BEST WINE STORE - 2005
There are two sorts of people shopping for wine: Those who need help, and those who don't. If you can't tell a Barolo from a Zinfandel even when one bites you on the pants, it doesn't matter if you're in the Fort Knox of wine: It all looks the same. Meanwhile, if you chuckle all week because your dad compared Paul Wolfowitz to a '62 Haut-Brion, when the '34 would have been a far funnier joke, you can probably pull a great wine out of the most under-stocked Pump 'N Run in South Dakota. Yet both of you shoppers, you neophytes and you pros, should be accommodated in the Best Wine Store in the Twin Cities. How could this be? Through that most underrated of all human abilities: organization. Taste, we maintain, presented through organization, is the very definition of a good wine shop. Great taste presented through great organization is a great wine shop. Solo Vino is such a shop. Walk in and the first thing you see are bins with plenty of clear walking room around them, holding "Things Under $14 For Your Dinner, Tonight." These Things Under $14 change often enough that a complete novice could drop in weekly and try something new each time. The staff at Solo Vino is small enough, with owners behind the counter and on the floor all day every day, that eventually a novice will grow comfortable enough to mention that he or she liked something particularly. Thus a relationship is founded, a door is opened, and one kind of shopper begins to turn into the other kind. Meanwhile, those shoppers of the second kind, the old hands, need no help to understand Solo Vino's clearly labeled, clearly organized store, and therein they will find all sorts of rather rare and even esoteric options with which to wash down the evening's meal. In conclusion: An endless selection without an organizing intelligence is a warehouse, a jumble, a forest. A good selection with an organizing intelligence is Solo Vino.