This article is intended for readers 21+
RICHMOND, Va. – The ambiance is the first thing that stands out when you enter. Old soul classics played in the background. The interior was gorgeously decorated by Megan Lee Hopkins, the owner. The decor reflects her personality – inviting, inclusive, and knowledgeable. There was a constant crowd during the 3 hours we were there; I highly recommend calling in advance to reserve a table. It’s the kind of environment where you can sit and unwind for hours, which I did with our editor-in-chief, Jess.
“It provided me with a space to really slow down for a night and just be in the present with a good friend of mine,” Jess describes.
We were probably the youngest customers – I’ve been 21 for less than a month – but in this setting, it felt like we were figuring life out as young adults, as crazy and confusing as this time in our lives may be. As Jess put it, “the vibes made [her] feel elegant and sophisticated,” like we were finally making sense of ‘Adulting’ and beginning to get to the good part.
Celladora is a great spot for seasoned and aspiring wine enthusiasts alike. This is the first wine bar I have ever been to.
We ordered two white wines – Folia De Baco Uivo Curtido Vinho Branco (Portuguese) and Cirelli Anfora Trebbiano d’Abruzzo (Italian). Both wines were surprisingly good considering I’m not a white wine girl. The Folia tasted bitter initially , but mellowed with a peachy, sweet after taste. This was best alone and in little sips so flavors could unfold without interruption. The Cirelli had a heavier, nutty taste from beginning to end. This worked well with the cheeses we ordered on our charcuterie board. It came with our choice of three cheeses – we opted for the P’titi Bosque, sheep, France, Casatica di Bufalo, water buffalo, Italy, snd Bayley Hazen Blue, raw cow, Vermont) – bread, and jam from local restaurants, Subrosa Bakery and Pizza Bones. The P’titi Bosque had the consistency of softened butter; it was creamy and rich and melted on your tongue. The Cirelli paired with this nicely, its earthy flavor balancing the sharpness of the cheese. The Casatica cheese reminded me of a gouda; it had a rustic taste that was just right to be eaten without the bread or wine. Bayley was my favorite. It is a type of blue cheese, very tangy and rich. It was best when spread over the bread and followed by the Folia. The Folia’s sweet aftertaste subdued the lingering taste of the cheese without compromising its initial flavor.
It was everything I had expected and more as far as a relaxed adult experience, but what made me start planning my next trip back was how unpretentious it was. Hopkins described the wines expertly and when we had no clue what her explanations meant, she explained further.
“You learn about wine by drinking it and talking to people. Taking sommelier classes to become a wine expert isn’t a democratic way of learning because it prices a lot of people out and they tend to withhold information,” Megan explained to us.
The two wines we ended up getting were by her recommendation. She explained how they were skin-contact/ “orange” wines – white wines made by keeping the skins in the fermented juice, like a red wine – which probably explains why they were the best white wines I’ve tried thus far. At no point did Jess or I feel out of our depth or embarrassed.
There are well over 100 wines in the shop from all over the world. As someone who likes to travel, it was so interesting to hear about wines from different places and the science behind how they were made in such a calm setting. The volume isn’t overwhelming because Hopkins has a list of four recommended wines and will help you find more you like from there. With such a large variety to choose from, Jess and I will be making plenty more visits to try to get through as many as possible before she graduates in the spring.
Celladora is located at 111 N. Lombardy St. Richmond, VA.
You can aspire to be a wine enthusiast at any age, but you must be 21+ before visiting Celladora.