Friday, June 6, 2014

French Friday: O Chateau Wine Tasting

This post shall conclude my French Friday series. After over two months of talking about my big 30th birthday trip to Paris, I'm now increasingly looking forward to writing about other topics. Traffic-wise, it brought a lot of readers. Merci for reading, commenting and emailing. I hope you thoroughly enjoyed the feature.



One of my favorite experiences was a wine tasting. We scheduled the Introduction to French Wine class at  O Chateau at 3 PM on my birthday, Tuesday, April 15th. The place is highly rated and I can see why. The guy who founded this wine bar, Olivier Magny, also wrote the book Stuff Parisians Like. Our sommelier was funny and knowledgeable. If you are in Paris, then you should work it into your itinerary. The particular tasting we selected featured three wines: a white, a rosé and a red. The session cost 30 euro. We didn't add a cheese board which one may purchase.

Tasting Notes from O Chateau

I realize that I talked about this a bit before, but I thought I'd elaborate. I am in no way a wine expert, so please bear with me.

An hour long, I learned a lot, at least twice as much as other shorter wine tastings I've attended in the past. It was Elizabeth's first tasting, so she learned even more. I'm not sure I looked at wine so closely before! You examine it against a white background for color and clarity. Next, you swirl to open up aromas and note how alcoholic it is as the "legs" run back down. One of the tasting techniques, I even found out how to properly taste the wine by aerating it, which means sucking in some air through my lips. There was a difference in flavor! I've also been trying to properly hold my wine glass by the stem ever since, instead of having my hands all over the glass globe as usual.

Even though I pretty much always stick with red wine, I liked the white wine on offer. It was a 2013 Sancerre, made with the Sauvignon Blanc grape, produced by the Domaine de la Garenne in the Loire Valley. It was flavorful with a note of citrus. I especially liked that it was crisp. Since I don't like sweet reds at all, I think I will attempt to stock a couple of bottles of the dry, crisp white wine that this particular grape seems to produce.

I also really liked the rosé. It didn't have much of a finish at all, so I could see it being a light summery beverage. I even looked this 2013 Pays d'Oc, made with Cabernet Sauvignon, from the Domaine de la Grande Courtade - L'Instant in the Languedoc wine region, up on the internet to see if I could easily order it from someplace domestic, but was unsuccessful so far. I will try to stop at a few larger liquor stores and see if they have it or at least something that is similar that I can try. I'd love to have a bottle of rosé for summertime. 

Even though I drink red wine on a nearly daily basis, I actually wasn't in love with their rouge wine selection, which was a 2011 Cahors from the Malbec grape by Chateau Combel la Serre - Originelle in the Sud-Ouest region. I'm used to Chianti, or possibly Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. It has a very dark, intense color.

Me at O Chateau

It was simply fun too. Our classmates were friendly and cultured. They asked good questions. With learning about something new and drinking wine plus daydreaming about that rosé since, I have to say it was a wonderful experience. Just what I wanted to do on my birthday afternoon...


I love that I'm ending this series with talk of wine as it seems to be a proper toast to an amazing trip! I also toast you, dear reader, and your future trip to Paris, a city of stunning beauty. Please plan and actually go.



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