Quebec City also has a great natural wine bar. Le Moine Echanson is located downtown on the famous rue Saint-Jean. Everything about this place appealed to me. It is a rustic scene that evokes emotions of simple food made by your mom (or grand-mom) served with your favorite wines. Simple wood tables and chairs are scattered around a semi-warehouse space, chalkboards contain the ever changing menu of food and wines, and the food is served on wooden cutting boards or in clay pots.
But the real focus here is the wine. The owner is a natural wine importer and every wine in the restaurant is from his portfolio. He has searched far and wide for these wines – none of the popular natural wine selections are here – these are eclectic, reasonably priced wines that taste great. Highlights of the night included – a sparkling Trebbiano from Lazio, an Uni Blanc from the Pyrenees, Grenache Blanc from southern France, some Rivesaltes from a box, and a surprise mystery wine that they opened for me that was shockingly similar to a Radikon or Gravner – a golden hued white wine with structure and tannin.
The food is created specifically to match with the wines – so I recommend letting the knowledgeable staff choose your wines for you. Our artistic guide (waiters here are called “artisans du vin”) Benoit Asselin, did a bang up job: Cod Fritters with the refreshingly acidic Uni Blanc and house made Boudin with the mystery wine.
You can also buy wine to go – provided that you purchase at least 1 egg – “un oeuf pour emporter” (Thanks SAQ). I grabbed a two bottles (2002 Eric Darles Irancy and Lemasson Le P’tit Rouquin) and an egg. What exactly was I supposed to do with that egg? Throw it at an SAQ?
I’ll be back next time I am in Quebec – but I need to build the strength in my throwing arm first.
Thanks to Thomas Palissier the co-proprietor of Le Clocher Penché who recommended this wine bar to us.