On Top of the World at Roosevelt House, Shanghai

After a week of recovering from our trip to Shanghai, it is time to start unwinding the wine selection of the city. As I explained in a previous post, my expectations were not high. China is a country for beer and local rice-wine (not something that caters to my champagne-loving taste buds). Luckily I was just living in the past. Apparently I forgot one of the most significant features of Shanghai, it changes and evolves faster than any other city in the world (as far as my experience goes). With an apple so big the natural place to start it the Roosevelt House, home to one of the most extensive wine cellars in the world

Roosevelt Wine Cellar located on the Bund (no 27) in the historical Roosevelt House boasts the largest wine cellar in the world with wines from over 4000 unique producers. We were unfortunate as there was an event the night we decided to visit, however the top floor restaurant and rooftop bar also serve the same wine list as the actual wine cellar. Not so unlucky after all. We sat down on the terrace with a marvelous view over the Yangze river. It is a unique sight and one of the best places in town to gaze at the contrast between the two sides of the city: the French style historic Puxi and the futuristic new center of Pudong. I think I spent more time trying to catch the perfect photo instead of drinking wine.

The view from the top of Roosevelt House
The view from the top of Roosevelt House

The wine list was vast, perhaps even too vast to review here to the detail. There was a clear preference to old world wines, especially from France (as mentioned in the post: five things you should know about shanghai and wine). The Champagne-list was impressive, but not great value for money as one can imagine (It is mainly the exchange rate killing us at the moment). They had their own private label champagne though that was closer to the price level we were ready to pay. I was also happy to see some half bottles on the list as sharing a full 0,75l pre-dinner can have hazardous consequences.

We tried ordering a half bottle of a cava that we had not before heard of, however it was, to our disappointment out of stock. The waiter tried replacing it with a bottle of Freixenet Gordon Negro (yuk), so we quickly turned to the relatively extensive list (10-15) of wines by the glass. We ended up with glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and a White Burgundy. Both decent and moderately priced (10-12 euros). It was hot and humid, so I was happy that the wines were properly chilled.

White Burgundy on the roof terrace
White Burgundy on the roof terrace

Even though we only got a glimpse of the actual bar and scratched the surface of the wine list I could tell this is the place to come for wine in Shanghai. I would recommend coming as a group so that sharing a bottle/few bottles is not too much, the most interesting wines are not sold by the glass. The wine cellar also has a restaurant, so one does not have to go out for food. All in all, I have been to better wine bars (around the world) with a selection more suitable to my taste as well as a price tag that my wallet can handle (and I was a bit phased at the Gordon Negro offered by the staff), however looking at what the local competition is, Roosevelt is at the top of my list for wine bars to visit in Shanghai.

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