For me, a good wine store should have a thoughtfully selected collection of wines, preferably with a focus on artisanal estates. It should be run by someone who is passionate and knowledgeable, and it should be aesthetically pleasing and comfortable to spend time in. I found exactly such a wine store this morning while walking around in Vienna’s 1st district. What’s more, this store, Le Cru, focuses exclusively on champagne.
Christian Weininger opened Le Cru only two weeks ago, in a sleek, modern space close to the Stephansplatz. A former architect, Weininger spent ten years as a wine retailer in Vienna, and over that time he traveled frequently to Champagne, developing relationships with many growers there. The selection at Le Cru includes prominent names such as Pierre Peters, Michael Arnould, René Geoffroy and De Sousa, as well as lesser-known growers like Daniel Caillez and Bergeronneau-Marion, and a few houses such as Bollinger and Louis Roederer are represented as well. “We work with about thirty different producers,” says Weininger, “but we don’t necessarily take all of their wines every year. If I’m not 100 percent confident in a wine, I would prefer to wait until the next year.”
As he deals largely with grower champagne, Weininger is of course very conscious about terroir, and Le Cru’s handsome catalog is divided by region (Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne, Aube and Côte des Blancs), which I particularly appreciate. I’m looking forward to getting to know this store better: with its ideal location and terrific selection of wines, Le Cru is a top-notch address for buying champagne.
Le Cru, Petersplatz 8, 1010 Vienna, www.lecru.at