Tag Archives: wine shops in Paris

Fine l’Épicerie de Belleville

Founded in 2010 on rue de Tourtille, Cécile Boussarie’s gourmet food and wine shop moved around the corner in 2014 to its current, more prominent rue de Belleville location. Its bold, clean red sign belies the unpolished dowdiness of the shop’s interior, where teas, jams, vinegars, spices, potted meats, conserves, oils, and assorted trinkets line all available surfaces. In the middle of über-urban Belleville, it’s like walking into a deserted village gift shop.

At midday, Fine L’Épicerie de Belleville offers soups and sandwiches enjoyably enlivened with various low-key delicacies (dry Sicilian caper sausage, say, or spiced confit grape cream). Tables in the shop’s deep interior are a refuge from the street for lunchtime diners and the odd professional meeting. Along with cheese and charcuterie, Boussarie stocks a slightly haphazard range of inexpensive natural wine and craft beer. While not a tastemaking authority by any means, Fine L’Épicerie de Belleville remains a handy back-pocket address for things to bring to last-minute weeknight dinner parties and relatives’ birthday brunches.

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La Cave de Belleville

La Cave de Belleville’s unlikely origins sound like the set-up for a knock-knock joke: a pharmacist, a sound engineer, and a gallerist open a cave-à-manger. François Braouezec, Aline Geller, and Thomas Perlmutter deserve a lot of credit for the scale of their ambitions, as La Cave de Belleville, open every day of the week, is at once a wine shop, an épicerie, and a vast, casual wine bar. The airy, well-lit space (a former leather wholesaler) positively bustles at apéro hour, when locals nip in for inexpensive plates of charcuterie, cheese, and canned delicacies. The trio’s limited industry experience is sometimes evident in the inconsistency of the shop’s maximalist selections of wine, spirits, and beer. (Were the wine not mostly natural, it would be hard to call it a “selection”. Filling shelves seems to have been the priority.) But one senses the owners’ intentions are sincere, and the Belleville neighborhood – chaotic, culture-clashy, forever on the cusp of gentrification – stands to benefit greatly from a friendly, accessible social anchor like La Cave de Belleville.

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Le Vin de Bohème

Nestled on a shady corner of the up-and-coming Square Gardette, Le Vin de Bohème is thoughtful little wine shop so discreet it would probably wink out of existence altogether if it weren’t so usefully, crucially open every day of the week. Personable owner and sole employee Arnaud Fournier is a former graphic designer whose brief career in wine – he spent a mere year working for now-shuttered caviste Aux Anges before opening his own shop in 2009 – belies the acuity of his palate and the maturity of his selection. Le Vin de Bohème offers around 350 references at any given time, with no perceptible tilt towards or against the natural wine ethos that dominates most 11ème arrondissement wine shops. That alone makes Le Vin de Bohème unique for the neighborhood. The razor-sharp Burgundy and Champagne selections make it a standby for free-thinking wine lovers, particularly on Sunday and Monday evenings.

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La Cave du Daron

“Daron” is French slang for “father,” but there’s nothing fatherly or fusty about La Cave du Daron, which at night becomes a casual and intimate wine bar with a healthy cast of loyal habitués. On most evenings gregarious proprietor Jean-Julien Ricard offers a simple menu of charcuterie, cheeses, and conserves to complement his idiosyncratic and undogmatic wine selection, which encompasses everything from vogue-ish natural wine to Hungarian demi-secs to the conventional classics of the Rhône. Corkage is the east-Paris standard 7€, but the glass-pour selections are often unusual and worth exploring. Ricard also enlivens his bar’s offerings with semi-frequent guest-chef evenings: past collaborators have included Yam Tcha’s Adeline Grattard, and Maori Murota of Le Verre Volé Sur Mer.

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Le Cave

Longtime Le Chateaubriand sommelier Sebastien Chatillon opened this tiny wine shop in 2013. Sandwiched between Le Dauphin and Le Chateaubriand, Le Cave is a narrow space and a deceptively narrow concept: it sells only no-holds-barred natural wines from outside of France. Expect exotic glass selections ranging from skin-macerated Slovenian Malvasia to Assyrtiko from Santorini. While it may contain less intrinsic interest for visitors wishing to discover French wines while in Paris, Le Cave’s most ingenious selling point is its surprisingly involved plat du jour program, a rotating nightly dish for take-out only prepared in the kitchen of Le Chateaubriand. Octopus tandoori? Chakchouka(North African ragù)? We’d expect nothing less from Inaki Aizpitarte’s idea of comfort food. And if nothing else,  Le Cave functions as a cosy, well-run waiting room for anyone in line for a table at its neighbours.

