Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wine Tasting in Paris

If you're into wine and want to know everything about French ones - and if you plan a trip to Paris - , I've found the perfect place for you: O Chateau. I went there yesterday evening and enjoyed very much the "teaching" by Olivier Magny (on the above photo) who runs the tasting in English for two hours. Not only do you get to sip some excellent wine (I did not because I don't drink alcohol) but you also learn about the different regions, labels (AOC), vocabulary, etc. More photos here.


  1. Thanks for the info on this wine tasting. Interesting that it's 'taught' in English.

  2. How much did it cost to attend?

    I have been trying some French Bordeaux's since my return to the U.S. One was good but the other two bottles were a disappointment. I need more recommendations (please include winemaker)!

    One thing is for sure, for some reason, most French wines here are priced far below California wines. So if I can find a few good red wines...that is a financial plus!

  3. Eric, how can you be a Frenchman & not drink alcohol? Surely, its a contradiction in terms? And how can you have such unfailing good humour and enduring belief in 'the common man' without ever needing a sip of vino, or something stronger to restore your faith in human nature? But - don't ever change. You're perfect just as you are!

  4. Eric, "if you're into wine"? Well yes, I am into wine!!! I found that a great tip. I'm a little intrigue and it's probably not my business, but why go to a wine tasting if you don't drink alcohol?!

  5. Susan, I forgot to mention that Hazel was very thankful that you recommended the apartment.
    About the wine, I checked the O Chateau site and it seems the prices range from 20 to 65 euros. I've been trying some french wines too, last one was a red wine, Côtes-du-Rhône, from Chateau Saint Roch. I liked it a lot, anyone know it?
    Now I have a bottle waiting to be opened from La Loire. I heard it's a good one.

  6. je ne pensse pas qu'il y avait de vin Corse, mais ca devait etre pas mal, bon il est vrai que je le fais pratiquement tous les jours tu connais mon job donc...
    enfin vieux venard il faudra que tu me dise ce qui ta marqué le plus...

    a prestu...

  7. I think more than one person becomes a little drunkie there... wine just run into my head and make me feel like smile all the time! **

  8. Eric,
    I like the point of view of this shot very much. Now you're not going to tell us you got down on the floor for this one, as well, are you? I like to think one can put the camera on the floor and shoot with a cable or something. . .

    This class seems like a wonderful idea for English speaking visitors to Paris! Coming from California, I was only familiar our own wine regions and wines and didn't know a thing about French wines. I had to depend on the suggestions of restaurant wait staff or sheepishly ask for a glass of the "house" wine while visiting Paris. I bet this would be a fun presentation to go to with a bunch of foodie friends.

  9. kim, he could have put his camera on a timer, set the camera down next to his foot so as to be discrete, angled it as best he could, and then hit the button to take the photo! Did you make sure the flash was off so you didn't attract any more attention, Eric?

  10. Soosha and Kim,
    my guess is Eric's so good at it, he simply let his arm down while sitting on the chair, aimed and pushed the bottom, knowing exactly what he had framed, including his own foot. I'm sure that's his foot on the photo.

    Any other guess?

  11. He is good, but is he that good? Perhaps he whistled in a way that is inaudible to human ears, but is perfectly audible to the photography fairy he keeps in his pocket (front pocket of his shirt, dirty people!). The fairy comes out of the pocket, invisible to all but Eric, sprinkles the camera with fairy invisibility dust so the no one will be disturbed from their class, perfectly positions the camera, takes the photo, and pops back into Eric's pocket eagerly awaiting the next photo that needs to be taken covertly.

    I've read about these rare creatures on Wikipedia, so you know they're true!

  12. Soosha, LOL, of course I know who these little creatures are, I've read about them too. In fact, I saw them around chillinggnomes the other day...

  13. But of course, where else would they hang out on their time off?

  14. I've lived here a while now Eric and never heard of this O Chateau place. Was the guy's English very good? How many wines did you NOT drink? Meet anybody interesting?

    Susan in atl, for what it's worth, here are a few of my favourites, but I'm sure there are better experts than I out there:

    Château Margaux, Pomerol,
    Saint-Émilion, or a Graves.

    And for a good, cheap red wine from the Loire Valley, try a Chinon, best served between 16° & 18°C / 57° F and 60° F!

  15. Anybody going to be in Paris for the annual PDP picnic-by-the-Seine this summer? We could rent this place out just for PDP viewers one day!

  16. Sorry everyone, I'll shut up now. Just after leaving my comment about the different wines above, I wondered if people really knew that you can tell a type of wine by it's bottle shape or colour of glass. This might help some of you who are looking for a particular tasting wine.

