Fashionable New Wine Bars
Published Feb 10, 2006 - (Updated Dec 19, 2012)
Stylishly enhancing the options Puerto Vallarta offers, a fresh new trio of atmospheric wine bars is shaping the way people approach dining out and getting together with friends.
Traditionally, when thinking about having a drink in Mexico, the nectar of the gods isn’t what comes to mind - not only because everyone knows how terrific the tequilas and cervezas are, but also because one was hard pressed to find a satisfactory Mexican wine not all that long ago. Then, in 1992, Café des Artistes owner Thierry Blouet initiated a wine culture here by introducing the superb Monte Xanic label, “the division between the past and the future,” according to sommelier Daniel Mendez of Rouge wine bar. “The vineyards in this country enjoy identical growing conditions to those in California and are increasingly producing respected labels, Chateau Zamou and Vino de Piedra among them.”
Along with its burgeoning wine industry, Mexico also has seen the number of wine importers increase dramatically during the past two decades, from less than a handful to a thousand. And while tourists have been the primary drivers of demand, Mexicans are slowly, but surely, discovering that wine is as much an appealing lifestyle as a drink. And, fortunately, a night out having fun at a wine bar doesn’t have to mean spending lots of money. In fact, one of the nicest things about them is that they can actually save you some! By investing just a few dollars, you can find vintages you really like, so that you won’t make a costly mistake when it’s time to buy a bottle or case.
Under the same very fashionable roof as Café des Artistes, “The Costantini Wine Bar is the result of listening to our customers tell us what they want,” says general manager Carolina Barerra, “which is a relaxing ambiance with unobtrusive live music, where they can enjoy a nice glass of wine and an appetizer.”
It’s a fabulous place to meet up with friends, delving into the 80 or so wines and champagnes to be experienced by the glass making for lively conversation. Sommelier Sergio Gutierrez has the scoop on every bottle in the very impressive wine cellar, and there’s always something innovative and special going on, free tastings merely the tip of the iceberg.
Upbeat and fun, with a variety of ambiances on two floors, Dolcetto feels like the happy home of friends who eat and drink with great gusto. The extensive menu features Italian favorites such as carpaccios, bruschettas and risottos, with manager Carmen Orazio putting lots of thought into the five whites, five reds and a rosé offered by the glass. “Because I really want people to get to know good wines and keep exploring, they’re priced low and changed every week.” Among novel touches here are the world’s top 10 aguas and tiny private wine cellars that let you buy a bottle, drink what you want and finish it another time. Or choose from more than 400 labels and take a bottle home.
In Nuevo Vallarta’s Mayan Palace, the intimate and cozy Rouge so beautifully evokes the wine bars of old in a contemporary way - candles flickering on stainless steel, as well as traditional stone, wood and marble - that it won a prestigious Mexican design award. Boasting vintages from a multitude of countries and one of the town’s largest French wine selections, it offers eight reds and eight whites, as well as champagne by the glass. Those in the mood for a nice light dinner will be delighted by the three-course tasting menu with wine pairings and a dessert wine, the sommelier at your service to entice and educate.