Sauvignon Blank

I'd be better off stopping at Safeway and grabbing a bottle ofwine and a deli tray

I don't even let my companion taste my turkey sandwich -- I'm too shocked that I've spent $8 on something I could have picked up at any cafeteria for $1.95. The meat is fine, but there's just one slice of it, along with iceberg, provolone and what I swear is Miracle Whip on boring sourdough speared with cocktail toothpicks. It's too depressing even to discuss the chocolate torte, a luscious-looking but completely commercial mousse concoction.

To top off this nightmare, Wine Concepts has a corkage fee of $8 (the upscale Atlas in Scottsdale only charges $7), and on Wednesdays, hosts a "singles mingle" night so we can find someone to "like, love or lust." High class.

At Vinoteca, it's actually worse. I'm led in with a glam-proposal of "fresh baked breads, panini sandwiches, and a European deli." This I get from a prominent A-frame sign parked on busy Mill Avenue.

Mark Stern, owner of Wine Concepts in north Phoenix.
Jackie Mercandetti
Mark Stern, owner of Wine Concepts in north Phoenix.


Antipasto platter: $9.50
Bruschetta: $7.50
Turkey sandwich: $8
Chocolate torte: $3.50

4001 East Bell,602-923-WINE (9463). Hours: Lunch and dinner, Monday through Thursday, 1 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. to 1 a.m.

717 South Mill, Tempe, 480-968-WINE (9463). Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, noon to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 2 to 9 p.m.

Yet once inside, I find nothing. The shop is run by the owners of Caffe Boa next door, and apparently, that's where the proprietors are keeping their attention. And their food. There are no sandwiches anymore, my perky cashier tells me. No bread. There are a few cakes and some cheeses, but no tables at which to eat. She can sign me up for a wine tasting, the cashier says -- it's tomorrow night, on the patio of Boa, and she'll e-mail me immediately.

Weeks later, I'm still waiting.

I love my wine. I love my food. I wish the weasels at Wine Concepts and Vinoteca felt the same.


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