Blogathon July 20
Today’s feature: O Chateau—Restaurant, Wine Bar, Tastings
rue 68 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1st arrondissement
“Wine education is too old, too stuffy, too pretentious,” says Olivier Magny, owner and founder of O Chateau, offering wine tasting experiences in Paris. “I’ve always thought that most people talking about wine were just boring and uptight.”
Magny is anything but old, stuffy, or pretentious. On the contrary, the youthful, clear blue-eyed entrepreneur smiles broadly while deftly opening the first bottle of wine for his audience of American tourists. Instantly, Magny uncorks the stuffiness in French wines and simultaneously releases a full bouquet of fun, American style.
Magny promises a unique experience and delivers. “To me, wine should bring people together. And I’ve realized that most people talking about wine just set barriers between them and ‘novices’ with unnecessary jargon or supposedly refined, deep and chic wine-related thoughts and analyses –more or less consciously. While in the USA, I realized most Americans thought French wine was very complex and intimidating. I figured I could try something to cope with those two things.”
With un-bottled enthusiasm, charm, and humor, Magny dispels the mystery of French wines as he chats casually about the regions of France and asks questions that prompt taste buds to discover that hint of oak or berry or spice.
I was invited to one of Magny’s original wine tastings when he was just getting started about 10 years ago, and it was a delight. Today, he has expanded his offerings to include a restaurant, wine bar, private events, and tours including a Day Trip to Champagne as well as different levels of wine tastings.
“Our tastings are a great opportunity to meet new people,” says Magny. “People get to talk with me, with other customers. And it’s actually quite rare when you’re traveling to get a chance to really sit and meet with other people. I enjoy it very much. And wine is my best ally for this—the more the tasting goes, the more people talk and have fun! It’s great to see people open up.”
Magny, a rugby player, selects wine with the same energy and passion and openness he brings to the game.
“Wine like rugby,” he says, “gives you an excuse to go talk to the person next to you. An oval ball and a glass of wine are just like an open door. A warm welcome.”
His infectious delight in wine extends to his customized tastings for any personal or business occasion. “Wine when used properly and not in a boring manner is a great and oh-so-effective team building tool because it makes it possible to go beyond just work talk.”
In the words of rugby player Pierre Berbizier, Olivier Magny is “the best ambassador for French wines in Paris.“
I’ve yet to try the restaurant or the wine bar, but given the fun I had on the first wine tasting, the restaurant is on my list for my next visit. By the way, the location is a five minute walk from the Louvre and you can enjoy complimentary wifi with your wine.