Saturday, August 15, 2009

What's Up at Vino 100?

Vino 100 is where it all started for me. I took my first wine class there four years ago (that makes me feel old. Aren't I still a "recent" college grad?). I took an afternoon walk that direction on Thursday to see what was up in my old fave. My roommate Nicole and I used to go in and pick up bottles of St. Urbanshof riesling, as riesling was pretty much the only wine we liked at the time.

Kiley joined me for the afternoon stroll. We were greeted by the General Manager, Michael Esakov, who was polite, helpful, and knowledgeable. Within seconds, I was feeling rather smug, because I recognized a sizable number of wines in the store. Pinot Black, Husch, Writer's Block, Truchard, Cono Sur, etc....wines I've only tried recently but remember well. We grilled Michael on several topics. Kiley asked him which was the best cabernet in the store, and he immediately answered "The Altamura, hands down. It's phenomenal". She inquired, "what does it taste like?" He looked at her very seriously and said, "it tastes like black velvet. In your mouth". I swooned a little bit. The bottle is 95 bucks - far more than I've ever paid for a bottle in a store. I made a mental note to sneak in and buy a bottle when I have a pile of extra cash lying around. Ha! He did offer a more affordable alternative: Fisticuffs cabernet. This wine has a very cute label, in which one person has clearly just suckerpunched another person, who is now laying on the ground, most likely dead. He said this bottle is 35 dollars but drinks like a 90 dollar bottle. I made a big, highlighted, circled, and starred mental note of this one.

I wanted to walk out with a bottle - something in the realm of 15 bucks that I could drink that night. I agonized over the reds, wanting to try something new but feeling drawn to the same familiar set. I finally settled on Uptown Pinot Noir. I asked Michael about this selection, and he gave some fairly unenthusiastic feedback: "It's good. It's nice. Nice little pinot". I bought it anyways. It's got a reeeally cute label, showing silhouettes of apparently posh people drinking wine. I love Uptown. I love pinot. There ya go. I'm SUCH a sucker for silly labels. Seriously! I might have mumbled that while purchasing, and Michael said "that wine didn't used to have a stupid label. It used to be called Pennyfarthing, and an investor came along and liked the wine so much, he bought all of it." That made me smile - my purchase was not so blasee after all.
(By the way I didn't end up cracking the bottle Thursday. I'll let you know how it goes when I do. Don't you just love a wine blog that completely bypasses the part about the wine?!)

I also asked about tastings and classes, and Vino 100 does both. They also offer private tastings, which can be located anywhere. The in-store classes are usually Wine 101 (which I took back in the day). All events cost $20, and some light food pairings are included. If they come to your home, they even bring the glasses and take them at the end - no annoying cleanup for the tipsy hostess. Score.

Nice visit! Now I just need an occasion to go back and scoop up that bottle of Altamura.
Check out Vino 100's website here.

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