The Story of the Stolen Glass


It’s a sad sign of the times when one is pathetically grateful for good customer service. Recently it has become a bête noire of mine having to deal with global internet companies. It could not have been a more different experience on the weekend. Visiting one of my favourite restaurants in Paris, La Verre Vole. (The Stolen Glass) – a little cave à manger near Canal-St-Martin.

The place was closed for lunch but we knocked on the door anyway. The staff already had their staff meal on the table and were ready to sit down. They let us in and spent a bit of time talking with us about the wines. On the walls there is an excellent selection of natural wines – many I long to see in London, especially the Beaujolais and Loire wines.

They pulled out a perfectly chilled Beaujolais and two glasses, “Have a seat by the canal and return them when you can.”

I think we had mentioned a few we knew – we had seen a lot of Lapierre’s Morgon on the lists around town. Marcel Lapierre is one of the “Gang of Four” in Beaujolais (Lapierre, Thevenet, Foillard, Breton). The name was coined by Kermit Lynch Wine Mercant, but what unites them is the influence of Jules Chauvet, especially his work on carbonic maceration and yeasts. Known as the “father of natural wine”, his few works have made an impact on the practice of both “natural” wines and “conventional” wines.

The wine we found ourselves here was part of the same group, often known as the fifth in the “Gang of Four” – Yvon Metras. A recluse who hated paperwork and preferred to spend time in the vineyard, he has dropped off the radar somewhat. Not thinking about the wine too much, like the city moving past, the buzzing fruit tempered by dry iodine notes – it is joy highlighted in neon lights.

I vaguely registered that Metras was related to Thevenet through the recommendation, but it wasn’t until I arrived back in London that the full extent of the genius was revealed. For a Beaujolais, the research appealed to the intellect; the wine at lunch, the senses; and, the satisfaction, emotions. The scene is set for romance around this area of Paris, but to use an overused business cliche: it was very good customer service. It was the perfect wine for the moment, but it also said something good about the people who recommended it.

Oh, and yes, we returned the glasses.


Le Verre Volé 67 Rue de Lancry  75010 Paris, France

Also mentioned in previous post: Natural Wine Bars in Paris (March 19, 2012)