A Mishap Eclipsed by a Tuna Fish Sandwich and De Vinis Illustribus

The day could have started better: woke up early after a late night at the Flèche d’Or and headed out to Microbe Studios, a recording studio in St. Cloud (in the western suburbs of Paris, about 30 minutes toward Versailles) only to find that the young engineer was nowhere to be found. I decided to eat lunch while waiting and went up the street (in this upper middle-class neighborhood) to the neighborhood bar/brasserie (where a lot of people play Loto). I asked for a thon and crudités sandwich and was rewarded with an indulgent combination of rich flavors: besides tuna in olive oil, lettuce, tomato, and a generous slathering of mayonnaise, the kitchen had poached an egg (and then they must have shocked it in an ice bath because the white was firm but chilled, while the yolk was tepid and wonderfuly runny), sliced, and distributed it evenly along the long roll.

It almost made up for the morning’s mishap (the engineer never showed and I had to lug my gear back to Paris via light rail with a few changes… oh well… a lost morning but great sandwich).

CAFÉ-TABAC
LE BEAU SITE
• Bar • Brasserie • Tabac • Presse
• Loto • RATP
Ouvert du lundi au vendredi
de 7h à 20h.
Le samedi de 8h à 20h.
140, boulevard de la République, St. Cloud
Fax et tél. : 01 47 71 05 23

A good place to visit if you enjoy Loto and gaming.

De Vinis Illustribus – a truly superb wine shop

vinisillustribus.jpg

I went back to the 6th where the band is staying (at Céline Dijon’s parents’ house on the Left Bank), freshened up, and headed up to the Panthéon to visit a fantastic wine store specialized in old wine, De Vinis Illustribus, recommended to me by my friend Frank Butler.

The owner Lionel and his colleague Ghislaine were exceedingly gracious and I chatted at length with both of them about their shop, perceptions about old wine, and the changing landscape of winemaking today. Ghislaine gave me a tour of the cave where she showed me bottles of 1893 and 1921 Château d’Yquem, among many other remarkable lots. “When the sediment in old bottles of Sauternes is light in color,” Ghislaine explained, “you know the wine will not be oxidized, even if the wine has begun to turn brown.” It was fascinating to see the original capsules on these bottles: they didn’t stretch down as far as modern-day capsules and so you could read the information on the corks. This proves extremely useful when the labels have been damaged or destroyed by (desired) humidity in the cellar.

Bordeaux figures predominantly in their library but the Burgundy selection was also impressive. Lionel remarked that many of his clients are moving toward Burgundy from Bordeaux as they find that Bordeaux winemaking practices are changing.

Truly remarkable shop and lovely people.

Yesterday, François Hardonne (David Griffin, keyboard and trumpet player in Nous Non Plus) and I walked all the way to the Tour d’Eiffel from the Quai des Grands Augustins where we are staying. We visited the hardly remarkable and easily forgettable Musée du Vin, which is more of an events space and cheesy tourist trap than a museum.

tastevins.jpg

Above: The collection of old tastevins at the truly forgettable Musée du Vin near the Tour d’Eiffel.

The collection of pre-revolutionary vine tenders’ tools was interesting, as were some of the pieces among the old stemware and bottles. Overall, the museum was a not entirely unexpected disappointment but it was nice to take such a long walk through Paris.

old_bottles.jpg

A snapshot of the Tour d’Eiffel as I walked from the studio to the light rail station in St. Cloud:

view_from_stcloude1.jpg

One Response to A Mishap Eclipsed by a Tuna Fish Sandwich and De Vinis Illustribus

  1. Dr. Vino says:

    Very cool to hear about your trip to the shop, Jeremy. I’ll be sure to put it on my map!

    http://drvino.com/pariswineshopsbars.php

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