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