By Lizzy Scully
Meal price = $11-$34
Service = Excellent
Food quality = Excellent
Wine list = Excellent
Ambience = Excellent
Overall Rating= Excellent
Walk into Estes Park’s The Wine & Cheese bar on Elkhorn Avenue, and you’ll find elegant table settings, deep, rich colors and people murmuring at a dozen tables for two and four (and one for six to eight). The place is often packed, and since I’ve been there more than a half dozen times I’ve regularly seen repeat customers. You can either sit at the bar (which is a nice thing to do with one other person) or at one of the charming tables, which are better suited for a longer stay.
It’s easy to spend hours at this wine bar. On my last trip, I visited with two writer/editor friends, and we drank five flights of wine (a flight consists of three two-oz. samples of any wine on the menu and are $11 apiece) and ordered a fantastic cheese plate, which was of the highest quality and very reasonably priced. For just $34 you can get the Melange Platter – a huge, beautifully arranged plate with three cheeses, two meats, dried fruits, an assortment of breads, olives and crackers. We chose a fine cheddar, gruyere, a brie and a few other creamy, delightful imported cheeses the names of which I cannot recall at the moment (I stopped taking notes on flight number three).
I know very little about wine, but that night, with the help of our knowledgeable waitress, we learned how the taste of individual wines change according to what you are eating. The flavors literally change as you are eating the different foods. My favorite white wine was the Bloom Riesling, which the waitress said is a local favorite. It has a hint of pear, grapefruit and honeysuckle. I also really enjoyed the Las Brisas, a refreshing peachy Spanish blend of Verdejo, Sauv Blanc and Viura. I also loved the not too sweet Crios Rosé De Malbec, which is from Mendoza, Argentina. As far as the reds go, there were many delicious types that we tried, including the Chateau D'Aigueville Cotes du Rhone, “an earthy blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre from the Southern part of France.”
To top off the evening, we had the absolutely to-die-for Belgian sipping chocolate and accompanying truffles. Both the sipping chocolate (which is constantly being churned in mixer type machine) and the truffles couldn’t have been more perfect.
With its quiet music and attentive but not annoying wait staff, the restaurant encourages patrons to spend hours conversing. Plus, though you could get away with wearing a nice dress and heals (i.e. the setting is graceful), customers just back from hiking in the mountains are equally welcomed. And, when you’re done with your dinner, check out the accompanying wine shop next door, where you can buy a bottle of any of the wines you tried. The selection is superb, and the prices are surprisingly reasonable. I walked out of there with a few $10 bottles (the Bloom is just $9.50). I highly recommend this wine bar. It is one of the nicest food establishments I have been to on the Front Range. I wish they hadn’t opened a year after I moved away from Estes Park.
1 year ago