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Visit French Wine: A Summer Escape From Paris
Posted on: 6/5/16
One of my favorite things to do in Paris is visit my neighborhood wine shop, or cave à vins as we call it, to discover new wines for specific occasions. Perhaps a meal I’m preparing, a friend I’m visiting, a special gift for someone. Parisians take selecting wine very seriously, but also with great pleasure because wine in a way is the story of France itself.
In fact, French wines are the only ones to be named not for their variety of grape but instead for their region of origin. Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne and so on…these wines are all regions in France. The list goes on. Through wine we can taste the rich culture of the country and often what distinguishes each region. Our wine is rooted in so many of the things that make France great: the terroir, gastronomy, savoir faire, and joie de vivre.
With summer upon us, it’s high time for travel in France, and when I received an invitation from the local tourism board for a several day excursion to visit French wine, I immediately accepted. I packed my bags with my Lancôme 2016 Summer Color Collection in tow, it was just the warm look I needed for my sunny journey south. I boarded a train from the Gare de Montparnasse and my little trip took me to a region called Gaillac where grapes have been cultivated for the last 3,000 years!
Whether it’s the science of cosmetics or the savoir faire of wine, I just love learning how things are made. For three days I had the pleasure of talking to wine makers, walking their vineyards, and tasting their Gaillacois wines. I learned about how different soil suits different varieties of grapes, and how most of what goes into making a wine takes place in the vines, a year round dedication to tending to their vineyard to obtain the best harvest. But every single step of the process is important, from selecting which grapes to blend, which barrel to age them in, how long to let them distill, the shape of the bottle, the style of the label, and so on and so on. This entire region is blanketed in vineyards and scattered with beautiful historic hilltop villages worth visiting, as well to take in the view from above.
Wine is an industry that has long been dominated by men who historically continued these family businesses. But more and more, we, as women, are making our place in it as analogues, sommeliers, and winemakers themselves. In Gaillac there is now an association of female winemakers who have together set out to restore many of the historical structures in old vineyards and bring new methods to the region.
So whether you’re tasting French wine at home, enjoying some at a café in Paris, or visiting French wineries in person, to appreciate French wine is to appreciate France itself. What a wonderful and delicious way to discover the country Lancôme calls home.