Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Drinker's Dream

Photo by Barney Taxel
A friend turned the husband and I on to Red, Wine & Brew, a most unusual and impressive beverage shop in Chesterland. He gave the place a big build-up, and our visit there a couple of weeks ago confirmed that there was good reason for his enthusiasm.
Opened in 2007, the sprawling store boasts that shelves are stocked with 6,000 bottles of wine from around the country and the world and 1,500 different beers. Needless to say, drinkers can have a tough time making a choice. I certainly did.

Photo by Barney Taxel
 Then I talked to Gabriel Schlesinger. He stepped from behind the counter, offered his help and after some discussion, set us up with a $20 Italian Valpolicello, promising that it resembled a much pricier Amarone. He was right and we enjoyed the wine. Schlesinger's regulars rely on him, and he takes a certain pride in the fact that if customers tell him what they like and what they're willing to spend he can zero-in on something with a high probability of surprising and pleasing them. In addition to buying from the big name producers and representing the well-known appellations, Scheslinger, a self-taught oenophile and self-described wine nerd, seeks out the quirky, the different and the unfamiliar. Trophy wines share space with boutique brands and bargain bottles. He's got — and can tell you all about — wines from Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Uruguay, Armenia and Israel, plus a sizable selection of sakes from Japan.
Although we didn't get introduced, another staffer has a similar expertise when it comes to beers. But Schlesinger takes the idea of a service to a level that goes beyond his job description. When I was paying for my bottle, and without any knowledge of who I was or that I might be writing about him, he handed me his business card, which identifies him as "The Wine Guy," pointed to the store's phone number, and said, "Call me for advice. Really. Anytime. If I'm here, I'm happy to help, whether you're planning a dinner party or in a restaurant and want to know what would go with certain foods, just ask. I'm not kidding. People think I'm joking when I tell them that. But I mean it."

Photo by Barney Taxel
Try him. Here's his number: 440-729-7376. And if you go the store, which is well worth the trip no matter where you live, he might even give you his cell number so you can reach him with questions after hours.

1 comment:

Jules7476 said...

Gabriel has assisted me on a few occasions, as well. I agree on every point in regards to him, the store and the selection. Additionally, if you send a message though their Facebook page, he responds expediently and is just as helpful. :~)