the heart of Elroy’s design. The market has its Elroy’s Wine Trust. For $100 per month, they send members three bottles of wine selected by Cohen, and host tastings at the market.

Christopher Neely covers a mixed beat that includes the environment, water politics, and Monterey County's Board of Supervisors. He began at the Weekly in 2021 after five years on the City Hall beat in Austin, TX.

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