Harvest Reports 2019

— translated by Vicki Denig

Valentin Morel

Harvest chez Valentin Morel took place from September 6th - 23rd. According to Valentin, the weather was sunny and perfect— almost too hot! “What was surprising about this year was that in waiting for the grapes to mature for harvest, the ones that already had a really high alcohol potential didn’t seem to have reached phenolic maturity at all, which led us to adjust the beginning of harvest to about a week prior, as we usually begin around September 10th,” says Morel. Valentin tells us that the vintage was marked by two major frosts (April 23rd and May 6th), followed by a heat wave and drought. “Old vines resisted pretty well— this wasn’t the case for the young vines, especially the Poulsard, which was burned. Thankfully, we had some saving rain at the beginning (and throughout) the month of August.” 

“From a quality point of view, the vintage is particularly interesting,” says Morel, who feels reassured by his choice to wait on phenolic ripeness. “On the contrary, the alcoholic degrees are quite high. No wines are below 13.5 degrees!” Morel notes that the high amounts of tartaric acid preserved within the wines should lead to very interesting and balanced cuvées. Morel also notes that he feels very perplexed by the violence climatic influences of this vintage (severe frost, followed by heat and drought). “How long can we practice this profession under these conditions?” he asks himself, noting that these dramatic weather patterns will lead him to new experiments in 2020, particularly the omission of soil tillage and planting new grape varieties. 


Olivier Morin

At Olivier Morin, harvest began on September 9th. “It’s early, but that’s becoming the norm,” he says. Frost chez Morin decreased his crop by a third, though an unusually dry and hot summer led to perfect conditions for healthy grapes. “The clusters reached a tremendous degree of ripeness, sugar concentration, and optimal acidity,” states Morin. “We harvested in very good weather— the heat even forced us not to harvest some afternoons!” Morin states that is 2019 wines have a superb balance between sugar, acidity, and minerality, and that the reds are showing a deep concentration, as well ask remarkable fruit-forwardness and acidity. 


Vadin Plateau

On Cumieres, harvest officially began on Friday, September 6th. “We hesitated for quite awhile, as my dad and I thought that this was a bit too early to begin harvest. The minimum to harvest (9% vol) was reached, but the phenolic maturity just wasn’t there. The juice was clearly lacking in taste- it was a difficult decision to make!”

After extensive reflection, the Plateaus began harvest on Tuesday, September 17th— a full 11 days after the general initial harvest date. “Our choice was wise, I think,” says Plateau, highlighting that his fruit showed exceptional aromatic richness. “We obtained very fruit-forward juices with degrees between 11 and 12%, characterized by good length and a nice acidity, which leads me to believe that this will be an extraordinary vintage.” Plateau looks forward to tasting their vins clairs to see if his expectations are indeed confirmed. 

“As with every year, harvest is done with a good mentality and good mood… with the sun as a bonus!” Plateau exclaims. “We have always practiced traditional harvesting, as my grandparents and great-grandparents did. All of our gatherers are fed and housed!” Plateau notes that the team is pretty much the same year in and year out, some of whom have been coming for 30+ years, and they all enjoy meeting together to celebrate this special time of the season. “We’ve become a big family!” 


De Oliveira

At De Oliveira, harvest started on Saturday, September 14th and ended on Tuesday, September 24th. “We had great, hot weather throughout harvest,” reports De Oliveira. “The 2019 vintage is very unique. Various climatic hazards at the beginning of the cycle (frost in April, hail in May), followed by pronounced drought had a great impact on the volume of fruit harvested.” De Olivera notes that flowering didn’t go very well, as there was abundant coulure (fruit set failure). Above all, 2019, was a quality over quantity vintage. “This vintage presents a great balance between acidity, minerality, and freshness. The quantities are smaller compared to the 2018 vintage, but still good through it all.” 


