I am excited to announce Tour de Cincinnati’s first collaboration. Because I am more of a beer person (and I’m not what you’d consider “classy”), I have partnered with Blake, a friend of TDC, who is far classier, worldly, and more qualified to talk wine than I am.
Thus, I present to you, the first review of the Wine Wednesday series:
This past week Linsey put the beer aside and joined me for a glass of local wine at Skeleton Root Wine Makers, a new addition to northern OTR (“new” as of September of last year). Having driven past the location a few times, I was definitely eager to try it and Linsey’s always up for conquering new spots in Cincinnati.
This urban winery is located on the second floor at 38 W. McMicken Avenue. The building is quite unassuming — just a simple brick façade on the first floor and factory-style windows on the second floor, where we were greeted with a loft-style industrial space finished with concrete floors, brick walls, and wood-paneled accent walls. The space felt comfortable and modest with leather furniture paired in various seating arrangements, and there was plenty of bar top and table seating throughout the tasting room.
Linsey and I decided to try a flight of red wine (my choice, although on a hot summer day it may have been more refreshing to go with a white flight). Similar to breweries, trying a flight is the best way to get the broadest experience. It helps to identify what you like and what you don’t. However, unlike many beer flights, most wineries have a set flight list. They are intentionally crafted by experience and meant to enjoy in a specific order.
The flight was $15 and included four pours, three of which were made by Skeleton Root and one by a guest winery. The three reds from Skeleton Root were Northern Liberties Red (NoLi), Norton, and a Petite Sirah. The guest wine was a Bergerie Rouge Classique (or just Classique) from Domaine L’Hortus, located in the southern part of France.
If you’re anything like me, none of those names really mean anything. I know the basic names, like Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Malbec. Typically, when winos start referencing blends and geographical locations, my mind wanders to things like drinking the wine; not talking about it. Luckily for us, the bartender talked us through the flight and told us what scents and flavors to expect. Both bartenders working that day were very friendly and even showed us around after we finished drinking. (Thanks, Jay!)
Overall the wines were quite tasty. The NoLi and and Norton originated from grapes in the Ohio Valley and had a great earthiness flavor (go local!), while the Petite Sirah, with its Calfornia-raised grapes had a much fruitier taste. Surprisingly, the wines with Ohio Valley grapes weren’t sweet, as grapes from this region have been known to produce sweeter wines. The wines were all on the bolder side and very easy to drink. I would definitely buy the Petite Sirah and pair it with a pork tenderloin (go to nearby Findlay Market!), or more realistically, a burger and fries. The guest wine, Classique, was a red blend and richer than the other three. However, with this being a series on locally made wine, I was much more interested in the wines made at Skeleton Root.
Since Linsey prefers a glass of white to red — and was a trooper about trying a flight of red first — we decided to get a glass of white to follow. It was happy hour (4–7pm on weekdays) and a glass of their NoLi White was only $5 (also from the Ohio Valley). It was refreshing and fruit forward, and would pair well with chicken or fish (Findlay Market!). Most of their wines you can buy in bottles onsite.
Skeleton Root is a must try in the urban wine scene in Cincinnati. Their wines and staff are much like their space: unpretentious and approachable. A major bonus of Skeleton Root is that they pair wine with live music, have what looked like a delicious small plates and charcuterie menu, and offer cocktails and beer for the non-wine drinkers. I will definitely be going back to try a white flight and pimento cheese board while we’re still in these warmer summer months.
Until the next glass … cheers!
38 W. McMicken Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Ample street parking
They offer spaces for private events.
Skeleton Root would make a great place to meet a friend or a date for live music and a relaxing evening. If you’re hungry, try out the small plates menu while you’re there.
To remember wines you’ve enjoyed, take a picture of the menu and/or the bottle. I have a running list of wines in my phone that I’ve enjoyed from various restaurants, wineries, and wine stores. The list helps with not playing price-point/nice label roulette at the grocery stores when choosing a bottle.
Blake is a Cincinnati transplant and absolutely loves it here. Outside of getting wine tipsy and tweeting about it, he enjoys indulging in the bars and restaurants of Northside, where he, his partner, and cat reside. Blake is an avid FC Cincinnati fan and currently sits on the board of supporters’ group Die Innenstadt. His hobbies are avoiding priorities, binge watching the Golden Girls, and throwing shade.
Featured image: arrangement of bottles for sale onsite
Note: photos were taking by both Blake and Linsey