Following my last post from Paris, what pairs oh so well with Parisian treats you might ask? Well wine of course! (if that’s what you guessed, then virtual high five to you!) And where better to learn about wine & taste test some of the worlds finest than in Paris? I mean from what I noticed during my time in Paris, wine is widely available to anyone at any time, and thats definitely something the people of Paris (probably France as a whole actually) take advantage of. In my 4 days in the city of love I saw more open bottles of wine in public than I have anywhere else before. So when Lindsey & I managed to score seats at a wine tasting with Ô Chateau we couldn’t have been more excited (not to mention we’d be celebrating her birthday there too).
Located less than 5 minutes walk from the Louvre, Ô Chateau started their wine tasting adventures back in 2004 and recently moved into their new space 6 years ago fully equipped with 3 tasting rooms & and stunning wine bar. Oliver Magny is the founder of the company and along with his stellar staff have been dubbed “The Best Wine Bar in Paris” by Bonjour Paris and seems to be a local household name in terms of wine tasting locations in the City of Love. Boasting small group sizes for tasting classes, knowledgeable sommeliers with years of experience behind each of them, and a charming location there is no better way to start off a night out in Paris than embracing your wine loving tendencies with a seat at Ô Chateau.
Our class ran from 5pm - 7pm on a Tuesday evening, but they have tastings throughout the week/weekend including day trips to Champagne and many more, to find out more check out their listings here. We were greeted and led to the basement cellar which was the perfect location for a tasting class, stone walls, wood barrels & a Parisian charm like no other. Our Sommelier was Gerald, a wealth of knowledge on French wines & made our night inclusive with the rest of the attendees.
We tasted 5 wines & 1 champagne in our class starting with the champagne, which was from - you guessed it! The region of Champagne in France. Located in the South East of France this is where Champagne is made, and as I learned the only place! Anything that is called champagne but made else where is actually just sparking wine (learn something knew every day). The 3 principle grape types grown in this region include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & Pinot Meunier; all of which are used in creating champagne. Created as you would wine, there is an additional process to add the carbonation that brings Champagne to life. A mixture of wine, surge & yeast is added together in a secondary fermentation process and the yeast is then slowly removed from the liquid to create the carbonation & voila! The bubbly is born.
Before tasting our wines Gerald explained to us that that are 4 familial categories when it comes to the flavour of wine: Minerals, Fruits, Florals & Vegetables so be sure to remember that when it comes to your next #winewednesday with the girls (or boys) when someone says "this tasteless earthy", they aren't crazy! From here we moved onto our wines, going in order from Sauvignon blanc to a Cabernet Sauvignon. Gerald taught us the simple steps to taste wine properly and get the most out of the tastings. Here are the steps you need to be a taster extraordinaire in your own living room:
2. Smell 3. Swirl 4. Smell
To get the breakdown, be sure to take the class on your next trip to Paris (didn’t think I was going to give away all the secrets now did you?). As you go through the tasting process your Sommelier will ask you your opinions of the wines and what flavours you’re tasting, which is a neat experience because everyone seems to taste wine different the first go around until someone mentions a flavour and all of a sudden you realize you tasted it as well. To make sure we got the best experience out of our evening we thought that no wine tasting could be complete without a little charcuterie board (and who doesn’t get hungry drinking wine!) which was the perfect accompaniment to the evening. Our night ran through tastings of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Syrah, Grenache & Cabernet Sauvignon + the champagne to start, and to be honest they were all delicious. I’m usually a Cab Sauv girl myself but I even had myself enjoying a red like I never thought before. Maybe it was the class, maybe the other wine I’d had, or the fact that France really knows how to do wine, whatever the reason it was still amazing.
As the class concluded, Lindsey and felt like we could take on more French wine & headed off into the night to continue celebrating her birthday & continuing our sommelier experience, trying a fair few other wines during our time in Paris. A huge merci to the team at Ô Chateau for their hospitality, and the fantastic class. Definitely one for the book (or blog clearly) and a must do on your next visit to Paris!
*The class Lindsey & I took part in was the "Tour De France", which can be booked 5 nights a week at 49 € for students & 55 € for Adults