French Flair in Manuka is a wine shop with a difference. Nicole and Christophe Rebut opened French Flair la Boutique as the retail arm of their exclusive wine import company when COVID-19 disrupted orders from their restaurant clients.
The wine shop has now become a popular destination for Canberrans wanting to try French wines from up-and-coming winemakers, and they also run a series of tasting events in collaboration with other Canberra region businesses.
Christophe was born in a vineyard in the south of the Beaujolais wine region just north of Lyon to a family of fifth-generation winemakers.
“I think there is more wine than blood in my veins!” he told Region.
His upbringing instilled a passion for French wines, but instead of taking over the family business, he fell in love with travelling and then fell in love with Australian-born Nicole. After living between Australia and France for a few years, they decided to make their home down under.
French Flair Imports supplies French wines to restaurants and retailers around Australia, but they want to use la Boutique to share their passion for French wine, so they always have a few bottles open for tastings!
“All our wines are well known by sommeliers but not necessarily well known by the public,” Christophe explained.
“The spirit of our shop is to be like a cellar door for the import company. We want to showcase what we have.”
Christophe’s extensive network of winemakers in France means they have an exclusive range of wines, focusing on up-and-coming winemakers from smaller or lesser-known vineyards.
“We like to find those little gems that are less well known: the vignerons that are going to be the stars of tomorrow.”
And, of course, they sell bottles from Christophe’s family vineyard.
The couple made Canberra their home seven years ago to give their kids a bilingual education at Telopea Park School. Nicole mostly runs the boutique, while Christophe works on the import business. But they work together to run monthly tasting events that offer a deep dive into the various winemaking regions of France.
I recently attended a tasting event as a birthday gift from my colleague (thanks, Michelle!). We spent a lovely evening drinking our way around the Loire Valley, which stretches along the river from the Atlantic coast to the centre of France. While I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the local wine scene, I definitely have a lot to learn about French wine regions. So the evening was a great way to discover some new wines, as well as delicious French cheeses, cured meats and pâté (also sold in store).
The next French Flair La Boutique event is A Unique Taste of Alsace in collaboration with Chef Christophe Gregoire from (the recently closed) Le Très Bon in Bungendore.
Visit the French Flair website for more details about upcoming events, or follow them on Facebook or Instagram. French Flair La Boutique is located at Shop 12, M Centre, Palmerston Lane, Manuka. They are open from Wednesday to Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm and 8 pm on Fridays.