02 October 2010
I run into the same problem every fashion week. Friends and acquaintances arrive from New York, LA, Tokyo, all over, everyone stressed overworked and thirsty. When we all finish our respective jobs for the day, often quite late, I'm the only one who hopelessly advocates drinking someplace beyond the dead-obvious tourist-infested center of Paris. Since I'm the one living here, not staying in an overpriced hotel near Opera, I'm not really in a position to insist. We wind up at Irish pubs.
Which is why I'm straight-up ecstatic about the opening, just six months ago, of La Bodeguita du IVème, a particularly rock 'n' roll Spanish-themed natural wine bar right smack near the Centre Pompidou. From which my fashion friends can stagger home on foot, if it comes to it. The writing on the door proclaims "Wine's Not Dead!" and the same rebellious, joyous spirit pervades the whole place, from the unfinished walls to the mismatched chairs that have clearly been inherited from previous failure establishments.
The Spanish theme, too, is taken lightly. From what I saw the wine selection consists of nothing but top-notch natural French stuff. When I popped in with my friend P the other night my eye was drawn immediately to a 2005 Cour-Cheverny by Domaine des Huards, with which we rinsed down a plate of marinated anchovies and some simple hearty tortillas.
Cour-Cheverny is a tiny Loire appellation covering wines made from a loser little Loire grape called Romorantin, grown nowhere else. Any place pouring such an oddity as one of only two white glass pours wins my heart immediately. I'd never previously had one with five years' age on it. Nor would I have guessed it was a 2005, upon tasting: the wine had all the silvery minerality and lemon / herbal tones I'd expect from something much younger. It was kind of like certain Paul Westerberg songs that sound like they date from either the 90's or the 70's (though they were written the 80's): simultaneously fresher and more classic than its time, with a sort of perpetual plangent youthfulness.
The evening later saw the owner Olivier blasting "Bohemian Rhapsody," inciting a kind of communal karaoke, after which he treated P and me to a splash of rather baroque 2004 Minervois. P really dug this wine, a pretty modern Carignan / Grenache / Syrah blend, which he cheerfully proceeded to demolish in about two sips***. For my part, I was just thrilled to have found a brilliant alternative to Irish pubs this week.
*I just have kind of a thing against drinking tinny Kronenbourg and rubbishy mojitos, what can I say? Nothing about these drinks screams place, nothing coheres with the occasion, nothing transmits even a whisper of Paris or France or any kind of unique culture. Drinking bad drinks is just dead-time, so many lost brain cells. When I meet an old friend over bad drinks the thought springs to me unbidden: "So, we've come to this."
**Although the awesome bartender / cofounder Nath tells me she's attending a Spanish wine conference in Spain in the coming weeks that will hopefully help diversify the selection at La Bodeguita.
***Leading me to believe I might have been inadvertently torturing poor P with all the fluttery high-acid whites, Gamays, and Pinots I'd been ordering for us all night. Oops.
La Bodeguita du IVème
58, rue de Quincampoix
Metro: Reaumur Sebastopol
Tel: 06 19 36 70 06
Meg Zimbeck on La Bodeguita
My post on another enjoyable loser Loire grape