Piollot Père & Fille

At Piollot Père et Fille, harvest started on September 6th and finished on the 14th. Jeanne Piollot describes little rain and cool mornings during harvest, which is ideal for getting grapes (and must) in good form. “Despite a very dry year with high temperatures, the amount of burned grapes wasn’t too bad,” says Piollot. “Vine training played a big role in the protection of the fruit,” she says, describing how keeping leaves on the vine to provide shade during many 40+ degree days was necessary. “We had a wonderful quality and quantity this year,” says Piollot. “Beautiful maturity and almost perfect condition— the 2019 harvest is one of the best we’ve had since converting to organic farming.”

fontaine fougeres

“A small harvest, but extremely beautiful!” exclaims Sandrine Deschamps. This photo was taken from La Fontaine aux Fougères and Domaine du Chêne Arrault in the heart of the Loire Valley.

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aurélien chatagnier

“All in all, we have a lot of color,” says Aurélien Chatagnier. “Some plots suffered from drought, there was a drop in the yields. However, 2019 has shown a nice acidity, despite high temperatures.” Chatagnier began harvest on Friday, September 13th and finished on Thursday, October 3rd. The weather was pretty good, so Aurélien let the grapes hang a bit longer to reach optimal maturity. 


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domaine rougeot

At Domaine Rougeot, harvest began on September 12th and ended on September 20th, all of which was ‘done under a blue sky for these eight days.’ Although slightly hot at the beginning of harvest, the weather quickly turned crisp and refreshing, which lent itself to fresh and crunchy Pinot. “Qualitatively, 2019 is much better than the last few vintages,” says Rougeot. “We have smaller yields. White grapes were mature and supported by marked acidity, so balance was great.” Rougeot notes that 2018 was much more influenced by heat and sun, so the wines were less acidic. “This vintage is more similar to 2005 and 2015— a great and beautiful vintage in short.”


karine & nicolas mirouze - château beauregard mirouze

“2019 is a new vintage for us,” explains Karine Mirouze. “A rainy autumn led to a mild and dry winter, followed by a cold spring (rainy April), and thankfully, a very dry and hot summer.” Veraison in August was about 10-15 days later than expected, which led to accelerated maturation at the end of the month. “We had to be ready, and we were, because if we had waited, the acidity of the whites would have drastically dropped,” says Mirouze. At the estate, harvest began September 3rd and finished on October 7th. Warm weather was marked by rain and helped to offset drought. “2019 gave us a very pretty harvest in terms of quantity and quality. The year is focused on freshness and balance, and its potential is interesting (not too high in alcohol, good acidity, and restrained tannins).” 

2019 also brought some new changes to the estate, including the Mirouzes official conversion to biodynamic certification (Demeter). The duo also created a naturally sparkling wine, as well as a 25-day macerated skin-contact wine. Mirouze also notes that growers who have been irrigating their vines within the region have now been restricted, due to drought-related issues. “This created a lower-yielding harvest (between 30-50%) for many growers, as well as unreached maturity” she explains. “We make the choice not to irrigate, but rather to put emphasis on creating lively, airy soils for deep-rooting vines. This year, we’ve had no issues with quality or quantity despite not irrigating— this helped reinforce our choices and encourages us to continue farming the way that we do.”


château de rhodes

Harvest at Château de Rhodes began on September 5th— a few days later than normal. As per usual, Mauzac for the winery’s méthode ancestrale sparkling came first, then the rest of the white grapes were harvested the following week under summerlike conditions. Duras was also harvested this week, as potential alcohol levels were already high and fruit was very aromatic. “The poor rains on Sunday, September 22nd helped revive the maturity of ‘later’ varieties. We began harvesting our Syrah parels on the 23rd of September, with the last ones picked on September 30th,” says Château de Rhodes. Braucol and Prunelart were picked between the 7th and 10th of October. “At the end, our harvest lasted ten days less than that of 2018,” the estate explains. 

