Thursday Rave–Bibou

A little while ago, I started ranting a bit on Thursdays since there are certainly some issues in the wine world that deserve to be pilloried. I still have a few rants on the horizon (e.g., Pinot Grigio), but as I was sitting at dinner last night, I started thinking that there is far too much ranting going on in the wine blog world. Sure, negativity gets traffic to your site. You might even make a name for yourself through bashing the 100 point scoring system or claiming that wine tastings are rigged. Controversy causes otherwise sane individuals to react emotionally and in ways that they normally might not: It seems today people are more apt to react first and think later. (Here in Philly, drivers are not shy to employ their car horns at even the slightest delay–I was “urged” to speed up my progress through a particularly tricky intersection the other day. I had slowed since there was a pedestrian legally crossing the street. The “boisterous” driver of the car behind me, after finally noticing the pedestrian screamed out of his open window: “Use YOUR horn to let them know you’re coming” [followed by a seven letter term that refers to a body part and the extension of a single finger–and not the one commonly used to signify “wait a minute”]).

I get all of that.

But this is wine we are all ranting about here.

A beverage.

A beverage that can both help you better enjoy your meal and forget your particularly crappy day. Why do some want to spend so much time concocting controversies over wine (I mean other than the narcissism)?

Sure, there are issues that involve wine that have little to do with the beverage itself. Most of those involve money, and people love their wallets.

I get that, too. Heck, I have even ranted about it: Tasting Fees at Wineries and Buying Wine in Restaurants.

But it is just a beverage.

This is the only food porn I will show--I promise. A rhubarb and beet soup with goat cheese foam.

This is the only food porn I will show–I promise. A rhubarb and beet soup with goat cheese foam.

Last night, as I was sucking down a bottle of one of my favorite champagnes followed by a couple of mildly aged Burgundies (one white, one red), I contemplated even writing about the meal (I even took food porn pictures). On the drive home, I decided against it since, well, I am only a foodie by extension. I know little to nothing about food. I like to think I can tell the difference between average food (Italian) and good food (French), but I have no ability to distinguish good food (French) from great food (really good French food).

So I stick to wine.

As if to underscore my resolve, there have been some more “established” wine bloggers that have ridiculed and belittled other bloggers who only seem to write about “what I ate last night”. Since these old hats clearly know best, I am not going to write about last night’s meal in our favorite restaurant in the city.

Instead, I would rather focus perhaps the singular most important aspect of wine: The ability to bring people together.

OK, just one more--Escargot with a ragout of fava beans and Mousseron mushrooms--I get it just about every time.

OK, just one more–Escargot with a ragout of fava beans and Mousseron mushrooms–I get it just about every time.

If you like food, live anywhere near Philadelphia and you have not yet been to Bibou, frankly, you are an idiot. I usually do not use words like that either on this blog or in real life (unless I am talking about my brother who is an insufferable Michigan fan), but here it is apropos. Bibou (which basically is a term of endearment, like “honey” or “schmoopy” in French) is, dollar for dollar, the city’s best restaurant. Unless you are a Manhattan snob (is that redundant?) your city does not have anything to compare to our little Bibou.

My wife got the soft shell crab.

My wife got the soft shell crab.

Our first trip to Bibou was during its second week of operation and we have been hooked ever since. The main reason, of course, is the food, but we likely never would have tried it were it not a BYOB establishment. Those of you that have previously perused the pages of this blog know that I harbor incredible disdain for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), which is the state owned monopoly of wine and spirits. One of the great things for a wine lover in the state, however (and as far as I can tell, completely unrelated to the state run wine stores), is the prevalence of restaurants that do not have a liquor license and therefore will allow you to bring your own wine (if you happened to buy that bottle from the PLCB, it is likely of questionable quality and you probably paid far too much for it–I feel another rant coming on–but I digress).

I got the braised rabbit leg in brick paper.

I got the braised rabbit leg in brick paper.

Thus, inadvertently perhaps, wine was the catalyst that brought us to Bibou and caused us to meet Pierre (the chef) and Charlotte (the almost everything else)–two of the absolute nicest people you would ever want to meet. We have had many a dinner at Bibou (and even one at our house) and wine always figures prominently. Last night was no different: Yet another wonderful evening with great food, wine, and yes, friends.

I brought the 2004 Girardin Santenay White.

I brought the 2004 Girardin Santenay White.

So while it seems as though negativity is being rewarded in wine blogging today, I feel it is important to maintain a little perspective.

Wine is a beverage.

A beverage that can help bring people together.

OUr friends brought the Faiveley Mercurey

Our friends brought the Faiveley Mercurey.

About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Burgundy, BYOB, Champagne, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Wine and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Thursday Rave–Bibou

  1. I like this post just because you used the word pilloried. Awesome. But . . . I also love food porn. In fact, the only thing that makes food porn better is the addition of wine . . . because then magic happens. Or, on the flip side, maybe a pairing disaster. And then that’s more blog fodder. The food porn sells Bibou. The next time I’m in Philly . . . I’m there! Salud!! 😃


  2. cyardin says:

    I can hear the Italians firing up now by your lower rating on the degustation scale. But can’t disagree, good French food coupled with good wine is unbeatable.


  3. talkavino says:

    Jeff, before I proclaim myself an idiot, I would like to understand your definition of “near Philadelphia”. Of yes, and Manhattan snob – we got that. And on the virtues of Italian food, I would like to see Bibou versus Babbo… But for the wine bringing people together – amen.


  4. Stefano says:

    I’ll just say that it is a good thing that you blog about wine and not food! 😉
    And clearly by saying so I do not intend any disrespect for the excellent French cuisine, which I personally love, just as much as I love good Italian cuisine or Japanese cuisine for that matter. Maybe the conclusion you came to just means that you did not have the opportunity to go to very good Italian restaurants yet! 🙂


  5. “A beverage that can both help you better enjoy your meal and forget your particularly crappy day.” That’s it in a nutshell.


  6. My rant would be, that we do not have BYOB restaurants in Michigan, so we are at the mercy of the wine mark up. Enjoy it while you can, before the politicians find a way to excise a tax on your


  7. You put it in perspective. And “It” applies to more than wine, to most of life. Maybe we’re all getting a little weary of rants (I know I am, although I used to think they were witty). But lately, they’re seeming to be more about the ranter’s ego than about any particular topic.


    • Very well put–exactly what I was trying for here. It seems that some only rant and therefore each rant has to be more outrageous than the previous. At that point it is clear they are just making stuff up.


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