What’s it like to explore Paris by visiting different wine bars? How do you know which company to choose for guided tours? What do you need to know before buying wine from a wine list, whether you’re at a restaurant or a wine bar?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with Tanisha Townsend, Chief Wine Officer of lifestyle agency Girl Meets Glass.
You can find the wines we discussed here.
Join me for the debut Watch Party of the video of this conversation that I’ll be live-streaming for the very first time on Zoom on Wednesday, July 28th at 7 pm eastern.
You can save your spot for free right here. I’ll be jumping into the comments as we watch it together so that I can answer your questions in real-time.
I want to hear from you! What’s your opinion of what we’re discussing? What takeaways or tips do you love most from this chat? What questions do you have that we didn’t answer?
You can also win a copy of Tanisha Townsend’s guide to Paris wine bars, 75 in the 75 Wine Bar Guide.
How to Win
All you need to do is comment on one of these posts before 7 pm EDT on July 28th:
I’ll select the winner randomly from those who participate. You get a bonus entry for every wine-loving friend you tag and if you re-share this post in your stories.
- What’s it like taking a wine tour in Paris?
- How does Tanisha introduce her clients to hidden gems in Paris?
- What do you need to know before buying wine from a restaurant wine list?
- Why does Tanisha especially love the wines of the southern Rhône?
- What key features should you look for when choosing a tour guide/company?
- Which Paris-based TV shows and movies should you check out?
- What makes wine bars the perfect avenue for exploring a new city?
- How does the terroir impact the tasting profile of Jacques Lurton wines?
- Which wine books does Tanisha recommend?
- I love the idea of exploring Paris, or any city, by taking a walking tour of its wine bars. This allows you to sample so much more in terms of food, drink, neighbourhoods and conversation than committing to a three-hour restaurant meal.
- I thought Tanisha’s tips on how to choose a company to choose for guided tours were excellent. You want someone who can show you the hidden gems off the tourist track, the haunts that you wouldn’t discover for yourself.
- She also had great advice on how to choose from a wine list, whether you’re at a restaurant or a wine bar, as well pairing French wines with food.
Start The Conversation: Click Below to Share These Wine Tips
In France, it’s the region on the label, not the grape, unlike California and a lot of New World countries. - Tanisha Townsend Click to tweet
I pick the places that tourists wouldn’t necessarily find on their own unless they do a whole bunch of research. But no need to research, they have me. - Tanisha Townsend Click to tweet
The second cheapest wine on the list usually has the highest markup… it’s not necessarily the deal that people think it is. - Tanisha Townsend Click to tweet
Look at the tour guide’s specialty. Is this someone that’s able to speak to things from a more personal point of view, instead of just reading it off a card? - Tanisha Townsend Click to tweet
If you go to a wine bar, you can just get a small plate of food and a couple of different glasses of wine or get a bottle and then you can go to another wine bar… So you have the chance to experience different things. - Tanisha Townsend Click to tweet
About Tanisha Townsend
Tanisha Townsend is Chief Wine Officer of lifestyle agency Girl Meets Glass. She leads wine classes and tours in Paris as well as online. She also hosts the podcast, Wine School Dropout. Her goal is to empower people with an advanced knowledge of wine and spirits to build confidence in their tastes and make choices when buying wine.
- Connect with Tanisha Townsend
- My Books:
- Karen Page & Andrew Dornenburg’s Book | What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea – Even Water – Based on Expert Advice from America’s Best Sommeliers
- Jancis Robinson’s Book | How to Taste: A Guide to Enjoying Wine
- Unreserved Wine Talk | Episode 137: Paris for Wine Lovers with Tanisha Townsend Part 1
- Unreserved Wine Talk | Episode 108: Holiday Movie Wines + Cool Chardonnay with Brian Schmidt
- My new class The 5 Wine & Food Pairing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner And How To Fix Them Forever
Join me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live Video
Want to know when we go live?
Add this to your calendar:
Tag Me on Social
Tag me on social media if you enjoyed the episode:
- @nataliemaclean and @natdecants on Facebook
- @nataliemaclean on Twitter
- @nataliemacleanwine on Instagram
- @nataliemaclean on LinkedIn
- Email Me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thirsty for more?
- Sign up for my free online wine video class where I’ll walk you through The 5 Wine & Food Pairing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner (and how to fix them forever!)
- You’ll find my books here, including Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines and Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass.
- The new audio edition of Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass is now available on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com and other country-specific Amazon sites; iTunes.ca, iTunes.com and other country-specific iTunes sites; Audible.ca and Audible.com.
