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How to drink wine (and Champagne) like the French

From Champagne to Côtes du Rhône, France’s wine is as diverse as the country itself, and a stay in Paris wouldn’t be complete without a sip. It’s a drink that’s tasted and savoured, paired with food and celebrated as a fundamental part of French culture. The world of wine can feel intimidating at first glance, so here are four easy tips for getting to know your Bordeaux from your Burgundy.

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  • Unless you’ve just won a race, you don’t want your Champagne to spray out when you open it. The pros tilt the bottle at a 45-degree angle, and slowly twist the bottle from the base, letting gravity do the work.
  • The first rule for tasting any wine is not to drink, but to ‘slurp and spit’. Of course, drinking is encouraged once you’ve picked a favourite bottle, but you might find it difficult to sustain over a few hours of tasting.
  • Swirl the wine to aerate it, then put your nose into the glass and have a sniff. There are a lot of possible aromas working together, and experts claim to smell everything from tobacco (Châteauneuf-du-Pape) to flint (Pouilly-Fumé).
  • Sip the wine, swirling it gently around your mouth to release the flavours. Most wines will be a mix of acidity, sweetness and tannins. A good wine should have these flavours balanced harmoniously, with none dominating the taste.

Find out how to drink tea like the English, coffee like an Italian – or take a look at some of our vintage Paris homes.

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