Paris and Wine Bars. A Natural Fit.

We are witnessing a wine renaissance among younger wine-drinkers who, following in the footsteps of their parent’s generation, seek out healthier natural choices.  Nowhere has this change been more pronounced than in France where natural wines have emerged to break hundreds of years of rigid tradition.  Without trying to be too definitional or geeky, natural wines eschew sulfites and other chemicals and work with native yeasts.  They are often produced using biodynamic and organic farming methods. Typically lower in alcohol and drunk young, natural wines achieve results that vary from true varietal and terroir greatness to horribly made barnyard tasting vinegary acidic disasters.  You can spot them by their irreverent labels and often, as a result of having broken with all regulations, the designation ‘Vin De France’ as opposed to a region.

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Along with the emergence of natural wines, Paris now boasts a host of informal wine bars where you can stop in for a glass, a bottle and often a good meal. During a recent visit we thoroughly enjoyed an evening at Le Barav, a wine bar and shop located in the 3eme, a short walk from the Bastille metro.

Shortly after being seated (we arrived early which was a good idea because by 7 the restaurant was packed) I went next door to the well stocked shop.

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Once there I was guided gracefully by a wonderful sommelier who did not try to force the conversation into English. She started out our evening with a powerful unfiltered old vine Gamay from Auvergne which showed muscle and depth not usually associated with this grape.

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Our meal was simple and very well done.  Cauliflower tabouleh, cheese toasts, a perfect artichoke and sliced oranges for desert.  The staff could not have been more accommodating.

A second bottle was called for midway through the meal.  She suggested a Cabernet Franc from Saumur, Antoine Sonzay Les Terres Rouge 2016.  Naturally made and organically produced, this is an enormous balanced Cabernet Franc with tons of dark fruit and a minimum of green pepper tones that could easily be cellared for 10 years.  It  gradually elevated as the meal went and peaked at the end of the bottle.  Domage.
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Oh and the evening was very reasonable too.  Corkage was 6 euro per bottle.  Imagine that.  And remember to get there early or be prepared to wait..
One word of advice, let your waiter or sommelier guide you, it certainly helped us…
Can’t get into Le Barav? Here is a list of other wine bars to try on your next trip:
Chambre Noir  82 Rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75011

Buvette   28 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009

Aux Deux Amis   45 Rue Oberkampf, 75011
Repaire de Cartouche 8 Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, 7501
Verre Vole 67 Rue de Lancry, 75010
Septime Cave 3 Rue Basfroi, 75011
Le Barav:
6 Rue Charles-François Dupuis, 75003
Domaine Gougis:
Domaine Antoine Sanday
19 Rue des Roches Neuves, 49400 Varrains, France

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