Tanisha Townsend 0:00
If you go to sit down for dinner that can be a two or three hour affair. But if you go to a wine bar, you can just get a small plate of food, a cheese plate or a meat plate, and you can get a couple of different glasses of wine or get a bottle and then you can go to another wine bar or you can then go to dinner if you like. So you have the chance to experience different things. And then also, it’s more casual, and you meet more people because people will turn and talk to you; They hear the English. Oh, you guys are American? Oh, what you’re here for? You visiting?
Natalie MacLean 0:34
And that’s more likely to happen at a wine bar versus if you’re at a restaurants with separate tables. A wine bar is more intimate, especially if you’re sitting at the bar.
Natalie MacLean 0:49
Do you have a thirst to learn about wine? Do you love stories about wonderfully obsessive people, hauntingly beautiful places, and amusingly awkward social situations? Well that’s the blend here on the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast. I’m your host, Natalie MacLean. And each week, I share with you unfiltered conversations with celebrities in the wine world, as well as confessions from my own tipsy journey as I write my third book on this subject. I’m so glad you’re here. Now pass me that bottle please and let’s get started!
Welcome to Episode 138. What’s it like to explore Paris by visiting different wine bars? How do you know which company to choose for guided tours? And what do you need to know before buying wine from a list whether you’re in a restaurant or a wine bar? You’re going to get those answers and lots more tips and stories in Part Two of our conversation with Tanisha Townsend, who leads wine classes and tours in Paris. You don’t need to have listened to Part One, but if you missed it, go back and take a listen after you listen to this one. In the show notes, you’ll find a full transcript of our conversation, links to both of my books, how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class, where you can find me on Zoom, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live video every Wednesday at 7pm including this evening. That’s all in the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/138.
Now on a personal note, before we dive into the show, I’m loving the HBO series Hacks. It’s about an ageing female comedian in Vegas, and the young woman she hires to reinvigorate her routine and career. I especially love watching the two of them brainstorming ideas and punch lines, there’s some really funny material in there. It’s also touching to see their relationship develop from a very rough start into something that’s like love between friends. Sometimes I wish I had a writing partner, but I’d probably fire her or me in less than a week, unless of course we were brainstorming over Pinot. All right on with the show!
Natalie MacLean 3:21
So let’s talk about the tours that you offer. What happens on a tour, I’m sure you have different types of tours, but tell us about some of your more popular wine tours of Paris.
Tanisha Townsend 3:30
So on a wine tour in Paris, we tour the wine bars, because I want to get people to see that part of French life. While there are restaurants and people go sit down at the restaurant, sometimes you just want to quick hang out with your friends, something like that and so there’s specific places that you can go get a great glass, bottle of wine and then like a nice cheese plate, meat plate or just some tapas style food. Depending on what neighbourhood, I have three different neighbourhoods where I go for these tours, and we start at a central meetup point. And then I just kind of explain to them who I am, how I got there, what I’m all about. And then we go to the first location. I order a sparkling wine for them, because people don’t drink sparkling wine enough. They think about sparkling wine Oh, it’s for a special occasion; Oh it’s for something festive. I’m like you’re in Paris; this is festive; enjoy this moment, celebrate. So you know we do that Ching! And then I have a map of France, of the wine regions. So I kind of go a little bit through the wine regions, depending on what sparkling wine we have. It varies because the wine lists here vary, like I may go to a place one week and then two weeks later, like oh yeah, we changed that list, we have something different. So I’ll talk about the region from where that wine is from, whether it’s Champagne or a Crémant or a Blanquette or something like that. I’ll talk about the region and then kind of move around the map a bit; give them some ideas of Okay, this region means these grapes, because if they don’t leave my tour with anything else, I want them to know at least one region and what the grapes are. Because that’s the biggest question that I get, or the most asked question, I should say, “Um, if it says Bordeaux on the bottle, what does that mean? Or this says a Burgundy? What? What is that?” So that’s something that I really want people to leave with to know. Okay, in France, it’s the region on the label and not the grape.
Natalie MacLean 5:32
Right, unlike California, or a lot of new world countries they lead with the grape.
Tanisha Townsend 5:35
Yep, they lead with the grape and so people know the grape. Here, the grape isn’t as important. Not even the blend is that important. Because that was a question I used to ask when I would go to tastings like, oh, what’s the blend? And they’re like, Oh, I don’t know; “ Didn’t you make this?” But to them, the region is important, because that is, you know, the soil and the climate and all of that. So that’s what’s important to them, but to other people, for them to kind of understand what they like and relate it to something that they know, they need to know the grape, and so I lead with the grape.
