Cruising Muirfield Drive on a Friday afternoon, I thought we were lost in a residential neighborhood until a stylish strip mall came into view like an oasis, and we found we were indeed on the right path to Dublin’s Tutto Vino.
The brainchild of Raj Hora, Tutto Vino is a wine drinkers wine bar, comfortable yet sophisticated–think “Cheers” in Napa Valley–offering eclectic wines, a strong sampling of beers and a wealth of whiskey.
Raj greeted us from behind the bar (creatively adorned with the logos from old wine boxes) while Janice Joplin played overhead. We slid up on stools and perused the menu as we learned how a native of India, who grew up outside Philadelphia and went to university at Eastern Michigan found himself in banking, stock brokering and personal coaching before buying out his wine bar partner.
We quickly realized the unique joy of Tutto Vino comes from the quality and quantity of its made-to-order wine tasting flights. That means that unlike most other wine bars, which provide set bottles for their flight pours, Raj lets his guests create their own flights.
Just $15 gets you five hefty 2 oz pours from virtually every wine on his by-the-glass list (the exception being some of the more high-end options), delivered like an award in a stylish wooden glass holder.
We opted to move through our flight from light to dark, launching with the Foucher-Lebrun Lemont Sancerre from France, summery with the scent of grass and lime, and the Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay from Sonoma, reflecting a buttery vanilla, with hints of grapefruit and lemon.
From there, it was on to the robust Titus cabernet from Napa, bursting with dark cherry, berries and caressing the tongue with tannin.
Caravan by Darioush in Napa, young, fresh and woody, came next, followed by Delectus Argentum, a red blend Napa mixing cedar and chocolate. We finished off with Orin Swift’s Prisoner, which has become so popular it’s almost a cliché top pick, but it is simply too good—and sometimes hard to find–to pass up.
Like any good wine experience, Tutto Vino also seeks to pair food with its varietals through pizzas, pastas and small plate specialties. We went small with the $10 Mediterranean plate with hummus, bruschetta and olives, which came with a generous supply of crackers. The Manchegon sheep cheese, served with olives and crackers, also at $10, was a bit too small to be satisfying.
And if you want even more wine tasting adventures, he’d love to host you on a Wednesday for one of his organized tastings, his monthly 20-for-$20, or for a Skype tastings with a preeminent winemaker from California or even Australia.
It was dark by the time we had drunk our fill and stopped by the Tutto Vino wine shop to restock with some Prisoner to take home. As we pulled out of the parking lot, the residences that surround it yet again swallowed up the mirage-like image of Tutti Vino–but we would certainly not lose sight of it again.