By Derrick McKee
It was our first weekend back in Wheeling, and it was a great one.
One of the things we loved to do on Friday evenings in our former town of Fairlawn, Ohio, was head to wine tastings for a flight or two at either Wolf Creek Winery or 750ml wine bar, and then follow it up with an easy dinner out. Naturally, when we returned to Wheeling, I asked around and discovered that two different establishments in Wheeling offered weekly wine tastings at 6 p.m. to kickoff the weekend – Casa de Vino at Centre Market and Good Mansion Wines in East Wheeling.
From what I was told, the two tastings couldn’t be more different. While both offered a selection of great wines, Casa de Vino provides an “open” format, where you walk up to the bar for your sample, information on the wine, and the atmosphere offered lots of crowd socialization. In essence, it is a true happy hour for wine lovers.
Good Mansion Wines offers a sit-down format, at which owner Dominick Cerrone, chooses a theme for the night (I.e. regional flights a la Spanish, Oregon, or Rhone, or styles a la merlots, chardonneys, etc.), and then speaks to the room about the region the wine comes from, the history, what aromas/tastes to look for when you smell and sip, and what food to pair it with.
The Good Mansion format was new to us, so we decided to give it a try, and we’re glad we did. Dominick chose four Oregon reds and five Oregon whites to sample, and started his presentation as one of his employees worked her way around the room dishing out pours. According to the info sheet provided, the chosen bottles ranged anywhere from $19 to $42, yet the price of admission was only $10.
That’s one of the reasons I love tastings. You get to sample affordable table wines, as well as the “good stuff,” without having to risk purchasing an expensive bottle that you may or may not love. Personally, I’m keeping notes on style or bottle preferences so that I know what to grab for a special occasion in the future.
Even though Dominick gives a presentation (for lack of a better word), the event isn’t stuffy or formal. It’s simply a bunch of wine lovers or novices having a great time, trying new varieties, gaining wine education, and chatting it up in between speeches. Afterward, the crowd is welcome to any wine remaining in any of the open bottles, and many linger to hang out and chat for a while.
After our tasting at Good Mansion, we went to Centre Market to try Later Alligator, a savory crepe restaurant everyone told us we had to try, but that’s a subject that calls for its own post (much like my Saturday at the Super Bowl of Country Music, also known as Jamboree In The Hills).
WHAT: Good Mansion Wines Tasting
WHEN: Every Friday at 6PM
COST: $10 – $15 per person depending on the type of wines being offered
WHERE: 95 – 14th Street, Wheeling, WV 26003