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About this Episode

Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier, and Robert Tas visit the French bistro Bar-a-Vin. The wine list here is composed of more than 250 different varieties of French wine, not only from Bordeaux but from across France,  including well-known classics on the list. This restaurant is a tribute to French wine and casual cuisine, and Michaela is here to help find the hidden gems in the list. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2020 Domaine St. Amant, Viognier, France

  • 2018 Chateau du Seuil, Graves,  Bordeaux

  • 2020 Chateau Sainte Marguerite Grand Cru Clesse, France


Transcript: Bar a Vin 1855


RT: Hello and welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where, in each episode, we will review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier.

Hello Michaela, it’s great to be back together for another episode.

MQ: Hi Robert!

RT: Before we jump in, let’s talk about CorkRules.

We created CorkRules to demystify wine lists because we know from experience, that sometimes when we get that  list handed to us, well… it can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.

Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, or value wines or that special bottle that will take your dining experience over the top.

RT: So, sit back and listen as we review your favorite wine list.

RT: Today we are talking about Bar-a-vin 1855. Located on Newbury St in Boston, MA, this wine-focused, French bistro is a must-visit. Stop in for Brunch, shareable plates, or a full-course dinner.

Michaela, I can’t wait to hear what you think of their wine list?

MQ: With over 250 French wine selections, there is certainly something for everyone. They even feature a number of premium wines served via Coravin. This is a device used to pour wine samples by inserting a hollow needle through the cork without removing the cork. We are featuring a number of favorites and new selections for you today.

RT: That’s really great, as you looked at the list did you see anything jump out at you?

MQ: One of my favorite French, white grape varietals is Viognier. The first wine that caught my eye was the 2020 Domaine St. Amant, Viognier. This wine is produced in the Southern Rhone Valley, and is dry, medium-bodied, and fragrant. You will certainly identify the white flowers and honeysuckle aromas as soon as you lift your glass. Additional aromas and flavors of ripe peach and apricot make this white wine a perfect pairing for charcuterie, and lightly sauced proteins.

RT: That is for sure unique. Did you find any others that caught your eye right away?

MQ: My next selection is certainly unique. It is the 2019 Domaine la Colombiere “Frontons Flingueurs from Fronton. Fronton is an appellation located in the Languedoc. The grape in this biodynamic red wine is Negrette. Negrette is generally grown in Southwestern France, near Toulouse. This is another equally floral and fruit-driven wine. Here the aromas of violets and roses take center stage with a finish of plumb and herbs. Pair this wine with herbed dishes and hard cheeses.

RT: So Michaela, their list seems to have lots of range but was there anything that you would say is a “must-try” ?

MQ: Always a classic, a must-try is the 2018 Chateau du Seuil, Graves, from Bordeaux. Graves is a sub-region of Bordeaux that is famous for producing dry red and white wine, along with sweet wine. It is also famous for its gravelly soil, which produces wines of beautiful minerality. This white wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion. Semillion is the grape used to produce their famed sweet wines. However, this white is dry, crisp, and features aromas and flavors of ripe green apple, and lemon zest, with a slight creamy finish, as this wine is lightly oaked. This is a wonderful pairing with smoked dishes, and seafood.

RT: These are some great calls.

So you know I’m getting thirsty and will need to order a bottle with my dinner, where would you guide us?

MQ: Since Bar-a-vin’s menu features many classic French herbed and seafood dishes, we must try the 2020 Chateau Sainte Marguerite Grand Cru Clesse Rose from Provence. The Grenache and Syrah grapes used for this rose are estate grown, organic, and from one of the few Grand Cru designated Chateau in Provence. This rose showcases raspberries, strawberries, and fresh watermelon with a crisp, dry, mineral finish. A classic wine to pair with classic dishes.

RT: Ooh, Terrific.

Michaela, speaking of price, sometimes people have a budget in mind.  Any other great value wines you’d point us to? 

MQ: Believe it or not, this menu features a standout white Burgundy of excellent value. The 2020 La Chablisienne Petit Chablis is a must try. Petit Chablis is an appellation in Chablis, located within Burgundy, that also produces Chardonnay. The main difference between Chablis and Petit Chablis is that the Chardonnay of Chablis is a bit fuller bodied in comparison to the Chardonnay of Petit Chablis which is lighter with brighter acidity and citrus. Do pair this wine with tuna, salmon, and light proteins.

RT: That sounds great. What is your other value selection?

MQ: Another standout value wine for our red wine drinkers is the 2017 Henri Bourgeois “Les Baronnes” from Sancerre. Yes, the Sancerre region, Located in the Loire Valley, not only produces high end Sauvignon Blanc, but also this spectacular Pinot Noir. This organic, highly-rated wine features everything you are looking for in a quality Pinot Noir from aromas and flavors of cranberries, raspberries, to spice, earth and notes of violets. A perfect pairing for grilled proteins, and herbed dishes.

RT: Now Michaela, what if I have a big client dinner or special occasion where I want to take it up a notch?

MQ: You may certainly explore many notches within this wine list, however, a classic to consider would be the 1988 Labegorce from Margaux. Located on the Left Bank of Bordeaux, this historically highly rated wine consists of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. With aromas and flavors of ripe black berries, plumb, fig, cassis, smoke, with notes of vanilla on the finish. The soft tannins are thanks in part to the aging in French oak, followed by aging in bottle. A classic wine to be shared during any special occasion.

RT: Michaela, thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Bar-a-vin 1855’s wine list. I can’t wait to go try them myself. 

To our audience, thank you all for joining us here on CorkRules.


If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to: Info@CorkRules.Com or visit our web website where we have a request form available and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quickly as possible.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists. 

And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.

Thank you.



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