The Continuing Adventures Of the Wandering Wino

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It's nice to know that local restaurants and wine shops want your business, and if you can't find a discounted wine tasting or bottle deal at your favorite establishment, you're just not trying very hard. But that doesn't mean that we here at Bites won't work to make it easier for you.

To complement the efforts of the talented Nicki Wood and her Frugal Feedbag Finds, watch this space for our regular "Wandering Wino" wine and drink deals. To kick it off, here's some evidence that our in-box runneth over:

Our fair city will the the site of not one, but TWO big wine dinners next Thursday, Aug. 13. At 6:30 p.m. in Germantown, Mad Platter is hosting an event featuring 100 percent organic wines from Cline Winery and a menu featuring items grown within 200 miles of Nashville. The seven-course meal looks spectacular, and I am particularly interested in the 2007 Cashmere Blended Red. Cline is known for its work with the Mourvèdre varietal, and it should be interesting to see how they work it in with the Grenache and the Syrah. At $50 per person, this is a good reason to visit the North Side. For menu details and reservation info stab your fork here.

If you'd prefer to dine on the other side of Broadway, next Thursday night Flyte chefs Jen Franzen, Erica Waksmunski and the newest addition to the kitchen corps, Ashley Quick, have put together a special five-course meal to honor the visit from Steve Pessagno, winemaker at Pessagno Winery in Salinas, CA. Steve will be presenting five of his distinctive small-vineyard wines including a rare California-grown port with Erica's famous Chocolate Flyte dessert. The menu is designed especially to highlight two of Pessagno's five renowned Pinot Noirs. At $60, this deal creates quite a conundrum that evening for a Wandering Wino. Vegetarians are welcome and reservations are requested. Head here for the fine print.

If you just can't decide between those two great dinners or you're looking for deals some time other than next Thursday, two old favorites are expanding their discount bottle offerings. We've already told you about Sperry's half-price bottle deal on Sundays and Mondays. As if that weren't enough incentive, they've expanded it to seven nights a week for all of August. Check out their full wine list to see exactly how good a deal this is.

"Oh yeah, Sperry's?" countered the folks at Mere Bulles in Brentwood. "We'll see your August and raise you by 2-for-1 bottles every night for the rest of the year." That's right, there are no losers in a half-price bottle war. And you the discerning diner are the big winner. Better yet, try them both and decide for yourself.

Finally, everybody's favorite 12South wine merchant, Vinea, announced two exciting opportunities to get your grape on in the upcoming weeks. First you can head on over to their cheesy neighbor Corrieri's Formaggeria from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug, 8 for a free tasting of five different Tempranillos from La Mancha. If you love any of them, you can crawl over to Vinea for a 10 percent discount on all the wines being poured.

Always the partnering sort, Vinea is also bringing back the popular Wine 101 educational series with their comrades at Fido Java. Starting Aug. 11 and running every Tuesday night until the middle of September, $25 buys you an evening of wine tasting, food-pairing advice, viticultural history, information about various styles and methods of winemaking and excellent noshables from Fido's kitchen. It's pay-as-you-go, so you don't have to attend each class and you can join the fun any week you choose. Check out the course syllabus at Vinea's website and stop by the campus bookstore for your school supplies and wine glasses.

The Wandering Wino will keep an eye out for the best bargains for you. Check back here for our finds.

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