A few weeks ago, while I was in Minnesota, I made a quick dash into a wine store that I feel is a “must see” for those of you in the Twin Cities. Solo Vino, located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, has been rated one of the best wine stores in the Midwest by both the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Magazine and the City Pages. Founded in 2001 by Sam Haislet, the former sommelier at Zander Café, and Chuck Kanski, another sommelier at places like the Vintage and Pazzaluna, Solo Vino feels as if it resembles your favorite restaurant’s wine list.
My zip in and out experience was based on a request from a reader who wanted to know what Portuguese wines were available in the Twin Cities. With a friend’s baby in tow, I ran into the store before a child’s notorious naptime, hoping to get a general idea as to what was on the market. With over 20 bottles of Portuguese still wine to choose from beyond the Douro, and 30 plus Spanish wines, I was unexpectedly impressed. And considering my precarious situation with a two-year old, a saleswoman immediately came to my aid answering my questions with both assurance and personal experience. She had tried several of the Portuguese wines and was an enormous advocate for the country. Considering that each and every bottle that goes through the doors of Solo Vino is both selected and tasted by its owners, it is of no suprise that the staff is well educated and vocal about their personal favorites. In addition to great customer service to a fantastic selection of Iberian wine for an affordable price and you have a the perfect little oasis!
Plus, if you’re like me and feel that wine and food should always be appreciate together, then stop next store to Zander Cafe where its sleek futuristic style is complimented with its bistro atmosphere and fantastic wine. And if the seasonal menu isn’t enough to entice you through the doors, Zander Cafe and Solo Vino have the perfect marriage where you can choose a bottle from Solo Vino to enjoy with your dinner. Or, if you thoroughly appreciated the wine you picked from Zander’s wine menu, you can take a two minute stroll next door to find other wines from the same producer.
Additionally, Solo Vino offers wine classes for $25 per student per course. Taken from their website, classes are offered on Mondays from 6pm to 8pm. For reservations, call 651.602.9515.
For more information about Solo Vino and one of its creators, Sam Haislet, take a moment to read a fabulous article written in the City Pages back in 2003.
And for those of you who take a moment to stop into Solo Vino, post a comment with us and let us know how your experience was!