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Savor Flavor – Kirkwood’s new wine boutique

Kirkwood and East Lake

Savor Flavor – Kirkwood’s new wine boutique

Kyla Cox, owner of Savor Wine Boutique. Photo by: Dan Whisenhunt
Kyla Cox, owner of Savor Wine Boutique. Photo by: Dan Whisenhunt

Kyla Cox, owner of Savor Wine Boutique. Photo by: Dan Whisenhunt

Kyla Cox, the owner of Savor Wine Boutique in Kirkwood, said there are five steps to enjoying wine.

Step 1: See

Cox held up the glass to the light, judging how it filtered through the red wine. Her new store is in Kirkwood Station. It opened in November. She specializes in fair trade wines and products made by smaller producers. Her Kirkwood store caries a variety of artisan wines. The bottles have unfamiliar names, like Falanghina, an Italian wine, or Cava, a sparkling wine from Spain.

“We pride ourselves on introducing lesser-known or obscure wine varieties,” Cox said.

The room has a soft light and there’s jazz music in the air. Cox can walk you through the characteristics in each bottle, where it was made, what grapes they used and the family that runs the vineyard.

“We’re really a lifestyle boutique,” she said.

Step 2: Swirl

Cox brought the glass down from the light and set it on the table, swirling it around on the flat surface like an air hockey paddle. She said, “It releases the gases.”

“There are no wine snobs here,” she said. “We want people to leave knowing more about wine than when they came in.”

On March 19, Savor held a Kosher wine tasting for Passover. They carry vegan wines too, a product produced without using any animal byproducts.

Step 3: Sniff

Cox puts her nose to the glass. She smells ripe fruits and fresh-pulled earth.

She hails from the Midwest. She moved to the South to attend the University of Alabama and then to Atlanta in 1994 for an internship with Macy’s. That’s where she got her start handling corporate special events.

Cox owns the Savor Wine Boutique with her husband, Greg.

When she worked at Macy’s she managed store openings and product launches. She eventually started Grape Crush Productions the producer of the Buckhead Wine Festival. She enjoyed educating customers on the finer points of the products. When she decided to open a brick and mortar store, Kirkwood had all the right ingredients, she said.

“We loved the idea of a live work play environment,” she said. Kirkwood Station is a mixed-use development, with businesses and residents as tenants. “People who live above us come down and grab a bottle of wine for dinner.”

Step 4: Sip

“Let the wine cover your entire palate,” Cox said.

She was also drawn in by Kirkwood’s annual wine stroll, a sign that she had a base of potential customers that could help support her business. She liked the neighborhood “affinity for wine.”

“The customers have embraced us,” Cox said. “They’re supportive of local businesses.”

She holds regular wine tasting events. She also has a cork recycling program for the customers who come back and want to do something with their corks besides lining them up on the kitchen windowsill.

Step 5: Savor

Cox said “it takes three to four sips” to really appreciate the complexity and individuality of each wine.

Developing a palate that can identify the subtleties of taste takes time and practice, she said.

“Taste as much as you can and as often as you can,” she said. “Talk to people.”

Don’t be afraid to try something different, she said.

“We try to get people out of their wine rut,” she said.

And don’t be afraid of what you don’t know, Cox said.

“The world of wine is just so vast. There’s no one that knows everything,” she said.

Cox knows more than most. She’ll be happy to teach you.