Then we go to a second location, we’ll have another wine, I’ll also order some food there. We talk a little bit more, now they’re getting a little loose. They’re asking questions, I let them look at the menu, just so they can see how the menu is organised if there is a menu, or sometimes it’s a chalkboard that comes over to the table, and then you know, I tell them how I select the wines. In one particular location it’s a wine shop in the front, and then a wine bar on the back. So we all get up from the wine bar and then walk through the shop and then I point out some of the labels and the way things are written on the label, like okay, this label says IGP, this says AOP, this says, you know this region, this one has the grape on the front, this is shaped this way so you know it’s red. This is shaped this way so it’s probably white, that kind of thing. And so people like that. I pick the places, not necessarily tourist locations, but places that they’ll go and they’re like, Oh, it’s all locals in here, places that they wouldn’t find necessarily on their own unless they did a whole bunch of research, but no need to research. They have me
Natalie MacLean 7:17
That’s what you want, is the sort of hidden gems of a city. I went on food, it was mostly a food walking tour of Rome and I loved it because we would have never found these places. You know, the best gelato place, the best buffalo mozzarella cheese, and went to all these specialty places and smoked prosciutto and whatever it was. But yeah, so do you go to any famous wine bars? I guess you’re going to offbeat bars, but the one wine bar I heard about in Paris, is Willi’s wine bar. I don’t know if that still exists or not
Tanisha Townsend 7:49
It still exists, but I don’t know after this year we’ve had but yeah, I think Willi’s is definitely still there. It was there before. But yeah, Willi’s is a very popular place. I don’t go there on a tour, just because there aren’t that many places to go around it. I pick a wine bar that is kind of close to other ones. So we can walk to the other places instead of Oh, let’s go to this wine bar. Okay, let’s get on the metro and go to this other one. It’s like, let’s walk to this one, five minutes, walk to another one. And then if they’re still up for it, we’ll go to a third location. If not, we just stay at the second location, and get another glass. And sometimes I have to leave them there but they’re “No we’re gonna stay.” I go “All right, my time is done. Thanks for coming out”
Natalie MacLean 8:33
Awesome. And how many people are generally on a tour?
Tanisha Townsend 8:37
I don’t take more than six at a time.
Natalie MacLean 8:38
Oh, how nice. very intimate.
Tanisha Townsend 8:42
I keep it very small because I want people to be able to talk to each other if they want to. And also the places I go with them, being local kind of insider places, you know, places in Paris aren’t that big. So there aren’t too many places, I can take a group of 10or 14. Like we take up the whole bar and that’s not as much fun.
Natalie MacLean 9:03
Do you ever share any tips in terms of ordering from a wine list? No matter where you are kind of thing?
Tanisha Townsend 9:09
Yes. The tip I share is the second wine on the list, the second cheapest wine, that usually has the highest markup. So that’s not necessarily the deal that people think it is because they expect you to order that wine. So if you’re thinking of it from a price point ratio, then maybe not the second cheapest wine. And also sometimes that’s the wine that they’re trying to get rid of, for whatever reason. So yeah, that’s one of my tips I’ll give away.
Natalie MacLean 9:40
Oh, awesome. And in Paris, are the wine bars mostly focused on French wines, or do they have a variety of wines?
Tanisha Townsend 9:49
French, French, French, okay? When I’ve done tastings for people, and they were like, you can grab an Italian wine and a wine from here. It’s hard to find but now I know where to go so I can find other wines. There are specialty stores for that. It’s not just at the regular neighbourhood shop where I can find a wide variety of everything. There are shelves and shelves and shelves of French wine. And I’m like, Oh, well what about I’m looking for a South African Pinotage? They’re like, Oh, no, but the other wines are here on this shelf. I’m like shelf? So all the other ones of the world get a shelf. The rest of the shop is French. Their specialty shop for I know, Portugal, we have Italian shops here, Greek, things like that. So if I need something else, I have to plan it in advance and think about it so I can order it online or go across town.
Natalie MacLean 10:44
But that’s a treat to go to Paris and really dig down into French wines we can’t even get in North America.
Tanisha Townsend 10:50
Absolutely. That is definitely a high point of living here and the wine I have access to. A lot of wines that I studied before or read about, like I can get those here. And also luckily I’m in Paris where I have access to all of the French wines. In some of the other regions it’s very regional, and you just have access to the wines of that particular region.
