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Toledo’s expert advice, uncorked
For many, enjoying a favorite wine in front of the fire signifies all the best holiday vibes. While favorites are great, it’s always nice to try something new. Approaching Thanksgiving, several local restaurants, markets and bar owners weighed in with their recommendations on what to try in the world of wine. If you don’t know where to start in selecting a wine for upcoming holiday gatherings, these experts have your back.
Photos by Kelli Miller.
Joseph’s Beverage Center
Christopher Newton, General Manager & Wine Purchaser
4129 Talmadge Rd. | 419-841-3000
What is one bottle of wine you plan to have on the table at Thanksgiving? Schloss Vollrads German Riesling.
What are your favorite, and least favorite, wine trends?
Favorite: barrel aging. Least favorite: cans.
If you have a private collection, what’s your favorite bottle? Darioush Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2014.
What is your favorite local winery? Heineman Winery.
What are the most exciting innovations happening right now in the world of wine? New and exciting products from Oregon, New Zealand and France.
Steal: Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, $9.99.
Deal: Beringer Founders’ Estate Pinot Noir, $7.99.
Unreal: Penfolds Grange, $854.99
Rosie’s Italian Grille
Phil Barone, owner
606 N. McCord Rd. | 419-866-5007
11:30am-9pm, Monday-Thursday & Sunday.
What is one bottle of wine you plan to have on the table at Thanksgiving? The Michael David Winery Earthquake Zinfandel from Lodi, California. It is full-bodied Zine that my wife and I enjoy together. It is a peppery wine with a bit of spice and plenty of berry fruits. If you haven’t tried it, you should!
What is your favorite wine trend? As of late, my favorite wine trend is that people are enjoying wines they like instead of trying to pair their meals with a certain wine, being red or white.
What do you love most about wine? I love the way the flavors hit the palette and the calming effect wine has on me. Wine is very multi-faceted and that’s what I really love about it. There is a world full of different flavors, pairings, aromas, and wines have so much variety.
Steal: Mettler wines. We offer all of our Mettler wines at a special price. We have a special friendship with Kim Mettler and through that relationship with her, we are able to price our Mettler wines at a reasonable price. One of my favorites is the Mettler Old Vine from Lodi, California. We offer it for $9.95 a glass and for $39 for the bottle.
Deal: Wino Wednesdays. Our best wine deals happen every Wednesday, when all of our bottled wine priced $28 and under is $5 off and all bottles $29 and up are $10 off.
Unreal: Opus One from California. This is our highest priced (and best tasting) wine. It is a red blend and only one of two wines made by Opus One Winery with aromas of blueberries, cassis, and blackberries with highlights of rose, anise, and baking spices. It is available on our Captain’s List for $295 for the bottle.
Walt Churchill’s Markets
Dave Duling, Perrysburg Wine Director
Perrysburg: 26625 N. Dixie Hwy., 419-872-6900.
Maumee: 3320 Briarfield Blvd., 419-794-4000.
7am-9pm, Monday-Saturday. 8am-9pm, Sunday.
When did you first realize you wanted a career related to wine? I started growing grapes in high school and eventually changed my college major to learn grape growing.
What is one bottle of wine you plan to have on the table at Thanksgiving? A semi-dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes region of New York.
What is your favorite local winery? Heineman Winery at Put-in-Bay. I worked there right out of college. Great people to work for and have a glass of wine with.
You can only drink from one region for the rest of your life. What is it? The Rhone Valley of France. An area with diverse wines and great values.
Steal: Chateau Subilaux, Bordeaux, $13.99.
Deal: Chateau Virgile red, Costiers de Nimes, $12.99.
Unreal: Domus Aurea Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile, $69.99.
Barr’s Public House
Kayci Abayari, Pub Manager
3355 Briarfield Blvd., Maumee.
419-866-8466 | barrspublichouse.com
What is one bottle of wine you plan to have on the table at Thanksgiving? Meeker Handprint Merlot. Fun fact: You can tell who did each handprint by the color on the thumbs.
What are your favorite, and least favorite, wine trends? My favorite is organic and bio-dynamic. My least favorite is rosé everything.
Who would you most like to share a bottle of wine with? Neil deGrasse Tyson.
What are the most exciting innovations happening right now in the world of wine? Although not a traditional wine, Mead (honey wine) is making a huge comeback. We are fortunate to have an award-winning meadery, Four Fires, right here in Maumee that just opened this past summer.
Steal: Marques de Gelida Brut Gran Reserva Cava, $38 ($28 every Wednesday). Beautiful well-balanced bubbles.
Deal: Happy Hour! $5 Glasses of wine from 3-6pm, Monday-Saturday.
Unreal: Meeker Handprint Merlot, $88. Big, broad flavors with a rich complexity. Worth every penny.
Final Cut Steak & Seafood
Drew Carter, Manager
Hollywood Casino Toledo:
1968 Miami St., 877-777-9579.
5-9pm, Wednesday-Thursday & Sunday
5-10pm, Friday & Saturday
(bar open until 11pm on Saturday).
What’s your favorite, and most surprising, food and wine pairing? Sparkling wine and fried food, also popcorn. The effervescence in the wine works as a palette cleanser and clears the grease and/or salt.
When did you first realize you loved wine? For me, it was a basic Chianti that sent me down this rabbit hole. I got into an argument with a friend on how the wine was made and when we looked it up he was right. I immediately started learning about wine and became fascinated.
Steal: Torres Altos Ibéricos Crianza Rioja, $40. I would have to say several of our selections, particularly from Spain and Portugal are definitely steals. Right now those areas are producing great wines at excellent prices, one of my favorites is the Torres Altos Ibéricos Crianza Rioja, lovely and rich fruit with smoky notes and firm tannins. Great way to try a Rioja if you’ve never had one.
