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Symposium Vinho is popular among Rio's wine connoisseurs, and the 400 wine labels make it easy to understand why. An elegantly-designed space, with mahogany furniture and soothing music, this is an excellent place to taste a Chilean Gilmore Cabernet Franc 2007 or a Brazilian Amadeu Brut Rosé, accompanied by cold meats and cheeses. Symposium also serves as a bistro offering steaks, risotto and more.
Fans of champagne and other sparkling wines should head straight for this Botafogo establishment, which offers a wide range of cavas, proseccos and, of course, champagnes. You'll need to have deep pockets if you want to sip the real thing, but the national bubblies are more than affordable. The wines, many of which are available by the glass, go well with the light dishes served here, such as the unusual yet delicious sandwich of Parma ham, Canadian sausage, brie and apricot. The bar is a favorite post-work pit stop for Botafogo office workers, which makes for a lively atmosphere and explains the weekday-only opening hours.
A combination of wine bar, store and bistro, Grand Cru is much favored by Rio's wine connoisseurs. As many as 1200 labels are on offer, all of which can be enjoyed by the glass. At the restaurant upstairs, patrons can complement their meal with a fine wine from the store. Decanters, wine glasses and other such items can also be bought here.
Dedicated wine buffs might find it hard to locate a decent wine list in Rio, but at Bottega del Vino, which opened in December 2011, the wine is right at the heart of the menu. There are some 300-plus bottles to choose from, 80 percent of which hail from the Old World wine regions, with a few South American options for good measure. While prices are not cheap, many wines are served by the glass, so diners can pick and choose to match their mood and their food. The Italian dishes are served in small, tapas-style portions that are ideal for sharing with friends. On weekdays, the set lunch of appetizer, starter and main (accompanied by a glass of wine, of course) is a relatively inexpensive way to sample the restaurant's offerings.