Wine Guide 2021

Wine is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages, with evidence of its production dating back to 7,000 BC. With so much history and so many varieties wine can be intimidating for a new fan. Fear not! Toledo’s passionate, knowledgeable and professional  fermented grape experts gave us the lowdown on why they love wine, great pairings, and some of the best deals in the area.

Basil Pizza & Wine Bar

3145 Hollister Ln., Perrysburg. 419-873-6218. basilpizzaandwinebar.com
Michael Gregg, Beverage Director/Sommelier

Of the wines available at your business, what bottle is a…
Steal: d’Arenberg ‘Stump Jump’ Red Blend $10 glass/$34 bottle. This wine is a fantastic introduction to the Australian wine renaissance that is currently happening. It’s a traditional grenache-shiraz-mourvedre blend, but without all of the jammy oak that Australian wines have become infamous for. Instead you get a nice, sleek, smooth-drinking red wine with tons of flavor and spice.
Deal: Every Wednesday is ‘Winesday’ at Basil. That means that from 4pm – 9pm all of our bottles of wine are half-off! Be sure to make reservations because it’s a full house!
Unreal: In addition to our expansive wine list, we also receive multiple allocations of wines that are very hard to get. Ask your favorite Sommelier for recommendations!

What is one bottle of wine you plan to have on the table at Thanksgiving?
Any white wine from Alsace. Alsatian white wines are amongst the best in the world, and with their intense floral notes and minerally acidity, they make a fantastic contribution to any sort of Thanksgiving cuisine.

If you have a private collection, what’s your favorite bottle?
My private collection can’t keep up with me.

Do you have a favorite local winery?
I’m a judge at a couple of local county fairs, and I highly recommend trying anything your neighbors or local winemakers are serving. Sure, you’ll taste some things you’re not fond of, but you may find a few new favorites. How do you think I became a fan of sparkling rhubarb wine?

What’s a great tip for readers to pick out a good bottle of wine if they know nothing about the selection?
Check out the case stacks! Any time a retailer finds a phenomenal value, they’ll usually do a display, or what’s commonly called a “case stack”. These are wines that are oftentimes limited, and usually under $20 a bottle. I’ve found some of my most favorite wines this way.

Past or present, name one person you would most like to share a bottle of wine with.
Samuel Beckett or Albert Camus. But, if they’re busy, I’ll go with Marilyn Monroe.

What’s your favorite food and wine pairing?
Champagne with anything…especially with more Champagne.

What’s a great pairing that our readers would find surprising?
Grilled beef hotdogs and Syrah.

What do you look for when you’re shopping for a new bottle of wine?
Regions. Grapes can be manipulated into a multitude of Frankenstein-like monstrosities. However, when you shop according to region, especially wines from the Old World (France, Spain, Italy, Germany, etc.), you typically know what you’re in for.

What’s a great way for our readers to learn more about wine?
Taste everything, take notes, and make friends!

Benchmark

6130 Levis Commons Blvd., Perrysburg. 419-873-6590. benchmark-restaurant.com
Jon Mickle, General Manager 

Of the wines available at your business, what bottle is a…
Steal: DOMAINE OLIVIER HILLAIRE, Vin de France $32
Deal: 2016 SILVER OAK CABERNET, Alexander Valley $126
Unreal: 1996 CHATEAU LAFITE ROTHSCHILD, Pauillac  $1800

If you have a private collection, what’s your favorite bottle?
My wife and I are still sitting on a few bottles that we brought back from a trip to the Piemont region in Italy five years ago. The wines themselves are great, but the memories that they are attached to are even better.

What’s a great tip for readers to pick out a good bottle of wine if they know nothing about the selection?
Don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation. Also, don’t be afraid to give a price point to a wine professional. “I’m interested in a full-bodied red in the neighborhood of $65,” would be a great way to start the conversation.  

What’s a great pairing that our readers would find surprising?
Lately I’ve been really into white wine with steak. An oaky chardonnay pairs surprisingly well with a nice filet mignon.

When did you first realize you loved wine? 
I remember always thinking that “wine just tastes like wine.” I also remember the first time that I was able to pick up on a flavor that someone else talked about in a wine. The moment I was able to taste the black pepper in that wine was the same moment that I knew I would like to learn more about wine.

What tips do you have for someone going to their first wine tasting?
Go with an open mind. Try to learn to appreciate wine that is “interesting” even if it’s not wine that you “like.” Eventually this will broaden your horizons when it comes to wine tasting.

