Owner Lindsay Smith recommends these libations at her Gordon Square Arts District spot.
You’ll find us opening a bottle of wine on a Friday night just like anyone else. But do we really know our pinot noir from our malbec? Probably not. That’s why Lindsay Smith left a 17-year career in the hospitality industry to open Flight Cleveland, a wine bar and shop in the Gordon Square Arts District. “I was thinking about that void I felt in my love of wine and I wanted to come up with something approachable,” she says, “and help people get out-the-box with their wine drinking.” With 29 wines on tap, 12 wine flights and 400 bottles, she’s on a mission to help you crush your wine game. Here are three libations to get you started. 5712 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 216-400-6867, flightcleveland.com
Royal Tokaji’s The Oddity ($8.50 per glass, $17 per bottle):Wines from Hungary — or more specifically the Tokaji wine region — tend to be sweet. But this dry white wine, made with a blend of Furmint, Harslevelu and Yellow Muscat grape varieties, scores points with Smith for its rich taste. “When the wine is fermented, rather than leaving some of the residual sugar in the juice, [the winemakers] actually let all the sugar ferment out before they start the aging process,” says Smith, “which is what makes the wine dry.” Cesari’s Mara
Valpolicella Ripasso ($12.50 per glass, $25 per bottle):This full-bodied Italian red blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes undergoes a 15 to 18 day refermentation process that gives it a robust, fragrant distinction. “The blend itself is beautiful,” says Smith. “It’s got some earthiness, rusticity, but truthfully it’s got just this lovely balance of fruit and juiciness and complexity. It’s a gorgeous wine.”
Mayu’s Pedro Ximenez ($7 per glass, $13 per bottle): Made with 100 percent Pedro Ximenez grapes, which are traditionally grown in Spain, this Chilean dry white wine has notes of citrus, melon and peach. Try pairing it with seafood — particularly shellfish. “This wine has a ton of minerality,” says Smith. “It’s just rich and delicious, and it’s completely unexpected.”