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Le Chai: galerie du vin

2412 DeSoto Street (near W. 40th and Bull) in the Starland Design District

713-2229

www.lechai.com

This is not a Tibetan teahouse. Christian Depken planned to open his old world wine collection to the public in a downtown basement and name it Le Cave. When those plans faltered and he found his way to the chic Starland Design District he housed his collection in a climate controlled room above ground (yes, every bottle is always stored under ideal conditions) and changed the name to Le Chai. Burgundy it seems has a similar groundwater table to Savannah and if you dig too deep, which isn’t very deep at all, your ‘cave’ floods and so the traditional Burgundian wine storage shed (Le Chai) sits above ground. They use thick stonewalls to achieve desired temperatures- Christian has high technology at his service. Le Chai specializes in European wines made because that is how that grape from that place is made best made into wine, not because marketers told a company what the flavor of the year would be. This is where you will find the magic and the mastery of chemistry and nature. Well-priced bottles abound. Try the Bieler Family’s Routas Rose (Rouviere 2003). This blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault is the perfect summer quaffing wine when a white is not quite what you want. No need to succumb to a heavy red when temperatures peak in the 90’s, this rose is rich in flavor to match grilled foods but dry and easy on the palate for that simple glass at the end of the day.  Or add some special bottle to your chai at home with a Grand Cru Bienvenues (Bâtard-Montrachet 2000) from Burgundy.