Sunday, January 4, 2009

Just Vino Wine Bar

For years I’ve wondered how nice it would be to have a place, not a restaurant, which offers good wines by the glass plus a few delicious nibbles to enjoy along with your wine. Then I walked into Just Vino.

Situated in the Granite Works building on the corner of Main and Virginia Streets, this beautiful and intimate new space is home to a new concept of wine bars in Buffalo.

Owners Jeff Borsuk and Ken Wood have created an atmosphere perfectly suited for relaxing and enjoying fine affordable wines and great tidbit plates with a mix of light jazz playing softly in the background. They are committed to providing quality at an affordable price. On my visit, Jeff and our server Heather, were enthusiastic and helpful. No wine snobs here.

The entrance is warm, straightforward and instantly comfortable with its hardwood floors and handsome wood bar. To the left of the bar is a cozy room of exposed brick with tall cafe tables and chairs simulating the warmth of a private wine cellar.

The wine list boasts more than 80 wines from the US and around the globe, most of which are offered by the glass staring at $5.00, and bottles from $17.00. A special section on the wine list is dedicated to bottles of reserve wines priced from $33.00 to just over $100.00. Selections on the wine list change often in order to keep the list current and exciting and to stay updated with newly released wines.

If you’re not sure which wine to try, why not choose a Wine Flight (a 2 ounce sample of 4 different wines) for $12.00. You may choose a red, white, or even a flight of port. If wine is not really your thing, Just Vino also has a very nice beer list, including offerings from Great Lakes, Flying Bison, Ayinger and Lindemans breweries.

Flights arrive to the table on a lazy Susan holding 4 Riedel wine tumblers, each containing a different wine. Markers are placed under each tumbler stating the winery, region and type of wine.

I enjoyed sampling this flight of red blends:

2007 Nelwood Station a blend of Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot from Australia
2004 Alma Negra a blend of Bonarda/Malbec from Argentina
2005 L’Ostal Gazes a blend of Syrah/Grenache/Malbec from Languedoc
2005 Rock n Vine a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Malbec from USA

I had not tasted any of these wines prior so they were a pleasant surprise.

And although Just Vino is not a restaurant, they offer a menu of small plates, with portions large enough to share, consisting of speciality cheeses, meats, paté, olives, fruits, nuts, crackers and breads. Priced from $3 - $10.00.

To complement the wines, I ordered:

The Olive Bowl: a mix of Greek country olives that were fresh and meaty, and
The Spanish Plate: a savory platter of Jamon ham, lightly smoked Chorizo sausage, Manchego and truffle cheeses, lovely salted Marcona almonds, fresh berries and crisp pears, fresh bread and crackers. Delicious!

If you have a sweet tooth there is a dessert plate or a chocolate plate at $6.50. The chocolates are made by Chow Chocolat (much more about them soon) and are amazing in their own right.

Hours are:
Mon.-Thurs. 3pm-12am
Fri.-Sat. 3pm-1am

Just Vino
846 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14202



Rachel said...

Michael, I'm back to reading my blogroll and catching up on several of your posts! Have you been to the Wine Thief yet? I was wondering how it compares to Just Vino. I haven't been to either (new motherhood, of course!)

LIVE TO EAT said...


I've not yet been to Wine Thief, however I've viewed the menu posted outside. It appears they are a restaurant and wine bar.

My excitement for Just Vino is that they are first and foremost a wine bar, with a respectable beer list, offering a few tidbits to enjoy along with your wine.