You might expect that a wine bar associated with a top local French restaurant would have an inviting selection of wines from France to sample by the glass, including those from the famed trio of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne. With Rouge, which is nearly adjacent to its sibling Le Mistral on Eldridge Parkway, you would be right, and maybe even pleasantly surprised with its offerings. Opened for a little more than six months Rouge provides a welcome stop for wine lovers along the Energy Corridor, especially those who enjoy the charms of France in a wine glass.
One of the nice finds among the wines by the glass is Chateau Claud-Bellevue Bordeaux from the terrific 2010 vintage at $13. That is a little less than the average per glass price around the city. From the Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux appellation just east of St. Emilion, this mostly Merlot blend (85%) is more fruit forward than the typical Bordeaux, but definitely tastes like a Bordeaux. Offering aromas and flavors of blackberries and blueberries, hints of white pepper that give way to a fair of amount of tannins, which are not harsh, and are balanced with the fruit and acidity leading to decently long finish. The wine opens up nicely and quickly, after a few minutes of swirling. The 10% Cabernet Sauvignon makes itself known, as it is apt to. This will be more of a food wine for many, but shows some of the joys of Bordeaux in a very good year.
The wine is $39 on the list – the $29 shown online seems to be typo, unfortunately. It is a deal either way; to compare, the same wine is $62 on the excellent list at Ristorante Cavour. Plus, at Rouge, you get 15% off when purchasing it to take home to consume.
Very nicely, the normal glassware at Rouge – with different glasses for Bordeaux- and Burgundy-influenced wines plus another for sparklers, of course – are likely the highest quality and most ample of any area wine bar. Situated next to the excellent little bakery, which lies between Rouge and Le Mistral, there is a quaint patio for those temperate evenings. Inside, the décor is strip center industrial chic and the setting is comfortable enough, though the live music might be a little intrusive for some hoping for conversation on a weekend night. Annoyingly, it is valet parking-only – more so, since it is way out in west Houston – unless you can surreptitiously park next door. Valet is complimentary, though, and a small price to pay for an enjoyable wine experience.
1400 Eldridge Parkway (between Memorial and Briar Forest), 77077, (281) 741-0079