“The condition of our grapes was perfect for all grape varieties, which allowed us to use little sulfur at bottling,” says Château de Rhodes. “Although ‘Loin de l’Oeil’ was disappointing in quantity, the other grapes had a normal to good yield— especially Mauzac and Duras, which were generous.” Heatwaves and drought did not compromise yields or aromatics, and the kinetics of fermentation were easy and fast.


mas des cabres

Hot weather in June and August, followed by drought, greatly influenced harvest at Mas de Cabres. “In the cellar, white and rosé juices were quite aromatic and have maintained a good liveliness despite the drought,” says the winery. “With regards to the reds, both color and tannin were extracted quickly in vat.” The estate sees a decent potential for the 2019 vintage, similar to that of 2013, 2017, and 2018. 


vincent dancer

“Harvest went very well, as the season was very conducive to growing quality grapes,” says Vincent Dancer. “Difficult flowering led to a dry summer, which made the harvest a bit weak in comparison to 2018.”


stephane regnault

“2019 was quite difficult in terms of vineyard work!” exclaims Stephane Regnault. “We started the season with four days of frost that greatly impacted 30% of the domaine, though this didn’t worry me too much, as the buds were barely broken and therefore still protected.” Despite the frost, Regnault still felt confident about the harvest to come, as the quantity and quality were both promising. 

“Fortunately, the weather was very dry during flowering, which protected against mildew growth that was taking ground. It could’ve been serious!” Regnault notes that trellising was a little chaotic, temperatures then got hot, and vines were shooting inconsistently. “Then, the powdery mildew came with force… it was very difficult to stop. I lost 20 hectares in the battle, which were completely affected and therefore un-harvestable. Then, the month of August came and sunburn destroyed about 15 to 20% of what I had left.” Regnault summarizes that because of all of these factors, his harvest was very small, though the grapes he was left with were beautiful. “Native fermentations went very well. Now, all we can do is wait for the wines to evolve!”


château des antonins

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Chateau des Antonins reports that 2019 gave them an excellent harvest. A cold spell in early May was followed by lots of summer heat, though their vines held up perfectly, thanks to rain that fell at the right time. The team officially began picking on September 16th. “The conditions were ideal, with cool temperatures favoring the development of beautiful aromatics,” says Chateau des Antonins. Merlot harvest began on September 26th. Fruit was marked by fine tannins and intense color. Gentle extraction led to loads of ripe and fresh fruit flavors. “Finally, on October 7th, we harvested Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit loved the sun of this past year, which gave us high-potential fruit loaded with deep red colors. This beautiful 2019 vintage has given us a new energy.”


domaine de mouscaillo

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The 2019 harvest went very well at Mouscaillo, which was the last vintage of ‘the parents’ and the third for the ‘children.’ The first pick (fruit for the crémant) took place on August 30th. “As always, warm days led to cool nights— perfect weather for optimal maturity,” says Mouscallo. 2019 gave the estate a small but superb quantity of grapes. “The balance is great and the ageworthiness is promising. This great balance also has allowed us to do some new experiments, notably on the level of effervescence in the sparkling. We’ll see!” Mouscaillo’s Pinot Noir ripened homogeneously and slowly, followed by cold soaks, fermentation, and a one-month-long maceration. “Voila for the 2019 vintage— now we just wait and see what happens over the next 12 months in the cellar!”


domaine courtault tardieux

Simon Tardieux recalls fresh weather throughout April and early May. The estate’s anti-frost system broke down, so candles were lit four times during the morning while it was in repair. “Only a few buds were frozen,” states Tardieux. The first half of June was marked by some storms, then valves were finally closed on June 15th— in other words, no more water until harvest (aside from rain). July brought excessive heat, which made water stress set in. “The vines resisted, but many leaves and some grapes were starting to burn,” says Tardieux. A rather ‘classic’ August (warm and sunny) allowed grapes to mature normally, and the first day of harvest took place on September 5th. With regards to reds, Tardieux was left with about 50% of his normal crop, which was a result of dramatic climatic events during the growing season. Harvest ended on September 27th and Tardieux finds the quality to be better than he expected. “At both an analysis and tasting level, fermentations are going well and we may soon have an idea of the typicity and balance that the vintage will bring. We will see!”

