My sometimes covert, sometimes overt love affair with wine bars recently expanded to include 4th and Vine after I ran into (not literally) owner Duncan a few weeks prior. This narrow room is dressed in dark colours and occupies a prominent corner lot in Oliver Square.
A multitude of bottles adorn every shelf and alcove in 4th and Vine. Chalkboard menus - an entity whose popularity is on the upswing in town - proclaim the day's specials. Artwork is used sparingly around the room and an open kitchen gives diners a glimpse into the magical realm of culinary prestidigitation.
Supper commences with a malbec trio. This trifecta of tannins features vintages from Argentina, France and Australia. Argentina is the far and away favourite and sings with clear notes of plum and anise. The French variety lags behind its Argentinian and Australian counterparts and feels slightly immature and acidic.
We dine on a charcuterie plate that includes a row of decently crusty baguette, small rosettes of cold-smoked salmon (I hope it's Sgambaros salmon...it certainly tastes like it), olives, venison chorizo, soppresata, smoked gouda, and two other types of cheese (whose names escape me). A bite of chorizo chased by a nip of smoked gouda handily combines the divine indulgences of fat and smoke. The buttery salmon goes down nicely on a slice of bread.
Dessert presents a martini glass (so 90s but don't worry, it's cool) of chocolate mousse and a judicious slice of cappuccino cheesecake. The mousse is velvet-smooth and irrepressibly rich. I'm forced to surrender after but a few spoonfuls. The cheesecake meets a similar fate - too rich to die and so it will live another day in the refrigerator until my furtive midnight munchies strike once more. I've checked another Edmonton wine bar off my bucket list. Of course, a repeat visit is in order to reaffirm my love of malbec and charcuterie.