Wine is an integral component of gastronomy. Wine has a place at the table. It is the heart of the meal.
First day of Sommelier School in Paris. That was the opening sentence from my British translating professor, Benjamin Preston.
Can I just say that I feel totally aligned being here. I feel this class was made for me… especially when the first day of class ends with a glass of champagne 🙂 BUT let’s backtrack…
I arrived at my school about 10 minutes early for orientation. I walked into a jury of french administrators standing at attention in the lobby to guide me. Leading me back to the classroom was Jane, also a girl from the states that took a job in the administrative department as a way to stay in Paris. Once in the room, I was given a stack of papers to fill out. There were several other students in the room already…I could not tell yet if anyone else was from America, or spoke any english.
Even at my age of 30, there is still this nervousness about starting anything new. “The first day of school” feeling where you are in observation mode and a million thoughts are running through your head. As I am filling out my Parisian address I am lightly bumped, “Oh sorry, excuse me.” I look next to me as the girl sits down. She smiles, “Hi, I am Samantha. How are you- please tell me you speak english…a little?” Phew. We exchange a few sentences and I find out she is 28 and from Seattle. Instant comfort.
Two other women hear us and introduce themselves. Anna Marie is from Greece, specifically the island of Rhodes. Suzette is from Bordeaux but speaks perfect english as her father is American, and hails from Virginia.
A few minutes later, in walks our Professor, Franck Ramage. Along side him, our British translater, Benjamin Preston. I made note that both were dressed to the nines wearing none other than Hermes belts with the signature H at the buckle. Their suites must have been Gucci…
That was an exerpt from my journal.
Just wanted to give you all a brief introduction into my sommelier class. Yes, there are 14 women- 🙂 and 6 men. The students come from all over the world- Armenia, Greece, Spain, Hong Kong, Korea, India, and yes France. A couple are native to Paris. Samantha, myself and one other are from the States. I feel incredibly lucky to be among this group. This is what I envisioned for the next evolution of myself …being around people that are cultured and know other parts of the world. Most of them are fluent in a minimum of two languages.
My french Professor, Monsieur Franck Ramage, went on to speak about this year ahead and the program in general. Turns out, I will be having some pretty incredible experiences. I will be traveling to 5 vineyards in the regions of Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Cognac, and the Rhone Valley. I will also be apart of the ASP (Association of Paris Sommeliers) where as part of my education, I will be attending some of the top sommelier tastings/food and wine pairings. Basically, it was explained as this ~ I will be sitting next to some of the best wine makers in France… over 7 course meals paired with wine at the Ritz Carlton and George V Hotels in Paris. A huge grin lined my face. WHAT?! Very cool. I better get my game on 🙂
We are following the Latin module for tasting. We are going to be experts at expressing the emotion and the sentiment of a wine to allow others to enjoy the pleasures of the mouth.
This was another statement from Benjamin Preston. This makes me more motivated than ever to be a wine expert, sommelier, wine enthusiast, journalist or whatever is in store for me. I feel this passion as he speaks.
There is a sophistication here. The french view wine not as a means to get “drunk” or even slightly buzzed. They view wine as another food group. I will be talking more about this later but there is definitely a difference between cultures.
More wine adventures to come. First day of school … a success!
In other news, I am still in love with my flat, my neighborhood and Paris in general. Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure 🙂
(Eiffel Tower up close and personal)
I have been eating gourmet meals with my classmates during our 1 hour lunch break, so naturally I have stayed in for dinner this week. Leftover Coq Au Vin is delicious. I set up my own makeshift outdoor cafe. Did I mention the weather here is absolutely beautiful?!
Finally, how cute are the doors in my flat?