Bar review: Le Quinze Vins in Central – huge selection of French wines
With about 1,000 wines to choose from there is something for every taste
The vibe: celebrated Paris wine bar Le Quinze Vins has opened its second Hong Kong branch (the first is in Wan Chai) on Gage Street. Although it’s sad to see the tide of gentrification eroding the local character of this bustling street market area, at least this new addition to NoHo’s rapidly growing Little France has a neighbourhood feel. A cosy space with plain walls, solid dark wood furniture and the traditional blackboards of daily specials, it can squeeze in 25 to 30 customers.
The drinks: Le Quinze Vins has a list of some 1,000 French wines, ranging from simple table wines to vintages from legendary estates. The greatest interest lies in the impressive range of lesser-known producers and appellations which offer wine lovers a voyage of discovery and include some genuine bargains. Knowing what to choose could be a bit daunting for non-experts, but the sommelier is friendly, knowledgeable and ready to help. It’s a nice touch that wines are served in the correct type of glass (yes, it does make a difference) and serious reds can be decanted.
While most wines are by the bottle, there’s a selection of around a dozen by the glass, priced from HK$90 to HK$130. The La Fleur D’Armens Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2012 (HK$100) was a good example of its appellation, smooth and rounded.
We also tried two offerings from Aurelien Chatagnier, a rising star producer from the Northern Rhone: a charming Condrieu 2014 (HK$120) and the unusual Le Crêt Louison 2012 (HK$100) a fresh, sinewy syrah from the Collines Rhodaniennes, an area famous for its wine since ancient Roman times, where vineyards have only recently been replanted. In the mood for Northern Rhone, we carried on with another syrah from the same producer, the Saint Joseph 2012 (HK$310 per bottle), medium-bodied and nicely balanced with good black fruit aromas.
The verdict: book in advance if you want a table – the place fills up fast with local and French patrons enjoying the exceptional range of wines and tasty platters of high quality cheese and cold cuts in a warm, relaxed atmosphere.
Le Quinze Vins, 32 Gage Street, Central, tel: 2652 0588