Regions We Love : Off the Beaten Path Burgundy

— Vicki Denig

It’s no secret that wine drinkers everywhere can’t get enough of Burgundy. The region has become synonymous with top-quality juice and world-class producers, beloved by industry and consumers alike. However, with great recognition often comes great demand-- as well as steady price increases. The solution? Looking to lesser-known producers, as well as off the beaten path regions, to find the hidden gems located amongst a sea of gold. Here at Paris Wine Company, we’ve done the hard work for you! We’ve located three of Burgundy’s best kept secrets-- all you have to do is read on.


DOMAINE DE LA CRAS - CÔTEAUX DE DIJON

The vineyard sites surrounding the city of Dijon have never really garnered the attention they deserve. Just a few years ago, the city sought to change that. Dijon purchased a 160 hectare plot of agricultural property called Domaine de la Cras, located just outside the city’s limits. Only eight hectares of this land were dedicated to vines, though an additional 13 were available for planting.

Dijon held an open call to find the perfect candidate to take over the property’s winemaking duties. However, a few criteria were put in place: all vineyards were to be farmed organically and the chosen vigneron must be interested in hosting the public for educational visits. The last and perhaps most difficult caveat? The young winner had to have zero family ties to viticulture-- a rather difficult feat, when dealing with Burgundians.

After much debate, Marc Soyard was chosen as the winning candidate. Soyard would be free to live on-site at the estate and produce, bottle, and sell his own wines. However, he was (and still is) required to pay his ‘rent’ back to the city of Dijon in the form of bottles-- 2,000 per year, to be exact. Prior to Domaine de la Cras, Soyard, originally from the Jura, worked for six years as the vineyard manager at Domaine Bizot. He brings the same non-interventionist mentality to his cellar in Dijon. 

At Domaine de la Cras, all vineyards are farmed organically and some biodynamic principles are implemented. A percentage of whole clusters are always used in red wine vinification, and fermentations are always executed with natve yeasts. Soyard also enjoys experimenting with various types of oak in his élevage regimen. 

Perhaps the most interesting part of Domaine de la Cras is the fact that the estate is the only one permitted to use the Coteaux de Dijon AOC in all of Burgundy. Soyard produces two reds and two whites under this appellation. Fruit for ‘Coteaux’ (red and white) comes from lower elevation sites and ‘Cras’ (red and white) comes from steeper, more exposed plots. These wines, totally different yet thought-provoking in their own right, are not to be missed. 


PAUL NICOLLE - VÉZELAY (CHABLIS)

Paul Nicolle is no stranger to our portfolio, however, his new cuvée from Vézélay is definitely worth a mention. Nicole’s estate is located in Fleys, a small village just four kilometers away from the town of Chablis. The winery was created by Robert Nicolle and Josette Laroche exactly 40 years ago, though both hailed from impressive 200-year-old winemaking lineages. Today, the duo’s son Charly is in charge of the estate’s 20 hectares, most of which are centered in the overarching AOC Chablis.

Nicolle’s small-production cuvée from Vézélay is absolutely worth getting to know. Until 2017, the region was simply a sub-appellation of Bourgogne, until finally becoming recognized as its own AOC. Vézélay is located about 100 kilometers northwest of Beaune, specifically within the southern portion of the Grand Auxerrois, which is also home to Irancy and Saint-Bris. The entire appellation of Vézélay is made up of just 66 hectares, most of which are dedicated to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, though small amounts of Melon de Bourgogne and César are also planted. 

Paul Nicolle’s newest cuvée is produced from organic fruit. In Vézélay, these vines grow on south and southeast facing vines rooted into clay-limestone soils. Fruit is fermented with native yeasts and aged in a combination of stainless steel and large barrels without batonnage. The resulting wine is zesty and crisp, marked by sharp flavors of lemon, flint, and wet stones. The town of Vézélay is also a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and is best-known for being a meeting point for the French and English during the time of the Crusades.


