Wine–An attractive reason to venture to Paris. In my quest to spend as little as possible while in the expensive city but still enjoy the finer things in life, I discovered Caves Augé. An independent wine store in Paris since 1850, Caves Augé offers FREE wine tastings once a month throughout the spring and summer seasons.
Inside, the walls of the quaint shop are covered top to bottom with a selection of French wines. The overstocked shelves in the center of the store make it possible for only one person at a time to shimmy his or her way through the aisles of the authentic establishment.
Outside, tourist and French wine connoisseurs alike enjoy an afternoon of tasting and socializing along the sidewalk of the independent wine shop. Today, winemakers from Rhone Valley share their creations at the dégustation de vin.
The overall atmosphere is relaxed and cultured.
Through observation, it is clear there is a very specific approach to tasting the wine.
- With a paper listing the 20+ different wines and a glass in hand, first approach a winemaker serving the featured wines resting atop an old fashioned barrel.
- After listening to (or pretending to understand) the description of the wine in French, swirl the ounce of wine, elegantly sniff, and proceed to sip…But DO NOT swallow.
- Give your taste buds a workout and swish the wine around in your mouth for a few seconds to savor the fine and delicate tastes it has to offer.
- Once you have done so, find a wooden bucket adjacent to the barrels and spit. I know what you’re thinking..how attractive. But this is the classy way of doing things.
- Once done with your tasting, find the select wine on your paper and jot down a few comments about your experience. Example thoughts are as follows:
Attempting to sound fancy: ‘Yes, the Saint Joseph Blanc 2010 was divine, but I much prefer the Rouge. It’s much more vivid and perfectly off-dry.’
Keeping it simple: ‘This is a fine dining kind of wine; this is a romantic drink by the fireplace kind of wine; this is a good time kind of wine. ‘
Just going with it: ‘This is my 10th tasting, I can’t tell the difference anymore.’
- After this last step, repeat the process all over again. Return to the previous barrel, ask for the second wine, and so on. Once done with the first barrel, move on to the next, mingle with the winemaker, and compare the new and undiscovered tastes.
This is one approach to wine tasting. The other is not quite as involved. Simply grab a glass, choose a wine, chin chin, drink drink, and voila. 1 ounce per tasting, 5-6 ounces in a normal glass of wine, 20+ options to choose from. You do the math.
Whichever way you choose to experience the dégustation, just have a good time. Free wine tasting, good company, Paris…doesn’t get much better than that.
“Fine Wine and Good Times”