Monday, 15 December 2014

Paris roundup (warning; Natural Wine!).

not a Bordeaux or Burgundy label
A day in Paris offered the opportunity to catch up on the Natural Wine scene there. It seems to be flourishing but remains apart from the mainstream. Indeed, everything about it is distinctive from the traditional wine trade. Labels are different, shops where you can buy Natural Wine are different, pricing is different, marketing (much is sold in wine bars and other places where you can buy and eat food too), the clientele and not least the wine itself is very different. A majority of Cavistes simply don't do Natural Wine and vice versa.

We think this is a pity and look forward to seeing more places where all kinds of wine can be found side-by-side.

The atmosphere of the first specialist Natural Wine shops used to resemble that of 2nd hand bookstores. These days the shopfitting looks more like that of a wine bar or any trendy shop. The two places we visited which were new to us were exactly so.

The first was "En Vrac" at 2, Rue de l'Olive, Paris 18ieme.

En Vrac is On Tap basically. Unlike most Vino Sfuso shops in Italy they have sophisticated equipment for storing the bulk wine.

The bottle problem is also well taken care of.

The draft wines were mostly named by the Domaine from where they came or an appellation such as 'Gaillac'. Only one grape variety was mentioned: Bourgogne Pinot Noir. We tried a couple of these wines. One was better than the other but neither was 'extra'.

The shelves contained another story. Excellent and really well-chosen natural wines.

We found three or four bottles including this beautiful Pineau d'Aunis, Cot and Gamay blend by our new star Brendan Tracey. This wine is red despite its colour. Every bottle tells a story. Google Brendan Tracey and you will see.

Memory begins to get a bit clouded as to what else we bought at 'En Vrac' and what came from elsewhere but we think this delicious Gamay de Beaujolais by France Gonzalvez was also from there.

Across town is 'Au nouveau nez'. Clever name. Nice shop and people! 104 Rue Saint-Maur, Paris 11ieme.

The lady beyond the ladder was a class act, serving the chap just visible beyond the pile of magazines in the lower picture and Slotovino concurrently. She is the only person who ever chased after us and gave us a little card with the request that we let her know what we thought of our purchases.

L'Insolent by Francois Ecot is a blend of 6 varieties:

Pinot Noir
Pinot Beurrot
Pineau d'Aunis

Amazing that Pineau d'Aunis is to be found in Burgundy. Again, do Google this winemaker. He is one of several about whom a feature film could easily be made.

Poisson Rouge is an oddity; an Alicante Bouschet vinificato in bianco. But since Alicante is a teiturier with red flesh, this white wine is red.

 La Guinguette is a Pineau d'Aunis/Gamay blend from the world centre of Pineau d'Aunis; the Loir (a river in the Loire).

A Savoyard Chasselas seemed a good idea at the time but it didn't exactly bowl us over, tasting of what can we say, vin naturel...

And what about the label at the top of this post? It's a Grolleau. Enough said.

We also had time to drop in to Chapitre 20 and the Marche aux Enfants Rouges in the Marais. We adore Chapitre 20 (see our post devoted to this wine and book shop) but this time they didn't have some of the nice things we had found there previously and a replacement Gros Plant turned out to be corked as well as the original bottle. Is it supposed to be like that?

We did buy something very exotic from Chapite 20 though, a Chardonnay Ouille from the Jura.

Chardonnay Ouille? It's a Chardonnay that hasn't been oxydised in the way Jura whites were traditionally made. In other words, a Chardonnay made normally. Why should we prefer this to the traditional method? Because Chardonnay from the Jura is sufficiently unique without oxydisation as to make it interesting. So much so that we prefer it to any other Chardonnay. The rather ancient oxydised method applied mostly to Jura Savignin is something we have yet to come to terms with, and Mrs Slotovino isn't about to try...

Back at the Marche des enfants rouges, we found this Natural Romorantin also by Brendan Tracey. We couldn't resist and we were right not to.

No comments: