Photograph by Devyn Glista
On a sleepy stretch of Main Street in the central business district is the downtown wine drinker’s saving grace. Need an inexpensive bottle to take to book club? Or maybe some advice on what to serve next weekend alongside the classic Patricia Wells recipe for roasted leg of lamb over potato gratin? Two diametrically opposed wine occasions, for sure, but Corkopolis manager Dan Craven has both requests covered. “We love mineral driven, high-acidity whites around here, so I’d always recommend the Domaine de Baumard Savennieres,” he says, adding that the $25 chenin blanc from the Loire Valley is perfect for any occasion. Except maybe that lamb dinner, for which Craven recommends a nebbiolo. “It’s the first wine that comes to mind with those ingredients,” he explains, pouring me a taste of the Sottimano Langhe from the shop’s handy cuvee system.
Corkopolis features up to four wines “on tap,” alongside three (mostly local) beers. The cuvee system keeps the wine “perfectly fresh for each glass,” Craven explains. It also makes the intimate tasting area tucked in the shop’s front window (with seating for up to 20) an ideal spot to have a sample before committing to a whole bottle. The Sottimano nebbiolo, which more than lives up to the hype, retails at $28. “It’s probably the best value in the store,” Craven admits.
Corkopolis has a small menu of snacks, aimed specifically at complementing the wines they sell. While it’s not set in stone, the selection typically features four salumi, four cheeses, and classic wine bar nibbles like Marcona almonds and marinated olives. One or two seasonal cocktails are often available, mostly utilizing bourbon and small batch whisky. Craven and bar manager Logan Brown like to stick with regional distilleries, like Watershed in Columbus.
While Corkopolis has plenty of Old World bottles available, with an emphasis on Burgundy (Italy is a close second), Craven stocks some new world offerings as well. “More than anything, I’m into wine that comes from somewhere and is made by somebody,” he explains. “Up to 90 percent of what’s on most shelves is commodity created.” As for the beer selections, they’re heavy on hometown heroes (Rhinegeist, MadTree, etc.) with a healthy dose of Belgian and German artisan imports in the 22-ounce bomber size, as well as 750 mL cork-and-cage bottles.
Corkopolis Wine Market & Bar, 640 Main St., downtown, (513) 381-3752, corkopolis.com