3950 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
CUISINE Modern American, Wine Bar
PRICE $$$ ($21-$30)
HOURS Open for lunch and dinner daily.
NVM AWARDS Best New Restaurant 2009
NEARBY METRO None
By Warren Rojas
The brainchild of New Zealand grape buff Michael Pearce, The Wine House provides ample opportunities for local oenophiles to circle the globe, one glass at a time.
The shop’s cluster of cozy tables and the coveted stools surrounding the half pentagon-shaped bar are often claimed by snack-happy girlfriends and venturesome couples out for a bite/a bottle/a pint of something a little different.
The wine stacks are overflowing with worldly gems (Spanish albariños, Italian brachetto d’acqui), while the coolers regularly house serious brews (Weihenstephaner hefeweizen, Lagunitas Censored ale). Featured pours tend to hover around $10 a glass, and often showcase stunners like the 2006 Layer Cake Primitivo (bold Zinfandel awash in ripe red fruit and spice).
“It never stays around,” one barkeep says of the unexpectedly hot seller, noting patrons carry it away by the caseload.
The a la carte menu follows a multi-course format, touting seasonal creations like rack of lamb with creamed leeks and roasted venison.
A charcuterie plate (prosciutto was best, salami a close second) escorted by toasted baguettes and crisp cornichons begs to be shared (generous slate of playful snacks). Sun-dried cherry bread pudding (caked with white chocolate and whipped cream) invites experimentation with brawny ports.