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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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Wine and Cupcakes – East Side Tasting

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We’ll be at the Wine Spot on November 8, 2012 for a seasonal East Side tasting.

MissWineOH will be on hand to pour 4 wines, each with a gourmet mini-cupcake chosen specifically for your palate pleasure. A white, a rose, and two beautiful reds will be served – each with a morsel of flavor to delight your taste buds.

It will be an educational and social event for the connoisseur or wine newbie. We’ll discuss wine pairing for the holiday season and suggest a few wines to complement your seasonal needs.

The beautifully appointed Wine Spot will be our venue. With the incredible art from local talent, a superior selection of wine and beer, and some of the most knowledgeable wine folks in the area at your service.

We’ll be pouring from 6-8pm.

Eventbrite - Wine and Cupcakes at Wine Spot

If you want to guarantee your spot, buy your tickets in advance. Limited tickets will be available at the door.

Ticket prices include all taxes, fees and gratuity.

Sip into the Holidays – Charity Wine Event

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stART Neo Presents….The 5th annual Sip Into the Holidays…. The Benefit will be held on Friday, November 30, 2012, from 7-10pm, at Wobblefoot Gallery Mars Avenue, Lakewood. The Auction and Chinese Raffle will showcase local artists’ work of custom painted glassware, themed gift baskets and other artist created holiday items all to benefit Lakewood Commission’s mission of providing quality programming and support for Lakewood’s Senior Citizens.

This year’s theme, Happy Christmahanukwanzaa celebrates our community diversity! The world is one big melting pot, and that’s never made more clear than during the holidays. If you find yourself saying, “Merry Chr— er, happy, uh, holidays…” more than a few times a week during the holiday season, join us in celebrating diversity and toasting Christmahanukwanzaa!

We have a couple of additions to our event this year. First, we will be raffling off an instant wine cellar. This collection of approximately 24 (or more – it’s still “pouring” in at press time!) bottles will kick start a robust wine cellar or complement your existing collection. The 2012 Instant Wine Cellar will feature velvety Cabernets, lush Chardonnays, giddy Sparkling Wines and interesting varietals from Ohio and beyond. We offer many thanks to the families who contributed to this extraordinary collection, which celebrates the collaborative spirit of our Community. Raffle tickets will be $10 a piece for this raffle, and they will be sold before and during the Event. If you are unable to attend the event, you can stop by Wobblefoot Gallery after November 15th to buy a raffle ticket.

Also, the evening of the event will be complemented with a wine tasting presented by MissWineOH, the wine events and education company, who be on hand as we taste 5 great wines. The Chief Tasting Officer will share the details of how to pick a great wine for any occasion. Two whites, a Rose and two Reds will be poured for us.

Established in 1978, the Lakewood Commission of Aging’s mission is to support programs and activities that enhance the lives of older adults by enabling them to live productively and with dignity in our community. Proceeds raised from this event will help underwrite the costs of many programs the Lakewood Division of Aging offers Lakewood Senior Citizens.

All donors of raffle and auction items will receive recognition in the event program. Tickets for the event will be $20 presale or $25 day of the event. We plan to sell out this year so buy your tickets today! You can buy your tickets and instant wine cellar raffle tickets at Wobblefoot Gallery or purchase event tickets online at http://www.startneo.info by selecting the Donation button.

One of the missions of stArtNeo is to give back to the community by working with nonprofits and artists to support national and local charities by generating awareness through fundraising events. www.startneo.info Additional questions? Call Ruthie at 216-521-2894 or email rkoenigsmark@yahoo.com.

Selection Sunday demands Craft Brew and Cupcakes

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There was Beer and Cupcakes at Market Garden Brewery on Sunday, March 11. We had a rockin’ time. Here are the notes. I sat with Andy Tveekrem to get information about his beers. If any of these notes are incorrect – this is my fault – and not his.

The Ohio City Room

Friar Power Belgian Tripel with a Saffron and orange cake, topped with Cardamom icing.

This strong light golden ale is the product of belgian history. Originally produced by monks – they developed the distinctive yeast that gives the belgian tripel its ester profile. (Volatile flavor compound naturally created in fermentation. Often fruity, flowery or spicy.) At 8%, the alcohol can sneak up on you. This is Andy’s stealth beer.

The profile of this beer – very floral, slightly bitter, with a lovely citrus kick is paired with the complementary subtle flavors of saffron and cardamom – with a little orange to draw out the citrus.

Pearl Street Wheat with an Almond cake, topped with lemon/orange icing.

