Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Best Lil’ Wine Bar in the World
O.K., maybe there is a better wine bar, somewhere, somehow, but in all my years of drinking fermented grape juice, nothing, but nothing compares to the CIVB Wine Bar. What, you ask, is the CIVB? In French, le Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux, basically The Bordeaux Wine Council.
This organization, which is based in the heart of this historic city, is dedicated to promoting Bordeaux Wines. They run a very nice wine school, where anyone can take extremely informative two-hour wine tasting classes. For all but the hardcore, morning classes mandate spitting, and this place has the coolest chrome spit sinks built into the long white tables. Last fall, I was lucky enough to attend a class taught by the charming and articulate British wine writer, Jane Anson.
I didn’t know the Council ran a wine bar until my pal, Connie choose it as the place where we could reconnect. The bar has several posh seating areas with amorphous shaped cushions and comfortable crescent banquettes. There is also sidewalk seating outside. But it was a hot day in this southern city, and I was happy to cool down in the beautiful bar. A wall-sized stained glass picture of Bacchus brought an exceptionally upscale feel to the space.
When I looked at the menu, I was blown away. I never saw so many fine Bordeaux appellations on a by-the-glass menu. There were at least six different white Bordeaux, a handful of rosé, and a good dozen reds to choose from. More than the titillating selection, the CIVB wine bar has extremely knowledgeable, yet down-to-earth, staff who really know wine. Our waiter was a thin Brit with a brush of sandy hair and a cockney accent who told us about subtle differences among the offerings. He had the gift of being able to describe the wines in a way that made them very clear without resorting to any incomprehensible wine speak—no small feat.
Connie and I savored the crisp and fruity white Bordeaux, while my husband had a lip-smacking rosé that was redolent of strawberries.
As if all this wasn’t enough, Connie told me that the menu changes every few weeks, so there are always new producers to try. She felt it was a wonderful place to have a drink because they have so many fine bottles of Bordeaux available by the glass. I am in complete happy agreement—and only wish they’d open up a location in NYC. But for now, when ever I’m in Bordeaux again, I’m sure to stop in my favorite wine bar in all the world.