A Taste for: Wine Bars

Whether you’re a few sips away from being a certified sommelier or your wine expertise is based on numerous viewings of “Sideways,” Cleveland has a nice flight of wine bars to suit your palate. Take along our guide on the best pairings to try at each.

806 Bistro, 806 Literary Road, Cleveland (216) 696-4806, www.806bistro.com
The Vibe: Upscale but not stuffy; indoor and outdoor fireplaces
Food Offerings:  Emphasis on Ohio ingredients, such as the pierogi trio (duck, smoky potato and cider-beer braised pork) $6 - $18
Best Paring: Bacon-wrapped figs with a glass of 2004 Klinkerbrick Farrah’s Syrah
Why? “The full ripe fruit of the Syrah, with lush velvety texture and hints of cassis, complements the saltiness of the bacon and the sweetness of the fig — it’s just a great combination,” says owner and general manager Nick Choma.
87 West, 87 West St., Chagrin Falls (440) 247-5888, www.87west.com
The Vibe: Cozy and laid back; fireplace for chilly nights
Food Offerings:  Light appetizers, including antipasti and Baricelli Inn cheeses $3.95 - $14.95
Best Paring: Sequoia Grove Cabernet with the Kobe beef canapé
Why?“The Sequoia Grove Cabernet is deep and rich with dark berry flavors. Its silky finish complements the tenderness of the Kobe beef combined with the bold Gorgonzola aioli,” says manager Jen Snook.
North End, 7542 Darrow Road, Hudson, (330) 656-1238, www.northendwinefoodfun.com
The Vibe: Napa inspired; seating is centered around wine bins
Food Offerings:  Comfort fusion approach —pumpkin bisque, tenderloin, Baricelli cheeses and mussels Provencal,$10 - $25
Best Paring: Perry Creek from El Dorado California with the Black and Blue steak
Why?“The aroma of the Perry Creek has nuances of dried herb and black pepper. These flavors provide a nice contrast to the saltiness of the blue cheese-and-onion straws. The wine also has a nice balance of fruit and acidity and is heavy enough to accommodate [the Black and Blue],” says owner Scott Kuebler.
Royal Vine, 12766 Royalton Road, North Royalton, (440) 582-8766, www.royalparkwine.com
The Vibe: Classy, but not formal; neighborhood feel
Food Offerings:  Wine-compatible appetizers and gourmet pizzas, such as eggplant Alfredo; rotating cheese list under $15
Best Paring: Isabel Sauvignon Blanc with signature gourmet cheese plate and fruit
Why?“Sauvignon Blanc generally, and the Isabel specifically, has a lot of citrus acidity. Fat from a cheese [or other rich dish] coats the mouth and tongue. The acidity cuts right though it and ‘cleans’ your mouth,” says manager Brad Hutchison.
The Fairmount Wine Bar, 2448 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Heights, (216) 229-9463, www.thefairmount.net
The Vibe: Eclectic crowd from 20- to 60-somethings; great fireplace
Food Offerings:  Lighter fare, including gourmet pizzas, wraps, salads, ahi tuna, pasta and desserts $5 - $16
Best Paring: Desert Eagle Shiraz with the chocolate torte
Why?“The Shiraz has hints of chocolate, which are brought out by the richness and deep chocolate flavor of the torte,” says partner Diane Masseria
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