Friday, October 5, 2012

Wine Week in France

There are many things to look forward to in the fall - the changing of the colours, the rain and rainbows, the crisp air, and the wine harvest.

In Germany, there are wine fests in nearly every wine-growing town. These fests are a wonderful thing, they are full of local flair and local pride. German wine fests are something I try to ignore each year but simply cannot. Skipping across the border to France, there is a different tradition, which I am happy to drive 2 hours to be a part of.

Le Foire aux Vins - I have no idea what this translates to other than: WINE WEEK! In the fall, most major (think Wal-mart sized) supermarkets have some sort of specials on in which you go, try some wines and get a decent deal on a case. There were even cases on a buy 1, get 1free offer. Take a moment to consider we are talking about French Bordeaux. Absorb this: buy 6 bottles of Bordeaux, get 6 bottles free. This is amazing. I will drive for 2 hours; I might even drive longer if I needed to.

Not all Bordeaux are created equal mind you. This is where the Animateur comes in. Either this is a seasonal sommelier, in which case they are trying to engage in conversation with you, or this is the regular sommelier, in which case, he knows you and leaves you alone with a plastic cup to sample. I prefer the regulars.

The appeal in these wine weeks is apparently not only the great value but the distance. You are not a part of the vineyard. You are trying wines in a parking lot, in which your senses are not altered by the decor of the cellar of a particular Domaine. I like it because I can sample from all over France, in little tiny barrels, and my decisions are not so blind. Of course, the sales don't hurt either.

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