PIERRE-HENRI ROUGEOT - ALIGOTÉ, PASSETOUTGRAIN & MORE

We actually discovered the wines of Pierre-Henri Rougeot thanks to our good friend and aforementioned vigneron, Marc Soyard. Rougeot’s winery is situated in the heart of Meursault, though his production goes far beyond just Chardonnay.

Pierre-Henri returned to his family’s estate and took over the winemaking reigns back in 2010. Through it all, Pierre-Henri tends all of his 13 hectares organically and produces all of his wines with a minimal intervention mentality. No sulfur is added throughout the entire winemaking process. Pierre-Henri has described his winemaking mentality as influenced by Burgundian tradition, as well as the natural winemakers of Saumur, Cahors, and more. This is how he believes elegant, honest, and precisely pure final bottles are created.

Aside from Pierre-Henri’s Chardonnay production, he also makes a varietal Aligoté bottling, as well as a Passetoutgrain, both of which are crafted vineyards around the village of Meursault and bottled as single-vineyard cuvées. Aligoté is perhaps one of France’s most underrated and best-kept secrets. As Burgundian Chardonnay prices continue to rise, these crisp and zesty whites made from the region’s lesser-known grape variety are equally thirst-quenching and delicious, often marked by apple-driven flavors and stony, flint-like undertones. Passetoutgrain is another great Burgundian secret. While collectors and aficionados flock to better-known Premier and Grand Cru Pinot Noir appellations, these bottles, produced from a combination of Pinot Noir and Gamay, offer some of the most affordable, thirst-quenching, and tasty red options from the region. Think Côte de Nuits meets Beaujolais-- what could be better? And we simply can’t write about Rougeot and off the beaten path Burgundy without mentioning his classically delicious Chardonnay produced from the lesser-known region of Saint-Romain. This wine is made from 80-year-old vines and often sold on the shelf for much less than it should be. 


Exploring the world of Burgundy doesn’t always need to break the bank. Looking to up-and-coming producers, off the beaten path producers, or even better, a combination of the two, are surefire ways to ensure a solid bang for your buck-- as well as a deeper, delicious ride into all that Burgundy has to offer. 

Unmissable producer: Elian Da Ros

Francesca Hansen

More than once, I have gone into a French wine shop and immediately zeroed in on a bottle of wine from Elian Da Ros. Inevitably, the owner, heretofore skeptical of a blonde American woman, immediately changes his tune and we exchange praise of these exceptional wines. In France, knowing the wines of Da Ros sets you apart as somewhat of an insider. 

Da Ros wines are available in Michelin-starred restaurants across the country and are stocked by all of the best cavistes in Paris. They are beloved by buttoned-up restaurants and natural wine bars alike; these wines are some of the most sought-after wines in France that you may not have heard of just yet.  

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Elian founded his Domaine in 1998 in his native region of the Marmandais, nestled just southeast of Bordeaux. The region was settled by Italian immigrants like Da Ros’ family, who initially brought renown to the region for tomatoes. When Elian started bottling wines, he was among the first to do so under the AOC Côtes du Marmandais.

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Twenty years later, Elian has proved that the terroir of Marmande can produce a range of stunning bottles, from light apéro wines to white-tablecloth stunners. One of Elian’s priorities was to highlight the native grape of the Marmandais, arboriou, in more than one wine. Their fresh, gluggable ‘Vin est Une Fête’ blends carbonically-macerated Arboriou with Merlot and Cabernet Franc. 

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They produce a small bit of varietal Arboriou each year, and the grape also makes an appearance in the Bordeaux-esque blend “Clos Baquey,” a single-parcel cuvée of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Abouriou. Clos Baquey is aged two years in barrel, assembled, then aged another year in tank before bottling. Depending on the vintage, they may also hold it for another year or two before release. The result is a wine that can more than hold its own next to the big names from across the Gironde river. 

