I started frequenting my friend Marie-Jo Mimoun's adorable Morroccan restaurant Le Tagine about two years ago. Mimoun has a superb little Rhône-focused wine list, featuring, among others, such legends as Domaine Gramenon, Dard et Ribo, and Jean Foillard. Yet on every visit I'm surprised by how little wine is consumed in the place. The haute-Marais clientele, largely white and French (i.e. non-Muslim), seem to stick to beer.
I can only assume it's because Le Tagine doesn't look like a wine place. It looks like a chill spot for some ethnic food with the family on a weeknight. And I get the impression that Paris diners - native and tourist - are more reluctant to purchase serious wine from people who don't look classically French.
Justin E. H. Smith, professor of history and philosophy of science at Université Paris Diderot, recently touched on this bias in a terrific NYTimes Opinion piece, where he astutely cited the link between European nativism and "the celebration of terroir and 'Slow Food'." It's a discomfiting alliance based on resistance to globalism and its effects. At worst, as in the case of Friulian winemaker / hatemonger Fulvio Bressan, the resistance is manifested as outright racism. In France, we see certain slippery creeps organising anti-Muslim protests under the guise of "sausage and wine" parties beside mosques. On a far more innocuous level, you have the fact that quality terroir-driven wines in France - let alone natural wines - are consumed almost exclusively in identifiably French restaurants.
In the case of Le Tagine, an overlooked gem of a restaurant that boasts stupendous service and solid soulful Morroccan cuisine alongside its well-priced wine list, it's a crying shame. On the plus side, there's almost always a six-top free when I need one.