A venue for wine discovery

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Like many 20-something-year-olds, I love wine. Well, I love white wine (red and I don’t get along).

I love it because a) it makes me feel sophisticated, even if I am only drinking it out of a jar, sporting cutoffs on my porch and b) it gets you drunk, which, if we’re being honest, is the only real reason anyone drinks anything alcoholic.

Sure, you can enjoy the taste, the pairing with food or what have you, but we all know the best part of drinking is the warm haze that descends on you and whomever you happen to be drinking with—everyone looks sexier with a glass of wine in hand.

But just because wine is good to me doesn’t mean I know anything about it. I am, in fact, downright incompetent when it comes to these things. I like good wine when I get it, but if seeking out a quality bottle for a hostess gift I tend to choose arbitrarily based on the label’s artistic merits and a hope it was bottled more than 365 days ago. Classy, I know.

My inexperience is what typically prevents me from engaging with wine in public. I don’t want to be outed as an incompetent wine cretin. Who does? That’s why the world needs more places like Vinostrology, where they don’t exactly coddle you, but successfully trick you into thinking you might not be such a doofus after all.

I stopped in during a beautiful sunny afternoon to try a variety of wines, and was pleasantly surprised by the venue’s air conditioning and patio seating. Though the locale isn’t glamorous, the interior is polished and comfortable, with cozy pillows piled in the window seats and plenty of room at the bar. It was bright and unpretentious—the perfect setting for people like me and my comrades to class it up on a budget.

The wine selection was impressive, thanks to the state-of-the-art, argon gas-powered wine stations that preserve the integrity of an open bottle of wine for about 60 days. Since the wine can be opened and maintained for such an extensive amount of time, the selection reflects more variety and abundance than most places that tend to keep the pricier wines for bottle sales only.

You can choose several options for wine tasting: two-ounce pours for tasting, half glasses and full glasses. Every wine available at the wine stations is also available for purchase by the bottle, and with only the bottle cost and corkage fee, is much more affordable than the marked-up bottles that are sold at most restaurants.

I thoroughly enjoyed the wine flight I tasted: four glasses of three-ounce pours for $12.50. I chose the white flight, and through that found several types of wine I wouldn’t have known to choose without the guidance of our knowledgable bartender, Mike Bechkowiak. He and his wife Katie own and operate Vinostrology, and their shared passion for wine comes through not only with a remarkable knowledge of grapes, regions and flavor profiles, but also with a friendly, easygoing attitude that made the experience an adventure instead of an imposition.

I was particularly fond of a tasting of Sauvignon Blanc ($5.70 for a half-glass,  $9.90 for a full) that burst with refreshing grapefruit, matching the summer air flawlessly. Within the flight I enjoyed a smooth 2011 Soave, and a bright, mellow 2012 Picpoul de Pinet. I was even fond of a red, the 2007 Corbieres Rouge ($5.30 for half, $8.80 for full), a medium-bodied red devoid of any acidity that instantly made me feel more like a grown-up for liking.

Though I didn’t try their snacks, the menu ranged from fresh popped buttered popcorn ($3.50) to $14 trays of truffled mousse pate, cheeses and Avenue Bread baguette. The food selection was well curated for people who get a little nibbley when drinking, though not overbearing or too expensive to suggest an impromptu snack.

Vinostrology is the perfect venue for wine-lovers, shy wine wannabes and adventurous tasters who crave an opportunity to experience quality wines without pretense. Because the wines change constantly, there is always something new to try, and the chance to discover that perfect wine you didn’t know you loved until you tasted it for just a few bucks.

For more of Sally’s food writing, check out http://www.wolfsoup.com

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