On this warm high west evening, I am sipping a BIG red wine produced in Napa Valley and wondering why I missed this style of wine so much given the fact that, two weeks ago at this time I was landing on the tarmac of Charles-De-Gaulle aéroport to pursue fine food, wine, art, and ambience (not necessarily in that order). With my visit, I should now be inured to the in-your-face style of big American reds, right?
This was my first visit to Paris, France. But my Hollywood (or perhaps foreign cinéma) expectations were shattered in the City of Light. I was expecting wine finesse. But apparently that resides in the wine countries of France, not in the big city (or maybe in those Parisian restaurants I could not afford). It may also very well be that I am simply a clueless Américaine tourist.
Not that I couldn’t fine wine EVERYWHERE. Corner bistros with their ubiquitous cane chairs and teeny tables lining the sidewalk. Everyone smokes, drinks wine, and faces the street, not one another. But good wine? Non. Non. Non. Yet all of it was French. So odd. Wine satisfaction was elusive. Perhaps I am not skilled in the art of true wine connoisseurship. That declaration would not be a stretch. But the most I’ve been satisfied with wine that I’ve imbibed during and since my jaunt to Paris is now. At home. With a California red. Well, except for that glass of Northern Rhône wine I sipped on one of those chairs facing Rue Lepic in the Montmartre district — that was my last day there. Perhaps I was just getting the hang of things as my time in Paris came to a close. (Oh, of course there was the Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc vin I just drank … At home.)
Aaaand so, I plan (at least in principle) my next trip to France with an understanding that wine is ubiquitous in France but unforgettable wine experiences are more likely to occur in the wine regions of France, not the City of Paris. Another reason to visit, non?