What I’m Drinking

By John Bancroft February 1, 2012

Hidden GemMichael Klauber gets a lot of positive ink not only about his restaurant but also for his abilities as wine maven, educator and merchant. He deserves it. His bricks-and-mortar store in midtown Sarasota is a pleasure to browse, and now he has an online shop to rival it.

Michael’s Fine Wines ( spreads the love beyond our town’s borders and does it with style. The site is a thorough reimagining and revamping of his former online shop and comes complete now with a much improved search function and photos of his entire stock. Those are good things, certainly, but the best thing about both venues, digital and material, is his emphasis not only on his passion for fine and mostly expensive wines from the fabled estates of Bordeaux, but also for terrific unsung wines at bargain prices.

As he puts it in a note to his web customers, “The real fun in the wine business now is finding those hidden gems that offer great quality and exceptional value.”

Judging by Klauber’s selection of wines under $20, he’s having a lot of fun. I was delighted to find not only a favorite French rosé, a 2009 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône, for a mere $10.95, but also a great big boatload of finds from all over the New World, including my favorite Argentine rosé, winemaker Susana Balbo’s 2009 Crios Rosé of malbec from Mendoza for $12.95.

And don’t miss Michael’s Picks of the Week, like a 2009 Domaine Thomas Clos de la Crele sancerre for $25.95.


An editor, writer and online publisher, John Bancroft has reviewed restaurants, books, movies and music for many magazines, websites and newspapers, most recently for the Tampa Bay Times.

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