I thought it would be interesting to take a week-long look at the wine offerings at each of six local restaurants in Coppell and compare them on quality, cost, markup and overall value. The first post in the series is an overview of all six restaurants. This is the third of the detailed reviews of the restaurants.
J. Macklin’s Grill provided exactly what Coppell needed when it needed it. Just after the limited-service Chili’s restaurant, Chili’s Too, pulled out of Coppell, local residents expanded their catering business into the space to fill the need for good, casual family dining. It has been a regular destination for many Coppell residents and families ever since. The wine list at J. Macklin’s matches its purpose. You won’t find any wines by the bottle only; every wine on the list is offered both by the bottle and the glass, so it gravitates to the budget bottles. Their list only includes one wine that I would qualify as higher quality, but there a still few options that are more than acceptable for a casual dinner with the family.
Best Splurge: Meiomi Pinot Noir. It’s hard to pick a “splurge” wine on a list that doesn’t include anything by the bottle only, but at $46 dollar a bottle ($22 average retail), the Meiomi Pinot Noir is a great choice if you are only going to carry one splurge-worthy wine that would be appreciated by almost any red wine drinker. Created by Joe Wagner, son the Caymus Wine Wagner family, the Meiomi wines come from good stock. On a regular basis the Belle Glos Clark & Telephone. Las Alturas and Dairyman Pinot Noirs are some of the highest rated from California. The Meiomi, also by Belle Glos, is an excellent budget-friendly little sister to the $40 – $50 Belle Glos Pinots. This is one of the richest and most fruitful Pinots available at retail for $20 or less. By the glass or by the bottle, Meiomi is the best selection on the J. Macklin’s wine list.
Best Budget Bottles: The Crossing Sauvignon Blanc and Barone Fini. At $30 a bottle each, the Sauvignon Blanc from The Crossing ($14 average retail) and Pinot Grigo from Barone Fini ($13 average retail) are the best budget options on the J. Macklin’s list. The Crossing is a good value for a traditional New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, ripe with grapefruit, lime and a mineral finish. The Barone Fini Pinot Grigio provides a nice value for those looking for a refreshing dry white.
Best Red by the Glass: Meiomi Pinot Noir. The biggest weakness of the J. Macklin’s wine list is a lack of quality reds by the glass other than the Meiomi Pinot Noir. The only exception might be the Ruta Malbec that at $8 a glass is worth a try ($11 average bottle cost at retail). The Ruta has a reputation for being a tad on the sweet and soft side for Malbec drinkers. If you like Merlots, then this might be a Malbec you would appreciate.
Best White by the Glass: Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay. At $36 a bottle and 200% bottle markup over retail ($12 average retail), the Kendall-Jackson was a tad too pricey to qualify for the best budget bottle. At $9 a glass it is certainly the best option for the best white by the glass if you are only drinking one glass. The K-J Chardonnay is about as consistent as you can get for a Chardonnay, being rated year-after-year as one of the best budget Chardonnays on the market. If I wanted a glass of Chardonnay, I wouldn’t hesitate to spend $2 more than the BE or $1 more than the William Hill for the much higher quality wine. At $8 a glass each, the Barone Fini Pinot Grigio and The Crossing Sauvignon Blanc are also excellent selections for someone looking for a lighter white.
Wines I Would Avoid: The J. Macklin’s list has four wines I would avoid. The first is the Be. Chardonnay. Flat, one-dimensional and low-rated, the Be. line of wines is Beringer’s attempt to reach millennial women with fun and flirty packaging. Despite the marketing, the wine isn’t very good compared to other options like the Kendall-Jackson. The Naked Grape is another upstart wine company that puts packaging above quality, including their boxed wines, and the Pinot Grigio is no exception. Get the Barone Fini instead. The Hob Nob Pinot Noir and Cellar 8 Cabernet are also wines that I would avoid from the J. Macklin’s list.
J. Macklin’s is an excellent destination for casual and family dining that isn’t trying to be the prime destination wine enthusiasts as well, and there is nothing wrong with that distinction. The wine list and the quality offerings on it are limited, but it is more affordable than most other Coppell restaurants and there are enough good options to go with the varied and comfortable menu.
If you have any comments or questions on any of the posts in this Coppell restaurant series, please feel free to leave a comment to these posts or hit me up on Twitter at @erikj. Also, if you have other area restaurants that you would like to see evaluated for wine offerings, please let me know! The links to all posts in this series appear below.
Six Coppell Wine Lists in Seven Days: