Houston's French Country Wines Set to Help You Comprendre le vin français

The easiest way to get to French Country Wines, oddly enough, is by way of a giant metal armadillo. Located on an unassuming side street off the increasingly garish Kirby Drive, the wine store and tasting room may be easily missed in the presence of larger businesses (e.g., Armadillo Palace). "Easily missed," however, is not to say that French Country Wine is overshadowed by these other commercial establishments.

There is something very cool going on in this shop, which is technically mom-and-pop, though to describe its owners, Phyllis and Tim Smith, in such a fashion seems a disservice to this chic yet approachable couple. Since 2006, Phyllis and Tim have been introducing the Houston community to select affordable wines from small, family-owned vineyards in France. It's a second go-around for both of them professionally, each having enjoyed successful careers in the scientific research and financial worlds, respectively. I never spent time with Phyllis and Tim when they were engaged in their previous jobs, but watching them at work now nevertheless suggests wine is their true vocational passion.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Joanna O'Leary