Beaujolais Nouveau in Paris

Celebrating Beaujolais Nouveau In Paris 2014

Loving the night of Beaujolais Nouveau in Paris is like loving country music. One is constantly obliged to explain oneself. No other genre of wine has been so rightly derided by the international wine press for its superficiality. And yet, as in country music, there remain practitioners of the form whose work attains a sublime simplicity, particularly when experienced in the correct context. In Paris, at the right party, Beaujolais Nouveau is a transcendental event, a cross between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, the one night of the year when an otherwise reserved and miserly population abandons its dime-sized, forward-facing café tables to stand around and sing and offer cheers to strangers. For the wine is so cheap that it lends itself to sharing. And the curious secret of the Beaujolais region is that its vanguard – the great winemakers who toil to redeem its reputation from the worldwide Nouveau hangover – still make some fine Beaujolais Nouveau themselves. The evening’s challenge is where to find it.

What follows is a list and a map of Paris’ greatest Beaujolais Nouveau parties: places where the tradition of ringing in the New Year of the region’s wine persists in all its twangy, cherry-fresh glory.

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Le Verre Vole sur Mer in Paris

Le Verre Volé sur Mer

It came as a total surprise that this, the seafood offshoot of beloved wine bar Le Verre Volé, would be one of my least favorite dining experiences in Paris. Let’s be blunt: this was the worst meal I’ve had in several years. Uncomfortable churn-em’ highchair seating and blindingly bright lamps could be forgiven if there was more than one dish that beckoned a second bite. We ordered everything on the menu and finished nothing, not even the plate of six Maldon oysters (18 euros) that arrived after everything else, floating warmly in a pool of salted meltwater. I’m not sure how Cyril Bordarier, who is generally respected in the  Paris wine and restaurant scene, has created something with such an astringent atmosphere, with so little wine (the number of whites and reds can be counted on one hand), and with food that is remarkably, memorably unpleasant to eat. Continue reading