Sometimes, you meet someone who makes it look easy. It doesn’t really matter what “it” is – we’ve all gotten to know a person who’s outstanding performance of a challenging responsibility or undertaking forces us to wonder why everyone doesn’t get “it” like they do.
Sometimes, you meet a restaurant like that, too.
Of course there’s nothing exotic about a wine-centric boîte on a quiet Greenwich Village street—but it’s St. Tropez Wine Bar’s even-keeled approach to this tradition that makes it stand out. Offering an impressively long-but-approachable list by the glass, half bottle, and bottle, the attentive but low-key staff generously pour unmistakably French vintages in a high-ceilinged, natural light-filled space that’s inviting, comfortable, and completely unpretentious. The length of the wine list is balanced by a straight-forward all-day menu that’s supplemented by a well-edited brunch menu on weekends.
All these components coalesce to form exactly the type of sipping experience many New Yorkers long for: a calm moment of refuge from the hectic city, where we have the depth of choice we’ve become accustomed to without the fussy bravado we often grin and bear in the name of a nice glass of chenin blanc.
Curious about St Tropez’s wine list and the origin of its cool and collected demeanor, we sought out general manager/partner (and real Frenchman) Yohann Pecheux for some insight into how he got “it” so right:
The Daily Meal: Why do you offer your guests the extensive choice of 45 wines by the glass and nearly 40 by the half bottle?
Yohann Pecheux: We're in New York City, a place where people are used to having a large amount of choices available anytime they want them. I also wanted our wine list to accommodate every budget and every taste.
Many of the wines you've included on St. Tropez's list are sustainable and organic - why is this important to you?
The new generation of wine drinkers are more aware of what's inside their glass. I think people like to know where the wine comes from and the techniques the vineyard uses to make it.
Which regions produce your favorite French wines, and why are they your favorites?
Provence produces my favorite wine; the reds are spicy and full-flavored. Also, that's where I grew up and was able to discover wine at those vineyards.
If a burgeoning wine-lover wanted to educate themselves on some of the best- and lesser-known French wines, with which regions should they begin their research?
I would say the Bordeaux region is one of the most famous, and for the lesser-known wines you could start with Provence, where you can find interesting blends of reds like cabernet and syrah.
If you could drink only one French wine for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?
I would drink rosé from St. Marguerite in La Londe Les Maures - I grew up in the area and have always loved the balanced taste with a fruity hint of raspberry.