December 3, 2014

Monthly Musings with Marc - December


Three of the things I love most about living in France are: the travel opportunities, the food, and the wine. 

I love the wine. :)
I love learning about the different wine regions, the complex mixtures, and taking the time to enjoy the flavors found in wine.

Each year we have lived in France, I have had the opportunity to go to the Salon des Vins Independant Vignerons, a grand wine tasting of French wines, champagnes, and cognacs. The largest is in Paris, hosted at the Paris Expo, and filled with over 1,000 different vineyards giving out samples of their wine.

I have been fortunate to receive tickets to these wine tastings from the president of the first French volleyball club Christy played for at La Rochette.

French People. French Wine. Everywhere.
The first year, I went twice to this mecca of wine delight and was overwhelmed with the amount of nice people I met. The owners, sellers, or helpers of each vineyard are all very proud of their productions. I've tasted wine from places that produced the marble used to make the steps of the Opera Garnier, a vineyard that has been in a family since 1620, and a wine maker that put his bottled wine in fishnets to submerge his wine into the Atlantic Ocean outside of Bordeaux.

It's your ticket in!
Many of these people could tell instantly I wasn't French and were kind enough to share their histories in English all while filling my (free at the entrance to the Salon) wine glass. 

Every time I go to one of these wine tastings, I try to hone in on a different region. Everyone knows about Bordeaux wine, and after my first time, I decided to branch out and explore other parts of France. The Côtes de Rhône, Sud Ouest, Bourgogne (Burgundy), and Languedoc-Roussillon are the regions I have focused on the last four trips.

Eventually I will take the time to get to know the Alsace and Loire (known for beautiful châteaux, but has good wine, too!). Right now I would have to say I will be getting my reds from Bourgogne and my dessert whites from Sud Ouest.

French people know to bring a cart!
Wooden wine boxes are beautiful.
These gatherings are not just a chance for a novice like myself to explore the tasty world of wine but a chance to purchase a bottle or two...or if you can't control yourself, go ahead and grab a case.

Most of these cases come in an average cardboard box, but some come in gorgeous wooden boxes. And they can be hard to choose between!

This Thanksgiving I set out for the Paris Expo with the intent of finding a wine that Swags and I could enjoy over the course of the next year or two, and a box that we could have for much longer. 

After going into the city a day earlier than Christy, I got the choices narrowed down to a top 4 and took her to each stand in reverse order. We went to each stand trying a few different options, hit a few other stands in between from the Bourgogne and Côtes de Rhône regions, and were pleased with most of the options. 

These will last us a good while.
In the end, we settled on one vineyard in particular. Château Haut-Fongrive, run by husband and wife, Julien and Doriane. Very nice people, with incredible organic wine, and now we get to enjoy it chez nous