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Published 7/21/2010

GLOBAL VINESMT readers' best liquor and wine store in Macomb County for 2010 — Champane's Wine Cellars — sets its sights on summertime vino at its Backyard Summer Wine Tasting on Thursday, July 22. The program runs from 6-7:30 p.m. and costs $10 for one or $15 for two. Wines such as Torrontes from Argentina, Sylvaner from Germany and Chenin Blanc South Africa will be featured, giving tasters a perfect opportunity to sample the lesser-known varieties that wine connoisseurs crave during the dog days of summer. Stop in or call to RSVP: 7007 Chicago Rd., Warren; 586-978-9463; champanes.com.

C'EST MAGNIFIQUE — Ever been to the French Riviera? Neither have we. But that's where Josephine Creperie & Bistro will take your taste buds on Wednesday, July 28, with a five-course meal featuring cuisine from the swank Mediterranean getaway. The menu includes amuse-bouche, chilled potato leek soup, green salad, one of four entrées (your choice, of course) and two dessert options. The price is $30. There will be various seating times, but reservations are required. Let your
taste buds vacation at 241 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-399-1366; josephinebistro.com.


FOOD/THOUGHT

Vegetarians and carnivores alike will relish Martha Rose Shulman's Mediterranean Harvest: Vegetarian Recipes from the World's Healthiest Cuisine (Rodale Books, $23.99). The 500 recipes teach you how to use fresh produce, herbs and spices to create the flavors of France, Spain, Italy, the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, North Africa, and the Middle East. From artichoke and fresh fava stew to zucchini, tomato and rice pilaf, you can find recipes conveniently by ingredient, country or region of origin, or simply the name of the dish.


BOTTOMS UP

Even for $20, you can still find serious value in Spanish wine. Fashioned mostly from the Bobal grape variety indigenous to eastern Spain, 2005 Mestizaje is a big red wine with massive aromas of cherry, honey, horny flowers and driftwood. Though it is recognizably Spanish (the other grape varieties in the blend are Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Cabernet Sauvignon), it is far denser and more balanced by natural acidity than the average grocery store brand, and would be impressive paired with a fat steak grilled over hardwood flames.


THE WORKS

A first glance at this sleek cylinder is apt to pique your interest perhaps an electric toothbrush? No, it's an Oster 4207 cordless electric wine bottle opener that makes cork removal a breeze. After removing the seal with the foil cutter, position the unit over the cork, and a push of the button activates the process. When the cork is out of the bottle, another push removes the cork from the opener. If you prefer a smaller, more conventional corkscrew, consider the Oster as a gift for a friend with arthritis. Be a hero for twenty bucks.

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