A new taste for wine

Wine bars are showing up everywhere pairing creative food with great wines

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A new taste for wine

Willi's chef-owner Mark Stark recommends Kosta Browne Winery's 2002 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir or another fruity, earthy, peppery Pinot as a great match for succulent lamb chops with tangy barbecue sauce and mint chutney.

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Our favorite wine bars in the West

If you think wine tasting is intimidating, you haven't tried the wine bars that seem to be opening on every corner. Their goal: to make trying new wines easy and fun.

The surroundings range from clubby to ultramodern. The wine lists are written to amuse as well as educate, with categories like "bodacious" and "juicy." And the food goes beyond cheese and olives; chefs at these places are likely to offer ahi tacos, paella, or sushi rolls ― dishes meant for pairing and sharing.

It all adds up to a great night out, which is why wine bars are the new way to socialize. "People are moving away from the typical bar scene; they want more than just a drink," says Christopher Potter, co-owner of Nectar Wine Lounge in San Francisco. "There's intellectual stimulation involved with wine."
 
 

Try recipes and wine pairings from some of our favorite spots, and check out our list of great wine bars near you.

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