Syrah Power

Syrah Power

Syrah Power

Syrah Power

Crozes-Hermitage wines have that rare form of elegance that enables them to enhance those special moments. Whether they are intimate and romantic or social and festive occasions, all of them share the same sincerity. With the indulgent crunchiness of Syrah from the beautiful Rhone terraces lending a helping hand and making you want to live life to the full, Paris is a willing ally. Provided, that is, you keep in mind these few words by singer Georges Brassens – “the best wines are the ones we drink with friends” – which just about sums up the spirit of Crozes-Hermitage.

François-Xavier Demaison
“I am nuts about wine!”

The Parisian comedian loves to seek out some authentic wine growers and characterful wines in cellar door shops along the Rhone Valley, where he also stumbles across some great stories.

His good nature exudes an aura that stays in the air like a whiff of perfume and spreads undeniable joie de vivre. After studying both at Sciences-Po and the (more befitting) Cours Florent drama school before taking to the stage, Demaison starred in the film about the famed French comedian Coluche. At no point though, did he forget to nurture his passion for wine for guys. “I have been nuts about wine since I was seventeen! Since then, my palate has become increasingly inquisitive”.

In the same way that some people scour the antique shops, François-Xavier Demaison visits wine growers, chats and tastes with them, and brings his finds back to Paris to share them with his mates. “When you introduce a wine to someone, it’s like saying “I love you!”” he exclaims, glass in hand and excitement written all over his face. With uncontrived emotion, he recalls past memories, often set in the Rhone valley, whose powerful wines strike a real chord with him.

“I drink them whenever I can”, he adds with a twinkle in his eye. “To strike up a conversation, there is nothing like a trustworthy wine that draws us into life’s virtuous circle. As the whole point is not to disappoint, it is better to make the right choices!” The generosity and genuine simplicity of Crozes-Hermitage wines are a definite ally, as are the bonds which prompt François-Xavier to text his friends the names of some real finds.

Standing as a declaration of his love for genuine wines by wine growers imbued with passion, the ‘Sommelier’ sketch reflects the sensitive, profound man he is, someone who knows the real meaning of sharing. Anyone who whips out his smartphone to show you the bottles of wine he has drunk over the past few days as others would show you photos of their children on the beach has got to be worthy of trust.

Léon Mazzella

“Crozes-Hermitage wines make you want to kiss people”

Former film editor and bistro chef Elodie Cadiou opened her own wine shop – ‘Et si Bacchus était une femme’ (What if Bacchus were a woman) – in 2012. She certainly isn’t making any bones about where she stands!

Why did you choose this particular name for your shop?

When women taste wine, they express their feelings whereas men have a more technical approach and look for faults. Personally, I have a very animalistic relationship with wine. I get a gut feeling for the wines I choose. For me, wine is firstly about smell, stories and discoveries.

You list several Crozes-Hermitage wines. What do you like about them?

I like their really fruity, velvety side and their wonderful freshness. They offer up both softness and exuberance and a crunchy, intense edge. They’re wines that make you want to kiss people.


Let me tell you a little story. When I was working at L’Alcazar, one day a couple of madly in love forty somethings came in. They asked me to choose the wine. I sought some inspiration and chose a Crozes-Hermitage laden with fruit and sensuality. The minute they tried it, they were delighted and wanted to know why I chose it. I waited until the meal was over to tell them: “When I saw you, I thought about this wine because it makes you want to kiss people”. They burst out laughing and thanked me.

Et si Bacchus était une femme – 119, rue Monge – Paris 5e

Text: Marc Médevielle

Delicious snacks

On bistro bars or in the plush setting of a delicatessen, elaborate nibbles and glasses of wine make uninhibited bedfellows.

The club sandwich, made with lobster in the more upmarket venues, is making a come-back. Tapas are making a splash in neighbourhood bistros and five-star hotel bars alike. Bruschetta come with a vast choice of toppings. There is no denying it – snacks are rapidly gaining traction, but not at the expense of enjoyment! Fresh ingredients and precise flavours have become the Holy Grail for gourmet bloggers and savvy columnists.

“Aside from the taste, the main thing is having a story to tell”, agree most of the fashionable bistro and delicatessen owners, and there’s nothing like going back to basics to find one. Hence, the trend for burgers made from Aubrac beef, Spanish cured hams, bottarga and soy sauces made by boutique producers. All of them are regional foods offering disorientated consumers perturbed by the uncertainties of the times some trustworthy points of reference. Wines with deep-rooted traditions are tapping into the same trend particularly when, like Crozes-Hermitage, they have freed themselves from the shackles of convention.

Marc Médevielle

58 Quality Street

Young Michelin-starred chef Sylvain Sendra offers his own take on street food. The patrons at 58 Quality Street can indulge in the ingredients and Japanese-style assertiveness of the chef in minimalist surroundings yet a cosy atmosphere.

58 rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève 75005 Paris


At Bliss, set in the Les Halles district, the décor offers a warm mixture of inspirations. Between 9am and 2am, patrons are given the choice between simple local dishes, enticing pizzas and platters of cold meats and cheeses.

8 rue Coquillière 75001 Paris


At L’Abri, a post-industrial mini-canteen, Katsuaki Okiyama has his fans who love being dictated to when it comes to what’s on their plates. For instance, a mixture of beetroot, lettuce, crab, yuzu, honey and cacao!

