It was fantastic to sell natural wines to the crowd in Paris, because it is so international. You have so many people from all over the world… I think my role at the time was to pass on the natural wine love to many people, many young people and many older people. - Pierre Jancou
An epoch-defining figure in Paris natural wine circles and natural wine at large, Pierre Jancou is the prolific, media-savvy restaurateur responsible for a slew of the French capital’s iconic natural wine destinations of the 2000s and 2010s. Taken together, Jancou’s series of bistrots and caves-à-manger represent nothing short of an influential artistic oeuvre: their patinated, hand-wrought aesthetic and frank service style is nowadays perceptible in fine natural wine spots around the world.
Jancou began his career as a restaurateur in 1991, opening the Italian restaurant La Boca near Etienne Marcel. His embrace of natural wine came just over a decade later, shortly after his 2001 opening of La Crèmerie, the tiny, enchanting 6th arrondissement wine shop that would become a touchstone for the cave-à-manger genre. In 2007, Jancou opened Racines, inaugurating his most influential period, when he offered what may have been the world’s first radical zero-zero natural wine program. Jancou followed this success with Vivant (2011), Vivant Table (2012), Heimat (2015), and Achille (2016), before conflicts with neighbors at this final address spurred him to leave Paris behind. He relocated to the Alpine village of Chatillon-en-Diois, where he ran the Café des Alpes from 2018-2020.
In 2022, Jancou relocated once again, this time to the remote Aude village of Padern, home also to renowned natural vigneron Fabrice Monnin of La Mazière. Today Jancou runs the local Café des Sports as a seasonal natural wine bistrot, and is establishing a small winemaking practice, farming 1.5ha of carignan, marsanne, and macabeu in the surrounding jagged limestone hillscape. Check out the episode for the lowdown on Jancou’s first wine; his thoughts on Instagram; and his secret to quitting hard drugs.
Pierre Jancou’s Café des Sports in Padern will reopen for Autumn 2023 on October 20th, offering lunch service Fridays-Mondays until Christmas.
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FURTHER LISTENING & READING
Ep. 1: Paris Natural Wine Lifers - Michel Moulherat
Ep. 2: Paris Natural Wine Lifers - Kevin Blackwell
Ep. 3: Paris Natural Wine Lifers - Olivier Camus
Ep. 5: Paris Natural Wine Lifers - Marie Carmarans
Ep. 6: Paris Natural Wine Lifers - Guillaume Dupré
Pierre Jancou modeling Comme des Garçons Homme Plus Fall-Winter 2000.