Nice Through Rosé Tinted Glasses
Cave Wilson, 16 Rue Gubernatis. 04 93 85 33 10
Being conveniently situated just across the road from our Nice Pebbles office, Cave Wilson is our local, though I’m sure we’d all be prepared to go much further out of our way for a drink here. We have been going to Cave Wilson for some time and were a little disappointed when we heard it was changing hands – but our disappointment was short-lived.
The new owners, Antoine Barussaud, Odette and Pierre L’Anglais, Jean Barussaud and Charles-Antoine Hudon, took over in September 2009 and immediately got to work on giving Cave Wilson a fresh and new style and ambiance. Now open seven days a week, serving top class food and wine, Cave Wilson is fast becoming the place to be and we are sure many of our guests in our rental apartments in Nice will enjoy Cave Wilson too.
The owners, hailing from Canada, are friendly and welcoming. Speaking both French and English, they welcome an international clientele, celebrating many special dates from the Anglophone calendar that are not generally acknowledged in France. Their Canadian roots may explain their way of business, including their very ‘un-French’ opening hours. It is open seven days a week, including Sundays, which is relatively unheard of for any other Niçois caves. They also serve food all day and open until midnight. To delve deeper into this new look Cave Wilson, I went for a chat with Jean Barussaud who was more than happy to share with me his passion for good food and wine.
Jean loved the cosy interior of Cave Wilson and saw its great potential, that he, along with his partners are now making the most of. It’s true, Cave Wilson has that warm and comfortable feel, even quiet as we sat there at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, there was a lovely ambiance, making me feel very much at home. On a winter evening, there’s no better feeling than that. The evenings are busier, though the ambiance remains laid back and homely. December sees the start of regular sets by well known Jazz musician Philippe Petit, who has previously played in Juan-les-Pins, jazz centre of the Côte d’Azur. Philippe will be live on Saturday evenings from 10pm till midnight. Jazz music fits into the setting perfectly, as Jean points out, it will add to the atmosphere, without being too loud to be obtrusive, or disrupt conversation, as it is essentially a place to come and share good times with friends.
The heart and soul of any cave or bar à vin is of course the wine itself and Cave Wilson does not disappoint. The high quality of all products stocked by Cave Wilson is fundamental to the proud owners, who wouldn’t dream of serving anything less.
The wine in stock is carefully selected by Antoine Barussaud, who uses his impeccable taste to ensure the wine in your glass is of the highest quality. Antoine’s knowledge was celebrated by the magazine Vin de France, a knowledge he has gained through 25 years of experience, working closely with wine-growers. Cave Wilson takes a personal approach when selecting their wines. They carefully select wine from wine-growers whose work they are familiar with and are sure attains their high standard. They specialise in new generation wine-growers who share their concept of quality over quantity in producing higher calibre, lower yield produce.
The knowledgeable staff will point you in the right direction if you want a bottle to complement a meal, and the food served in the bar comes with a glass of its perfect partner.
In Cave Wilson, you’ll find wines from all regions of France including all of the Grand Cru classés from Bordeaux, Côtes de Rhone and Bourgogne since 1949; a selection that is sure to delight both collectors and amateurs alike. Cave Wilson also stock and sell wine from individual growers, promoting local or particular wine growers they have come across and are pleased to work with. As for food, Jean’s passion is evident when talks about the specialty dishes served at Cave Wilson. Jean explains that once again quality beats quantity and the emphasis should be on the pleasure of the different tastes and how they complement each other. Which is why you won’t see any mammoth size portions here, but instead, light, flavoursome dishes accompanied with a glass of wine specifically chosen to complement the food. The menu du jour is displayed on a blackboard adorned with delicacies such as cou de canard farci au foie gras sur lit de salade accompanied with a glass of Crozes-Hermitage. The food is intended to satisfy without overloading, so clients won’t be in desperate need of a sieste before facing the afternoon ahead of them!
If you’re looking for more of an aperitif than a meal, Cave Wilson has it covered. There are several assiettes to choose from, to nibble on while sipping a glass on the Cave’s finest. The assiettes are composed of typical aperitif snacks such as cheese platters, and charcuterie and at between 5 and 10 euros, you can afford to be more indulgent in your choice of wine.
Cave Wilson is a great setting for any soirée and it’s also available to book for private parties, so if you’re looking for a perfect venue, look no further! There’s much more to Cave Wilson than you may think. With a well stocked cave, quality produce, ambiance and welcoming staff, there really is no reason not to go and try the new look Cave Wilson, you’ll wish it was your local too!
Cave Wilson is open every day from 10am-3pm, 5pm–midnight, and 5:30pm-11pm on Sundays and Mondays.
– Keely, Riviera Pebbles. If you would like to contact Keely you can email her at email@example.com
When in Nice don’t miss the opportunity to taste wines from Bellet, a tiny wine region within the city of Nice. With only 50 hectares and 14 producers, Bellet produces just enough wine to supply connoisseurs in the immediate area. It’s the smallest Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) region in France and the producers work with ancient grape varieties such as braquet and folle noire (both of whose names translate as crazy, hinting at the unpredictability of the harvest). The steep, terraced slopes and high property taxes make their work even more challenging.
Bellet produces intensely fruity rosés, full-bodied reds and elegant whites, with qualities that vary from one producer to another. Château de Bellet is the biggest and best-known producer, with Château de Crémat not far behind. Among the best of the smaller producers are Clos St-Vincent, which produces a prestige wine for the Bastide St-Antoine in Grasse, and Clot dou Balle, whose wines have a beautiful complexity. You can find Bellet wines in the better restaurants and wine bars in and around Nice, but should you wish to visit the region follow the “route de Bellet” signs from the bottom of Boulevard de la Madeleine, just off the Promenade des Anglais. The producers don’t get many visitors and many of them speak little or no English, so it’s best to plan ahead.