Why did you decide to pursue a career in wine?
GUERRA: I’m a believer that everyone has a story about their first wine “epiphany.” Mine happened during my first year of college when—on a group date—I was handed the wine list and felt like I had been handed a poisonous snake. Paralyzed with fear, I found myself unable to make a decision about what my date should drink. From that moment on I decided I was going to learn how to select a glass or bottle for any event.
What makes the wine selection at Enoteca La Storia special?
We have roughly 360 wines from around the globe with an emphasis on domestic—particularly local—and Italian wines. I hand-select every wine that makes it on our shelves. We specialize in finding those off-the-beaten-track, yet-to-be-discovered wines that foster exploration and the excitement of tasting something new. Another unique aspect of our wine selection is that, in keeping with the spirit of the traditional Enoteca, which promotes local wineries and varietals as we do, we feature a fairly extensive selection of wines from our neighbors in the Santa Cruz mountains and elsewhere in Santa Clara County such as Perrucci, Regale, Fleming-Jenkins, Storrs, Fernwood, Muccigrosso, Comartin Cellars, Thomas Fogarty, Kathryn Kennedy, Ridge and more. We also host tastings where these folks come to our shop and pour their wines, tell their stories and interact with customers.
What wines are you passionate about right now?
Good, bad, otherwise, there’s always something to learn and extract from a glass of wine. Every wine does actually have a story: Where did it come from? Which grapes are in it? Who made it? How was it made? I tend to get excited by anything new and different. I typically like to drink rosés in the summer, so I’ve been enjoying many of those recently.
What are some of the best wine values now?
The domestic wine market is a buyers’ market these days; diligent shoppers can find exceptional wines that have been significantly discounted due to the “glut” in the market and the need to move product through the pipeline. Other than that, I always look to southern Italy, the Rhone Valley and the southwest regions of France—bold, spicy, juicy reds and some aromatic whites; Argentina; and Spain (for bold reds and aromatic white) for wines that “overdeliver.”
What is your go-to wine for everyday, casual drinking?
I’m always up for a glass of sparkling wine, so Prosecco or Lambrusco from Italy, Cava from Spain, Cremants from France. They are also extremely versatile with food. As far as whites, I like Verdejo and Albarino from Spain, Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand, Gruner Veltliner and Riesling from Austria, Rhone blends and Sancerre from France, Soave and Falanghina from Italy. With reds, I love a good Nero d’Avola from Sicily or Primitivo from Puglia, Malbec from Argentina, Garnacha or Monastrell from Spain. I also enjoy wines from the U.S., don’t get me wrong, but most folks are familiar with those varietals and producers.