The Gourmet Tour in Montmartre
A trip to Paris isn’t complete without at least a couple of wine tastings.
While you can sign up for the first one you find online and have a great experience, why not try going off the beaten path? We are excited to share a gourmet wine tour with you that will surely be the highlight of your trip.
We won’t just be taking you to a winery, but to a hidden vineyard tucked away in Montmartre. During this private tour, you and your group will experience the harmony that forms before cheese and wine in an incredible setting.
This tour will give you a memorable experience off the beaten path away from the tourist traps. Our experienced tour guides will share their knowledge with you, and you’ll leave enlightened.
Let’s look at what makes the vineyard so special and go over some tips for wine tasting.
Le Clos Montmartre
To start, the winery your tour guide will take you to is known as Le Clos Montmartre. It is the oldest winery in Paris and one of the last vineyards within the city.
The vineyard only produced around 1700 bottles of wine a year, so getting the opportunity to taste it is very exclusive.
To find Le Clos Montmartre, you’ll need the aid of a tour guide. Located in the 18th arrondissement, the winery is tucked away in the artistic village of Montmartre. Once you arrive at the winery, your tour guide will give you the history of the place and the artists that once spent much of their time in this very beautiful and secret place.
When you enter the vineyard, it’s going to feel surreal. All of the foot traffic on the common paths will vanish and you’ll be secluded with only your private tour group.
To ensure you can focus on the experience of being in the winery, we’ve put together some information to help you prepare.
What to Know Before the Tour
Before you make your journey to the winery, you’ll want to have a bit of knowledge when it comes to wine and cheese. That way, you’ll be able to appreciate the tasting to the absolute fullest. We’re going to go over some of the ins and outs of wine and cheese tasting to get you ready to have the best experience possible with your tour guide.
Cheese in France
Let’s talk about cheese first. When you are enjoying the tasting on the tour, you’ll be enjoying cheese just as much as you will the wine. Cheese has been a part of French culture since the 13th century. You may be familiar with the term “Fromage” which is the famous word for cheese in French. It’s said that this famous word comes from the baking tin that was first used to make cheese.
The production of cheese came about because it gave people a way to preserve excess milk that was produced from dairy farming. They would turn the milk into curds, which would then become cheese, and now here we are!
Did you know there are more than 1,000 types of cheese in France? We aren’t going to name them all, but a brief overview will give you an idea of just how vast the world of cheese is in France. Research shows that 96% of French people regularly eat cheese, so it’s a pretty essential part of French life.
Popular Types of Cheese for Wine Pairings
Fresh cheeses aren’t cooked, aged, or have a rind. It’s the simplest form of cheese. They are fresh and creamy and typically flavored with herbs and spices. Great for spreading on crackers
Soft cheeses are unpressed and have a soft rind. This is the most common type of cheese you’ll find in France and will be common in wine pairings. Think of cheeses like Brie.
When you see large wheels of cheese, they are typically hard cheeses. They are produced in the mountains from cow’s milk. The herbs and flowers the cows eat play a part in adding to the flavor of these cheeses.
Blue cheeses are hit or miss. You can pick them out by noticing the blue veins in the cheese which are mold. They have an extremely potent taste and should be eaten in small amounts.
The Terroir Principle
Terroir is an umbrella term that has different meanings depending on where you apply it.
It typically means “a sense of place” and it encompasses all of the factors that go into producing wine grapes in a vineyard from the climate to the soil to the elevations.
It’s important to understand the terroir principle before visiting a vineyard to know the type of wine it’s producing.
The concept dates back to the ancient Greeks, and there are four traits.
The climate in which the grapes are grown is going to have an immense impact on how they grow. Cooler climates tend to produce wines that have a lower alcohol content but are more acidic. Warmer climates with a higher temperature and less rain will produce wines with a higher alcohol content with more body and juicy fruit.
This refers to the land where the vineyard is such as mountains, hills, valleys, rivers, and lakes. Geomorphology also refers to the elevation and slope of the area which can influence how the grapes grow
The type of soil is going to impact how the grapes grow and the soil type will also depend on climate.
Flora and Fauna
The plants and trees that live around the vineyard will determine the growth of the grapes, as well. When you visit Le Clos Montmartre, pay attention to the foliage around to get a better understanding of the terroir principle in play.
Wine and Cheese Pairings
You may be wondering why cheese and wine pair so well together. Cheese is typically high in fat, which can coat the mouth and block taste buds from receiving taste effectively The acidity of wine makes it able to break through that barrier to get a full flavor and mouth feel. Not every wine is going to go with every cheese, so they need to be paired well.
Think About Tannins
Tannins are organic compounds that are found in beverages like tea and wine. They have a bitter taste and are responsible for wines tasting dry. If you’ve ever had a tea-stained mug, tannins are also responsible for that. Tannins are found in the grapes used to make red wine, and they can make or break a wine pairing.
Pair By Weight
When you’re pairing wine with cheese, you should be pairing them by how similar they are. For example, if you have a young and fruity wine, you should pair it with fresh soft cheese. An aged red wine will go well with aged cheese such as cheddar. Pairings are not as complicated as one might think.
Pair by Opposites
Another way to pair wine and cheese is to choose opposites. If you are drinking sweet wine, pair it with a “stinky cheese.”
When you’re doing a wine tasting, there are three things you should be doing
Observing the appearance
Before you take a sip, you should always observe the appearance of the wine. Taking a good look of the wine will let you see the kind of wine it is, and as you get more experience tasting wines you’ll recognize them easier.
Smelling the Wine
After you’ve observed the appearance of the wine you should take some time to sniff the wine. If you’ve ever seen a sommelier, you’ll notice that they will always smell the wine before tasting it.
Smelling the wine will allow you to confirm what you saw in your visual observation, and give you an idea of what it’s going to taste like
Tasting, or “The Palate”
Now that you’ve gotten the visuals, and you have a smell in mind, it’s time to taste the wine. When you taste the wine, you get not only the taste but a mouthfeel for a whole experience. This is the most important part, considering it is the actual tasting and it is then when you’ll make the call if you like the wine or not.
Book your tour in advance
Now that we’ve learned a little bit about the winery, cheese, and wine tasting it’s time to book your tour! You don’t want to miss the chance to visit Le Clos Montmartre on your trip to Paris. It’s typically closed to the public, so if you don’t go on a guided tour you may miss your chance to experience this incredible place.
To book a tour with us, please call or email our office. We also only do private tours, so you will get the most exclusive experience possible. Happy tasting!