September 20, 2016
Le Siffleur de Ballons, Palmyre Roigt
There are a ton of things we consider when choosing where to eat out: the ambiance of the restaurant, the chef’s specialties, price, and proximity are a few aspects often that affect my choices. While the quality of the food served is probably the first thing that occurs to us when reserving a table, I would argue that the wine menu is equally, if not more, important when choosing where to dine while in France.
Ever since discovering natural wine in 2012, I have begun to seek it out as a sign of quality and good food and drinks to come when choosing where to eat, and this method rarely lets me down. It also often brings welcome surprises, such as encounters with inspiring food industry professionals and the discovering of off-the-beaten-track addresses.
August 30, 2016
Summer seems to only have just started and already I find my thoughts fast forwarding to the fall. I love every minute of the summer, with its long lazy days and cloudless blue skies, but since I started working in the vines, my summer vacations have become more distracted by the fruit-ripening months to come. The hot days of summer inevitably inspire winemakers to tackle the practicalities of the harvest. Here in wine country, the build up to the harvest comes with a contagious energy. It’s not just the time when winemakers collect the fruit of their hard work throughout the year, but it’s also a festive time, with teams of workers spending their days in the vines. Unlike most of the work done throughout the year – pruning, treating, working the land, etc which is solitary and requires few – the harvest requires teams of workers coming together.
August 26, 2016
I’m often asked what I miss most about Paris when Stateside. The list is inevitably long, but the access to quality, affordable French wines is always up there. Sound familiar? Enter Paris Wine Company, a wonderful exporter allowing Americans to enjoy a bespoke selection of bottles at home.
Paris Wine Company is hosting its first Wine Weekend in Paris this fall and it’s not to be missed. The weekend boasts a welcome dinner at YARD restaurant, a portfolio tasting at Verjus, and several events centered around Champagne.
September 15, 2015
It’s been a belle année in France and the annual grape harvests are upon us. Due to the beautiful summer weather and almost ideal conditions throughout the year, the harvest – or vendanges – are taking place much earlier than last year. Sun-soaked southern winegrowing regions, like Beaujolais and Languedoc-Roussillon, began their harvests in mid-August and cooler regions, like the Loire Valley, will start the harvest in these first few weeks of September.
Taking part in the vendanges is almost a rite of passage for French youth. Broke high school and college students often take advantage of this opportunity to make some money before the school year starts, while spending time under the sun and making friends from all around the world. In smaller vineyards, the vendanges feel like a family affair, with communities forming among the harvesters who come back year after year. I kind of think of the vendanges as the French version of summer camp, only instead of making lanyards you’re helping to make wine.
July 23, 2015
During a warm week in April I enjoyed a last meal at Paris’ favorite Italian restaurant, Caffè dei Cioppi, before it closed its doors for good. Although long-time fans of Fabrizio Ferrara’s flavorful cuisine were disappointed by the move, the good news is that the space has reopened as a relaxed Italian café and wine bar in the hands of Stefania Melis, already known to the Paris gastronomic scene as coupled with Simone Tondo of Roseval fame.
With the change of hands, the terrace tucked away in an alley off rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine hasn’t lost any of its charm. Folding metal tables and chairs are replaced by wicker stools and round café tables. A smart green awning reads Capucine in a curly script.
May 26, 2015
While it is exciting to live in a city that is increasingly open to international influences and imported ideas, it’s also reassuring to know that Paris holds its own as a trendsetter in certain fields. The natural wine scene is definitely one of the domains in which the French capital has gained and maintained solid footing. Senior natural wine sellers such as La Quincave and La Cave des Papilles established themselves as reliable outposts for vin nature in the early days of the movement, bringing low-intervention wine from small-scale vineyards to the city. These role models have inspired a new wave of wine bars to open in Paris, making natural wine increasingly present and accessible.
Le Mary Celeste
April 10, 2015
Wine Tasting in Paris, Thierry Givone
I’ve always found local wines and spirits an enjoyable way to sip myself into a different culture. So my travel M.O. is “arrive and imbibe,” whether it’s beer in Belgium or Unicum in Hungary. One of the best things about being in Paris is that “going local” means enjoying some particularly good French wine. Every once in awhile I like to crank that experience up a notch with a little help from a professional. While wine courses and tastings can be found all over Paris, here are a few of my favorites for education without intimidation.
Wine Tasting in Paris, Thierry Givone
November 3, 2014
With everything from simple corner cafes to trendy nightclubs, Paris is a paradise for those with a taste for the nightlife. Even so, sometimes a night off is in order. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you have to eschew a bit of sipping, as Paris offers some interesting alternatives for your home-drinking pleasure.
Natural Wine in Bulk: En Vrac
While wine by the box may not be new, this popular bar and restaurant is providing a new perspective on buying wine in bulk in its two Paris locations. En Vrac means “in bulk,” and here customers choose from a selection of natural wines that can be sampled on-site or taken off-site in fun French lemonade inspired to-go bottles (or bring your own). At prices that start around 5 Euros a bottle, it’s easy to take a chance on a few and spend a casual evening holding your own private wine tasting. And, for those seeking something stronger, they also offer up a selection of bulk spirits like Poire Williams, Vodka, Rhum, and more in a variety of sizes.
October 28, 2014
What happens when two fine arts graduates of the prestigious École du Louvre team up with a French wine expert? A cadre made in French heaven: a wine shop art gallery hybrid for enthusiasts who like their Sancerre with a side of up-and-coming art. Ici-même + Gallerie Graphem, located steps away from the manicured gardens of the Promenade Plantée, finds itself a home in this bohème corner of the 12th arrondissement.
Art directors Fabienne Lafaye and Claire Aimonier-Davat, who started their careers in fine art galleries throughout Paris, conceptualized the adjoining Gallerie Graphem. Through their experience in the art world, they have been able to cultivate relationships with artists from all over Europe who have been invited to display their work at exhibitions booked through 2015. During their residency, artists are invited to bond the two spaces with a light sketch trailing from the gallery into the wine shop.
October 14, 2014
Haven in Paris, Julien Hausherr
I’ve just booked my Haven in Paris apartment for a week in the City of Love. Sigh… Going to Paris has always been a dream of mine, and I want it to be just perfect. I am working with Haven in Paris to fill my days with the luxury service discounts they are offering during this winter’s low season. While my activities aren’t fully booked, I have already started daydreaming about how I will spend my days.