BEST WINE BAR Minneapolis 2006 - Riverview Cafe & Wine Bar
It only took about a decade, but the core Twin Cities finally got a wine bar worthy of such a wine-smart metropolis. When the Riverview Wine Bar opened last year, we were impressed with the wide selection and stylish interior with its comfy fireplace and Tuscan color scheme, but the longer we've gotten to study the wine offerings the more impressed we've become. It's the "wine flites" that have done it. Currently the wine bar offers 12 flites, all priced at $9, each composed of four two-ounce glasses of wine. These flites are arranged around all kinds of interesting themes—Zinfandels from all over California; red wines made entirely in stainless steel (leaving out those usually so important oak flavors); Rieslings from New Zealand, Germany, France, and Washington state; all-organic, and so forth. These flites allow you to learn about wine through the only legitimate method—tasting—but they are also various enough that they meet you on whatever level you're up for. If you're exhausted from a long week with the kids and simply can't settle on a buttery chardonnay, there's a flite that allows you to try most of them. Speaking of kids, parents of toddlers have been delighted to find they can take a glass of wine from the Riverview wine bar into the kid-friendly café next door, and let the little ones crawl after toys while they catch up on some grown-up conversation. Please note that the Riverview also does great work as a beer connoisseur's sampling ground: They have more than 40 beers to offer, and owners David and Mara Bernick hosts occasional beer-tasting events such as a Bell's tasting that sampled various combinations of wheat and yeast strains. The Riverview has been working mightily this last year not to become a restaurant—simple salads, pizzas, and antipasto combinations are all they offer to complement their 80-or-so wines, which keeps the focus on the wines, where it should be.