Natalie MacLean 11:13
So it is cosmopolitan and that it draws from all the regions. Do you have a favourite region taste wise?
Tanisha Townsend 11:22
It is probably Southern Rhône. Because I really love Grenache. I really, really like Grenache and just the flavour of it. It’s spicy, but then you also get the berry fruit, it can sometimes be smoky, it warms you up from the inside out. It’s good in the winter, but then also in the summer with food off the grill. I mean, you get that fresh hamburger off the grill, you pair it up with the southern Rhône red, yeah!
Natalie MacLean 11:46
Nice pairing. I love the texture of Grenache. It’s so like almost liquid velvet. It’s so beautiful. It’s smooth, but not wimpy. But let me backtrack a little bit to when you first moved to Paris; I think it was when you first moved. You had mentioned a little story to me, ordering in a restaurant when your French wasn’t that strong.
Tanisha Townsend 12:09
Oh, yes. So after this instance, I was like, okay, Tanisha, you at least need to know what these words mean. So I’m at a restaurant and I’m looking through the menu and I’m like, Okay, I know what fish is; poisson OK. And chicken is poulet, okay. Got it; didn’t see any of those. But then I’m like, andouille, andouille sausage, like they’re a New Orleans dish. They come like, Oh, this is going to be great. So I order what I think is that and so the waiters like oh, okay, great and writes it down. And then it comes back and then this sausage is on my plate. And as it passes me, I’m like, this smells familiar but I don’t know, it’s a strong smell, is it for me, I’m not sure. I cut into it. And then the guy comes to say, oh, how do you like andouillette? Well andouillette is what as we call it in the South, chitlins or pig intestines, shoved into a sausage. So it’s in a sausage form, right? So when I cut it and looked at it, like I was like, Oh, I know exactly what this, everybody else knew what it was because it’s a delicacy here. They love it. Like this, offered in restaurants, it is a fantastic treat for everyone else but me.
Natalie MacLean 13:32
Was it because of what it was mentally or the taste for you?
Tanisha Townsend 13:37
Both, because I’ve had chitlins before and I don’t like them. Okay, when I cut it, I was like, all I have to eat it because they’re all looking at me. I was like, oh, and they’re like,
Natalie MacLean 13:48
What is it supposed to taste? Like? Is there a way to compare it to something?
Tanisha Townsend 13:54
If you know tripe, it’s like tripe, if you’ve ever had tripe in like ramen or anything like that, it’s like that.
Natalie MacLean 13:59
Alright. Yeah, it doesn’t sound that appetising. Hopefully you had a decent wine to go with it.
Tanisha Townsend 14:04
The wine was good and then there were also fries next to it. So I ate all the fries, and then went to McDonald’s, after that real Paris experience because I was hungry. Like I’m still hungry. So I have to eat. But after that, I was like, I’m gonna learn these food words, because I can’t make this mistake again.
Natalie MacLean 14:23
Right, good motivation. You’ll never forget that word. I forgot to ask like when we are going to a city, whether it’s Paris or another city, what are some key things we should look for when we’re choosing a tour company or tour guide to take us around, obviously someone who specialises in food and wine but beyond that, what should we be looking for?
Tanisha Townsend 14:48
Definitely look at their specialty, who the guides are, where they get the guides from, is this guide someone that has studied wine or studied history, or, you know, used to be a chef, something like that, that they’re able to speak to things from a more personal point of view, instead of just they’re reading it off a card, you go on the tour, and they’re like, Okay, here we are and this we have aum, um, um, this is a cheese from “What is it”? You want someone that can speak to it, and also kind of give you a personal story about maybe a time where they had that cheese or how they learned about cheese. You can really feel that when they have a conversation view. So look at that, then also look at where you’re going, what the neighbourhood is, in some instances it may be difficult, because you’re like, Oh, I’m not that familiar with this neighbourhood. But just know if someone is gonna take you on a food tour around the Eiffel Tower; well they’re not it’s no, like, that’s not a thing.
Natalie MacLean 15:53
Right. Right. So you want to get away from the overridden, touristy places and go somewhere. you wouldn’t go yourself. Okay, cool. That’s great. Great advice. I have to ask you, though, I don’t know if you saw it; but did you see the movie Emily in Paris? Oh, you did? Okay. That’s okay. So you don’t have to pass judgement on that. But do you have some favourite movies, Emily ind Paris, by the way, for anyone who’s listening is on Netflix. And reviews of it said it had every French stereotype; but it was also just sort of brain candy for others who liked it. But anyway, what are your favourite movies about Paris? Or TV shows?
