Restaurant News & Reviews

This ‘delightful’ wine cafe in downtown Gulfport has a cozy vibe and small plates

How to open a bottle of champagne

Jamie Stratton, wine director at Jacob Liquor, shows how to properly open a bottle of champagne.
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Jamie Stratton, wine director at Jacob Liquor, shows how to properly open a bottle of champagne.

Looking for a comfortable place to meet with friends, enjoy a glass of wine and something good to eat? Do I have good news for you!

Sea Grapes Wine Café in Gulfport is just the right spot. It is in the heart of old downtown Gulfport, there is plenty of parking and it is just as charming as a wine café should be.

An open ceiling, blond wood floors and a big picture window that looks out on 14th Street, all contribute to making this as cozy and comfortable a place as you will find anywhere.

The wine list is close to 40-strong and seems well-balanced. A demi glass (half size) can be had from $4 to $6.75, a glass will run from $6.50 to $15 and a bottle from $25 to $215, so all the bases are covered.

The wine menu is evenly balanced between reds and whites, and has some notable choices, such as Fiddle Creek Pinot Noir, from Oregon’s famed Willamette Valley, a good Argentinian Malbec, a very good red from Cotes Du Rhone, a Chateau Haut Laulion, White Bordeaux (one of my favorite whites), and even a very good bottle of Veuve Clicquot, if your pocket is full of coins!

I also have to say I was pleased to see a corking system in place and being used. If you go to a wine bar and the cork has been replaced in open bottles, you have got to ask yourself how long the wine has been opened and not sealed. My advice is to find a place professional enough to use a good vacuum seal system.

The menu is described as “small plates and foods for pairings,” and although it is small, with just 15 offerings, you are sure to find something to go with any wine you choose.

I started with the tomato bruschetta ($6.75), and it was nicely done. There was a good assortment of diced tomatoes, tossed in olive oil, and fresh herbs, served on a crisp crostini, lots of Parmesan Reggiano and a nice, thick balsamic glaze. I paired it with the Willamette pinot noir and was delighted.

My friend, Mark Dubaz, ordered the sampler plate for two ($29) and it was more than both of us could eat. Three kinds of cheese, including Gruyere, one of the most famous French/Swiss cave-aged cheeses, three charcuteries, including soppressata, another of my favorites, prosciutto wrapped asparagus and a gorgeous assortment of fresh fruits, and, a delightful salmon pate.

There were plenty of other offerings that seemed good choices for a good glass of wine, such as the Caprese Salad ($7.50), which is such a summer classic. Interestingly, you can also order a pizza from Tom’s, which is just next door and connected to Sea Grapes by an inside door.

Sea Grapes Café is delightful. It is small and cozy, and service is sharp and friendly. The menu is well-composed, and the food is thoughtfully presented. There is also music Wednesday through Saturday, and Tuesday is Tasteful Tuesday, when you will be offered a free demi of wine, just to increase your wine repertoire. See you there.

Sea Grapes Wine Cafe

Where: 2419 14th St., Gulfport

Hours: 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Saturday

Phone: 228-867-2010

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