Wine List Once-Over: Sopra Sotto

They're lining up on The Drive for this casual Italian spot—but how's the vino?

They’re lining up on The Drive for this casual Italian spot—but how’s the vino?

The Spot: Sopra Sotto, the low-key casual Italian spot that’s quietly become a go-to spot on Commercial Drive.The Theme: All Italian save for a few nods to some local Okanagan producers.The First Impression: Very compact—just 24 bottles—but I want to order about 21 of them.The Steal: This isn’t so much a wine list for finding a steal as it’s all quite fair (usually just a hair above 2x retail) across the board. The exception is the Altesino Brunello, an absolute beauty of a wine (if, quite a bit too young) that’s $100 here, but $59 at the BCLDB making it that rare under 2x mark-up. And it’s a great deal at the BCLDB so win-win kids. And if you’re in a lower price bracket, I have all the time in the world for the Argiolas Vermentino from Sardinia and at $40 (just barely 2x for $19 wine) I could crush bottle after bottle when the sun is out. Or when it’s not.The Not So Much: I’m actually super-impressed that they resisted the urge to put a French Champagne on their sparkling list, instead keeping with the theme and offering a bottle of Franciacorta (a.k.a. the Champagne of Italy). It’s an inspired choice, but not a logical one so it’s beside me why they don’t it the same low mark-up treatment as the Altesino? The bottle they have from Crespia is $48 at the BCLDB but a rather punitive $120—a price that’s unlikely to entice the adventurous to dip their toe into high-end Italian sparkling.Cool Factor Bottle: The Ribola Gialla from Jermann is peak hipster and a good value at $68. And the Lambrusco from Ermete is a $45 world of wonder, and it probably pairs well with every single thing on the menu.The Head Scratcher: Nothing really. They don’t have a Barolo or a Barbaresco, but both are going to be be waaaay too young and so of the big name Italian wines they were right to go with the Brunello. Not having a Barbera or a Dolcetto at a place that serves a lot of pizza is a bit of crime, but I can live with it if it means someone is forced to try the Aglianico from Teodosio.The Grade: A-. It’s a compact list but it’s got a good heart—it cover north to south really well, there’s no bad choices and nothing that’s priced punitively. What else can you ask for for a casual Italian spot?