Haley Fortier · haley.henry

By Ellen Bhang · 01/23/2020

Curious about restaurant wine lists? Each month, Boston Globe wine columnist Ellen Bhang chats with a sommelier about a terrific bottle and recommends a food pairing—you come away a savvier sipper. 

Meet the beverage pro: When a bright-eyed couple asked Haley Fortier if they could have their wedding at haley.henry, her wine bar in Downtown Crossing, the owner-operator was delighted—if a little surprised.

“Never in a million years did I think of the stairs as a spot to get married on,” says Fortier, referring to the sturdy steel-and-wood steps leading to a loft space above the kitchen. But on second thought, the request made sense—these lovebirds are ardent regulars. “We’ve had people since day one who come in two or three times a week,” she says, still marveling at the devotion the spot inspires.

Prior to opening haley.henry, Fortier noticed that Boston lacked casual, intimate spaces—the kind you find in New York—where you could drop in and kick back with wines made by farmers who grow and vinify grapes without additives. Determined to fill that void, she opened haley.henry in the summer of 2016, followed two years later by sister wine bar nathálie in Fenway.

One gorgeous bottle: Basile Passe and Yoan Tavares—a French duo of traveling winemakers operating as Vin des Potes—collaborated with Greek producer Jason Ligas to craft just 250 cases of a very special wine. It’s a 2018 bottle called “Greek Connection Classic,” made from muscat and assyrtiko grapes, grown organically on the island of Samos. Fortier adores its notes of green tea, tropical fruit, and appetizing texture. (This wine sells for $62 a bottle, but you can purchase half of it—the equivalent of two generous glass pours—for $31. If someone has already purchased half, you can enjoy the rest for $15 a glass.)

Posh plate: White Tuna Pate, from Spanish producer Agromar, arrives in a gleaming tin, accompanied by crunchy bread, pickled red onion, and a vivid green schmear of parsley aioli. “It eats like seafood foie gras,” declares Fortier, describing the silky whipped fish. The salty, minerally Greek wine—full of generous acidity that cuts through the richness of the fish—is in her words “a no-brainer” with the dish. “These two things just go together,” enthuses the wine pro.

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