The day prior to their wedding in 1998, watercolor artist Douglas Buchman turned to his bride-to-be, Heather, and proposed merging their love of art and wine into a business of some kind.
Ten years later, the Buchmans realized the vision when they added a wine bar to their Second Street Art Market, which they'd opened in 2007.
Located just off Interstate 25 at the U.S. Highway 105 exit, the space the couple found had previously been a contemporary gallery with artworks going (or not going) for around $5,000. When they took it over, Douglas and Heather decided their art would be "accessible."
It is, and so is the space overall, a soothing mix of colors, textures and sounds. Heather has filled it with beautiful landscapes, weather-beaten wood gates, polished wood pieces, locally crafted artisan jewelry and gorgeous, hand-blown glass lamps.
The single, large room is artfully separated by waist-high wine racks filled with bottles. Hung above the bar area, ornate letters spell out the word "Linger." The staff, attentive but not overbearing, invites you to grab your glass, meander about and enjoy.
On a first visit, my husband and I chose corner seating in low leather chairs. Flanked by two beautiful, multicolored glass lamps, we enjoyed a couple glasses of 2007 Anselmi Pinot Grigio and the 2006 Yalumba Viognier, two light wines that perfectly matched the tapas-style menu.
Heather says she assembled the menu based purely on what she'd like to nibble while drinking a lovely wine. From several mixed meat and cheese plates, we chose the Provence ($16/full or $9.50/half), with slices of Brie, smoked salmon, sweetened nuts and a variety of fresh fruit slices and berries. Their presentation appeared as carefully constructed as the featured art is selected.
My husband's chicken corn chowder ($8), rich and sweet with crisp corn and tender chicken, arrived in a warm bread bowl. I chose one of the many tartines (pronounced tar-TANS), French-style open-faced sandwiches. The Brie and sun-dried tomato with artichoke hearts ($9) came layered on a baguette and cut into four pieces, bringing a great mix of creamy and crunchy from the fresh bread and sweet tomatoes.
On a second visit, my sister, an avid gardener and decorator, loved the place immediately. Personally, I loved being handed my second glass of two-for-one Prosecco ($7, one of the numerous weekly specials) as I perused the jewelry.
Back at a table, we enjoyed a sweet, creamy lobster bisque ($8.50) and a roast beef tartine ($8) that changed my mind about pepperoncinis. I don't like the slightly hot, tangy peppers on their own, but enjoyed them diced thinly over sliced roast beef with horseradish cream cheese and roasted red pepper.
While eating, I read notes written by former customers, inside journals placed at each table. One person expressed joy for the Pinot Noir she was drinking and also praised the delicious Brie and sun-dried tomato sandwich, leaving a doodle of grapes at the page's end.
It's that type of simple enjoyment that points to the Buchmans' success in creating that place they dreamed of 10 years ago, filled with their fancies and well worth a linger.