Friday, October 16, 2009

Shh... If You Love Wine, I Have A Secret

Sometimes I really wish I could keep all my juicy bits to myself.

Occasionally, I come across a nugget so spectacular that I grow hesitant and selfish and wish I could keep my little treasure.

And then I remember I am a generous and loving soul - and that everyone deserves to know about a good thing when it happens.

Especially when that good thing involves wine and saving money.

I took a different way home a couple weeks ago, and along the way, I discovered Oakley was on the brink of gaining a major asset - a boutique wine shop. I passed the store with the frosted windows a couple more times, hoping for signs of life. Nothing.

And then today, I discovered a buzz of activity and photocopies taped to the windows advertising, "Wines $20 or Less."

Jackpot.

Oakley Wines (4027 Allston St. Suite B, p: 513-351-4392) is owned by Joe and Lois Santangelo. I stepped in Friday night for a quick peek and discovered a pleasant space chock full of wine bottles and a buzz of customers.

I paid two bucks for a glass, which entitled me to a tasting in the back, featuring a variety of wines. I grabbed a sip and walked around while waiting to talk to Joe. The store offers a variety of boutique and lesser known wines from around the world. Australia, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, California, Oregon, Washington - Oakley Wines carries bottles from all over.

Every bottle is 20 bucks or less - I even noticed a few bottles selling for eight or nine dollars.

Joe breezed by and told me he'd get to me in a moment. I didn't mind - I returned to the tasting table and struck up a conversation with his daughter, Fran. She told me the concept was borne out of her parents' love of wine. The Santangelos apparently have an extensive wine cellar at home; Fran said her dad realized one day that it was absurd to crack open a bottle of $300 wine on an ordinary Tuesday night.

"There are tons of exceptional, affordable wines out there, and when you bring a bottle of these lesser known wines, your friends have no idea what it's worth," says Fran.

I am certainly not as well versed as Michelle in the way of wine, but I know what I like, and I also know a good number of the mainstream bottles found at the liquor store. Cakebread, Layer Cake, Nobilo, Concannon, Black Pearl, La Crema - I know my way around the respected and even not-so-respected wines (Hello, Little Penguin, Crane Lake, Pepperwood Grove, Yellow Tail).

I like the idea of buying a top notch, affordable wine that (most) no one's heard of.

Right now, Oakley Wines is open from 1 to 6 PM Monday through Friday. Lois told me Joe has a variety of commitments on Saturdays, so for now, the store is only open by appointment on the weekends.

Once things get going, Joe says Oakley Wines may offer regular wine tastings.

I am so glad this business has opened its doors steps away from Oakley Square. Fran told me her parents' friends said they were crazy to open a business in this fledgling economy, but we both remarked people seem to be drinking even more within this past year. And no matter the status of the economy, everyone loves a good deal.

Next time you need a bottle of wine for a party, a Bacchanalian Society event or a night in - I suggest you swing by Oakley Wines.

Tell 'em Kate from the neighborhood sent you.
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Earlier Alcohol Sales Starting Sunday in Ohio

Friends - no need to cross the River and head to Kentucky for brunch on Sundays. Ohioans can enjoy earlier alcohol sales starting this weekend. For years, you had to wait until 1 PM if you wanted to enjoy a Bloody Mary at Teller's or a Mimosa at Indigo.

A recently passed state budget bill pushed the Sunday sales time up to 11 AM.

Thank God. I was sick of driving to Newport and Covington to have a tipple with my quiche.


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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

2 comments:

The Boyfriend said...

Earlier liquor sales on Sunday? That's FREAKIN' AWESOME! There's nothing better with Sunday brunch than a good Bloody Mary. And the idea of being forced to wait until 1 p.m. is just silly. If anything, they should have backed it up to 10 a.m.

I don't believe for a minute that it has ever had anything to do with a genuine desire to reduce drunk driving. It's the Religious Right trying to impose its will on the general population.

In any case...CHEERS!

Sophia said...

I second the boyfriend's comments. Needs to be made earlier on Sunday or let's just drop the SPECIAL after church hours only nonsense.

Even my mother, who is 89 years old and only occassionally buys beer & wine, is annoyed when she can't get it on Sunday morning as she drives to store early like 8 am. :-)

I'd not heard of this time change anywhere else, Kate, and appreciate the heads up.

Ohio needs to change lots of rules to make it easier for small business & folks that live here. It does not have the nikname No-hio for nothing. :-) (as in No fun!)

This is one tiny step for brunch drinkers, a giant step for...er, never mind. Don't want to steal somebody else's quote.