Novel places to seek out a glass of wine in Paris
Whether it’s sipping a glass of ultra premium wine beneath the columns of the Grand Palais, savouring carefully selected bottlings in a wine bar epitomising French charm or discovering natural red wines in an eatery stroke wine cellar in the Latin quarter, Paris is brimming with unusual venues for enjoying a good bottle of wine.
Natural Wines &
33, Rue mazarine, 75006 Paris
Tel: +33 (0) 1 46 34 84 52
Open every day from 11 am to 2 am
Epure is unusual in that it sets natural wines within a futuristic décor: with its slender, solid oak bar resembling a surf board, its bare stone walls scored with bottle-lined shelves and its gleaming cold meat slicer, it has that undeniable wow factor. The latest addition to the Agapé stable, after a restaurant in the 17th arrondissement and Agapé Substance opposite, it is an eatery stroke wine cellar successfully combining a cutting-edge approach to wine with a reverence to terroir. Burgundy, Loire, Beaujolais… in all, the wine list boasts nearly a thousand natural and biodynamic wines to take away or drink on the premises for a corkage fee of 8 euros. At the bar, some amazing wines can be enjoyed like this Chenin with its fruity, almost sweet nose flowing into a dry, mineral palate (Juliette, Jean-Pierre Robinot, €12). The wine list features a magnum of ‘wine of the week’ and around twenty reasonably-priced wines by the glass from ‘12’ grown in Aveyron by Nicolas Camaran, at €8, to Crowford Montebruno from Oregon for €18. Choose some carefully selected tapas, thinly-sliced cold meats and characterful cheeses to go with them. Good value for money, especially in this area of Paris.
Designed on a huge scale
3, Avenue Winston Churchill,
Tel: +33 (0) 1 42 56 42 42
The only thing ‘mini’ about this place is its name. Abutting the glass dome of the Grand Palais, the restaurant in Paris’ 8th arrondissement is designed on a huge scale. Whether you’re seated in the outsized hall or beneath the columns on the terrace, there is no mistaking the fact that the design is awesome. In summer and winter alike, light floods in, highlighting details that underscore the craftsmanship of the sculptures and the cast-iron structure. At Minipalais, the décor serves as a backdrop for the gourmet food on offer. The menu, designed by Eric Fréchon, features all the classic dishes for which the 3-star Michelin chef is renowned: sweetbreads with a Comté cheese and Vin Jaune crust, tamarind-glazed cod, coriander-flavoured Thai broth and giant rum baba with vanilla cream. Wines by the glass are the perfect accompaniment: 2012 Pouilly Fumé Jonathan Pabiot (€8), 2011 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru La Réserve de Louis (€8), or alternatively a bottle of 2010 Chablis 1er Cru ‘Montmains’ from William Fèvre, priced at €51, carefully selected by Damien Hervé. The in-house sommelier knows all the classics. Alongside extremely affordable small producers from the South or the Loire Valley are exceptional great growths such as a 2002 Cos d’Estournel (€300), a 1995 Palmer (€480) or a 1998 Cheval Blanc (€1,385). Proof that in this case, you can judge a restaurant by its wine list.
A Cosmopolitan Place
68, rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau,
Tel: +33 (0) 1 44 73 97 80
Open from 4pm till midnight,
Monday to Saturday
You won’t see any advertising or press relations for O Château. It is the kind of place wine lovers learn about by word of mouth. Most of them in fact come from overseas: Olivier Magny’s wine courses, taught in English in a superb wine library, probably have something to do with it. French, Germans, Americans… the clientele gathered at the bar is cosmopolitan, as are the wines. Every week, forty different wines are served by the glass, in 3cl tasting measures or full-sized 12cl glasses for full enjoyment. They include a 2010 Alsace Bollenberg Riesling by Domaine Valentin Zusslin (€9 for 12cl), a 2011 Volnay Sous la Chapelle by Domaine Chavy-Chouet (€15) and a 1999 Pomerol from Château de l’Enclos priced at 26 euros. There is something to suit everyone’s tastes and wallets, up to and including Yquem aficionados who can treat themselves to a tasting measure of the 1998 vintage for 24 euros. Attention to detail is striking, from what’s on the plate to the décor. Olivier Magny has turned this bourgeois townhouse once belonging to Madame de Pompadour into a friendly, modern venue where the sleek bar area looks just as authentic as the hewn stonework and leather sofas. O Château is Parisian yet not BoBo, it is timeless and far-removed from the vagaries of fashion, a place where you can relax.