04 Jan 2010
When wine in Spokane meant a handful of wineries and a small selection at the local grocery store, Niko’s owner Laith Elaimy anticipated a trend and took a chance by hiring Pauline Riley, his wine representative from a local distributor, to run his wine menu. The seemingly odd pairing of Niko’s Greek Restaurant and its mediterranean menu and the Niko’s Wine Bar has resulted in one of Spokane’s finest places to enjoy not only a great dinner but a huge variety of wine.
“Wine is food for the soul,” says Pauline, “we want to provide a place to bring people to good conversation and good wine.” Niko’s not only provides a great dinner menu and wine selection but is a premier location for VIP dining rooms, valet parking, and catering; all of this in the heart of downtown Spokane on Post and Riverside (just 2 blocks from Riverpark Square).
Pauline is one of the go to wine people in Spokane. She is a trusted expert in the community. Her years of experience have made Niko’s wine bar the place to enjoy a good glass of wine, a fun wine flight, or buy that special bottle retail for the last 12 1/2 years.
The wine bar, an extension of the restaurant, is a quaint nicely decorated room to enjoy wine. Pauline prepares a new wine tour sheet every few weeks that features between 40-50 wines by the glass, chosen from their 1100 bottle cellar. The menu favorites are the various wine flights where you can experience regional, international, varietal or producer flights. Pauline even likes to feature a “anything but Sideways flight” where patrons get all Merlot. My favorite is the blind white or red flight where Pauline brings you a random selection. After the tasting she brings out the bottles challenging you to pair the wine you drank with the correct bottle. It is a fun and challenging tasting.
When I asked Pauline what she wants people to experience at the wine bar, she said, “I want people to embrace new wine in an environment that is conducive to shared experiences. I want to serve the best selection of wine in a beautiful location using quality stemware. Life is too short to drink the same wine twice.” Niko’s has been voted by local Spokane Inlander readers as the region’s Best Wine Bar and Spokane’s Best Wine Selection for ten straight years!
Whether you are a wine expert, new to wine or, somewhere in between (like me), Niko’s has developed a fantastic reputation as the spot for wine in Spokane. With so much wine available, Pauline sees her job to be your wine professional helping you select the best wine for your needs. “You have a Real Estate professional or a finance professional, why not a wine professional.”
- The Stats: Niko’s Wine Bar is open Sun – Wed 4pm - 10pm and Thur – Sat 4pm – 11pm. Open Friday for lunch from 11-3 (all entrée’s $10)
- The Social: www.nikosspokane.com 509.624.7444
- The Streets: 725 W. Riverside (Riverside and Post)
2010 represents Niko’s 25 years in business. To celebrate the longevity Niko’s is offering a $25 gift card to use on a return visit when you enjoy dinner during 2010. You heard it here first. Tell them DrinkNectar sent you.
NEW UPDATE 1/29/10 – Talked to Pauline last night and she has started a fantastic Happy Hour $2 Glass of Wine (1 red, 1 white), $2 off any glass, $2 off any flight and $2 beer. Happy Hour is 4-6pm and 9-close Monday – Friday! Tell them Josh @ DrinkNectar sent you!
29 Nov 2009
Over the last few months I’ve read hundreds of wine pairings from great bloggers around the world (wide web). The general concensus of Thanksgiving pairings included a Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel. While I respect the opinions of those blogs and I learned a great deal, the best advice I heard was from TheWineWhore who encouraged, “drink what you like.”
Our Thanksgiving adventure began with driving to Portland, OR from Spokane, WA. After 5 hours and 20 minutes in the car (impressive to those that know), we arrived ready to celebrate with family and with wine. Below is a recap of the five wines we enjoyed.
Frontera Cabernet Merlot Blend – $3
Okay, before you judge me and discredit this blog – it was offered to us by my Father in-law. In the spirit of diplomacy, I partook. It wasn’t Boone’s Farm but it was dull, bland, watery, and lifeless. If you’re in the need for a $3 bottle of wine, it’ll do but otherwise drink grape juice instead.
Thursday (Turkey Day)
2008 J Bookwalter Tercet (Roussane / Marsanne / Muscat) – $18
We brought this Columbia Valley, WA white blend from our Woodinville tasting trip. This was a great starting wine for the night. Very flowery roses, lemon and vanilla for the smell. The sip was crisp and believe it or not had hints of pumpkin pie (nutmeg and vanilla). The wine was overwhelmed by the sweet potatoes but held up well with the turkey, stuffing and cranberry. P.S. It is the only J Bookwalter white that is not sold out.
2008 Cline Cellars Cashmere (Mourvedre / Grenache / Syrah) – $21
Like the Led Zeppelin song of the same name this wine is big, bold and complex. This blend supporting the breast cancer network comes off very fruity on the sniff but the sip provides a balance of plum, pepper and cocoa. The Sonoma Valley, CA wine clashed with the cranberry but paired well with the mashed potatoes, gravy and green been caserole. Definitely want to find this wine again to try with pork, lamb or heavy pasta. Cline Cellars
2007 Pillar Box Red (Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot) $10 or less
The big fruit forward selection is a bargain from your local Costco. The fruitiness of the Shiraz was balanced out by the spice and boldness of the Cab. The sniff was not as complex as the previous wine and the finish had the most tannin. Pillar Box Red felt chewy when drank alone but pairing with the turkey, stuffing, and later the cheesecake it came alive nicely. The 90 point score in Wine Advocate seems a few points high but I will definitely pick this bottle up on the next trip to Costco.
2008 Oregon Pinot Noir – $13
This ‘best selling Pinot in Portland’ was the last of the Thanksgiving wines to be opened. The only thing paired with this wine was great conversation over global warming, health care, and my last piece of Eggnog cheesecake. At $13, Eola Hills Pinot was the hands down best value. The swirl was the lightest of all the wines we tried, translucent and brilliant. The cherry, vanilla smell reminded me of Cherry Dr. Pepper. The sip was light bodied with good tannin structure on the back end. Admittedly, I am not a Pinot lover, nor do I have vast experience in tasting them, but this wine scored high with me.
For the most part we bucked conventional wisdom. The wines we gave thanks over were chosen because they were ‘liked’ by the people who brought them. TheWineWhore’s advice is the best – drink what you like. If you don’t know what you like or have fears over food pairings, check out the hundreds of amazing reviewers out there (some are on my blog roll to the left).
Enjoy life with friends and DRINK.HAPPY!
11 Nov 2009
I love Wine! I also love Coffee! My love affair with wine began in 2005 when I met my wife, Kimberly. I’ve been a coffee lover since I was in my early 20′s
I’ve always enjoyed exploring my passions. I believe there are other people passionate about similar subjects. My desire is for drinknectar to bring those people together. Specifically, to provide people in my community with an interactive social experience that can assist in making educated decisions when it comes to their wine and coffee drinking experiences.
what will you see at drinknectar.com
drinknectar will take to the streets of Spokane, WA (and elsewhere during my travels) for on location reviews of Spokane wine bars, coffee shops, local wineries and more (we may even explore the occasional pub or local brewery). Armed with my flipcam we’ll even get the ‘on the street’ taste test of wine and coffee. My goal is to expand the awareness of the great places serving nectar and help people explore tastes that they may have never considered. By no means do I consider myself an expert. I am a fan, like you, with a passion.
I’ll try to post daily, but not all posts will be reviews. Currently I’m setting up my first round of nectarviews, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, follow me on twitter @nectarwine or look for the facebook fan page drinknectar (all one word).
Drinking tonight: Lodi, CA Seven Deadly Zins Zinfindel – YOU?
QOTD: Where do you buy your wine?