27 January 2011

magnum misadventures: jeanne a, 75011

Having recently endorsed the general usefulness of the all-day-even-Sunday kitchen at the frightfully overdecorated 11ème épicerie-à-manger Jeanne A, I must now offer the following enormous caveat: wine is available from magnum only.

I adore magnums as much as any wine geek. But all magnums, all the time is kind of like the attractive girlfriend who surprises and dismays you by insisting, everytime you sleep together, that her six attractive friends also join you in the twin bed. "This is fine!" you cry. "Just not every night!"

My friends and I discovered the mag policy when we popped in for what was meant to be a quick dinner Sunday evening. It was the last night of fashion week, half of us had worked showrooms all day, and we all had a magazine party to get to. Imagine our perplexed, crestfallen faces then, when it became clear that if we wanted to have a drink with our poulet rôti we had to, you know, really drink.

It is just a good thing there were six of us. And that there was an appealing, if somewhat overpriced, mag of 2007 Domaine Huet "Le Mont " Vouvray available. We did what we had to do.

I've posted about legendary biodynamic Loire estate Domaine Huet before, and many more professional wine writers have profiled their wines unto the end of the earth, such that I'm inclined to believe that if aliens were to land a billion years from now they would find only the remains of tasting notes of bygone Vouvray. It doesn't seem necessary to repeat much here, save to say that their wines are reliably superb, and this 2007 "Le Mont" Vouvray, one of their more accessible dry crus, was no exception. The nose was mineral dabbed with honey, and every sip after was like a broad, rocky river down which a flotilla of crisp green apples are bobbing along on a sunny day in early autumn. It was easy to get carried away.

Before anyone points out that this is a picture of a standard 750ml bottle, I'll note that a) it's '52 Mouton Rothschild, and b) it's fake. Just a tacky table ornament. 

Unfortunately no wine could be so entrancing as to make me forgive the idiocy of Jeanne A's wine program as it stands right now. At present, if one desires no more than a conventional bottle of wine, the staff offer to decant 750ml from one of the mags on offer. This is a system that could conceivably work in a furiously busy restaurant that served only bright young durable wines. But Jeanne A is often deserted. And there are wines from throughout the 2000's on offer. Imagine dropping 30€ + for what had been saved since the last time anyone ordered 750ml of that particular wine. It would taste like fridge.*

It is in the interest of any restaurant serving wine to ensure that bottles get emptied and new ones cracked open at the fastest rate possible. A wine program that relies upon huge bottles remaining half-full of air most of the time is headsmackingly misconceived. I'm not really in the habit of dispensing advice to restaurants, because they are busy crazy places full of unknown exigencies, and who am I to jaw off on what they need or don't need - but c'mon, Jeanne, get with the program.

* It now becomes all too clear why I observed that last glass of wine I had at Jeanne A came from a bottle that had been open a few days.

Jeanne A
42 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud
75011 Paris
Metro: Parmentier or Oberkampf
Tel: 01 43 55 09 49 ‎

Related Links:

A blurb on Jeanne A @ TheTelegraph
Rave #1 about Jeanne A @ JohnTalbott
Rave #2 about Jeanne A @ JohnTalbott

An extremely in-depth and evidently very adoring profile of Domaine Huet @ TheWineDoctor (includes tasting notes back to 1949)
An account of the 2008 vintages of Domaine Huet @ Jim'sLoire
Extensive tasting notes on Domaine Huet's wines @ WineAnorak
A profile of Domaine Huet @ RichardKelley

Quedubon, 75019, a terrific place for a touring band and their entourage to pound through a few magnums

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