Prior to our round the world trip in June and July, I researched places we would like to dine. I was particularly interested in ones that had a good reputation for food and wine matching. In my research I came upon Bistro du Sommelier in Paris. Owner Philippe Faure-Brac was ranked best sommelier in the world in 1992, best sommelier in France in 1988, and young sommelier in 1984.
Located on Boulevard Hausmann in the 8th Arrondisement, it is a short stroll from the Opera, past Les Grand Magasins. The long twilight makes for a pleasant stroll to and from the restaurant.
Behind the classic red exterior lies a dining room that has a simple rusticity to it. Cream stone walls, art work relating to wine and subtle colours abound so as not to distract from the real reason you are there, the food and wine. There is also a further dining area downstairs in the cellar.
There is the option of an a la carte menu or several degustation options. We decided to have a 5 course degustation with matched wines. Each table gets a slightly different menu and wines. You also have the option to play a little game where they don’t tell you what the wine is when they pour it. You have to guess the wine and region, if you can, you can also guess the vintage. I got three right out of the five. Vermentino and a sweeter style Grenache were my downfalls.
After some delicious house made bread, our first course arrived. Slices of salmon, caviar and crème fraiche. Simple and elegant. Our wine for this course was a 2012 vermentino from Clos Culombu, situated in Corsica. I have only had vermentino once before and that was at Pilu. This wine had us a little confused, it had some characteristics of sauvignon blanc so our first guess for the wine game was wrong. The Clos Culombu went really well with the salmon and caviar.
Our second course was a little tartlet with jamon and vegetables. The tart shell was flavoursome and light, and the filling was exceptional. I got the wine that went with this course correct. A chardonnay from Burgundy. Domaine Chevalier Pere & Fils, Ladoix.
Our third course was a simple but very tasty chicken with wild mushrooms, truffles and pommes de terre puree. Surprisingly this was served with a red wine, the earthy characteristics of the mushrooms and truffle were well suited to the wine. A 2002, Cru Bourgeois from Chateau Mayne-Lalande, in the Listrac-Medoc appellation of Bourdeaux. High percentage Cabernet Suavignon(60%) Merlot(30%) with a touch of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc(5% each). This was another that I got right. It made me feel very proud to say that the Cabernet Sauvignon was the predominant grape with Merlot being the other main grape. I even got that it was a Bourdeaux blend correct.
Our fourth course was a nice selection of some great French cheese of which two were deliciously stinky, with the other being a more subtle aroma. The wine for this was a Domaine Duseigneur Par Philippe Faure-Brac, from Laudun in the Cotes Du Rhone. A blend of Grenache(60%) and Syrah(40%). This wine is a joint collaboration between the owner of Bistro Du Sommelier and the Domaine Duseigneur vineyards. I got this one right too.
For our final course was a frozen chocolate confection topped with dark chocolate and nuts. Perfect for the hot weather we were experiencing in Paris at the time. This was also served with a red wine. Now dear readers I am sure you realise that chocolate and red wine are a great match. The wine with this was a fantastic match. A Mas Amiel Vintage 2009 100% Grenache, from the Maury AOC. This wine was sweet and but not overly so. I have since learnt that wines from Maury AOC are generally fortified, so it was a great experience to try a wine style that was quite different. Maury AOC is in the Roussillon wine region which has a bit of Spanish history to it, being only a few kilometres from the Fance/Spain border, hence Grenache being a predominant grape in the region. Another great dessert wine that you may have heard about from the Roussillon region is Banyuls, also made from Grenache grape.
So our fabulous degustation at an end, we enjoyed a twilight stroll through the City of Lights, back to our hotel via La Madeleine, Rue du Faubourg St. Honore, Place Vendome and the Opera. A great way to end a fantastic meal.