kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits & lifestyle writer / wine educator

703.203.9463

Francophile Oenophiles unite!

Old Town Alexandria has a new place for French wine lovers to rendezvous. Bar Baudelaire, located on the second floor above bastion French restaurant Le Gaulois Cafe, specializes in French wines (by the half glass, glass or bottle) and petits plats.

I stopped by the other night for their opening (as did a lot of other people...my friend and I must have arrived at the wrong time, because guests were three deep at the bar, and we waited FOREVER for a (not so chilled) glass of sparkling wine. The bartender told us there would be a few minutes wait time on the bubbly, as they had to go grab more bottles from downstairs. Had he told me it wasn't going to be that cold, I would have changed my order to something else.)

Anyway, the evening got better from there. We were able to snag a table right by the buffet, and luckily the empty trays and dishes were continually replenished throughout the evening. We had some lovely oysters on the half shell, mini quiches, smoked salmon, pate, shrimp cocktail, etc. etc. While it was delish, I would have liked to sample more dishes from the actual small plates menu--mussels, garlic sausage, calamari, and pureed salt cod. I'll have to head back sometime to taste those.

The wine list appropriately has a decent selection of French wines, along with some from the U.S., other parts of Europe and Australia. After my tepid glass of sparkling wine, I opted for a Pinot instead. I was pretty surprised to see the bartender pour a glass of Australia's d'Arenberg, but to give them the benefit of the doubt, they were getting slammed and maybe they just ran out of the French stuff.

Le Gaulois has a lovely courtyard that is the perfect spot for a summer evening dinner. After dinner, head upstairs for un verre de vin francais.