Chateau Tebeau Vineyard and Winery

525 OH-635, Helena. 419-638-5411. chateautebeauwinery.com
Robert Tebeau, Winemaker

Of the wines available at your business, what bottle is a…
Steal: Harvey Schwartz, Sweet Concord – $9.74.
Deal: Frosty Lemon Breeze, Lemon Reisling – $17.99.
Unreal: Merlot, barrel aged, full bodied, dry red – $19.99.

Do you have a favorite local winery?
Chateau Tebeau Vineyard and Winery, Helena, OH.

What’s your favorite food and wine pairing?
Grilled steak with a heavy dry red wine, such as Merlot, or a great dry blend Chateau Tebeau (Cuvee Rouge).

What’s a great pairing that our readers would find surprising?
Rhubarb wine paired with a honey glazed ham.

What’s a great way for our readers to learn more about wine?
Visit the many wineries, both local and throughout the state of Ohio. Check out ohiowines.org for info on all six Ohio wine trails.

What tips do you have for someone going to their first wine tasting?
Taste dry before sweet and white before red. If you taste sweet first, it will make the dry taste bitter.

What’s the most expensive bottle of wine you’ve ever tasted? Was it worth it?
Chateau Margaux 1996, a red blend from the Medoc region of France. We purchased a 375ml bottle at the winery for 25 Euro. We enjoyed this excellent wine. Soon after we found the same wine on a menu at a steakhouse in Chicago for $800. (Probably should have held onto this one.)

Joseph’s Beverage Center

4129 Talmadge Rd. 419-841-3000. josephsbeveragecenter.com
Christopher Newton, General Manager/Wine Boss/Fearless Leader

Of the wines available at your business, what bottle is a…
Steal: Chateau Souverain Cabernet – $9.99.
Deal: Bonanza Cabernet – $21.99.
Unreal: Bond Cabernet – $799.

What is one bottle you plan to have on the table at Thanksgiving?
Schloss Vollrads German Riesling.

If you have a private collection, what’s your favorite bottle?
Schafer One Point Five.

Do you have a favorite local winery?
Gideon owen.

What’s a great tip for readers to pick out a good bottle of wine if they know nothing about the selection?
Companies have gotten smart to the general public picking wines based off label, go with that.

Past or present. Name one person you would most like to share a bottle of wine with.
Joell Gott…and my wife.

What’s your favorite food and wine pairing?
A great steak and a big, bold Cabernet.

What’s a great pairing that our readers would find surprising?
Pepper Jack Cheese and Rose.

Tastes change. What was the most recent change for you?
French wine.

When did you first realize you loved wine?
When I started working at Joseph’s.

When did you first realize you wanted a career related to wine?
When I was offered the job.

What do you look for when you’re shopping for a new bottle of wine?
Region and varietal breakdown.

What’s a great way for our readers to learn more about wine?
Come to our wine tastings, Thursdays 5-7pm.

What tips do you have for someone going to their first wine tasting?
Be open minded.

What’s the most expensive bottle of wine you’ve ever tasted? Was it worth it?
Monton Rothschild – $799, absolutely worth it.

Majestic Oak Winery

13554 Mohler Rd., Grand Rapids. 419-875-6474. majesticoakwinery.com
Doug & Laura Rufenacht, Owners 

What are some bottles your patrons love?
Our most popular wine is Shade Tree Red, a sweet blend of Concord and Catawba at $12.49/bottle. The Shades of Blue, 100% blueberry wine made from whole fruit has quite a following at $15.99/bottle.

What is one bottle of wine you plan to have on the table at Thanksgiving?
Cranberry Crush 

What are your favorite, and least favorite, current wine trends?
My least favorite is the use of Rose’ on everything. It is a style of wine, not a color.

Do you have a favorite local winery? 
Majestic Oak of course, but what I love about Ohio wineries are how each one is unique in its location, tasting room design & wine options. 

What’s a great tip for readers to pick out a good bottle of wine if they know nothing about the selection? 
Drink what you like and don’t worry about what others think.

What’s an exciting innovation happening right now in the world of wine?
All of the packaging options. Cans, flexible packaging such as bags, pouches & different size containers.

When did you first realize you wanted a career related to wine? 
When asked how we started, I usually say we got hooked up with the wrong crowd and here we are over a decade later. That crowd is the other winery owners in Northwest Ohio. What an amazing group of hardworking passionate people. Proud & blessed to be a member.

What’s a great way for our readers to learn more about wine?
Do a lot of tasting, be adventurous. 

What tips do you have for someone going to their first wine tasting? 
Choose a large range, don’t stay with dry or sweet. You may be surprised at what you find. 

