This monochromatic bar is your best bet if you’re looking for a crash course on wine. Praelum stocks about 350 labels in its walk-in cellar that you can order in tasting pours (from $4/25ml) and half-portions (from $9/75ml). Or leave it to the somm with the ‘Learn-a-Drink’ option ($13/75ml). Also check out the wine bistro’s weekly flight tastings (around $35), such as ‘Cabernet, the Bastard King’, where you’ll be sipping three Cab varietals.
Gerald Lu, National Sommelier Champion 2010, is the main man you’ll want to seek out for recommendations. Reds, whites, rosés, dessert and sparkling wines – an even mix of both classic and modern producers, refreshed every week – range from $15 to $200 a glass, and $70 to $10,000 a bottle. But the most popular tipples are grower champagnes (from $23/glass) – particularly the NV De Stefani Prosecco Brut Zero.
Caveau prides itself as a bar for both novice and experienced wine drinkers, and aims to educate, not intimidate. So don’t be overwhelmed by the 250 labels on offer, mostly French wines from the regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone. While established winemakers and châteaux remain customer favourites, Caveau also brings in wines from lesser-known regions, and in styles that are rarely produced in a particular area – think reds from Loire Valley or Provence, or sparkling wines from Burgundy.
Options for whites and reds are plentiful, and the 2013 Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis 1er Cru Les Vaulignot is regularly requested by the bottle ($80, $17/glass). Reds are equally, if not more, popular: try the 2012 Chateau Puy Blanquet Saint-Emilion Grand Cru ($19/glass) or 2011 Clos Saint-Jean Chateauneuf-du-Pape ($24/glass). But if you’re here for New World vino that’s more heavy-bodied with accents of stewed fruits and toffee, ask for the Napa Valley Zinfandel ($24/glass, $115/bottle).
In an intimate 54-seater space, this wine bar places proud emphasis on vino from the Old World, with 32 European wines rotated every week alongside a Grands Crus selection – the highest level of vineyard classification in Burgundy, France. Owner Jean-Christophe Cadoret works closely with his team in France to select wines for import. So you may want to indulge in a glass of 2000 Château Latour or 2005 Mouton Rothschild (from $18/glass), or the 2014 Domaine Heimbourger Chablis ($16/glass, $80/bottle). You don’t have to commit to a full glass, either – there are tasting (25ml) and half-portions (75ml) available, which start from $10.
If complex vino jargon puts you off, worry not, because wine is demystified here: reds are divided into ‘smooth’, ‘fruity’ and ‘spicy’, while whites are split into ‘dry’, ‘rich’ and so forth, complete with a colour-coding system so you’ll have an idea of the colour of your drink. Napoleon’s iPad menus also come preloaded with wine information and short clips from winemakers describing their vino – e-sommeliers, if you will.
Verre is helmed by chief sommelier Renny Heng, whose ten years of experience is reflected in the wine bar’s belief that terroir – the environment in which grapes are grown – plays a heavy role in the 750 labels of vino it carries. Verre’s key collection of Old World wines (from $75 to $5,350) come from Bordeaux, with bottle lists refreshed every two months.Crowd favourites for white Burgundies include Lucien Le Moine and Paul Pernot, and, for red Burgundies, Domaine Joseph Roty. If you’ve a greater inclination for sparkling, rosé or champagne, prices start from $15 a glass. Verre also hosts themed, twice-monthly wine dinners with a focus on a particular estate or region, and it’s open to all. Want to enjoy one-for-one on all wines by the glass? Drop by during happy hour from Mondays to Thursdays from 4 to 7pm, and Fridays and Sundays from 4 to 6pm.
You’ll be in good hands here: owner and chief sommelier Antoine Rouland commands 13 years of experience and, with co-founder Marie-Charlotte Ley, handpicks Old World wines from independent winemakers and producers on their regular trips to France – which means controlled yields of favourites such as the 2015 Domaine du Tariquet Classic ($9/glass, $42/bottle), which is also stocked at Ô Comptoir, its sister cider bar and crêpe bistro.
The vino is replenished every day to ensure you’re getting the stuff in top-notch condition, and prices start at around $8 a glass and $38 a bottle. If a sparkling’s more up your alley, the Marguerite Guyot Cuvée Passion, Champagne AOC ($130/bottle) will do the trick. And don’t forget to sample French vino from different regions by signing up for one of Ô Batignolles’ monthly wine tastings.
Sip, swirl and savour: that’s what co-owners Bruno Vaillant and Geoffrey Weckx hope you’ll do at 13% Gastro Wine. Their combined 50 years of experience in the wine game lend a hand in their selection of European labels and New World varieties, (shop)housed in a charming unit in Kampong Glam.
Wines start from $10 a glass and $36 a bottle, with lists refreshed twice-weekly and new labels brought in every month. Favourites include the 2009 Jurtschitsch Heiligenstein Riesling ($54/bottle) and 2010 Domaine de Piaugier, Reserve de Maude Cotes du Rhone ($69/bottle). Its space, complete with an 8-metre mosaic bar, private wine room and cheese counter, is also used for master classes held on most Saturday afternoons. If you’re keen, sign up for the mailing list through its website. Two outlets, including one at Killiney Rd.
Housed in a sleek, well-lit chamber in La Terre are 500 labels of predominantly Old World reds, whites and champagnes (from $18/glass, $74/bottle). The wine and whisky bar takes its spirits seriously, too, but take your time to appreciate the vino. Because the sommelier here certainly does.Daisuke Kawai, formerly of Les Amis, tastes the majority of the bottles from select winemakers before they’re brought in. If you’re keen on a rare vintage, La Terre carries 50 bottles from the ’50s to ’90s, starting from $278 for a 1979 Jean León Cabernet Sauvignon Penedès Gran Reserva and peaking at a princely $11,112 for a 1948 Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations: the somms here discern each customer’s palate depending on preferred fruit profiles and notes. And bottles are replenished twice a week, so you can be sure there’s always a good bubbly on hand.