Kansas City is one of my favorite cities in the world, and Country Club Plaza is one of my favorite parts of KC. On a busy street corner in the Plaza, my college friends and I used to go to the Canyon Cafe. When that closed, it was replaced by The 810 Zone, a take on ESPN’s failed ESPNZone restaurants. I went there to watch games as often as I could. So when 810 closed and was replaced by Cooper’s Hawk Winery, I wasn’t about to stop frequenting; something clearly draws me to the space.
Today, my wife and I visit Cooper’s Hawk Winery primarily for two reasons. First, they have about the best gluten free menu we’ve ever seen, complete with hamburger buns, hot rolls, pasta, and more — perfect for Sonja who craves those things and can’t eat gluten. Second, we love wine, and they make tons of it, ranging from a wide array of sparkling offerings through the gamut of traditional varietals and blends, and finally delving into the realm of desert wines.
The Cooper’s Hawk Nightjar fortified wine is a port-style wine made in a “ruby” fashion that offers bright red fruit notes in addition to oak and some light hints of coffee. Deep and dark with a style-appropriate body and pleasant, round mouthfeel, it’s fortified to 18%, and the alcohol at times comes through toward the finish. Relatively simple, it’s an un-aged wine that pairs very well with gluten-free chocolate cake, and undoubtedly a wide variety of other things as well.
Occasionally, I miss watching games at the 810 Zone, but I’m glad the place was repurposed into something as enjoyable as Cooper’s Hawk Winery. At $19.99 for .375 ml bottle, Nightjar is a solid QPR in the port family of wines, and gets 91 points on my scale. I recommend it.