74 days deep into our EU Austerity Drinking Tour, we leave Cork, Ireland for Paris, France. Au revoir beer and whisk(e)y. Bonjour France: glorious crucible of wine: where most grape varieties and wine styles took root.
An airport bus takes us from Cork at 9:50 am. Landed at Charles de Gaule airport, we starve our way to our home-stay near Place des Fêtes in the 19th Arrondissement. By 4:30, we find a late lunch at the first boulangerie we see.
We get lost amidst the 70s high-rises. Then we find our homestay, get keys from neighbors, and finally squeeze into an apartment bursting with souvenirs: hats from Cuba, dolls from Thailand, African masks. No inch survives undecorated. The only thing missing is our host.
Well, the human host anyway.
After purging cat hair from everything for two-hours, we return to the square for dinner-staples, boulangerie dessert, and our first wine in Paris:
Jean Perrier Et Fils, Cuvée Prestige, Mondeuse, Savoie, France 2011.
I trust the geek in me and go for something weird: wine made from the Mondeuse grape: a rare thing, nearly wiped from the planet by phyloxera, but now mainly grown in the Savoy region of Eastern France.
This being an Austerity EU Drinking Tour, it costs under $14.
The color is a deep ruby purple that runs straight to the rim.
Young, moderately intense blackberry, rhubarb, and green leaves float up.
It assertively dry, with medium plus acid and medium plus tannins. There may be reason to why the French call it Maldoux or ‘badly sweet”. Alcohol and body are average.
Moderate flavors of tart blackberries, brambles, wet chalk, salt, and green leaves make for an odd, not wholly pleasant, experience. These challenging flavors last for a medium plus length.
Jean Perrier’s Mondeuse tastes very tart, wispy, and jangly: a stubbly, lean punk, with an anarchist shirt and a black hoody. Only our baguette and cheese dinner can save this recalcitrant youth. It needs food to tame all that acid and tannin. Maybe now, in 2013, it might have matured, gotten a shave, and a job (it was only a year old from its 2011 harvest when we tried it).
Then my wife breaks a ceramic cat plaque from South America. Granted, the countless souvenirs in this apartment balance, hang, or lean on every precarious edge. But this bodes poorly.
Tomorrow, she turns 31. And I’ve booked a day at Versailles. Tune in next Monday to find out.