|Craving Cocktails Rating||
The Wine Cellar at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is home to one of the most impressive public wine collections in the United States. Public though it may be, homey is the operative word here. With and old-world feel, a musty smell, supple leather couches and soft lighting, the soothing atmosphere harkens back to a grander time. This 17-year-old hidden gem is the single most impressive wine bar and collection we have ever seen.
At any given time The Wine Cellar showcases approximately 10,000 bottles including rare museum pieces like a bottle of 1800 Madeira from the cellar of Thomas Jefferson or the 1855 to 1990 vertical collection of Chateau d’Yquem valued at $1.2 million. The shelves are filled with highly collectible labels from around the world such as Italy’s Sassicia or Australia’s Penfold’s Grange. The Wine Cellar has a fantastic selection of everyday wines too.
The real secret behind the long term success of The Wine Cellar is its sommelier, Hung Nguyen. Originally from Vietnam, Hung’s family settled in the San Francisco Bay area. While in college Hung started working in restaurants part time. About ten years ago Hung received a call from a friend asking him to drive to Napa Valley for a wine tasting. Hung’s live was changed forever that day as he found his true calling.
Hung started out in an entry level position at an upscale restaurant in San Francisco eventually working his way up to Maitre’ D. He drove to Napa Valley every week for wine tastings continuing his education. Soon thereafter Hung was invited to move to Las Vegas and be the Maitre’ D at Crustacean. While performing his new duties in Las Vegas, Hung simultaneously attended the International Wine Sommelier School finishing Levels 1 and 2. Currently he is working on Level 3.
Hung has been the manager at The Wine Cellar at the Rio for the last five years where he also assists with the wine selections for all Rio restaurants. This includes putting together wine menus, wine promotions, training staff, as well as buying all that luscious wine! Hung has also been instrumental in setting up a wine tasting program, promoting wedding receptions at the Wine Cellar and organizing phenomenal five course pairing dinners. The Wine Cellar is set up for both on site consumption and retail customers. With his charming, effervescent personality oozing his passion for wine, Hung has also cultivated a lot of high end customers over the years that come from out of town to purchase wine from him.
On our splendid visit Hung served us three wines; Tait’s Ball Buster Shiraz from Australia, Masi Amarone Costasera Classico from Veneto, Italy and Graham’s Vintage Port from Portugal. All of these were fantastic, but we were so in love with the Australian Shiraz a case of it made its way to my car with Hung’s help and returned to California with us.
Along with the wines Hung prepared a charcuterie board for us which included semi-soft Port Salud from Brittany; two soft-ripened cheeses from France, Tour de Marze Brie and Val de Saone Camembert; two washed-rind cheeses, a Gouda from Holland and my personal favorite Manchego from Spain; two triple cheddar cheeses from the Americas, Grafton from Vermont and Quebec Cheddar, all accompanied by Sopressata salume from Italy. These were served with a basket of freshly baked breads and of course paired perfectly with the wines Hung selected!
Forget the casinos! The Wine Cellar is a jackpot, one-of-a-kind experience offering more than 100 wines by the glass. For a more “up close and personal” experience, guests can sit at the wine bar and get a great education chatting with the wine stewards. Or, you can mellow out on luxurious leather couches while sipping a single malt scotch, port or cognac. We cannot stop talking about what a great time we had with Hung at The Wine Cellar. This will surely be our first and maybe only stop on our next trip to Vegas! Everyone loves to win in Vegas Baby and you can’t lose at The Wine Cellar.
|Happy Hour Details|
|Name of Restaurant||Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino|
|Address||3700 W Flamingo Rd. Las Vegas, Nevada 89103|
|Happy Hour Hours||Monday – Thursday, 4 pm – 10 pm Friday & Saturday, 3 pm – 11 pm Sunday, 3 pm – 10 pm|
|Name of manager||Hung Nguyen|
The Wine Cellar at the Rio All-Suit…
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