You plan your trip to Paris, the land of cheese and wine, but the thought of all these tasty choices in front of you has you a bit overwhelmed. There is one man that can help you ease into the beauty that is French wine and come out of it picking wine like a pro. Thierry Givone, owner and sommelier of Wine Tasting in Paris, was born in Dijon, in the heart of the Burgundy region, so you can say that wine is in his blood. After working in marketing for a large international company, he followed his heart and it led him back to wine.
In 2014 on a quiet street in the Latin Quarter he opened Wine Tasting in Paris to fill a void. Many tourists arrive in Paris not knowing the difference between a Chablis and a Sancerre, so that first glimpse at a wine list in Paris may send them straight to ordering beer. However, to know a place is to know its wine and it only takes a little bit of knowledge to navigate that wine list. Cobblestones lead you up the picturesque street near the Arènes de Lutèce– straight to the door of Givone’s lovely shop. Perfectly set up to come with a group of friends or even on your own, you will feel at home as soon as you arrive.
Givone does an amazing job at taking the vast world of wine and distilling it down to the important details that you need to know, and once you understand a few key fine points you will have an even greater appreciation of what’s in your glass. Even if it’s not your first rodeo when it comes to French wine, you will walk away with a little extra knowledge of the regions of France.
An informative visual presentation takes you through the process of making wine, the regions and vineyards and, more importantly, the people that make each of the exquisite wines of France. Thierry breaks down how to read a wine label and the words you want to look for your own personal favorites. Passing around small bottles filled with the many aromas that make up each bottle, you get to test your sense of smell. (I fail miserably at this every time.) I am sure you’ll master the task and later you’ll wow your friends describing the hint of citrus you pick up.
I’ve attended Givone’s classes twice and they are fantastic. “French Wine Tour” is the perfect way to discover the major wine regions of France without traveling. It features six wines, from hand picked producers that he personally knows. You’ll taste side by side the difference and characteristics of each wine. The day I went it was a lovely array of wines including a Champagne from CH. Piconnet, Sancerre Domaine Bizet from the Loire Valley, Viré Clessé Domaine Monthbarbon Bourgogne blanc, Domaine Juillot Mercurey Premier Cru, Château Lalauday Bordeaux rouge and– my favorite– Domaine Fondreche Côte du Rhône.
You won’t find the big name producers with their large marketing budget behind them on his lists. Many are small houses that may only have one or two people involved in the entire process from vine to bottle. Fall in love with one of them and you can buy a bottle to take with you.
For those looking for a little extra and to fill the mandatory ten pound cheese quota of your visit to Paris, Givone also offers a Wine and Cheese tasting, featuring four wines, two red and two white that pair perfectly with the hand selected cheese from Fromagerie Beillevaire. Once you taste the splendid marriage of a slice of Epoisse and a glass of Bourgogne blanc, there is no going back. After you can stroll down those cobblestones, hold your head up high and know you are now a French wine and cheese master!
Wine Tasting in Paris offers the two classes four days a week, starting at 47 euros and should be booked in advance. Fun, approachable and a delightful way to spend two hours in Paris that will stay with you the rest of your life. Givone is a wonderful teacher bringing the world of wine right to you. NOTE: Wine Tasting in Paris also offers online classes that were developed during the COVID-19 crisis.
Wine Tasting In Paris
14 rue des boulangers, 5th
Tel: +33 (0)6 76 93 32 88
Want to be inspired by more French foodie experiences and enjoy classic French food, wine and recipes? Head to our sister website on Taste of France here.
Lead photo credit : Wine Tasting in Paris. Image credit: Krystal Kenny