Best Wine Store

Fernanda's Vintage Winery

John Weber is a man who takes his wine and his words seriously. He's found his dream job at Fernanda's, running the international-food store's winery. There he oversees a good-sized collection of wines from all over the world and writes down his recommendations for customers. And he buys the rare stuff, like a case of Nuit St. George's La Perriere, a wine that comes from a red pinot grape that has mutated over the decades to produce a white wine. In South Florida you can buy it only at Fernanda's, and a bottle goes for $79.99. But Weber is no wine snob. He keeps plenty of good but cheap wines in stock, including a plethora of fine Spanish reds that start at $6.99. But what we like about Weber is that he writes accurate descriptions about many of the bottles. A wine dummy feels right at home there and learns a lot in the process. A Buena Vista sauvignon blanc, he writes, is "bursting with youthful, clean taste suitable for a picnic or a cocktail party." That's practical information. Our favorite description was of an Italian red called Bindella. Weber first tells us that the bottle retails for $24.99 but was now going for $17.99. Good so far. It has an "interesting 'berryish' quality," he wrote. "Ripe and plummy nuances of red and black fruits gently waft up from the glass." That sounded wonderful, so we bought a bottle. And damn if it wasn't berryish. There was definite wafting going on, too.

 
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