In following a dream I’ve had since high school French class, I moved to Paris to get my Master’s degree, immerse myself in the culture, better understand French wines and become fluent in the language. For a while I knew that working at a wine bar would be a great way to expose myself to French wines while fast-tracking my language skills. When I moved into my studio, I noticed there was a lively little wine bar tucked into a side street in my neighborhood. Every night, I would see the bar alive with happy people and a great air around it – good vibes. I decided to stop in one night after class and check it out for myself. I sat at the bar and the owner greeted me, and when I asked for the wine list he said “I am the wine list.” I knew the place was something special.
So, 2 days after I stopped in for a glass and a petite planche of charcuterie and fromage I came by again. I told the owner that I had just moved here as a student and I would love to work at the bar if he ever needed extra hands. I told him about how I studied wine and what I was doing in Paris and he instantly lit up. “Come by tomorrow and we’ll try it out.” After completing my first shift on a Friday night at the bar I was officially hired!
Oftentimes, winery representatives from all over France will bring wines to the bar for a dégustation, which are my favorite days. Recently, we had a representative named Julian who poured us 2 Alsatian Rieslings, 3 Rhône whites, and 2 Rhône reds. The 3 whites were a Viognier, a Condrieu (100% Viognier) and a Marsanne-Roussane blend. We tasted the Viognier first, followed by the Marsanne-Roussane and finally the pièce de résistance, the Condrieu. This 2021 Condrieu by Maison Bruyère & David was stunning – perfectly balanced with a hint of minerality, vanilla, subtle fruit flavors of stone fruit and melon, a soft mouthfeel and a spritz of acidity. According to Julian, 2021 was a great year for white Rhônes and this wine was a perfect indicator of that. It was also graced with floral aromas of orange blossom and honeysuckle. I had just been learning about the Condrieu region and this wine did not disappoint. So far, this Condrieu has been my favorite wine of ours and we now pour this wine for our guests.
The Marsanne-Roussane was tasty as well, but the owner refrained from bringing this one on board because we already had an outstanding white Saint Joseph in stock. When I tried it, I understood why we didn’t need anything else at the moment. The Saint Joseph we pour is a 2019 “Cuvée Loess” by Vigneron Gilles Flacher. It has a mouthfeel that is creamy, smooth and about as full-bodied as you can get for a white wine. It’s extremely well-balanced with fruity notes of pêche, orange blossom and fresh brioche that has just a hint of sweetness. The grapes for this 2019 cuvée were grown in granite and loess soils of the Northern Rhône Valley. Made in the traditional winemaking style en barrique, the Marsanne and Roussane are able to express the richness and complexity imparted by the terroir to their fullest potential. This wine would fare well with a salty hard cheese, perhaps a cheddar aux oignons caramélisés or a compté.
More dégustation reviews to come! À bientôt ~