One of the joys of holidays in Paris is finding a new caviste with a small selection of consistently good choices. Even better if you realise you know not a lot about the producers on offer and the adventure keeps ending deliciously. So, hats off to the Marché St Martin again. Right from first sniff this is Chablis. Very slick wine making. Clean, almost sanitised, with a judicious seasoning of oak barrel. There’s some solid yellow and green fruit and that long, gentle but insistent acidity that makes Chablis so irresistible. So much wine, so little time and relative amounts of money. Next stop uncle Dan’s member specials.
13.00% alcohol. Cork. 18 euros.
Bit of a treat but in relative value terms no second thoughts. Touch of yeasty breath and then pristine ripe raspberries, freshly turned stoney soil after cool autumn rain, yeah really, glacially finishing acid and a long distance end. Incredible purity of fruit and the best sort of supporting texture. A bottle of the ‘14 was quite reduced and built for leaving alone, this seems more candid and extrovert. Very nice to meet you indeed.
13% alcohol. Cork. 22.50 euros from Julhès who had the basic Morgon for 14.50!
From Larzac in Languedoc. Perfumed and primary, really fresh and bright, mid weight, clean and red fruited, nicely ripe but still hanging onto the crunchy, firm handshake of Carignan’s acidity. The tannin lurks behind. Great favourite country cousin sort of grape. Another unwavering selection from Juhlès leading to some frantic posting.
13% alcohol. Cork. 11 euros.
100% Jacquère which isn’t numbered amongst the world’s greatest varieties but makes up a large proportion of Savoy’s output. Spotless and delicious though in this case. Smells and tastes perfectly like white wine without shouting any specifics. Sort of sweet green herbs and yellow fruit of some density. Just mouth-wateringly dry and difficult to stop drinking. Great value way to start the cooking. Another super value from Juhlès.
11.50% alcohol. One of those new fangled Nomacorc Plantcorc things which are causing some excitement among Euro producers. 9 euros.
60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Carignan. All done in concrete it seems and all the better to avoid any dirty or specious oak flavours which find no favour around here. Dark and self contained at first but musky violets and very ripe raspberry smells eventually emerge. Rich and full mouthful of wild but clean berries. Solid tannin but with some melting chocolate softness to help it along. The fruit’s just lovely and evenly ripe, perhaps it’s the level of care and hard work organic farming demands? Reckon this will be extra delicious in another year or two. Chapeau to the patient bloke who runs the wine stall at the 10th’s Marché St. Martin. Impeccable selections so far.
14.50% alcohol. Cork. 11.50 euros.
Chablis is looking more expensive by the day even in France due to two really low crops, more demand and, well, it is Burgundy. The village of Chitry isn’t far away but doesn’t yet have the momentum and thank goodness with producers like this. Still one for the workers. From the cheese and wine oracle of Julhès in Paris’ tenth, this pure clean Chardonnay has a whiff of shells and sea but is really more like a good, cool grown new world version. Concentration and ripeness of honeyed citrus and stone fruit carry well to a firm but even acid cut. Not quite the mellow lactic mouth caress that makes Chablis difficult to stop drinking but the fruit quality makes up for it. Bargain.
13% alcohol. Cork. 12 euros.
A favourite for many years, it’s always been so well made from what tastes like beautifully tended fruit. This is no exception albeit at the very ripe, tannic end of the San Giusto scale. Very clean dark cherry fruit buried in deep dark Valrhona chocolate tannins and firm acidity. Dusty herb gardens. Muscular but poised. Sort of like one of those uncompromising but sure of touch Italian defenders, Georgio Chiellini or Leonardo Bonucci in a bottle. Delicioso with food but a well defended scoreless draw without.
14.50% alcohol. Cork. 20 euros.
It’s an euro more than the supermarket’s basic Alsatian, so organic it is and never mind the expense. For once a lucky strike. Clean, fresh and some real fruit with a nicely tense balance of good ripe acidity and maybe a touch of residual. Seems dryish though. Mid mouth the citrusy apples and Alsace spice swell but just waver a bit towards the end. The acid pulls it back into shape and keeps things tidy. Satisfying Riesling for next to nowt. Eee, that were luxury.
12.50% alcohol. Cork and doesn’t la belle France love them. 9 euros!
From a cooperative that’s said to produce 40% of Barolo’s output, this is bright, sparklingly clean and extremely hard to stop drinking. After some more vaunted DOCGs that have been spoilt by dirty wood and bitter sulphides, it’s good to be reminded that the Langhe’s fruit quality is simply as good as any. Fresh red cherry, rose oil, and tarry road stones finish with a crispy smack that begs eggy spaghetti. No great depth but for the price tag it’s brilliant. Why can’t Australian supermercati import this?
14% alcohol. Didn’t see the stopper. 15 euros on a Torino osteria list!
That odd looking blob in the photo is a black truffle from Alba’s frenzied, annual fungal excess. This year the small white versions were even more expensive than a bottle of Barolo. Moderation being a virtue, a small tartufo nero, a basic risotto and a regional Nebb were a paragon of restraint. This Vajra Nebbiolo is better than many a Barolo and the fungus was fresh and very smelly, heaven on a budget indeed. 2016 looks like a blessing and the Vajras are really on form. Forward, crunchy, perfumed fruit and immediately delicious, things only got better and deeper over three days. Beautifully judged extraction brought the fruit centre stage but the tannins are just so perfectly ripe and deep that the thought of a longer stewed 2016 Barolo is just toe curling. Great cherry flavour, florals, Piemonte stones, perfectly sanitary acidity and those tannins.
14.00% alcohol. Diam I think, pay attention at the back. 19.90 euros.
93 punti but extra for sheer stylee.