    Ok, I'm done now, off to work...thanks for the interesting post Eric! I may be drunk by noon!

  17. Eric: I love all the cool photos and perspectives that you snapped in the extra photos! And, I'm happy to hear that there are actually French people who don't drink. I'm not a big drinker myself. On my first trip to Paris while at dinner with a couple of my girlfriends, we didn't order wine and the waitress gave us a funny look and asked if we were enceinte!

  18. I would love to learn more about French wines though I do not drink alcool either. Dave loves wine and even worked in the industry in Nappa. However, he only drinks French wines. He loves "Fortant". I can't remember the other brands that always are in our home. I don't think that foot and bit of trouser belongs to Eric? Celebration time, come on! Why not?

  19. Very touristy place actually. (speech is delivered in English, doesn't that mean everything ??)

  20. Love this angle, with the giant's shoe in shot!

    Annual PDP picnic by the Seine Michael? Sounds divine. If i only can, i will! Await schedule with glee.

  21. Olivier is great; very nice and knows a lot about wine. His tastings are a lot of fun & educational.

    But Eric, if you don't drink, what were you doing on the floor??

  22. Michael,
    I was going to ask if there will be a PDP GENERAL MEETING this year, like you guys did last year. Can I make a request? :-) Could it possibly be in July pleaaaase?!?! I'll be in Paris by this time and I would love to attend the picnic!!!!

    About the wines, I knew we can define it by color and maybe by the type of glass. Didn't know about the bottle though.

  23. Susan, I already gave you my recommendations a couple of months ago. Hope some of them were pleasing.

  24. Michael, you're such a lush! Are you sure you should be drinking in the middle of the day on a work day? You know what happens when you get drunk, although who knows, perhaps your boss might get a good laugh from your crazy drunken diva antics! (I'm just picturing you drinking a ton of wine at a cafe near work, jumping up on a table, and regaling the crowd with impressions of your boss and coworkers. OMG I don't think I've laughed this hard in a long time!)

    Sorry Michael, I think the NyQuil has gotten to me. I humbly grovel at your feet and request forgiveness for having fun at your expense!

  25. Soosha...Where are you? Are you watching me from the corner somewhere? How did you know that was how I spent my lunch hours (remember, we get 2 hours here in France)?

  26. Rickemmanuel. You're welcome ;)

    Susan. It costs 50 € to attend, of course if you decide to buy wine at the end of the session, it's extra. Susan, don't count on me to give you advice on wine, I'm the last person to ask. Apparently Olivier - the "wine teacher" said the best ones are more likely to be Burgundy but you can find good wines everywhere!

    Jasper. I know it's always a surprise when I say I don't drink and though it's true. First of all my parents would drink wine only on special occasions so that I did not get through the usual wine initiation process that every French kids go through and then now my stomach gets upset anytime I drink anything with alcohol in it, so I restrain.

    Monica: "why go to a wine tasting if you don't drink alcohol?! ". To take a photo for PDP! (No kidding...). The wine from La Loire is generally good I was told but pretty light.

    Terra. Il a parlé du vin Corse dans la session, mais bon, ce n'est pas ce qui est le plus connu en Corse... J'ai bu une goutte de Pommard et c'était très bon.

    Dsole. You don't get drunk over there because most people spit the wine they taste.

    Kim. Yes, I did kneel down to take this photo! Yes I think it's a brilliant idea to do that in English too, at least all foreigners can understand.

    Soosha. Actually before the tasting started everyone introduced himself. I said I was here only to take photos for PDP and that if someone would feel unconfortable about this they should tell me. nobody did. So I really felt free to take pictures from every angle afterwards.

    Monica. No, it's not my foot ;)

    Soosha. You had too much wine LOL!

    Michael. Yes the guy's English is amazingly good (especially from a french person!). What's funny is that he uses French words from time to time like "voila" to help the audience remember he's French! I had a sip of Pommard. I did not talk to anybody except my neighbour. Now that you mention it I don't recall him explaining the different bottle shapes. but maybe he did.

    Pont Girl. yes in some places it's still weird that people don't order wine (well, let's be honest, wine is where restaurant make the highest profit so that is their major concern!)

    Hey Johnny. Glad to see you're safe and sound. It was a pleasure meeting you and Dave. We did not have wine at lunch BTW!

    Lionelo. I love the way you always look at the bright side of things...

    Lynn. Glad to see you back here. Your life must be back on track ;) Annual picnic, yes why not.

    David. You know O Chateau I take it ;) LOL on your "what was I doing on the floor!"

