You may be wondering how to choose a good bottle of wine. You’ve come to the right place!
Visiting Paris without drinking wine is like living a life without love. It’s possible, but it would be really boring!
France produces more than 3,000 different types of wine across several different regions throughout the country. The most well known (and best tasting) come from Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Loire Valley, Provence and the Rhone Valley. You definitely won’t be lacking choice, which could make your decision seem more overwhelming. Are 3,000 different choices a good or bad thing? We can’t say for sure!
What we can say is for sure a good thing, is that wine is barely taxed in France. This is thanks to the powerful wine lobby, which is one of the most powerful lobbies in France. If you’re American, we could compare it to the powerful NRA. In France, more than 500,000 people work in the wine sector.
So, how to choose a bottle of wine without spending your entire vacation inside a wine shop?
In Paris, you have the choice between buying wine in a supermarket or in a wine shop, cave à vin as we say here in France. Both options will have a ton of bottles to choose from, the difference is mainly about the excellent advice you will get in a wine shop. And, this advice comes at a price!
If you are a novice, you should start at the wine store. You’ll have to have a general idea of what your tastes are, or what sorts of foods you will be serving, so that you can tell the salesperson what you’re looking for. According to your taste, they will direct you to the wine that suits you. You should count on paying around 12 euros (minimum) for a bottle.
If you already know the type of wine you like, then feel free to head to the supermarket on your own. Here, you’ll find that the prices are a lot less expensive. You can find some very tasty wines for around 4 euros per bottle. I told you that valuable wine shop advice comes at a price!
If you want to learn a little more before you head to the cave or supermarket, here are some things to keep in mind about French wine:
In winemaking, a “vintage wine” is made from grapes that were all harvested during a particular year. Due to changes in weather, grapes can change from year to year, meaning that some years are better than others. For example, in France, the best vintage years as of now are 2005, 2009, and 2018.
However, not all vintages are created equal! Some are aging like George Clooney and others closer to Steven Tyler…but don’t worry. The older wines that are on sale are only those that have proven their worth!
Winemaking is a complex process that has been around for thousands of years. The process is so complex, that there is even a science dedicated to the process called oenology. But, you don’t need to be a scientist to appreciate a good glass of wine, or know your stuff.
When choosing a bottle of wine, you may come across “blended wines.” A blended wine is simply a wine that is made using several different grape varieties rather than just one. This enables the winemakers to create a more complex and robust wine, bursting with flavors.
You’ve probably already tasted a blended wine without even knowing! Some of the most well known wines are blends.
Blending is a lot more complicated than just mixing a few different grape varieties together. Plus, there are strict rules about which wines are allowed to be blended. Some famous French blends are:
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape (from the Rhone Valley) – featuring up to 13 different grape varieties
- Red Bordeaux (from Bordeaux) – featuring 5 different grape varieties
Wine regions to know about:
Bordeaux refers to a city and a region in southwest France. All “Bordeaux” wines come from this region. In fact, there are more than 8,500 wine producers in Bordeaux alone!
This region is well known for their robust red wines, sweet white wines, and dry white wines.
Remember: these wines are robust like a rugby player.
The Burgundy region (Bourgogne in French) is located in eastern France. The most famous wines produced here are dry red wines made using Pinot noir grapes, and white wines made using Chardonnay grapes.
Remember: these wines are elegant with a clearer color, and are typically made using a single grape variety.
The Loire Valley wine region is made up of several different wine regions situated along the Loire River. This includes the Muscadet region and the Sancerre region, in addition to 5 others! The majority of the wines produced here are white wines.
Remember: these wines are fresh like a cool evening on the water.
The Provence wine region is located in southeast France. This is where all of that rosé you all love comes from!
Remember: these wines are from vineyards that are spoiled by the nice weather, which make the wines stronger and more fragrant.
Now you know how to choose a bottle of wine! Don’t forget: the best bottle of wine is not always the most expensive, but the one we share!