NEWS

A Toast to Misconceptions

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

So here are hers: The most expensive wine isn't necessarily the best. Older doesn't always mean better. White zinfandel and zinfandel are far from the same thing. And rieslings aren't all sweet.

Avera, 44, is co-owner of Vino 100 Polaris, which offers a selection of 100 wines for less than $25.

Before opening the shop with her husband, Don, in 2007, she spent a year reading, researching and attending as many wine tastings as she could find. "My father is a medical researcher, and I inherited his insatiable curiosity," she said. "So

I'm always looking for the next thing, and the next wine, and the next grape."

That means her shelves are stocked with off-the-beaten-path bottles.

"People come in here and say, 'I don't recognize any of these wines,' " Avera said. "And I say, 'That's a good thing. Because I want to show you new stuff. I want to broaden your horizons.' "

Q&A

How does the Vino 100 franchise work?

Every store is independently owned and independently run. We find all of our own wines, we buy them all, we come up with ideas for our own events, do all the marketing. It's all very much local, small business, mom and pop. Vino 100 is the store concept.

What challenges have you encountered?

Time. You get pulled in a lot of different directions. And we have fewer labels and less wine than a lot of places. So we try to change it up often enough to keep it interesting, but keep the stuff people are attached to.

When you have time, what do you like to do?

I usually will be reading something. Historical novels have been my thing lately. We live in Clintonville, and we love music and movies and all the fun cultural stuff. We used to cook all the time, but we don't get to as much anymore, and I miss that.

Vino 100 Polaris

522 Polaris Pkwy,

Westerville

614-895-8466

www.Vino100Polaris.com

LIZ'S SUGGESTIONS

Le G de Chateau Guiraud (2008)

Region: Bordeaux, France

Tasting notes: A lush, creamy mouthfeel dominated by grapefruit and kiwi flavors

Pair with: Seafood, lemon chicken or a salad topped with vinaigrette dressing

Why Liz likes it: "This winery is world-renowned for their Sauternes dessert wine, so they are considered premier cru, which is a first growth-the second-to-highest rung of the classification in Sauternes. But this is their little table wine sort of thing, so you're getting really good grapes for not a lot of money."

Cost: $22

Uptown Pinot Noir (2007)

Region: California's north coast

Tasting notes: Light but rich, with dark cherry and blackberry fruits and the warmth of burnt brown sugar

Pair with: Mexican cuisine, salmon dishes, anything prepared with Jamaican jerk seasoning

Why Liz likes it: "It's lighter bodied, but it still has a lot of very rich flavor. It's definitely not watery or too delicate. Spicy foods have a hard time competing with red wine's tannins, but pinot noir has less tannin by nature, so it goes well with Mexican. I'd put this with a black bean salad."

Cost: $21