Since the French, it can be argued, invented fine cooking, it naturally follows that they had to invent wine to accompany it.
In the interest of carrying on the proud tradition, on June 17 Bar Baudelaire opened its doors to an inquisitive flock of wine lovers. Behind its creation are two men, restaurateur Joerg-Uwe Szipl and Chef Tom Meyer. Szipl and Meyer purchased Le Gaulois restaurant, in the same building, about two years ago.
They hired Wine Director Tom Wynot, a former sommelier at DCs Bistro Bis, to establish the wine list at the new Bar Baudelaire. Wynot is also a trained chef, and currently manages the Henry Wine Group and Pegis Consulting. Completing the team is General Mangager Sylvie Anzalone. She began in the restaurant business twenty years ago in Paris, France, and later worked in New York City. Mme. Anzalone also knows wine in her own right, having earned a certificate from the Society of Sommeliers in Washington, DC.
In the simple rusticity of the bars hardwood floors, furniture, plank ceiling and cream-colored walls, Wynot explained his wine selections. All of the wines on our list are from estate-grown, family owned wineries, he said. We do not sell mass-marketed, corporate wines, he added. That in itself is a French approach to drinking wine. Also in keeping with the French- themed cuisine coming from Le Gaulois kitchen, just over half of Wynots 90 wines are from France, and represent every wine-making region there. Thirty-six of the wines are available for purchase by the glass.
Wynot demonstrated the five wines available for sampling that evening. The first was the 2004 Saint Hilaire Brut Blanc de Blanc from Languedoc. This blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc is a minerally, pale gold wine and a delightful backdrop to the light fare offered on the bars menu. The next wine was the Domaine les Vieux 2006 from Puilly Fuisse, produced by Jean-Paul Paquet.
This is a fruit-forward wine, with aromas of stone fruits such as pear and apple, with its time on oak lending a silky finish. The menu also features a 2005 Menetou-Salon from Domaine de Chatenay, whose estate and vines date back to the 1700s. This very dry, feminine wine exudes a lovely mossy-earthy and minerally terroir, with delicate fruits.
In the red category, Wynot sampled a 2006 Sonoma Cuvee Russian River Valley Pinot Noir made by the Boisset family. Fermented in both new French oak and second to third pass barrels, this wine had a spicy nose with accents of dried wildflowers. Lastly, Wynot poured a 2003 Chateau Baulos la Vergne from Bordeaux. A blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine has a few years behind which serve to mellow the fruits; this has released aromas of black plums and currants, with violet notes.
The light fair menu upstairs at Bar Baudelaire offers a range of petites plats ranging from seafood, to cheese, pate, and terrines. These petite plats range in price from $5 to $15; and the wines by the glass range from $7 to $18. Vive La France.