If you can, try to get your hands on their white “Coucou Blanc” cuvée. Tasting it with a bit of age makes for a blind tasting wine that will keep friends guessing; the acidity and roundness is evocative of a very high-end Chenin. - The wine is comprised of 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Sauvignon Gris, and 30% Sémillon  from the southwest. 

Recently, Da Ros bottled a new cuvée, “Histoires de Boire,” which is a carbonic Merlot made to show that Merlot doesn’t have to be staid and formal. This juicy, glou glou cuvée is bottled only in magnums for your next raucous wine party.

We are thrilled to be able to bring these wines to the states and can’t wait to see what Elian has up his sleeve next. 

Find them in New York via MFW  

Texas via Henderson Selections

South Carolina via McCarus Beverage

2019 Harvest at Domaine de Mouscaillo

I’ve been wanting to take part in a harvest at Domaine de Mouscaillo in Roquetaillade for some time now. The astonishing views of the Pyrenées and the pure, age-worthy Chardonnay cultivated on Limoux’s exceptional terroir always caught my attention. The timing seemed opportune in 2019, as Thomas Fort and his wife Camille had fully returned back to the domaine, after Thomas finished his dissertation on ecology, with a focus on the effect of forest microbiology on the vines. 

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As we arrived to the small family chai in Roquetaillade, a small buzz of fermentation could be heard from 600L demi-muids. Camille was busy pressing the very last batch of Chardonnay for the Crémant and was saving some grape must for the future second fermentation. As we discussed the unpredictability of harvest until its very last moment, Thomas pointed out auspicious engravings of DSLS Dieu Seul Le Sait (Only God Knows) on a few older barrels, which were given to the duo as a gift from a close family friend, Didier Dagueneau, from Pouilly-Fumé (Pierre also made his first vintage chez Dagueneau!)

Barrels from Didier Dagueneau

Barrels from Didier Dagueneau

At dawn, we headed back to the vines in the middle of the Saint Pierre parcel and began picking Chardonnay alongside the rising sun. Located on steep slopes of Roquetaillade, at the crossroads of the mediterranean and oceanic climates, every time we got up to stretch our backs, an astonishing view of Pyrénées awaited us. At the foot of the hill, there was a small pond that Thomas dug earlier this year to invigorate the biodiversity of the vineyard. 

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Thomas and Camille bring an academic side and a new chapter to the strong Fort family tradition and we are very excited to see how their wines will evolve with time. 

Interview with Robert Compagnon & Jess Yang of Le Rigmarole

Name: Robert Compagnon & Jess Yang

Business: Le Rigmarole

Location: Paris XI (10 Rue du Grand Prieuré, 75011 Paris)

Where are you from? Jess: California (Taiwanese family) Robert: Born in NY to a French father and American mother (grew up between NY, Paris, and London) 

 What brought you both to Paris? We met and fell in love in Paris but thought America would be our home base, so we moved back to New York with the intention of settling there, though realized it wasn't what we wanted. We decided to move back to Paris because it was a great place to cook. The products are amazing, the startup costs for a restaurant aren't as astronomical as they are in NY, and the general quality of life is better here. Paris made sense.

What were you doing before you moved to Paris? We were cooking. We've always cooked and worked in fine dining restaurants. Jess was pastry chef at Rebelle (in New York) and worked in a bunch of other Michelin starred gastro places. I (Robert) was working in some Japanese restaurants. I studied Japanese literature in college, so I used my ability to speak Japanese to work in Japanese restaurants. That’s where I learned how to use the yakitori, charcoal, etc. 

How did you get into food & beverage? Food has always been a passion in both of our lives. We both grew up with parents who made us eat well and were always trying to expose us to good food. At first, Jess worked in marketing and realized that wasn’t going to be her thing, so she decided to study pastry in Paris. I, on the other hand, worked at a law firm for awhile. That didn't work out, so I started working at a restaurant in NY to see if it was something I'd want to do. One job led to another, and that’s how I learned to cook. I never went to culinary school.

