Wine Expo. 2933 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA

“I was smitten with the Old World SoCal of WineExpo years ago based on its old school newsletters, filled with raucous descriptions, eclectic music references and food popping up just about every other wine. When I finally got there in 2001, it was a genuine thrill. I can’t recall being in one shop whose dual foci—Italian wines and bubbly—were so broad yet so deep. Humble wines, fancy wines, freak wines… wines with names as long as your arm. The inventory at Wine Expo is not so much assembled as curated. How else to explain the presence of 13 {yes, 13} fizzy reds. The man behind the wines, Roberto Rogness, snags many of these bottlings to be Wine Expo exclusives on pilgrimages to VinItaly. Roberto has been Expo’s wine director since it opened 15 years ago; he only loves one thing more than vino: his customers. If you are into bubbly and/or Italian wine, go to the website right now; cruise the write-ups; check out Roberto’s rants. All it takes is a few clicks to realize that Wine Expo is about as close as you’ll find to a vinous version of Alice’s Wonderland.”

W. R. Tish @The Wine Skewer