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Vino 100: Intimate small plates and wine

Olives, smoked salmon and Say Cheese! make for a delightful variety of appetizers and light lunch

Posted: January 23, 2009 9:16 a.m.
Updated: January 23, 2009 10:00 a.m.

Lil Lepore, co-owner of Vino 100 in Valenica, pours a glass of wine in the store's intimate tasting area.

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There's no better way to celebrate life than with a glass of wine - and I'm not alone in my enjoyment of the fruit of the vine. The Santa Clarita Valley boasts nearly half a dozen wine bars and wine tasting locations.

Wine events routinely attract hundreds and wine dinners offered by nearly every major restaurant in the SCV are usually sold out as soon as they are announced.

Vino 100, located in Valencia in the Highridge Crossing shopping center at Copperhill and Newhall Ranch Road, offers an intimate wine bar perfect for a light lunch or early afternoon libation.

There's something for everyone on the small plate menu for guests to enjoy.

I'm a huge fan of olives. Olives and the right wine pair very nicely, too.

Vino 100's $6 olive trio plate includes a selection of three gourmet olives that offers olive fans six olives per selection.

Olives can include olives stuffed with feta cheese or dried tomato or other gourmet olive presentations.
The "Say Cheese!" plate is a tasty selection of three artisan cheeses with fruit, olive tapenade and crackers. The plate is a true value at $10 and enough food for two to enjoy.

I could make this plate a regular lunch treat!

Selections of cheese and fruit vary. The day I visited Vino 100's small tasting area my plate included a large handful of dried blueberries and apricots that paired nicely with the cab poured by Lil Lepore, Vino 100 co-owner.

Cheeses offered included a mild, white cheddar, an aged asiago and a rich gruyere. A fig jelly from Greece paired delightfully with the cheeses.

Lepore said she often will swap the cheeses out and include a brie or a manchego, a Spanish sheep milk cheese, for variety.

The small bowl of olive tapenade was deceptive because there was more than enough tapenade to top at least a dozen of the accompanying water crackers.

A strong accent of red pepper made for a different tapenade than what I've found elsewhere. It made for a more complex tapenade and I enjoyed it tremendously.

Also on Vino 100's small plate menu is the "Mangiare Tutto" plate at $12 which features Italian salami, bruschetta, rolled prosciutto and mozzarella drizzled with basil olive oil, roasted pepper tapenade and Italian flatbread.

Again, you get your money's worth from this tasty selection of meat, cheese and goodies.
The Salmon Plate, at $12 is another "meal" in itself with three ounces of smoked wild Alaskan salmon, cream cheese and crackers.

Smoked salmon is another of my favorite things and the salmon offered by Vino 100 is top of the line.
Fabulous food, wonderful wine and cheerful companions make any stop at Vino 100 a treat.

The bar is tucked into a small corner of the store and offers guest an intimate setting for tasting, eating and talking.

For those who come for the wine Vino 100 offers four wines to taste which are swapped out twice a week.
"During the winter we usually offer three reds and a white because people tend to drink more red wine in winter," said Lepore.

As the weather warms up the store usually will offer two whites and two reds.

Wines are usually changed on Thursdays. Vino 100 specializes in wines from boutique wineries.

A flight of three wines is available to taste for $7. Wine by the glass averages $7 to $10.

What a civilized way to end the day or to enjoy a private tete-a-tete?

What could be more relaxing than a glass of wine, good food and fun friends?

Vino 100, Highridge Crossing Center, 28112 Newhall Ranch Road, Valencia, CA 91355 (661) 294-6886. Hours: Monday-Tuesday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Sunday.


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