May 1, 2006
We live in northern KY, which is just a stone's throw away from the city of Cincinnati. Yet it's still Kentucky. Whenever I ask a distributor at a festival if I can find his wine in my state, he tells me "No." Surprisingly, the larger liquor superstores tend to fill a gap (Kevin recently found a 1977 port that he'd been looking for at a superstore) and they even have the occasional well-read, well-wine-educated Wine Guy. But I'm always on the lookout for that special little store where there is a cozy feeling and they recognize me and my tastes. I'm still on the lookout, but I've made in-roads with this new store. Now, there are a couple other wine stores in the area I still need to visit, including the Cincinnati Wine Warehouse and a little shop in Ft. Thomas. But I thought I'd start the blog with microWINES.
Saturday night we were eating at Maggiano's (surprisingly classy and good chain restaurant) and opted to swing by microWINES first, as they are near to each other in Kenwood (about 30 minutes from the river). There had been an article in the local paper on microWINEs that spurred us into action, as we'd been discussing a visit for a few months.
microWINES came as a surprise to me, as the name isn't very friendly sounding. It was intimate though, with the attention to customers comparable only to a small, friendly winery. It also has a technical component, which I find intriguing.
microWINES prides itself on stocking either small wineries or wines of which only 300-400 cases were made (thus the "micro" in the name). This is both good and bad, as it offers exposure to smaller wineries, but also encourages in-store shortages. I'm already wondering where I will find a second bottle of a Bordeaux we picked up. There are also kiosks throughout the store. Pick a bottle off the wall and scan the bar code. The screen displays information about the wine, winery, and food pairings. Sometimes the information is useless (I have a Bordeaux sheet that tells me only that the winery is the neighboring castle to Lafite Rothschild) and sometimes extremely helpful, including reviews, pairings, and history. All of this information is supposedly available on their web site as well, but I did not find this to be completely accurate.
They have a Collector's Cellar, which we do not get a chance to see, and a tasting bar. We tasted most of both available flights, 4 of which were $2/pour and 4 of which were $4/pour. We split the tasting. There was a private party going on, but we had three different hosts who were all interesting and helpful. Having now looked up a few of the wines we tasted/purchased, I'm surprised. Some of them receive low ratings, or no ratings at all? Does it matter? I suppose that's a discussion for another day, but I'm trusting in my taste buds and not the rating system.
I was disappointed that printouts for each of the tasting wines were not readily available. I'm a note taker and there was nothing handy for me to write it all down. (I should really go back to carrying a moleskine with me.) I can only remember 5 of our 8 tastings, as they were the 5 that interested me and for which I acquired printouts from the kiosks.
We purchased the Livio Felluga ($28) and the Lafon-Rochet ($38). Here is where I question my taste. I haven't found the greatest reviews of the Lafon-Rochet out there, and the Bordeaux reviews of 1998 vintages in general aren't that encouraging. Why then did I find this wine to be one of those "Aha!" moments in my life? A moment where I innately understood something about wine? It makes me question myself. At the same time, I'm actively searching for a second bottle, as we purchased the last one at microWINES. I believe that bottle and that moment deserve a blog post all their own.
microWINES also offers a wide selection of seminars and classes, and we hope to participate in a few them. I'm intrigued by the Sushi and Wine Pairing session coming up. I don't like sushi, but I'd be curious to see the pairings. There is also a Pinot Part 1 and 2 coming up. Sadly, the prices are $80/person and not per couple, so we won't be taking those classes just yet.
I look forward to returning to microWINES. I enjoyed the feeling that as the customer, I was special. I like that they started a portfolio for us to track our tastes. I liked feeling that I was interesting and that my comments and questions weren't either dumb or unanswerable. I also hope I find several more wine shops with this intimate touch.
7292 Kenwood Road
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