Inspired by Australian and European bistros that encourage guests to spend long, leisurely stretches at their venues, all-day cafés have recently picked up steam in the U.S.
Known for serving similar menus from breakfast through dinner, dessert and beyond, these cafés offer versatile wines and low-alcohol cocktails that suit visitors who wish to sip the day away.
To transform your living room, patio or kitchen table to a European-style café capable of sustaining all-hours entertaining, take a few tips from the pros.
Here are three day-to-night bottles to try, and why sommeliers and beverage professionals believe they work at almost any hour.
Domaine De L’Ecu 2017 Love And Grapes Nobis Syrah (Vin de France)
“Alcohol level and tannic structure are definitely considerations,” says Nick Grenier, wine director at The Jones in New York City, about the bottles he selects for the wine list. The concern is particularly relevant to red and skin contact wines, which could potentially bring too much power to the table.
“Nobis is leaner and softer around the edges than most examples of [Syrah], without losing any of its distinct varietal character,” he says. “We pour the 2017 vintage, and it’s well received from lunch to last call.”
Mary Taylor 2017 Pierre Vidal (Costières de Nimes)
This easy-drinking Rhône Valley red is made from Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah. It was a favorite of the whole bar staff at Nashville’s Café Roze, as well as of chef and owner Julia Jaksic. She believes it’s a great representation of the region but says that’s not the only reason it’s offered.
“We cover a lot of food territory on our menu, and a wine like this makes for an especially nice accompaniment,” says Jaksic. “A subtle softness…helps to awaken the spice and the grip of tannins, leading to [an] ultimately elegant finish, which we find pairs well with so many of our dishes.”
Old Westminster Winery 2019 Pétillant Naturel Orange Piquette (Maryland)
Specific styles also help ensure a wine will work in a range of situations. “Certain winemaking techniques make frequent appearances [on our list],” says Jeremy Patenaude, wine director of All Together Now in Chicago.
When building the wine list, Patenaude looks for “carbonic maceration for juicy lively characteristics, skin-contact white wines for versatility [and] pét-nat because sparkling is always a good idea.”
He recommends Old Westminster’s pét-nat because it’s “the perfect post-coffee, pre-dinner wine. It hits all the marks: it’s fun and made in a unique style from a unique place, lower [in alcohol], dry with tart stone fruits and has just the right amount of spritz.”
Last Updated: May 5, 2023