More bottle for your buck: Value vino in Shanghai

– By Peter Wright

As a big wine drinker, it is pleasing to see an increasing number of Shanghai bars, restaurants, retailers and wholesalers hold wine tastings and wine promos or offer value-for-money wines by the glass. Winopete’s Shanghai picks for value are:

1. Sasha’s (corner of Hengshan and Dongping Roads, in the French Concession area) holds a wine buffet every Friday, when it’s an all-you-can drink deal from a selection of about a dozen wines from 5.30 p.m. – 9 p.m. for just RMB148. A lot of the wines are drinkable lower-end labels, with one or two nasty Nelly’s, but most weeks there are a few roses among the thorns to keep the pickier plonkheads happy (e.g. Pedroncelli 2002 Merlot, Jim Barry 2004 Shiraz and a great Chateau Monteils Sauterne for ‘sticky’ fans).

2. Enoteca Wine Lounge (53-57 Anfu Road) and Enoteca 2 (58 Taicang Road, near Xintiandi) stock about 70 wines and champagnes. Many of the wines are imported directly from France, Argentina and Chile. Bottles of vino start from RMB83 / bottle, with better ones from around RMB150. The food is also very decent, with sandwiches, salads, tapas and cheese platters all featured on the menu. Enoteca opened just less than a year ago and their success has led them to open a new store near Xintiandi (official opening of Enoteca 2 to be held on 28th February). A wine buff’s paradise! Check their website at http://www.enoteca.com.cn .

3. More than 30 wines are available by the glass at Otto Cafe (85 Fumin Rd). Highest-quality vacuum technology is used to keep the wine fresh for 2-3 weeks. Wines by the glass are available in different sized pours: 50 ml from RMB28, 100 ml from RMB48 and 150 ml from RMB68. For bottles, reds start from RMB258 (Jean Leon Tempranillo), with whites starting from RMB228 (Torres Vina Sol). For details, please see their website at www.otto-cafe.com. Go at lunchtime and you can enjoy a cheap, very acceptable meal at around RMB100.

4. American Steak and Eggs (99-3 Xikang Road, behind the Portman Ritz-Carlton Hotel) has a very decent Argentine wine, Signos Shiraz 2005, on special at a paltry RMB15 a glass or RMB65 a bottle! (Don’t be cheap, get a bottle!) The wine is fresh and there’s no fine print to bite you in the balls. They also have a drinkable Signos Chardonnay Chenin Blanc 2006 at the same price. For other wines by the bottle, they have another 10 reds and five whites (some French, Chilean, Australian and Italian), all priced at RMB135, which is still an excellent price for Shanghai. From the wine list, Winopete’s picks are the Peter Lehmann Weighbridge Chardonnay or Shiraz, or the Redbank ‘Long Paddock’ Chardonnay or Shiraz.

As to numbers 5 and 6, I’d tentatively pick Villa Venue near Hongqiao airport and Vino Villa in Jinqiao. I have not yet been to either of them, but have heard good reports so far. Villa Venue is a new establishment that doubles as an art gallery. As for Vino Villa, on the Pudong side of Shanghai, it has a very mixed clientele of both locals and expats, with many good value wines available, according to an oenologist friend who lives out that way. Will hike out there soon.

I wish I could produce a list of 10 good value wine drinking spots in Shanghai, but I can’t. Maybe you Beijingers have it better? Let me know!

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1 Comment

  1. I went to Vinovilla a while ago, and saw that it was very similar to Enoteca in Puxi which I enjoy very much. The menu was the same as well as many other things, and when I asked Enoteca staff they told me they had nothing to do with it. I won’t go there again and do not recommend it for these reasons. Shame on you Vinovilla!

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