So, you've been to see an early evening movie at the Ultimate Picture Palace, and you get out around 8. You're not hungry enough for full dinner, but you'd like a nice glass of wine (or three), some snacks and somewhere to discuss the movie. What to do? My advice: cross the Cowley Road and deposit yourselves at the bar of Vine, a new wine bar with light food menu where Big Ron's Mexican Cantina used to be. Not sure this is a pop-up any longer as it's been here three months already and looks pretty permanent.
The wine list is international, eclectic, delicious, and very reasonably priced, the bar staff are friendly and knowledgeable, the olives of a quality unsurpassed in Oxford since the Italian deli in the Covered Market closed down, and the cheese also superb. I've been twice now and it was a delight both times. Here are my highlights from the wine list:
Prinz Tamas Dry Tokaj, (Hungary 2015) - not the syrupy and incredibly expensive sweet wine but its dry cousin - light, sharp, fresh, clear, delicious, and only £5 a glass.
Pet-Nat Les Noades, Jacky Ripoche, (Argenty France NV) - a wonderfully complex and perfumed blanc de blancs, easily the equal or better of most champagnes.
As for the reds, my favourite so far is the Domaine de Tourelles, Bekaa Valley, (Lebanon 2014) - a fabulously smooth, rich, deep, powerful wine like a vintage Burgundy costing eight times as much. They also have a pleasing selection of craft gin, rum and beers. Enjoy!