GRAPE ESCAPES

Where to quaff the harvest’s first Beaujolais nouveau or a chilled glass of Chardonnay? For the most part, you’ll need to steer clear of the bar scene. Studebaker’s, in other words, is not a good choice for wine lovers. The establishments that do deliver tend to be restaurants first, bars second. (San Simeon, Baby Routh, The Grape, City Cafe, and Cafe Margaux are good bets. ) But there are two notable exceptions: Pinot’s Wine Bar on Henderson and The Wine Press on Oak Lawn. Both are rather simple-looking, intimate places, with a neighborhoodish feel-conducive to the kind of heady conversations among friends who seek to solve the world’s problems before the third bottle is uncorked. Pinot’s carries twenty-something varieties at any given time and sells them either by the glass or the half-glass. Prices range from $2. 50 for, say, a 1980 BV Pinot Noir to $15 for a rare 1980 Chateau DeFargue. At The Wine Press, you can choose from nine different whites, reds, blushes, and champagnes and expect to pay between $3. 25 and $4.75 a glass.

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