Every six months Paris becomes a little more boozy than usual as hundreds upon hundreds of independent winemakers descend upon the city for the Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants. Naturally, we were there last week as we always are when the wine comes to town.
It’s a convivial experience with everyone walking from aisle to aisle, speaking with producers, tasting new and old wines, and catching up with wine makers they’ve met before or known for a long time. People are in a great mood owing to the wine but it’s important to watch out for errant sprays of red wine as real tasters aim for the spittoon.
Aside from stocking up on some wonderful bottles for the cellar, by which I mean a box next to our kitchen which is drained almost immediately, we were inspired by some of the more contemporary wine labels adorning those thousands of bottles of liquid joy.
One of the most difficult aspects of understanding wine culture in France is the overwhelming heterogeneity of the labels causing each bottle to look quite similar to the rest, particularly after a couple of glasses. The thousands of chateaux titles and their accompanying pastoral scenes become indistinguishable. See below.
Some regions such as Bordeaux still (and probably always will) use more traditional label designs than other regions such as the Languedoc, but more and more contemporary labels seems to be appearing on the shelves.
Here’s a little collection of some of the more interesting and original labels we’ve come across along with a couple of wine suggestions that make up a large part of our weekly imbibing.
We drink a lot of Jeff Carrel wine at Studio Ombre HQ in Paris. A little too much, perhaps. Jeff is a nomadic winemaker, creating original blends from all around the country but mainly around the Languedoc area. Aside from the wine itself, he’s known for his striking wine labels. These are just a few.
Mas de Martin is another Languedoc resident and their robust, earthy wines taste like the beautiful landscape of the south. We discovered the winery at the Salon des Vins some time ago and were attracted by their great labels. We always pick up a few bottles of the Cuvée Venus and the Roi Patriote at the Salon.
Here are a few labels we found lying around the internet like empty bottles at a party. Some are a little dreamy, a little graphic and right up our alley. We recommend Les Pensées by Le Mas de l’Ecriture.
Others are staunchly political wines, perfect for accidentally spilling your secret desires to run for office after a glass too many. And a few are amusing labels that garner a laugh or two at the bottle shop. We tried Le Vin de Merde last night and it was … drinkable but not the best.
That’s all from us at the Salon des Vins. I think it’s time for a glass of wine!