By Tes Silverman
When Michael O’Brien and Lindsay Ostrander opened The Wine Cellar on Main in June 2012, their individual expertise brought them together. O’Brien, an expert on craft beers, and Ostrander, a sommelier, combined their passions to create an establishment unlike any other.
While typical wine bars offer various types of red and white wines, what differentiates the Wine Cellar from others is an impressive selection that hails from local, regional and international vineyards, which produce organic, biodynamic and sustainable wines. Its wines are categorized to fit not only the vintner’s tastes, but tailored to the patron’s palate. In addition, O’Brien and Ostrander pair these wines with delicious tapas that are made in-house.
To start you on your tasting education, pairing Hillinger Secco Rosé, an organic sparkling wine from Burgenland, Austria ($3.50 for 2 ounces, $11 for 6 ounces and $44 per bottle) with soft cheeses ($12 for fresh mozzarella platter, sliced tomato, roasted red peppers, balsamic glaze drizzle, or $11 for warm brie with walnuts and berry preserve served with flatbreads) highlights the creamy texture of the cheeses.
For the palate that is drawn towards fruity, floral and crisp white wines, pairing the 2014 Txomin Etxantiz Txakoli from Toro, Spain ($4/$12/$48) with the artisan toasted flatbread (saucisson sec – cured pork with fresh garlic, sea-salt and black peppercorns, parmesan, mesclun greens, roasted red peppers, cherry tomatoes, EEVO and balsamic glaze, $10) cuts through the saltiness of the saucisson sec, while the understated flavor of the wine emphasizes the heartiness of the flatbread.
If you’re more partial to red wines that have a smooth and supple finish, pairing the 2012 The Big Easy ($5.75/$17/$68) from Santa Barbara, California, with saucisson sec or spiced coppa (spiced salt-cured pork shoulder), reduces the saltiness of the meat, while accentuating the wine’s finish.
Lest you think that wines are the only form of libation at the Wine Cellar, O’Brien’s selection of craft spirits such as Asian pear cider and apple crisp cider, to name a few, indicate his affinity for unique tastes.
For those who may want to pair wines with regular entrees, O’Brien and Ostrander have a distinctive way of accommodating their hungry clientele. With the help of neighboring restaurants such as Maroni’s, Bistro 44, Ship’s Inn and Main Street Cafe, patrons can order entrees from these restaurants and have it delivered to the Wine Cellar. This partnership not only provides the aforementioned restaurants with additional patrons, but also highlights the uniqueness of how the Wine Cellar operates.
If after sampling the wines and tapas or entrees has you craving for dessert, the owners exercise almost the same idea with bakeries they have established with other eateries. While chocolate-dipped strawberries are prepared in-house, other desserts like Ghirardelli peanut butter brownie, New York-style cheesecake and flourless chocolate cake are procured from Rhapsody Cakes in Centerport and Alfredo’s Bakery in Halesite.
O’Brien and Ostrander’s determination to maintain high standards of procuring and serving organic and sustainable wines, as well as serving craft beers to experts and novices, have made the Wine Cellar a Main Street staple.