It is very nice to be legally allowed to drink in Europe (I am 10 months short of being legal in the US) but the main reason is not because you can drink when you go out to bars or clubs (where shots are 5 euro and mixed drinks upwards of 10 euro, so they tend to dent your wallet). It’s a refreshing change to be able to get a glass of wine with dinner or buy a bottle of wine at the food store to enjoy while picnicking.*
We decided to sign up for a wine tasting at Ô Chateau because none of us had a background in wine, it was a good price, and it came with a rousing recommendation from Emily, who went to the same place with her mom before our program began. Ô Chateau and our sommelier were great and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone visiting Paris–no matter your background, you can learn a lot and have fun in their beautiful restaurant.
My knowledge of wine consisted of a) there is red and white, and b) I generally prefer white, before going to the wine tasting. For 45 euro, we had a two hour wine tasting of one champagne, two whites, and three reds. We also had a cheese platter to split between the three of us.
I learned a lot about wine (including why people swirl wine) and reaffirmed my preference for whites. I also learned about the different wine regions of France and how to read a wine label. I am by no means an expert now, but I now have a foundation in wine knowledge and can now swirl my wine and know what I’m looking for.
*Europe doesn’t have open bottle laws, so you can drink champagne while sitting underneath the Eiffel Tower or have wine at night in front of the Trevi Fountain without legal consequences, both of which I have enjoyed immensely.