16 December 2010

proper pre-gaming: au nouveau nez, 75020

Wait, you say.  Didn't he already post about Au Nouveau Nez a few months ago? It sounded like a nice tiny cave à grignoter.*

This is the other location. There are key differences. Foremost among them the other night was the proximity of this location to a 20ème concert venue, La Flêche d'Or, where my friend H and I were planning to see Brooklyn dream-pop band Twin Sister later that evening. La Flêche d'Or doesn't sell tickets in advance, and since Twin Sister are one of just a few contemporary groups that genuinely interest me, I had been somewhat anxious about arriving early enough to get tickets.

That proved unwarranted, since in the end the place was half-empty. But it did give H and I a fine excuse to check out l'autre Nez, where we caught up about his eBook company over a relatively recent - 2005 - bottle of Matthieu Coste's brilliant biodynamic Côteaux Giennois Gamay, "Biao."

I seem to be posting about this wine a lot. First I had a bottle of the 1998 at Spring Buvette, then later a friend brought same wine in magnum format to Thanksgiving dinner. After all this enjoyable research of this one particular wine, I knew what to expect from the 2005.

It's a parcel of exceptionally structured biodynamic Loire Gamay, resembling good Régnié or Chiroubles, just with longer tannins and blacker fruit. It's kind of like samurai Gamay - very disciplined. I will go on record as preferring to drink the 2005 slightly too early than the 1998 slightly too late.

I will not go on record about which Au Nouveau Nez I prefer. Both are well-stocked, well-priced all-natural wine shops where you can snack with zero corkage, and since I plan to frequent both, I ought to be a little politic. I can say that the one in the 20ème is the more recent of the two, and with its T-shaped bar, is probably better designed from a customer's perspective. (Agnès, the friendly proprietor there, endures a miniscule kitchen space with admirable charm and grace.)

There is also a slightly bigger selection.

And, of course, there is the advantage to being close to La Flêche d'Or, although it appears H and I were inexplicably the only concertgoers who thought to pregame at Au Nouveau Nez that Friday.

Twin Sister, incidentally, brought the house down, or as much as can be brought down when the place is half-empty and the music is woozy mid-tempo 4AD-ophile cooing.

*Okay, that is a term I seem to have coined (#1 on the Google Search! Hell yes!), not yet in popular use. You might not think to say it. But it seemed to me that very small wine shops that serve cheese and meats and nothing else can't very well call themselves caves à manger, because that term seems more applicable to multi-course establishments that happen to sell wine to-go, like Le Verre Volé, Autour d'Un Verre, or Le Chapeau Melon. Agnès and Nadine at Aux Nouveaux Nez refer to their hours of food service as "bistro" hours, but that strikes me as even more of a misnomer, since what sort of bistro serves nothing but snack food? Hence: cave à grignoter. (The French grignoter means, roughly, to snack.")

Au Nouveau Nez
52, rue Bagnolet
75020 PARIS
Metro: Alexandre Dumas
Tel: 01 43 56 94 55

Au Nouveau Nez
112, rue Saint Maur
75011 PARIS
Metro: Parmentier
Tel: 01 43 55 02 30

Related Links:

Marveling at Au Nouveau Nez caviste Nadine's near-telepathic empathy for my taste in red wine
Some Loire Chardonnay at Au Nouveau Nez in the 11ème
The 1998 "Biao" from magnum at Thanksgiving
The 1998 "Biao" from a normal 750ml bottle at Spring Buvette

A characteristically exhaustive profile of Matthieu Coste @ WineTerroirs

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