Sunday, September 2, 2007

Wine Awhile: I *did* feel better

Patrick and I attended the "soft" opening of new wine shop Wine Awhile last night, and we did not come away disappointed!

Located in a fairly swanky new shopping center just off Highway 71 on Highway 41 in Mount Pleasant, the smallish store was full of good company and delightful surprises, from the two modern yet highly comfortable easy chairs to the clean, zingy interior design that was a delight to this designer's eye. (Kudos, by the way, to designer Steven Lacoursiere for everything from the logo and store sign to the business cards and retail tags, all very well done.) Patrick was immediately drawn to the specialty beer section---he came away with a devilish three-pack of Belgian ale, made by monks, called "Satan"---and owner and chief wine taster Anthony Pugh was on hand with personalized wine advice.

I asked for a jammy Cabernet/Shiraz mix, the likes of which I've been trying to find since dining with friends and family at a jazzy Omaha seafood restaurant nearly a decade ago, accompanied by three bottles of the same. I came away with a bottle of Padthaway Parson's Flat, a Shiraz/Cabernet blend from Australia priced just under $20 that I'm eager to try.

Other highlights, besides the truly delicious catering: a silver tabletop wine rack with a distinctly Scandinavian flavor (tempting...), a sake section (even more tempting...), and three clever herb/spice blends designed to heighten your food and wine pairings; rub the chive-dappled, peppery Cabernet blend, for instance, into beef.

This was just the "soft" opening so I imagine the next time Patrick and I stop by there will be even more to browse and savor. A new table will adorn the space between the two comfortable chairs, and Anthony plans to boost the shop's educational offerings, so you'll be able to find out even more about that wine you're contemplating. I'd love to see the wine racks supplemented with a few decanters too, but no matter what type of new items arrive, it's clear from Anthony and Co.'s taste that it will be a good thing.