Find good wines at The Grapevine

Snoqualmie Sauvignon Blanc

Writing about wines continues to be a positive experience for me. I am gratified by the reception this column has received, and enjoy profiling wine merchants in the Heights area. 

People are always looking for a good bottle of wine at a reasonable price. One of the best ways to find that bottle is to ask your local wine merchant. On a recent visit to The Grapevine, 12425 Cedar Road, I spoke with owner and wine expert Bob Fishman. I had come to purchase wine to review for this column and to test a strategy for choosing a vintner whose recommendations I could trust. 

The first thing I noticed upon entering the store was the temperature - it was not too warm. Wine is perishable. A bottle sitting in a store at 75 degrees for a few months, or even a few days in direct sunlight, will deteriorate in quality. 

I told Bob that I was looking for a white and a red for under $12 per bottle. He showed me several wines under my price point, which I appreciated. Beware of merchants who try to up-sell you into a more expensive bottle, especially after you've indicated your spending limit. 

Bob took the time to ask me what I liked in a wine. Then he gave my answer some thought. Instead of sending me to a stack of wine that may have been on special, as some merchants will do when they've bought too much of a particular wine, Bob recommended the two wines described below. Of course, the proof is in the pudding. Both were good buys--one I loved, the other I liked. I suspect that when I share the results of his recommendations, Bob will be able to fine-tune them for my next visit. 

2006 Michael Sullberg Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve California  $10

This is a very nice California red. It is smooth and easy to drink. You can pass up the expensive cabernets, this one really provides a nice bang for the buck. Lots of red raspberry and cassis flavors and aromas. Not much complexity, but plenty of fruit, and enough balance to be at home with food or on its own. Ready to open and pour. It is so smooth, I am sure you will drink it down quickly.   

2007 Snoqualmie Sauvignon Blanc  Columbia Valley  $10

This is another good wine. With an aroma of honeydew, it smells like summertime. Coming from Washington, its fruitiness is more restrained than similar whites from California - steelier rather than fruit-filled. It probably would have been better with light summer fare than the way I had it, which was on its own while I watched an April snowstorm (I can’t blame the wine for that). This would be a great to serve, with a bit of chill on it, at a BBQ. Absolutely a great value for a wine this versatile and good. 

Loren Sonkin, Esq. lives in Cleveland Heights and writes for

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Volume 2, Issue 5, Posted 11:42 AM, 04.13.2009