Wine pub review: Winstub of Vina Strada, Strasbourg

Vino Strada has become a wine staple for me – and for many other wine lovers – in Strasbourg, France.

Co-owner Stephan Maure ready to trek to the wine bar boat... busy times!

Owned by Stephan and Isabelle Maure, a couple whose passion for wine is manifest.

What makes Vino Strada so much fun is that it brings professionals young and old together in a fun space on a boat, with plenty of wine choices. The food can be described as upscale bar food, ranging from boudin noir to Asian style squid, with plenty of cheese and meat plates in between.

Stephan and Isabelle just recently opened a bistro style version of their wine bar, smack in the town centre called Winstub Vino Strada, and the location, at 20 Rue des Bouchers, is superb:  near Place Broglie, and towards the Cathedral. I joined a group of friends and colleagues to check it out, and we were a table of seven – although the picture below was taken early before the final member of our party had arrived. All smiles!

Happy campers

It has two levels, with plenty of room and tables on the ground floor, surrounded by bottles of wines. The upper level – where we were – is for larger dining parties and includes a gorgeous outdoor terrace area.

The wine choices are – as with Vino Strada – quite excellent. We are in France, so you do not have much international choice, but a fine array of French wines, ranging from Provence and the Languedoc to the Loire Valley by way of Alsace, Bordeaux, the Rhone Valley and Burgundy and Champagne… Good price variation, too.

Yummy cake, creme brûlée and fruit with coffee: nice stuff

The food was also quite nice, particularly the prime rib for two, served with potatoes and béarnaise sauce. I really liked the gourmet coffee at the end, which came with some delicious stuff – see photo above.

There is room for improvement: service was quite slow at times. Isabelle seemed most of the time all alone in serving us and at least two other large tables upstairs. Time to invest in another server?

The ambiance is hard to beat, because Strasbourg lacks such locales that successfully blend classical and trendy ambiances, combining a conservative kind of wooden walled space, with nice touches of hip modernity – such as a gorgeous suspended lamp above the staircase leading to the second level. And let’s not forget the spacious terrace!

Les Quatres Amours

We had four different kinds of wines, including a free serving of a Languedoc rose that was merely OK. I mean, the producer drove all the way up from a village near Montpellier to Strasbourg to have his wines tasted, and he is a very nice person. But I am not convinced by the residual sugar combined with added CO2 … I would have rather had a dry rose. But as an aperitif, it certainly pleased some palates, and is not that pricey, so we appreciated the time he took to share his wine with guests.

An excellent price-quality ratio

Onwards to the main table upstairs. After some discussion with Isabelle – about price points and wines desired (we wanted reds but in the 40-60 euro range) – I settled for a Les Ormes Sorbet 2009 Medoc, which turned out to be the quality-to-price ratio wine of the evening. At 45 euros restaurant price, it was very good.

Hardly Margaux like...

We then had a Margaux that cost 10 euros more, but this was a rather stolid expression of accompanied by evident new oak aromas and a certain drying finish. About as far and away from what one expects from Margaux – diaphanous elegance – as one can be. I thought I was drinking an average international Cab…

A fine 1999 vintage: ready to drink

Isabelle had a lovely Sociando Mallet 1999, which is drinking well today. Although it did not wow everyone’s palate, I really liked its poise and maturity, albeit still quite youthful and energetic, but displaying a lovely Medoc cedar aspect that can beguile.

In the end, however, it was indeed Ormes Sorbet that won that day with a very rich yet thirst quenching aspect. No drying elements here, as with the “Margaux” …

A rich Rhone red

We finished dinner with a Cote du Rhone Village for about 35 euros from Janasse. It was typically large scaled and not to the liking of everyone, but for the end of the meal, it was fun to have such richness, since no one wanted a Sauternes or a late harvest white…. I was not taking any copious notes, focusing more on enjoying the fine company – and the ambiance of the restaurant, of course taking a critical view.

All smiles

In the end, dinner for seven, with five bottles of wine, cost 62 euros per person – and we had plenty of smiles on our faces, as you can see from the photo, thanks to Katie Stephens for providing this one.



Leave a Reply