Tanisha Townsend 16:33
I’m trying to think; and this is an old one, Amélie was super cute. I really like that. Actually, on one of my tours, we walk past the bar where she worked in the movie, that’s in the 18th. So you can see that, trying to think what other TV shows I’ve seen about Paris. There’s probably some long time ago, maybe, because I’m thinking there’s not too many that I’m watching about Paris necessarily, but like a lot of things that are French.
Natalie MacLean 17:04
I’m probably thinking there’s something with Audrey Hepburn or something. I remember that one where? Oh, well. That was My Fair Lady. I don’t know if that was in Paris. I think it was that they sang The Night They Invented Champagne. I love that song. So she had to learn how to taste like a lady anyway.
Tanisha Townsend 17:21
And there was a scene and was in Somethings Gotta Give with Diane Keaton, maybe where they were at dinner in Paris. That might not be the right movie, but they had dinner in Paris. And so I like those scenes, because that was real and it’s funny, because what they ordered at the restaurant at that time, did not exist. Really, it wasn’t on the menu. So people will go visit the restaurant and go, Oh, I want this dish. And they’re like, No, we don’t have that. Well, they eventually changed it. And then they started serving that because they realised they were missing out.
Natalie MacLean 17:55
Cool. So on your mini tours that you’ve taken so far, has anything ever unusual happened? Or did you have anybody of note ever take a tour or anything? Along those lines?
Tanisha Townsend 18:10
Not yet. I wish there was like a famous person that just showed up. And you know,
Natalie MacLean 18:15
You’d probably have to sign an NDA.
Tanisha Townsend 18:17
Right? I mean, I would still be super excited. But no, that hasn’t happened yet. But fingers crossed.
Natalie MacLean 18:23
Anything ever go wrong or bizarre or anything like that, or not wrong, but anything unusual ever happen along those lines.
Tanisha Townsend 18:31
The only thing wrong that happened one time, and I felt like this was just a series of unfortunate events. But the first place we went to the woman was getting up and she bumped the table and so the glass fell on someone and so that happened. Then we get to the next location. And then they don’t take cards. So I have to now leave them and then scramble to find an ATM to get cash. And of course, I get lost or turned around. Like how is there no ATM in this neighbourhood? So you know, and then running back; by the time I get back, of course, they had ordered extra things. And so now I’m trying to tell them okay, how do I tell them this all isn’t included in the tour, how do I get this; tricky. And they’re drunk. So like I missed out on that part? Yeah. So yeah, trying to have that conversation and be like, okay, I don’t know how to cut my losses here. What to do. Just don’t don’t write a review on this. Okay. Don’t write. Can we leave a review. Don’t. Are you on TripAdvisor ? Don’t worry about it.
Natalie MacLean 19:40
Yeah, not there. Oh, I wanted to make sure we get to your photos as well. So I’m going to share my screen. Yeah, there you go. I love this shot. By the way. I love your hair. Oh my gosh.
Tanisha Townsend 19:54
When I was sending you pictures, I was like, oh, I’ve had all kinds of hairstyles.
Natalie MacLean 19:59
That’s great. Very versatile. are you leading a wine tour here? It looks official. You’ve got charts in the back.
Tanisha Townsend 20:05
Yes. So this wasn’t the wine tour itself, But this was me preparing for a wine tour. So this was a photo shoot I did to promote this stuff on the wine tour. And this is actually a wine shop. And it’s a wine shop that I found when I first moved here, because I just happened to stumble into it because it was close to where I live. And I was scared to ask for what I wanted because of language, but then I hear this woman speaking she’s like, “No, well, we don’t have that. Okay, well, we can do it later.” She speaks English and so I look at her. I said, Madame, you speak English? She said, I’m from California. Yes. I was like, Oh, I found my people. So that ended up being my wine shop for a few years while I lived in that neighbourhood. So I’ll go there all the time.
Natalie MacLean 20:53
And this one looks like you’re leading a wine tour. Is this kind of the format, you’ve got your iPad, and you’ve got maps here and I guess that’s where you’re instructing?
Tanisha Townsend 21:05
It depends on who the people are. This one, I knew one of the guys. And so he messaged me before and said, Listen, we want to really kind of get in depth on some things so we don’t want it to necessarily just be casual, just drinking, we kind of really want to get some information, you know, and have it a little more structured. So I pulled out the tablet and had a PowerPoint presentation and you know, through the slides and everything like that. So yeah, and this place, we’re in the wine bar and then this is another one that the shop is in the front.
