Bar Louie is a restaurant that normally my Bride and one of her former coworkers go to, for get-togethers about once a month. She actually has a couple of different places that she uses for different coworkers as she does like to maintain contact with her friends over the years. Since her assorted dinner arrangements are just with the girls, I don’t attend, and she does try to plan these dinners on nights that I have something going on. She is much more open about the different places that she will go to, and I am a bit of a fuss budget, because I normally think of bar food as salty, by design, so that one will order more drinks. I have made this observation from many years of experience. We were out shopping and mall walking, a common practice among Senior Citizens and she decided that we should have a fast dinner at Bar Louie. We were there, so I let her lead the way.
The menu had a much bigger selection of choices compared to what I expected, which was a good way to start off. There was a large selection of appetizers and finger foods that my Bride kind of steered me through and we settled on a dish of Chicken Wings, a mixture of bone-in and boneless wings with an assortment of sauces and we went with the Jalapeno Honey which had some zest to it. Of course, not that I can ever get her to try something else she ordered their Charred Lemon Caesar Salad with pretzel crumbs and she had it with a slab of Salmon atop of the salad. I thought I was going to have to have a Cheeseburger, but then I saw that they had boneless Braised Short Rib with a Red Wine Reduction, roasted carrots and radishes and crispy potato wedges. She was already sold on the food, and I have to admit, that the food was not what I was anticipating, so all was good.
The wine list was concise, but I saw an old name that goes back with me probably to day one, if not earlier, because it was a winery that was often brought to the house when I was a kid. Ruffino is an Italian brand that even non-wine drinkers probably recognize. Ruffino is a very large wine house based in Tuscany, but is also found in Central and Northern Italy. The company was founded in 1877 when two Ruffino cousins established a small winery near Florence. In the 1880’s the winery was already an established international award-winning winery and in 1890 it became an official supplier to the Italian Royal Family. They bought their first estate after the Second World War and became the first to own estates in Chianti Classico, Montepulciano and Montalcino. The Gretole estate is almost entirely used for their Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale Oro, while the Greppone Mazzi estate is where their Brunello is grown. They now farm around six-hundred hectares across six Tuscan properties, a basic Chianti, and Toscana IGT in, all three colors. Outside of Tuscany they have Orvieto Classico, Moscato D’Asti and several Prosecco wines. Constellation Brands fully acquired the company in 2011. My Bride always goes safe and predictable and ordered the Ruffino Lumina Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie IGT 2018. The fruit is harvested from Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino; the top regions for Pinot Grigio. The fermentation takes place in Stainless Steel tanks, as well as the aging for ten months. The wine is crisp, with some mineral terroir and a touch of lemon in the finish. Even though I was going with a heavier dinner, I felt like having something totally different and had the Ruffino Sparkling Rosé NV and the fruit came from vineyards in northeastern Italy. This wine is made from two still wines, a white wine made from Glera grapes and a second wine made from Pinot Noir grapes, and then the two wines are blended in the second phase using the Charmat method. The wine had a very pretty color and I immediately thought of a pink Prosecco with a little finish of strawberry. It was tasty and I was always taught through the years that a sparkling wine can enhance any dinner. This old curmudgeon was won over by the food and the service, so I can see my Bride suggesting this location again.