What Im Drinking

By John Bancroft January 1, 2011

It’s a lovely sight. Everyday good wines, cellarable fine wines and wines that fall somewhere between are binned from floor to high ceiling against the walls and in lower racks that zig-zag the floor.

This is good news not only for iconic Sarasota restaurateur and wine connoisseur Michael Klauber, whose Michael’s Wine Cellar & Tasting Room in Midtown Plaza has been doubled in size and transformed into his dream space, but for all of us who enjoy wine and appreciate finding a bottle for nearly every taste and occasion, as well as a fine selection of spirits, under one roof.

And it’s not just a lot of wines. It’s a lot of good wines, estate bottled and hand selected by Klauber and staff at every price point from under $10 to the high hundreds and beyond. Both the inventory’s range and depth are impressive, with outstanding quality the unwavering watchword.

Klauber travels widely and regularly in the world’s premier wine regions, and nothing pleases him more than a swing through the vineyards and wineries of Bordeaux. On a recent trip to the region he found and bought a modest beauty, the 2005 La Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion, a deal at $48.95.

(A word of caution: Don’t confuse this little gem with its cellarable big brother from the estate across the road, the 2005 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, which Michael’s also carries but at $795 the bottle.)

We tasted the La Chapelle, an elegant blend of cabernet sauvignon (94 percent) and cabernet franc, after it had been open about two hours and found it concentrated, complex and built on a foundation of nicely developed tannins. The nose offers heavenly dark fruits, especially black currant, while a whole bouquet of beautifully balanced flavors. It finishes long and clean. Drink it now.

On the other hand, if the $50 plateau is not your price point, you could pick up a delightfully drinkable New World red like the 2009 Santa Julia Organica Tempranillo from Argentina’s justly admired Mendoza region for $11.95. See what I mean about range?

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