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Class in a Glass: Tasting Wine from France

Gourmand or not, it's hard to resist the pull of France, a wine and fine cuisine hub.

by Caitlin Hotchkiss Posted on 05 December 2013

When it comes to cuisine, it’s no secret that France is known for its delicious cheeses, fresh bread…and wine. So it’s also no surprise that our France trips are popular choices among gourmands – especially ones that involve vineyard tours and wine tastings. (I mean, have you seen the description for the France and Italy Adventure? Whoa.)

In the interest of experiencing just a bit of what our travellers get to try when they visit, we headed over to the liquor store and picked up a bottle of Bouchard Pere & Fils Beaune du Chateau Premier Cru – a fancy name for a fancy bottle of wine, indeed. (Premier cru designates that it’s the second best of wines from the Burgundy region, with grand cru being the best; grapes for premier cru burgundy are always harvested from adjoining plots in the same vineyard). The France and Italy Adventure trip actually goes to a vineyard in Beaune, so we were definitely going for the authentic G Adventures experience!

First off, something to know about French wine: it’s classified by the region it comes from rather than the type of grape used to make it. So whereas you might go shopping for a cabernet sauvignon or a malbec, if you’re looking for a French wine, you’d be buying a bordeaux or a burgundy. This particular bottle of wine we tried was a burgundy and was likely made from pinot noir grapes – it had a great colour (very light red) and was remarkably easy to drink.

When it comes to food pairings for Burgundy wines – this one in particular – you’ve got a pretty wide selection. It’s not the kind of huge red with a heavy mouth feel that you’d get from, say, a merlot, so it could go equally well with fish, lamb, cheeses, game meats or escargot (how very French!). True enough, the Burgundy region is also known for its boeuf bourguignon and coq au vin – two dishes that are made with burgundy wines. Nothing like keeping it local when it comes to cuisine.

One of our tasters was G Adventures very own Rachel W, who used to lead France tours for us and is particularly well-versed in talking about wine. While drinking the premier cru, she noted its “oaky and earthy” scent and that it had “nice legs when you swirl it” (that’s when you swish the wine around in the glass and note the ring of clear liquid that it leaves behind). Likewise, Sacha M commented on the flavour buildup of the wine – you didn’t get all the flavours right away, but instead, after swishing it around in your mouth a little and swallowing (because doing a wine tasting where you spit it out just seems sad).

Another taster, our resident foodie Mel C, noted its “peppery finish” and “smokey undertones,” an understated tartness from the tannins (score another for pinot noir grapes), and a flavor profile of “plummy”. Lastly, Liz K was straightforward: “I like it.” Well said, Liz, well said.

Now that we’ve gotten a taste (literally) of what our lucky passengers get to experience on our France and Italy Adventure, it’s safe to say we’re all pretty jealous! (We vetoed the idea of chowing down on some escargot as well, but maybe next time.) If you’re down for the real thing, also take a look at our Local Living – Burgundy Canal Boat trip for a truly immersive experience. Eight days of cruising down rivers in Burgundy? How could you say no to that?

Now, to go find some cheeses from Burgundy...

Bouchard Pere & Fils Beaune du Chateau Premier Cru

Getting There

G Adventures runs a number of departures in France encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater to different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you this big blue planet of ours — check out our small group trips here.