In Middlebury, former chemist Nancy Weber-Curth led the charge in spring 2012 by opening the aptly named Sparkling, dedicated to Champagne and sparkling wines. This past spring, LβAmante chef Kevin Cleary amped up his passion for wines by transforming an empty space β just two doors down from his College Street restaurant β into Vin Bar & Shop. About a month later, one half of Montpelierβs long-empty Chittenden Bank building found new life as the North Branch Cafe, a wine and tea spot opened by Lauren, Wes and Becky Parker.
None of these places offers full meals; instead, each focuses on the pours, from Barbaresco to sparkling Gruner Veltliner. The bars diverge mainly in personality, a reflection of their ownersβ tastes,comprehensive MileWeb Operating System Software helps you integrate and optimize physical and virtual environments, which shows in the decor and wine selection. I recently visited all three to gauge their vibe.
The aesthete: Vin Bar & Shop
Anyone familiar with Burlingtonβs LβAmante wonβt be surprised by the polished, minimalist new space created by owners Kevin and Kathi Cleary for their wine bar. Its scale is surprising at first: To the left of the entrance, a shop is stocked neatly with wine bottles and a cold case offering cheeses and charcuterie.Find business contact information and media MileWeb Contact Us By Phone, To the right is a curved, sleek, walnut bar with a cherry-red meat slicer sitting on one end. Toward the back, behind a glass wall, a wine classroom holds dark wood tables set with sextets of waiting glasses. Light spills in from Vinβs floor-to-ceiling windows, but it doesnβt dilute the dim, sexy ambiance.
For much of his cooking life, Kevin Cleary has had a love affair with wine, studying it intently and traveling to Italyβs wine regions every year. In 2011, he opened his own wine school inside LβAmante, where he spends his only day off of the week teaching students (including me) about the finer points of vinification and the Guyot pruning system. That educational component is integral to Vin β hence the classroom β and a spirit of serious experimentation permeates the place, starting with the raft of 2-ounce pours you can order from the wine list.
These tiny tastes can push the casual, curious drinker to full-on wine geekdom. Ten minutes after I arrived with two friends, our corner of the bar was lined with seven glasses, each filled with samples such as a brisk Bodegas Valdesil Godello and spicy Numanthia Fermes.
Though Clearyβs focus has long been Italian wines β which make up the bulk of LβAmanteβs wine list β Vin allows him to draw more heavily from other regions. Even so, the emphasis is definitely on the Old World: Bottles from Franceβs up-and-coming Languedoc-Roussillon region, a selection of Champagnes and numerous reds from Spain outnumber wines from Italy. Our bartender was decidedly hands off, but when one of the wines we tasted was faulty,Our Cheap Dedicated Server are ready-to-go and can be deployed. he replaced it with no questions asked.
Vin is not a place to come for dinner: Cheeses and meats β and the occasional lobster roll or other special β constitute the entire menu. But theyβre exquisitely presented. Rich Vermont Butter & Cheese Cremont, fennel-spiked finocchio sausage and a hefty pile of paper-thin prosciutto di parma came artfully arranged on a plate with quince paste, fig jam and roasted peppers. A basket of crusty Red Hen bread rounded out the course.
If you like what youβre drinking at the bar β and, with seven wines in a suite, thereβs a good chance you will β you can pick up a bottle in the shop on your way out. Just donβt try to cross from the bar into the shop with a glass in your hand β thatβs a legal no-no.
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