With many restaurants now doubling as bottle shops, it has never been easier to find great wines from independent spots. Here, five connoisseurs pick a favourite from their cellars.
Ottawans might associate Bar Lupulus with beer, but the restaurant is versatile, with a long wine list that mirrors its fun and funky taste in brews. Co-owner Anthony Spagnolo highlights Côteaux Bourguignons, an atypical Burgundian red. With 65% Gamay and 35% Pinot Noir grapes, the result is an easy-drinkng wine from one of the world’s most famous wine regions. 1242 Wellington St. W.
These two sister restaurants have found a new approach to serving foodies during the pandemic: Town offers a pantry/ bottle shop, while Citizen has reopened for indoor dining. Town’s wine selection focuses on Italian and Canadian wines, but Citizen’s list doesn’t play by the same rules. Hence this Czech Youngster, an approachable and juicy dark rosé. 296 Elgin St.
Byward Wine Market
Wine agent Andrew Rastapkevicius stocks a global selection at ByWard Wine Market, which is housed inside Lollo. He is particularly fond of their robust South African repertoire. BLANKbottle’s Nothing to Declare is a homage to early winemakers in South Africa who smuggled in various vine cuttings to plant and propagate, contributing to the vast array of varietals now grown in the country. 60 George St.
Though people might miss dining inside this popular Val-Tétreau eatery, owner Marysol Foucault says she is considering keeping her small space as a liquor shop and takeout spot through the winter. “I am loving it.” She suggests Alsace Dream, an organic and biodynamic white wine from northern France that offers notes of honey, stone fruit, and a citrusy zing. 60, rue Bégin, Gatineau
Owner and sommelier Alex McMahon has curated a long list of natural wines for his restaurant, leading to many exciting choices for its monthly wine club and the shelves of its bottle shop. His choice here is Els Bassots, an orange wine from “a pioneer of natural wine” in the northeastern corner of Spain, which he says represents natural wine at its best. 340 Somerset St. W.