By-the-glass choices are great ways to explore different kinds of wine.

By-the-glass choices are great ways to explore different kinds of wine. Restaurants balance two factors when shaping these lists: Cost (generally low) and variety (a good by-the-glass list covers a range of whites and reds). But sometimes spending a bit more on a glass can pay off. At Third & Hollywood, the list includes a $16 glass of 2012 Turley Old Vine zinfandel. "It's a scary notion for a lot of people to pay $16 or $17 for a by-the-glass wine," beverage coordinator Kevin Crowley says. "We feel we're earning customers' trust to the extent that we can put that on the list." Try that Turley zin with a steak, and seek out these other by-the-glass winners from recent restaurant visits:

Juicy, medium-body red: Parducci pinot noir, $8.50

Seen at: Natalie's, Worthington

Food-friendly red blend: Cline Cashmere, $10

Seen at: The Rossi Bar + Kitchen, Short North

Savory, serious red: Bethel Heights Estate pinot noir, $11

Seen at: Alana's, north of Campus

Sparkling: Toso sparkling chardonnay, $9

Seen at: Till Dynamic Fare, Victorian Village

Wine for spring holidays

Ham and lamb are the traditional stars of spring holiday menus. What pairs best with them? We asked Donnie Austin, owner of House Wine in Worthington, for his picks.


Leitz Dragonstone Rheingau Riesling ($19.99)

"Pairing aside, this is a single-vineyard riesling from an awesome German producer for under $20. Riesling and pork or ham always seem to sing and be a safe bet. The touch of sweetness in this wine is offset with some mouth-watering acidity that makes it very friendly with baked ham prepared in a variety of ways, from a spice rub or sweet glaze."


Lagier-Meredith Mount Veeder Syrah ($54.99)

"One of the best Syrahs from California hails from the home estate of Carole Meredith (UC Davis viticulture authority) and Steve Lagier (a former Mondavi winemaker). You're getting California fruit with old-school, Old World vineyard and cellar practices. The blackberry fruit mingles with pepper, violets and a savoriness that are perfect with the flavor and leanness of lamb.

Ohio Wine Pick: Markko Vineyard, Conneaut

Arnie Esterer is the elder statesman of Ohio wine. He's presided over Markko Vineyard since 1968, for many of those years with business partner Tim Hubbard, who died in 2000. Esterer's chardonnay and riesling have a cult following inside and outside the state. If oaky, buttery California chardonnay is your only reference to that ubiquitous varietal, visit Markko to find out what the grape can truly achieve.

The driveway to Markko is quite literally off the paved road and tucked in woods near Conneaut; it's a charming, eccentric place that time seems to have forgotten. Buy as much as you can afford after your tasting. And when you leave, detour to Madison for a stop at Wet Your Whistle, one of the quirkiest and best wine shops in the state.