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.

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.

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