Celebrating National Wine and Cheese Day on July 25 is as redundant as having a National Breathing Day.
It’s a welcome combo at the end of the day or week, and with so many local restaurants recognized for their wine collections (see my blog about the recent Wine Spectator awards here), you are never far from some great vino. Hit the road and have a nip and sip.
Here are two of my favorite places to indulge:
Earning the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence nod for the second year in a row, this restaurant has more than 475 wines and a menu with more than 20 cheeses and house-cured charcuterie. Sommelier Gradon Thibeault will pair wine flights for you with three or five cheeses and meats. It’s guaranteed that you will discover something new during your tastings. Gradon is known for that. Cheese and charcuterie plates are $18 for three pieces, $26 for five pieces, plus the wines. 700 Rosemary Ave., CityPlace, West Palm Beach; 561/366-0071; citycellarwpb.com
The French Wine Merchant
On the first and third Fridays of the month (that would include tonight), this charming and well-priced shop hosts wine tastings in their courtyard patio from 6 to 8 p.m. With French cheeses and bread in attendance, you are guided through whites, rosés and reds, and if you like what you drink, you may buy the wines at a 30 percent discount the night of the tasting. Owner Maurice Amiel has worked with wines for 40 years, and his tastings are a steal at $20 per person, or $35 for a couple. 139 N. County Road, Palm Beach; 800-946-3496; thefrenchwinemerchant.com