I booked a wine tasting last minute in the 9th Arrondissement at a bar à vin/caviste called Archibon. Wine Tour de France in a cozy private wine bar was hosted by Henri, who opened the establishment in 2016. He’d previously worked in the business sector but later decided to pursue his passion for wine full-time.
The bar is intimate. Mirrors line the walls. Stacked crates are stocked with bottles of wine. I visited on a Sunday afternoon and found Rue Rougemont quite quiet. Archibon is located at number 13.
I was the first guest to arrive. Henri and I chatted about my acquisition of the French language while we waited. I also tried — successfully, I might add — to refrain from eating the baguette, cheese, and charcuterie that had been placed at my table. Class began promptly when the other two guests arrived. One of them had studied wine, which, as I suspected, made for robust conversation.
The Airbnb experience was unique. It struck the perfect balance between formal wine class and casual tasting. Henri is skilled at making complicated information on wine production accessible. As a memoirist, I enjoyed hearing Henri tell the story of how he started his business and maintained it through 2020 and beyond. I also had the opportunity to put my senses to the test; we discussed the tasting notes of each of our six wines in great depth.
Although I took a few notes, I fully embraced the casualness of the occasion. There was plenty of room for questions, thoughts, disagreements, and personal stories. I left having connected with another sommelier in one of my favorite cities. One can never know too many people in the French wine industry. Needless to say, I plan to return.