Le Grand Tasting: Bordeaux calls my name

This past Friday and Saturday, in Paris, 300 of France’s top winemakers and some Italian producers gathered for Le Grand Tasting, at Le Carrousel du Louvre. More than 10,000 wine lovers came to the fair (entry fee only 20 euros at the door, 10 euros online) to enjoy a little dégustation from the best vineyards of France. 

I love this picture of the wine glasses and all the aromas one can smell when trying wine! From berries, to anis, to cinnamon, etc…

Once you enter the fair, you are given a glass that you use throughout the fair when you try the wines/champagne/cognac. You could spend the whole day here and drink from every single stand (luckily they give you a teeny bit to taste) but I went straight to what I love (a bit bias perhaps), Bordeaux wines and the Grand Cru Classé list In each stand, the representatives of the vineyards will introduce to you the wine, the types of grapes used, the Chateau (if there is one) and then will pour you 1 of 3 bottles of wine they have laid out to taste. They also give out their cards and invite you to pay a visit to the vineyard and have wine tastings there. That’s definitely on my TO-DO list. Each bottle is from a different year and go from light to the most strong in taste. The average years ranged from about 1995 – 2008.
Many people ate a piece of bread (to clean up the palate), tasted the wine and spit it out in a red container (imagine drinking all those wines and getting wasted!). I thought my approach was not that bad (just sip a bit) and pour the rest out…I think I tasted about 20 different wines (not bad since I arrived late afternoon and it was the last day and only open until 7 pm).

There were many contenders for the best wines, but the 1996 Château Palmer from Margaux (Troisième cru – 3rd growth) is a strong contender for first place. We first started with a 2007, then a 2006 and finished off with the 1996. 

There wasn’t just Bordeaux wines but from all over France (Champagne, Languedoc, Alsace, Côtes du Rhone, etc…). Most of the big Champagne producers were there too (Perrier-Jouët, Mumm, Krug, Louis Roederer, etc…) and some Cognac producers as well.

There is always time for food, especially from Da Rosa, a cute wine bar in Paris in the 6th (near St-Germain). Their assiette ibérique was very flavorful and the ham was surprisingly sweet. 

Another great wine was the 1997 Château Pontensac (we had tried this wine in our own wine class so I thought it would be good to see what they had in store of the tasting). 

Another strong contender was the 2000 Château Beauregard from Pomerol 

Finally, the grand-mama of the Bordeaux wines we tasted was a pavillion just for St. Emilion Grand Crus Classés (which have their own classification and grades)

A definite cool experience to have in Paris during the fall/winter season. I  want/need to visit the Bordeaux region for a wine-tasting weekend (or two 🙂 !


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