One of the best ways to discover new wines is through a restaurant’s wine list, especially one that’s been carefully curated. Cocha in downtown Baton Rouge boasts one of the city’s most interesting menus with wines to match. It’s all thanks to the vision set by proprietors Saskia Spanhoff and Enrique Pinerua when they opened in 2017. Spanhoff is a certified sommelier who spent 12 years working in the wine industry before returning to her hometown to open Cocha with Pinerua. She’s applied that knowledge to a crisp, inviting wine list that’s both accessible and innovative.
“We like to have food-friendly wines that work with the seasons, so like the menu, it’s always evolving and changing,” Spanhoff says. “The nice thing is, we’ve found great reps who bring spectacular wines that allow us to find a nice balance of different countries and styles.”
This spring, Cocha opened a parklet—an outdoor seating area in former parking spots in front of the building on Sixth Street. It’s a great space to enjoy the eatery’s global menu.
Below are a few wines to watch. cochabr.com
Txakolina • Spain • 2018
Bright and zesty with vibrant ripe berry fruit, this refreshing rosé from Spain’s Basque region delivers mouthwatering acidity and a light effervescence. Lower in alcohol content, it makes a nice aperitif.
Pair it with: Cocha’s white bean cassoulet or oysters mignonette. At home, try it with grilled shrimp.
Grüner Veltliner • Austria • 2018
Pear aromas are accompanied by peppery green notes in this versatile white wine from Austria. The palate has earthy, savory yeast notes framed by fresh lime peel and riper pear fruit at the core. It can pair with tricky flavors.
Pair it with: Cocha’s poke beet bowl. At home, try it alongside a fresh salad with asparagus and artichoke hearts.
Barbera D’Asti • Piedmont • Italy • 2016
This Italian red is produced at an old estate from Monferrato known for classic Asti-styled barbera. It features lots of nice, red fruits and a clean finish.
Pair it with: Cocha’s seared duck breast with blueberry anise sauce or lamb chops with harissa and coriander couscous. At home, try it with grilled fare and homemade gourmet pizza.
This article was originally published in the April 2020 issue of 225 Magazine.