Chatillon is soon to depart for the south of France to begin a winemaking project, but will continue to run the selection at Le Cave, aided by managing partner Paul Braillard.

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Les Caves du Panthéon

Situated on a perpetually shaded nook just paces from the Panthéon, Les Caves du Panthéon’s boxy wooden room is wedged floor-to-ceiling with the cream of contemporary French natural winemaking, supplemented with a healthy stock of allocated classics from the Rhône, Bordeaux, and Burgundy. Current owner Olivier Roblin began working at the historic wine shop (founded in 1944) in 2001, before purchasing the business in 2009. He’s known for his longtime support of natural vinification, and his close relationships with many cult winemakers are evident in Les Caves du Panthéon’s 1000+ references. When, say, Jura winemaker Jean-François Ganevat makes a one-off cuvée for the French natural wine website Glougueule, here is where you’ll find it. Les Caves du Panthéon, along with nearby historic natural wine hotspot Café de la Nouvelle Mairie, make this flush, studenty corner of the 5ème an unlikely destination for anyone interested in the vanguard of French wine.

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Philovino

Philovino’s proprietor, Bruno Quenioux, is a singular figure in the world of French wine. A radical for his age, he fought all his battles from within the institutional retail outlets of the French wine establishment, first at Caves Legrand, and later in a long stint as the influential buyer for Galeries Lafayette (1990-2008). Anyone familiar with the nightmarish chaos of Lafayette Gourmet in the present day will be astonished to learn that during Quenioux’s tenure, the wine section was noted for its tacit support of organic agriculture and its resistance to faddish modern winemaking techniques, launching the careers of such winemakers as Jean-Paul Brun and Didier Dageneau.

Quenioux brought these and many other illustrious names to the shelves of Philovino, the modestly-appointed wine shop he opened in 2011 on a nondescript corner of rue Claude Bernard. The shop’s IKEA-quality décor belies the quality and rarity of its contents. Quenioux has his eccentricities – a disbelief in carbonic maceration, a disdain for what has come to be called ‘natural wine,’ and a latent interest in the occult sciences – but Philovino remains a destination for anyone wishing to experience the established classics of Burgundy, Champagne, or the Loire.

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vin qui parle | parisbymouth.com

Le Vin Qui Parle

An attractive and likable cave in the Latin Quarter, but slick design can’t quite mask a partial dearth of bottles of particular interest. There are famous names here and there, but much of the stock is more puzzling than eyebrow-raising. The staff is generous (in that there are more of them than one expects in a place of this size) and friendly, but they’re clearly working from a supply chain unlike that feeding much of their more adventurous competition. The already-knowledgable can certainly find many things to drink here…but then, the already knowledgable are very likely shopping elsewhere. Still, a pleasant shopping experience goes a long way.

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L’Etiquette

A shop full of natural, biodynamic, and organic wine doesn’t seem the likeliest candidate for a heavily touristed corner of the Île Saint-Louis. But while it’s possible that a fair number of visitors are baffled by the racks of unfamiliar wines, and at least a few of the rest are just popping in to ask for directions to Berthillon, uncannily affable proprietor and raconteur Hervé Lethielleux is a laid-back advocate for wines that often benefit from a little advocacy.

The selection’s pretty evenly weighted between acknowledged stars and semi-obscurities, and there’s an extant yet reasonable location-based premium, but what’s not to love about a store like this in such a prime location?

Tastings every Saturday, all day, though at any given time there’s usually something open.

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Les Caves du Marais

Piled wooden cases bearing the name of many a famous winemaker form the narrow passage to this equally tiny shop. Inside, you’ll find those bottles from those famed names, plus plenty more not quite in evidence, to find which you’ll want to strike up a conversation with the extremely knowledgable proprietor Jean-Jacques Bailly. It’s a classicist’s selection, and you won’t find the cartoonish ephemera of the natural wine scene here, but neither is it doctrinaire. And there’s this, too: Les Caves du Marais is the sort of place people imagine when thinking of the prototypical and increasingly legendary caviste, yet in actual fact such places rarely exist except to sell either natural wine or indifferent commercial banalities anymore. Shopping here is like finding something you always imagined existed.

