This Monday’s EU Austerity Drinking Tour finds us winding up our last days in Paris.
We revisit Montmarte and Sacre Coeur to find both changed. Today, the sun’s glare brings out tourists and pick pockets. Inside, a moment of song and ritual seems lovely, but crowded.
Tumbling down Montmarte towards the city center we halt at Le Repaire de Bacchus: a wine-geek oasis in this urban desert.
This small bottle shop on 14 Rue Rambuteau, fills its dark walls with hand picked bottles. Yes, it is chain, but a small one, and such a salve to France’s omnipresent, redundant Nicolas wine shops
The range of value organic, grower, and cult wines from all over France bewilders us. After a negligible conversation in French, we buy two wines.
First, Maison Rouge‘s, 2007 Corbières. The letters “CO HO LA” run across its fake cork label. Not short for a type of salmon, CO HO LA abbreviates the latin “Cor Hominis Laetificat” or it Gladdens Man’s Heart. And does it.
Our glasses fill with purple squid ink, it’s tentacles grip the clear walls.
Powered aromas of hot, black berry start the show, followed by earth, cacao powder, and melted iron.
Past all the fruit, this is dry, with noted medium acidity, fat, soft tannins, bold alcohol, velvet texture, and body. Ripe flavors of black bramble fruits dominate thanks to the dominance of carignan and syrah. Mourvèdre provides dried herb, spice, and earth, rounded by grenache’s plum. The length is medium plus.
Maybe because it is Fall in Paris. Maybe because of our lentil soup. Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation due to next door’s bar. But CO HO LA Corbières is very good wine (4 of 5). Harvest happened by hand, with organic farming, and biodynamic pruning by moonlight. Amazingly at $10, it feels like a French Art Student project: challenging, aesthetic, if a bit blunt:
The next day, we hit Paris’ streets. George Larnicol Chocolate chain knows what Americanized season it is:
We spend a free day at the Louvre, casually wandering through this labyrinth of art.
We had visited it a few times before. Yet still, room after room of decontextualized masterworks exhaust us.
By day’s end, we see past the famed pieces, sit, look up, and admire the centuries of didactic interior design.
Spent, we leave as quickly as possibly through the Louvre’s mall of underground shops. Tragic materialism.
We eat at every patisserie, boulangerie, and fromagerie we pass, and lounge in Luxembourg gardens:
Finally, with our next stay booked in Tours, we preview our trip to the Loire the best way we know how: with wine.
Jacky Blot’s, Brut Tradition, from Taille aux Loups in Montlour Sur Loire:
Now Wayward Wine has sampled Blot’s Triple Zero before (here). But we could not resist his cheaper Brut ($14) also made from chenin blanc.
A clear, bright gold color and super fine, steady fizz bode well. Moderate aromas of golden pear and apple, with lovely soft biscuits, and vanilla smell delightful. Off-dry sweetness adds roundness and ripeness, which is a good thing, because popping acidity would cut us to bits. Full-ish flavors of ripe green grapes, lemonade, and slate mineral refresh. Good fruit provides a medium plus length. Blot’s Brut Tradition is very good (4 of 5).
With the bubbly drained, we say goodby to Paris.
It was an over-packed week. We look forward to swapping museums for vineyards in the Loire Valley. Check in next Monday for 2012’s harvest.