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Category Archives: Wine Tips

West Side Wine Spots

Hello! I’m Holly, the Cleveland-based writer behind “Rust Belt Runner,” a blog where I detail my journey with running, yoga and healthy living. As part of the Ohio Blogging Association November Blog Swap, today I am sharing about one of my other loves: wine.

I knew the Cleveland, Ohio area was home to many wineries, but it wasn’t until after moving here just over a year ago that I realized how truly extensive the options here were. From wineries, to wine tasting shops and wine bars, a pour is available almost anywhere to suit any palate. Today I’d like to share my favorite Cleveland Westside wine picks:

John Christ Winery (Avon Lake, Ohio): A visit to John Christ Winery includes reasonably priced samples at the bar, followed by a chance to share a bottle after selecting your favorite. Small plates and appetizers are also served here. Sit and enjoy the cabin-like atmosphere inside this historic building, in operation since 1964.

Rocky River Wine Bar (Rocky River, Ohio): I enjoy the upscale and intimate atmosphere here, which is perfect for a girl’s night out. Sit around a barrel of wine as you enjoy a selection from the house pours. Happy Hour specials are also available here during the week, along with wine flight options. In the summer, sitting outside is an extra delight.

Battery Park Wine Bar (Cleveland, Ohio): Here the motto is “You Only Live Once” YOLO and with a casual, yet upscale atmosphere it’s easy to partake in a memorable evening filled with wine here. Built in an old smokestack building, Battery Park Wine Bar has great Happy Hour specials, along with gourmet small plate options throughout the week. Come here for a snack or dinner and let the wine flow!

Wood and Wine (Avon, Ohio): I stumbled upon Wood and Wine, quite literally by simply seeing a sign on the interstate. This off-the-beaten-path restaurant and wine bar has amazing wood-fired pizzas made in the 900-degree oven, cheese platters and a variety of other entrees. The atmosphere here is casual, not crowded and truly just comfortable. Local wines are on the menu too.

There are so many options for wine-lovers in Cleveland. I have many more establishments I still want to check out. But next time you are in town or passing through the Westside, I hope you can enjoy trying out one of these local favorites!

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What’s a Wine Lover to do for Valentine’s Day

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I’m not a fan of going out on Valentine’s Day. Too many people, prices are hiked, and there’s SO MUCH PRESSURE  – I’d rather make a great meal at home and pull out on of those “special occasion” wines – but not everyone loves the kitchen like I do.

So, another way to celebrate is to do something fun around that day – instead of fighting the insanity.

Gone Crazy sign

Pick your favorite restaurant (or one you haven’t tried, but heard great things about!)  – and make a reservation (or just pop in and grab a table in the bar) Order several appetizers to share between the two of you. There are always special menus being created around this time, so don’t be afraid to try something new or unique! Then pick a slightly more expensive bottle of wine than you normally would. You’ll come out in the end spending about what you would for dinner, but you’ve experienced your evening in a tapas and wine fashion. The new experience will light that spark that you can carry into the rest of your evening.

Cheesy Romance Image

We all look like this, right?

Another way to do something different is to call your favorite restaurant and place an order for carry out. Once you’ve set the stage for a romantic evening at home, picking up a great bottle and then your favorite foods from the restaurant, all you have left to do is relax and enjoy the company of your favorite person. (and a little clean up later)

Dinner by the fire

There are always things happening around the city that might entice the wine lover in you.

Here are some wine events happening around Cleveland this week and next!

Winestyles in Fairview Park has their Wine and Chocolates Tasting on February 9 and again on February 11. Reservations are recommended. $10 for 6 wines, but its $5 if you spend $10 while you are there on wine/accessories.

Little Italy Wines will be pouring Italian wines from @TuscanyCLE from 5-9pm on Friday, February 10. $5 for 4 wines.

And the newest wine shop in Cleveland, The Wine Spot, will be having their St. Valentine’s Day Massacre from 4-7pm. With bubbly, wine, seasonal craft beer and fine chocolates from Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates – for $12 per person – and reservations are NOT required there.

If you are up for a bit MORE adventure – take a drive to Lake Erie Wine Country, just north of Erie, PA. From February 17-19, the more than 23 wineries in the area will have their Wine and Chocolate Weekend. Enjoy wine & delicious food samples at each of their 23 wineries for $35 per person. ($20 for DDs) While all wineries will have the chocolates out, many will be serving other savory dishes with their wines.  Tickets include a LEWC wineglass, a gift, a recipe booklet and a $5 voucher good toward wine at any winery or food at designated restaurants. Even if you don’t hit all 23 in the weekend. Even a few will make it worth the trip. More information: Lake Erie Wine Country.

Whatever you decide to do, just put a little thought into what your partner would like.

It works every time.

What do you do (or NOT do) for Valentine’s Day? Leave some ideas in comments!

What do I do with Leftover Wine?

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Though some of us rarely have leftover wine in our house, even MissWineOH occasionally has a bottle she’s opened and either just not loved, or didn’t finish.

Since I’m a bit obsessive about not wasting things, I’m looking for ways to use wines that end up open in my refrigerator – and it hurts my wine loving heart to pour them out.

So here are a couple of ideas for ways to use that wine:

RED WINE SAUCE

This is an “easy” sauce, not going to win any awards – but will pair great with whatever meat you are serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme  or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme

Preparation:

After preparing your protein, remove meat or chicken from the pan leaving the residual fat that it was cooked in. Add the chicken stock and red wine and reduce over high heat by half (1/4 cup). Whisk in the butter, mustard, thyme and serve.

If you still have leftover wine after you’ve made your sauce – I suggest freezing the wine in ice cube trays to be used in a recipe. I freeze them, and then pop the cubes out into a container or baggie for easy storage in the freezer. Just pull out as many as you need. Usually 1/4 cup of wine is 2 cubes in MissWineOH’s house!

WHITE WINE SAUCE

This is a bulk sauce, unlike the red wine above.

Makes 5 to 6 cups

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (see note)

Pour the olive oil into a 4- to 5-quart saucepan over medium heat, then add the flour and stir with a wire whisk until all the flour is dissolved and the mixture looks like a paste. Reduce the heat and slowly add the wine; the mixture will start to thicken quickly. Continue to stir and remove from the heat, if necessary, until all the wine has been mixed in. Slowly pour in the chicken broth while you continue to stir. Simmer, uncovered, for approximately 1 hour, or until the taste of alcohol is no longer present in the sauce. Freeze in containers of various sizes, including some in an ice-cube tray to allow easy small additions to sauces. It can stay in the freezer for 6 months or more.

NOTE: Be sparing with the salt and pepper. It’s better to underseason this sauce, because you will season it again in the sauté pan.

NOTE: If this (or any) sauce ever has lumps caused by undissolved flour, just pass the sauce through a sieve or a mesh strainer. It will come out lump-free.

Recipe from Silvia Bianco’s Simply Sauté: Fast, Easy, and Healthy Italian Cooking — All in One Pan (Marlowe & Company; December 2003; $16.95/trade paperback)

How do you use leftover wine? Do you buy wine specifically for cooking? Share your tips, tricks and hints in the comments below.

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