Wine & cheese in Little Paris

We might have successfully annoyed some of you by posting holiday pictures to the web as we were traveling south. But for those of you we haven’t reached and to talk a bit more about wine I’m writing a few lines about the first part of our trip.


After staying a night in Belfort I steered grandpa’s red Seat to Lyon, also known as “Little Paris”. It was a long time ago when I was in town the last time but it was as beautiful as I remembered it. Our AirBnB flat was situated well on the island just next to the start of the pedestrian precinct. A good location to discover the city (although coming by car might not have been the best idea – €28/day parking fee). What we did as good as Melanie could whose belly has reached the size of a solid water melon. Not having the fanciest dinners we still had many opportunities to get a warm welcome to the excellent cuisine of Lyon. Like this lunch we had at Chez Guillemette which is a little girly but the food comes taste and pretty without too many bells and whistles.

Lunch at Chez Guillemette

And it wouldn’t have been a good start without wine and cheese. There are countless fromageries, I went to Le Jardin De La Martinière as it was on the way to the wine shop and picked a few different ones. I like being in these shops with all the beautiful loafs smelling all those different flavors.

Cheese shelf at Le Jardin De La Martinière

The Le Vin Des Vivants was the shop I had found on Google as being specialized in natural wine. A pleasant place to hang out:

Le Vin Des Vivants

I recognized very few of the bottles but one jumped into my eye immediately: a bottle of Le Canon, a no sulphur red connected to a very nice memory: when I had the pleasure of dining with Alice Feiring in New York last year she brought a bottle of this wine and I was fascinated watching her taste it as it developed getting more and more air, being put on ice for a couple of minutes, scribbling on the label. A must buy and a perfect wine to start the holiday.

Le Canon Rouge

The label doesn’t say more than the name of the wine but I remembered Alice talking about a Japanese winemaker in France so it was not hard to find Hirotake Ooka being the man behind the mysterious wine (here is a New York Times article about him). I’m not sure about the vintage but it might have been the 2012, it tasted fairly young. What would mean it was a Syrah with refreshing 12,5% alcohol, something you can achieve well in the Northern Rhône area. I got it a little chilled and it was really good. It was a bit fizzy and I think the expectable “red fruits” went to something like blueberry, a lot of minerals in any case balanced with a veggie bitterness and solid acidity. This bottle went down quickly, I should have bought more than one. Only thing I didn’t like was the plastic “Cork”.

Jour de Fête

I got more wines but only one was interesting enough to be mentioned. It’s called “Jour de Fête” and the name of the domaine is La Fontude, a small winery, biodynamic, sheep in the vineyards, all the good stuff. The 2012 vintage of this Languedoc white is made of 100% Terret Gris, an old variety of the region. And boy is this wine raw. Cloudy and definitively unfiltered this full bodied wine is yeasty (so a slightly unpleasant smell in the beginning) with an untamed (tartaric) acidity. I was struggling finding flavors besides white grapes initially but there was definitively some banana plus a veggie component, maybe white pepper. Also under €10 and definitively fun to drink. It will work very well with seafood I expect.

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