“Wine has always been our passion,” says Alex Tréton. So much so that she and her husband, Alexi, left their jobs and their home country amid the pandemic to open a wine bar in Denver that bridges French and American culture.
The mouth at 1100 East 17th Avenue is the result, with its sleek black-and-white color scheme balanced with a laid-back atmosphere perfect for lingering over a flight of vino.
When Alex was nineteen, she befriended people from Colorado who lived in France. After eighteen months, the new friends returned home; in 2002, Alex decided to visit them, flying from France to Denver to spend a season at Evergreen and snowboarding at various resorts. She returned to Colorado several times over the years.
By 2018, she and Alexi had married, had two children, and lived outside of Paris. She was responsible for international sales in the food industry and he was a project manager in telecommunications, but they spent all their vacations visiting the vineyards of different regions of France.
Alexi eventually met Alex’s Colorado friends while they were traveling in France, and the family decided to visit Denver together. Her husband and the kids “all loved it,” Alex recalls. She and Alexi tried a local tapas bar and casually broached the idea of one day opening a wine bar in the city. “Our friends loved it, but it was just something we said on vacation,” laughs Alex.
But once they got home, Alex and Alexi kept talking about the possibility. “Alexi was really bored with her job,” says Alex, adding that she also took note of Denver’s growth from her previous trips to the city. “We started looking into this crazy idea we had over the holidays and realized it wasn’t such a crazy idea. It could be interesting and something we would really like to do.”
So, Alexi quit her job with plans to move in May or June 2020. But then the pandemic hit. Unable to make the move, the pair continued their search, looking at potential locations from a distance. “We found this space but couldn’t visit it, so we called everyone we knew [in Denver]“, asking for advice, says Alex. Eventually, they decided to go for it, buying the space from its previous owner, who ran the Link cafe there.
After barely getting their visas in time to avoid the year-long break on travel from France to the United States that ran from November 2020 to November 2021, Alex, Alexi and their children finally arrived in Denver. on Dec. 28, 2020. “It was scary,” Alex recalls. If they hadn’t gotten approval then, the space “would have been closed for a year.”
But they pulled it off, and after doing some interior work, La Bouche opened in late September 2021. “We have the perfect neighborhood,” notes Alex. “The community is very warm and open to trying new things.”
One such novelty is La Bouche’s approach to its wine list. In the United States, wine is classified by grape variety, while in France, it’s all about terroir, or the specifics of the environment where the wine is produced. To bring these approaches together, La Bouche’s list is organized by varietal, with at least one French option and one American option available for each, making it easier to compare and learn about terroir. “The approach should be simple,” adds Alex.
La Bouche also offers flights, “which we don’t have in France”, she notes. “It’s a really interesting approach.” She and Alexi say they are happiest when a guest orders a flight and then orders a drink or bottle of something they enjoyed from that flight.
Besides wine, La Bouche also offers a small menu of classic French dishes as well as cheese and meat platter options. As with the wine, they put a lot of care into finding the best ingredients for items like the croque monsieur (also available as a madame, with an added egg on top) and the quiche. La Bouche also recently added a Sunday brunch with flights of mimosa, available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
While a trip to Paris may be out of reach for many right now, a trip to La Bouche is a welcome new option in Uptown.
La Bouche is located at 1100 East 17th Avenue and is open 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit labouche.wine.