The phenolics (Flavor and aroma of smoke, or cloves; caused by wild yeast or bacteria) from the yeasts in this Hefeweisen are nutmeg and clove. Its slightly tart or acidic – the banana nose is characteristic of the yeasts as well. The beer is brewed with about a 65% wheat base in addition to malted barley. This makes for a sweeter beer – but lower alchohol than the first, coming in at 5.5%.

We are pairing this one with almond – in complement to the banana (think banana bread) and the lemon/orange icing is a nod to the tradition of serving this beer with a lemon or orange slice.

Boss Amber Lager with a roasted garlic cake and sundried tomato icing.

Possibly the beer from Market Garden that is most suited for food due to the toasted malt. This one would pair with any roasted meat dish. Its fermented colder and slower than ales – for about six weeks. Andy utilizes a Vienna Malt for this traditional Vienna Lager. A great Session beer, it comes in at 5% – a perfect example of how to make a good lager. This is probably my favorite.

Obviously the roasted garlic and sundried tomato come together to give you a sweet treat reminiscent of your Sunday dinner of roast chicken – without trying to create a meat cupcake!

 

 

This beer is named after Andy – the “Striking Viking” – an American Pale Ale produced with Cascade hops and English yeasts. These yeast typically produce a butter or butterscotch flavor. And he uses a crystal malt for color and body. This one comes in at 5.5% – another easy drinker.

We bring creaminess to this pairing with white chocolate to sooth the hops, and bacon and jalapeno demonstrate an easy pairing with burgers or spicy foods.

Wallace Tavern Scotch Ale with a Five Flavor Cake and Salted Caramel icing.

This beer is named for George Wallace, a Scottish settler to Cleveland from 1806. He owned a Distillery and brewery in the area, and later moved to Brandywine. So this is an homage to Cleveland’s beer history. This ale’s malts are actively caramelized utilizing a prolonged boil. The strong heavy malt is balanced by the addition of other flavors to reduce bitterness. Typically the Scots would use heather or other wild ingredients, though Andy doesn’t hold THAT closely to the tradition. He utilizes a slightly higher alcohol percentage (between 6.5 and 7% depending on the batch) to balance the malt – so that the caramel becomes noticeable in the flavor and neutralizes much of the bitterness.

The obvious pairing on this beer is salted caramel, one of my favorite flavors – we added in the five flavor cake to show the diversity of pairing possibilities. A traditional southern dessert, this has lemon, butter, rum, coconut and vanilla in the cake. Any rich saucy dish would pair up nicely with the Wallace Tavern.

Forest City Brown Ale with a nutty carrot cake and cream cheese icing.

This beer is named after Cleveland’s moniker – back when it was all about the lumber here. This brown ale is born from the roasted flavors of a coffee malt which literally can be roasted like coffee beans, providing the brewmaster with differing degrees of flavor to work with. This English style beer is bold and expressive, coming in at 5.8% – and is Andy’s favorite.

When I first tasted this beer, all I could think about was roasted vegetables. Pair this one up with any roasted veg – like a lasagna. The pasta will sooth the bitterness on the finish. We give you a nutty carrot cake with cream cheese to attain the desired affect.

A Cookie and a Cupcake made these incredible treats. Visit them in Tremont. 

Crop’s Minor Delight – a Pinot Noir

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On a very chilly evening MrWineOH and I ventured out to Crop Bistro to see what the talk was all about. One of the new additions to the restaurant scene in Ohio City – we were excited to sit at the chef’s table and partake of some delicacies.

I want to hit the highlights on the food, because the real story was a beautiful pinot noir I encountered. When we were seated at the Chef’s Table, which is a beautiful granite bar in front of the kitchen – we weren’t sure what to expect. But we were quickly treated to a gift from the kitchen. As an amuse bouche, we received this gorgeous egg on a little plate. The Chile Deviled Egg ($4 for 3 or $8 for 6) is a taste bud delight! I highly recommend them. Did I mention that sometimes they are pink? Yeah, you’d think that’d be a little freaky, but the flavor is incredible.

Another highlight was the Cherry Bomb – a little culinary genius that closely resembles a deep fried onion, but in reality is a wonton wrapped combination of plum tomato, chorizo sausage, jack cheese, and corn. This appetizer as shown is $8 and worth every penny. Cutting into it is a beautiful sight and the flavors blend beautifully.

One great thing we found is that a few appetizers a piece were filling and the perfect way to taste several of their signature dishes. I would not recommend the chef’s table though. The way you are seated makes the waitstaff reach around you to set plates or refill a wine glass. Its awkward.

Speaking of wine!

Sean Minor Carneros 2010 Pinot NoirAfter much consternation over the wine list, and the obvious frustration of MrWineOH and our server… I selected the 2010 Sean Minor Carneros Pinot Noir. List price is $42 there.

