Co-owner and Master Somm Luis DeSantos. photos by Erin Cooper

Seven months after its grand opening, MORDEO Boutique Wine Bar continues to delight its patrons with delectable bites and an easily navigable yet diverse wine list focused on Spanish varietals to pair with the restaurant’s Spanish-influenced layout and cuisine. We recently caught up with one of its owners, Luis DeSantos MS, and talked with him about how he and his staff are working to expand their guests’ wine-drinking horizons as well as his predictions for the next rising stars in the wine world.

What inspired you to open MORDEO and why did you choose Spring Mountain as its location? 

I had a lifelong dream of owning my own business and the stars aligned in late 2017 when I met my business partners, Chef Khai Vu and Brandon Detvo. MORDEO is Latin for bites. We’re all foodies and the small bites concept as a fun way to enjoy one’s night out just appealed to us. We’ve been open for 7 months now and can’t wait to promote our one year anniversary sometime in June or July.

As for Spring Mountain Road, aka Asia Town, we believe that this is the dining hotspot that can attract locals from around the valley and we also have an opportunity to get customers from the Strip. 

How did you come up with its concept? 

It was a collaborated idea from Chef Khai, Brandon and myself. The counter seating, or side-by-side dining, at MORDEO Boutique Wine Bar, was an inspiration from our travels in Barcelona, Spain. Specifically, the bars that only have 12-15 counter seats in the market called “La Boqueria.” Talk about Spanish Disneyland for the foodies!

How has being a Master Sommelier with a background in distribution helped you in this new endeavor? 

I’ve been blessed with opportunities throughout my lifelong career in the food, beverage and hospitality industry and I would have to say being a Master Sommelier definitely helps!

My mentor always said, “things just don’t happen, things happen just!” I believe rounding out your skills is necessary but do not lose focus of your objective. 

We noticed you have quite a few eclectic wines by the glass on your list. Why is that? 

I call them discoveries; our wine list is designed to mimic our food offerings of small bites or tapas. It encourages you to test the water, be adventurous and try these wonderful wines that complement our dishes. You can even choose to split a carafe and then try something else that peaked your interest.

How often do you switch up your by the glass offerings?

They will definitely change because of availability, seasonality and price points. It’s harder to maintain a wine list that way but I’m up for the challenge. 

What are a few of your favorite wine pairings with your menu?

Here’s a small glimpse:

- Our dry aged prime tomahawk or porterhouse, garlic confit, thyme-sage brown butter paired with aged tempranillo 

- Maine lobster ceviche, coconut milk, lemongrass, mango-habanero salsa paired with albarino 

- Iberico de Bellota, Cinjo Jotas with pan con tomate paired with amontillado sherry

Which red varietals do you feel are up-and-coming or on the verge of being the next “big thing”? 

It’s always that million-dollar question. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Pinot Noir will always be the most popular but because of our concept. I feel Spanish red varietals such as Monastrell, Tempranillo, Garnacha and of course Mencia and Bobal are the up-and-coming stars.

Are there certain regions you think we should be looking to for new and exciting, quality wines? 

I am slightly biased because I’m having fun with Spanish wines but just watch as the concept of tapas/small bites is popping up across the nation. I believe we should be on the lookout for discoveries within the Iberian Peninsula, Spain & Portugal.

What is your recommendation for those who might be afraid to try something a little outside-the-box? How do you and your staff encourage people to step outside their comfort zones? 

Here at MORDEO, customers can have a small wine taste before ordering and our staff will help guide you through it. We also just launched our Pintxos Social Hour, another fun way to try these wonderful small bites.

For additional information or to make a reservation, email or call 702-545-0771.

Mordeo Boutique Wine Bar

5420 W. Spring Mountain Road #108

OPEN DAILY: 5 p.m.-12 a.m. (last seating)