Best places to buy Wine in Paris
France is one of the largest wine producers in the world, so there is no shortage of places to get French wine in Paris. From superstores, grocery stores to small neighborhood markets, Paris is THE epicenter of viticulture after centuries of perfecting their toil in the soil. No matter where you travel in this city, you’ll find stocked shelves with liquid gold in this land of sparkling reds and whites. Hand selected by vintners, each bottle has a superior quality and is chosen as the best representative of its region of origin. You should plan to add a wine tasting class in Paris to your itinerary to discover your favorite wines, and to learn the etiquette and culture.
During your shopping excursion, whether you live in Paris or travel there, expert advice is readily available, friendly, and knowledgeable. The merchant is always willing to assist when looking for the perfect wines for your milestone moments and Parisian experience.
France has an extensive set of national and region-specific wine laws. To help make your selection easier, it would be prudent to understand what you will see on the labels and what the classifications mean. It’s also important to know that in Paris you must be 18 or over to purchase it.
What’s on the label
- Winery name.
- Appellation title.
- Grape varieties.
- Domain bottled.
- Producer name and location.
Three official tiers of quality classifications
- AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée), or Controlled Designation of Origin. The wines are produced on a specific terroir which, combined with natural and human factors, determines the quality and characteristics of the beverage. For example, Burgundy's AOC Bourgogne Blanc includes 300 appellations and designates dry white wines made from Chardonnay. Grand Cru is the very highest classification. Premier Cru is superior quality or the very highest tier within a Grand Cru classification.
- IGP (Indication géographique protégée), or Protected geographical indication. Previously known as "Vin de pays", the IGPs are produced on a territory that guarantees quality, reputation or other specific characteristics. They may be made out of several grape varieties.
- VDF (Vin de France), or Wine of France. These include French wines made from blends of grapes grown anywhere in the country. Vintage and grape variety are optional on the label. These can be very tasty and budget-friendly.
Places to go shopping
All Paris superstores or supermarkets have a dedicated section. This is your least expensive place to make your purchase. You can select from super inexpensive for about 2 euros to the more expensive, that will be anything over 20 euros. If you choose one in the 5-8 euros range you should have an acceptable everyday table wine to drink. The supermarket is OK for purchasing a few bottles, you can even French food souvenirs, but the real experience is found at a shop that specializes.
Fine Wine Merchants or Caves
Paris shops are easy to find with their beautiful window displays. Many Paris merchants keep their showrooms below room temperature, on the cooler side, so their product is stored properly. This is where you will find merchants that have a passion for their product. The owner or member of the staff will be happy to guide you with selection details and recommendations. They can save you a lot of time with their advice based on your tastes, price range, and even what you are planning for lunch or dinner. It is definitely worth a trip to a merchant to choose the perfect one to enjoy. Even if you pay a bit more.
Small Corner Market
Another option is l’épicerie or neighborhood small market. They carry lots of little items such as milk, snacks, newspapers, and toiletries too. You can usually find one of these open late at night when the big Paris supermarkets and specialty merchants are closed. You are going to pay a premium for anything you purchase. The choices are limited and more often not the best quality.
Very affordable recommendations
- Château du Bois de la Garde, Côtes du Rhône
Made from 65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 12% Carignan, and small quantities of Cinsault, Counoise, and Mourvedre it is a medium to full-bodied red. It has a dark ruby color from dark fruit such raspberry and blackberry, with hints of white pepper, cinnamon spice, and licorice. Excellent paired with pasta, lamb, and other red meat. You can purchase for under $10.
- Picpoul de Pinet
From southern France, Languedoc region, known for its Vin de Pays, or country wine. Made from one of the oldest Languedoc grapes, the Piquepoul is crystal clear with green highlights or golden from older vines. It has a soft and delicate nose with acacia and hawthorn blossom hints. it has an excellent acid/structure balance with a delicate and fresh taste. The high mineral content neutralizes the salt and iodine in shellfish and is paired well with cheese and charcuterie. The price is under $10.
- Beaujolais Villages
Aged longer than your Thanksgiving Beaujolais Nouveau and made from the Gamay grape, it’s purple in color with a hint of dark cherry and fresh red fruits aroma will delight your senses. The taste is slightly spicy with a touch of grey pepper, licorice and a bit of rose flower. According to the winemaker, this Beaujolais is “very well balanced with a nice acidity and supple tannins on the finish.” In terms of pairing, it goes nicely with terrines, charcuteries, grilled red meat, white fish, or cheese. Pop it in the refrigerator for about 1 hour to serve chilled at around 55°F. The price should be under $15.
- Crémant d'Alsace
As you may or may not know, only sparkling wine made in Champagne can be called Champagne. As an alternative, Crémant d’Alsace is the top AOC sparkling wine consumed in homes across France because of its unique personality and outstanding quality. It also has an international following. It is fresh and elegant. The price is around $20.
Screw or Cork
Finally, you might be wondering if you should get a bottle with a cork or screw top in Paris. Either is the simple answer. More and more French winemakers, even the top end, have begun using screw tops. Research is showing that screw tops are perfect for fine wines that need to age, protecting them better than cork from oxidation.
If you’re looking for more advice on great wine and food pairings or which great restaurants and bars in the 16th arrondissement to try, a professional tour with a knowledgeable guide is always a wonderful experience and learning opportunity.
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