Houston Wine Bar Named Among Best in Country for Champagne

13 celsius

A French trade association has named 13 celsius at 3000 Caroline — a wine bar and café now in its 17th year of business — among the 10 best places in the United States for enjoying Champagne. 

The USA Champagne Bureau bestowed the accolade. The organization is the liaison to the United States for the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne, a trade association that represents the grape growers and houses of Champagne, France. Its website is a repository of information about Champagne, and the organization works to protect the wine’s Protected Designation of Origin. (Real Champagne only comes from the Champagne region. Otherwise, it’s just sparkling wine. Some, like Prosecco from Italy and Cava from Spain, have their own protected designations.) 

The USA Champagne Bureau says about 13 celsius, “Located in Midtown, this wine bar offers guests an impressive Champagne list and delicious charcuterie boards.” We asked Sophie Bodlovich, a representative for the organization, to elaborate on the selection criteria. “We evaluated bars and restaurants across the country based on factors such as varied and extensive Champagne lists, pairing options, and overall wonderful experiences for enjoying Champagne,” she wrote. “We also invited wine professionals across America to nominate their favorite establishments for this honor and took those nominations into consideration as well.”

Adele Corrigan Wade, sommelier and general manager of 13 celsius
Adele Corrigan Wade, sommelier and general manager of 13 celsius. Courtesy photo.

The accolade came as a total surprise to 13 celsius general manager Adele Corrigan Wade, who says she found out yesterday via an email. However, those who enjoy visiting the wine bar regularly won’t really be surprised at all about the nod. Corrigan and her team are known for a well-curated wine list that offers unexpected selections from smaller vineyards. “The first thing I look for are producers who are underrepresented in the market. People have never heard of these properties because they’re small, family-owned and -operated estates, or making grower Champagne styles where the grapes are all grown on the same property. The second thing I look for are wines that are exceptionally delicious, especially for the price.” 

When it comes to Champagne, 13 celsius carries a range that includes blanc de blancs (Champagne made only from white grapes), blanc de noirs (Champagne made only from black grapes — but the end product is still white), brut (dry), extra brut and a small selection of rosé Champagnes. As of today’s count, there were about 30 selections by the bottle with prices ranging from $75 to $499. “The most expensive used to be a magnum of Salon for $1,999, but we actually just sold it two weeks ago!” said Wade. 

At 13 celsius, there is always at least one Champagne available by the glass, and a few more during the holiday season. A current by-the-glass selection, for example, is Gratiot & Cie “No. 1” Brut from Vallée de la Marne. It’s $20 for a six-ounce pour. 

Wade is a fan of the new trend of eschewing skinny Champagne glasses in favor of ones with wider bowls that allow the imbiber to enjoy the aroma. “We don’t even get out the flutes,” she said. “We just bring our nice wine glasses out. It’s still wine under all those bubbles, and it’s enjoyable when you can smell that while you’re tasting.”

13 celsius is not only a great place to taste Champagne; it’s also a great place to learn about it. Wade and her staff are always happy to answer questions and clear up misconceptions. “When we start talking about the nitty-gritty of the grapes used, like Chardonnay, for example, people will say, “I don’t like Chardonnay.” However, they like blanc de blanc, which is primarily produced from Chardonnay!” We also explain the sweetness differences among brut, extra brut and brut nature, which has to do with the levels of residual sugar,” Wade said. 

This is the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne’s second annual list of where to enjoy the beverage, and it’s being released ahead of Champagne Day, which is Friday, October 27. Wade and 13 celsius owner Ian Rosenberg have decided to celebrate by offering 13% off Champagne that day. 

13 celsius is open Monday through Wednesday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Thursday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to midnight. 

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