92 rue du Faubourg Poissonnière 75010 Paris

Le Petit Vendôme

Just a stone’s throw away from the famous jewellers of the Place Vendôme, the Petit Vendôme is a Mecca for lovers of the sandwiches of yesteryear, preferably made from Auvergne specialities.

8 rue des Capucines 75001 Paris

Jeanne B

Hand-picked, novel produce, minimalist cuisine, a lively team, classy décor and knowledgeable selection of wines in magnums – the Jeanne B delicatessen has found the winning formula for rounding up gourmet foodies in Montmartre.

61 rue Lepic 75018 Paris

Le Brio

In just two years, Fabien Held has turned Le Brio into a magnet for the very tranquil side of Montmartre hill. From 7am to 2 am, the locals are treated to a joyfully eclectic atmosphere.

216 rue Marcadet 75018 Paris


Open non-stop from 12 noon to 11pm, the Cosi specialises in off-beat sandwiches, offering a choice of 17 different sorts from €5.5 to €8 to take away or enjoy in the first-floor dining area.

54 rue de Seine 75006 Paris

Da Rosa

Da Rosa is Saint-Germain’s chic delicatessen. Pan con tomate, jamón ibérico and wine by the glass are the mainstay on the little black pedestal tables.

62 rue de Seine 75006 Paris

Willi’s Wine Bar

Mark Williamson is a pioneer. In 1980, when wine bars in Paris were few and far between, he opened Willi’s Wine Bar, a bistro serving mostly wines from the Rhone Valley. Here, the Crozes-Hermitage are a safe bet.

13 rue des Petits Champs 75001 Paris

Meat gets its own back!

Meat lovers are rebelling and celebrating the vibrant come-back of meat on our plates, with a dash of insolence.

At a time when fruit, vegetables and milk products are the only topic of conversation, meat is getting its own back! From red to white, from extreme-aged five-year old beef to milk-fed veal and tender salt-meadow lamb from the Bourbonnais, Poitou, Pyrenees, Provence or elsewhere, not forgetting the ‘Pig King’ which is making a marked come-back, duck breasts and all types of poultry led by roast chicken, gourmet food lovers are having a ball.

Some good meat and a glass of red wine perk you up and boost your morale. From elaborate pigeon in bread cases to the simplest of beef burgers, meat has the ability to suit all budgets, all occasions and all tastes. And it pairs superbly with good red wines, with Crozes-Hermitage leading the way.

Elizabeth de Meurville

“Young or powerful red Crozes-Hermitage makes the perfect partner for every type of meat.


“I willingly recommend a Crozes-Hermitage with our iconic dish, pressed duck. A fairly complex, slightly mature wine over ten years old offers a silky texture that mirrors the duck flesh with roundness counterbalancing the faint bitterness from the duck liver. A 2001 vintage sourced from old vines on hillside sites pairs beautifully with the duck and enhances its faint gamey edge”.

David Ridgway, head sommelier at the Tour d’Argent (Paris 5e)


“Personally, I love Crozes-Hermitage with pork or veal chops. Its silky, peppery flavour acts as a foil to the fattiness of the meat. Its elegance also makes it a good partner for poultry and even small game like partridge or grouse with which it shares the same, slightly wild edge”.

Benoît Gauthier, chef at Le Grand Pan and Le Petit Pan (Paris 15e)


“To make a change from my clients’ favourite – ribeye steak – I could imagine a tasty steak such as mature hanger steak or alternatively a very fresh flank or skirt steak. Then there’s “the butchers’ cut for their customers” – like a round of beef, topside and a spider steak – or better still, “the butchers’ cut for the butchers” like nicely pared chuck steak quick fried in the pan. With an elegant, peppery Crozes-Hermitage it’s magnificent!”

Hugo Desnoyer, Desnoyer butchers (Paris 14e and 16e)


“We have a dozen of the appellation’s wine growers on our wine list. Our customers have had a weak spot for them for thirty or so years. But for maximum enjoyment, the choice has to be right: a well-structured wine with powerful tannins for blue or rare meats and a more supple, velvety wine for medium-cooked meats”.

Hugo Boulay, sommelier at the Maison de l’Aubrac (Paris 8e)


“With red meats from Tim Wilson in Yorkshire selected by Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec, fruit-forward Crozes-Hermitage wines are chosen for tender, lean meats served without parsley, for instance ox cheek with foie gras. Spicier Crozes-Hermitage make a brilliant companion for ribeye steak or even t-bone steak with parsley”.

Aurélien Cazes, sommelier at the Beef Club (Paris 1er)


“Whether it comes from Challans or Auvergne, guinea fowl is a superb type of poultry that pairs extremely well with a silky, fruity Crozes-Hermitage suffused with pepper on the finish. There is even a speciality young guinea fowl in Drôme which I don’t have, though I wouldn’t mind having some if I could find a good producer!”

Manu Berichel, a poultry seller at the Coq Saint-Honoré (Paris 1er)


“A slender, three-year-old wine showing pure fruit, freshness and spice with notes of white pepper and delicately restrained, untouched power offers a very elegant pairing for Mesquer pigeon meat matured for two weeks, preserved leg and pink breast enhanced by pureed offal (pigeon liver, pancetta and bacon) cooked in pigeon juice and sieved through a fine sieve with blackcurrants and cabbage”.

Antonin Bonnet, chef at the Sergent Recruteur (Paris 4e)

Icone vins crozes-hermitage