Tag Archives: wine bar

The Wine Bars of Bordeaux, Part I

Big Caveat: I have not yet been to every wine bar in Bordeaux. There is a wine bar on every corner, like Starbucks in Seattle, and (contrary to popular belief), I do go to school and don’t spend all my waking hours drinking wine (although I will admit that we do sometimes have wine at school).

These are three of the wine bars that I’ve found myself going back to, although there are still so many to discover!

  1. Quatre Coins du Vin: The first wine bar I went to, the very first day of classes in October, and the very first day that I knew I was going to love the people in my program. The concept is great: the wine-by-the-glass dispensers (so many of them in one room!) allow you to buy a taste, a half glass, or a full glass, so you can choose the kind of experience you want. Since they have 23 wines available for tasting, and we are (obviously) a group of wine geeks, we opted to taste. And oh, did we taste! From Argentina to South Africa to France, and even a Zinfandel from California, we tasted. The owners, Benjamin Bouet and Chloe Allano, are young, dynamic, love wine, and know their stuff. Would recommend to: anyone looking for a wide range of wines to try in one night. Wine nerds. 
  2. La Conserverie: So welcoming, and such a cozy atmosphere. The wine selection has a range of prices, and you can buy by the glass or grab a bottle from the shelf and drink it there for a small corkage fee. I have never had less than a stellar welcome there. The wine selection may not be huge, but it changes frequently, and I’ve had some really incredibly value wines. I’ve been here several times, both in a larger group and for a quiet drink. It doesn’t hurt that it’s on my favorite street in Bordeaux: Rue Notre Dame. Would recommend for: a glass of wine to unwind with friends after a long week, or date night (for wine nerds). 
  3. Verre O Vin: This is a quiet neighborhood joint that always seems to fill up just after I get there. This is the most versatile of the three, with an extensive list of wines by the bottles but also the cool wine-dispensing machines that make tasting so much fun! The walls are old stone, which is one of the things I love about France, that you can sit and have a drink in old buildings where people may or may not have been drinking wine for hundreds of years. They know their wine here, and can tell you something about every bottle. I’ve seen large parties here, as well as small groups of friends, and couples, so there really is something for everyone. Would recommend to: someone looking for a low-key evening, but who is also a wine nerd. 

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So, if you’re in Bordeaux, these are three not to miss, along with countless others (seriously, wine bars are the Starbucks of Bordeaux). If you have any suggestions for places to check out, let me know; I’m always on the lookout for somewhere new!

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Winter Wine Blues: 5 Ways to Get Out of a Wine Rut

I’m the first to admit that I get the winter blues every year; everything gets gray, most of the wineries close, and no one comes to town.  Not to mention, everyone (including me) is trying to get rid of their holiday weight and save money after Christmas. But there is still fun to be had during the winter! Here are 5 ideas for having some fun with wine while everything’s still gray. 

1. Try a varietal you’ve never even heard of. Try 100! Check out the Century Club; you get to be a member if you try 100 different varietals of wine (even if you only try them in blends). I’ve only got about 50 under my belt, but I’m slogging away at it! I’ve never even heard of many of these varietals.

2. Go to a wine tasting, even if you don’t live in wine country. Many wine shops offer tastings every so often; check out your local wine shop’s Italian wine night or bubbly tasting! If you’re in the Seattle area, check out Esquin’s tastings. If you’re not, get on some email lists for wine shops in your area; they’ll let you know when they’re putting on tastings.

3. Check out a wine bar and try a flight of wines. Or pick something from the menu that you’ve never tried before. Or tell your server to surprise you. Wine bars are the hottest thing right now; they’re fun spots for a date or just to catch up with friends, and they often have “hidden gem” wines that you can’t find anywhere else. Try one of these places, if you live near one.

4. Have blind tasting nights. Invite some friends over once a week; each week, someone opens a secret bottle, and everyone else has to guess what it is and where it’s from. Write tasting notes for it yourselves; that’s definitely the best part.

5. Pair wine and movie nights. Heavy cabs for drama, light and easy grenache for comedies, whatever other pairings you can think of! I’d pair Rotie & El Corazon’s The Swordfight with Firefly, because it’s a serious, meaty wine, but fun and a little crazy at the same time. But maybe not, because the Swordfight is on the pricier side, and I rewatch Firefly too often for that.