Conundrum Wine Bistro

Conundrum owner Vincent “Vinny” Migliaccio has a different approach when it comes to maintaining his wine program. Each year his vendors ply him with over 300 different wines cumulatively, setting up multiple tastings for Migliaccio and his staff, hoping their selections make the cut. In the end, after hundreds of tastings, only 40 wines are added to the bistro’s permanent rotation, which now numbers well over 500 bottles. Selections are based on numerous factors ranging from flavor profiles to fitting in with existing offerings. For Migliaccio this evolving rotation is how he keeps things fresh after 14 years in the business.

On a recent visit to Conundrum, Migliaccio is tending bar, which is often the case because he tells me he likes to feel connected to the heart of the business. Upon perusing the list, I see a few things I might be in the mood for, but before I can order, Migliaccio insists that I try a splash of about five different wines I hadn’’t considered, and also one splash of the wine I had expressed interest in just to make sure it’s the one I want.

““The last thing in the world that I would want is for someone to have to sit through a glass of wine that they don’t want,”” says Migliaccio.

Migliaccio’s wine list runs deep and has a heavy emphasis on new world reds that boast a veritable “who’’s who” of California Cabernet Sauvignon producers. His wine list is also a treasure trove for those seeking older vintages. For example, Opus One is offered in seven different vintages stretching back to 1992, and he even has the coveted 1997 Heitz Martha’’s Vineyard in stock. One could spend lots of time in Conundrum’’s wine room, digging up tête de cuvees like Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame from as far back as 1989 or even prestigious first growth Bordeaux. Thanks to Migliaccio offering forty different kinds of wine by the glass, guests can experiment with wines they may not know exist. And because he highly encourages splashes before fully committing, you can always be sure you (or Migliaccio) will find something you like.

His enthusiasm is contagious and translates onto his staff. Most are veterans of many years and are well versed in wine and in Migliaccio’’s hospitality. “”It’’s like my living room really. I grew up in this town, several of my regulars are also my neighbors,”” says Migliaccio. “”Which is also why I’’ve got to keep my prices reasonable.””

One of the most important aspects of drinking wine is the food that you enjoy with it. Conundrum features an ever-changing menu prepared by chef Erin Meuse. One of the staples is a luscious chicken liver mousse with grilled baguette, paired with the assortment of cheeses and salty olives. Main course dishes, such as burgers and honey cornbread chicken, are substantial enough that most people tend to share.

And that’’s Conundrum—: casual in nature, yet one can enjoy some of the world’’s greatest wines at a leisurely pace while sinking into plush leather couches. This is exactly what Migliaccio envisioned for Conundrum, and he will continue to welcome new patrons and new wines into his living room for years to come.


117 U.S. Route 1 | Freeport | 207.865.0303 |

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