Natural wines have grown in popularity across the globe, and France is no exception. There’s no set definition of what a natural wine is, but broadly speaking, they are wines made without pesticides, herbicides, and sulfites – and they’re taking the French capital by storm. Paris is a hotbed of new, independently run, gorgeously chic, waterholes serving these wines. Here are some of my favorite tried and tested pioneers of the natural wine movement in the city.
Located in the trendy district of Oberkampf, Aux Deux Amis is one of the most popular natural wine bars. Its clientele are achingly cool and so is the décor, with its mirrored walls, soft yellow lights, and Talking Heads thrumming in the background. Yet Aux Deux Amis doesn’t try too hard. The wine menu is simple, but expertly selected. Loire Gamay rubs shoulders with Jean Folliard’s Morgon. If you’re lucky enough, you might also quaff a glass from the much-lusted-after Auvergne winemaker, Patrick Bouju. Small plates of tapas – highlights including fresh sardines served on fragrant olive oil, and an oozing homemade potato tortilla – make the perfect accompaniment to your tipple.
Founded in 1980 by – gasp – an Englishman, Will’s Wine Bar has established itself as something of an institution in Paris’s first arrondissement. The bar happily toes the line between Parisian sophistication and British eccentricity, with bright posters lining the walls, abstract drawings on the ceiling, and a beautifully carved wooden bar at which to relax. Willi himself will pour your drink and offer experienced views on the merits of low-intervention winemaking methods – possibly with some life advice thrown in for good measure. Pair your beverage with some nibbles prepared by François Yon, head chef at Willi’s for three decades, and soak up the relaxed atmosphere.
Sister to Bertrand Grebaut’s acclaimed restaurant, Septime, ‘La Cave’ (as it’s known to the cognoscenti) is a tiny bar specialising in biodynamic and natural wines from Europe. Minimalism rules: you won’t find any opulent tablecloths or indecipherable menus here. But what La Cave lacks in size and grandeur, it certainly makes up for in taste and quality. There are ten stunning wines by the glass to choose from – all rotated on a daily basis – and you’ll be hard pressed to find better bar snacks in the city. Celeriac and quince sticks? Buttery cured Wagyu beef slices? Oui, avec plaisir!
Aux Deux Amis – 45 Rue Oberkampf, 75011 Paris
Willi’s Wine Bar – 13 Rue des Petits Champs, 75001 Paris
Septime La Cave – 3 Rue Basfroi, 75011 Paris
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