Deal: Viña Quebrada de Macul Domus Aurea Cabernet Sauvignon, $125. This wine definitely over-performs at its price point, as it comes from a small single vineyard on the slopes of the Andes in the Maipo valley. You rarely see the amount of care that goes into this wine at this price. Lush with dark fruit and hints of savory herbs.
Unreal: 2011 Château Lafite Rothschild Bordeaux, $2,000. The name, Château Lafite Rothschild, is synonymous with French wine and elegance this wine is an experience. What I love about the list at Final Cut is that we have wines for every day, once in a lifetime, and everything in between.
Souk Mediterranean Kitchen & Bar
Sam Vause, General Manager
139 S. Huron St. | 567-777-7685.
If you had to pick, would you rather drink only reds or only whites? This is like picking your favorite child. You have one, but you don’t want to admit it. I’d go reds.
What are your favorite, and least favorite, wine trends? I think any trend that produces a more sustainable and eco-friendly product is a good thing for all of us. Wines and winemakers are leaning more and more heavily on organic and biodynamic farming to produce their grapes and wines. This is something we can all get behind. Least favorite trend? Pretentious or snobby wine drinkers.
Steal: House wines. Honestly, they are a steal for the juice that sits in the glass. For $7 a glass and $26 a bottle, we partner with Sicilian winemakers, who have since become our friends. The grapes are harvested and the wine is produced specifically for us and wears our house Souk label. We are proud to serve them at an amazing price.
Deal: The Damiano Ciolli “Silene,” at $30, and “Cirsium,” its sibling wine, at $46. I think that these two beautiful Roman wines on our list are sleeper hits. They are priced aggressively to give our guests an incentive to try something truly unique. They are rustic, full-bodied and well-made wines with a unique profile on the palate and surprising bouquet of aromas. I am always suggesting them to budding wine enthusiasts.
Unreal: Orin Swift’s Machete, $97. We made a conscious decision to have a wine list that is priced to sell, giving our guests an opportunity to enjoy an amazing wine at a great price. We actually only have one wine on the list over $100. If I was selecting a wine to drink myself that sits at a higher price point I would reach for Orin Swift’s “Machete” at $97. The wine is a blend of classic French Rhone varietals. It is full-bodied and well balanced with flavors of plum, wild blackberries, and black pepper. This wine pairs perfectly with the roasted lamb on our menu and our Mediterranean cuisine.
Basil Pizza & Wine Bar
Mike Gregg, Beverage Director/Sommelier
The Town Center at Levis Commons:
3145 Hollister Ln., Perrysburg.
419-873-6218 | basilpizzaandwinebar.com
11am-10pm, Monday-Thursday & Sunday.
What’s your favorite, and most surprising, food and wine pairing? Grilled baby-back ribs paired with a rich, smoky Syrah gets me every time. The most surprising pairing I’ve had happened just last week when I had a corn dog with a glass of Premier Cru Chablis. It was magical.
What do you love most about wine? I love it when wine exhibits a sense of place, or what the French call ‘terroir.’ In many instances when you taste a bottle of wine you’re tasting a specific piece of the earth, with grapes acting as the ambassadors.
Steal: Bodegas Breca Old Vine Garnacha, $35. This red fruit and spice bomb is my favorite at the moment, but anything Spanish! It astounds me that most of the world hasn’t yet caught on to Spanish wine. However, that’s also the reason they remain such a great value!
Deal: Winesday. It is our most amazing special! Half-off EVERY bottle of wine EVERY Wednesday from 4-10pm!
Unreal: Sure, we’ve got Opus One, Caymus, classified Bordeaux and many other special wines, but my favorite bottles that taste unreal right now are the Chateau Fortia ‘Cuvee du Baron’ Chateauneuf-du-Pape $70, and from the Red Mountain region of Washington state, the Gorman ‘Evil Twin’ red blend $90. Both are drinking beautifully and will pair with a wide array of dishes.
Mancy’s Italian Grill and The Bottle Shop
Tricia Rasar, Certified Specialist of Wine
5453 Monroe St.
Bottle Shop: 419-824-2463.
Mancy’s: 419-882-9229 | mancys.com
What is one bottle of wine you plan to have on the table at Thanksgiving? A Cru Beaujolais.
If you had to pick, would you rather drink only reds or only whites? Whites, if Champagne counts.
What’s the best way to pick out a bottle of wine when you know nothing about the selection? Shop small and locally and trust your wine experts.
Steal: Treasure Hunter Propaganda Cabernet Sauvignon, $24.99.
Deal: Happy hour. $6 wines (as well as other specials) are available from 2-6pm every day.
Unreal: 2014 Summit Lake Emily Kestrel Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, $92.99. It is not the highest-priced, but it is the wine that has knocked my socks off lately.
Tom Shank, Owner
15119 US 20A, Wauseon,
419-212-1014 | americanwineryohio.com
What is one bottle of wine you plan to have on the table at Thanksgiving? Our Cranberry, a semi-sweet fruit wine.
If you have a private collection, what’s your favorite bottle? Either our Dry Virgin Red or our Sunny Beach Lime Margarita wine.
Who would you most like to share a bottle of wine with? My better half, Connie, and my customers.
When did you first realize you wanted a career related to wine? After we planted the grape vines.
What do you love most about wine? The ability to create a masterpiece in a bottle using both our estate-grown and outsourced grapes.
Steal: Our Angry Eagle sweet red wine, $10
Deal: A case of our discounted mix-and-match wines.
Unreal: Our Dry Virgin Red, $22. My personal preference.