By Justin Chiotti
Can we agree that one of the romantic notions associated with Paris involves buying a bottle of wine and drinking it in an ideal setting; a park, along the river, or in view of an iconic landmark? So, in a city filled with tiny specialty shops certainly there must be one perfect shop dedicated to buying great French wine? The answer is yes… and no. There are many wine shops, but sometimes the best places to buy wine are not so obvious.
There are two mental obstacles to overcome before setting out to buy good and great French wines to take away—a emporter. First, great wine will not just fall into your lap without a little research and second, purchasing wine a emporter from restaurants and wine bars is a part of the culture and should be done at least once during your visit.
It’s true, you can find wine at most corner grocers in the city, but you will certainly not find anything special. A little research goes a long way and will parlay into a better quality wine for your euro and a story to heighten the drinking experience. So, where to start?
The New York Times’ Wine School Column is a great place to gain knowledge about French wines, histories of the wine regions and its producers, and exact bottles to seek out. Articles can be found online here.
A simple Google search can often tell you where to find a specific bottle of wine in Paris. Also, often times the producer’s website will list which restaurants and wine shops in Paris carry their wine.
I challenge you to overcome the notion that wine must be bought from a store—this is a major difference between the U.S. and Paris. In Paris, wine is purchased not only from a wine shop or cave, but also from wine bars and restaurants. If you have a bottle of wine you like at a restaurant ask if you can purchase one to go—it will likely be cheaper than enjoying there.
Strolling to a restaurant and purchasing wine a emporter without dining at the establishment is also a part of the culture.
Juveniles and Le Verre Vole are two great restaurants that double as wine caves. The wine bar Septime La Cave in the 11th arrondissement is a great place to seek out affordable organic wines from wine makers like Domaine Mosse and Julien Guilot.
Wine shops should not be completely overlooked. One of my favorites is Les Caves Augé. The large, historic shop carries wine from every French region and hard to find bottles like organic wine maker Eric Pfifferling’s L’Anglore Tavel (a more full-bodied rosé capable of aging), various Savenniere’s (a tiny appelation in the Loire that produces flavorful whites that must be decanted), and reds from Saint Joseph a rising star region in the Côte du Rhône. These wines make an excellent match for red meat and taste of smoky, bacon.
Maybe a friend has told you, you really need to try a Pomerol, a well-respected red wine appellation in Bordeaux, or Chinon, a great value cab franc from the Loire. When looking for a wine from a particular region, I also recommend turning to Google. Many wine shops in Paris specialize in a particular wine region of France. Two of my favorites include La Derniere Goutte, a wine shop in Saint Germain that specializes in Rhone varietals and in the Marais, Caves Bossetti, which specializes in wines from Burgundy.
Do you have a favorite wine shop in Paris? If so, please share in the comments below and as they say in France, Santé (cheers)!