Natalie MacLean 21:37
Tanisha Townsend 21:38
So we were getting into it there.
Natalie MacLean 21:40
Ah, is this a wine tour as well?
Tanisha Townsend 21:43
That’s also a wine tour. Yeah. And I think I was about to say something. And this was a wine tour during the summer. This was so funny, because I actually thought they were going to cancel, because I think it was like 102 degrees. Oh, And I was like, Okay, I don’t even know how this is gonna play out. But this particular place has air conditioning. So I called him I was like, yeah, we’re still gonna come and he went, well, we’re air conditioned. That’s fine. I said, “What! You are,? so it was perfect
Natalie MacLean 22:16
Thank goodness for that. And cold bubbly doesn’t hurt either when it’s hot. So yes.
Tanisha Townsend 22:21
And that was one of the champagne alternatives that we
Natalie MacLean 22:24
Oh, right. Terrific. And where are we here? Looks like you’re in a wine cellar.
Tanisha Townsend 22:30
This isn’t a wine cellar. And this was a group tasting that I was doing for some concerts. It was a group of concerts called Afro punk. And before this particular concert came to the city, they were like, well, we want to do some outreach or some other events to go along with it. So I did the wine tasting portion of it. So they did a tour. And then after the tour, they walked over to this Cave, and then I did a wine tasting for them down there.
Natalie MacLean 22:58
Fantastic. All right. I think I have one more here. Oh, this is cute. What was in that bottle. It’s empty now.
Tanisha Townsend 23:06
All I can remember right now is red wine. Red. Yeah, looks like a Cabernet glass. Yeah. And this I do remember where I was. I was in Bulgaria. No, Serbia, I was in Serbia. It was a conference that I had gone to in Serbia. And then we went to, again, wine bars where I lived my life. We went to a wine bar after. And I was like, Oh, well, what’s this? And so I poured and I was like, Oh, well, we’re done. Nights over here. Where do we get the next one?
Natalie MacLean 23:37
But I’m really liking the idea of wine bars as a way to explore a city, not committing just to one dinner in one place. Like, whether it’s a daytime tour or night, like that just sounds like fun. Whether you’re being led by someone, ideally, or just going on your own, have a little nibble there, and a little glass of wine, just get to more places.
Tanisha Townsend 23:59
Absolutely. And especially in Europe, especially places like France and Spain and Italy, where they take the meal so seriously, like, if you go to sit down for dinner, that can be a two or three hour affair. But if you go to a wine bar, you can just get a small plate of food, you know, a cheese plate or a meat plate, and you can get a couple of different glasses of wine or get a bottle. And then you can go to another wine bar, or you can then go to dinner if you like. So you have the chance to just experience different things. And then also just it’s more casual. It’s my life. That’s right. And you meet more people. And you do because people will turn and talk to you. You know, they’d be like, hey, oh, they hear the English. Oh, you guys American? Oh, what you’re here for> You visiting?
Natalie MacLean 24:43
So and that’s more likely to happen, I think at a wine bar versus if you’re at a restaurant with separate tables. A wine bar is more intimate, especially if you’re sitting at the bar. Yeah. Cool. So do you have any wines with you today Tanisha.
Tanisha Townsend 24:58
I do. This I have, this is a Diane . And the reason that I am a fan of this one, this is a new offering from Jacques Lurton out of Bordeaux to promote it because of single varietals. You know a lot of Bordeaux is a blend but he wanted to do something a little different. And so he was like, I want to have single varietals so you can taste these different grapes, see what they taste like, so then you can better know what you like, how much you like of one in the blend versus another. And so yeah,
Natalie MacLean 25:32
What a great idea. And is that a Sauvignon Blanc did you say? Or is it a Sémillon? A Sémillon. Right because that’s the traditional blend; those two grapes. Yeah,
Tanisha Townsend 25:41
Yeah, I have the Sauvignon Blanc too. But I’m like, I want to try the Sémillon first.
Natalie MacLean 25:44
Oh, good. Good. Good. Well, I’d love for you to taste it with us if you can. Is it open?
Tanisha Townsend 25:49
It’s not. Man, I was like, wait, when I sat down and started calling you, I was like, Oh, where’s my corkscrew? I was ready
Natalie MacLean 25:58
No worries. Have you tried it before?
Tanisha Townsend 26:02
I have not tried this one before. But I have tried other ones. I’ve had the white blend before from Lurton and I absolutely love it.
