De Vinus Illustribus
It’s not often that the opportunity to have a private wine tasting in a cellar in Saint Germain, Paris presents itself.
And so, when it does, the opportunity must be embraced. It’s impossible not to embrace such an opportunity.
Below the streets of Saint Germain, is a wine cellar and store called De Vinus Illustribus that has belonged to Lionel Michelin since the mid 1990s. Lionel is not only passionate about wine but also an avid collector of rare, vintage wines.
As I walked down the stairs into the perfectly temperature controlled cellar, it became clear to me that this would be no ordinary wine cellar experience.
The cellar itself is beautifully designed.
But its on closer inspection, that the extraordinary nature of this collection presents itself in a subtle fashion.
This is a small collection of Sauternes from Bordeaux. The difference in colors is due to age. The darker the color, the older the Sauterne. The top bottles date back to the 1950s.
Other alcohols also have a home here in Lionel’s collection.
These cognacs date back to the 1800s (the center bottle dates back to 1811).
Saint-Emilion wines from the 1940s?
How about a Premier Cru Sauterne from 1947?
After having a rather animated conversation with Lionel about vintage wines, it was time for a tasting in the cellar in this hallowed space.
Who can say no to fine cheese and wine picked out for perfect pairings by the master himself, Lionel?
Cheese from bottom to top: Ossau Iraty, Old Compte (aged 2 years), Fourme d’Ambert
And the wines…
From left to right: Bourgogne, “Cuvee Saint-Urbain” Domain Jean Fournier Marsannay 2013, Loire, “La Dame” Domaine de Rocheville Saumur 2011, Roussillon “Quintessence” Domaine Come del Mas 2011 (my favorite paired with the blue cheese - heaven)
De Vinus Illustribus facillitates private tastings (you must contact them via their website to arrange it) for all levels of interest in wine. The tastings are not wine by the glass. Rather, they open a new bottle for every tasting (very different and special).
Because they specialize in rare vintages, they can even arrange to have a bottle corresponding to a special year available (my birth year was apparently a great one for wines from Burgundy!). Lionel literally knows how nearly every year was for the different wine regions. It’s incredible really.
One of the most unique wine experiences I have had.
Many thanks to De Vinus Illustribus for having me as a guest and being so incredibly welcoming and kind.