When did Le Rigmarole open? Almost two years ago, October 2017.

 What is the concept behind the restaurant? We often say that the cooking style is more personal than anything else. We aren't tied down to any specific country, so the techniques can be Japanese, with Italian influence, though the products are always French. But the common denominator behind everything is that we make stuff that both Jess and I want to cook and want to eat. It's very personal. Jess also makes all the ceramics for the restaurant. We have a ceramics studio on the first floor. We also make all of the desserts and ice creams. Boiled down, the menu is based on seasonal French products and French flavors, cooked over Japanese charcoal and seen through that mentality. 

Tell us a bit about the current menu. It changes quite often. We're kind of in a transitional phase, with summer coming to an end. The bright green flavors of the season are going to start becoming more autumnal, so it's an interesting time. We’re starting to get some new fish, yet still banking on end of summer veggies. Tomatoes are super ripe right now, and Jess is still doing some grilled strawberries with vanilla ice cream for dessert. We’re also currently doing some grilled zucchini, as well as utilizing the beautiful corn that's still around. 

Why did you choose the XI arrondissement? What do you like most about the neighborhood? The restaurant is on a small and quiet street with nothing else really on it, so we liked that. It's easy to get to, yet the fact that it’s on its own little side street is one aspect that attracted us to the space. 

How do you go about building your wine list? The wine list is sort of a group effort. We currently have a sommeliere, Amanda, and together, the three of us all do the tastings together. We sort of pick and choose based on that. We obviously are looking for variety and things that we find really tasty, but again, it's a collaborative effort. We're also not stuck to just France-- we have a lot of foreign wines (Greek, Italian, German, Spanish, and Austrian, to name a few.)

Which wines are you most excited about at the moment? Yes, tons! We really love Eloi Cedo from Chateau Paquita at the moment. We currently have a wine of his from the 2017 that is really lovely. He made it in honor of his grandmother that passed away. Amanda really loves selling it, too. 

 Robert, tell us a bit about your work importing binchotan (Japanese charcoal.) How do you use it at the restaurant? We realized after we moved to Paris that there was no supply of quality charcoal, so we decided to import it ourselves. We did it by the container and we still have half of it left! We sell it to other people too (Septime buys it, etc.) Basically, it's carbonized really slowly so you get very pure flavors. You’re not necessarily adding a smoky flavor to the ingredient, rather, you're really trying to make the product taste as good as possible.  

 Jess, tell us a bit about your past work at NYC's Rebelle. : I was their pastry chef and worked with Daniel on the menu. Dessert-wise, he gave me complete control over the program. I had told them previously that I could probably only work for eight months maximum, because we had to move to Paris to start our own project. 

 Robert, where did you learn to make pasta? Pasta has been a long process. I worked at Rino for a little bit but never actually made the pasta there. (The chef, Giovanni Passerini, went on to open restaurant Passerini.) I would knead the dough but rarely ever folded pasta. Then, I was in charge of the pasta production at Momofuku Ko-- it's just always been a passion of mine. I always tweak recipes and shapes and stuff. Most of the pasta we have on the menu here is made from invented shapes that don't actually exist, though we always pick an Italian name to go with it to sort of wink and nod at the culture. 

 Where are some of your favorite places to eat and drink in Paris? Mokonuts and Le Tagine. To drink, we really like going to Delicatessen Cave. They're just so lovely and are great at helping people to choose wine. 

 Where are some of your favorite non-food/drink related spots in Paris to hangout? Parc Buttes Chaumont definitely. We also really like the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature. It’s a fun little spot that we love sending our friends to. We also love flea markets-- we go to the one at Porte de Vanves frequently. 

 What is a piece (or two) of advice you'd give to someone visiting Paris for the first time? Try to take it easy, don't try to pack it in! Do maybe one site-seeing thing per day and don't try to run around the entire city or you'll just be exhausted. Also, walk everywhere!