All I can tell you is – its absolutely lovely! Cherry, plum, a bit of blueberry – and nicely balanced spice and earthiness on the finish. While this pinot noir is aged 10 months in 100% French oak of which 20% is new – there isn’t overwhelming oak on the palate. I could smell the oak – but it was beautifully integrated into the flavors.

For my wine geek readers, this is a blend of Pommard and Dijon clones sourced from Carneros vineyards.

And at 13.5% abv (alcohol by volume) it isn’t overwhelming on the alcohol, even at this young age. Don’t get me wrong – it is a bit hot – but it mellowed nicely on day two –  after the server was nice enough to recork the half bottle I had remaining. This is definitely one I’d decant, or at least let sit in the glass for a while before sipping.

I see this paired with many dishes, but its not light enough for seafood – definitely a medium bodied wine for heavier white meat dishes or pasta. Don’t go crazy with italian spices with this – you will lose the beautiful subtlety of the fruit.

The winery sells this for $22 – I haven’t seen it in local shops, but the distributors have it in Ohio, so ask for it! Its a good buy at retail.

Now, will we be returning to Crop Bistro for a full meal? The jury is out on that. The other apps we had were okay, but not fabulous – and even though we spent what we’d typically spend for a night out – the great wine and the company made the evening, not the location. For a business dinner – I think it works – for a regular night out? Maybe not.

*** We’ve got some great events coming soon! Beer and Cupcakes THIS Sunday – tickets still available. And Wine and Cupcakes – West Side – White Wines for Spring – on March 22 – tickets available here!

Also – Our very first East Side Wine and Cupcakes will be April 28 at The Wine Spot in Cleveland Heights – those tickets will be up soon!  ***

A Night at the Races

And the Winner is: @morgan_jody! (that was tough!) Thanks for reading –

and I hope you come out to support this great cause! 

One thing I don’t do enough is volunteer. Way back when MissWineOH was a crazy HR lady, I worked for a company that was all up in the volunteer effort. Building playgrounds, rehabbing gardens, painting houses. We got into it full on, taking an army of employee volunteers and just getting it done for organizations or individuals who needed some assistance. I really enjoyed that aspect of my job, and it prompted me to volunteer for other things in my spare time.

Once I was no longer employed there, my volunteer efforts dropped off, as building a business required more and more of my time. One of my goals this year is to find opportunities to give back to this great Cleveland community that has been so generous to me as I’ve built MissWineOH.

One of the organizations that caught my attention is HandsOn Northeast Ohio. I became aware of this group, which is an agent for community collaborations, organizing volunteers for non-profits and causes that need them. MrWineOH works with a person who is actively involved with HandsOn – and we have decided that this is a group we want to give some time, energy and resources to.

From the HandsOn website:

“We make it simple for volunteers to choose from a variety of projects that connect community needs with their time and interests. Participants are screened and trained to ensure a capable, informed direct service volunteer force, and through this network of individuals, we build the capacity of area nonprofits, schools and municipal agencies.”

HandsOn Northeast Ohio has a fundraiser racing in on Saturday, March 3 at  OLA/St. Joseph Center located in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland at 2436 W.14th Street. This is their 5th anniversary of strengthening our community through citizen-managed volunteerism.

Enjoy an evening out with family, friends and colleagues while betting on video recorded horse races. They will provide dinner, beer, wine, soft drinks and entertainment and you come and gamble for a good cause; to support HandsOn Northeast Ohio’s mission to engage Northeast Ohio individuals and organizations in volunteer opportunities that meet community needs, strengthen community involvement, and build capacity of local non-profit organizations.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS

Your ticket gets you dinner, beer, wine, soft drinks and entertainment, and allows you to bet on the evening’s 10 video races.

Ten horses run in each race; you can bet as much as you want on as many horses as you want in as many races as you want.

If you’re trying to rake in even more cash, you can “buy” a horse, and name it. $25 enters your horse in one race; if your horse wins, you take home $50! Horses must be purchased by February 24th  (purchase online). Make sure you give your horse a good name!!

MissWineOH is giving away two tickets to this event.

MrWineOH and I will be attending, and we’ve purchased 2 additional tickets to show our support.

That doesn’t mean you have to sit with us – just that no one gave us the tickets!

To enter to win, leave a comment below naming your favorite wine, and a NEO charity you volunteer for, or would like to. (add their link!)

Random drawing from all entries will be held on Sunday, February 20 – and winner will be notified by email, and announced here.

AND – if you don’t win, please consider purchasing tickets, advertising in their program, or donating to the cause.

We’d love to hang out with some MissWineOH readers and play the ponies.

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!

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