Sipping a glass of St. Emilion up in the rafters of an old Haussmann building here on the Left Bank. The weather has finally turned here in France, l’été indien giving way to the grisaille parisienne – the silvery gray sky that once enraptured Pissarro and Hemingway.
The Boulevard Montmartre at Night by Camille Pissarro
Last night, we took a trip off the beaten path, away from the throngs of tourists, to a little restaurant-bar in the east of the city. At a bar in the front, regulars stand by the open window smoking and drinking pression (beer on tap), while in the back, we dine à l’ancienne on a fixed menu dreamed up nightly by the waiter’s father.
It’s a shame that French wine has become so vulnerable to accusations of pretension. To blame: big reds, the 1855 classification, and the high price of imported French wine in the U.S.
But the real tradition of wine in France is far more anarchiste… To whit this no-frills restaurant, its reputation passed on by word of mouth, where cheap beer is served right alongside wines from Rhône, Bourgogne, and Bordeaux – served not in those massive stems all the rage in California, but in simple Duralex tumblers that cost just a few euros a glass.
Remember: France is not only the nation of Louis XIV; it’s also the nation of José Bové, the perennial presidential candidate, a man who, in 1999, led 300 farmers to a McDonald’s, where they sat outside to enjoy a picnic of bread and Roquefort cheese before destroying the entire place with a tractor.
A collection of French wines should have its Louis XIV, of course (the Château Rozier you’ll be enjoying soon), but it must also have its Bovés (your L’Intrus and Télégramme). (If you haven’t received your Bonner Private Wine Partnership French collection yet, don’t worry, it’s on its way and will be with you shortly.)
As longtime readers will know, France lies at the intersection of three major air currents – Atlantic, Mediterranean, and African. The result is a massive variety in terroir. Don’t be fooled by the wines you often find at your local restaurant or wine shop. As you’ll discover in your latest collection, there is much more to French wines than even most wine lovers realize.
If you haven’t already, be sure to tune into Julien’s complete tasting of the French collection. You can access all the videos at this link (be sure to bookmark it so that you can get a refresher each time you open a bottle).
Oh, and one last thing: your tasting booklets are on their way! If you haven’t received yours yet, do not worry, it’s winging its way to you as I type
Bonner Private Wine Partnership
P.S. Just to remind you, if you haven’t seen Julien’s 7-part tasting for the French collection yet, you can find all seven videos at this link… (each video is no more than a few minutes long, so don’t be afraid to get started right away…)