Divine Wine at Le Di-Vin
By Chris Berry
'Wine bar'. For those of us who grew up in the eighties this term evokes memories of venues packed with punters dressed like extras from Dynasty, glugging over-oaked chardonnay to a backing track by Sade. Fortunately, the modern incarnation is a lot more palatable, as a recent to visit to Le Di-Vin joyfully proved.
Nestling in a former church building, Le Di-Vin is the younger sibling to next-door restaurant La P'tite Folie, both owned by Virginie Brouard.
Entering the bar it is apparent that wine is the star. A whole double-height wall is dedicated to decorative pewter bar, backed by shelves of quality wines, expertly sourced from across the globe: 164 bottles to choose from.
Yet a visit to Le Di-Vin is far from an overwhelming experience - quite the reverse.
The staff are warm, welcoming and have the knowledge to deftly guide patrons. Accompanying the wine is a cleverly matched menu of food - more of which later. To appreciate the breadth and quality of wines available, my dining/quaffing partner and I were offered a mini-wine tasting.
Whites included: a grassy, grapefruit-laden Picpoul de Pinet; an Australian Riesling with subtle elderflower and apricot flavours; and a stunning Chablis - steely dry, but with brioche hints. Reds were equally fine: South-American Carménère that was full of rosehip and rhubarb (amazing, given it isn't usually my favourite grape); cherries and raspberries, courtesy of an "easy drinking" Sangiovese; and a great plummy, spicy Malbec. Do I sound a wee bit 'Jilly Goolden'? The wine was so well balanced and enjoyable, I don't care!
The very clever thing Le Di-Vin does is match well-prepared, tasty - yet straightforward - dishes to accompany the impressive range of fine wines.
We consumed a very moreish planchette of mixed charcuterie and French cheese as we sipped and chatted. Quizzing Virginie, she elaborated about the food. "If people want a three-course dinner, we direct them to our restaurant. If they prefer to relax with good wine and food that doesn't require a kitchen full of chefs, it has to be Le Di-Vin".
Welcoming, airy, yet intimate. With some of the best wine I have tasted in a while, plus inviting, uncomplicated food, I shall certainly return to Le Di-Vin soon.
Le Di-Vin Wine Bar 9 Randolph Place, West End, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH3 7TE 0131 538 1815 Mon-Sat 12 noon till late; closed on Sunday ledivin.co.uk