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Review: Fargo wine bar serves up D'Vine intervention

The sampler platter ($22) at D’Vine offers a good overview of meats and garnishes. Eric Daeuber / Special to The Forum

FARGO - Traditional European wine bars are social places where people gather for a glass or two and let time pass easy over small plates of cold meats and cheese.

Those, like me, who have enjoyed the European variety of this tradition, will find D’Vine in downtown Fargo very close on most every front.

D’Vine has a well-selected wine list that leans heavily westward with a good many excellent choices out of Napa particularly. And the prices escalate quickly.

If money matters less than your time and your friends, there are soft reds from Stag’s Leap and bright ready-for-autumn whites from Plumpjack that will impress your company and ding your wallet up to and past the $100 mark.

But there’s no real need to go there. There are excellent options for less than $30 a bottle and less than $10 a glass. The peppery Charles Smith Boom Boom Syrah and the subtle, for a sauvignon blanc, Selini can be had for $9 and $8, respectively. Wine pours are exact, and they arrive at your table at the ideal temperature for the variety you’ve ordered.

Small plates are well prepared, nicely dressed and beautify presented. Cheeses, like the always excellent Stilton blue ($6), are served with a generous bucket of crackers and bread. And a very nice addition to the plate are is condiments like chutney and course ground mustard, giving you an opportunity to experiment with a lot of flavors in a single small plate.

A sampler platter ($22) has a good overview of meats, including pheasant tureen and duck rillettes, both ideal for spreading on crackers, and a smoky, tangy bresaola.

All of this can set one back a few dollars pretty quickly, and as high a quality and unique a preparation that these meats and cheeses offer, D’Vine misses the mark set by its European counterparts in this important way. Those enjoying the excellent atmosphere may wish for a plate or two of a simpler and less costly second helping to extend the evening and perhaps afford the opportunity for another glass.

And you’ll want to extend the evening, to be sure. The dark, heavy wood and natural brick in the two-story bar gives it an authentic, rustic, Old World feel, and the big double doors that open to Boerth’s Gallery add a medieval touch.

There isn’t much to absorb the sound, so a full bar can get a little loud. After all, we are not known for quiet conversation on this side of the pond.

Service is generally very good. A bit more background on wines would be helpful, and your food may be a bit slow in coming, but this doesn’t intrude on the experience you have come to enjoy.

If you’re drinking white wines, where temperature really matters, you may want to ask for it to show up at your table close to when your food order is scheduled to arrive.

D’Vine is an adult experience for people who have things to say to each other, and it will no doubt become a favorite among those for whom a glass of wine and a bit of cheese closes a pleasant evening.

D’Vine Address: 212 Broadway, Fargo (enter through alley behind Boerth’s Gallery)

Cuisine: Wine and small plates

Food: 3 ½ (out of four stars)

Service: 3 ½

Ambiance: 4

Dining Details Hours: 4 p.m. to midnight Monday-Wednesday; 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday-Friday; noon to 2 a.m. Saturday

Phone: (701) 235-4222

Reservations Accepted: No

Alcohol: Wine, beer and cocktails

Dress: As you like

Credit Cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express

Eric Daeuber is an instructor at Minnesota State Community and Technical College. Readers can reach him at food@daeuber.com.

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