Solera Wine Bar

I’ve been meaning to post something here about Solera since last weekend, when my wife and I got a chance to go there. But, I’ve been so busy with M.C. Legislature stuff, I’ve plum forgot until now.

When my wife and I went on our honeymoon, we experienced a place called “Vintages” aboard our cruise liner. This was our first experience with such a bar, and we loved it so much, we came back with stars in our eyes, talking about opening up our own wine bar here in Rochester. Well, like most such flights of fancy, that dream quickly dissipated. But fortunately for everyone who likes good wine in Rochester, somewhere else was a couple with more fortitude than we, and in October, Solera was born right in our back yard of The Wedge.

The wine bar thing seems so obvious, at first: open a bar, serve wine. But of course, it’s not that simple. A good wine bar is going to favour sumptuous colors and comfortable chairs a bit more than your average bar, for one. Also, beer nuts and wing-dings aren’t making it along side a Chianti; you need hearty, fatty cheeses and crackers to match, otherwise those deep, nuanced flavours of a Grenache get lost. Finally and most importantly, people expect you to know something about the wine you serve.

Saturday evening, beautiful as it was, seemed the perfect opportunity to check out Solera. This tiny little establishment is everything we’d hoped for in a wine bar. The walls are a deep, contemplative red, there are Ramon Santiago paintings (original, not the prints) hanging on the wall, and the decor is all deep-stained woods and brown leather. They’re apparently also working on establishing the space upstairs as another section of the bar, but details are as yet to be worked out with the landlord.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to speak with the owner while we were there, but we did get to chat with his wife. She’s a very friendly and personable woman, and we had a great time chatting, since it was so early in the evening that there really wasn’t anyone there but us. They seem to be making friends all over the Wedge, as while we sipped our wines, another man came in with flower bulbs he’d dug out of his garden for the owners. That’s what makes neighborhood stores like this one so much fun: it’s not so much about the corporate bottom line as it is about everyone living together.

Their selection of wines was very nice, too. There’s a lot on their menu which is quite different than what you normally see around here, and certainly better priced. Sarah had a nice ice wine, and I checked out a Grenache. There were a number of other , more exotic selections on the menu, but we’ll get to them in time, rest assured.

I highly recommend anyone who simply likes wine to go check out Solera, and you’re sure to be a wine lover in no time. I think I’m going to ask about whether they’d be interested in having tastings there, which I’m sure they’d be game for. I seem to recall someone else in the Rochester blogging community expressing an interest, as well.  Hmm. . .  Stay tuned.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.