For wine enthusiasts, those in search of a specific vintage, or anyone who simply prefers to take their sipping up a notch, finding the right wine list can make or break an evening. Whether you want to sample sauvignon blancs, savor cabernet sauvignons, or revel in the best rosé, Newport has plenty of great places to do it. Here are five wine bars that offer extensive and interesting wine lists – all with a variety of price points – as well as a wealth of knowledge to help make your experience as delicious as it is memorable.
1. Forty 1 North
The Grill at Forty 1 North features a large oval bar in the center of its contemporary setting overlooking Newport Harbor. From here, they serve more than 150 wines including Cakebread Chardonnay, Baron de Ladoucette Pouilly-Fumé, Chateau Miraval Rosé, Craggy Range Pinot Noir, and Graham’s 40 Year Tawny Port, just to name a few. The establishment also offers regular wine tastings, including a fermentation class every Wednesday night.
2. 22 Bowen’s
With more than 500 wines on their list, 22 Bowen’s is likely to have that special bottle you’ve been dying to try. Their extensive cellar includes gems like Opus One’s Proprietary Red (vintages 2003 through 2011) and locally made Westport Vineyards 2006 RJR Brut. If you’re not up for a whole bottle, try one of their 20-plus wines by they glass or choose from their broad selection of half bottles. Want to sip outside? Hit the Portside bar, which offers some of Newport’s finest people watching.
3. Fluke Wine, Bar & Kitchen
Along with fantastic views from the third-floor bar overlooking Bannister’s and Bowen’s wharves, Fluke Wine, Bar & Kitchen also offers a carefully curated and well rounded selection of more than 100 wines. Let’s see…what would go best with that stunning sunset view tonight? A 2013 Domaine d’Andezon Syrah-Grenache or the 2004 Dom Perignon? These are the kind of tough decisions the friendly staff at Fluke is well equipped to help you make. Bonus: Their cocktails are also out of this world.
The beauty of having a beer-and-wine-only liquor license is that it allows you to put your full focus on selecting tip-top options, and that’s exactly what Norey’s has done. In addition to their mind-blowing array of craft and specialty brews, this cozy restaurant features a solid wine list – including a great selection of sake – that’s intriguing without being intimidating. Head over on a Wednesday night, when you can sip alongside live music.
5. Castle Hill Inn
As a Relais & Château property, Castle Hill Inn sets the standard for excellence in hospitality. This luxe – but never snooty – Ocean Drive location has already made its way onto our lists of top spots for sunset cocktails and day drinking, so it’s no surprise that it also has a wine list we can’t overlook. A winner of Wine Spectator‘s “Best of” Award of Excellence in 2014, Castle Hill offers 25 pages of selections, so be prepared to make several trips if you want to thoroughly explore their cellar. That shouldn’t be too hard, since their gorgeous carved wooden indoor bar, elegant patio, and sweeping lawn all provide impeccable settings where you can imbibe. Keep an eye out for the inn’s frequent special offerings, too, which currently include its Connoisseur Series, a sommelier-assisted experience comparing Penfold’s 2001 Grange Shiraz and Antinori’s 2001 Solaia Supertuscan.