Natalie MacLean 26:12
And what does it tastes like? What do you get from a Bordeaux blend like that?
Tanisha Townsend 26:16
I like it because it’s not overly citrusy like a lot of Sauvignon Blancs can be. Like the Sauvignon Blanc there’s not overpowering, you’re not getting a lot of the citrus or a lot of the herbs, you’re getting a lot more of the stone fruit and the softness from Sémillon. And for me, it’s a much better, a much better blend, but it kind of works better together for me. These are from Entre-deux-Mers, you also have some on the left bank of Bordeaux. And because of the soil, you get a bit of that minerality but again, it’s not over the top, everything is like very well balanced and very integrated. That’s the word I needed. I’m like distributed now. Yeah, but very well integrated.
Natalie MacLean 26:58
Where is Entre-deux-Mers, approximately in Bordeaux, it’s between the two legs I think.
Tanisha Townsend 27:02
I think it’s between the two but kind of like at the bottom. So you have the left bank Entre-deux-Mers and then the right bank.
Natalie MacLean 27:10
Okay, got it. And you have the other one there of his? Do you have the Sauvignon Blanc?
Tanisha Townsend 27:13
Or I don’t have it right here.
Natalie MacLean 27:16
Okay, no, that’s fine.
Tanisha Townsend 27:19
But I do like that he did separate ones for us.
Natalie MacLean 27:22
Yeah, that’s an interesting concept.
Tanisha Townsend 27:24
It’s a Sauvignon Blanc, and then a Cabernet Sauvignon in the line. So you have the opportunity to try a lot of different things.
Natalie MacLean 27:31
And what would you pair with those?
Tanisha Townsend 27:33
With this? I think I would pair, I would probably, and I’m so simple when I pair things, with this one I’m thinking I would keep it simple and do like roasted chicken because the flavours will still mesh well and you don’t want a bunch of flavours in the chicken. So you don’t want, you don’t want cream, or tomato or any kind of citrus, you know, lemon or orange sauce or things like that. But the roast chicken, if you get that skin a little crispy. Or cheese, I mean you really can’t go wrong with cheese. I would say Comté with everything, a hard Comté. I would do a hard one with this. So a hard Comté. Not any of the softer gooey cheeses.
Natalie MacLean 28:16
Cool. Awesome. And is there a particular wine book that stands out as being one of your favourites?
Tanisha Townsend 28:23
I mean, I read this book once called Red, White and Drunk All Over
Natalie MacLean 28:28
This is a plant; your pay pal payment is in the mail or whatever.
Tanisha Townsend 28:34
I’m not sure.
Natalie MacLean 28:36
Thank you. Thank you for reading it.
Tanisha Townsend 28:41
No, a book that I really enjoyed, not fully about wine, but what to drink with what you eat.
Natalie MacLean 28:44
Oh, yes, the pairing book. I really like that.
Tanisha Townsend 28:46
And then also just, we want to talk wine, How to Taste by Jancis Robinson.
Natalie MacLean 28:55
Ah, two classics. That’s great. Good books for everybody to have in their library.
Tanisha Townsend 28:59
I really like those that are really helpful. Because with what to drink with what you eat that I mean, you can read it if you like. But you can also just skim through it and say, you know what I’m drinking Sémillon tonight; what goes with it? And you go to the Sémillon section and then underneath it would give you the different dishes that will pair well with it
Natalie MacLean 29:17
It’s a great reference. Yeah, really well done. This is fantastic Tanisha. Is there anything we haven’t covered that you would like to mention?
Tanisha Townsend 29:27
Was there anything left? We talked Paris, we talked tours, movies, wine, life, milk.
Natalie MacLean 29:39
We could do without the milk. We covered everything.
Tanisha Townsend 29:42
Natalie MacLean 29:44
So where can people find you online and your tours?
Tanisha Townsend 29:49
They can find me @GirlMeetsglass.com and on all the socials @GirlMeetsGlass.
Natalie MacLean 29:57
No one’s going to get that confused. That’s great. Easy to spell. Easy to remember girls beats class. Oh, and I should mention, thank you again for providing a copy of your guide to Paris wine bars. Tell us a little bit about that, what’s in it and why we’d all want to win it or else just buy it from you.
