Editor’s Note: Danielle Nierenberg is a senior researcher at the Worldwatch Institute and co-project director of “State of World 2011: Nourishing the Planet” . Bernard Pollack is a travel writer from the District of Columbia, currently based in Africa. Follow them as they visit nearly every country in Africa at BorderJumpers or @BorderJumping.
We entered ordinary wine drinkers, the casual kind that likes Pinot Noir, as long as it’s red wine…. But by the end of the “Tour De France” wine tasting tour in Paris, France, we were both experts. Well, sort of (it is only two hours long…). Our guide Sebastian, a French-Canadian expat, is not only knowledgeable about wine, but a charismatic guide, with a quick wit who makes the journey fun and exciting.
During the wine tasting you try and learn some history about the wine regions such as Champagne, Bordeaux, Sancerre, Cote De Rhone, and several others. The words Merlot, Sparkling Wine, and Chardonnay drop from your vocabulary as you are transported to each region of France, learning about the grapes they grow and the style of wines they make.
The tasting is the fun part — you learn how to really sniff out the flavor of your wine, enjoy the generous portions, and develop tasting techniques that offers a deeper appreciation for the look, smell, taste, and balance of the wine. We left a bit tipsy (make sure you eat before you taste), with big smiles on our face, as we walked next door to the Louvre to pay a quick visit to the Mona Lisa (we didn’t see the sign that said you weren’t supposed to take photos).
If the fifty euro price tag is a bit high for your taste, they also offer a one hour shorter version of the tour for only twenty Euros. Alternatively, you might try a Paris Champagne Cruise, a Cheese and Wine Lunch, or a combination of tours.
– Bernard Pollack