Paris Wine News

photo: la rotonde

Certainly wine, but walnuts are doubtful at La Rotonde.

It's Walnut Time In France!

Paris:- Sunday, 3. October 1999:- Within Paris there are four vineyards and there will soon be five, when the Clos de Bercy has its first harvest next year. Globally, wine produced in Paris lacks maturity, due to an absence of sufficient sun rays.

But wine people take little note of this, by taking pride in producing what they can despite the adversity of being in the wrong climate.

As Champagne is also in a 'wrong' climate, one possibly more severe than Paris, local vintners might do better by using Champagne grapes or at least sticking to white wines.

Parisians being Parisians, have their own ideas of course. The Clos des Morillons, located in the Parc Georges-Brassens, uses Pinot Noir. It is rated as 'drinkable' which is not exactly a rave.

The Clos Montmartre, which had heavy rain yesterday, is mostly Gamay, but also has some Pinot Noir. It is supposedphoto: boulevard montparnasse in rain to be very fruity, and the verdict for it is 'not bad.' The Parc de Belleville is the scene of the Clos des Envierges, which produces white wine from Pinot Meunier grapes. Its rating is 'not terrible.'

Bad weather for grapes; good weather for being inside - drinking them.

A week ago I was at Jacques Melac's, but I did not actually see any of the grapes on the bar's front picked. His modestly-named Vin de Paris is a red made from 'du baco' which I think is short for 'balcony.'

To make up for the small quantity, he adds traditional grapes from various French regions - and gets the good mention of 'correct' for his wine. Mr. Melac calls it 'Château-Charonne.'

Walnut Time Is Short

You may not know this but there are ordinary walnuts and there are really good walnuts. If you are not in France right now, you can forget about the second type.

photo: le dome in rainWalnuts in France come from the regions of the Corrèze, Dordogne and the Lot. Washed but not dried, these fresh walnuts have only a short time - two weeks - of being both fresh and available and they are on sale right now.

You can get them at some street marchés, for 20 to 25 francs a kilo; but I seem to remember paying much more for them. They are a 'steal' at 25 francs a kilo.

Fresh inside and outside; the 'Dômistes' are elsewhere.

Once you have eaten one of these walnuts you will wonder what all those other things were that looked like walnuts. More likely is, once you've tasted these French walnuts you will never want to eat any other kind.

This is hard on walnut fanciers. It is not easy to go 50 weeks of the year without eating an occasional walnut after having had one of these supremely delicious nuts explode in your mouth with taste sensations you never knew existed.

It is even worse not to have had one for years because of sheer forgetfulness. I'm sorry now I read about the walnuts in yesterday's le Parisien - because it's too late to go to any of the marchés cited in the weekly feature.

French Web Life

Even if 'content is king' on the Web, a lot of it is rehash without soul, and another lot of it is composed of intensely personal, extremely individualistic sites. This last can apply to 'communities' of personal Web sites.

One such 'community' in France is an exception. According to the newsletter 'Internet Actu,' 'Le Village' representsphoto: montmartre in rain a 'real' virtual community - with the word 'community' denoting a common spirit - based in the region around Rennes.

Another "Village;' this one is Montmartre.

While 'Le Village' has enjoyed a high regard for some time, its operators have decided to take it a step further by publishing a paper version of it. The first edition hit the newsstands yesterday.

Accompanied by a CD-ROM, this monthly 'community' magazine has 44 pages, and includes contributions from members of its parent virtual community - some of which are musical. This certainly goes against the idea that the Web 'kills' paper. Internet Actu suggests that if this idea catches on, we'll be able to talk about the 'offline' press.

The Cybercâble in France is not having an easy time of it - also according to 'Internet Actu.' Present in Strasbourg, Le Mans, Besançon and Annecy, it is also available in some Paris' arrondissements. Its big selling point is big bandwidth via TV-cable and a reported 40,000 customers have signed up for this.

'Big bandwidth' is an advertised 2 Mbps, but subscribers have noticed lately that the maximum rate is in the region of 512 kbps. The operator's client relations people are saying this is 'normal.'

Some subscribers would like to discuss the one-quarter service they are getting - in court - but their contracts do not specify the actual transfer rate. A spokesman for Cybercâble says the text in their advertisements is a 'commercial argument' rather than a contractual one.

A few months ago, France Télécom bought 49 percent of Cybercâble, and one might expect better with this big operator on hand. But apparently, when subscribers complain about getting no access at all without warning, the operator says it is because they are 'monopolizing' bandwidth.

In some hands, 'truth in advertising' in France is more like romantic fiction. It sells well but it is full of hot air.

URL Shorties - All you want to know about the theatre; especially what is playing and what you should see, is presented by the new site, Webthea. Thephoto: cafe funiculaire in rain site also offers links to other theatre-related sites. The Musée des Augustins has a temporary exhibition - until February 2000 - of a selection of its collection of major 19th century works. The 8th Prix Möbius France 1999 runs off on Friday, 15. and Saturday, 16. October at the Cité des Sciences. This effort salutes the best multimedia productions for the past year. 'Intersculpt '99' is the biannual manifestation of digital sculpture, notably featuring cybersculpture, infosculpture, robosculpture and tele-sculpture; whatever these are. The show continues until Saturday, 9. October. If this sort of art is new to you, take a good look. If you find these Web sites to be interesting, don't thank me - thank 'Internet Actu.'

Weather Forecast - For the coming ten minutes of the coming week; less rain and some sunny periods. Temperatures cannot get much lower than they are, but they are not expected to rise.

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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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Waldo Bini