Wine fairs, Champagne and the wines of my France !!!

This is by now something that I look forward to see, taste, buy, the Foire aux vins or wine fairs, I started going for private tastings and visiting the properties, as my travels slow down in retirement, I have enjoyed a lot more these fairs and salons or wine events that goes on all over France. A wonderful time to enjoy new wines !

There are over 30 wine fairs in France just on average every year! Starting with your friendly hyper/supermarket chain such as the leading names of E Leclerc, Giant Casino, Carrefour, Intermarché, Monoprix and Auchan. The Sommeliers expert advice is given on every wine shown/sold. Be careful of low prices from industrial wine growers, search well for prices, and the medal wine bottles as commercially manipulated. IN brief, you need to know who you buy from, both in store and from producers. I always have counted on producers if they are good their years will be good ,sure buy. Be aware that even if this is a national event, each regions has its choices so need to move about to find the best as a whole. One great wine in Provence may not be available in Bretagne and vice versa, and each hyper/supermarket have their favorites and may have less or more of different regions of the world.

The leaders are the hypermarkets Carrefour and E Leclerc (who created the trend of fairs 44 years ago and the one we like best). These fairs provide about 15%  of all wine sales for the year for most of the stores name. The French take 70% of intention of going to them and 80% is done in hypermarkets according to now repeated surveys of about the same distribution of percentages, Most folks in France like me in France, received catalogues of the sales ahead of time, where we see the choices we like and get in depth information on them before buying. The most shown in these fairs is the Bordeaux wines with a mix of regions that has nevertheless reduce their control from 41% to 36% in 10 years period.  The reduction help bring on wines from the Rhône , Provence, and the Languedoc-Roussillon. My favorite hypermarket E Leclerc has a nice cellar section where you can order online or take a closer look before getting to the store: Ma Cave webpage :

My favorite for information and event dates etc and have participated in their private tastings at the Palais Brongniart in Paris is the magazine La revue du vin de France  (my blogroll below posts) and one that I have followed for many many years, I ,even have a library of their magazines going back several years! Official LARVF:,4666078.asp

One newspaper I follow and best for comparisons is the Le Figaro . It provides available wines by region and store as well as prices so you are well arm when stepping into the stores. Is a must to read before going out shopping. It’s in French of course, The site not only gives you supermarkets but also specialize wine stores with a nice tri to look up prices and wine labels  régions etc; See it next events here :

One smaller wine tasting I went for several years before moving to Bretagne is held by the Port de Suffren in Paris, at the Le Maxim’s boat owned by Pierre Cardin; Saveurs et Vins , Even if discontinue, I keep in touch with the producers and either go in person or have them delivered here, I like to keep it here for the family memories as my dear late wife Martine loaded on goodies !!!  And one Domaine Dutertre that the met at the above event and follow them all the way to Limeray next to Amboise in the fabulous Touraine-Amboise region of the Loire wines.  It was called the  Promenade Gourmande. A walk in the vineyards with local music, food and local wine tasting while while walking amongst the grapes. It has been discontinue after so many years but also will keep here for the family memories.

My favorite places to buy wines when not on site are in Paris Lavinia and Nicolas, away from Paris ,Bordeaux Millesima, and other places Nicolas, never fails,

Lavinia Paris was change from the store in Rue de la Madeleine to a new store not yet visited in 22 Avenue Victor Hugo :

Good to know my old store Nicolas 31 Pl. de la Madeleine is still there, webpage:

And one of the oldies of mine still around strong is Millesima 87 Quai de Paludate, Bordeaux:

I have to say bragging excuse me that I am direct with Mouton Rothschild and their internal wine distribution line of the Baronnie, This relationship goes way back and had the honor of meeting Baroness Philippine,(since passed away RIP). The official MR :

And La Baronnie :

And check this out, Vinexpo Bordeaux has settled in as well in Paris ! 13-15 February 2023 Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles ! A place know well for attending several events there ! Looking forward to this one, might make me go to Paris,,,, webpage :

