Bottles of the most interesting, complex, and thoughtfully produced wines are frequently only available in restaurants and bars. Since smaller wineries can only produce so many bottles per year, the city’s sommeliers understandably scoop up the wines that best pair and complement their chef’s dishes. This year, we have the chance to let sommeliers around the city guide us with pairings and widen our tastes through takeout orders.
In my opinion, the takeout options that do not explicitly state which varietal, year, or winery a bottle comes from are exciting in the way that certain bookstores wrap bestsellers in paper bag covers so you can’t judge them at first glance. Clicking an option that says “white” or “red” feels equivalent to sitting at a table or barstool and imploring the staff to “surprise me” with a grin.
The opportunity to try a wine from a spot you trust and respect is a fun way to imbibe something new you wouldn’t have initially chosen. Then, the next time you head out to a local wine shop there’s a strong possibility you might have a new favorite.
These businesses have some of the most unique and clever wine offerings in the Twin Cities right now for your drinking pleasure.
Riverview Cafe & Wine Bar
Longfellow’s Riverview Cafe & Wine Bar’s takeout menu has comforting favorites to pair with their twelve bottle wine list. The reds run the gamut from a Spanish Tinto Velasco to French Beaujolais. Their whites are just as exciting and one current offering of a sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and marsanne blend from Hedges Family Estate in Washington’s Columbia Valley would pair amazingly with their Figaro pizza. Topped with figs, caramelized onion, honeyed almonds, chevre, mozzarella, and roasted garlic aioli for $15, the acidity of the wine and sweetness of the toppings is sure to result in a better-than-average pizza night.
Dirty Sams at Monello
If you haven’t heard, Monello has begun crafting sandwiches for takeout under the adorably clever name ‘Dirty Sams’. If you are willing, take a leap of faith and order an unnamed wine by descriptors like “crisp and fruity” or “richer, medium body.” Sometimes it’s nice letting others make those decisions for you, so kick back, and trust their selections. You’ll have a hard enough time deciding which sandwich to pick, anyway.
Italian Eatery’s Date Night option includes a bottle of wine either bubbly, red, or white, salad, an appetizer, entree, and dessert to share for those looking for an all-inclusive takeout option. If you’d prefer to open a bottle and cook together, that can also easily be arranged. Their take and make meals come in a variety of pizza and pasta “pouches.” Whether you want to sit back and eat a four-course meal prepared for you or you’d like to fiddle in the kitchen a bit, Italian Eatery has what you need for both.
Charming brasserie Barbette has twelve wines to choose from with vivid one-sentence descriptors that tell you everything you need to know like “lively and intense with candied violet, spice, and a solid finish” and “chalky, sea salt, juicy and invigorating.” Their wine prices are extremely competitive, as well. Their fromage and charcuterie box is a lovely dinner option of cheeses, fruit compote, meats, and even sweets like brownie bites and coconut macaroons for up to 3-4 people. Take all the cushions off the sofa, lie a blanket down, and put on a dreamy movie for a romantic living room picnic dinner.
Terzo has a massive selection of wines available on Toast. They range from $10-50 so you can pick your favorite grape varietal from a sprawling list. The pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc hook up for the orange AKA skin-contact wine from Borgo Savain Di Bastini Friuli. Lambrusco, prosecco, and more in their bubbles section and tons of amazing red varietals are offered to pair with their date night specials of antipasti and pasta on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights for $50.
Before this year, I truly couldn’t imagine advocating or ordering oysters to eat at home but here we are and I am not upset about it. Select oysters by the dozen from the five types listed, other classic options, and a bottle of wine from the Meritage cellar. When the occasion calls for something a touch more elegant or elevated than pizza, treat yourself and enjoy some luxury at home.
Kado No Mise
From $20-40 Kado No Mise’s wines are seemingly listed on their takeout menu from lightest bodied to fullest, a choice as a guest I very much appreciate. Each bottle has a signifying label such as “dry and herbal white” or “floral and spicy red” to help patrons make their decision. Pick any bottle and any selection of dishes from their stunning menu for an enjoyable evening in.
Hyacinth in Summit Hill has consistently adapted and impressed this year with their Hyacinth at Home menus. In particular, from their choose-a-noodle and choose-a-sauce pasta offerings to their wine list, there is something for everyone. A few Californian jewels like a skin-contact muscat from Forlorn Hope, an arneis from Ruth Lewandowski, and a red blend from Cruse are $42-54, but those in the know realize they’re more than worth it. To pair lovingly made wines with lovingly made dishes, Hyacinth is the one.
Nightingale in Uptown’s takeout wine list is plentiful and incredibly varied. Seven sparkling bottles, seven white, eight red, and two chilled red range in price from $14-50. Any dish off their snacks menu whether deviled eggs, fries, or their cheese, pickle, or meat plate would pair beautifully with the varietal of your choosing. Grab a bottle of something bubbly and order the Sunday fried chicken sandwich special for a casual dinner with a touch of class. An undeniable truth: there is nothing like quite fried chicken and cava.
Hai Hai just celebrated their third year and coincidentally have a gorgeous lychee sangria spritz kit on their takeout menu to celebrate. For $30 you’ll receive a bottle of cava, and a 16oz mixer bottle of lychee, strawberry, hibiscus, grapefruit, and bitters. The kit makes eight delicious spritzes to pair with their innovative Southeast Asian street food: the ideal combination for a special night in. Not looking for a kit? Buy a sparkling or still rosé, a bottle of red or Lambrusco. You can’t go wrong.
Henry & Son Wine Club: Frugal, Funky, or Fancy $45, $75, $150
Consider enrolling in Henry & Son’s wine club to keep bottles on hand to pair with takeout from your favorite restaurants.
The frugal option at $45, funky at $75, and fancy at $150 for three bottles a month will help support a locally owned spot as well as provide you a box of carefully chosen goodies to look forward to.