Maple Grove’s Perfect Wine Pairings

Choosing a complementary wine and dinner entrée doesn’t have to be rocket science.
Principato house wine from Olive Garden.

Picking the perfect wine to go with your meal when eating out can be a daunting task. What is the difference between all of these red wines? How about the white wines? Do I have to stick to the standard rule of red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat? And what exactly is an aperitif? These kinds of questions can lead you into making a hasty last-minute decision when it’s time to order. So to help you get ahead of the game, here are some highly recommended perfect pairings from your favorite local restaurants. Bon appétit, and salut!


Ladera Wine and Dinner

Nectar Wine Bar & Bistro

A local favorite among many, Nectar Wine Bar & Bistro should be your first stop in terms of perfectly pairing your wine and meal. Specializing in wines, Nectar’s servers are well-versed in everything wine and are experts when it comes time to helping you make your selection. Their vast collection of wine runs from $24-$325 per bottle. “Some of our bottles are from smaller runs of wine that were only allocated a certain amount to the state as a whole,” says Nectar employee Justin Wilmot. Wilmot also says that Nectar customers can expect a “Ladera Wine and Dinner” on May 4. This event will feature wines solely from Ladera Vineyards, such as Ladera Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, $95 a bottle. Normal service at the restaurant will be closed for the event, and approximately only forty reservations will be taken. The unique menu changes every two weeks, but always states what wine best goes with each individual meal. For a listing of their current menu items and wine pairings, head over to their website or stop in for dinner—you won’t be disappointed! 204 Central Ave., Osseo; 763.657.7231


Chicken Kildare with Covey Run Pinot Grigio

Claddagh Irish Pub

Though typically known for their selection of traditional Irish whiskeys, Claddagh knows their wines, too. But picking the right one to go with your meal can be tougher than usual with their unique Irish entrees. Not to fret, the servers are trained, ready and willing to help you. “We have wine tastings for our servers so they can get a more personal idea of what the wines taste like,” says bar manager John Huber. “We understand that people have different tastes when it comes to wine, and sometimes you have to pair the wine with the person and not the meal.” If you want to try something new, go for the Chicken Kildare, $13.99, with a glass of Covey Run Pinot Grigio—$5.50 a glass or $16 a bottle. For red wine lovers, try the Shepherd’s Pie, $13.99, with a glass of Claddagh’s house Merlot—$5.50 a glass or $18 a bottle. 7890 Main St. N.; 763.773.7400


Steakhouse Top Sirloin with Conquista Malbec

Granite City Food & Brewery

Granite City boasts of their on-site brewery and signature beers. But their menu is too tasty to not take into consideration wine pairings. “We have a pretty standard wine list, but a few entrees that pair really well with some of our more popular wine selections,” says general manager Amy Knealing. Knealing suggests the steakhouse classic top sirloin, $21.09, paired with a glass of the Conquista Malbec—$6.50 a glass, $24 a bottle. For those of you who enjoy a lighter taste, Knealing recommends the grilled salmon oscar, $19.59, with a glass of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio—$8.75 a glass, $33 a bottle. On Wednesdays, Granite City has half price bottles of wine, and $4.50 glasses. 11909 Main St.; 763.416.0010


Moscato D’ Asti Bricco Riella


Managing partner Mark Borowiak takes great pride in Biaggi’s wine selection. “We have an amazing collection of wine,” he says. “Some of which are brought into the state just for us.” Borowiak says their Moscato D’Asti Bricco Riella is a hard label to find in this area. This particular wine will run you $7.29 a glass or $27 for a bottle and is best drank as a before-dinner aperitif or an after-dinner desert wine. Mark describes this unique wine as having rich honeysuckle and peach flavors with a light, crisp finish. For red wine, a Biaggi-staff favorite is the Barbera Fontanafredda Briccotondo at $8.29 a glass or $31 a bottle. This robust wine will pair well with any of Biaggi’s red sauce based entrees. 12051 Elm Creek Blvd. N.; 763.416.2225


Oven-Roasted Salmon with Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio

Buca di Beppo

As one of our two featured Italian restaurants, Buca di Beppo has a myriad of wine choices and dinner pairings to pick from; after all, wine is a staple to any Italian meal. General manager David Lindahl agrees that sometimes wine should be based on the person and not the meal. “It all depends on what kind of flavor people’s palates require,” he says. “Sometimes it’s even a matter of what label is currently the trendy wine to be seen drinking.” Recommended Buca pairings: oven-roasted salmon, $21.95 for a small portion, with Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio at $7.49 a glass or $25.99 a bottle. For a red wine, try the Blackstone Merlot at $8.49 a glass or $28.99 a bottle, paired with the Penne San Remo. After your meal, try a single serving of Buca’s Danny DeVito’s Premium Limoncello, $3.75. 12650 Elm Creek Blvd.; 763.494.3466



Olive Garden

For those of us who are worried about not picking the correct wine and don’t want to ask our servers, Olive Garden offers a simple solution on their website. Before you head over to Olive Garden, take a look at their online menu—by clicking on any entrée’s photo, a list of wine recommendations will pop up. Unlike the standard rule of red wines with red meats and sauces, white wines with white meats and sauces, Olive Garden’s wine suggestions will list multiple different selections that will surely fit anyone’s taste preferences. “People seem to generally want something a little bit sweeter when they come in,” says general manager Derek Harrell. “One of our most popular wines is actually our signature Principato, which comes in red, white and blush.” Olive Garden’s Principato is $5.35 a glass, or $33 for a bottle that contains about eight glasses. To perfectly pair a wine selection to your favorite Olive Garden dish, visit their website and click on the picture of that dish. 12520 Elm Creek Blvd. N.; 763.420.9699