We’re doing a new thing here at Minnesota Monthly called Wine Week, and it runs this October 4 – 10. Those of you who have lived in other cities, like New York, are probably familiar with the idea—it’s a pretty popular one elsewhere and involves a magazine working with various restaurants, wineries, and wine distributors to come up with special offerings. Some restaurants in this, our first ever Minnesota Monthly Wine Week, are offering a prix fixe dinner with specially priced wine pairings; others are offering a good price on a particular bottle, glass, or flight of wine. There’s a long list of offerings which you can peruse at mnmo.com/wineweek, but if you’re not in a clicking-through sort of mood, some of my favorites include:
- Solera’s wine week deal of a three-course wine flight (Parxet 21 Cava, a rare white Tempranillo, and Vina Herminia Excelsus Rioja) for $15. I had a flabbergastingly good meal there a couple weeks ago: $29, eight courses, sampling new chef J.P. Samuelson’s take on tapas; now wine and food bring your grand total to $44? Nice! (My meal will be detailed in our November issue; it was so good.)
- Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, which is offering a steak frites (a New York strip and fries) for $19.95—seriously, $19.95!—and Stags Leap Stelzner Claret for either $10 a glass or $29.95 a bottle. Considering this yummy stuff usually sells for $64 a bottle, not bad.
- Red Stag, which I always liked and think is recently much improved and has some nice bargains, like a cheap date night of two entrées, two desserts, and a bottle of wine for $49. Sister-restaurant Cafe Barbette is also doing a less-cheap date night of three-course meals with wine pairings for $42 a person.
- And lots more! There are more than 20 restaurants participating.
But that’s not all! If you make your Wine Week reservation with the restaurant and then register your reservation at mnmo/wineweek, when you show up at the restaurant you get a free—free, free, free!—Riedel wine glass to take home for every person in your party. And there’s no limit to the number of wine glasses you can get; you could hit Ruth’s Chris one night and Pazzaluna the next, and slowly build a formidable cabinet of significant glassware. (The glasses are worth $10.95 a pop—and there are restaurants hidden in the list offering wine specials at less that $10, leading some computer models to suggest that if you drink enough you could eventually show millions in on-paper profits!)
Okay yes, I’ll confess my mind runs to gaming the system, so I asked people around here if I could, theoretically, book my groom’s dinner and/or birthday party at a participating restaurant like Grand Café, Barbette, OM, or Pazzaluna, and make everyone give me his or her wine glasses. Yes, I’ve been told, as long as I did it October 4 through 10.
And that’s not all! If you register to be a Facebook friend of Minnesota Monthly’s or sign up for our Twitter feed, you’ll be entered into a series of $100 restaurant gift-card giveaways. Why are we doing all this? We’re hoping to do these wine weeks periodically, so if this one goes well, we’ll try another in the spring. So, if you go to a Wine Week event and come away with any suggestions for us, post them in the comments here and we’ll make changes. Or if you don’t go and have any suggestions on what would have gotten you to go, we’d love to hear that too. Wine Week! It’s coming swiftly to a week near you.