It took quite some time to get permission to open the doors of Paris’s first urban winery, Les Vignerons Parisiens. It can be found on Rue de Turbigo in the Marais district. Strict appellation laws have been the backbone of French fine wine ever since Châteauneuf-du-Pape became an AOC in 1936.
The vineyards are, of course, located elsewhere in Visan, Southern Rhône which is a 15-hour journey by refrigerated truck. Les Vignerons Parisiens is a collaboration between 4 oenologists and biodynamic viticulture consultants who have worked with Southern Rhône vines for 2 decades. Focused on single varieties, the wines are all labelled Vin de France, farmed organically and produced using very simple winemaking.
The concept, in fact, is no different from the Young Guns, SA’s new-wave winemakers who have shaken up the industry with bought-in grapes and avant-garde winemaking, but what are these Parisian wines like?
‘I was struck not only by the consistently high quality across all the range but also by the marked freshness that is not always the characteristic of southern Rhône wines.’ – Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com
Like Julia, we’re also excited by the Turbigo Cinsault which offers typical spice and ‘orange fruit’ along with the ample grunt provided by the rich 2016 vintage. It’s a really serious wine that will age well for a decade and offers superb value.
We have also put together a limited mixed 5-pack of all the Les Vignerons Parisiens wines, including an incredible Grenache Blanc, a white blend, Grenache Rouge and a powerful Syrah.
Les Vignerons Parisiens, Turbigo Cinsault 2016
They buy their organically grown fruit from Visan and Sabran in the southern Rhône, truck it to Paris in refrigerated trucks and then vinify it in their Paris cellar. Named after the street where they have their winery. Fermented with ambient yeast. Unoaked.
Mid cherry red. Wild and slighty reductive. Juicy and with lovely red fruit and orange notes. Beautiful. Fine tannins. Succulent, fresh and lifted. Smoky sweet. Finely dry texture. Has an almost herbal freshness on the palate. Delicacy and structure. Very long and captivatingly dry. It is delicious now but I know well-made Cinsault can age very well indeed – though of course I haven’t tasted older vintages from this young company. – Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com 17/20
Les Vignerons Parisiens, AN 508 Grenache Blanc 2016
Named after the year Paris was declared the capital of France by Clovis. Fruit from two parcels in Visan, calcareous plateau at 300–400 m. 70% fermented in 600-litre barrels, 30% in tank. Partial malo. Pale gold. Smells smoky and tannic. Reductive and Gauby-esque. Beautifully tannic thanks to skin contact. Dry and rich peachy apricot, very Roussillon. Powerful, deep. Struck match but underneath there’s peach and pear and apricot. Shame they make so little of this. – Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com 17.5/20
Les Vignerons Parisiens, Lutèce 2017
Tank sample. Named after the old name for Paris. Equal parts biodynamically farmed Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne from Sabran. Vines 30–50 years old. Unoaked and no malo. Peachy and almonds. Same on the palate, gentle, with a nutty/leesy freshness on the finish. Well balanced but not very long. Pear and citrus lift. Moderate length. – Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com 16.5/20
Les Vignerons Parisiens, Les Templiers Grenache 2015
Named after the Métro station nearest the winery. Fruit grown organically on clay-limestone at 350m. Half aged in second-fill oak of 600 litres. Deep cherry red. Seductively sweet cherry-fruit aroma. Silky, sexy and fresh. Elegant. Refined and not so southern Rhône. Has the shape if not the flavour of Syrah. So fresh and vibrant and shapely. Mouth-watering finish. – Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com 17.5/20
Les Vignerons Parisiens, Haussmann Syrah 2015
Organic fruit grown at 350 m. Destemmed. One-third aged in new oak (because first vintage) of 400–500 litres. Dark cherry red. Smoky with a slight reductive char. And a bit of oaky char. Savoury fruit combined with some sweet oak spice. Bone dry texture but paper fine, like layers of tissue. Fresh and dense yet still elegant, the oak not dominating. Not as individual as their Les Templiers Grenache, wider appeal. Well made but more boring. But will get less oak as they do more vintages. – Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com 16.5/20