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Winebars in Edinburgh: A meal without wine is called breakfast

ByAnna Kupriyanova

Nov 3, 2015

Atmosphere, flavour and variety are the essential components of any wine tasting, as discovered by Anna and Alina on their voyage around the winebars of Edinburgh. Read on to discover their best and worst experiences!

First on our list was Divino. Having previously been to a few self-service and somewhat uninspiring places, we were pleasantly surprised with both the level of service and the interior design at Divino. This impression was maintained throughout the whole night, as we bombarded our patient waiter with all sorts of wine-related questions and he didn’t break into a sweat once. Divino is promoted as an Italian enoteca (itl. wine repository), which is made perfectly clear from the first glance at their carb-rich menu and their wine list, which boasts over 25 wines. Before rushing to the wine by the glass section, first check out the wine tasting experience offered. The so-called ‘wine flights’ represent a choice of five glasses (25ml – £8 or 50 ml – £15) of either red or white wine. We suggest you take 25 ml glasses if there are two of you, and 50 ml for up to four people. If you do take the bigger glasses for just two people, be aware of the fact that when you are half way through, all those wines will taste wonderful, but identical.

The wine-tastings we experienced were the ‘Italy and abroad White Wine Flight’ and the ‘Tour of Italy White Flights’. The food we enjoyed was Grigliata di Vegetali (get this if you’re dieting), Bruschetta Classica (for those whose diet is just not working out) and Tiramisu (who cares about diets anyway, this dessert is to die for). Although we give Divino full marks for the general experience, food and extensive wine list, we can only give three out of 10 for the wine itself. The only wines we can acknowledge as rather good are: Viognier France (2013), Furmint Hungary (2012) and Trebbiano Spolentino Umbria Italy (2013). To say the rest disappointed us would be an understatement as they lacked the richness and flavour we desired. Nevertheless, we will definitely return to try their red wine selection!

Whighams Wine Cellar
We decided to use the Vivino app (free on the app store) that scans a menu and provides ratings for wines. Unfortunately, the app only recognised four positions from a wine list, all of which were rated approximately three out of five. Moreover, we found nothing in the tapas menu that would suit red, white or rosé wine. Frustrated and disappointed, we ordered a medium glass (175ml) of Featherdrop Hill Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand (the vintage was not labeled!) and Cape Dream Chenin Blanc South Africa (which didn’t even state the year). We didn’t witness the process of wine being poured into glasses, but it looked and tasted as if the wine was diluted with water.
Also, if you’re used to such attributes of wine-tastings as glasses of different shapes for different types of wine, then cross this place off your to-go list as they failed to distinguish between glasses for white or red wine. We left immediately after our first drinks. We hadn’t tried beer, but it seemed to be a more popular (and definitely a smarter) choice with the customers. All in all, our verdict is Whigham’s is 100 per cent not the top wine bar in Edinburgh. Although, it could be added to a pub-crawl for those to whom class doesn’t matter.

Le Di-Vin
Le Di-Vin call themselves “Edinburgh’s most sophisticated wine bar”. We haven’t yet been to enough wine bars in the town to be able to prove this statement, but it is safe to say that Le Di-Vin is way above average in both its design and menu. The bar offered homely lounge-like seating space upstairs, and broad wooden tables for big companies downstairs. There are more than 50 wine by glass positions, which sure is impressive. Le Di-Vin is positioned as a French wine bar, so expect a range of French-style plates and deserts, set aside a variety of French wines. We’ve been to Le Di-Vin twice and have to admit that their wine stole the show. Every single one we tried was beyond expectations. The ones that we feel stand out are Rioja Bodegas Franco Espanolas (2012) and Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG Italy (2013). We also shared a classic smoked salmon platter, which went perfectly with both red and white wine. Le Di-Vin is one of those rare places off the beaten track, where no matter what you try, it will be delicious. Even if you absolutely detest French wine, you can still choose from their extensive range of overseas wines and divine food dishes!

Image Credit: Brendan DeBrincat

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