“I drink when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and I drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it, unless I’m thirsty” by Madame Jacques Bollinger who was obviously referring to Champagne…Me personally I would relate it to wine in general :-). Finding a good wine bar in Antwerp to drink a good glass of wine until 1 or 2 years ago was a difficult quest… you barely had them (with exception of the Pazzo wine bar). The past year however more wine bars seemed to find their place in Antwerp. (which I like) One of those wine bars/shops that opened 2 weeks ago was Avini aka the Avignonesi flagship bar/shop.
Avini already caught my attention before it opened. Not only because I know the owners (Thomas was singer in a band I used play in high school – I played drums), but also because it would be a wine bar/shop serving only Italian wines (yes, the chauvinistic Italian in me rises on moments like that ;-)). Not only Avignonesi wines (as that’s what you would expect it beeing a ‘flagship bar), they also serve wines from estates from all over Italy (the usual suspects, Tuscany, Piemonte, Alto Adige, Valpolicella) that you can either buy to enjoy at home or drink at the wine bar (maybe with some bruscetta or other antipasti) for which you pay the so called ‘cork-fee’ of around 10EUR per bottle. This does make it very interesting to open some real beauties they have in their collection. (I already put some on my list for next time)
When I went to Avini earlier this week, my mind was set on trying the Nobile di Montepulciano and especially the Grifi from Avignonesi as I had heard lots about it. Why especially the Grifi? Because it was, before Avignonesi was taken over by the new owner, one of its most famous wines that unfortunately wasn’t made anymore since 1996 (read more about it in this article). As I think the new/current owner probably was (or became) also a fan of this wine, she decided to remake the wine 🙂 Thank you for that Virginie, I did enjoy it 🙂 It had this great round aftertaste and was full bodied, something I like about red wine. I wish I could express/explain it in a fancy way like pro sommeliers, but I’ll just stick to that I liked it ;-).
I did finish off with a weakness of mine, fortified wines like Porto, Sherry, Madeira, Marsala or in this case Vin Santo… Lucky me they even had 3 different kinds (technically 2, as 1 is not called vin santo, but its the same thing). I tried 2, so already 1 reason for me to go back to Avini.
I enjoyed my evening, first of all thanks to my buddy Laurent who joined me, the host and hostess for taking good care of us and because of the nice we were able to taste. I know they just opened and searching for the exact thing they want to do, but I do hope that one day they will be serving wines from less known regions in Italy like Valtellina, Lazio or made with less famous grapes :-). BUT I did get the taste for trying more of the Avignonesi wines (about wish I’ll take some more soon, I’m sure).
I wish Eline and Thomas all the best and see you soon!