23 September 2010

summer's last rosé: le garde robe, 75001

There ought to be a term - possibly Italian? - for the relief a frustrated professional experiences upon entering an environment where he or she feels, at last, understood by his or her peers. I get this when I walk into a restaurant or bar or cave and see those subtle, reassuring hallmarks of a Place That Gets It - e.g. evidence a market-based menu, or Junipero gin on offer, or, as in the case of Le Garde Robe, a superb wine bar in the 1er, the presence of a brilliantly offbeat rosé like Jean-Luc Poinsot's 2007 "Antiboul." 

Poinsot is one of my favorite Provençal winemakers. Based in Toulon, west of Marseilles, he's strictly non-interventionist, using only natural yeasts, local varietals, zero sulfur, etc. Any bar that stocks his wine is bound to have the right ideas. But the whole selection at Le Garde Robe is pretty terrific. I'd heard good things and my expectations were exceeded. Exclusively natural wines, with a perceptible emphasis on Loire whites and cru Beaujolais (which latter accent endears the place to me automatically).

All this was a particular relief last Monday, since the occasion was the last night of my parents' stay in Paris, and additionally we had planned to meet my British friends E and D, who were passing through the city on their way back from a performance art festival in the south. Altogether there were going to be anywhere from 10 - 15 of us, including friends of friends of friends.* 

Since we're in the last waning days of summer, it seemed appropriate to share a final rosé, particularly one so strangely elegiac as Poinsot's "Antiboul." It's made from Tibouren, a varietal of Greek descent, heretofore unknown to me. Poinsot on his website cites the wine's grapefruit color as typical of the grape, but I have a suspicion it's a result of age, plain and simple. 2007 is the current vintage of this wine, meaning Poinsot joins R. Lopez de Heredia in Rioja and lord knows who else in the slim ranks of winemakers who (against market demand and all popular reason) age their rosés, to fascinating effect. (Less than Lopez de Heredia's 12 years, and to somewhat less effect, but still.)

The profile of the wine bears this comparison well: in common with the Spanish wine there's a kind of waxen core to the palate, and no shortage of acidity, which in the the case of the "Antiboule" carries a drenching wave of slightly preserved raspberry fruit and orange peel. It's like sharing scones and raspberry jam with someone with whom, 23 years prior, you had a tumultuous affair. 

Or, in the case of my parents, someone you stayed married to. 

*Major thanks to Momo of Le Garde Robe, for being endlessly patient with our continual rearranging and annexing of other outside tables.

Le Garde Robe
41, rue de l'Arbre Sec
75001 PARIS
Metro: Louvre-Rivoli or Chatelet
Tel: 01 49 26 90 60

Related links:

D. Lebovitz on Le Garde Robe
Jean-Luc Poinsot's La Badiane
R. Lopez de Heredia