Started my day at Willi's Wine Bar and saw pal Mark Williamson before he ran off to deal with his quarterly tax and accounting matters. We caught up and agreed to find one another in a week or so down in Montpellier during ViniSud. While at Willi's I met his new bar/wine tenders. Becky and Maya.. They and the wines make Paris' most famous wine bar worth checking out. Not since the famous Helen who is now pouring at Fish, has Willi's had more charming ladies behind the bar. While there I had a few delightful treats. The white from the Roussillion was sublime from Clot de L' Oum. I didn't dig into the grapes but I would bet it was Grenache Blanc and some Macabo. Then there were the reds. The Clot de L' Oum red was fresh forward and tantalizing and this is a winery to take note of. Clearly Mark has. It reminded me of young Gauby from many years ago in style and tone. Then there was the 2001s. A pair of them right off the by the glass list. Becky called the 2001 Pibernon Bandol a nice wintery wine. And it was. A hint of leather, tar and smoke, but loaded up with cherry and herbacious berry fruit flavors. Then there was the 2001 Burgaud Cote-Rotie. Yum. This was a rustic style Cote-Rotie that has not lost anything from it's past, other than whatever Viognier was now long absorbed by the old vine Syrah.
Next up was a stop for lunch at Juveniles. Tim and Paolo just pour wines for me at this point. I don't do more than say "next wine" so my notes are pretty much non-existent. There was a stunning Madrid white, a lovely red from Mencia, something from Portugal and a few more including a stunning red that Tim blended in Crozes-Hermitage and which is imported into the USA into New York state. It's unoaked and all fruit and Provencal herbs and an amazing food wine.
The difference between Willi's and Juveniles is the former is a destination, much like wine Mecca, while the latter is where you go because it's your place to hang out. Willi's is the upscale wine bar you wish was in your neighborhood. Amazing cooking, very correct service and the amazing look augmented by those must have posters. Juveniles is "Cheers" where everybody knows your name. The cooking is very good, and when either of Tim's daughters are there (Margaux or Caroline) the fan club of wine bobos is normally in the audience.
I then ended the night at Benoit, one of the classic bistos in Paris. Three reds including two Burgundies, with the latter including a half bottle of Clos de Tart, a half bottle of 2008 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Rouge and a stunning glass of some very good Santaney that was on the by the glass list. The service and the cassoulet were perfect. There was an off bottle of Sancerre that was immediately replaced and while the Cassoulet screamed for a Madiran, the opportunity to drink Burgundy at Paris prices was not to pass up on.