MAWBY Sparkling Wine

4519 Elm Valley Rd., Suttons Bay, MI. 231-271-3522. mawby.wine
Mike Laing, Winemaker and Co-owner

Of the wines available at your business, what bottle is a…
Steal: Sandpiper, $13. A house blend, perfect for gift giving or mimosas.
Deal: Gold, $29. A traditional method Blanc de Noirs from Leelanau County AVA.
Unreal: CA2014, $55. A bottle fermented sparkling wine made from the 2014 harvest. Because of the polar vortex we were not sure if we would get any grapes from our estate vineyard. What we did bring is resulted in this beautiful complex wine.

What is one bottle of wine you plan to have on the table at Thanksgiving?
Something bubbly! Sparkling wine is food friendly and can easily pair with the many, rich flavors at a Thanksgiving Table. You can’t go wrong with our Blanc, a blend of Leelanau County Chardonnay and Riesling. 

What are your favorite, and least favorite, current wine trends? 
I like the trend away from huge (high alcohol) flabby red wines and toward food friendly, varietally expressive styles. It’s fun to see different grape varietals get some play time. I love a Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, but we grow several hybrids in the region, too. More people are willing to try these wines and  seek them out. 

What’s a great tip for readers to pick out a good bottle of wine if they know nothing about the selection?
Knowing how to read a label can really help. The more specific the information, the more the wine is going to have a true “taste of place.” If you find a wine/region or style you like, snap a photo of the label and keep it in an album on your phone.

What’s your favorite food and wine pairing?
I love sparkling wine and oysters. Pretty much any preparation of the oysters works for this pairing. We make a sparkling red wine, called Redd, that is a fun pairing with BBQ Oysters. 

What’s a great pairing that our readers would find surprising?
Sparkling wine and popcorn is fun, easy, and cheap. Try the Pipcorn brand or other gourmet popcorn options for better flavor. Salt and bubbs…good stuff. 

What do you look for when you’re shopping for a new bottle of wine?
I look for varieties I’ve never tried before. White or Red I like exploring styles, vintages, varietals and regions I’m not as familiar with. Local wine shops typically carry unique wines and have staff that are excited to talk about wine. Of course, well made wines from reputable producers don’t typically disappoint for a sure thing. 

What tips do you have for someone going to their first wine tasting?
Don’t worry about what other people think about a certain wine. Your pallet is your own. You like what you like and you can taste as well as anyone, have confidence. 

Registry Bistro

144 N. Superior St. 419-725-0444. registrybistro.com
Erika Rapp, Chef / Co-Owner

At your business, what is a…
Steal: Take Five Cocktail Hour at Registry Bistro : Tuesday–Thursday, 4–6pm ($5 glass of house wine along with $5 Nibbles & Nosh and $5 seasonal craft cocktails).
Deal: The best deal in Takeout is ½ off bottles of a bottle of wine with takeout entree orders. Along with our extensive wines by the glass selection that start at $7/glass, we have a fantastic Coravin glass pour collection. This allows us to offer glasses of wine from bottles that are traditionally not available by the glass. Our guests are able to enjoy a very special wine without committing to a bottle. We offer glasses of Orin Swift 8 years in the Desert ($20), Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvigon ($30), or a lovely Barolo from Mauro Molini ($18) along with many many others.
Unreal: 2012 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage ($345) It is 100% syrah grown on a small hillside in northern Rhone. Although I’ve only tasted it once years ago I kept my notes. It was velvety, smooth and a little bit smokey with hints of black fruit like currants and blackberries. It also had earthy notes of leather pipe tobacco. It is a beautiful wine I hope to try again some day to see how it tastes with almost 10 years of age. It pairs beautifully braised short ribs or grilled lamb.

What is one bottle of wine you plan to have on the table at Thanksgiving?
A crisp dry riesling. They always pair great with Thanksgiving dinner.

If you have a private collection, what’s your favorite bottle?
I collected a few fun wines from a trip to Traverse City over the summer. One that I just enjoyed is from bigLITTLE in Suttons Bay called Tire Swing it’s a Bubbly white “kitchen sink blend” made with a little bit of this and that. It’s quite delicious by a fire pit.

What’s a great tip for readers to pick out a good bottle of wine if they know nothing about the selection?
If you’re looking for a crowd pleasing bang for your buck wine choose a white from Italy or a red from Spain. There are great well priced wines from both places.

