As promised, here’s the line-up of the wines we enjoyed during our week in Paris. For some it might look like a lot. For others, I can almost hear them muttering to themselves, “is that all?” For us, it was a perfect week, and the wines were a wonderful accent to it all. Cheers!
Moet & Chandon NV blanc et rosé. Not as special as the location; delicious Champagne on Louvre courtyard. (Café Marly)
2009 Paul Jaboulet Ainé Cotes du Rhone “Parallèle 45”: Solid, dependable, well-made CDR; bright fruit, bit of smokiness, smooth finish. Anything special would have been wasted given our travel fatigue. (Bistrot de la Grille)
2009 Leon Beyer Alsace Pinot Noir: Never had an Alsatian pinot before. Like a few reds this week, bottle came out chilled; easier to warm a red than cool a red. Light, good acid, perfect for a light lunch. Not nearly as much fruit as an American pinot, not by a long shot, and that was just fine for us. (La Brasserie de l’Isle Saint-Louis)
2009 Oliver Leflaive Pernand-Vergelesse 1er cru Fichots: Matched up to both my steak and Mary’s scallop risotto. Good depth; balanced fruit and acid, medium weight, aromatic with hints of tart strawberry. (Bistro d’Henri)
2005 Chateau Arnauld Haut Medoc Cru Bourgeois: Long and soft. Wonderful. Perfect with our pepper steak frites, the house speciality. (La Bourse ou la Vie)
2011 Cave des vins de Sancerre “Les Marennes” (375ml): Great acid, full fruit; medium bodied. Little bit of oak. Perfect glass after long afternoon of climbing and walking. (Au Cadet des Gascognes)
2008 Rene Bouvier Racines du Temp Gevrey-Chambertin “Very Old Vines”: Right down the middle. Textbook pinot noir. Bit of earthiness, fragrant, good fruit, nice integration of acid, moderate tannin. (L’Epi Malin)
2010 Paola and Remie Benon Chenas Cru du Beaujolais: Came cold. Warmed up to chilled over course of lunch. Light, fruity, smooth with enough body to handle steak and gratin dauphinois. Perfect lunch wine. (Café Musee)
Delamotte Champagne “brut cuvee reservee”: Nothing to distinguish it except for being refreshing and perfectly suited for people watching on Boulevard Saint-Germain. (Café Les Deux Magots)
2011 Francois Crochet Sancerre: A label we’re familiar with; citrus with a bit of minerality. Smooth and great match for scallops risotto. (Chez Julien)
2011 Bourgogne Aligoté “Les Planchants” Noel Briday Corcelles: First time with aligoté. Medium weight, with an unexpected earthiness; handled a pseudo-chicken Ceasar salad just fine. I need to try more of this variety; want to get to know it better. (Brasserie Le Bourbon)
Pierre Gimmonet “Fleuron blanc de blancs”: Crisp, bright, refreshing. (L’Epi Dupin)
2008 Domaine Jean-Marc Bouley Volnay “vielles vignes”: Supple, smooth, rich, excellent depth and finish. (L’Epi Dupin)
Maurice Phillippart 1er Cru Champagne: Toasty, full-bodied. (Café Doucet)
2009 Chassagne-Montrachet Olivier Leflaive: Best wine of the week. Perfect hint of oak and vanilla; layers of flavor, long finish. Great way to end. (Maison du Jardin)
Etcetera: Our hotel bar had eight wines available in a Cruvinet system. On the red side, the week we were there, were the aforementioned Jaboulet, Mouton Cadet, Chateau Fourney, and a Cru Beaujolais, a Morgon I think. I was able to taste all four at various times during the week and the Ch. Fourney was the most approachable and had the most character. The Mouton Cadet was far too young and tannic, while the Rhone and the Beaujolais were eminently drinkable but without much to recommend them.
Note: All Champagne was by the glass. Just in case you’re wondering. Or counting.