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.
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.
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.
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.
Buvette 28 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009