Where to buy your wine in Paris…


…is a one-million-dollar-question in the life of this city. There’s only a couple of choices, actually. You can try your luck in the supermarkets which might sound weird but doesn’t have to be the wrong idea in France. Here, Carrefour, Intermarché and others quite often pick some of the better wines of a year and sell them at reasonable prices (to polish their image and overall “Frenchness”).

You could, secondly, become a client of the big caviste chains like Nicolas or Repaire de Bacchus, which I would discard, frankly, because they’re quite regularly over-priced and you end up buying just another boring bottle far too often. Your third option is to trust the sympathetic, young wine merchant just around the corner who greets you every morning while constantly telling you he’s travelling all the time in order to find the really nice bottles for you only, cheap yet grand – and that’s not necessarily a lie.

The fourth way to find a wine is Bernard’s. He’s a friend of mine, and today he showed me how to really do it.

Heaven, I'm in heaven: vente privée in a Paris backyard.

We met in a narrow street close to Place de la République. He had received a confidential email with the time and the place and an entry code (for the door). On the ground floor of the building, we found a gallery-like venue which turned out to be the office of a wine dealer specialised in exporting French wines, and here – 30 bottles were lined up for a vente privée, an exclusive, private sales event which almost made me cry, really.

We were alone with the dealer, talking about grapes, climate and terroir, chatting about experiences, exchanging opinions. For an hour or so, we were tasting his selection, cuvées from the Loire region, from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Languedoc, the Rhone valley, the Mediterranean coast – and believe me, even if it seems fully unbelievable: ALL THE WINES WERE GOOD, well made, balanced, elegant, and some were excellent, outstanding, beautiful – and THEY WERE ALL INCREDIBLY CHEAP, given their quality (we’re talking about 6 to 8 Euros a bottle, 8 to 10 US$, for wines that taste like coming from the 20, 30, 40 Euros region!).

So you might understand that I feel like in heaven. Seems that I’ve found my wine-dealer, thanks to Bernard, once and for all.

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