La foire aux vins

I’m home sick today (my awesome-never-get-sick, american immune system is no match for Paris), so I thought I would blog about what I’ve recently learned about wine in France. (All thanks to my wonderful supervisor!!)

Every September there is la foire aux vins, or big wine sale. They do this to make way for the new wine that will soon be ready. Stores have really awesome sales and it’s the time of year when French people stock their caves.

I like to think that every French person has an immense knowledge of wine, and so far, no one has let me down. Here are a few things I learned from my mini-lecture on wine.

–Vendanges means the grape harvest, which is happening now as well. When the grapes are harvested they’ll be made into wine and stored for a year. Most of the wine that is on sale now is from 2009, 2010 will soon take it’s place.

–A “vendanges tardives” means a late harvest, usually for grapes in the Alsace region. These grapes are smaller and sweeter, thus making a fancier, more expensive wine.

–French people buy wine to store (well, at least some of their wine). And not just for a few months, years. The idea is too buy a cheaper wine that, in five years, will be an excellent wine. For this reason, it’s important to tell the sales clerk your budget and when you want to drink it. There’s everything from drink within a year, within two years, and wait.

–Each region of France has it’s own bottle shape. Fun, right?

–AOC = appellation d’origine contrôlée. You want this to appear on the label of your bottle of wine. It means it’s legit.

–A lot of the good wines are called “Château de” something something. It doesn’t necessarily mean the wine is made in a castle, but it does generally mean that wine has been made there for a long time and the place has a good reputation.

–Something else to look for on the label: where is the wine bottled? All good wine is bottled onsite, not somewhere else. Look for “mis en bouteille au château”.

–Don’t be afraid to ask a sales clerk for help! Nicholas is a great place to get a good bottle of wine and their sales clerks always know their stuff.

A couple other sites promoting la foire aux vins: Auchan Carrefour

I’m still super intimidated about choosing a bottle of wine, but I feel a little more prepared now.

Next up: les journées du patrimoine and some pics of what we’ve been up to in Paris

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