With 70 wines by the glass and 200 by the bottle - a selection spanning decades, continents and a multitude of tastes - Dublin's Wine Loft is an ideal destination for both connoisseurs and vino newbies.

With 70 wines by the glass and 200 by the bottle - a selection spanning decades, continents and a multitude of tastes - Dublin's Wine Loft is an ideal destination for both connoisseurs and vino newbies.

The second Ohio franchise of this chic chain delivers the contemporary flourishes of a classy lounge without the be-seen stuffiness that often sours the experience of sitting somewhere nice and enjoying fine things.

Located in the new Shoppes at River Ridge, the bar includes plenty of quiet places to sit, relax and embrace your beau.

Lighting is kept low, and comfortable couches abound on several sectioned platforms, where couples were clinking glasses and unwinding on Saturday night. There also are a few large tables and a patio in the back.

Corked but ready to rock are plenty of merlots, chardonnays, rieslings and other usual suspects. The extensive menu is also dotted with less-common offerings like Meritage, a Bordeaux-style blend, and pinot gris, a light white popular in balmy weather. A hefty selection is available for $7 to $10.

Fledgling oenophiles should consider trying a malbec, a deep, rich red. A glass of the Don Miguel Gascon ($9) was tasty but not too heavy for a muggy summer night.

If you're looking for a low-impact introduction, check out featured wine flights Monday through Wednesday and glass and bottle specials on Tuesday. Anytime, the staff will offer friendly advice, which was helpful but never intimidating.

While you should definitely come thirsty, if you're hungry don't expect to fill up on the tapas-like dishes (priced between $10 and $18). Entrees like the Shrimp & Blue Cheese Pastries and the Grilled Vegetable Ravioli were delicious, presented well and very small.

But once the good wine gets flowing, you might not even notice.

What's a varietal?

One term you'll hear around wine people is "varietal," which is not actually a snobby term for "variety." A varietel is a wine made primarily from one type of grape. Merlot and chardonnay, for example, are varietals, while wines like Bordeaux are blended from many grapes.