Head to Wallingford to explore wine two at a time
I had just finished reading Cork Dork and was feeling confident in my ability to taste wine like a pro last week when we visited Claret Wine Bar in Wallingford, the newest member of the Purple Cafe and Thackeray restaurant family. I had no reason to feel confident – I love wine and know which wines I like and which I don’t (Sorry white wine, you’ll never be a red. You’re dead to me), but I’m no expert.
I’m an enthusiast at best. I am 100% confident, however, that my photographer and I looked like it was amateur hour (not captured in the photo above is me sniffing the cheese instead of the wine and her hair catching on fire as she bent over a candle to snap the pic). I’m sharing this because I’m happy to report you don’t need to have your shit together to have a great time at Claret. As Purple’s younger sister, it has a more relaxed vibe in line with the community, without sacrificing the high-quality menu and global wine list we’ve come to expect from the Heavy Restaurant Group.
Claret offers wine duos, aka the chance to sample two wines of the same varietal from different areas of the world – making it socially acceptable to drink two glasses at the same time! Relax, they’re half-glass pours. It’s a great way to taste the difference between say, a rosé from Washington’s Columbia Valley vs a rosé from the Abruzzo region of Italy or a Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley vs one from Burgundy.
They also have fantastic nibbles to pair with your wine including house-cured charcuterie and cheese boards, Dungeness crab cakes, crispy Brussel sprouts, burgers, and a delightful beef tartare with duck egg and a heaping pile of steak fries.
With 60 seats inside and room for 25 on the patio, there’s plenty of room for you and your friends to have fun exploring new wines at Claret.