Bartavelle–An Exercise on the Little Things


One of the few places worth hunting (and paying) for parking in Berkeley is Bartavelle, the café/wine bar nestled between Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants and Acme bread.

(They’ve got a whopping five parking spaces reserved for guests, take your chance if you dare.)

I couldn’t resist a spot at one of their sunny, barrel-esque tables when I strolled past this week, so I plopped down with a book and ordered some rosé. Service was simple–order at a tiny marble counter, choose your own seat.

I’m still on a rosé kick, so I went with a simple pink gem from Southern France, the Mas Champart Saint-Chinian 2013 Rosé. It was the perfect color for a fall day–a cross between peach skin and bright smoked salmon. The nose was overwhelmingly floral, with happy orange-y notes.

Sipping this juice in the sun was downright glorious. So glorious that my glass was almost empty by the time I decided to uses words to describe this pink sweetheart. In the end, underripe strawberry flavors kept coming up, with hints of orange, and just the idea of bubbles. So, so refreshing.

The plate in front of me was almost equally glorious. Just bread, bla and bla.

Around me, a father-son bonding talk was happening; a woman in a power suit and puffy vest rapidly emailed on her phone; and a group of Asians chatted happily in French.

On the other side of my table, a line consistently formed and shrank outside the door of Acme bread.

Watching was the only thing to do.

Bar Tavelle Uncorked:

Laura Loves: Pairing frivolous, yet acclaimed, novels with wine like Françoise Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse.

The simplicity of their menu–what doesn’t sound good about toast with ricotta, honey, and figs?

The seeded rolls at Acme bread.

Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch for an early importer’s version of France.

  • September 13, 2014
  • 0