Tanisha Townsend 30:14
So this eBook is something I actually created during the pandemic, because I had been making a list of wine bars that I really enjoyed, whether I toured them or just enjoy going out with friends. And people would always ask me for recommendations like, Hey, I’m in the seven (7th arrondissement) where can I go? Or, hey, I’m going to be in the 11, is there a place I can go? Maybe I should just make the guide. And so the name came from 75 is the Department of Paris; so all of the zip codes of Paris start with 75. So it’s 75, then zero, blah, blah, blah. And it goes from one to 20. So that’s why the 75. And then I was like, Well, okay, 75 in the 75 as a name, and I was like, Oh, do I have seventy five wine bars? Actually, I did. It had really been more than 75, but I could not fit them in the guide. Because you know, there’s that. So I listed them all in the guide with their socials, their hours, but those are loose, because again, they do what they want here. So the hours are in there. But just to let people know, it’s broken down by arrondissements which is like different neighbourhoods of the city. And so if you’re like, Oh, well, my hotels in the arrondissement, okay, well, what wine bar can I go to? I’m doing like this, you don’t look through it, it’s not paper, it’s an Ebook. So you just scroll up and then you get to the second and then
Natalie MacLean 31:36
You could have that on your smartphone as you’re wandering around the city. Planning ahead.. Oh, that sounds like a great guide. I definitely want to get one of those.
Tanisha Townsend 31:45
It also has some cool pictures of some of the wine bars, and then also just of Paris in general. So if you’re just missing the city, or if you’ve never been, it’s something to look at, and you know, kind of highlight and check some things off. Like I want to go here and here and here.
Natalie MacLean 32:00
That’s great. What a great resource. Good for you for creating it Tanisha. Well, thank you so much. This has been a great discussion. I am so jazzed about visiting Paris again and connecting with you in person. I would love to go on one of your tours.
Tanisha Townsend 32:10
I’m here when you’re ready.
Natalie MacLean 32:16
All right, excellent. I’m putting it on my bucket list, my spittoon list. So I will say goodbye for now, but I look forward to chatting with you again Tanisha.
Tanisha Townsend 32:26
Alright, thank you so much.
Natalie MacLean 32:30
All right. Bye bye.
Natalie MacLean 32:36
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my chat with Tanisha Townsend. Here my top takeaways.
Number one, I love the idea of exploring Paris or any city by taking a walking tour of its wine bars. I think this allows you to sample so much more in terms of food, drink, neighbourhoods, conversation, versus committing to a three hour restaurant meal. Not that I don’t mind a three hour restaurant meal.
Number two, I thought Tanisha’s tips on how to choose a company to choose for guided tours were excellent. You want someone who can show you the hidden gems off the tourist track, the haunts that you would not discover for yourself.
And three, She had some great advice on how to choose from a wine list, whether you’re at a restaurant or a wine bar, as well pairing French wines with food.
In the shownotes you’ll find a full transcript of our conversation, how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class, links to both my books, where you can find me on Zoom, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live video every Wednesday at 7pm including tonight. That’s all in the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/138.
And just a reminder that you can win a copy of Tanisha Townsend’s guide to Paris wine bars if you comment on any one of the social media posts I’ve posted on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. All you have to say is Hello. I love wine bars or whatever you want. And I’ll pick a winner randomly from those of you who comment. You won’t want to miss next week when master of wine Vanessa Conlon interviews me for her podcast. I spill lots more secrets and stories from my wine life.
In the meantime, if you missed Episode 108 go back and take a listen. I chat about cool climate Chardonnay and the annual celebration of this grape, which is actually taking place online this week starting Friday. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.
Unknown Speaker 34:42
Because palates are changing, we’re eating lighter foods, so the natural evolution would be that the wine styles are paired with people’s diets so fresher, crisper, brighter, fresher styles of wine certainly are becoming consumer hip. And cool climate really does express those particular attributes quite well.
Natalie MacLean 34:56
I often taste a lot of wines monthly to review them. And the ones that start to stand out are the big ones. But then you get home and it’s almost like meeting someone at a bar who’s shouting at you. And that’s fine because it’s in the context of the bar, but at home at a dinner party, that guy’s way too loud or gal, I should say. I think that’s the wine style, too. It’s more subtle. It’s more conducive to conversation. It’s in balanced and in harmony.
Unknown Speaker 34:42
That’s a great analogy
Natalie MacLean 35:30
If you liked this episode, please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in the tips that Tanisha shared. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your class this week. Perhaps something French that pairs well with small plate meals.
Natalie MacLean 35:55
You don’t want to miss one juicy episode of this podcast, especially the secret full body bonus episodes that I don’t announce on social media. So subscribe for free now at Nataliemaclean.com/subscribe. Meet me here next week. Cheers!