Bar review: Wino, Leeds

Wino, St Paul's Street, Leeds.   Pic: Simon Hulme
Wino, St Paul's Street, Leeds. Pic: Simon Hulme
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IT WAS a grey chilly end-of-work hour on a Wednesday night when I snuck into this small wine bar and escaped the winter weather over a warming glass or two of red.

Unassuming on the outside, the inside was snugly lit from muted bulbs hidden inside lampshades that looked like upside down tulips and tee lights on the tables.

Wino, St Paul's Street, Leeds.  Pic: Simon Hulme

Wino, St Paul's Street, Leeds. Pic: Simon Hulme

Coupled with the brown wooden floors, coal grey walls and others brightly adorned with large graffiti-style flowers, the bar felt both invitingly trendy and cosy.

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A long table in a back corner had a pile of board games to pick up and play.

The bar was about half full on this visit, with a smattering of young couples and a couple of small groups of work colleagues, lending a cheerful hum of background noise as a Jack Johnson tune played out at slow volume over the stereo system.

There was a warm welcome and a smile from behind the bar and good enthusiasm and attention when selecting a poison.

The wine menu isn’t fazing, with around ten whites and ten reds to choose from plus shorter lists of rosé, champagne and prosecco, and making a choice is made easy by simple descriptions beneath each wine on the list.

There were other guest wines listed on a chalk board.

The pricing wasn’t cheap but was mid-tier in the grand scheme of wine bars. Expect to pay anywhere between £16-46 for a bottle and there is the option to takeaway a bottle with you for polishing off at home - at heavily discounted prices too.

I opted for the house red to begin with, a Vina Vasta Tinto from Spain, which the bar lady suggested I’d like based on my penchant for a good Pinot Noir. This, a blended Tempranillo, was bursting with a fresh fruit taste but was light in body and cost £4.95 for 175ml.

There are nibbles to graze on while you sip your vintage of choice: cheese and meat boards; charcuterie and bar snacks, and I went for a mini cheese taster served with slices of apples, some grapes, a jellied jam, warm crusty bread and salted celery stalks, proved a satisfying accompaniment.

Settling into the menu choices, I followed up with a 250ml glass of Petit Verdot (£8.75), a red wine produced near Toledo, Spain which combined lilac and coriander flavours with the deep oomph of sweet red berries.

As I savoured this one, the bar lady brought a free finger snack of fried beans to my table, which was a nice touch. These salty snacks complemented the wine well.

The atmosphere was relaxing and, all in, with the cheese taster, the final bill totalled £16.80. Worth a trip after work, but be there before closing time at 8pm.

RATING: 4/5

PIC: James Hardisty

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