Wine shopping can be intimidating. Too many of us who have yet to master the whole sniff and swill thing skulk through the aisles, making choices on the basis of a pretty label, hoping against hope that we don't bring home a stinker. Que Syrah is an ideal place to overcome such limitations. The inviting shop has a great inventory, and the friendly and unpretentious staff can usher even the most remedial shopper through the valley of the shadow of wine selection.
General manager Shebnem Ince brings her sommelier expertise and easygoing attitude to the table, doling out food and wine pairing advice. As she tells it, the clientele ranges from serious oenophiles (fancy talk for wine lovers) to absolute newbies. As to the big question, prices range from $6 to $200, with most wines marked below $30, guaranteeing a bottle for every taste and budget.
Eschewing the score system of big-wig wino reviewers, little cards corresponding to nearly every bottle in the shop, organized by country, offer lively and accessible descriptions written by the staff. This is in line with the shop philosophy, which dictates that every last bottle is tasted and evaluated with every vintage change. A kosher selection is augmented around Jewish holidays, and there is a range of half bottles, a great option if your date doesn't drink and you donít want to get sloshed. A refrigerator in the rear of the shop is stocked with a seasonal assortment of beer, with plenty of English and Belgian options. There is also a well-edited array of gifts and gadgets.
Tastings and special events are posted on the website, but they fill early so book well in advance. Be sure to sign up for the customer loyalty program on your first visit; shop with Que Syrah 10 times and earn 10 percent off for life.
Centerstage Reviewer: Roni Shapira