    Monica. OK, I'll try to organize this in July... Just for you!

    Stu. True, I remember!

    Soosha. Like I said. you had too much wine!

    Michael. 2 hours for lunch?! Pfff Don't let the people think that!

  27. 2 hours? Good Lord! see, America really needs to take cues from other countries. I can't remember which country was the most productive in an article I read recently, but it was definately European, and among the reasons stated was because of longer lunch breaks, siestas, etc. Hello American CEOs: a happy employee is a productive employee, and an employee that is falling asleep at 3:00 is an employee who's things are messed with by Robert Goulet! And everyone knows that's not good for productivity.

    Yes Michael, I transported myself to the cafe nearby your work. You know that decorative shrub to the right of the door? Well that's what I was hiding behind!

    Eric, too much wine? I can't remember the last time I had any alcohol, nevermind that I don't like wine! No, I'm just naturally...whimsical (or insane, if you like.)

  28. Funny that Dave didn't have wine. I love Coca Lite but I had tea, coffee, orange juice, etc. Eric's wit and charm surpassed the meal anyway. What a great guy!

  29. I knew it wasn't Eric's foot because he wears stylish shoes and his trousers are impeccably pressed. How's that for being observant?

  30. Cola me up every time I hear that name.

    Thanks Mike for a few recommendations. Several of those seemed to be REGIONS though rather than actual wines. Kind of like a Napa Valley. Oh well.

    And Eric, everyone uses French words a little....see here. Voila!

  31. susan in atl said..."Several of those seemed to be REGIONS though rather than actual wines."

    Yes, you're almost right Susan, most are vineyards from the Bordeaux region, but I figured whatever you could get your hands on over there from those areas would likely be better than Mad Dog 20/20. ;-)

    Eric, yes, the bottles are distinctly different based on the wine and country.

  32. Hey, I've never seen anyone cann you Mike before! Pity I can't call you what I'd like to call you. (Before anyone gets any ideas, it's totally harmless thankyou very much!)

  33. Eric,
    Je veux offrir ce cours à mon mari, connais-tu une bonne adresse pour les francophones ?

  34. Lisa, non, mais je sais que ô chateau le fait aussi en français de temps ne temps. Envoie leur un emai pour leur demander.

  35. Susan...
    Yes, that's the difference between French and American apellations. Describing a wine as a 'Chablis', for instance, means that it is grown in the Chablis region. Wine-lovers feel that the soil and the climate are more important to know than the grape. But in fact the grape varieties are known to the cognoscenti as well, because by law, to call a wine 'Chablis' it must be made (predominantly, anyway) from the pinet grape. See?

  36. Stu, yes, I did know that. Thanks though. By the way, I took your earlier recommendations into a wine shop several weeks ago but they didn't have the two or three ones you mentioned that were not Beaujolais' (beaujolais are not to my taste..I prefer fuller-bodied wine). You also listed regions, like Michael, and one I bought from the Rhone region that was pretty good. I would buy it again except that I can't remember the name of it! Every bottle I've bought from that region since has tasted a bit vinegary at the finish (for my taste). That's why I asked for more recommendations (and specified "winemakers please"). There are many from each region, as you know. So without a winemaker's name, you are just taking a I've done.

    I prefer Bordeaux wines. Full-bodied wines. I belong to a wine-tasting group and we have a new tasting next week but it is for Spanish wines. Oh well. I think I'll return to buying California Cabernets. By the way, did you try the "Clos du Val" cabernet sauvignon that I recommended to you?

    I bought a bottle the other day for $28.99. Not sure how much they are in the U.K.

    There was also a good 2003 Pinot Noir by La Crema. But it was a small batch and all are sold. The 2004 is not bad but not as good.

  37. Really, Johnny, he's impeccably dressed? Goodness, any more goss?

  38. Hi, this is Olivier - the guy with the funny haircut at O Chateau!
    All your comments were quite funny!!

    Anyway, to answer some of your questions, yes, we have presentations both in French and in English.
    And yes, we occasionally rent out the place!!

    One last thing.. I kn ew I as not photogenic but even if someone as talented as Eric cannot help me with this, I think it's just hopeless for me.

    Allez, i'll just go drink some wine and forget!!

    A très bientôt in Paris,


  39. Oh I dunno Oliver, unles you're the giant foot in the photo I'd say you're pretty good looking! Plus I love your name and you've got a cool job, so you seem like a pretty good package to me!

  40. That's a clever shot "à la Bob" !
    Tu rampais par terre quand tu as pris ta photo ou tu as discrètement descendu l'appareil entre tes jambes quand tu étais assis?


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