By Sarah James
So, you’ve been thinking about those beautiful apartments in Paris, thinking about whether or not the time has come for a hop over the North Sea. The kids have all flown the nest, you don’t enjoy your job anymore and it just feels like there’s nothing holding you back from going all European for the next twenty years of your life.
Wait a minute.
Are you doing your deliberating without a glass of vintage red in one hand? If so, you’ve got a lot to learn before you can qualify for a life in Paris and it starts with knowing your Beaujolais from your Pinot Meunier and your Riesling from your Colombard. Here’s a guide to five French wines that you absolutely MUST try before you die. These wines are the clearest sign we have that life is ever strange and wonderful but that alcohol is better.
Château Lafite Rothschild Pauillac 1996
Le Château Lafite Rothschild is a wine estate in France that dates back to the 19th century. According to Wikipedia, the word ‘lafite’ means small hill and this castle on the hill is one of the France’s most prized. The château Lafite Rothschild Pauillac consistently tops lists designed to find and identify the best wines in the world.
Unfortunately, it also tops lists of the most expensive too. However, you get what you pay for with this red – it is simply superb. Flavourful and silky, with a slightly dark, smoky aroma – this vintage red leaves a taste that lingers for a long time.
Château Prieuré-Lichine 1982
This bold, peppery red is from the Margaux region of Bordeaux and was actually made under the supervision of the infamous Russian wine writer and entrepreneur Alexis Lichine. As a former student at the University of Pennsylvania, Lichine knew first hand just how ignorant Americans were about fine wine and he took it upon himself to change that. According to Yahoo Voices journalist Anne Wright, Lichine is praised with helping to make Americans aware of French wine. This 1982 red is a classic and is recommended for its extremely silky texture and subtle balance of flavours. It’s expensive but it won’t cost you your mortgage like several of the other entries on this list.
Château Latour 1949
Latour is a name that’s synonymous with quality in France. Grapes have been cultivated on this wine estate since the 14th century and Latour wines are especially renowned. They’re very rare and extremely expensive, so if you ever run into a glass – make sure you enjoy it. Critics have called the 1949 red an opulent, voluptuous wine that flirts with perfection at times. A six litre bottle of Château Latour sold for a whopping £135,000 at auction in 2011.
Château Le Pin Pomerol 1999
Château Le Pin is the name of a wine estate located right on the banks of the Gironde estuary. Wines from this estate are highly prized by dedicated collectors who are usually willing to pay thousands of dollars for just one bottle, says Ask Men journalist Matthew Simpson. This is mainly due to the fact that the wines produced by Château Le Pin are considered to be ‘garage wines’ – they come from a mid 90’s desire to change the taste of French red wine. Though widely criticised by purists, this movement was actually very successful and the wines it still creates are highly sought after. This 1999 Pomerol is famed for its hints of mocha, currant and black cherry.
Château Margaux 1995
This bold red is almost jet black in colour, making it a curious and dramatic wine to indulge in. It has quite a racy flavour, punctuated by notes of cherry and blackberry. This 1995 is powerful stuff and you’d do well to enjoy it slowly. It’s definitely one for sipping with dark meats or rich chocolate desserts. Why not combine all three in a romantic meal on the balcony of that apartment in Paris you’ve been thinking about? Book a holiday now and you could be there in a few weeks time.
Author Bio: Sarah is a wine critic and expat living in France. She recommends Chez Nous for a great range of accommodation and holiday apartments in Paris. Sarah can be found blogging about a variety of holidays around Europe.