Best wine bars in Singapore

Searching for some quality vino? We sniff out seven wine bars that meet the mark
By Rebecca Liew and Nicole-Marie Ng |
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Restaurants, French

Ma Cuisine

icon-location-pin Tanjong Pagar

With over 600 labels and 3000 bottles of wine on offer in its leather-bound tome of a menu, Ma Cuisine has cemented itself as a gastro wine bar for the serious connoisseurs. That's not to say that only the stuffy Bordeaux sipping elite are welcomed here – the restaurant's young owners Anthony Charmetant and Mathieu Escoffier want to share their passion for wine with beginners and experts alike, all within a casual setting that also serves homey French food. Let them take you on a journey of discovery, sampling wines such as a La Vie On Y Est Domaine Gramenon 2016 ($98) from Rhone, a Chardonnay Champ Perrier Domaine Tessier 2014 ($88) from Bourgogne and a Pinot Noir Domaine Duroche 2014 ($118) from Gevrey Chambertin. The wines are the focus here, but Escoffier, who used to cook in the kitchen of Saint Pierre, recommends traditional dishes like homemade terrine ($27) and lamb shoulder with root vegetables (market price) to complete the experience.

Bars and pubs, Wine bars

Wine RVLT

icon-location-pin Clarke Quay

This is hands down, every oenophiles' most beloved shrine to natural wines. And you know it’s legit because it’s always buzzing with industry folks. There’s no catalogue at this gastrobar – its 150-or-so labels (from $58) are all on display and constantly changing. If it’s an education you’re after, swing by every day (well, Tue to Sat), because the wines-by-the-glass (one white and one red, from $12) change daily. Plus, the grub is excellent too.

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Bars and pubs

Praelum Wine Bistro

icon-location-pin Tanjong Pagar

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.

Bars and pubs

Napoleon Food and Wine Bar

icon-location-pin Tanjong Pagar

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.

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Restaurants

Verre Modern Bistro and Wine Bar

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

The ormer wine-serious bar emerges from its revamp with a more approachable bistro and wine bar concept, and retains wine as its drinks protagonist. Evident from the imposing floor-to-ceiling, glass-encased cellar housing fine wines from over 700 labels, the wine doesn’t play second fiddle to the food here – the two stand proudly shoulder to shoulder with guests having the option pairing wine with food or vice versa. Some of the classic French dishes one can expect to find here – to ‘pair with and lift the wine’ – include seafood papillote, chicken liver parfait and tarte flambée.

Bars and pubs

13% Gastro Wine

icon-location-pin Rochor

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.

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Bars and pubs

La Terre

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

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.

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