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Crus et Découvertes

The rue Paul Bert – home to acclaimed restaurants by Bertrand Auboyneau and by Cyril Lignac – also contains this beloved, insidery natural wine shop, opened in 2003 by former wine agent Michael Lemasle. The narrow, slipshod space is perpetually overrun with new deliveries and Lemasle’s loyal clientele, who endure the proprietor’s relaxed, almost narcoleptic pace for the sake of his soft-spoken and well-considered wine counsel. Lemasle specialises in the more extreme fringe of natural wine, including many small-production wines vinified and bottled without the addition of sulfur. The well-priced selection is heavy on wines from the Loire, Beaujolais, and the southwest, while wines from marquee regions like Champagne, Bordeaux and Chablis are rather scarce on the shelves. One last draw: Lesmasle is among the rare Parisian cavistes who perform the true duties of the role, cellaring wines for years at a stretch at either of his two off-site locations before returning them to the sales floor when the wines have matured. Crus et Découvertes accordingly remains a source of fun discoveries even for the most jaded natural wine aficionados.  >> Read More

Le Barav’

This friendly upper Marais wine bar serves simple charcuterie, cheese, salads, and sandwiches to go along with 5€ glasses, or a bottle from their cave next door. The plate of truffled ham is always a good bet.  In the summer, there’s a great terrace on the street.

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Bibovino

This is one wine shop that’s thinking outside the box by thinking inside the box. Don’t worry–it’s not the Franzia of your youth. Bibovino’s bright purple boxed wines come from high-quality, small producers and are available by the glass, carafe, or box.

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La Quincave

Tucked around the corner from the resplendently stodgy brasseries of Montparnasse is Frédéric Belcamp’s miniscule wine shop and wine bar La Quincave, a destination for natural wine afficionados since 2003 (and featured in the 100th episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations). Belcamp’s long support of more-than-organic, low-sulfur wine is apparent in La Quincave’s 200+ references, which include the occasional back-vintage as well as healthy allocations of certain sought-after selections. The man himself tends to hold court on Fridays and Saturdays; on other evenings his capable staff serve up simple platters of cheeses, rillettes, and cured sausage to the consistent crowd of low-key regulars.

La Quincave’s general template – 7€ corkage, simple snacks, natural wines – may have since become familiar to residents of the 10th, 11th, and 12th arrondissements, where caves-à-manger are as common hairdressers. But few newcomers have managed to replicate La Quincave’s frank, stylish ambience or the wisdom of Belcamp’s wine selections.

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Bacchus et Ariane

Caviste Georges Castellato wields a canny, professorial charm and a magnificent array of back-vintage bottles ranging from established classics to newcomer natural wines at this small, unassuming terraced wine shop in the marché Saint-Germain. Castellato, a former restaurateur who bought Bacchus et Ariane in 1998, is one of tragically few independent Paris cavistes who remain faithful to the true definition of their métier: a caviste who actually cellars wine, putting in on sale when it is ready to drink. So if one has a jones for quality 1989 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 1990 Madiran, or 2005 Burgundy, one is more likely to find it at Bacchus et Ariane than almost anywhere else in Paris. And at a better price: at a time when much of the surrounding 6ème arrondissement has become an overpriced circus for tourists, the value of Bacchus et Ariane’s selection is downright astonishing. Castellato offers bottle service for a 7€ corkage fee on the wine shop’s covered terrace and at its tiny interior bar, and while no food is prepared on the premises, he’s happy to bring over some oysters or charcuterie from his neighbors in the Marché Saint-Germain. In short, the shop is a perfect perch for fine-wine pre-gaming before dinner – as long as one doesn’t mind the evening’s oenological highlights arriving early. >> Read More

Ryst Dupeyron

The real specialty at this classic, luxe shop is Armagnac, with vintages dating back to 1868. Don't know the first thing about Armagnac? Just ask, and one of the friendly staff will pour you a taste. The back room houses an impressive collection of first growth Bordeaux (Margaux, Latour) and Chateau d'Yquem, and R-D bottles their own lines of port and Scotch, too.

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La Dernière Goutte

Terroir-driven, estate-bottled, organic and biodynamic wines from small producers are the specialty at this beloved shop, run for almost 20 years by Juan Sanchez. Especially strong in their selection of growers’ Champagnes and bottles from the Rhone Valley. Stop by on Saturdays for their free tastings with winemakers from 11am-7:30pm. Check our calendar of Paris food & wine events to find out which winemakers they’ll be hosting this week.

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