Since the last post I’m now a very happily married man and we are back from our honeymoon, three days in Paris. So a few thoughts on what we drank while we were there. No notes taken so the descriptions will be basic. It’s not news, of course, that Paris is expensive. At our local bistrot (we were staying in the Latin Quarter, 6th arrondissement) a 14cl glass of ordinary Cote de Rhone was €3.60, a 25cl 1664 Kronenborg was €4.50 – both waiter served. The mark-up on bottles of wine served with a meal was around double retail (unlike London where it is typically treble retail).
Actually the best wine of the honeymoon was drank in London, at Galvin’s Bistrot de Luxe. This was a 2011 Faugeres, Leon Barral (£50). Beautiful pure but complex nose with a persistent savouriness. Both the sommelier and a waiter commented on the wine and said how much they liked it. This choice set a theme for the visit – although we didn’t realise it at the time – of natural, or at least biodynamic wines. Very good food at the Bistrot as well, by the way.
On our first night we went to the local bistrot mentioned above and had the ‘wine of the month’ (with chicken and steak). This was a red Saumur Ch de la Durandiere, I think 2011, at €18. Not a bad price (around £10 retail in the UK) A typical cabernet franc, well structured and easy to drink. One UK seller claims it contains some cabernet sauvignon but I couldn’t taste it.
On the following night we were treated to a meal at La Pulperia which has a wine list full of natural wines (unfortunately the full list won’t load when viewed on the website). Following the Barral we went for another Languedocian maker, Magnon in Corbieres. This was his Metisse 2013 (€50). No UK seller that I can find. A coincidence is that, as I found out later, Barral is a mentor to Magnon. This wine was a very pale red, indeed pinot like in appearance and is listed as a rose by some sellers. The nose and taste took a while to develop but were quite seductive when they appeared, albeit in a light style. With dessert we had a glass of 1997 Binner Riesling, selection de grains nobles. This was a deep orange, mature but not past it with a wonderful sweet/dry finish. An interesting maker and I have a memory of Geoff and I driving round Anmmerswhir trying, unsuccessfully, to find their cave. As we were leaving the restaurant we were offered that rare thing in France, a drink on the house. This was a cremant from Jura, made by Ganevat (no UK supplier of this wine). Been open a while, I think, so very little mousse and very dry. Better as an aperitif.
Our room at the hotel (recommended unless you need reliable internet) had a very small kitchenette so we were able to eat lunch in and try a couple of wines from local shops. These were La Croix de Bebian 2010, from Nicholas and a Collioure 2013 from Monoprix, about €10 each. Both pleasant enough but I think you could do better for the same price in the UK.
Finally on our last night we went to another local restaurant specialising in food from the Lozere, which is hearty and unsophisticated. The wine was another Faugeres, Caumette’s Ancient Mercerie 2011, a biodynamic wine and at €27 quite highly marked up as the 2012 is around €9. No UK supplier. The wine was an assemblage of the main grapes of the region. Easy to drink but not memorable.