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Wine Blogging Wednesday: wine shops that feel the love

I jumped at the chance to participate in this month's WBW since this month's theme doesn't require me to write about wine tasting (which I'm not very good at) but rather about wine shopping (which I'm marginally better at). While trying to decide which wine shop to write up, I realized that I'm fortunate to live in a place with so many great retail outlets. 1st Grand Ave. Liquor, Liquor Depot, and Surdyk's are three of my favorites. But for WBW, it seemed fitting to focus on a shop that sells "just wine."

Solo Vino is a gem that keeps garnering praise in the local press (here's the latest from City Pages), and for good reason. It's a cozy little shop with a selection that is less deep than the big guys, but remarkably broad. And the staff knows that wine intimately. In other words, don't go to Solo Vino necessarily if you're looking for a particular wine, but do go if you want an expert recommendation for something new and great.

The relatively small size of Solo Vino and the nice wood racks may trick you into thinking that the wine will be more expensive than average. While they do sell some premium bottles, readers of Dr. Vino (the host of February's WBW) will find something that suits a value wine budget: as the City Pages article says, "the top three sellers at Solo Vino are all $5.99: Protocolo Tinto, Casa Solar Tinto, and Casa Solar Blanco."

In addition to their helpful employees, wide assortment, and nice corner-store atmosphere, Solo Vino hosts frequent classes and wine tastings. I recently attended a tasting with an importer of French wine. Coming on the heels of our Paris vacation, I wanted a wine that would transport me back to Burgundy. Not only did he have just the thing, but he was able to identify the unique flavors that I had been grasping at when trying to describe the wines I enjoyed during our trip.

That's the kind of expertise that Solo Vino delivers. And at home later, when I pour a bottle I bought from Solo Vino, I have memories of a thrilling first tasting and an enlightening discussion about wine--not of saving a buck or two because I tracked it down in a warehouse store. Truth be told, some other local wine shops can do the same, but Solo Vino has it down to an art. Stop in next time you're in the mood for something new.



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MikeM said...

May I recommend reviewing the Garnet Carneros Pinot Noir wine? It's cheap and very, very good.