I don’t know about you, but wine is a pretty important part of my life. Don’t get me wrong – I’m no wine snob (or lush), but I do enjoy a good glass. And I enjoy it even more if I didn’t pay an arm and a leg for it.
Drinking New World wines, in particular Australian, New Zealand and South African, is one of the best ways to have good wine without breaking the bank. New World wines give you the same impact of a French wine – complexity, character, structure, balance, finish – but for less money. Unlike many Old World (French) wines, you can drink them straight away and don’t have to wait ten years before they have matured. I mean does everyone in France have a wine cellar?
Crush Wine is a great little shop in Brussels, specializing in Australian and New Zealand wines. Started in 2006 by Australian Glen, the store is now run by Max who provide helpful, friendly service. The store boasts an impressive collection of over 200 Australian wines, one of the largest in Europe, with prices starting at only €7.
The store is cozy and conveniently located if you work in the EU district (just next to the Parliament). You don’t have to be a wine expert to find something good – the owner is very approachable and can recommend a wine based on your tastes (no matter how underdeveloped you palate might be). Get a preview of their selection via their online wine list. You can order by phone or email for delivery in Belgium or elsewhere in Europe. Crush also runs monthly wine tasting events.
My husband (who is a wine snob :)) says this is his favorite wine shop in Brussels.
39 Rue Caroly, 1050 Ixelles
Tel: +32 2 502 6697
Open Tuesday to Friday, 12 to 7pm, Saturday occasionally (call ahead)
Mig’s, located on Chaussée de Charleroi close to Place Stephanie, offers new world wines from Australia and New Zealand, as well as a selection from all over the world, including the US, Tanzania, Hungary and even Belgium.
Open since 1999, the shop is run by Miguel (aka Mig), a Belgian born and raised in Australia, a self-taught wine aficionado. He has help from Lucy, an American raised in Paris and Brussels, and Xavier, a Belgian, who both studied oenology.
Their philosophy is perfect for someone like me (who enjoys a glass but doesn’t have much of a clue) – provide wine for all tastes and budgets with knowledgeable advice. Mig’s has a good section in the store and a huge wine list online. They also sell champagne, dessert wine, and liquor, and can place special orders from its suppliers’ catalogues. You can also stop by the store for one of their regular tasting sessions.
42 Chaussée de Charleroi, 1060 Saint-Gilles
Tel: +32 2 534 77 03
Open Monday to Saturday, 11am to 7pm
Images via Condé Nast and Grape & Grain.