By Paige Donner
Bar á Vin, THE wine bar in Bordeaux, is shamelessly easy to find and as user-friendly as an iPod app.
If you’re even a little bit like me, Bordeaux is, well, it’s intimidating. It is the heart and epicenter of W I N E. In La France. Are there any regions in the world that really compare to Bordeaux? Its history, its tradition, its majesty and in simple plainspeak, its damned good wines!
So it’s with true and deeply felt gratitude to the winemakers of Bordeaux, and, more specifically to the Conseil Interprofessionnel Du Vin De Bordeaux (C.I.V.B.), that they’ve established this winetasting bar right across the street from the Tourist Office and just across the tramway tracks from the main Quinconces Square. In other words, you can’t miss it.
The Maison du Vin de Bordeaux is the building that houses the Bar á Vin and it is shaped like the prow of a ship. This is fitting because it’s the boats who started their voyage on the river just down the street from the bar that headed out to the Atlantic and up to England that brought the fame, and its accompanying wealth, to the Gironde a few centuries ago.
Ok, so all this is great but get this…Glasses of some of Bordeaux’s best start at 2 Euro! And the pours are very generous. So you can hang out from 11 in the morning until 10 p.m. tasting wonderful glasses of reds, whites, cremant and roses’ and spend no more than 5 Euro for a glass.
Or, if you’re a lightweight, like me, ask for the “flight” and the very cute and kind waiters will bring you half the pour…and charge you half-price. This way you can taste more. Plates of delightful cured meats and AOC cheeses with slices of fig and walnut bread or bread baked with olives are available to help you wash it all down. They range from 4 – 6 Euro and even the plate of fine chocolates is only 5 Euro.
There are no spitoons. So, sadly, you must drink what you taste. And the menu changes every week. The wines of the entire region are rotated on and off the menu as they get their turn for tasting.
The Maison also offers a Wine School or l’Ecole Du Vin. You have the option of doing a 2-hour “summer course” that teaches you about the grape varieties of Bordeaux and other essentials. For the more serious, you can spend 350 Euro and do an entire weekend that culminates in a tasting dinner on a local vineyard.
This Bar á Vin is definitely not to be missed and I am tempted to say it is the best Wine Bar in all of France (though I’ve only been to a dozen or so all told). It is the very first place I will always go on any future trips to Bordeaux. Even before I check into my hotel! http://baravin.bordeaux.com
Bar á Vin 3, cours du XXX Juillet, Bordeaux