My goal of signing up for as many wine tastings in Paris as possible is progressing. The French would say that only a drunk drinks wine without food. Well, pas de problème! There’s always at least a bit of bread present. Long before my travel arrangements to France had been finalized, I’d planned to attend an educational session at Wine Tasting in Paris in the 5th arrondissement.
I first met sommelier and founder Thierry Givone in November 2020 during his virtual Airbnb Experience, Taste French Wines with a Parisian Somm. During the in-person session, Taste Wines with a Certified Sommelier, I realized that both versions of the experience are similar in structure. In fact, the same presentation slides are used. I felt like a star student reviewing material rather than seeing it for the first time—many “aha” moments were had. The content covers French wines by region—le terroir est tout—and is accessible to beginners.
At the in-person session, each participant was given one Champagne, two white wines, and three red wines. Tasting each one in unison allowed members of the group to discuss the same wine at the same time. The varieties present at the virtual tasting differed across participants, which limited tasting-and-likability-related comments. (If you book a private virtual tasting, arrangements could be made ahead of time to make sure everyone in your party is tasting the same thing.)
The conviviality of the 12 in-person attendees was a sight to behold. Everyone, except for one, was American, and many people discovered that they shared mutual universities and geographical areas of significance. Although I didn’t share a hometown or university with anyone, my love of French wine and knowledge of the French language served me well as talking points.
The tasting room is located up a hill at 14 Rue des Boulangers. I recommend wearing comfortable shoes, Adidas Stan Smith perhaps. Don’t worry about your lack of French or knowledge of wine; just be open to having a good time. Even the woman who declared that she didn’t like wine found at least one that appealed to her.
Taste French Wines with a Parisian Somm: An Airbnb Online Experience