Plenty of restaurants offer a house wine. Some even slap their label on a bottle and call it their own. But unless there’s an actual vineyard in view, don’t expect to sip wine the house has actually produced.
That is, unless you’re dining at Swingos Grand Tavern, an attractive, moderately priced bistro in Avon Lake. Brothers and restaurateurs Matt and Dan Swingos (also of Swingos on the Lake) are serving a red and a white they’ve custom-blended with a local vintner exclusively for their restaurants. They’ll even fill your glass from barrels right behind the Tavern’s stylish bar.
So it’s no surprise that their Riesling and Pinot Noir pair well with a variety of dishes featured on the fall menu. Matt, the chef and a sommelier of national renown, offers his favorite matchups.
The Riesling, made from grapes grown in Northeast Ohio’s Grand River Valley, is a versatile, balanced wine.
“It has great acidity and fruit,” explains Matt, “and a touch of sweetness that goes well with fried and spicy foods.”
Try it with the restaurant’s signature bleu chips appetizer: kettle cooked potato slices served with a blue cheese bechamel and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
It also complements the garlicky kalamari, and brings out the best in crabcakes with a zesty mustard aioli.
Grand Tavern Pinot Noir
For the main attraction, there’s nothing better than the big ripe juicy flavor of the Grand Tavern Pinot Noir to wash down steak and potato straws.
The wine, pressed from the fruit of Oregon’s Umpqua Valley, is oaked for 24 months. The New World style red also holds up well with short ribs in a soy and Syrah demi-glace, a slow braised veal strip loin with porcini mushrooms, and the grilled vegetable risotto spiked with goat cheese and curry.
“For a match made in heaven,” suggests Matt, “have it with our Tavern burger.”
Swingos Grand Tavern, 32858 Walker Road, Avon Lake, (440) 933-2003; www.swingos.com