What’s a great pairing that our readers would find surprising?
Pinot Noir with Salmon and Blue Cheese. Something fun and different to try- Grilled Salmon with Potato & Mushroom Hash & Blue Cheese Butter – Served it with your favorite Pinot Noir – Recipe:

Blue Cheese Butter

½ stick unsalted butter
4 T crumbled Blue Cheese (pick something that appeals to you, If you like something a bit softer or are not a huge fan of blue try a gorgonzola or buttermilk blue. If you like more robust blue cheese use roquefort)
Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Bring butter to room temp
  2. Meanwhile crumble a blue cheese of your choice
  3. With a little elbow grease combine your softened butter with your blue cheese of choice – season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roll the butter into a log and chill for 30 mins.
  5. Once chilled cut into a double quarter size slice of butter and set aside.

Potato & Mushroom Hash

2 T Butter
½ yellow onion sliced thin
1 cup sliced mushrooms of choice
1 leftover cold baked potato (leave the skin on and slice into rounds)
1 handful of spinach or arugula (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Melt butter over medium/high heat
  2. Add onions and turn the heat down a bit sweat for 4–5 minutes until the onions start to get translucent.
  3. Add sliced mushrooms and increase the heat saute until you.
  4. When you start to see color add Sliced baked potato (skin on) and cook for 1 minute on moderate heat then flip and continue to cook for another minute or two until heated through. If you want to add greens this is the time to do that.
  5. Turn off heat, mix in your greens of choice and cover for 30 ish seconds the residual heat will wilt them a bit.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and set aside
  7. Finish with salt and pepper – keep warm.

Serve the Grilled Salmon on the Potato Hash and Top the salmon with Blue Cheese Butter.

Enjoy with your favorite Pinot Noir.

What’s a great way for our readers to learn more about wine?
Try a wine tasting. Toledo Museum of Art has a great wine tasting series Called Wine by the Glass Pavilion.

What tips do you have for someone going to their first wine tasting?
Don’t taste wine on an empty stomach. Don’t be intimidated. Ask questions – wine people love to talk about wine.

Rosie’s Italian Grille

606 N. McCord Rd. 419-866-5007. rosiesitaliangrille.com
Phil Barone, Owner

Of the wines available at your business, what bottle is a…
Steal: The Mettler Old Vine Zinfandel from Lodi, California is a great wine for the price. We offer glass pours for $12.95 and the bottle for $49. It may not be the cheapest wine on our wine list, but it has the best price for the taste.
Deal: Every Wednesday we offer Wino Wednesday. All of our bottled wines $28 and under are $5 off and bottles $29 and up are $10 off.
Unreal: One of our highest-priced ones is the Caymus Cabernet from Napa, California. It is available on our Captain’s List by the bottle for $125. It is a very rich and fruity wine.

What is one bottle of wine you plan to have on the table at Thanksgiving?
For Thanksgiving, we have a tradition where my wife and daughters make handmade ravioli with red sauce for our first course. We will probably enjoy this dish with the Earthquake Zinfandel from California.

If you have a private collection, what’s your favorite bottle?
At Rosie’s, we have the Captain’s List on our wine menu. This list is like the private collection that I offer to our guests. My favorite bottle would be the Frank Family Winston Hill Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley.

Do you have a favorite local winery?
One of my favorite local wineries is The Lumberyard Winery and Supply in Napoleon, Ohio. They have a nice selection there and we even take our food trucks out there from time to time too.

What’s your favorite food and wine pairing?
I have many favorite food and wine pairings. For white wine, I would say any of our fresh catch fish (or Mahi Mahi when we have it in stock) prepared Grenobloise style with the La Crema Chardonnay from Sonoma. For red wine, I would have to say our baby lamb chops with the Caymus Cabernet from Napa, California.

What is a great way for our readers to learn more about wine?
The best way to learn about wine is to explore all the different varietals of wine to see what you like and expand upon that. You may be more of a red wine person rather than a white wine person. The key is to explore all the different types. Many times you can ask your bartender or server for a taste of a certain wine so you can try it before you commit to a glass or a bottle.

Souk Mediterranean Kitchen

139 S. Huron St. 567-777-7685. soukkitchenbar.com
Moussa Salloukh, Chef/Owner

Of the wines available at your business, what bottle is a…
Steal: Bogle Phantom Red 2017
Deal: Bila-hunt by Michel Capoutier 2019
Unreal: Opus One Red Blend 2017

What’s your favorite food and wine pairing? 
Lamb & a great Lebanese red wine.

What is one bottle of wine you plan to have on the table at Thanksgiving?
Podere Sapaio Volpolo 2016 Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy (a personal friend of mine).

If you have a private collection, what’s your favorite bottle? 
Kokomo Pinot Noir 2015, Sonoma County.

Do you have a favorite local winery?
Trick question for me. I did, but it was sold. Fireland Wineries. Claudio Salvator.

Past or present, name one person you would most like to share a bottle of wine with.
Anthony Bourdain.