Enjoy the wines in moderation and keep up a tradition of centuries ,wine is good for you. France of course, does the best and from where all others are copy even using same French grapes, barrel fermentation, techniques and consultants etc. The quality is very good and the price/quality ratio tops. For the record, I am a graduate diploma holder of ICEX or the Commercial office of Spain, and Sopexa, Food and Wines from France, Both their government windows of their wine and gastronomy, And as written in my other wine related posts, the Americans love France, and they go all out for the wines. Now, they are putting their pocket where their tastes are investing again in French wine properties. The trend is ongoing as I write!   And remember, the areas have changed a while back but here as a reminder ; this in order to simplified a little the vast numbers of names in Europe and especially France. The old AOC (Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée) are now the AOP (Appellations d’Origine Protégée).  The middle level of VDQS (Vins Délimités de Qualité Supérieure) disappears. Now the wines that were VDQS need to choose to be AOP or IGP. The old Vins de Pays becomes IGP (Indications Géographiques Protégées). And the Vins de Table becomes now the Vins de France.  A simpler system me think,

Another thing, you know the area which can be call Champagne ,also includes areas in Seine-et-Marne dept 77 !!  The areas really are the Montagne de Reims (dept Marne 51) with the dominant grape Pinot Noir. The valley of the Marne (dept Marne 51, Aisne 02, and Seine-et-Marne 77 !) with the dominant grape Meunier; the ladders or hills call côte des blancs (Marne 51) with the dominant grape Chardonnay; and the vineyards of the ladder or hills call côte des Bars (around Bar-sur-Aube and Bar-sur-Seine in the Aube dept 10).

All this thanks to a monk , Dom Perignon cellarmaster of the abbey benedictine of Hautvillers that handle different crus and the control of the must in the second fermentation. Of course, sparkling wine was done way before, but this event is the one that really took off the name and the pleasures of it for all of us. It is done basically with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes. Although some lesser known grapes are authorize but seldom use such as arbane, petit meslier, pinot gris or fromenteau and pinot blanc; also , the gamay  in the dept 10 Aube.  By towns you can tell the quality as some towns are Grand Crus, and many more Premier Crus and then there are the Autres Crus or others. There, is also some others like red white, and rosé wines in the coteaux champenois especially in the towns of Bouzy, Vertus and Damery. The Rosé des Riceys produce in the town of Riceys in the Aube dept 10. the sparkler crémant de champagne  with a smaller sparkler and less pressure in the fermentation. The grapes to make champagne is also, use to do an aperitif call Ratafia and hard liquior marc de champagne.

More on the bubbly you can read in the official Champagne:

Some distinction on how the wines should be drank in a progressive way  from the lighest to the heaviest or richer. We start with a Champagne or body white wine like a blanc de blancs or muscadet and finish with a red wine sharp like Bordeaux or sweet wine such as a Vin Doux Naturel (muscat, rasteau or banyul) . OF course, you can keep the same wine for the entire meal. And as far as temperature goes served the dry whites between 8-10°C (about 50F), the more body whites such as Chablis, Vouvray, Montlouis, or Montrachet between 10-12°C (about 54F), the body fruity red like a côtes du Rhône villages, Chinon, Bordeaux Supérieur between 15-17°C (about 6OF) and the more complex full tannic reds like a Bandol, Côte Rôtie, Haut-Médoc, or Margaux between 16-17°C (about 65F), after decanting. Of course, these are temps in France, you must adjust for your country.

There you go folks, another dandy post on the essence of life, and i left you with some ideas to think big about wines; hope you enjoy them as I. “Water makes you cry, wine sings.” French proverb, “Too much or too little wine forbids the truth.” By Blaise Pascal, “Ordinary wine, the drinking water of the French.” From George Bernard Shaw / Sainte Jeanne , “Wine is the most civilized thing in the world.” By François Rabelais , Wine is the healthiest and most hygienic beverage there is.” From Louis Pasteur, “Wine makes the eye clearer and the ear sharper! ” From Charles Baudelaire / Les Fleurs du mal , “Wine is the intellectual part of a meal. The meats and vegetables are just the material part of it.” By Alexandre Dumas. In Vino Veritas!

And remember ,happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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