Warsaw’s exciting wine places (II) : Kieliszki na Próżnej

This post wasn’t supposed to come so late after the previous one. I had a good reason, however : I have a new job. Yay! That has kept me pretty busy lately, and that is why the second leg of my Warsaw stories took a while. But I insist on sharing my experience with Kieliszki na Próżnej with you, not only because I tasted a few great wines there, but also because this is a great little story about passion for wine.

Kieliszki is the Polish word for glasses and Próżna is the name of the street in Warsaw where this wine bar/restaurant is located. From the outside this place does not look extraordinary but on the inside the interior is a nicely done renovation of an old house in an industrial style. My wife and I discovered this place a few years ago when we went there for diner. I remember being very impressed as that was the first (and only) time that I was in a restaurant where all the bottles on the list were to be had by the glass, thanks to Coravin. Wine drinkers’ heaven basically.

When I was there in August, I went for a few kieliszki, or glasses, on the terrace, and had the pleasure of talking to Sommelier Patryk Nowak. He explained that the COVID-19 pandemic obliged them to stop offering everything by the glass. The varying number of clients and the prospect of a potential lockdown made it difficult to continue their by-the-glass policy. Not that it stopped them of having an amazing list of wines by the glass, for that matter. With 22 whites, 11 orange wines, and 26 reds by the glass, you’re spoiled for choice. The wines on offer are an eclectic mix between international references and avant-garde wines. Amongst the Champagnes I saw Krug, Philipponnat, Dom Pérignon, but also Selosse for example.

When I told Patryk that I was in the mood for a refreshing red, he answered : “Sure, but if that’s alright with you, I’d first like to share a white that we discovered recently and that blew us away.” I love it when that happens. When you feel someone’s passion for wine and the willingness to share it with another wine geek. The wine Patryk let me try was The Hermit Ram, a skin-fermented Sauvignon Blanc from New-Zealand, a wine with an intriguing nose of tropical fruit and floral aromas, but that lacked a little bit too much acidity for my palate.

Instead of letting me choose one red off the list, Patryk came out with no less than four different bottles I could try before I chose. I first went for the 7 Fuentes, a red wine of Suertes del Marqués, a remarkable winery in the Spanish volcanic island Tenerife. This blend of Listán Negro and Tintilla is part of the winery’s “Village wine” range. Very fragrant, with loads of strawberries and a hint of minerality. The freshness of this wine was just perfect for the hot weather. Great balance also, and perfectly ripe tannins. Right up my alley!

The second red I had was a step up or two in terms of structure. No surprise considering it was a Priorat But not just any Priorat. The Planetes de Nin of Nin-Ortiz is a Garnacha aged in amphorae and with very low levels of sulphite. There was a bit of barnyard in the nose, but also graphite and pure red fruit. The wine had great volume, with tannins that were clearly there but ripe. A luscious red, almost baroque for my standards, and yet elegant at the same time! I would love to re-try this at home, because there was a lot to be found in here.

Just one more thing I really liked about my visit : when Patryk came out with the 7 Fuentes, he noticed the wine was too warm. So he poured a bit in a carafe and put in on ice to chill it before he served it, also letting me try at several moments to see what was my preferred temperature. Bravo! Serving a wine too warm, especially one like the 7 Fuentes, can simply ruin the experience, no matter how good the wine. So it was great to see so much attention being spent on the serving temperature.

Too see so much passion for wine was invigorating and made me decide I definitely want to come back here, corona permitting, for lunch or diner. And a few kieliszki of course.